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EF Back to $10K!

December 12th, 2014 at 01:16 pm

Today is payday and I was able to achieve my goal of getting the EF to $10K by the end of the year. Exactly $10K.

$9676.22 Beginning Balance
+_323.78 Amount Added
---------------
10,000.00 Ending Balance

My goal for 2015 is $15K, with a mini-goal of $12K.

Between what I saved for December/January bills and today's paycheck we have $6067.22. $2100 to $2500 will go for the car. $1000 to Mom's loan. $225 to the chiropractor. The early January bills it will need to cover will be $500 or so. That leaves us with $1842.22 to cover Christmas and anything else between now and the next paycheck on January 9th. And we have $200 in grocery store gift cards. We should get by on that just fine.

The Christmas Bonus comes on the 19th or thereabouts. We have no idea of how much it is going to be and it will be mostly relegated to the EF and DH's bachelor's program.

The important thing is that despite the curve ball of the car repair, we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund to cover anything. I am so happy about that.

December Money Fund and Propane Fund

December 1st, 2014 at 12:57 pm

We had an additional $360.13 to transfer to the December Money Fund. $59.09 was what was left in the checkbook after the last pay cycle. The rest was extra money in the paycheck since DH has finally hit that point where they stop taking that one tax out for a while.

$2447.00 Beginning December Money Fund
+_360.13 Amount Added
--------------
2807.13 Ending December Money Fund

I also added $100 to the Propane Fund for the old house.

$500.00 Beginning Propane Fund
+100.00 Amount Added
---------------
$600.00 Total Propane Fund

My Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as my homegrown one. This was the best Thanksgiving food ever and it was so great knowing how I raised and grew almost all of it.

Our feast:



My plate:



Expenses, School Concert, Work News, and T-Day

November 26th, 2014 at 07:00 pm

Yesterday I spent $166.22 to buy my son dress shoes and socks for his concert. I was very irritated that the teacher was insisting on dress shoes when I think that black tennis shoes would have been perfectly fine and definitely indistinguishable from the audience. But not having the proper attire counts against their grades. Ugh.

Unfortunately when your kid has a size 15 foot, you pretty much have to take what they have and you have to go somewhere expensive to even find a shoe size over 13. We went to a men's suit store. It was either that or Red Wings, which is more expensive. They are nice shoes and hopefully he can wear them for a while before outgrowing them. He is only 14 and since his father has a size 16 foot I can't be sure his feet won't still grow. I am sure when he does outgrow them they will be nice enough to recoop the cost a bit on e-bay, since he will only wear them to concerts.

I was also irritated that she required dark socks as well. All of my son's socks are white. The shoe and sock requirement did not come out until Monday. At the beginning of the school year all that it said was required was black pants and a dress shirt for boys and a skirt and blouse or a dress for girls. They have choir robes they wear over that anyway, so not sure why the shirt even matters, but whatever. We had plenty of time for and bought in early October.

If I had known about the shoes we could have bought online and saved some money, but there wasn't time. It was just really irritating to have an unexpected expense. Fortunately my daughter has both black flats and black boots so her footwear was covered.

The concert was okay, but it was very disorganized. The auditorium is too small for the sound system, or else the guy on the sound board just thinks that louder is better. The choirs were very good, except the poor girl who choked during her solo, as were the orchestras.

The jazz band was flat on one song and another song was the worst arrangement of Eleanor Rigby I have ever heard. Their 2nd song was really good, though, and the saxophone and trombone solos were wonderful. The percussion band was so overwhelmed by the loudness of the drums you couldn't hear the xylophones or the triangle at all. The drums seriously did not need a microphone. And the band instructor didn't know how to speak into a microphone, but had plenty to say. I've nicknamed him Mr. Mumbles.

Man, I'm grumpy. I'm still not over my illness. I think being out last night disrupted my routine and screwed with my circadian rhythm because I kept waking up all night last night. Which does not help anything ever.

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today and so put $10 into the feed money jar. I've also given away 5 dozen eggs this week. 2 to my physical therapist, 2 to the chiropractor and one to my in-laws. Now I am down to just 18 duck eggs and 3.5 dozen chicken eggs. We will be making a couple pound cakes so that will use up a lot.

I found out from DH that he is going to be called back in early, on December 31st. So we have gone from 5 weeks with no pay to just 22 days with no pay. Way, way better, we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all, and I don't think we will need to touch the Christmas bonus either to cover the time off. That takes so much pressure off me right now. And it means I will definitely hit my $10K by the end of the year in the EF! We also don't have to be quite so tight with Christmas, thank goodness.

Tomorrow should be a much better day than today. A nice low-key Thanksgiving with the organic turkey we raised and butchered ourselves, potatoes we raised ourselves, green beans we raised ourselves, and homemade stuffing from homemade bread and homemade pie. It's a very self-sufficient meal and that feels really neat.

Trying to Figure Out Christmas and Some Rabbitry Stuff

November 23rd, 2014 at 02:25 pm

Now that I know that the 4 to 5 weeks without pay is taken care of, I need to turn my thoughts to Christmas and figuring out what I'm going to do about it. I've already told the kids we have a lower limit this year on how much we are spending. Usually we spend about $150 per kid, but this year it is $100. I'm pretty sure it'll just be videogames, that's usually all they want, though I may get the daughter some jewelry or something off etsy.

I know that I want a new breadmaker and a new purse, but the purse may wait until my birthday in February. If I can repair my old purse one more time, I think I can make it that long. I want season 7 of The Big Bang Theory, but I'm pretty sure my in-laws will get me that. Otherwise there is nothing else I really want or need, except a couple of metal dropping pans for two of the rabbit cages and that isn't really a Christmas present sort of thing.

I don't now what my husband wants. He usually takes care of himself, though.

MIL collects carousel horses and FIL collects nutcrackers so I usually try to find them some unique ones on etsy. Last year I found a stamped tin carousel music box and a steampunk nutcracker that were so cool.

I don't know if DH has talked to his sister about not exchanging gifts this year or not, but eldest niece there has aged out anyway. We stop giving gifts after high school. So that leaves youngest niece and SIL if we do need to give gifts. J is pretty easy to shop for. SIL we usually just give a gift card, but it's not going to be near as high as the last 2 years this year. We usually give her $200 on a Target since she is below the poverty level, and that way she can buy stuff for household use for a while. She's good at making it last a few months. But we can't afford to help her out like that this year.

We don't exchange gifts on my side of the family. My sisters and I quit years ago, and my mother quit for anyone not a grandkid or great grandkid about 4 years ago. So my side is easy.

I am trying to distract myself today. We lost Sienna last night, our nicest red doe rabbit. She broke her back. That is very easy for a rabbit to do if they get too hyper and jump around a lot. She was pretty hyper having her cage to herself again after weaning the kits. It was so sad and like a punch in the gut to go out there and see her like that. I will really miss her.

Things and Other Things

November 22nd, 2014 at 02:26 pm

I took 3 surveys from Pinecone this morning. I am not sure if they just really like me right now or if it is a holiday thing where they are trying to get stuff done before Thanksgiving when people will be too busy to take surveys.

I haven't cashed in at all since I started doing Pinecone. I just figured I'd have them send me a check when it got big enough to be worth bothering with. After I get the notification that these 3 are in my account I will cash out. Not sure how much I have, but I've been doing surveys at least once a week for the last several months. I just don't feel like looking it up. I'll find that out when I go to cash out.

I am making rabbit stock today from all 8 of the ribcages from the rabbits we butchered last week. I should end up with about 3 cups of rabbit meat to use in meals this week (probably enchiladas) once I pick off the bones and 6 to 8 quarts of stock to can. The chickens and ducks will get the used up vegetables.

I may make up soup base instead of just stock. To do that I half fill the jars with diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rabbit meat and fill the rest of with the stock. Then when I want soup I just bring it to a boil and add noodles to cook. I'm not sure if I have enough extra energy to do that, though. I am feeling better, but am still sick, though it is becoming more of a functional sick.

I need to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer tomorrow for Thanksgiving. And to weigh it so we know how heavy it is for cooking time. We didn't weigh it when we butchered it and DH forgot to weigh it when he bagged it up for the freezer. I think it is about ten pounds, but we need to know for sure.

I also need to bake a couple of loaves of bread for making stuffing on Tuesday. I need to pick through the potatoes and make sure there are enough that haven't sprouted for that day, too. I need to make sure I have the right poultry seasoning on hand, one that actually has sage in it. We have plenty of butter on hand.

I need to find what I did with my recipe for making chocolate pudding so I can make a chocolate cream pie. I need to buy heavy cream to make whipping cream. I already have the safe brand of graham crackers for making the crust. I will probably make the pie on Wednesday and do the cream last minute on Thursday.

Our menu is pretty simple for the day. Roast turkey rubbed with butter and poultry seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, simple bread stuffing, and pie. Since it is just me, the kids, and my mother, that is all we want. We don't like cranberry sauce or yams. My son is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but he is fine to wait until Christmas for that.

This will be the first time in 4 years (I think) that DH has not been home for Thanksgiving. I know for the past 3 years we have gone to his parents house. I didn't want to go this year without him. Anyway, I always end up doing most of the cooking when I go, so this year I am staying home and my mom will help with the cooking. Since I still don't feel great, I don't want to put myself through the drama that my SIL and her eldest daughter always bring to gatherings on that side of the family. When DH is not with me, I just don't have the patience for that. He keeps me centered.

We have decided to finally start contributing to the 401K at the new company. We weren't when we were paying off the credit cards or paying off the mortgage, but we have decided that it was time now to start. DH is going to find out when enrollment is and then as soon as we can, we will start with it. His company does no matching at all. We are going to start with 1% and see how it affects our bottom line. If it is bearable, we will up it to 2%. We will have to see how much our medical is going to go up this year. 1% may be all we can afford.

If he ends up getting enough overtime that we don't have to use the Christmas bonus to get through the time off, and assuming it is the same amount as last year, I'd like to put half of it into the 401K. That we can do regardless of an enrollment period. The rest of it would be split between starting DH on his Bachelor's program and the Emergency Fund. But who knows on the overtime. DH is still trying to chase down the final signature. His company can be very disorganized at times.

I got some swag from my credit union. A wall calendar, a purse calendar, and a very, very nice pen. I do like free stuff that I can actually use.

More December Planning

November 11th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Well, I know for sure that I am going to be able to squeeze $500 out of this coming Friday's paycheck to go towards the five weeks when DH won't be working. I might be able to squeeze as much as $750 out, but I'm not sure. Prescriptions are due to be renewed Friday, and I don't remember how much that is going to be now that DD is on the new meds.

We are still waiting to hear if he got the okay to work a few extra days before the shut down. They were supposed to tell him within 2 days of his getting home and he still hasn't heard anything. This employer is so unorganized. He's calling them today to see what is going on.

So far they have not sent out the grocery store gift card that they usually send out before Thanksgiving. On a normal year it would be here by now, but since this is not a normal year, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't send them out at all. I am not counting on it coming. In fact, it would shock me if they send them out with the way they've been behaving towards their employees this year.

I am very glad we have our turkeys taken care of for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that we have lots of food in the freezer and on the shelves. We will get through this. It'll be hard, and we may have to touch the Emergency Fund, but we will manage. I just wish we didn't have to.

I won't have to contribute to the Property Tax Fund during the month of December since I already put an extra payment in in October for December. Same with the Dues Fund. I have $500 in the Propane Fund plus a $50 credit with the company so I won't have to put $100 into the dues fund next time. We just turned the propane on this week at the old house and it has a full tank. We won't be driving much for half of December as there is no school so gas costs will be lower.

Next year I will try to plan a little better. We've just never had this many weeks to cover before. But I will start saving $200 a month towards next year's shut down in January and put aside one of the two extra paychecks DH gets during the year that doesn't go towards the regular budget. It'll be tight, especially if medical goes up AGAIN and I see no reason it won't, but we'll deal. We have to. It's not like there are a lot of other choices right now.

December Planning

October 10th, 2014 at 07:45 am

I found out last night that instead of having to take 4 weeks of unpaid time off in December, DH is going to have to take 5 weeks of unpaid time off going into the new year. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to handle this without dipping into the Emergency Fund.

DH is going to try to get a little overtime, but they have not really been forthcoming with it this year, so we certainly can't rely on that.

We have plenty of vegetables and fruits canned and meat frozen, so we could get by without having to buy too much in the way of groceries in December. Mostly just things like milk and lettuce and oranges. Between our five laying ducks and our four laying hens we have plenty of eggs.

I am a little concerned about Christmas, though. We don't buy for many people anymore, but I still need to come up with about $500 for it.

I hate not being prepared for things, but when they jacked up the portion of medical insurance we have to pay this year the paychecks really took a hit. It wouldn't have been so bad with a lower deductible, but $5000 out of pocket is a lot on top of that. We've got 3 people on medications that are quite expensive so we'll be slapped with that again when January hits, since the don't cover prescriptions until the deductible is hit.

With the end of those tax breaks a couple years back, DH is effectively bringing home about $1200 less every month than he was when he first started working for this company. And they decided they wouldn't be giving raises out this year after all. It frustrates me. Especially since we can't rely on the Christmas bonus to make up the shortfall of no pay for five weeks. We used to be able to save for this, but this year has just been one thing after another.

We have decided to start DH on his bachelors degree. Since there isn't really any place he can go right now to get a higher income, this is the most sensible move. We'll have to pay $100 to have his transcripts reviewed from his A.S. in Electrical Engineering, and then the first class he will take will cost $800. We may dip into the Emergency Fund for that, too. I know it's not a true emergency, but it'll get us to the tax refund time and then we can pay for the schooling out of that and some how or another start setting some money aside as well. How? I don't know yet. It's something we will have to figure out.