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Here a Budget, There a Budget, Everywhere a Budget, Budget

November 29th, 2022 at 04:22 am

I finished recording and in one case writing out a check (to Mom) for the November 11 budget and then closed out that budget and then I paid all the bills and attributed out the money for the November 25th budget and then closed it out as best as I could without actually being about to go the bank to take my cash draw.  But the important stuff has been done and it won't wreck anything in my finances or my life if the cash does not get taken out any time soon.

After I finished with that I set up my December 2020 Budget.  I thought I had done that, but no, I had not.  We should have hopefully dug ourselves out of our hole now, so that we can put $500 per paycheck into the medical fund this month.  I would like to do this for December and January and then drop it down to $500 every other paycheck until I have the medical fund where I want it and then we will stop contributing to it until I deem it necessary to do so again.

In January we will be able to start contributing to the EF again every month so long as we stick to the new 2023 budget.  We will be able to start contribting $500 a month to the beef fund.  Last time it was a total of close to $2000, so this time I plan to save $2500 due to inflation.  I will check in closer to butcher time, though, to see where things stand in case I need to save more.  I hope not.  That kind of defeats the purpose of buying in bulk, even for grass fed beef.

I need to set some money aside for house taxes and insurance, too and then go full bore on the EF and get it up to $30K, which is not where it was before, but is where I'd like it to be.  I've got a long row to hoe.

Retirement, EF, and Net Worth Major Milestone Goal Hit

November 13th, 2022 at 01:00 am

I am sorry for any typos in this.  My space bar is sticking and I don't have any compressed air to clean it out.  I think I've got them all, but I'm not sure.  Our retirement accounts are starting to turn around.  Don't get me wrong.  The IRA is still -18.04% for the year, because it plunged even lower than my last report, but it's come back up by a little over a thousand dollars. That's a loss of $2707.65 in an account we don't contribute to at all right now. It will have to climb a lot higher to erase that percentage and I don't think it can do it by year's end.

The 401K went from over -25% for the year to -13.59.  The loss for the year, only because we have been contributing, is -$9488.88.  We won't make up for that this year, either.  There are only four contributions of $1152.48 to be made, mostly from us, but some from the employer match.  Even if DH gets any over time, it won't be enough without a tremendous rise in the stock market.  I haven't been watching since August, though, because the whole year has been so awful, so I don't know what it was doing.  But judging by our contributions versus where we were at the end of August, it still ate half of them, so I'd say it wasn't the greatest.

Still it is up since the last time I changed my sidebar by $4920.33.  That brings the amount in retirement to $83,848.84.  I also transferred $1000 out of the emergency fund to fix a leak in the van's sunroof.  Never again will we have these on a vehicle we buy. This is the second time we have had to do this repair. I mean the van is 12 years old, but they should build it so this never happens.

When it rains hard the water leaks down into the seat belt wells and soaks them, so when you pull your seatbelt out it is drenched.  So it etiher goes against your jacket or sweater, so you have a wet piece of clothing or you keep towels in your car to put between you and seat belt which is not comfortable and kind of a distraction. And if it freezes really bad, like 17°F or less (-8.3°C), the seat belt will get frozen in the ice after it fills up with water during the day before the temp drops, whether it is rain or melting snow.  If we hadn't just shelled out over $1200 on vehicle maintenance and replacement filters and whatnot, we'd have had the money in our car maintenance envelope. But we did, so we didn't have it.

Anyway, that reduces the EF to $10,285.51.  Which means the total of net worth changes by $3920.33, going from $146,216.13 to $150,136.46.  So we have hit a major milestone goal for us, crossing the $150K barrier on net worth. This was such a long, long time coming.  I feel like we are lucky we even got here considering the last year, where everything that could go wrong with the economy, did go wrong.  So while it is amazing to see it, I'm still kind of scared it will disappear on me before the end of the year, and hoping like crazy it doesn't. But I will know we hit it once and that we will be able to hit it again somehow, some way, if we have to.  And know, as they say, is half the battle.

Payday Report as Promised 10/14/2022

October 15th, 2022 at 02:26 am

Sometimes putting the budget spending up is a proud moment and other times it makes me feel naked and this is the second, but I need to get the accountability back and show just how much we have been spending on the credit card.  I haven't actually made the payment on that yet, because Citi is being wonky.  I can sign in.  I can even make it to the next page, but when I click on make a payment it just turns in to an endless circle.

I waited ten minutes.  I logged out and tried again.  I logged out and waited an hour and tried again.  I logged  out and waited two hours and tried again.  Still nothing.  I'll try again tonight or tomorrow, but the amount of the payment will be listed below.  Hopefully they will have their act together.  We don't have a Citi branch closer than a 90 mile drive away, so it's not like I can just pop in and pay it, either.  It's not due until the 3rd, but I just like to do things when I have the money to do things.

Remember that I run a zero based budget.  Every dollar, every cent has a name.  So every paycheck is spent in full.  I have a cushion in checking of $900 in case something goes horribly wrong and since I bank with a credit union they will automatically transfer money from my savings account (I keep $2000 of the EF in there) if for some reason that were not enough for a fee of $1.    You have to love credit unions.

I've never had either thing happen since 2010 and that was because I transferred the wrong amount of money to my online savings account when I meant to pay a credit card with the same name as that bank, and couldn't get it back in time to cover an automatic payment, and didn't realize it until I got the notice that they'd transferred money from the savings that was with my checking.  Back then they didn't even charge the $1 fee, though.  Now if you don't have the money to cover it at all, they give you 10 days to get the money in the acount and charge a $13 fee.  Still better than what a bank will do.  I've never had that happen at all.

Anyway, here's the spending for this pay cycle.

$358.40 Tithe

$500.00 October Utilities

$500.00 Groceries

$200.00 Medical Fund

$310.00 Chiropactor Monthly Family Plan

$_70.00 Garbage

$167.00 Car Insurance Fund

$_50.00 DH Spending Money

$_50.00  My Spending Money

$_30.00 DD's Allowance

$_90.00 DS's Allowance

1258.62 Citi

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3584.02 Total Money Out

DD has a smaller allowance because she is disabled and seldom does chores.  It is more of a pity allowance so she had more money to spend.  DS earns his with a lot of caregiving for DD and doing chores and helping me with my limitations due to RA, fibromyalgia, and degenerative disc disease.

Back Into Money Saving Mode With Groceries--Tracker at the End

October 4th, 2022 at 11:44 am

We are starting hardcore meal planning and meal prepping to get back into saving money on food, eating better, including a lot more vegetables and a lot less carbs, almost everything from scratch, and slaying the takeout demon and waster of money and tempter of credit card spending.  I spent $301 on groceries yesterday and today from a $500 two week grocery budget.  My goal is to have $100 left at the end of the 2 week pay period to put in the beef fund.  I have 11 days to go.  I think we can do it, but we will see.  And if we don't eat out, we'll probably save another $500 or more.

I started cooking with what we had on hand and eased into it so that I could be at the spot we are today.  Last week I took all of my ripe tomatoes and started cooking them down so I would have a decent amount of sauce to start with and then cooked up a bunch of hamburger and a bunch of garden zucchini and mixed it all up together and doled it all out into meal prop containers with a side of wild rice (no rice for me).  It provided 3 lunches for 4 people for 3 days.  I froze the rest of the very delicious tomato sauce for future use.

The day after that I did a massive grocery shop and then today I picked up a dozen things that the other store didn't have.  Most of today I spent chopping up things and preparing other things.  I cut up 8 bell peppers into slices and dices and 5 onions (mine that I grew, 1 purple, 4 Walla Walla sweets) into slices and dices, 6 things of broccoli, 3 pounds of potatoes, most of a batch of green onions, cut up 1 pound of cheese into cubes for snacking, and shred the other half of the brick, and cooked up 2 pounds of breakfast sausage and some of the diced onion and bell peppers, while the potatoes were roasting in the pan.

I assembled and cooked one breakfast casserole with potatoes, eggs, a little milk, cheese, green and yellow bell peppers, sweet onions, and ground breakfast sausage.  And I have the other one most of the way ready.  It so far has potatoes, sausage, green onions, and cheese in the dish, and in the morning I will saute spinach, add the eggs and milk and cook that one.  The second one will be for my daughter as she can't handle the peppers and regular onions.  We will freeze half of it as she can't get through it fast enough.  I won't be eating either of these because of the potatoes, but saved out some sausage and will just make myself an omelet for breakfast with that, bell pepper, green onions, and cheese.

After breakfast, I will be cooking up a whole lot of polish sausage and kielbasa some for this week and some to go in the freezer for next week or the week after that, not sure yet.  Not really sure if we want to do sausage and peppers for lunches 2 weeks in a row.  But I'd rather cook it all up in one long session now.  Then I'll do enough peppers for this week's lunches.  I'll have to buy more peppers tomorrow, but I'll probably just slice and freeze.  There is a good sale that ends tomorrow, but I didn't have room in my fridge to buy more than the eight I bought until I started making meals and putting things in the freezer or reducing the size of the veggies by slicing and dicing.  If the guys want something to go with the sausage and peppers that is more carby they can have whatever leftovers we will have like mashed potatoes from tonight's dinner or root veggies, or mixed veggies from the freezer, or rice.  Whatever.

While doing that I will have some hamburger thawing to mix with the mild Italian sausage that is already thawed in the fridge so I can get some meatballs made up.  If we have any ground chicken, turkey, or lamb left, I'll throw that in, too.  I want to make enough to have three meals worth of meatballs.  We'll have gluten free penne and meatballs with zucchini for dinner tomorrow night.  I'll want something easy I can just dump in the Instant Pot.

I'll thaw out some other sausage I have that is not from the hog we just got that needs to be used up, along with some hamburger and make up a couple of meatloaves for the freezer and while I am at it I will use the two mild Italian sausages that are from the hog we bought and are thawed out to make meatballs for the freezer.

For dinner tomorrow we will have baked chicken with roasted root vegetables of a large parsnip, a very large sweet potato, two turnips and two yellow potatoes, and purple green beans from my garden.

For Wednesday we will have pork chops, fried potatoes, and more purple green beans.

Thursday will be beef stir-fry with broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bok choy, water chestnuts, purple green beans, and bamboo shoots if I still have a can. It will be served with white rice.

Friday we will have Butter and Basil Chicken with sheet pan vegetables (they had these at Costco, I don't remember exactly what was in them, but they looked yummy and were mostly low carb), and baked potatoes.

Saturday will be Coho salmon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  I might get some corn on the cob, too, when I pick up more bell peppers.  We haven't had any this summer.  Too long recovering from the reoccuring stomach virus.

Sunday will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and purple green beans.

I've also got to do some more peeling and cutting up tomorrow.  I need to get cucumbers and carrots peeled, cucumbers, carrots and radishes sliced, and carrots and celery cut into sticks.  I need to make up some French onion dip with plain yogurt for my daughter and make up some green godess dressing with plain yogurt for my son.  I have to finish chopping up the bottom portion of the green onions.

So we have salad fixings, coleslaw fixings, veggie sticks, and pico de gallo fixings on hand to eat at will, as well as fruit for snack cravings for those who want more carbs than me.  My son has plain tortilla chips left.  Sometimes I will throw pico in my eggs.  My coleslaw is not made with sugar, just 1 tbsp of honey in the entire simple dressing, and no vinegar, to keep the carb count low.

Once I get through what I've got planned so far, then I need to inventory the house freezer and see where to go from there, while I am still feeling like I can.  I'd like to get some more meals put together to kill the "I don't wanna cook" attitidude or even the "I can't keep food down and can't get near food" issue that happened so much this summer.  Even if it is just having all the ingredients ready in the freezer to be thrown together it will help so much.  And if I can't throw it together at least the guys will be able to.  I still think it was the medicine I quit taking, but I can't be sure, as I still don't feel right.  It still might be related to my heart.  I will be so glad when I get the results back from the 2 week heart monitor test.

I am planning out some freezer meals to do depending on when certain sales hit, but I missed the boneless skinless chicken sale because I was sick when it hit, so cilantro lime chicken and parsley chicken are off the table until the next one unless I want to thaw, skin, and debone the chicken I already have and refreeze it, which I don't.  So no premaking them, but I can make them for dinner with no premaking if I feel like it.  It'll just have to be a good day where I am on top of things.  It'll probably be 5 to 6 weeks before that sale hits again.  The chuck roast sale went up .47/lb, from the normal cycle.  I think it is going to stay there.  It was the same week I was too sick to leave the house, just at a different store. I was going to buy 8 so I could can, but such is life.

Here's a list of the groceries I bought:

1 large Zoi Greek yogurt

1 large bag mixed vegetable blend

2 steamer bags riced cauliflower

1 lb brick extra sharp white cheddar

2 lb brick medium cheddar

32 ounce Daisy sour cream

1 gallon organic milk

1 half gallon lactose free organic milk

4 dozen organic pasture-raised eggs

2 beef chuck roasts

2 bags cole slaw mix

1 bag spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch Italian parsley

2 limes

2 large cucumbers

2 large green zucchini

1 bunch green onions

1 bunch radishes

5.65 lb of yellow potatoes

4 very large sweet potatoes (3 types)

2 apple juice

3 lb strawberries

2 bok choy

1 savoy cabbage

1 thumb ginger root

4 parsnips

7 turnips

Fresh marjoram

2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow, 2 orange bell peppers

Bananas

Blackberries

Broccoli

1 Elephant garlic

2 lb bag organic carrots

Fresh thyme

1 box yellow kiwis

3 lb bag baby potatoes

6 avocados

Blueberries

Bartlett pears

Cosmic crisp apples

Celery

1 leek

Beechers flagship cheese

18 month cave aged gouda

Feta crumbles

4 oz can sliced black olives

4 cans pumpkin puree

1 Redmond pink Himalayan salt shaker

At Costco:

2 12 packs polish sausage

3 8 packs kielbasa

Italian seasoning

Shaky Pepper

Pink fine ground Himalayan salt to refill salt shaker

1 bag sheet pan vegetables

1 package beef snack sticks

So hopefully only a few little filler items from here.

Harvest Totals Coming In--We are Definitely Saving Money

September 1st, 2022 at 07:35 am

I have my harvest totals for onions and garlic.  I did not lose any garlic to rot and it is now dried.  I have 10.1 pounds of it.  I am setting aside 4 heads of elephant garlic to replant.  I only planted one last year, so I want to have a good amount to plant this year.  That leaves me with 3 to use, one of which I had already used (but recorded the weight of).  The ones I am using soon or did use had split their skins and would not store until planting time.

As for the Music garlic, I will replant half of that, which will be double what I planted last year.  And I won't have to pay for any garlic to plant at all.  I did have a couple head of garlic where the cloves split the skins as well, so those will get used up first.  So anyway, next year I will spend $0 on the garlic I will plant.  I don't remember what I paid this year, but it was far, far too much.  But I figured it was a one time investment.  Music is a hard variety to come by, but it is supposed to be the best, both in flavor and long-term storage.

I will dehydrate some of the garlic for making garlic powder as needed, but most of what I keep will be stored in a bag in a cool, dark cupboard.  It will last quite a while.  I don't fancy paying $1 for a head of garlic.  If anything starts to sprout I will dice what's left up and dehydrate it.

As for the onions I got 50.3 pounds of a yellow keeping onions, 30.6 pounds of a red keeping onions, and 20.1 pounds of Walla Walls sweet onions.  So a grand total of 101 pounds of onions.  I lost one yellow keeping onion to rot, so didn't count it in the total weight.  It was a small one and weighed .4 lb and was trying to grow a baby onion off its root system.

This year I spent $10.89 on 4 4 inch pots of itty bitty onion plants.  Next year I'm going to order seed and grow my own onion plants.  It won't be that much of a savings this year, but the packets will have enough for the following year as well, so that year will be free.  And that way I can get the Candy sweet onions instead of the Walla Wallas.  The Candys are better, even if the Walla Wallas are pretty darn good.

Our onions will take six weeks to dry, with a trim down to about one inch of stem at the 3 week mark and then I can bag up and store the two types of keeping onions and they should store for 6 to 8 months.  As for the Walla Walla, they won't store for very long, maybe 2 or 3 months, so I will mostly cut those up into strips and dices and freeze them.

I will dehydrate some of the yellow keeping onions so that I can grind them up for powder as I need them.  If any of the keeping onions start to sprout it will be time to cut them up and freeze or dehydrate them as well.  I am just not going to pay $1.39/lb for yellow onions, $1.59/lb for red onions, and $1.79/lb for sweet onions, so I will not waste one scrap.  Any sprout can go into broth.

I picked my first two tomatoes yesterday.  Between them they weigh one pound.  I am going to keep a running count.  I will be using them with one of my sweet onions to make some pico de gallo tomorrow.  I think I will have some of those little yellow ones that look like pears ripe tomorrow and maybe a couple of paste ones.  They were pretty close today.  And the green beans are sprouting.  So we will get a crop.  The garden isn't a complete fail this year, even though everything got in so late.

We will still save a lot of money on food.  Especially when the potatoes are ready.  Potato prices are getting outrageous.  I think I may try to sneak in a carrot crop.  It would be cutting it close, but I have coldframes.  With the raised beds they would survive the November freezes.  I'm definitely sowing some radishes.  They'll be grown before the first frost.

This fall, after we harvest the potatoes and pull the dead plants and weeds out, we will rototill lime in and then cover it in black plastic so we don't have weeds growing in there for the rest of the fall and as soon as it warms up in the spring.  I don't know for sure if we will plant potatoes there in the spring again or not, but I want the ground prepared if we do.  If you do grow potatoes in the same place every year and you don't use lime you can get black scab on your potatoes.

I figure we will get at least 120 pounds of potatoes this year since we expanded our potato plot.  That's still not enough potatoes to get us through the year, but I'll buy some extra to can and we'll get there.  Buying direct from a local farmer who charges less than the stores is our saving grace there.

Next spring we will be able to pick up all the black plastic we laid down in late July or early August and everything will be dead under there.  We will be able to rototill everything flat and get started on making a proper fence to keep the deer out of the garden and also build two more raised beds, possibly three, spring weather permitting.

Before summer's over we need to take the deck off the front of the house and clean off the back porch.  Maybe even organize the garage, but that can't be done until the onions are done drying, because the drying racks are in the way of pretty much everything.

Price Breakdown on Half a Hog

August 28th, 2022 at 03:08 am

We just came home from the butcher and got everything squared away in the freezer and I've now done the math, so I can give you the breakdown on what we got and what we paid for our organic, pasture-raised meat.  Keep in mind this is not going to be the cheapest stuff you can get from the store, if you even still can.  These animals are not feed lot raised or even raised in a nice barn, but confined to a pen.

They are out there in the sunshine, with little shelters if it gets too hot, too windy, or too rainy.  These pigs walk free and root around in the soil eating anything they find that is good for them.  This is the prime stuff, not the stuff injected with salt water or who knows what else.  These pigs get exercise and their meat is nowhere near the color of what you see in the stores.  They are rotationally grazed, which means they get fresh pasture every 10 days, before any parasite pressure can develop from being in the same space too long.  They are given organic feed, free choice minerals, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmers gardens.  And that healthy environment and food, that difference, is reflected in the price, the quality, and the taste.

That being said, here is the meat I got.  I could have gotten roasts, but I wanted more sausage, so didn't get any.

38 1 inch pork chops

8 1 inch pork steaks

3 family sized packages of spare ribs

16 country spare ribs (basically boneless smaller steaks)

16.5 pounds of bacon

24 lbs of country (breakfast) sausage

24 lbs of mild Italian sausage

2 hams (they should just fit in an oval 6 quart crockpot for size)

2 packages smoked ham hocks

1 8 lb bag of leaf lard (for making biscuits and pie crusts)

I skipped getting the rest of the lard as it has a porky taste to it and while we don't mind it, especially for deep frying, my mother hates the smell of it.  Leaf lard has no smell or taste to it and doesn't stink when rendering it down.  It would have been about 30 lbs if I had gotten the regular lard.

Hanging weight for the hog was 210 pounds.  Hanging weight is the amount my half of the carcass weighed after all the guts came out.  I was charged $3.50/lb on that, coming to a total of $735.  But that is not the grand total, so don't be pulling out your calculater yet.

Next up comes the butcher fees, which are quite a lot different than when getting beef, because a lot more is being done.  The butcher fee covers the killing, gutting, and the hanging in the refrigerted warehouse, the cut and wrap fee which is based on cutting it up into pieces and how much plastic and paper is used to package the meat, the cure and smoke fee for things like the bacon, ham, and hocks, the bacon slicing fee, and finally the sausage processing fee.  The last involves the grinding down of the meat, twice, a large grind followed by a small grind, then of course mixing the seasonings in.  I got charged twice for that since I had two different kinds and they have to clean the machine in between.  If I'd only gotten one type of sausage, that fee would have been half what is listed below.

$85.00 Butchering Fee

165.90 Cut and Wrap Fee

$36.23 Curing and Smoking Fee

$12.00 Sausage Processing Fee

+_6.00 Bacon Slicing Fee

-----------------

329.24 Total Meat Processing Fee

Add that together with the hanging weight fee:

$735.00

+329.24

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1064.24 Total for Hog

This brings the total per pound to $5.07/lb. for organic pastured pig.  Which is incredible for that type of meat.  And let's face it, I can't even get regular bacon, pork sausage, or ham for that price anymore where I live, and you probably can't either, except maybe a picnic ham around the holidays.  Sometimes not even pork loin chops, let alone the real ones with the bones.  Pork shoulder you can get for $1.99/lb, sometimes ribs for $3.99/lb.  But there is stuff injected into that pork shoulder and often any chops before they are cut.  It's $8 a pound for organic bacon and $7 a pound for regular.  Today's prices, with all that inflation, are horrible.

One 1 lb organic, pasture-raised pork chop of the same size as the ones I got runs for $9.28/lb.  It cost $22.49 for a package of 2 country ribs.  Mine had 4 and cost $7 less based on weight comparison.  This was from the same farm I got it from, only in the store, so the best comparison.  The sausage from the same place is $10 a pound on the rare occasion it isn't sold out by 10 a.m. and was out of my price range to buy it that way  So I think I did pretty good there buying it this way.  If inflation continues as it has been, I wouldn't be surprised if in a year we aren't paying $5/lb for all cuts of pork.

This should last us a year.  We don't eat a ton of pork, mostly breakfast types or to use the sausage in meatloaves or meatballs, but it'll be nice to change up the chicken, beef, and seafood.  It works out to 380 servings, give or take how much broth we get from the hocks and ham bones.  That works out to 95 meals for 4, so we could have pork 1.82 times per week.  I haven't had bacon in so long.  I've been eating a lot of turkey bacon because it is so much cheaper, but really, it just tastes like ham to me.

Honestly, the size on some of those chops and steaks, I could probably cut them in half and have even more meals from them.  A hog from the butcher stays good up to two years in a deep freeze, so I could cut part of the chops or steaks off, cook them, and then use the cut off part in stir-fry in another meal.  I'll have to think on that, but no one needs to eat a one pound pork chop or steak, that's for sure.

Now to start saving up for next year's beef.  And maybe another chest freezer, so I can stockpile chicken, too.  Bulk buying off the farm, organic and pasture-raised, saves me so much money against buying it from the store, when and if I can even find it.  I don't have the energy to raise them myself anymore, not even the 8 weeks for Cornish cross, but I know a farmer who will raise them for me next summer.  52 chickens in the freezer would be very, very nice.

Bits and Pieces

August 9th, 2022 at 06:58 am

I've finally updated my sidebar to reflect where everything is right now.  I subtracted the amount I pulled from the EF, which was $7000 and then added the amount retirement has raised, which was $5033.25.  It was so nice to see both retirement accounts gaining traction, although if Biden signs this new bill, I think they are going to plummet.  Anyway, that was a reduction of $1996.77, but I'm still pretty close to $150K.

I went to get x-rays.  The positions that they had to put me in about had me crying.  Turning my feet pigeon toed is the one that did me in, but none of them were comfortable and I couldn't use my cane because it was metal.  It about killed me to walk back from x-ray to my car.  It is a long walk for a medical facility because it is a sprawling building.  I had to sit in my car for about 5 minutes because I had to wait for the pain to get manageable before I trusted myself to drive.  When I got home my knee buckled badly on me, but I was able to catch myself on the seat of a chair before I fell.  Another fall right now would prove disasterous.  I went to the chiropracter and it helped some, but my hip is burning really badly.

I am not sure my green beans are going to make it.  They are getting sun scorched and some have died.  I am going to try to get a shade cloth over them, but I'm not sure if it is big enough for both arches.  The tomatoes love the weather, however.  I hate anything over 75°, but these 80° and higher days are killing me and most of the garden does not like that type of heat.  DH and I put up a shade cloth tonight and I did a really heavy watering, but I think I am going to have to replant the beans and hope for the best.  I've lost at least half of them to this sun.  I will also put up a drip hose, so I don't have to hand water.  They need daily watering right now.

I am eagerly awaiting next Friday so I will finally know what the new net paycheck and budget amount is going to be.  I hate waiting for things like this.  I'm not terribly good at waiting period, but with money things it is so much worse.

My doctor called in the wrong dosage on my prescription.  It should be 50 mg more.  I sent a message off on the patient portal, so hopefully I will hear from them tomorrow.  It can take a day or two, but it is better than waiting on hold for a half an hour.  I have enough for the time being to get through.

DH is going to go prawning one more time when they reopen for it sometime in the next two weeks.  The state fishers didn't get as much caught so far this year due to some boaters not being able to afford gas.  They plan to do some salmon fishing, too.  I don't know if the season is open yet, but as soon as it is they will go out for that.  Hopefully the two seasons coincide.

I saw that at the cheap gas station it was down to $3.95/gallon, which okay, fine, but it still sucks compared to before Biden started shutting down oil production and leases to try to force everyone to get electric cars, not realizing apparently that they burn fossil fuels to generate electricity for the charging stations.  They may run on solar somewhere, but definitely not where I live.  I mean, all the ones in my town have diesel generators running right there!  Not to mention the harm to the enviroment that mining lithium for the batteries causes.  Plus the supply of electric cars is low because they don't have batteries for them.  People need to be able to afford to drive and for too many people, electric cars are out of reach.

I do want to save up for a solar system, I really do, but they are so expensive and I won't take out debt to do it.  Before that we need to replace one bathtub that is cracked with a walk in shower and replace a half size walk in shower because it has holes in it and there is a leak in the wall.  And then the one bathroom floor needs to have a good section of it replaced before the one shower goes in, because it is kind of squidgey, so I think the leak got into the sub floor.

The mold remediation they did on the bathroom ceiling did not work and the paint is already peeling from the paint job.  They said they would come back and fix it, but they did not.  I kept saying I thought we should just take down the drywall on the ceiling and replace it with the mold resistant drywall, but no one wanted to do that and now it looks like we will have to do it anyway.  At least it isn't black mold, it is orange, but still I want no mold.  I am glad we have 4 bathrooms in this house.  Otherwise all this would be a nightmare and we'd have to drain our EF quickly to fix things.  We've already taken out $7000.  I don't want to deplete it further, but this house will not stop breaking down.

We are trying to figure out where a leak is coming from that is filling one corner of the basement with water.  It doesn't seem to be the piping and it doesn't seem to be the sewer line and we haven't been watering anything above that section of the basement.  It's a real stumper.  That's the corner with the drain in it, too.  Maybe the drain is backing up?  We might need to snake it.

I ordered more clothes.  I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I got four pairs of jeans and four pairs of long-sleeved shirts.  I tried to make them mix and match with what I bought and the short-sleeved shirts I bought earlier.  I also bought 12 pairs of socks.  It took me forever to find some that don't have the brand name on the cuff.  I don't want neon orange brand names showing when I wear shorts, because they clash badly with what I own.  I just wanted plain white socks or ones that have the brand name hidden by the shoe.  I did finally find some at Fred Meyer.

DS and I have been cleaning out the closet so I can actually get in there and hang up my clothes again.  I am going to pack up a lot of the clothes that are in there and take them to storage, labelled by size, and then get rid of anything I don't want to keep, which is a lot.  I have several outfits I do like, but there are a lot I just don't like and didn't reallly like at the time I bought them, but needed clothes in my size.  This is before I found Woman Within online.  I look good in hot pink, but I had to buy things in pale pinks a lot and I don't like pale pinks and they wash me out.  Any pastels wash me out.

I figure with the new clothes I bought, I can keep a much smaller wardrobe where everything goes with everything else.  After the closet is done, I will be tackling the dresser.  I've got 3 drawers full of things that aren't even clothes.  I'd like to reclaim at least two of those.  The third one has stuff like old diaries of mine, baby books for the kids and me and DH, portrait photos of the kids and one of the whole family, our wedding album and wedding video and some scrapbooks I made back when I was in to scrapbooking.  Those are things I don't want to risk putting into storage.

I've been in a bit of a decluttering mode.  I shredded 4 paper grocery bags worth of paper.  I got behind again.  I said after the last time that that wouldn't happen, but alas it did.  I also need to go through all the cookbook magazines I have and tear out the pages I want to put in my binder and recycle the rest.  They are taking up a whole cubby that I could better use for something else.

I think my brain might be tipping into hypomania this week, but I will take advantage of it to get things done.  DS has promised not to let me bury myself and to make me eat at regular intervals and to not let me rabbit hole on youtube, so hopefully I will be okay until I level out.  Of course it just might be an uptick caused by taking a higher dosage of the medication.  I think I'd like that, because right now I feel motivated, and usually I don't.

All right, well I best get off to bed.  It's already eleven p.m. and staying up too late is getting to be a habit.

 

 

Pop Some Cyber Champagne with Me!

July 22nd, 2022 at 05:35 am

DH had his performance review today and life suddenly got a whole lot easier.  His boss, his boss's boss, and the company president were all there for the review.  The company freaking president.  It was a massively glowing review.  DH probably could have been seen from space, it was so glowing.

Now, previously his boss had told him to expect something that would make him fall on the floor if he got what was put in for.  My response to that when DH told me was that the only thing that would make me fall on the floor would be going up to $150K, but I'd be happy with anything to help with the massive inflation.

Well, my dears, they didn't even hesitate to sign off on what was requested. Let's just say that we have both collapsed in a heap.  DH got a $22,624 a year raise.  That is 17.8%.  So is that $150K salary?  No, but that's quibbling.  It's $149,816 a year.  So close enough in my mind!  Plus he works several weeks of 10 to 20 hours of overtime a year, so it'll probably be closer to $160K when all is said and done.

DH said the amount of his raise was the amount of his salary the very first year he started at an engineering company fresh out of technical college, about six months before we got married.  I remember living on that and deciding to have a baby.  We lived on love, faith, and hope.  Well, we aren't living on hope anymore.  We're back to being on dry land, no more treading water and no more sinking.

DH is now where he was while working in Alaska in 2015 before the lay off that wiped out our savings and put us years behind where we could have been if all had gone well.  Only now he's not on hazard pay, he's home, the benefits are better, he's pretty much guaranteed a job for the rest of his working life assuming the company stays solid, and we don't have to pay for airfare to get to Alaska or a mortgage or a car payment or any debt at all.  And when we do inherit the house from my mother, we will be able to pay the property taxes.  It's like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.  I praise God for this so much.  DH has worked so hard for this company, they've noticed, and it has paid off in spades.

But the biggest, most important thing in this is that if the appeal to keep our daughter on DH's medical due to disability doesn't work, we can afford to pay for her insurance without wiping out our entire emergency fund and still have money leftover.  And that feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of all of our shoulders.

And now I can rebuild the Emergency Fund.  I had to take out $7000 for repairing a rotten bathroom floor and fixing a plumbing leak.  We will probably have to completely rip out the bathroom/shower and put in a new one, too.  But at least we didn't drain the fund.  There is still $13,285.51 in it.  We will get it back up again.

Then maybe we can save up so DS can go to school and become an electrician or engineer like he is interested in.  We haven't been able to afford it since this is such a high cost of living area.  Now maybe we can.  Technical college is not as expensive as other colleges and ours offers a bachelor's degree in engineering at a third of the cost as our university does.

And after that, I want to get a solar system for the house.  That has always seemed like a pipedream, but who knows now?  If we can replace at least half of our energy costs for the year, that would be great.  Maybe we can get one by 2030.  I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but yeah.  Maybe.

Anyway, I am raising a glass of cyber champagne high.  Cheers!

 

Ugh--Gas! And Planned Purchases

May 31st, 2022 at 11:54 pm

I can't believe gas is at $5.89 a gallon.  I think I may have to increase our gas budget again.  I'd already doubled it from $100 per month to $200 per month, but now may need to go up to $250.  Even if we don't end up needing it for the cars, DH will start fishing soon and need to pay for his portion of the gas for the boat.  They try to take as many people out as the boat allows, so the gas costs can be split between more people.  That's more important than ever now.

I also need to add a fishing license cost into the next budget I make up, which reminds me, I need to do a budget for June.  I like to be prepared in advance, and usually I would have done this after filling in the budget for the first paycheck of May.  But it has been a busy, busy month and I didn't get around to it.

My Fitbit is acting up.  It has been for a couple of months now, usually after I go in the pool and submerge it, but also the last couple of times I've showered with it on.  It's one made for swimming, but it is also several years old so maybe the water is starting to leak in.  At first it was only freezing it on the clock for a couple of days afterwards while it dried out, but now it isn't giving me even that.  I can still check my steps on my phone, so that part is working, but I use it as a watch just as much as a step counter, because it is a pain to pull out my phone to see the time.  Plus the text messages I get show up on the Fitbit. Or did.  I've tried to reboot it several times, and at first it worked, but now it is a no go.

So now I need to price out new Fitbits and see how much it will cost to replace it with one that can go in the water.  I also need to get a new memory card for the new used camera.  I have $100 in my allowance folder, and can share the memory card out of my handheld back and forth for now, but that is a pain long-term.  I gave one of the kids my old memory card for their game machine when the old camera went belly-up.  I need the new Fitbit first, I think, but it depends on how long it will cost for me to save up for it.  I have no idea what they run now.  The last one was $100 and I doubt they have nothing in that price range these days.

At least my phone is in good working order.  Knock on wood.

Payday Report

April 2nd, 2022 at 10:51 pm

This paycheck had a lot of OT on it and my AdSense payment.  This is also a three paycheck month and things are a bit different than usual.  This will be the second paycheck with the higher grocery budget, which went nicely last time with $37 left over to go into the meat fund.  I doubled the medical fund contribution for this check since DH is getting a crown done this month.  We are also helping my mom with property tax, so that came out of this payday as well.  As a reminder, I run a zero dollar based budget, where every single dollar is assigned a job.

$413.51 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

1000.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

__17.15 Box of Checks (a rare purchase these days)

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage Temp Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Temp Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_310.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan

_420.24 Citi

_250.00 Mom's Property Tax

-------------------

4135.13 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 2/18/2022

February 19th, 2022 at 01:27 am

Well, we can start right off with saying that my no eating out for February has been an absymal failure.  I just cannot seem to stay well.  I'll get a day or two where I think I'm on the upswing and then I'm right back down again, exhausted and back in bed and unable to do anything about cooking meals at all.  DH does a couple a week right now, but he's up to his eyeballs in overtime, so otherwise it's takeout as no one is well except DH and he's dragging.  It's a good thing he can work from home.  so takeout it's been.

I just want to be well so that I can cook my own food again.  So that is why the Citi card is so high again.  It feels out of control, but we still pay it off in full every month.  It kind of makes me sick all on its own, because it is so high.  But some of that was birthday stuff that is being reimbursed by MIL, since it was for what she got me.  Then she gives us $120 a month for takeout because that is how much she spends on DH's sister and husband each month.

I just added that in and then I figured out when exactly the long term care insurance started coming out of the account and it wasn't until the first of the year, even though I'd been deducting it from checking since June when it was supposed to start coming out, so I put that money back as available to use.  Then there was a refund from last year's HSA of $1.43, so those amounts added up to  $662.40.

I added that to the budget, but the tithe will only reflect the amount of the actual paycheck, which I don't think had any overtime on it, but will have to check with DH for sure.  The next one definitely will.  This one would have but he kept having to take time off to run us to doctor's appointments or be sick himself for a couple of days.  Anyway, as a reminder I run a $0 based budget, where every penny is assigned a job.  Here is what I spent.

$301.63 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

_1974.06 Citi

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

___0.00 Spending Money Envelope DH (he already spent it in January)

__50.00 Spending Money Envelope Me

__60.00 Allowance DS

__30.00 Stipend DD

------------------

3678.68 Total Money Out

 

Payday Report

February 5th, 2022 at 11:15 pm

There was a ton of overtime this payday.  I think DH said he worked 19 hours, so there's a lot more money than usual.  We had an out of the norm expense with mom asking us to help her pay for home owner's insurance.  I'll create a sinking fund for next year, of $34 a month, so it won't be a surprise unless it goes up. 

We spent far too much money last month on take out due to the flu hitting us hard.  As a result we are doing a no eating out challenge for February.  We really need to cut out using that Citi card so much.  Next payday will also have a sizeable payment to them.  DH doesn't get any spending money this payday or next as he made a $100 purchase on the Citi card.

As a reminder, I use a $0 based budget, meaning every dollar has an assignment, so here's how things went down for this paycheck.

$415.03 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage

_167.00 Car Insurance Sinking Fund

__50.00 My Spending Money

___0.00 DH Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_400.00 House Insurance

_310.49 Emergency Fund

_950.54 Citi

_100.00 Gift Fund

-------------------

$4,150.29 Total Money Out

This and That

January 11th, 2022 at 02:03 am

I've been trying to get my brain together enough to do a goals post for 2022, but right now I am just really scattered.  DH flew off to California yesterday for work.  He'll be back on Saturday night.  His flight went well and he called me when he arrived and then again when he got to the hotel.  He has to go to a different area of California in February for a week, too.  I really hate that.  I know he used to be gone all the time for work only a few short years ago, but I am no longer used to that.

I had a therapy session today and it went well.  I'm still not sure if the anti-depressants are working or not, but the therapy is helping.  I'm starting to understand where some of my stuff comes from and how it affects me when dealing with other people in the present who do something similar to people in the past.  I really dislike doing therapy over the computer, though.  In person visits are much better where I don't have to worry about anyone possibly hearing what I am saying.

One of the tasks on my list is to find out where DH stored the car window washing fluid and then look up in the manual where the tank is for that.  I am pretty sure I know where it is, but I think I've only filled it once since we bought the car in 2011.  I'm not even sure I know where the hood release is, though I imagine it is down by the gas tank cover release button.

Tomorrow I need to pick up milk, but I think I have enough empty milk bottles to return that it'll cover the milk and get some change back.  I have four milk bottles and each has a $2 deposit.  I am so glad there is a local dairy that has glass containers for their milk and cream and half and half.  It sells through the one line of stores or you can go out there to buy it on certain days of the week, but I tend to go to the store because that is a 5 minute drive max and the other is 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back.

We need to take the Christmas lights down.  While we aren't the only people on the block with them up still, I feel like their time has come.  Friday and Saturday are supposed to be dry.  It's supposed to rain pretty hard on Tues, Wed, and Thurs, but there might be breaks in the weather like today when there wasn't supposed to be one.  We were doing other things, though.  We will get the Christmas tree taken down in the meanwhile.  I'll start on it tonight after dinner.

I need to fold a basket of towels, too.  My shoulder and upper arm are doing better than they were and so the folding motion is much more tolerable to do.  DH got a lot of the knots out before he left.  I don't want to get far behind again.  Right now there is just one clean basket of laundry and very little dirty laundry and I'd like to keep up with it now that I can.

I also need to do some spot cleaning.  Because of my back I have a hard time doing everything at once, but I find if I pick a spot and do five minutes, it gets there bit by bit.  My spot cleaning for today is the bathroom counter and sink.  A full wipe down of the dust and hair (my hair is almost down to my hips now and gets everywhere) then cleaning, rinsing, then drying off.  I might have to do it in two sessions a couple of hours apart, do the counter first and then do the sink second.  At least DH did the mirror last week so that still looks good.

We are going to take the glass shower door off our bathtub and replace it with a rod and shower curtain.  The glass door is just a collecting space for gunk, especially the runners.  With the shower curtain we can just toss it in the washer when it needs it.  And it will make it a lot easier to clean the bathtub.  With the doors gone I can just sit on the rim of the tub and reach a lot easier with a long handled brush.  It has been the hardest thing for me to clean because of that darn door.

We'll have to fill in some holes where it was screwed into the tub, but we plan to eventually tear out this tub and build a tiled bench to sit on and then make a tile walk-in shower with a six inch lip to keep the water from running onto the floor.  We would probably keep the shower surround and just build the tiles up to it.  Maybe one day we could finish it, but I am thinking of what we can afford to do now.  It will be much easier for DD and for me, with our disabilities, to get in there.  It already has one handicapped rail, but it isn't in the best location for the bench, so if we do end up doing the whole thing one day we can put it in a better location.

My spot clean for tomorrow is to break down a bunch of cardboard boxes and to fold up a bunch of paper grocery bags for recycling and put away the canned goods that are still in some of those paper bags.  DS will help with that one.  I need him to rejigger our canned food rack.  One of them was set for an unusual size can that we not longer get, and then one was tiny for those little spiced ham cans, but I can no longer get the brand I like since Covid, so we don't really need that row at all.  I think if we rejigger it we can have one regular sized row for soup.  I have a bag of soups needing a home.

Well, I'm off to make dinner.  We are having beef stew tonight from home canned beef, home grown and canned potatoes, and home canned carrots.  I've been putting it off.

I wonder if they've fixed the time stamps yet?

True date:  1/10/22

True time:  6:01 p.m.

 

 

Payday Report for 1/7/22

January 8th, 2022 at 03:07 am

As a reminder, I run a zero based budget, which means every dollar is accounted for within the budget.  Garbage is higher than the usual because we put out two extra cans in December.

DS does not get an allowance this payday, because he still owes me money from not having quite enough money from everyone to buy the one thing he wanted, so I loaned it to him.  DS will get some allowance next payday, but I am not sure if it will be the full amount.  I've got the number written down.  DD's amount is slightly less than $30 because she still owed me a bit for the same reason.  Her normal allowance will resume next payday.

I have started the Gift Fund up again as we have one birthday in February (mine) and two in March (DS and MIL).  I will continue it through until we have enough for the August birthdays (DH and DD) and Christmas.  Below is the actual budget.

$352.57 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_769.09 Citi

_118.18 Comcast

__70.00 Garbage Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH Allowance

__50.00 My Allowance

__28.51 DD's Allowance

_100.00 Gift Fund

_345.29 Emergency Fund

---------------

$3525.74 Total Money Out

Getting Ready for the Eat from the Pantry Challenge

December 24th, 2021 at 01:01 am

I plan to do one big shop before January with the last of December's grocery envelope money.  I'll probably go on the 30th.  I'm figuring out my produce so we can make it through the month without going to the grocery store for more than milk.

I can buy lettuce for the first two weeks.  The vacuum sealed bags from Costco will last two weeks sealed, so we can eat one the first week and one the second week.  We can get celery and bok choy for stir-fries for the first two weeks, carrots for the full month, frozen broccoli for the full month and frozen cauliflower if we can find it.  Otherwise I may have to blanch and freeze two heads of cauliflower.  We have plenty of home canned and non-home canned green beans to go through.  I'll buy cabbage and break into it on week 3.  I'll also buy some green onions for week one and some radishes for the whole month, eating the greens in the first week.  I'd like some parsnips and turnips as well and a couple of sweet potatoes. We do not need potatoes, we are still working through what we grew.  I will need onions, though.  And two bags of mixed veggies for making stir-fried rice.

For fruit, we'll have apples and oranges for the last half of the month and for the first half I can buy 2 pineapples (there is a sale and hopefully they look good), using 1 the first week and 1 the second.  For the first week I can buy bananas and golden kiwis.  We have home canned pears, nectarines, peaches, and plums as well as store bought canned pineapple.  I'll need to buy avocados in various stages of ripening.

I am going to make as much of our bread products as possible.  Now that my daughter's gut has healed, we have reintroduced wheat into the diet and it seems to be going well.  We still use a lot of gluten free things and will continue to do so, but she can have the occasional sandwich or hamburger bun or dinner roll made with wheat flour now.  Or pizza.  We try to keep it to twice a week.

I need to buy enough eggs to make it through the month and I need to see how much chicken is in the freezer and possibly a couple of hams.  We don't have to worry about beef, although I might buy some more bacon.  I need to check the freezer for that, too, and see how much sausage we have.  We have some salmon and we have spot prawns in the freezer, too, so will do that a couple of times.

We'll need tortilla chips and I'll need to see how much cheese we have as I'll need enough for a couple of pizzas and a lasagna.  We have lots of gluten free pretzels, but I'd like to have a couple of bags of potato chips and I'm sure DD will want her Simply Cheetos and I want to make sure we have the ingredients to make cookies.  Oh, and we need peanut butter.  We have lots of rice.

I can't think of anything else.  I'm going to work on a meal plan for the month of November and that might make remember some other gaps to fill.

I'd like to keep as much of the money for groceries as possible.  I budget $400 every two weeks, so if we can keep to the challenge, except for milk, that would be really good.  I've managed to keep around $600 in the past because I didn't plan as well ahead of time, but still did pretty good.  The main thing was making sure there were enough snack things to keep the other 3 happy.

But our goal in the new year is to improve our diets over all and a month without eating out will help with that by cutting out a lot of sodium.  We need to eat more vegetables because we have been skimping lately, especially green ones, or in the case of cabbage, red and green ones.  I will start my Aerogarden going tonight so that we will have salad greens by the start of week 4, maybe even week 3.  Some varieties of lettuce grow faster than others.

I hope that a month without eating out will put us back on track all the way around, nutritionally and financially.  And then continue on from there, maybe only getting take out once or twice a month.  I have to get past my too tired to cook mentality, which I feel all too often, but then when I force myself to cook, I'm almost always just fine.  It helps that I've been sleeping better since I got the adjustable bed frame.  I can elevate my legs a little and my head a little and it makes a world of difference.

If anyone wants to join me on the eat from the pantry challenge, go ahead.  There's a bunch of us doing it over on the Sutton's Daze facebook group and on youtube.  The goal is to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible for the month of January and save as much of your grocery budget as you can.  You can make exceptions for certain foods.  Some buy produce only, some buy milk and eggs only, some only buy bread.  You set your own challenge according to your ability.

 

 

Emergency Fund, Retirement and Net Worth Updates

December 23rd, 2021 at 11:09 pm

$19,212.52 Starting Balance

+__,_98.00 Amount Added

---------------

$19,310.52 New Balance

Retirement finally cracked $70K and now sits at $70,358.13, a rise of $745.72, which is just a little more than today's contribution.  We are up to an 11.2% rate of return for the year.  It had dipped down to 9%.  It's not like last year's, which if I remember right was 14%, but anything over 10% I consider good.  The company has not contributed the part of the Christmas bonus that is supposed to go into the 401K yet.  I was hoping they would have since they deposited the Christmas bonus on the 17th.

That means that net worth went up.

$126,736.00 Starting Balance

+___,843.72 Amount Added

---------------

$127,579.72 New Balance

 

New Freezer Purchase, Christmas Bonus, Physical Therapy, and Mental Illness

December 19th, 2021 at 07:44 am

We purchased our new freezer today.  We decided on a 21.3 cubic foot capacity GE upright freezer.  I really didn't want to deal with Frigidaire again anytime soon and maybe for the rest of my life.  That was a nightmare experience we don't want to go through again.  I was just relieved that after a five month song and dance we finally got out money back from their lemon of a freezer.

We decided to get a five year parts and labor service contract.  If something goes wrong, they will deal with everything.  We won't have to spend hours and hours on the phone trying to find the right people to fix things.  They simply will.  I will never, ever by an appliance from a big box store again.  Customer service is important and worth the slightly higher price.

Anyway, the total cost of the freezer was $1392.52.  $112.63 of that was sales tax, yeesh.  And the service contract was $179.95 of it.  The freezer itself was $1049.  We only got back just under $900, so I took the rest out of our hog fund and we will just have to  build it back up again, or maybe buy half a hog to start instead of a whole one.

It won't come until sometime in February.  It could have been June, so not so bad.  Hopefully our freezer karma will improve and everything will go according to plan this time around.

DH found out what his bonus will be.  It's $1000, minus bonus taxes, so maybe $600 is what we will end up with and .75% of his eligible hours worked this year will be added to the 401k.  Eligible hours do not include paid vacation days or paid sick leave hours.  It should be aroudn $750 to $850, which is around what we put in every two weeks ourselves, so that will be nice.  The bonus check should arrive in the mail any day now.

DH also found out that they will be raising the matching to 3% next year.  It has been 2% this year.  I'm not sure if we'll ever get back to the pre-Covid 5%, but the fact that the company is doing a lot better this year than last year is a good thing and that 1% more will make a difference.  That and DH's raise, whenever that kicks in.  I am hoping on the next paycheck, but DH didn't think to ask that because he was just so blown away by the amount.

I had a good physical therapy session this week.  I was able to do every excercise he asked of me, a far cry from the week before when everything was hurting.  Everything still hurts, but at a much lower level, and I'm functional.

I also had an okay therapy session.  I kept talking around what I wanted to talk about, which I stated at the beginning of the session, but then kept avoiding it.  And then I'd catch myself avoiding and try to steer myself back, but...it was rough.  I've come to recognize that I have some PTSD from my abusive childhood, so facing some of the stuff that happened to me then is harder than I realized it would be.  Especially since I can't really let my anger out at the people who deserve it.  Hard to do that with a dead person and a person with early stage dementia.  But I need to stop using food to deal with it all.  Easier said then done.  It's been my coping mechanism for most of my life.

I wish the anti-depressant would hurry up and kick in.  I'm tired of feeling this way.  Mental illness is a B.  I could really use a bout of mania right about now.  Or even just a general feeling of okayness.  That'd be great, too.  I know I'm on the path to wellness, but it is taking too long.  I just want to be there already.  I just want to be me again.

Emergency Fund, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates

December 12th, 2021 at 05:23 am

$18,982.22 Starting Balance

+__,230.30 Amount Added

--------------

$19,212.52 New Total

$1310.18 to go to hit my main goal of six month's of expenses, which is $20,522.70.  After that we will start working on doubling that.  I had really hoped to hit six month's of expenses this year, and we still might if the Christmas bonus is big enough.  I know we built it a lot this year, because we ended 2020 at $9,465.32.  We've more than doubled it this year at $9,747.20 contributed.  So it's good, it's really good, but I wanted that goal, you know?  If we get close enough, I may dip some money out of the propane grill envelope to meet that, since we never did buy it and I can make that up before grilling season.  We'll see.

As for retirement, we are finally making headway on paper, though we lost a lot of money.  We gained a lot of stock, so it'll all even out eventually.  But we are up by about $75 more than our Friday contribution.  The new balance on the retirement account is:

$69,612.41

That is up $814.07.  My hope to hit $70K by the end of the year is possible, but improbable given the volatility.  If it was static and just added next payday's contribution we would do it, but not if it goes down and down and down like it has been doing and then slowly climbing back up.  C'est la vie.  Que será, será. Etc.

So that means net worth is up $1, 044.37 to $126,736.23.  Which means $23,263.77 to my next big net worth goal of $150,000.

So we are trucking along.  All in all, I shouldn't complain, but it is human nature to do so.  I just want to be there already.  But we really have come a long way this year so far.  Can't believe it is almost over.

 

     

Payday Report for 12/10/2021

December 12th, 2021 at 04:46 am

As per usual reminder, I run a zero based budget, which means I assign every single penny of each paycheck a function.  While I do keep a cushion in my account I act like it doesn't exist.  For this payday, neither kid gets an allowance as they borrowed against it to add to all of their combined Christmas money from various sources so they could buy one expensive item each while it was on sale on Cyber Monday.

Additionally, I added an extra $50 in gas money this week, when we usually only do $100 on the second payday of each month.  This is to make up for various upcoming trips to MIL's house for Christmas and to help decorate her place with lights and a couple of trips to storage to get our own lawn ornaments and lights out.

Otherwise it is business as usual.  Except I finally had some money to put in the Emegency Fund in the triple digits.

$277.28 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chriropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

__45.00 Garbage Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 Spending Money DH

__50.00 Spending Money Me

__50.00 Gas Money (Extra)

_230.30 Emergency Fund

---------------

2772.76 Total Money Out

Raise!

December 9th, 2021 at 10:51 pm

DH was finally told what his raise was going to be.  He's getting a 9% raise!  Combined with the 2% across the board cost of living raise they did in July when they did performance reviews, that means in 2021 he will be making 11% more than we started 2020 out with.  Which is great after no raises for 3 years.  DH says this puts him at $127,000 salary, although he is hourly so it can be over that with overtime.  I believe he started this year at $114,400, so that's a big difference.

I'm not sure when it goes into effect.  I am assuming on the first paycheck earned in January, but it might be sooner.  It would be awesome if it was on tomorrow's paycheck, but no counting chickens before they hatch.

My base estimate is that we will have about $533 more net in the paycheck every 4 weeks and $808 gross.  That's assuming taking out 1/3 for taxes and however it will effect the 15% taken out for retirement.  It's a broad estimate.  I won't know anything until I see actual numbers.

I feel like this is finally going to give us some room to breathe.  We can get the Emergency Fund fully funded to six months expenses next year and fix some things around the house and seal the sun roof on the van that leaks into the seatbelt well.  And then start saving up some serious money.

I've just felt like for so long we haven't been able to actually save for anything.  I know a large portion of that is that we are slamming 15% into retirement and that technically is a form of savings, but it is a non-accessible form until retirement.  And that's a choice we made, but it feels the same as it did when we were paying off debt.  Tight and like we barely had our heads above water.

I don't know.  Part of me thinks we should make sure we max out our retirement with this, but I just feel like if we go completely that route, I will buckle under it.  The relief I am feeling at the news is so strong, like we can go on without burden, is more important than buckling it down so tightly again.

What I can't do is let the money fritter away through our fingers.  So I will plan and plan and plan some more.  And adjust accordingly.

 

Payday Report for 11/26/2021

November 30th, 2021 at 02:45 am

As a reminder I run a zero based budget, meaning every dollar from every paycheck is accounted for.  I do keep a $1000 cushion in the checking account in case mistakes are made along the way, but so far there haven't been any since I switched to budgeting this way.

There are no allowances for the kids until sometime in January as they wanted things that were over the Christmas budget we set for them.  But we did allow them both advances on their allowances so they'd have something to open on Christmas and could take advantage of cyber sales.  I still haven't figured out what DH and I are getting for Christmas, but we get $100 each.

$277.27 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money

1532.49 Citi

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance (State requirement)

__50.00 Spending Money DH

__50.00 Spending Money Me

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

---------------------

$2772.75 Total Money Out

We also had an expenses reimbursement check for $494.19 from when DH flew up to Alaska that we finally got this week.  Should have had it ages ago, but DH kept forgetting to put in for it.  We put that on the Citi card as well and had $23.69 left to put in the Emergency Fund.

The Citi card is paid off in full and I am well enough now and recovered enough from my fall to be cooking again, so we won't be charging it up so badly from now on, at least so long as I stay on this healing path.

Payday Report for 11/12/21

November 13th, 2021 at 11:16 pm

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for garbage since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in savings towards the car insurance fund.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up 4 more bags of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash when he has a way of disposing of it that is included in his rent.

At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But without extra cans the bill is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.  We only tend to have an extra can once in a 2 month cycle.  The room nephew lived in is still a mess and he left a lot of his clothes in the closet that he will need to come and clean out.  My sister did not raise a man, she raised an irresponsible little boy, who doens't clean, doesn't cook, and doesn't know how to get by in life. 

My sister always figured he'd have a wife for that, but I don't know too many women in this day and age who are interested in playing Mommy to a grown man.  I guess that is the difference in generations though.  My sister, well, both my sisters are so much older than me they are boomers, and I am generation X.  And my middle sister definitely has that women do everything mentality, cook, clean, bank, and work, while the men rest and relax in their off hours.  Only nephew only had off hours while living here.

Anyway, that went off on a tangent.  Here is the payday report.  Remember I operate on a zero based budget where every dollar is allocated for.

$277.26 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

_107.68 Garbage (Every 2 months

_131.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS's Allowance

__30.00 DD's Allowance

_163.51 Citi

-------------------------

$2772.63 Total Money Out

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for it since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in checking.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up more of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash.  At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But it is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.

Payday Report for 10/29/2021

October 30th, 2021 at 10:30 pm

Today was a three payday month, so it was higher than usual as they don't take medical and life insurance out of that when that happens.  Also I got my Google/AdSense payment of $111.50, so I added that in as well.  The Citi card is paid off in full now.  It's always paid off monthly, but we had a hefty balance the last two months.  When I think of how much money we spent on eating out it makes me a little sick, but then I was a lot sick, so it was kind of a necessary evil.  Thankfully it was just one meal a day, daily, but for 4 adults, 2.5 of which are gluten free, that adds up fast.

$277.22 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

__78.82 DH Life Insurance

__60.46 My Life Insurance

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__30.00 Allowance DD

__45.00 Allowance DS

2244.88 Citi

--------------------

$3260.09 Total Money Out

 

 

 

Payday Report for 10/15/2021

October 18th, 2021 at 12:24 am

As a reminder, I run a zero based budget, which means that every penny of the paycheck has a home.  I don't run a zero-based checking acount, however.  I have an $800 cushion in there, I just pretend it isn't there.  This week neither DD or I have spending money budgeted for because we both made game purchases.  The same will be true for next payday.  We did both have the money saved for it, but couldn't make it to the credit union at the time we charged them, due to illness and DH being too busy with work to run there during open hours.  I decided it would be easier to charge it and then just pay it back over the next two paychecks.  No interest will incur.

As for the Citi card, we are still paying back some of the paycheck and then most of the adjustable bed frame we bought for DD.  So no EF contributions this week.  I also cut the household envelope as I have enough money in there for now and the same with the car maintenance envelope as there is over $1000 in there.  That money went to the Citi card as well.  We are still paying off that month of take out, but due to the closing period we've paid off the card for that time period without interest.  Some of the next paycheck will go towards that, too.  I will be working on the next billing cycle early, but I just want it gone again.  As of this week I am functionally able to cook again with some help with the fetch and carry of ingredients.  It is never good when the main cook goes down as you can see from how much we've been paying Citi because of it.

$277.33 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__30.00 DS Allowance

1415.95 Citi Card (Adjustable Bed Frame for DD, plus takeout)

----------------------------

2773.28 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 10/1/2021 and Long Update

October 2nd, 2021 at 04:39 am

$277.23 Tithe

_132.00 Grocery Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

__36.00 Garbage Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH's Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__30.00 DS's Spending Money

1601.98 Citi

---------------

2772.39

We had a lot of money in the grocery envelope still from last payday, mostly because DH keeps forgetting to grab it before he goes to the store and uses the credit card again, so I just made up the difference of what I usually put in there and put the rest of this payday's grocery budget towards the Citi card.  DD doesn't get spending money this payday or next because I didn't make it over to the credit union today so I let her use the credit card to make her planned purchase and to pay me back she just won't get any until the 29th.

Since DD's new adjustable full size bed frame was charged, and she needed it for medical reasons, the $500 I usually put towards medical each payday also went to the Citi card, since we charged that.  Next payday's will, too.  I also put the household money towards it, since I still have money in the household fund to meet needs in that category and we have enough toilet paper, shampoo, soap, dish soap, dishwasher soap, and laundry detergent for about two months.

The monthly family chiropractic plan went up by $30 a month.  It has been five years since he has raised that, so it was not unexpected, especially since he warned me a few months ago it would be, he just wasn't sure at the time by how much.  Internet has gone up by a penny the last few times, so I finally adjusted the budget template to take that into account.

We still have quite a bit left on the credit card, but we have paid more than the amount we needed to not have interest charged and it will be paid off by the end of this month, also before any interest is charged.  It's just been such a rough month with me not being able to cook, but today we ate leftovers and I am trying again to cook tomorrow.  My sacral illiac joint has finally decided to stay in place, so a lot of the excruciating pain has subsided.

I still have no stamina from having Covid again, and I hope the exhaustion I had the first time lifts sooner this time than last time.  Every day is a little better, but no day is really good yet.  I have to wonder how much worse it might have been if I hadn't been vaccinated.  And had antibodies of my own.  Even though I can go out in public now, I don't think I could make it through a grocery trip yet.  So I just keep sending DH for necessities and we keep getting take out.

Tomorrow I will try something easy, though, which is pot roast and baked potatoes in the Instant Pot and green beans in the microwave.  That is very little hands on time, other than seasoning the roast, washing the potatoes, and adding butter and salt to the green beans.

DH did buy me salad ingredients and the missing ingredients I needed to make Italian dressing, too.  So tonight I will try to get the lettuce cut up, the carrots peeled and sliced, the radishes sliced, the red onion sliced, the red bell pepper sliced, and the cucumbers peeled and sliced.  The cheese is already shredded and so is the chicken and I have cherry tomatoes from the garden that are washed.  I did manage to put a chicken in the Instant Pot last night to make broth, but DH had to add the filtered water since carrying that much from the filter in the laundry room was still too much for me.  Anyway, then I can easily throw a salad together.  I'll make the dressing tomorrow.  I think it is just trying to do it all in one go, which will be bad for me.

But I have to stop getting take out, not just for financial reasons.  I've put on fifteen pounds since I got really, really sick in late July.  It makes everything hurt so much more.  And the soda I've been drinking to get some caffeine to counter the exhaustion also has been bad.  So real, homemade food, and healthier food is a must now.  I've just got to pull it together and force myself to do this.

DD had her ultrasound today and the results also came back today through the patient portal.  I am surprised how fast they are sometimes there.  She does not have a hernia or a limpoma or hematoma or a surface tumor, so no one really knows why there is a big round lump pushing her skin out there.  One other possibility is there might be a tumor  too deep for the ultrasound pushing it forward, but that should have showed up on her liver MRI in the beginning of August if that were the case, I would think, unless it was too far away, but considering where her liver tumor was located, I don't think it is.  I'm not sure what the next step will be.  We won't hear from the gastro place until next week some time when they review it.  But the technician confirmed that she could see the bulge and it wasn't just our imagination.  Or it could have just grown since that MRI in the last two months, which it definitely has, but what the heck is it?

I did get some good news, though.  A disabled child can stay on DH's insurance after age 26, so we need to fill out some paperwork and so does her main doctor, but since she has all of the things, she'll qualify.  That is such a major relief.  She doesn't turn 26 until August of next year, but it has been something I have been worrying about for the last couple of years as diagnosis after diagnosis has come in.  We will start the ball rolling to see if she can get on disability, too.  That will help in paying the medical bills that aren't covered by insurance and give her a small income, too, so she doesn't have to rely on us for every little thing she needs.

She has at least 3 things that will qualify her for that, possibly five, but the secondary adreanal insufficiency is the big one that alone should qualify her for it.  It's really just a matter of filling out the paperwork, being automatically denied, appealing once or twice, and then she should be able to get it.  She's way worse off than the BIL who is on disability is, he only has the same disc issue she has, and none of the diseases.

The insurance was the real issue for us.  Disability would just be nice for her.  It would be enough to set aside for the electric wheelchair she will likely need in the next couple of years.  Not sure how we'll transport it, though.  Not sure we could afford a used wheelchair van.  But that's a worry for future me to deal with.

Payday Report for 9/20/2021

September 23rd, 2021 at 07:57 pm

$281.04 Tithe

_325.00 Groceries Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

1181.34 Citi

_100.00 Gas Money

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 Me Spending Money

__30.00 DD Allowance

__30.00 DS Allowance

------------------

2810.37 Total Money Out

I run a zero based budget, so that brings the paycheck down to $0.00 left.

Additional Bills that were paid out of short term sinking funds, were the 6 month car insurance bill at $965.00 and the 2 month garbage bill at $86.79.  I set money aside monthly for these things in savings and then pay them when they come due.  It allows me to easily pay for bills that are irregular instead of monthly without having to worry about it at all.

I will be glad when the garden season is over and the last of the yard waste can go to the green dump for composting, as we've had that on top of regular carbage can fees each month as well.  It's $12 for a dump load of green waste, which isn't bad if you fill the whole truck, which we do.  I usually compost most things, but not tree trimmings, rose bush trimmings, or tomato and potato plants, which can carry blight.  So while I haven't budgeted monthly for green waste, I did drop some money into a sinking fund early last spring to deal with it.  We can probably do two more dump loads and then it will be gone.  So I may or may not have to budget more.

I did have to raise the amount I was setting aside for car insurance in the budget template.  I had saved $900 and their was an additional $65.  I had guesstimated how much more it would cost with DS as a licensed driver and was a little short because he is not getting the student discount this time as he is not a student right now.  Once he buys his car, he will pay for his own insurance (or the difference in ours) and we can go back to only paying $600 every six months.  Anyway, I am now saving $167 a month instead of 150 going forward.

BIL is Coming Home, Planning for DS, and Some Necessary Spending

August 8th, 2021 at 04:19 am

I heard from my middle sister last night and BIL should finally be coming home next week.  He'll continue to need in home rehabilitation for his lungs and physical therapy to recover from the positions he was kept in and they are sending someone in to do that.  The doctors say there is no reason that he should have survived.  He had a really bad case of Covid and so many risk factors.  My sister and I both think it is the power of prayer.  There were hundreds of people praying for him.  When even doctors call it a miracle, what else can it be?

In other news, DS is getting paid more than we thought.  Instead of it being $13.79 an hour it is $17.79 an hour.  Apparently there is a $4 an hour pay bump for hazard pay for grocery workers in my state for working with the public during a pandemic.  Even only working 20 hours a week, that is going to allow him to make some pretty quick strides towards his goals.

Goal one for him is to save up enough for a $1000 Emergency Fund.  I know Dave Ramsay says $500 for single people, but since his next goal is to save up for a car, and it'll be a beater, we both feel like $1000 is a better idea.  He's setting aside 15% until he has the amount needed to open an IRA.  He's also setting aside 10% of each paycheck until he has enough to send in a donation to a religious charity of his choosing.

I have agreed to keep giving him an allowance of $30 per week (instead of $45) until he has finished his Emergency Fund, so long as he actually does his chores and garden work and doesn't blow them off.  That way he can pile the 75% that is left of his paycheck into the EF and knock it out over the next four weeks, but still have a little spending money.  We will revisit the allowance situation then.

Then he can start saving towards a car.  We figure if he can find something that runs for $2000 to start off with, that will take him an additional 2 months.  Plus he will need to have some money set aside for insurance and car maintainance, tabs, ownership transfer tax, etc, so maybe 3 months.  By 4 months he can start saving money to partially pay for his braces (I have $3500 that I've saved) if I haven't managed to save it all myself by then.  Our insurance does not cover orthodontia.

Once the braces are paid for he will start saving up to pay for the schooling required to become an electrician, as well as start saving for a better car.  If he moves to full time after the kids go back to school everything can be accellerated.  I do hope he can.  I'd like him to save up enough money that he can do the schooling he needs to do without having to work a job.

With his ADHD, OCD (both diagnosed last year), and bi-polar (recent diagnosis), I'm not sure it is good to overwhelm him by having to do both.  He seems to be under control with his meds, but I well know how that can change in a heartbeat.  I remember how hard it was for me to work full time and go to school full time because I didn't have the choice.  At least DS has support for his mental illnesses.  My parents didn't believe in mental illness.  To this day, despite seeing it up close and personal with 3 different family members, my mother still believes you can shake off being bi-polar by thinking positively.  But that's a rant for another day.

I spent $113.10 today, including tax and shipping.  Lane Bryant online is having a big sale and I was able to pick up two more of the really good bras for $35 each instead of $55 each and some discounted underwear that matches the two I already have that they were sold out of previously.  The money came out of the clothing fund.  I've been waiting to pounce on a sale.  These particular bras have been a game changer when it comes to comfort without sacrificing support.  It's the Cacique Comfort Bliss line, which comes dangerously close to the comfort of the discontinued Cacique Barely There line, that I am still salty about over a decade later.

DH's Mom bought him a new phone because he smashed the one he bought (not the screen part, though) about six months ago when he took the case off to clean it.  He can still call out with it, but it is hit and miss whether he receives phone calls, so after a month of trying to deal with it, he needed a new one because he has to have one for work since he is still working from home.  So he ordered the same one as I have, which has been pretty good so far.  He did pay for a new case and screen protector which cost $27.18 which came out of the household budget, so I don't really need to track it to anything.  And if he wants to clean his phone like that in the future he must do it in the center of the king size bed so if he drops it, it should be fine.

I ended up making pasta for dinner last night, prawns putanesca.  It was a new recipe and it was good.  Tonight we will be having T-bones from our whole beef we bought.  I am so looking forward to it.  I will be making baked potatoes for everyone else, but I have some leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC three days ago that I need to finish off, so I'll do that for me.  Then tomorrow I am back on the gluten free band wagon.  It really does make me feel so much better when I avoid wheat.

It finally rained last night and well into the day.  This is the first real rain we've had all summer.  We had one day where it barely sprinkled, but otherwise it has been very dry and hot.  It was nice to see it.  Maybe it'll green up some of the lawns again.  They look like hay.  While we live in a very nice neighborhood, most people don't waste water on their lawns here.  They save it for their gardens, trees, and flower beds, which is what we are supposed to do.  In fact the only lawn that is green right now is owned by Evil Hummer Dude and his wife, who scoff at water restrictions.

I need to make up a meal plan for next week.  Meal planning keeps me away from the take out counter.  But first I need to stop wasting time on her, and go make dinner.  

Payday Report for 8/6/2021 Back to Accountability

August 7th, 2021 at 02:19 am

In addition to it being payday we had a tiny dividend check for 51¢ and a check from MIL for $120.00, so I just added that in to the budget.  I used part of it for a new envelope system and part for a small EF deposit.  Hopefully they will actually send me the red envelope system that I ordered this time.  My son will be taking the green one they mistakenly sent if they actually send me the red one, otherwise I am going to have to try to deal with their customer service, which I would rather avoid.  I hate dealing with online customer service.  Anyway, here's what went out today:

$277.23 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_200.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_118.18 Internet

__36.00 Garbage Fund (paid every 2 months)

_150.00 Car Insurance Fund

_100.00 Gas Money

__50.00 DH Blow Money

__50.00 My Blow Money

__90.00 Kids' Allowances

__87.92 Emergency Fund

_625.93 Citi

__32.56 Red Envelope System

I usually do $400 a month for groceries, but since DH could only go to the store with me yesterday I charged the shop to the Citi card and the left the other $200 that would have gone to the grocery fund to go to the Citi payment today.  We should be able to have a little more to add to the emergency fund this month if we keep our take out issue under control.  There is currently $477.22 left on the Citi card and some of the autopays have yet to be charged.  We will bring that down to zero by month's end.  I never carry a balance, but if we don't stop this, it could happen and I never want it to happen again.  It may not be much, but I didn't think I'd be able to add anything to the EF this week so I'm glad I could.

Next month I think I will increase the grocery budget to $500 like I talked about.  It may not be necessary with DD's dietary issues, but I want that cushion if it is.

 

 

 

Retirement Update, Interest Income to Emergency Fund, and Net Worth

August 5th, 2021 at 05:49 am

Retirement went over $60K this week, so I thought I'd do an update, even though the next contributions go in on Friday and it should jump significantly if nothing wrecks the market this week.  I was a touch concerned about the president defying the Supreme Court and if people start worrying about another step towards a loss of the checks and balances of our government, but it didn't seem to.  We have Congress and the Supreme Court for a reason.  I don't like end runs by any president, which is what executive orders are, and a huge step towards authoritarianism.  It riles my nature as an Independent.  Most people won't pay attention to that sort of thing until they wake up in a country that no longer resembles a democratic republic.  But anyway, $60K!  It's another mini-goal on my way to my next big one.

I have to get excited at the one place in life where I feel like I am making progress this year.  So retirement is now at $60,370.41, a rise of $1,172.71 since my last check in.

I added the interest for last month to the EF, a whopping $3.85.  Anyone else remember when savings accounts paid 7% interest.  I wish we had that now.  It'd be nice to actually earn a real amount on my EF and sinking funds.

$16,620.06 Starting Balance

+__,__3.85 Interest Added

----------------

$16,623.91 New Balance

So net worth goes up by $1176.56, bringing it to $115,003.29.  So I guess that interest was worth something.  It tipped me over $115K.

Good News for DS and Murphy Visits the New Freezer (but the Beef is Safe)

July 29th, 2021 at 06:16 am

I can't believe it has been nine days since I blogged.  I did fiddle around last night and revamp my blog's appearance.  I like to freshen it up every year or two, so I changed the color scheme and the avatar.  Well, the avatar is basically the same, I just updated the background, clothes, and hair.  I tried to keep the hot pink to a minimum on the blog layout, because I know that can be very hard on the eyes for some people, but I like it as an accent, along with the black for the sidebar headings.  That's why the blog title is in white.  It attacked my eyes when I tried it out in hot pink.  I think the electric blue goes very well with just that hint of the hot pink, though.  I changed my avatar to reflect how I look now, which I generally do after a haircut, though this was not that.  I still haven't gotten one of those.  No, I just have my hair tied back all the time now because it is nearly to my waist, so the photo reflects a long pony-tail.

I'm still spending way to much right now and I have lots of excuses for it, but won't bore you with most of it.  I am still saving heavily to the medical fund, just not the EF.  I did have to buy my son some plain black shoes and some dark blue jeans for the uniform at his new job.  They provide the shirts and aprons.  Yes, my son has been hired for his first job!  He has orientation on Friday.  The position is full-time  I've told him he is on his own for buying clothes from now on.  I am not making him pay me back for this, but I am making him pay me back for the bento boxes and insulated lunch bag for packing his dinner to work out of his first full paycheck.  He will also pay $100 a month towards the utilities since he is pretty much personally responsible for the high water bill, and he will contribute $50 a month towards food along with his 10% employee discount.

He's going to be working at the grocery store six blocks from our house which means he can walk to work, weather permitting, and then we'll drop off a vehicle for him in the parking lot or pick him up depending on how late he'll be.  He's supposed to be working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, but you know how that sort of thing goes.  He'll be a courtesy clerk which is a fancy name for bagger and cart fetcher/cart sanitizer, and other sanitizing through out the store.  I'm sure there will be other things he does during the slow times.  As far as I know he won't be restocking for now.  He wanted to be a cashier, it was what he interviewed for, but they hired some people with more experience.  Still, he can work his way into it once he has proven himself to be a good employee.

It's union, which is good in some ways and bad in others.  The job security is good.  You can't opt out of the dues and not be in the union which is bad.  The union doesn't have a 401K, it has a pension, which is nice.  But you have to work there seven years to get it, whereas with a 401k you always have access to what you put in yourself and whatever has vested so far from employer match.  I'm not sure how pensions work, if they are strictly company provided or you pay into them.  If you pay into them, it would suck, because this is not a forever job for him.

He'll be opening a Roth IRA with his first full paycheck and will be contributing 15% of his income.  He will be tithing 10%.  We will have to determine what the pecentages are on the $150 he'll pay to us each month for his expenses.  I think he said he wanted to save 40% for the car, maybe more, and then have the rest for his spending.  He'd like $100 out of each paycheck.  Of course we won't know what he'll even be making after taxes and benefits, so numbers may have to be adjusted accordingly, just not tithe and IRA contributions.  Then we can set up a spreadsheet for his budget or get him on the Every Dollar app from Dave Ramsey.  Personally, I prefer a spreadsheet, though.

15% to the IRA is non-negotiable while he lives at home.  He needs to get into the habit of it from day one.  We all see the position my mother was left in when they made her spend down Dad's IRA and 401k for nursing home care to $100,000.  And we see what happens when there is enough money to take care of the left behind spouse and help your kids and grandkids as is the case with DH's mother.  I want my son to have so much money in his 401k by the time he retires that he never has to worry about losing all his money to that if either he or his future wife end up in the same position.

I want there to be enough to have end of life care and still have so much money left over he doesn't know what to do with it all, besides charitable giving and world travel (if that is ever allowed again) and taking care of his sister if she lives that long (doubtful as her life expectancy might make her go before I do with all her disesases).  And that any possible kids he might have can get an education outside the public school system and be able to put their own kids through a college that has hopefully corrected back to the center from the divisive and often communistic brainwashing that has taken over in many universities today.  It all starts with 15% every paycheck and no debt.

I am thinking out of the $150 he gives me each month to put aside $100 a month to go towards his car, but use the $50 towards the utilities.  I'm not sure yet, since we are paying his portion of our car insurance still.  I planned on doing that, though, until he gets his own car.  He's also considering moving to his own Ting plan, so he can get unlimited data on his phone.  I won't let him do it on ours.  Since he won't be getting an allowance anymore (but will still be paid for jobs DH and I loathe, like washing and detailing the van), but still expected to do his portion of jobs as part of his continuing to be mostly supported by us, that money will be mostly freed up i the budget now, too.

His plan is that he's saving up and emergency fund first, then for a car second, and then for school.  He's decided he wants to become an electrician.  It's a two year course so it'll take some time to save up.  He won't get an expensive car, just maybe something in the 5K range.  I'm hoping we'll be able to help him a little, but the cost of the orthodontia work I'm saving up for makes it kind of prohibitive.  We won't be able to help him with school.  My focus has to be on retirement as we are so far behind and I don't want to ever end up in the position my Mom is in or the one my eldest sister is in.

But it does have medical which he doesn't need yet, really as he is only 21 and can stay on our insurance for five more years (you can't opt out).  But it does include dental and vision.  I am hoping the dental includes orthodontia as most plans that have it cover half the cost.  He'll get a big paperwork packet with all the info when he goes to orientation.  Not sure what other benefits there are.  Maybe life insurance or something.

The other thing I don't like is how they schedule.  It is based on senority so basically the people who have been there longest get to pick their shifts first and the person hired last picks last.  It's not done on any fair basis based on availability and a scheduler who makes sure everyone has to work some good and some bad.  It is cherry-picked.  That's why I said that while he was hired for 4 p.m. to midnight, he might not actually get those hours.  Although the lady who interviewed him said that most people don't want those hours, but he does because it fits with his sleep schedule and still gives him the opportunity to go to the chiropractor and schedule doctor's appointments.

It's hard to believe it took until 21 for him to get a job.  He tried before Covid, but first he was under 18 and no one was hiring teenagers here, it was employer's pick, and the picked over 18 every time.  They said as much.  All the kids complained they couldn't get jobs.  Then after 18 unemployment was so incredibly low that no one was hiring so no interviews were even offered.  Then Covid hit and I didn't want him out in the workforce, we didn't know what was going on yet, and he has asthma so wearing a mask for 8 hours a day was not doable.

Now that he doesn't have to wear a mask here (fully vaxed), he got hired the first place he applied.  Employers are desperate because people can still make more on unemployment in most states due to those extended benefits being at $15 an hour.  Most of these entry level jobs can't match that or they'd have to skyrocket their prices to raise wages to entice people, which always triggers inflation.  The benefits are supposed to end soon, though and then people will have to start working again.  I really hope they don't reinstate masks now, like some places are talking about.  I'm not sure he could manage the job if it keeps interfering with his breathing.  Maybe I could get him one of those helmeted electric respirators, although they probably wouldn't let him wear that!  And they cost $1000.  He'd have to pay that back, for sure.

I'm having a little bit of a "my baby is leaving the nest," going on.  He's not planning on leaving any time soon, but this is his first step towards really being an adult.  Other than working on the farm when we had animals, he hasn't had to be consistent about anything.  Not even school, since we homeschooled.  It's weird thinking about having a first job be your entry to adulthood.  My first paid job, I was little.  I only earned $35 that summer.  It was before they changed the labor laws, so I could work in the strawberries and the blueberries as a wee one with my mother (she was a teacher so worked the farms in the summer) and sisters.  There was no greater satisfaction than buying that powder blue Snoopy watch with my own hard earned money.  I had worked 4 jobs by the time I got my first job as and adult at 18.

Times change, I guess.  If you didn't know anyone, you couldn't help get your minor kid a job.  If they don't hire, they can't get themselves a job.  I bet a lot of kids will be able to work, though, with all the hiring going on now.  The faces are getting younger and younger behind the cash register everywhere we go and it's not because I'm getting older.  It's because they are sixteen.  And not just because it is summer.

I also don't like that most places don't take applications in person.  Everything is online now.  The experience of handing an application personally to a manager is just gone.  No first impression to leave with the manager, nothing that might help you get past the pre-interview barrier.  It's a lot easier to ignore online applications than in person ones.  Without that face to face there is no chance to get an edge by presenting yoursef as a neat, well-groomed, nicely dressed individual, or as a go-getter.  Not at all like back in the day.  The internet makes things faceless and impersonal.

As for me, I have been very busy writing.  I set my goal for last week at 6500 words and I did 564, 1663, 1174, 0, 0, 1442, and 2094 which totalled out to be 6937 words.  The two zero days were the really bad days of a five day stomach virus that kept me in bed those two days.  My goal for this week is 7000 words.  I know I almost met that last week, but I told myself I would go with 7000, than 7500, than 8000, etc. on up to 10,000 words a week.  I don't want to overly pressure myself on it.  If it is just 500 more words a week than the previous goal, it is attainable in my head.  Now if I really fly by it one week I may adjust accordingly, but I don't want to push too hard.  The goal here it to write every day or almost every day and I'm doing that, so it's all good.

I don't feel good about my payday report this last payday, so I'm not making it.  Like I said I spent way, way too much this month and while we paid off the card during the billing period, so no interest, we will still have a lot that carries over into next month from this make for the stuff charged after we close.  I really need to just put a halt to the spending on it.

I will be raising our grocery budget to $900 a month from $800 to feed four adults.  Inflation is getting to be too much to maintain at the lower level and DS will be taking his dinners to work so really need to buy things that can be eaten cold, like deli meat, which is much more expensive.  The costs of fruits and vegetables, in season, has doubled and tripled on some items.  I'm glad we don't need to buy beef anymore.  But chicken and pork have gone up a lot, too.  I'm not finding .99/lb chicken anymore, the sale price is now $1.99/lb.  Same on pork shoulder.  Bacon is a little scary.  It'll drop back down once we get some pork and chicken in the freezer.

Oh, and here's the kicker.  Our new Frigidaire freezer that we bought in December?  It sounds like an airplane taking off at times and the alarm keeps going off that it is losing temp.  All the food was about 1/4 thawed except in the very back, so we had to distribute that food through the other freezers.

I unplugged it after it tried to go down the runway at 5:30 in the morning.  We were trying to keep broth frozen in it to see if it would thaw or not, but with that kind of noise on the other side of the wall from the head of my bed, nope, nope, nope.  DH is supposed to call and wait on hold with Frigidaire most of the day tomorrow (I'm assuming) while he works, as it is still under warranty.  He can prop it up on speaker phone.  It's no way near a year old.  I will be out tomorrow with doctor's appointments, and grocery shopping, so I can't do it.

I don't know what the heck is wrong with the motor, but I have a theory.  I don't think the door was hung right, because we've had the little light blinking a lot when it should have been solid green and the alarm would go off every few days despite no one opening the freezer during that time.  There is a magnet that is supposed to line up with the bottom of the freezer, but it doesn't quite.  And there was always frost on the bottom basket.  I think the door was put on wrong which is keeping the seal from being quite right.  I think the motor probably had to work too hard to constantly be freezing and having no rest cycles because it was always trying to get it to stay  at temp.

I am hoping they will just replace the motor and fix the door at this point, or just replace the freezer.  I think it is a lemon.  If it wasn't when we bought it, it is now.  If we can't get it working right, or get a new one in time, I will have to cancel my hog order.  I did give her a heads up the day the melt down started to happen.  She said to just keep her informed when we know something.  It'll be a bummer if we have to cancel.  She says that if no one buys them like I am, they just go to auction, so she'll not be out too much from it.

I know we haven't had the freezer long, but I was already relying on it heavily.  Thank goodness we have the large chest and mini-chest and fridge freezers.  Without them it would have been awful because we had just bought the side of beef.  And I don't know if  freezers of this size are back in the stores yet.  Or any freezers.  And they cost around $1000.  Maybe more now due to inflation.  But honestly, I should not have to pay for a new one anyway.

Oh, well, I'll do what I always do.  Put my head down and cope with it.  There, a long entry to make up for not posting for 9 days.


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