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Pop Some Cyber Champagne with Me!

July 22nd, 2022 at 04:35 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 10:54 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 09:51 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 09:30 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 17th, 2021 at 11:24 pm

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 03:39 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 06:57 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 03:19 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 01:19 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 04:49 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 05:16 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.

Good News

June 18th, 2021 at 01:53 am

I have to say I have needed some good news with one thing after another for the last two years.  DH's work is giving a 2% raise across the board.  It goes into effect starting next week, so it won't be on the next paycheck, but the one after that.  And they are starting reviews for merit raises on top of that in July.  DH's isn't scheduled for his until the end of July, but it means there is a chance of an additional raise, too.  Since he never got one when he got promoted because Covid happened and they cut back on a lot of things, I am hoping we will see that now.  Either way, the 2% raise is $11 an hour more, so nothing to sneeze at and I am very grateful for it.  It's been 3 years without a raise.

One of the verses I look to a lot is Jeremiah 29:11:  "For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to give you hope, and a future."  I have it posted at eye level on the wall by my computer.  I have kept that in the forefront of my mind as much as possible during the last year and a half, constantly reminding myself that there is a future with hope in it, even when I felt hopeless at times with all the medical issues and expense they brought.

I was starting to feel it worse when I found out that the state of Washington is going to force long-term care insurance on anyone who is working and they were going to enforce it by taking it out of paychecks.  There was a one time chance to opt out if you could prove you had other long-term care insurance.  DH opted out and we are getting some in place.  While it would be more convenient to do it through the state, they only offer $36,000 lifetime coverage and for every $100 they pay you have to pay $100 if you use the insurance.  And there is no provision to guarantee they won't raise how much they are taking out whenever they feel like it.  And also you have to pay more in based on your income so you are subsidizing other people.

We are getting one that is $50,000 lifetime coverage and a slightly cheaper premium and we have control over it and can shop around if it goes up, unlike with the government.  DH and I had been talking about getting long-term care for a while anyway, I just don't like being forced to.  It's another monthly bill coming in of $48.71.  I was able to pick the date it comes out of the checking account, though.  And with the raise I won't have to cut back in another category.  And I really ought to get some long-term care insurance for myself, but I can't get it through the same place as him as that is only offered to their employees, not spouses.

So if we both get the insurance that'll be around $100 in a new bill.  Allowing for them taking out 15% for the 401k pre-tax, about a third of what is left to payroll taxes, and taking 10% off for tithe, we should end up with an additional $400 a payday unaccounted for, give or take.  That's just a guestimate, of course, and I won't know for sure until we get the first paycheck without any overtime on it.  That'll make it a lot easier to save for both medical expenses and the Emergency Fund.  Assuming nothing else in our lives goes blooey.

If he gets an additional 1% merit raise, that would give us $1000 to save to medical and EF each month and that would be great.  Merit raises are generally higher than 1%, usually 2 to 5%, but I'm not being greedy.  I do wish, though, that they'd go back to contributing 5% to the 401K and not just the 2.5%.  I'd rather have that than a merit raise, to be honest.  The 2% of the regular raise is enough to help us out and ease the pressure tremendously.

On the bright side, just with the first 2% raise we are going to hit the $19,500 401k max for the year right at the first payday of December, assuming no more overtime at all this year, which is unlikely.  That is a huge milestone I didn't think we'd make this year.  Technically since he is over 50, we could put $26,000 into his 401k as a catch up amount, but I don't think we will have an additonal $6500 lying around to do it with and if we did, we'd more likely open a spousal IRA for me.

It is nice to have a little more hope for the future again, though part of me is still holding my breath waiting for Murphy to whack us again.  Does that ever go away?

Oh, and I got my second Moderna Covid vax on Sunday.  It took me until today to feel like a human being again.  Hence the big post.

Payday Report for 6/11/21

June 18th, 2021 at 12:37 am

I'm almost a week late in getting this up, but I've been kind of lax about it, so figured I'd go back to it.  There was quite a bit of overtime on DH's paycheck.

$383.50 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_118.17 Internet

_280.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

__36.00 Garbage

_150.00 Car Insurance Fund

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

_100.00 Adults' Spending Money

_120.00 Kids' Allowances

_142.00 Hog Fund

_800.30 Citi

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

3834.97 Total Money Out

One Year Debt Free

June 16th, 2021 at 12:41 am

On the 12th we passed our one year debt free mark.  It has been an interesting year.  The freedom that comes with not having the oppression that debt provides is remarkable.  While not much else has changed here, attitudes have.  Tension levels have.  Loosening the reins is something allowable.

Are we as far ahead as I had hoped we would be?  No.  And Yes.  Medical bills continue to be a thing we have to plan for.  The unexpected always has a way of rearing its ugly head.  Yet at the same time, we have paid them all as we went.

We have taken on 15% retirement savings for the last half year and succeeded and that is something major that I thought we'd really struggle to do, but it is no different than living with a large portion of income that went to debt each month, so I feel like we were training for this.

Did I save as much money into the EF as I wanted?  No, but we are still quite a ways ahead.  Part of that reason is that I decided I wanted to bulk purchase meat.  Part of that reason was that we ate out far more than intended because we had the freedom to.  And part of that reason was replacing a lot of items that we simply put off replacing while we were in debt.

We were able to fund all the sinking funds that I planned for without it being difficult.  At no time did we have to put anything on a credit card because we hadn't saved up ahead of time.  While we do still use our credit card, it is only for convenience and autopays and is paid off in full every payday.

We have increased our net worth substantially in the last year.  At no other time in our married life can I say that.  My goal for 2022 is to refocus on getting the EF up to six month's expenses, but we will have to see how it goes.  The rest of this year's would be deposits will be going to saving up for DS's braces instead.  I have $3500 and need to save an additional $2500 before we can move forward.  That I am hoping to achieve by year's end. 

Payday Report for 5/14/21

May 14th, 2021 at 05:58 pm

$285.83 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_300.00 Medical Fund

_100.00 Household Envelope

_118.17 Internet

_280.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan

__65.90 Garbage

_150.00 Car Insurance

_300.00 Gas Money

_100.00 Spending Money for Adults

135.00 Allowances for Kids

_116.93 Citi

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

2851.83 Total Money Out

Planning for April

March 20th, 2021 at 11:28 pm

I just spent about a half an hour setting up April's budget spreadsheet.  It is a 3 paycheck month which means there will be some extra money and I wanted to make sure I had everything allotted for.  I'll be using the extra to put $400 into the Clothing Fund, $400 into the Gift/Christmas Fund, and $546.87 into the Emergency Fund.  The rest will be grocery, medical, household, gas money, and allowances.

The first paycheck in May will be on the 14th and no bills are due until the 21st, so I get to shift some things that were previously coming out of the last paycheck of the month to the first paycheck of the month.  My budget is a living document, constantly shifting, since I budget for the month but we get paid every two weeks.

DH did manage to get his hours in this week even though things were not up and running until Friday.  I don't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but his work got hacked and infected so they couldn't be online for many days.  He did what he could at home and saving to his hard drive, but last week had to take a vacation day.  This week he didn't.

Since it is working now, he is working the weekend and is authorized for ten hours of OT this week, which will be nice on the next paycheck.  If I did the math right it should be around $1017 extra.  But I might not have it quite right due to taxes.  Anyway, we will pay for 3 fishing and shellfish licenses and with what is left at least half of that will hit the Emergency Fund and then half will go into the Beef Fund, which should put us at enough to buy a full grassfed beef and start saving towards a pasture raised lamb.  Not sure about pork.  It hasn't set well with me this year unless it was bacon, ham, pepperoni, or sausage.

I finally got my new social security card last month so I can now get my fishing license this year.  It's a mess, because when I first got a license in the 90's they wrote down the social security number wrong.  So when I went to apply for a license two years ago I couldn't get one without my social security card which I had misplaced somewhere in the house years ago.

I wasn't doing that great that year so just decided to deal with it before the next season.  Well, that was 2020 and social security was closed for a good portion of 2020.  You just couldn't apply for a new card.  Then I finally applied for a card at the end of summer when they reopened and waited the six weeks and it never came.  Turned out they never sent it.  But they closed down again for some particularly bad covid weeks.  And of course once it was working, you can't apply during non business hours, which is so bizarre, so I didn't think about it at the right time of day.  Once I could apply again and remembered at the right time of day, I did and the card finally came in February.  So now I can get the darn fishing license.  What a pain that has been, just because some person transposed one digit on my 90's application.

I want to fill the mini-freezer with spot prawns, crab, salmon, trout, and cod.  With 3 of us fishing that should happen a lot faster.  At least if stuff goes as well as usual.  The guy who takes us out on the boat is DH's boss.  I am going to have him teach me how to gut a fish.  It's a skill I would like to learn.  He always does it, but I want to know in case we ever go fishing without him in the future.  That and how to remove the gills.  I've watched videos, but I think in person is always better.  DS said he will teach me how to fillet.  I've filleted chicken breast off the bone, but never fish.  DH isn't good at it, so I will definitely take DS up on his offer.

Payday Report for 2/5/21

February 6th, 2021 at 06:21 am

It hasn't been too bad getting used to less money coming in.  We are definitely being more disciplined with the budget and still not eating out, but we have adapted okay to having 15% taken out for retirement instead of 5%.  I honestly thought it would be harder than this, especially with so much more coming out for medical this year.

$271.23 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_300.00 Grocery Envelope

_100.00 Beef Fund

_300.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_118.17 Internet

__36.00 Garbage

_150.00 Car Insurance Fund

_100.00 Spending Money Adults

__90.00 Allowances Kids

_100.00 Clothing Envelope

_100.00 Gift/Christmas Envelope

_400.00 Handicapped Ramp Fund

__71.96 Emergency Fund

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

2712.36 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 1/22/2021

January 22nd, 2021 at 08:55 pm

I did get my Google/AdSense payment this week so I added that into the regular budget.  10% of that went to the tithe and the rest to the Emergency Fund.  I did buy some garden stuff with the Citi card, but the rest of that was monthly charges for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius Satellite for the van (that includes the up to date GPS information), and Ting (our cell phone service).

I know I'm not meant to be using that card for anything but the subscriptions, but I did.  And I'll be transparent about it, because that is what this blog is about.  The seed catalogues online are selling out already and I didn't want to wait until today.  I'm glad I didn't, or I would have missed out on the onion plant variety I wanted, the thornless blackberry plants, and multiple varieties of seeds that are very hard to get.  As of today they were sold out. I checked.  I have made all of my seed orders now.  I will still have to order the seed potatoes I want, but if I miss out on those I'll just get some locally of a different variety.  The shipping will get you on the seed potatoes, because 25 pounds is heavy to ship, so I probably won't order those until next payday, but on my debit card this time.

$281.47 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_556.56 Autopays/Citi

__71.99 Life Insurance--DH

__60.46 Life Insruance--Me

_300.00 Taxes Fund

_100.00 Spending Money--Adults

__90.00 Allowances--Kids

_479.25 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

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

2814.73 Total Money Out


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