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Net Worth , Retirement Funds, and Emergency Fund Updates, Plus some Rambling

May 19th, 2024 at 02:41 am

Both the 401K and the IRA were up substantially from the last time I checked.  New amounts are below:

$153,554.59 401K

+_15,225.66 IRA

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$168,780.25 New Retirement Total

-160,553.96 Old Retirement Total

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

$__8,226.29 Total Gain to Retirement

The Emergency Fund got to small deposits.  One was $2.32 at the beginning of the month in interest.  The other was what was left at the end of payday one for May after paying all the bills, which was $87.69, giving a grand total of $90.01.

$11,009.23 Previous EF Amount

+__,+90.01 Total Added

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

$11,099.24 New EF Amount

If I'd realized ahead of time that the interest would have brought it so close to ten dollars I would have brought along 76 cents to make it an even $10 in the total.  I have the coins in my coin jar.  Oh, well.

So next I add the EF gain and the retirement gain to figure out the net worth gain.

$8,226.29 Retirement Gain

+_,_90.01 EF Gain

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$8,316.30 Total Gain to Net Worth

So then we calculate:

$256,316.02 Previous Net Worth

+__8,316.30 Gain to Net Worth

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$264,632.32 New Net Worth

So things are going pretty well, as you can see.  I do have $100 from last payday that I do plan to add to the Emergency Fund, I just haven't gotten around to it yet, because I accidentally took it out in cash and I haven't had a chance to get back to the credit union yet.  But I have time on Monday after I drop my son off for his therapy appointment, since his dad picks him up after work.  The credit union is 3 blocks from the therapy office, at least for the next 2 visits.

It'll be a while before I can really start socking things to the EF and I might actually have to take some money out.  The van has started to make some funny noises.  Now I have $1000 saved in the car maintenance fund and I add $100 to it every month, but I don't know if that is going to be enough if this turns out to be serious.  We just hit 67,000 miles, but the van is 13 years old.  In fact we bought it new on June 4th, so really 13 years old.  Hopefully, it turns out to be something that can be handled with the money we already have save in the car fund, though.

And hopefully whe we get the estimate for the bathroom it'll be for less than what we have saved so that if there are any overruns we have enough without dipping into the EF or having to compromise on what we want.  Once all that is done, though, we can sock it to the EF and get things where I want them and possibly fund a spousal IRA for me this year.  While I'd like to raise the 401K to 20%, I have no retirement savings in my own name and I don't like that.  I have complete trust in my marriage, but I still want some in my own name. 

I won't even get SSI in my own name, because I only worked for nine years.  Which isn't true, but the farmers apparently paid us under the table when I was a kid so nothing I earned then was reported to the government.  Not that I made enough to pay taxes, my best summer I only made $1500 and that was at 3 different farms following strawberries, then raspberries, then blueberries.  I mean, I will get it in his name, and his would be higher than mine anyway, but that's not the point.  And that's assuming there is SSI when I get there.  So, yes, I want a Roth IRA in my name.  Then if we fully fund it, we can raise his 401K after that.

I am hoping in July he will get a cost of living raise.  They have been doing this as inflation has gone crazy for the last 3 years and this 4th year should be no different.  I hope.  I don't know that he would get a regular raise, because the raise he got the last time he got one was so big a leap.  That was two years ago.  As much as I'd like one, I just don't think they have it right now.  They hired a lot of people in the last year.

But a COL would be appreciated.  2% is still $3180 before taxes, probably $2500 net a year after.  $104.16 a payday.  $2500 is almost our full medical deductible of $3000.  So that is nothing to sneeze at.  And sometimes it is 3% which is $4770, or around $4200 a year or $161.53 a payday.  Nothing to sneeze at.  But if there is nothing there is nothing.  We will know sometime in July which is always when raises come out.  The company has had high profits this year and last, but that didn't come out to much when it came to the Christmas bonus, so not really counting on it here, either.  Just wanting it to have some more breathing room after saving so hard for that stupid bathroom since February of last year.

Bookkeeping, New Budget and Template, Goal Met with Some Rearranging

April 30th, 2024 at 12:23 am

I did some bookkeeping today.  I worked out my budget for May, which will be a tight one, but that's okay, because we have everything sorted out and should not have to make any large purchases for a few months now.  But we will be paying off nearly $3K of charges we made this month.  I do have the money in savings, but I prefer to cash flow it.

Then after I sorted May, I went on and revamped my budget template for the rest of the year.  Sort of.  For the next few months anyway.  We made a decision on the bathroom fund and a couple of other funds.  Since our goal for the bathroom was to save $15,000 before we started looking around for someone to fix it, we made a decisions last night.

We have already saved $12,000.  We also had $1775 saved up in my new bed and frame fund and $260 in our beach vacation fund, which would have gone for a little getaway for DH and me for a couple of days since I was too sick on our anniversary to do anything.  And we have $1000 in the snowblower fund, because we never bought one last year.  So that is $15,010.  Which is enough money for our goal.  And then if it were to become necessary we have $4000 I would be willing to borrow from the Emergency Fund.  So we have decided to shuffle all our envelopes around and do that.

In doing that, we can then start saving back for the bed and frame and the snowblower relatively quickly as well as putting money into the Emergency Fund.  The snowblower will take two months of saving $500 each, so that will be fast and done well before winter.  And we will continue to put $500 into the medical fund to start building up for next year's deductible and out of pocket max.  I still hope to be able to get Invisalign braces next year, but that would be an additional $6000, if it hasn't gone up in the last 2 years, I would have to come up with, so unless MIL starts handing out money again, that may be a couple more years yet.

We now have to find someone to build the bathroom and get quotes for what we want to do.  I wish we could do it ourselves.  It would be so much cheaper.  It's mostly just not feasible to do much these days, being old and broken.  Could have done most of it when we were younger, though.

What I am concerned about is finding someone just as we are going into the height of construction season.  And someone who speaks English.  We are not getting into a situation again like with the roof, where only one guy speaks English, he starts the crew in the morning, leaves for the entire day, and then comes back at the end of the work day to check over the work and you can't communicate about anything all day long with the workers.  My Spanish is not good enough for that, though I am working on refreshing it again.  No problem with the work, but it is beyond frustrating when all of a sudden the crew is just gone mid-day and doesn't come back until morning and you don't know why.

I suppose we could check with our local big hardware store and maybe Lowe's and Home Depot, too.  They might have small scale construction people or handymen who do this sort of thing that they know of.  I know the local one has a bulletin board you can put your advertisements up on where you tear the little phone number strips off to call.

Major Milestone Markers

April 13th, 2024 at 01:47 am

Hello.  I've been gone for two months.  Dipped out the day after my birthday and haven't really been around since. There have been some big milestones that passed while I was away.  Retirement was a nice one.  It tripped over the $150K mark and then the $160K mark.  Seems like it wasn't very long ago it went over $100K.  I know it was, though.

Net worth did a real big one.  I reached the quarter of a million dollar mark!  $256,316.02 to be exact.

I've started contributing to the Emergency Fund again.  Not a lot at a time, but I've added $457.12 so far and that has brought me over $11K to $11,009.23.  My goal for the time being is to contribute $100 a month as I am still contributing to the bathroom construction fund.

Speaking of the bathroom construction fund, it now rests at $12K.  I think $3000 more is where I will stop and start looking for bids.  I have been managing to put $1000 away each month so far this year, so I hope that will continue.  That will put me at July, which is peak construction season.  We may have to hold off until the rainy season to get it done since most contractors will be busy.  I could borrow from the EF, I suppose, but I don't really like the idea of that.  I haven't even hit 2 months' wages yet in rebuilding that fund.  Which is $14,440.

DH and I passed our 28th wedding anniversay March 18th.  We didn't do anything for it.  DH's leg was hurting too much and I was going through an exhaution phase that I really haven't come out of.  I'm just sleeping a lot.  No other real symptoms.  Sleeping all night and taking naps around noon and then again around seven and then going to bed at eleven.  Probably something to do with my autoimmune stuff.  We figure maybe we will do something this summer or towards the end of spring, just go away for a weekend, just the two of us.  I'd rather save up for something for our 30th, though.  I'd like to go on a cruise.  Not a giant cruise, I don't like a crush of people all around me, but one of the smaller ones.

The 9th of April was also a milestone for me, because it was the 18th anniversary of starting this blog.  Now that's something.  I can't believe I've beeing writing it for that long, that I've had that much to say, or that it has had over 86,000,000 visits, and you've all want to read it that long.  I sure do appreciate it.  It's a nice thing to know.  And you know what is interesting?  When I started this blog I had $200,000 of debt to pay off and by the time my debt was paid off, I had paid off $250,000 because of the interest and an imprudent purchase.  A quarter of a million.  And now my net worth is a quarter of a million.  I've moved my net worth half a million in the opposite direction.  If I had started at $0, and threw money in retirement right from that moment, I could be at $500K right now.  My son has taken that away as a good lesson against debt.  So at least there is that.

At least, once the construction is over on the bathroom, we can work on getting our EF back up to snuff.  I would like to have 3 months' worth of wages by the end of 2026.  It would be great to do it sooner, but I just don't know.  We have a Hawaii trip to save for, a cruise, and a new vehicle with an expected purchase date of 2035 to 2040.  I want to purchase that in cash.  And I want 6 months' wages by 2030, so there's that.

We are working on buckling down, but it isn't always easy.  Take out is still our biggest temptation.  But we are trying to overcome it.  Especially since I am losing weight since we started cooking at home more often.  I've lost ten more pounds since February.  Things are going really well, there.  5 pounds a month might not seem like a lot to some people, but it is really a lot for me, considering how hard it has been for me to lose weight in the past.  And so far there has been no loose skin, so I think it is just the right pace for me.  Well, speaking of dinner, I better go make it.  Hope all is well with everyone.  I seldom have the brain stamina to read the blogs right now.

Retirement and Net Worth Wrap Up for 2023

January 1st, 2024 at 06:48 am

Final numbers:

$129,758.76 401K

+$13,909.91 IRA

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$143,668.67 Total Retirement Accounts

These last two weeks increased net worth by $3,464.93, a litte over half of that was contributions.  The IRA needs to gain about a few more dollars to reach where it was before Biden year 2 started.  Biden year 3 has had two really solid quarters, one free fall quarter (second quarter), and one amazing quarter (last quarter).  It puts the 3 year rate of return at 6.5% which is not so good, but for this year the IRA is at 21.62% and the 401K is at 17.21%.  Of course there was $37,484.08 of contributions between DH and his work put in that counts into that, so I'm not sure how accurate that makes the percentage on that one, but the IRA had no contributions.

New net worth is $238,973.61.

$11,026.39 to go and we are quarter millionaires.

Odds and Ends

December 28th, 2023 at 12:30 am

I'm glad Christmas is finished for one more year.  The tree will be down today and we will take the outdoor Christmas lights and standees down this weekend and get everything tucked away into the garage or our storage unit.  I will be glad to have it put away so life can return to normal.

We got a recumbant exercise bike for the family for Christmas to replace the treadmill that three out of four of us can't use because of our knees and also the weight capacity being quite low.  The bike is high enough even my husband will be able to use it.  I hope it works for my back.  I'd really like to be able to start exericising again.

I'll be starting on a new arthritis drug when we get back from DD's surgery in Seattle.  The old one stopped working.  This one is a pen, so I can do it myself, but it is back to weekly injections intead of monthly ones, so now I'll be taking two different meds through pen injectors once a week.  I'm going to be a pincushion.

I have a lot to do to get ready for January's Eat from the Pantry Challenge I do every year with my Facebook/Youtube group that I am in.  I need to take inventory of what I have, top up any glaring empty spots, and on the 31st shop for fresh produce.  I know I will have to take two days off from it while DD is in surgery but I will just add two extra days at the end to make up for it.  When you in a hotel in a strange city with no microwave and no fridge, there is just no way to manage.  If we had a VRBO, I could take food with us and cook, but we needed to be closer to the hosptial this time than any availabe rentals wHere.

My goal for this year's January Challenge is to save enough money to hit my goal of $10K for the bathroom fund.  I am now at $9500, so if I can peel $500 out of an $800 a month grocery budget, I will be well pleased.  I still intend to buy some fresh produce and milk, but not much else.  And other than Seattle, no eating out, which we won't be paying for.  MIL pays for our food and lodging when we go down to the hospital so that won't come out of any budget, let alone food.  I might end up hitting the goal otherwise, but I don't know how much I will need to ultimately have, if $10K will even be enough.  Stuff has gotten so expensive, but it is such a tiny room.

I would really like to get this started before the handymen or contractors get busy with big outdoor summer projects and have no time for tiny interior jobs that get them through the winter.  I just have to have the money for it.  No going into debt for it.

We still need to purchase our snow blower.  There might be money leftover there that I can put into the bathroom fund, too.  Every bit counts, you know?  It just depends on what we end up getting.  I want something I can drive, too, and not be overpowered by, even if that means having to take a couple extra passes on the driveway.

Even if it is enough and they get started on the bathroom, I think I'll keep saving anyway because things like this always seem to overrun the original budget.

I've already gotten two seed catalogs in the mail and they are full of such beautiful photos of seductive flowers and fruits and vegetables.  I will buy very little this year.  I have many things I didn't plant last year that I will need to plant this year that will be lovely and yummy.  But there will be one or two things I'm sure I will find to plant.  Some of the brand new introductions put onto the market that are developed in my area.  Those do great here.  I was hoping to put in a couple of trees, too, but things didn't get done this year because of DH's leg and it still hasn't healed up right and now he might have torn the miniscus on his knee on the other leg, which he sees the doctor for the day before we leave for Seattle.  He'll probably get an x-ray, too.

I think I may have to hire someone to come in and rototill the garden this year and do the clean up.  I have been saving all of my spending money, my Christmas money, and my future birthday money towards garden expenditures in the coming year, so if that is what is needed, I will hire a strong teenager from the farming community to come and do it for me.  While there is still more infrastructure I want to purchase, like more raised beds and more cattle panels, getting the one plot tilled that hasn't been and getting the weeds cleared out of the other bed, is necessary.

We are buying heavy duty agricultural fabric this year from a farmer's supplier instead of a seed catalog and then once it is secured we will put the aluminum raised beds on top.  No more dealing with ground weeds.  I'm just so done with it.  That's why the ground needs to be rototilled and raked flat, so the beds can go on top and set relatively flat.

We'll see what happens when we find out about DH's leg.  If physical therapy and weight loss will fix it than maybe he can go forward from there.  If he has torn something, then he may need surgery and won't be able to work in the garden in 2024 at all.  Oh, well.  If worse comes to worst, I will mostly skip a year except the raised beds and the blackberries and the plums.  And that will be that.

Furnace Antics, Budgeting, and Old Spending Habits

November 11th, 2023 at 03:33 am

Actually, the furnace isn't performing any antics, but we had the furnace guy out today to do the yearly maintenance check up.  He said it is running at 93% which is pretty close to optimal, but we need to clean the clutter from around the vents and that will go up.  The furnace is 16 years old and he said it should last another 5 years, possibly more as far as he can see.  New ones for a house this size are running between $8000 and $10,000.

Hearing those numbers, I picked $9000 and divided it by 60 months.  If I start saving $150 per month, in 5 years we will have $9000 for a new furnace.  I'm sure there will be other money to throw in along the way, too, to get that up to $10,000.  Or more likely as DH gets raises we will probably up the amount to $200 we are saving.  Prices will probably go up in 5 years, but hopefully the possibly more than 5 years part will come into play.

I don't know if my mother will still be alive in 5 years, but she very well could be.  My aunt C is still alive and she's older than mom by a few years.  But I don't want this dropping on her, so the saving starts as soon as we've saved enough for the bathroom.  At least it is long term saving and not having to throw as much as possible into savings as we can as quickly as we can so we have a chance to save for other goals, like with this stupid bathroom.

I do need to start a tax fund.  Once mom is gone, there won't be a senior discount on taxes and the taxes on this house will be somewhere in the ballpark of $8000.  I want to have money set aside to pay at least the first year.  It is going to take a significant bite out of the paycheck once it is on our shoulders.  Around $700 a month.  And not leave much in disposable income.  So getting the EF and the tax fund up to snuff as well as saving for that furnace will be priorites and saving for the electric vehicle and the Hawaii trip will still be distand priorities.  But I am still going for that beach vacation sooner, rather than later.

The biggest thing we need to do is crack down on our spending, which has been off the charts and it has been due to getting takeout.  At least we have figured out why I have been so exhausted the last couple of months.  My thyroid has finally gone bonkers.  It is the family curse, but it has hit everyone else very young in life, like in the 20's.  It was fine seven months ago, but not at my recent test 3 weeks ago.  So I see the doctor next week about that.  It would have been sooner, but my doctor has been out of the office due to a family emergency and now he's going to be out much longer so I am seeing a different doc in the same practice.  I am hoping to start on meds right away and hopefully get through this, because all I want to do is sleep and I have no energy to cook.

I am going to just force myself from now on.  We charged almost $5000 last month getting takeout nearly every day, which means we are not going to save a cent for the bathroom repair in November, putting us behind in our savings goal.  I'm just glad there was as much OT as there was and will be on the next paycheck since he has to work more next week as well.  It is hard to care when you are too tired to care, but that was a huge number to see.  Consequently, my credit score went up to 804.  Funny how the more debt you have the higher your score.  It was 782 when the card had a zero balance in September.  I will get it paid off before any interest is charged, no worries there, but it will be close.

I am feeling old habits rising up that need to be squelched down before they become a problem.  My brain was starting down the path of, oh, you can carry a balance into December just this once.  You'll make it up then.  I had to really fight with myself and say that no, I wouldn't, I was going to get it all done in November no matter how hard I had to squeeze.  And I will.

I told DH that we really have to stop using the credit card.  Which means he will have to start carrying some grocery money with him so that when he has to stop for something after work he isn't just whipping out the credit card to pay for it.  He'll have the money.  But the food budget has to remain tight.  No more incidentals.  Food has to be planned for even more closely than it has been.  And the junk food habit has to be gotten over yet again.

 

Net Worth Update

October 20th, 2023 at 09:03 pm

I know I made at least one report between the side bar and now, but I can't remember what it was, can't find it in the blog post, and forgot to update, so I will make sure I update it this time.  I am going off of the side bar for this, though.

Our 401K now sits at $110,046.18.

Our IRA has been all over the place, but currently rests at $12,409.31

Our total retirement now sits at $122.455.39 up $9111.88 from the sidebar total of $113,343.51.  Excluding company stock of course, which is added into the total net worth.

I also went through the savings accounts.  I know I am lazy about recording interes these days.  I know I save $70 each month for garbage, but the amount paid is $67.28, so I just leave the extra in savings, and I know I oversaved on the car insurance I just paid, because it was lower.  So I swept that all into the Emergency Fund and it is now at $10,572.11 up from $10,441.01, a difference of $131.10.

This increases net worth by $9,242.98 from $207,517.35 to $216760.33.  And the house was just assessed by the city auditor as being worth a bit over $800,000.  That will automatically make us millionaires when my mother dies.  But I'd rather have my mom than the house.  Next year the valuation of the van will go down, but we should again get more company stock then the decrease in value should be.  It is still valuable to us due to the low mileage.

So over all we are moving ahead.  Not as fast as I wish we were, because our IRA keeps tanking, but we are getting there.  The 401K isn't doing all that great either.  It just looks like it is because DH has been working so much overtime since April that his contributions and the company match going in have made it really grow.  But not much else has happened.  Sure we've bought stock, but whether or not they've done anything is hard to tell, becaue it sure seems like the amount we put in and work has put in, is the amount we have.  I know one day it'll start making a profit again, but very unlikely for the next 15 to 18 months.  Hopefully, not longer.  It depends on how bad the recession gets, although I would argue it is a depression and not a recession, looking around at many of the people here.  They just keep redefining the words, so as not to look bad for the history books.

As Oliver Anthony would say, "And they think you don't know, but I know that you do."

And as Forrest Gump would say, "And that's all I got to say about that." 

Payday Report for 10/15/2023

October 18th, 2023 at 12:25 am

Friday was payday and I am slow to get this up, but I really do want to get back into the habit of this, but I certainly am not fast off the mark in posting it.  At least I record it fairly quickly into my spread sheet.  DH worked a lot of overtime on this paycheck as well.  $1734.03 was overtime.  I think this will be the last one with OT on it, or if there is any on the next one it will only be a couple of hours.  I will miss the bigger checks, but it sure was nice to see DH walking in the door at six last night and that would have been five if he hadn't gone to the pharmacy first.

So here is how the budget shook down this pay period:

$539.82 Tithe

_500.00 Utlilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_500.00 Bathroom Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__70.00 Garbage Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance to Grandma 2 phone loan

__30.00 DD Stipend

_100.00 Our last contribution towards DS's Phone

_200.00 Christmas Envelope

2056.43 Citi

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5398.25 Total Money Out 

The bathroom fund is now up to $6100.  I am hoping to hit $10,000 by the end of the year, and so far we are on track to do that as long as we can keep our spending down on the Citi card.  If all goes to plan, I should have $855 to put into it next week.

Christmas is now fully funded at $900.  It was $1300, but DH and I put our portions into the Snowblower Fund so we can get it before Christmas in case it snows before Christmas.  We are also getting our Christmas money from his mother early so we can add it in, too, if she will agree to it.  Otherwise we will get one that takes smaller paths at a time and requires more walking.  It's just harder on DH.  His leg still isn't fully healed.

The medical fund is starting to build, but DH still needs new glasses and DD still needs new lenses and they both need exams, so that will probably wipe out more than $500 of any progress made, but after that we should be able to make progress.  I would like to get $3000 saved in the medical account by the end of the year, but it is looking like it will be closer to $2000.  But we will still have the FSA debit card we can use next year of $3000 if DH doesn't flub it again this year.  I am staying on him about it.  The enrollment period is coming soon and he is not going to miss it this year.

Since DD's surgery is the first week of January, I want to make sure we have the pretax money on the card for 2023.  It makes life so much easier when there is an expensive thing right at the beginning of the year.  And then we want to have more money in the medical fund for things that are beyond that.

Hopefully DH's mother will be giving us money at the end of the year or close to the beginning like she has the last few years.  I would rest easier with another $2000 in the medical fund and another $2000 or more in the bathroom fund.  I am just estimating $10K for that.  It could be more and I don't want to use what little money I have in the Emergency Fund.  I can, but I'd prefer that $10K plus stays put, even if I know that as soon as the bathroom is taken care of we can start slamming that emergency fund hard.  It's just, what if something happens in between?  So, yeah.  Don't want to do that.

We are done contributing the amount we said we would contribute towards DS's phone which was $500, the same amount we contributed towards DD's phone.  If they wanted anything fancier than those more basic phones, than they were going to have to pay for them themselves.  DD used birthday money and saved up allowances to pay the difference.  DS convinced his grandmother 2 (DH's mother) to loan him the money to buy the phone instead of saving up for it.  I did not want that to happen.  He was supposed to save up for it before getting it, but then the battery on his phone stopped charging and he had to use it plugged in all the time, so he cajoled his dad into it when we didn't even have the promised $500 saved on our part, giving us a debt to his mother, too.  I was pretty peeved.

So he has been on a repayment plan.  Every single allowance he has received has to go towards that loan.  He doesn't get to have any fun with money until it is paid off.  His birthday isn't until March, so he doesn't have to use his birthday money, it will be paid off in January.  I won't force him to use his Christmas money, but if he wants to, he can.  I have made the exception that if he wants to use one allowance to buy his sister a Christmas gift he can, because he was upset about that.  Once he has finished saving up all the money, he then gets to present it all to his grandmother.  Then I hope he will have learned his lesson about loans, because he really has hated the whole process.  And this has been without interest.  I think I will sit him down at the end and give him the amortization table on a loan at the going interest rate and tell him how much extra he would have paid if he had gotten a loan through the bank to pay for a nearly $1400 Apple smart phone.  Open his eyes all the way.

What's Left in the Fridge, Trying to Figure Out Meal Planning Before Shopping

October 5th, 2023 at 09:26 pm

The busy week of medical appointment ridiculousnous is almost over.  One more appointment in 2 hours and then nothing more until the 11th.  At least nothing more for me.  DH can toddle himself off to his physical alone.

So I just took an inventory of what is left in my refrigerator and it is looking pretty good on not having too much food waste.  We had no leftovers to toss out since last payday.  It wasn't perfect.  I did have to throw out some old apples from who knows when, because I don't remember buying them, that I must have missed the first time I went through the fruit drawer, thinking they were good, a lime that had turned brown, and I found a soupy cucumber, but that was in a drawer my son went through the first time, too, so I think it just got missed.  So those got tossed out.

Here's what I do have left for produce in the fridge: 1 large parsnip, 1 large turnip, 2 medium carrots, half a bunch of celery, 2 bunches of green onions, 1 bunch of red radishes, 8 little plums off our tree, some of our peppers, a thumb of fresh ginger, 1 Pink Lady apple, 2 Jazz apples, 1 Cosmic Crisp apple, half a bag of cuties orangies, 1 pineapple, 1 head of romaine, 1 Caesar salad kit, a Napa cabbage, and a red cabbage.  Outside of the fridge I have bananas, about 10 pounds of potatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, 3 sweet onions, and 4 yellow onions.

The celery, green onions, carrots have seen better days.  I need to take the greens off the radishes or they will be soupy and I hate digging radishes out of soupy greens.  I should have done them when I bought them and stored the separately so I could put the greens on the salad fixings.  Now they are past that point.  Oh, well.  I still have nasturtium flowers and can get that same peppery taste from them.

So far, I think I will be making stew to use up the carrots, celery, parsnip, turnip, and add some potatoes, and sweet potatoes, to fill it out.  I'll probably to it with chicken, since I think beef tastes funny with parsnips.  That'll use up everything that is on the edge except the green onions.  So for that I'll make loaded baked potato soup, since I have plenty of potatoes.  There are a bunch of little ones that are too small to peel for canning, so we will be using those ones, quartered, in the stew and then I have some medium sized ones for the soup, because we like them peeled for that.

I will need to buy some more carrots for sure, sour cream, and whole milk for the soup.  I have bacon from our pasture raised hog in the freezer.  So that will take care of two dinners and use up a lot.  I will cut up the romaine, and use that up with the salad kit for greens.  There is enough dressing to dress that much lettuce in the salad kit.

The pineapple needs to be cut up and eaten up.  The other fruit can hang out longer, but not it.  I do hope to finally make it out to the orchard this weekend and hope they still have my favorite apple in their storage shed.  It's 3 weeks past when they were picking, so there is a good chance they do.

I should shred up half the purple cabbage and I can make coleslaw with it as well as use it as salad fixings.  As for the Napa cabbage, I think I'll make some cabbage rolls, but not the traditional kind.  I like to make them with dumpling filling and steam them in a bamboo steamer, then lightly fry them in a pan until lightly brown and crispy.  I don't like the ones covered in tomato sauce.  It's more work, but a better end result.  Also, it is much lower in carbs than dumplings.

That gives me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's meals and finishes out the week for me.  Tonight we are having fresh pasta.  We are having leftovers tonight.  I have 2 large servings of fresh bucatini pasta to make up with half a jar of alfredo sauce and an almost full jar of marinara sauce, so that works out.  We have lots of meatballs, so 1 of us will have a meatball sandwich.  Actually, I might just have the meatballs with green beans and make up some fried potatoes.  That sounds better to me.  I don't have to worry about DH until Friday.

Alright, this gives me a starting place to figure out my list.  I am out of a few things that are on sale this week like DH's Miracle Whip and Multi-grain Cheerios, plus spaghetti.  Although, I am almost at the point of getting the attachment for my KitchenAid and making my own spaghetti it is getting so expensive.  The only one that ever seems to go on sale is Barilla and I don't like the taste of Barilla.

American Beauty used to be the cheap one and I like it.  I am going to have to go to Winco this week to find it.  Hopefully, they will finally have the turkey chorizo, too.  I might even go to Walmart.  I hate going to Walmart.  It's not a super Walmart so it only has some grocery items, but it does have a lot of dried goods.  I do need Puffs multi-packs tissues soon, plus I'm getting low on the low sodium sausage links, so I can grab one of their Great Value packs and see if we like it.  I'm not that picky about pasta, I just don't like the taste of Barilla.  Every other brand I've tried I've been fine with.

But Winco should have cheap pasta and it usually beats everyone else on almost everything else.  Just not beef.  I can walk out of there with prices half what they are elsewhere for produce.  And it is the only place I can ever find Ambrosia apples, a blink and you'll miss them variety of apple.

Well, I can make up my list this evening and DS and I can go shopping tomorrow, other getting Miracle Whip, Cheerios, and socks at Fred Meyer, since it is over by his psychiatrist's office.

Getting Things Done--Medical, Pharmaceutical, Visual, Future Medical

October 3rd, 2023 at 05:58 am

I must say, I am enjoying the heck out of my new Halloween themed blog design and avatar.  I know we can't do a ton of customizing, but I felt like getting into the holiday spirit a little bit this year.  Not enough to decorate the house or anything, never a good idea when you won't be there for trick or treaters, but enough to do this.

Anyway, today I had my wellness visit so that is now out of the way.  I have to go get my blood work done tomorrow along with the blood work done for the Prediabetes/Diabetes and Cardiology Weight Loss Center.  I was waiting to do them together in case anything overlapped.  I only have the one good vein to draw blood from and I didn't want it blown out with the first draw and then not being able to get any a week or two later.  Any duplicate tests will be ignored and the results of all will be sent to both doctors as well as to the nutritionist/dietician I started working with.  So that's been ordered now and I can go tomorrow morning.

After that I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine I've been waiting on, but something went wrong because the dosage is only half of what I have been taking.  I didn't notice until I went home and the doctor's office is closed.  I won't call the pharmacy tonight, because they have the pharmacist on Monday nights that I can't understand over the phone.  I can understand the East Indian pharmacist and the Jamaican pharmacy tech, but they aren't on and the Chinese pharmacist is too hard on the phone.  I can get him in person, but I don't want to go out in the rain again.

When the pharmacy was done I went over the eyeglasses place and unfortunately they had discontinued carrying the brand of eyeglasses I wanted.  I had picked out the exact frames and color (purple) I wanted when my son ordered his in July, so all I would have to do is go in and get what I wanted and not have to spend a bunch of time looking for frames.  They didn't even have any in the store still.

Fortunately, the store was dead and the young woman who was looking after me was training another woman who was looking after me, so they had me sit down, got my price range and color choices and ran around the store pulling all the glasses and then brought me a big pile.  It was nice that I didn't have to hurt my back trying to find them.  I was able to eliminate half of them right off the bat just because they strayed into too dark a green, more like a forest instead of jewel tone.  And anything too solid.  I like a sort of see-through frame if it is one color.  If it is tortoise shell then it can be solid, though I still like the see through tortoise shell best.  I got it narrowed down to purple, turquoise, and teal as the primary colors.

Then I got it narrowed down to two with the tortoise shell patterning.  I fell in love with them both and it was really hard to decide.  It really came down to the fit and if they could get them a little wider on the part of my head that goes out the most.  And they could with both of them, so then I had to make a choice.  It came down to purple and orange tortoise shell kind of see through frame and sort of turquoise/teal with a darker blue tortoise shell frame.  I have more clothes that match the latter and I liked them just a teeny bit more when the choice had to be made.  They were $40 more at $218.  The ones I originally wanted were only $118.  The orange and purple were $188.  Now you know I really wanted the blue ones if I was willing to shell out $40 more for them.  But glasses are my one accessory/necessity that I wear every single day.  I won't pay over $250 though. 

I do reserve the right to save up more money and get the other ones in sunglasses, though.  I don't need all the bells and whistles in sunglasses that I need in regular ones.  But not until my husband gets new glasses and my daughter gets new lenses.  Maybe I'll look and see if Zenni has something like the orange and purple ones for sunglasses and see how much it would cost.  I do have a nasty prescription, the most exspensive one in the family.  My portion for my glasses was $400.00.  Sadly, there were no more summer sales.  I probably should have waited until Thanksgiving, but my eyes were killing me and my appointment was on Friday.  Oh, well, I guess I make up for having the worst eyes in the family by having the best teeth in the family.

As for the ongoing stuff with my daughter, she meets with the pulmonary doctor tomorrow which starts her on the road to seeing if something is going on with her lungs or possibly her heart.  Hopefully, it is just severe asthma and nothing that will interfere with her life-changing surgery in January.  We will be staying down at Virginia Mason for several days.  She has to be in the hospital for 2 to 3.  It is supposed to be done laproscopically, but things can turn on a dime, and you never know when they will have to gut you like a fish.

Both of us have to go get blood draws tomorrow.  I have two doctors who want a bunch of things and I didn't want to go separately, because it takes my one good arm vein about a month to recover after a blood draw because they always blow the vein on the way out, if they don't manage it on the way in and treat me like a pin cushion and move on to my hands and give me a bruise the size of a silver dollar if they do the right one or the back of my hand if they choose the left one.  Although, if the good vampire is working that never happens.  And this way their won't be duplicate tests made.

I need to remember to call the rheumatologist tomorrow and reschedule the appointment I had to cancel back in August.  This should be the best time since I am on antibiotics, and then will be well for a while afterwards before I come down with the next thing.

I have a telemed therapy appointment on Wednesday which I really need, because my brain is telling me it wants to go off my bipolar meds.  Which is a big no, thank you.  Watched that movie play out in my aunt's life over and over again and do not want to repeat it in mine.  And then I have a telemed on Thursday with the nutritionist/dietician and my son has an in person with the psychiatrist for his meds, and on Friday I, so far, have an empty space on the calendar, which is to be celebrated.  Keeping my life straight can sometimes be ridiculous.

 

Updating My Funds

October 1st, 2023 at 01:18 am

I haven't done this in forever either.  I won't update my medical fund, because right now it is fluid as we are using it to purchase things for our current medical expenses, but I will be opening up a non-fluid sub-savings account Medical Fund #2 to start saving for next year's deductible when I make my deposit in October for medical.  So here is the list of the amounts of money currently in each fund or envelope.

I keep it in an envelope in the safe until it hits $1000 and then I start a sub account in the bank and turn it into a fund because I don't like to keep a lot of money in the house.  Or I will do some things at $500 if it is something I will not have a reason to spend soon.  I will still buy some garden things, like a couple of cattle panels this fall, so no reason to put garden money in the bank if it was at $500, which it is not.

$5600.00 Bathroom Repair Fund

$800.00 Winter Things/Snowblower Fund

$550.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

$58.00 Car Expenses Envelope

$780.00 DS's Computer/Phone Fund

$525.00 Bed Frame/Mattress Envelope

$361.00 Garden Envelope

$700.00 Christmas Envelope

$70.00 Hawaii Trip Envelope

$70.00 Electric Vehicle Envelope

$0.00 Gift Fund

$0.00 Fishing Expenses Envelope

$0.00 Summer Things

$0.00 Bulk Meat Fund

 

 

Payday Report for 9/29/2023

October 1st, 2023 at 12:40 am

I haven't done this in a long time, and I'm picking a paycheck from a three paycheck month that is missing all the regular deductions except taxes and retirement and one with a lot of overtime on it, giving us a little over $2K above a normal paycheck, but we purchased a lot of items this month on the Citi card that were much needed and DH had to get round trip plane tickets to Salt Lake City.

Those will get refunded eventually and to pay for his hotel in advance.  His company card expired and he was supposed to get a new one, but he leaves tomorrow and the card didn't arrive until yesterday.  In the past they haven't been all the quick with refunds, but they do pay any interest that might accrue.  He's already turned the receipts in and he will have the company card for his meals at least and rental car while he's down there.

The refunded money will get plopped into the medical fund as DD has surgery coming up in January right as the deductible restarts.

Anywho, here is how the paycheck went out the door.

$577.86 Tithe

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

_200.00 Snowblower Fund

_500.00 Medical Fund

3000.76 Citi

_150.00 Phone/Computer Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

__20.00 Bed Frame/Mattress Envelope

_500.00 Bathroom Repair Fund

_150.00 Christmas Fund

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

$5,788.62 Total Money Out

Meal Plan for Week 2 of Food Waste Reduction Challenge

September 19th, 2023 at 04:13 am

Okay, now that I've sent in my post on how I did during week one, here is my plan for week two.  I've decided to take it easy on myself, because I still have this cold, or possibly a sinus infection, and it is dragging me down and I don't want to have to work too hard at making dinners right now.

Meal One: Beef Stew--Jarred beef, jarred potatoes, jarred carrots, low sodium beef gravy powder, low sodium beef broth, fresh garden green beans on the side

Meal Two: Fresh Spaghetti (shorter cook time), low sodium basil garlic spaghetti sauce, and frozen homemade turkey and lamb meatballs, salad on the side

Meal Three: Baked salmon (wild caught by us), corn on the cob, fresh garden green beans, baked potatoes

Meal Four: Pork chops smothered in homemade onion gravy, baked potatoes, and steamed cabbage

Meal Five: Chicken with Meditrranean Vegetables and Seasoned Rice

Meal Six: Steak with sweet potatoes and broccoli

Meal Seven: Extra Large Chicken Stew, 12 b/s chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces, with 4 large potatoes, 4 sweet potatoes, 4 carrots, 1 large parsnip, 1 large turnip, 4 stalks of celery, 1 onion, all veggies cut into bite size chunks, 2 packs of chicken or turkey gravy (low sodium) and chicken or turkey broth (low sodium) to make the gravy up.  Cook in crock pot 8 hours on low.  Serves four for dinner and makes several lunches for the week or for the freezer.

My son will be helping with peeling and chopping.

Getting Positive about Cutting Grocery Costs

September 6th, 2023 at 12:36 am

Now that I've got a lot of meat in the freezer and only need to buy chicken which has been going on some pretty good cyclic sales around here, we can focus on better fruits and veggies during the rest of the year.  I want to bring my grocery budget back down from $500 to $400 every two weeks and then I want to bring it down to $300, but with that extra $100 going for food to can or dry goods to put away, like pasta and rice and such.  But another goal besides spending so much money is also to stop wasting money by stopping so much food from going out the door to our compost pile and garbage can.

Because the food waste has gotten to be a problem again and I'm wondering if we can get an organic waste garbage can and cut down our regular garbage can to every two weeks instead of every week.  We already recycle a lot, but we do throw out some things we can't compost like meat scraps and some food containers we can't recycle, like when an egg cracks in a cardboard egg carton.  And weeds can go in there, too, like morning glory that we don't want to compost, or the mowing with dandelion blossoms or thistle blossoms in it.  Or any other weed flowers before they go to seed.

While we can afford these things currently, things don't seem to be getting better, and I really used to be good about keeping the grocery budget down and the food waste low and I'm not anymore.

I see the main reasons for this as the following:

1. I am not keeping track of what is in the fridge so I am buying more than I need of certain vegetables I already have at home.  Particularly salad fixings and lettuce.

2. Stuff gets pushed to the back of the fridge, so people forget about their personal leftovers.

3. Stuff gets pushed to the back of the fridge, so I forget about family leftovers, like mashed potatoes or green beans or leftover pot roast.

4. I have quit meal planning.

5. I let myself fall into a cooking funk after my arm got messed up after my angiogram.  I didn't want to and I didn't care.  Takeout crept in.

6. I quit meal prepping despite wanting to.

7. I quit doing freezer meals despite wanting to.

So, I am planning to turn this around.  I am going to keep a large white board by the fridge that keeps track of the food in it and when you take one you erase the amount and write in the new total or 0.  If you finish the last of a thing, you also write it on the white board grocery list, and alert me of that fact.  With butter, milk, eggs, and bread, you alert me when we are down to half of the last thing.

Write down personal leftovers and family leftovers and cross them off as they get eaten.  I am out of my funk so start meal planning.  My arm is mostly working okay, so stop using it as an excuse unless it is really hurting and when it is tag in the son or the husband.  They can make certain meals so make them even if it goes off the meal plan.

Do individual breakfast and lunch meal prepping with my son.  Do some frezer meals for dinner so I have something when I feel awful or the day is going to be really busy.

Start meal planning again.  When I was feeling like crap I spent a lot of time looking up new recipes.  Some I've even cooked and they went over really well. 

I've worked out several meals so far that I can do for a meal plan for this month.  Some of them are new dinners, some I've only tried once but were approved, and some are much loved favorites.  I was just bored and wanted to switch up the repetoire.  Being bored with cooking is never a good thing, because you just kind of sit there and stare into space about what you want to cook for dinner and then the time to start comes and goes and you end up getting take out again.

Which is not something I want to do.  We need to be saving money, not wasting it.  So for the month of November, I don't want to do take out.  I want to spend only our grocery money, not money on takeaway.  I'd like to come up with enough meals for the whole month.  Right now I've got enough for nearly 3 weeks.  I want to get a month or two just written down so I can pull from them when I make a weekly plan.  I know what I am making today and tomorrow so I don't go into a brick wall at dinner time and I am preparing my grocery list for the rest of the week by first looking through the two fridges to see what we have and whether or not it is still good or not.  Going to Seattle for a few days when we did probably means a few foods went bad.

I'll also want to check the garden for zucchini gone wild and strawberries visiting crazy town and pick peppers and green beans.  Because if we have free food growing in the garden that we can eat, of course we want to do that first before buying anything.  The broccoli might even be ready by now, too.

Then I can actually fill up the meal plan properly.  The plan is to do some meal prep kits for breakfasts and some for lunches and then have things chopped up for dinner, even potatoes, but they will be in water so they don't turn brown, so all we have to do when it is time to make dinner is assemble everything in the right order or all together or into separate cooking devices or into one and with directions anyone can follow so if I am out stuff can still get going on time.

If whoever is supposed to doesn't forget to, then we can run like clockwork and we can get stuff done at the right time to get us all on a decent eating schedule with decent food that should help us all lose weight, give my son and I a set time in the day to exercise, and time in the evening to work on getting the house cleaned up after me being down for so long.  I swear, if I am not there to direct people the house just turns into a pig sty and it is time for a deep clean of everything.  I guess Fall Cleaning.  It's not technically fall but the weather has turned and the leaves are not green anymore, so I'm counting it.  Time to get life back under control again.

I Brought Home a Cow

September 1st, 2023 at 06:07 am

Well, technically I bought a steer after saving up for him for a year.  And he fills up 2/3 of my ginormous garage chest freezer (the biggest on the market), and 1/3 of my mini chest freezer in the house.  The rest of the mini chest freezer has what is left of the last beef we bought, mostly a grocery bag of hamburger, then round steaks, round roasts, bottom round, top round, eye of round, can you tell I don't like round cuts?  I also found some sirloin tip roasts and all the soup bones. So those are setting on top of everything else to get used first.  It's not a lot, just 3 grocery bags worth, which will go quickly with my family.  The rest of the chest freezer is filled with what is left from our hog, a turkey, and a couple packs of chicken.

The steer had a hanging weight of 674 pounds.  The cost to us from the farmer was $3.75 per pound, which came out to $2527.50.  The cost from the meat company to slaughter was $135 and the includes the disposal fee of the waste products.  The cut and wrap fee was .92 a pound.  We did not get the organ meats this year, but we did get the tail for making oxtail soup.  We did not get the tallow.  We did lose some bone, but got the soup bones.  So our overall weight that was wrapped was only 653 pounds, giving us a total of $600.65.

We had all of the round cuts made into hamburger this year, along with the usual meat that goes into hamburger and then had half of that made into hamburger patties, so we ended up with 86 pounds of hamburger patties, 4 to a 1 pound package, which had a fee of .80 per package or $68.80.  And yes, I could have saved that fee and made them myself, I even have the press to do it, but you know what inevitably happens?  I don't and we end up buying a bag of grassfed burgers, even though I have plenty of grass fed hamburger at home.  So this year we decided to just do it and I am so glad we did, even if raises our overall price a bit.  We eat burgers a lot, probably once a week to every 10 days.

So that brought the price from the meat company up to $804.56 and since it is a service, the state gets to charge taxes on it, even though food in its raw state is not taxed otherwise.  Taxes came to $70.80.  Bringing their portion to $875.36.  Adding $875.36 to $2527.50 brought my total to $3402.86, which was $90.11 more than I had in my account, so I had to scrape that up.  But I had $16.50 in my coin jar to roll and I had a $47 check refund and I took some cash out of the household envelope and then $3 out of grocery envelope and made up the rest with change from my purse.  I would have just taken it all from the groceries if I needed to, but I wanted to see if I could drum it up if I could.  If I hadn't done the patties I would have almost had enough.  But I wanted those patties.

Anyway, so if I take the total of $3402.86 and divide it by 674 hanging weight it comes out to just shy of $5.05/lb for grass fed beef.  If I divide it by 653, which would be closer to what we are actually left with, it would be $5.21 a pound.  Even considering bone waste, which we don't really have, since we save all our bones for bone broth before we toss them, it would still be at the max $6/lb for grass fed beef.  So I am very happy with that.  It's not that far off from what we paid two years ago, despite having a bigger steer this year and it being 25 cents more per pound and the kill fee and the cut and wrap fee being higher.  I'm really surprised.

We took the time to organize things.  Roasts in one and a half compartments.  Steaks in one and a half compartments, and those steaks alternating, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, so we don't do something like eat all the ribeyes first, then eat all the t-bones, then eat all the sirloin.  We go through them equally.  We took the weird cut steaks in the house, like tenderloin, flank, and skirt.  It'll make it so much easier to know what compartment to go and grab from.  We've kind of tried this in the past, but stuff has gotten mixed around too much so everyone has been warned not to screw with the system this year.  It really will save a lot of time searching for stuff.

My next focus will be to take those soup bones from the last steer and make them into low sodium bone broth, which I will need for a lot of the new recipes I have been trying out.  While I did find a good broth from Bonafide, it is expensive and I'd rather save it for making soup, not gravy or sauce.  Then I will take the new soup bones and make broth with them, too.  Just want to get it done and have the space because I have a bunch of tiny zucchini coming on that I will need to be shredding and putting in the freezer in about a week and a half.

It took my son and I 45 minutes to load it into the van, but we were also sorting the different cuts into different boxes and insulated bags.  Then when we got home DH was off work.  After figureing out what went in the house, we took the rest to the garage.  It took about an hour to get it all back there, mostly because we kept having to stop and rest.  It's one thing to be able to back right up to a loading dock and move stuff a few feet, it's another thing to have to walk 40 feet with 40 pounds of meat (DH) and 15 pounds of meat (me).  But at least we got it done.  And we were both exhausted.

My elbow from the side I had the catheterization on can't support any weight today without pain, so I'm back to that, but at least my hand is working fine.  And it was worth it.  That meat is going to last us a long time.  Probably 18 months, since we have a lot of fish and pork in the freezer, too.  We are low on chicken, but I buy that as it goes on sale.  It is the only thing I don't buy organic or fish for wild.

Organic chicken is so expensive and I can't see paying $30 for one chicken.  And I'm not set up to raise chickens anymore, nor do I have the energy or physical capabilities or desire.  The best I can do is look for ones not pumped full of brine.  Not the easiest of tasks.  Maybe that's just something I will have to save up for next.  102 chickens will not come cheap and would require another chest freezer.  So probably out of the question.  But it would help us on our road to health.  We all feel better when we eat truly organic or wild food, from farmers we trust, and our own fishing lines or prawn or crab traps, so when we can afford it the transition will be fully made.

 

On to Better News--Unexpected Raise and Maxing Out Retirement? Maybe

August 11th, 2023 at 06:49 pm

DH got a raise!  Neither one of us was expecting it after last year's raise-a-paloosa.  It's more than a cost of living raise of 2% which everyone got at least that much, but somewhere around 3.2%, so a bit higher.  They are trying to create a new position for DH that doesn't exist yet, and that may take until next year, and with that should come another pay bump, but I'm not counting chickens.  This was a nice, unexpected raise of $5200 a year.  I don't have the exact number, because of course when I finally go to write about it, I've misplaced the paper, so chore number 3 for me today, after writing this and paying a doctor's bill, will be to clean off my desk and sort through the paperwork.

So that should work out to $433 per month or $200 per paycheck.  Before taxes.  I'm thinking we should just put the raise into the 401K and pretend it isn't there and then we don't have to worry about it messing up the budget or possibly being bumped into a new tax bracket.  Although all the overtime this year might do that anyway.

Right now we have contributed $16,941.51 to the 401K and have $5,558.49 to go to hit the regular max of $22,500 for the year and we will get that just with his regular pay and the OT will put us over somewhat.  It will be the first time ever we have hit the regular max.  Since we are both over 50, though, we can go for the catch up max of an additional $7500, which would put us at a $30,000 max for the year if we want to try for that.  I don't know if we can get the $30,000 max, but with any extra, it might be wiser to take the extra money and open up a spousal Roth IRA for me.

It would be nice to have some money that has already been taxed to use later in life.  If whoever  is in charge of the government at that time doesn't screw things up and mess with money that isn't protected in a 401K.  I just don't know how much we would have to have to start it up.  I know he can start up a Roth for himself through the same company his 401K uses and his company will just deposit the after tax money right into the account from his paycheck, but I don't know if they will do that for a spousal IRA, too.  We will have to look into it.  The 401K company just sent us some paperwork about him opening a Roth and gave a number to call if we wanted to talk to them about it.

I'm not sure when the raise will start.  DH and everyone else was told it would be on the last paycheck and it wasn't, so who knows?  It might show up on the next one.  They said first paycheck in August, but maybe they meant first pay period in August.

Maybe I'll just bump the percentage up in the 401K until we hit the $22,000 max goal and then when we do that, we can decide what to do next?  We have time to open an IRA for me.  I know I have said that year after year, but this year we might actually be able to do it.

The 401K is finally making serious strides and not only that, the IRA is finally back above $13K.  It needs to hit $13,900 something to be where it was before February 2021.  It's taken a long time to climb back.

$107,392.57 Amount in 401K

+_13,052.63 Amount in IRA

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

$120,445.20 Total Retirement

That is a rise of $7101.69 since the last time I updated my side bar.  That also raises my net worth to $214,619.04.  Maybe if we push hard with retirement, we will have a quarter of a million dollars in net worth by the end of 2024.  That would be amazing, because it would mean we went from paying off $250,000 in debt when you add in interest, to being worth $250,000.  It is an interesting parallel.  Back in the debt days, I never, ever thought we would get close to having that without a positive number in front of it.  Meanwhile, my next goal is $225K. Onward towards that.  I just have to keep our spending in check.

What do you know?  I made it through that entire post without it hurting my hand until the end, and even then it is not too bad.  Things are getting better.  Still lumpy, but better.  Hope everyone is having a great day.

 

 

Take Out Food Can Cost You in More Ways than One

June 25th, 2023 at 09:12 pm

Last night I started a ten day process on getting the freezer full of individual frozen dinners for me to have ready to heat and eat like TV dinners, only homemade. I am eating healthier by avoiding takeout now.  I have always read ingredients and have been having some of the cleaner, healthier geared ones, which are still full of sodium, something I have to be careful with.  If I cook it myself, I can avoid putting in a ton of salt and if I make it gluten free, I can avoid a lot of the fillers put into food.

I cup up one of the store bought turkeys that was in our chest freezer.  We had bought one for Halloween and one for Christmas, but of course we got hit by Covid the week of Thanksgiving and I was still pretty sick the week of Christmas, we all were still exhauted and dragging, so we cancelled both holidays except the gift giving part at Christmas where MIL came in to our house and she and my mom kept a nice safe distance across the living room from us.

Anyway, cutting up a turkey is a lot harder than cutting up a chicken or a rabbit, but I got most of it done.  It was worth it in the end because it was an organic turkey with no ingredients other than turkey.  I did have to have my husband come and split the breat in half, because I chose not to keep it whole and I chose not to filet it.  I like roasting them, and in order to fit them in our little pressure oven, I have to cut them in half or they will touch the ceiling.  I keep the skin on and the bone in because it gives extra flavor to the bird.  Then after it cooks, I will filet the breast meat from the bone and slice it.

I did the legs, thighs, and neck last night for dinner and there is a lot of that left, too, and enough drippings to make stuffing and gravy.  So after I put one half of the turkey breast in to pressure roast, I'll start one of the Instant Pots going with two of the back pieces that were quite meaty, the wing tips, and some other scraps that came off, cover it with filtered water, and seasoning, and make stock.

Then I'll prepare my stuffing on the stove and put it in the oven for an hour (yes, I know it is technically dressing when it isn't inside the bird).  While it is baking, I will make gluten free no salt gravy with lots of herbs, while my husband makes a box of Instant potatoes (just potato flakes) for me (they do better in TV dinners).  Then I will take a break for dinner while everything cools and then put the other turkey breast in to pressure roast.

After dinner I will start assembling turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy in the big compartment and either frozen green beans, or frozen mixed veggies in the small compartment.  If I have one with two small compartments and one large, I'll put the stuffing in the second one.  Frozen corn, and frozen carrots would work, too, if you don't mind the whole dinner being frozen carbs beside the protein.  So would peas, but not in my world.  Peas are meant to be an ingredient used sparingly in rice or soup, not an entire serving by itself.

By then the stock should be done and I can strain it into another pot.  The bones can be picked free of any meat and then put back into the Instant Pot with the bones I saved from the thigh and leg meat.  I will be using some of the broth for the liquid as I make the gravy on the second batch, since I won't have potato water from making the gravy and I will use gluten free flour, so the meals will remaining gluten free.

With any remaining meat, I will do turkey tip bowls and soup.  You know how you have steak tips in gravy?  Well, this will be turkey tips in gravy over mashed potatoes, with corn and cheese mixed in and then a green vegetable can be added like a can of green beans, frozen broccoli, or a salad, along with a biscuit or two.  I will make some up and put them in the freezer so they can warm them up when they want them.  It's basically a famous bowl from KFC only without it having crispy chicken in it.  They like those.  My version will be gluten free.

I plan to repeat this with meatloaf, a mix of roasted sweet potatoes, turnips, potatoes, and parsnips, and then for the non-root veggies, zucchini, summer squash, or green beans.  I will vary the meatloaf between ketchup, BBQ sauce, meatloaf gravy, and plain.  If I have some plain ones, my daughter can have one of those.  These meals are mostly for me, but this way she can have one or two.  She is the only one who can't fend for herself.

Now I have also cut the wings in half, so I have two flats and two drums from that.  They are large enough for the drums to be two meals and the flats to be one meal, so I will fry those up to make three meals.  I will season them with sazon and I will do sweet potato wedges and green beans for those.  I will air fry those and then warm them up in the air fryer.

For another one, I am going to buy a bag of gluten free chicken strips that I like and fry them up and divide them into the TV dinner trays and add mashed potatoes and green beans.

I think if I have the energy I will make turkey and sausage meatballs with my sauce over gluten free pasta, bake it, and then put it in aluminum containers to warm up.

I'd also like to make up some steak tips in gravy, baby potatoes, and zucchini and summer squash.

My son has promised to help, but we all know how that goes.  I just don't want to fall back on store-bought TV dinners (except the chicken strips, which are pretty clean).  I don't want my family eating out, either, so I need to make sure there are family frozen dinners for them, too, like a ham dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, cheezy ham and rice bake, turkey enchilada bake, a family size meatloaf dinner (in the freezer already), a ravioli bake (in the freezer already), spaghetti and meatballs, and taco mix, maybe some pizza blanks.  Just enough to keep them going for a week to ten days.

I'll lay out recipes for my son and make sure he understands them and the ingredients he may need to buy, in case my heart is worse than expected and I take longer than a week to recover from this.  He is a good cook and I've taught him a lot, but he tends to stick to stir-fries a lot because they are easy.  After I am better, I will have my own individual meals for a while and I can serve them some of the things I don't like, like Chicken linguine Alfredo and not have to cook a second meal for me.

Eventually, I want to make enough meals that anyone can grab a TV dinner and eat it if they don't like the main meal or if no one wants to cook.  Take out is expensive.  Store-bought TV dinners are expensive.  This way is the cheapest way to do it and I won't feel like the dollars in my food budget are just slipping through my hands or worse, the Citi card being used too much to buy takeout because we are tired or unprepared.

I do pay it off in full each month, but has gotten to be a bad habit and I am worried we are slipping further and further into bad habits and one day buying food like this might push us to the point that we will have a month where we don't have enough money to pay the bill in full.  It's a slipperly slope.  I still guard against that every day, but I don't think I am guarding as hard as I should be these days.  It's a slippery slope and I need to get back off the mountain and go back to using the credit card only for automatic payments and at Costco for cash rewards, as was intended.

I need that extra money for other things right now, namely the bathroom rebuild.  I know some of the spending can't be helped with my heart being so underpowered and my husband working so many hours, but I am just going to have to put my head down, take it slow, and try harder.

It's a nice beautiful day, so I am going to go keep my husband company in the garden and if I have the stamina, pull some weeds.  The beans are surrounded and need some help or they will surrender.

Payday Report for 6/23/23

June 24th, 2023 at 04:00 am

DH has been working between 80 and 90 hours a week since April 23.  Unless I have to slow him down when he starts getting hollow eyed.  Or when he got sick a couple weeks ago and he took 1 day off.  I won't let him work through the weekends, since the only reason I agreed to this was that he helped me in the garden on the weekends, since he was supposed to take two weeks off of work in May to get the garden going.  Well, the garden still hasn't really gotten going very much, because he's been too tired.

They do give them meal breaks (lunch, dinner, second dinner), regular breaks, and "oh, my gosh, my head is going to explode, I need to do a lap around a building or two to clear it," breaks.  They can snack at their desks whenever they want.  Some of them are working 110 hours a week.

Unfortunately, with my heart and him going down with some kind of bacterial infection in his leg so that he was unable to do much more than eat, sleep, and otherwise work from 8 a.m. until 10 or 11 p.m. and not being home until midnight, and my son hurting his back, we ended up having a lot of food delivered for 3 weeks.  That was very pricey, hence the Citi bill.  $800 of that is for automatic payments that are put on the card, but the rest was takeout food.  I didn't use $250 of the grocery budget so that got redistrubuted into my other envelopes.  Anyway, this is how the paycheck got disbursed.

$478.55 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_800.00 Bathroom Replacement Fund

_150.00 Gas Money Envelope

2367.05 Citi Card Payment

__95.47 DH Life Insurance

__80.74 My Life Insurance

__48.71 DH Long Term Care Insurance

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Allowance

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

$4785.52

Other Fund Updates

June 8th, 2023 at 12:11 am

Just thought I'd give an update on how my other funds are doing, too.  Some of them are funds that are much shorter term, some of them are long term, and some of them are very long term and won't be included like the medical fund or the garden fund, because those are rolling funds, money in and out constantly, at least at this time of year with the garden fund and always with the medical fund.

$2500 Bulk Meat Fund  This is earmarked for our steer which is due to be butchered in July.  I allowed for a few hundred more than last year since the cut and wrap fee has gone up slightly per pound and the kill fee has gone up $10.

$400.00 Car Maintenance Fund  This is for things like brakes, oil changes, line flushes, wind shield wipers, fluid replacement, air filters, cabin filters, new tires, engine work, etc.  Some of the minor things we do ourselves.  Things that are necessary to make the car run.

$50.00 Car Expenses Fund  These are things like registration with the tabs for the license plates (just got done paying so it is low), paint job, body work, detailing.  Basically cosmetic things that will make the car look nicer, but aren't necessary.  I put registration in here just because I didn't want to make a whole envelope just for it.

$480.00 Fishing Expenses Fund  This fund pays for licenses and gas for fishing.  I am not sure if we are going to be doing any fishing, shrimping, or crabbing this year.  DH has a bad bacterial infection in his leg and it is causing him a lot of pain and swelling. Plus with all the overtime, I don't know if he can take the time off.  So this money may end up getting swept up into the House Expenses Fund.

$1100.00  House Expenses Fund  This covers things like Repairs, Insurance, and Taxes.  Since the latter two are covered for some time yet, everything I am saving here is going towards the bathroom repair.

$600.00 Summer Things Fund  This is for buying a pop up canopy, a propane grill, and eventually, maybe next summer, I'll start saving for a hot tub.  I'm not sure if I'll even buy any of this stuff this year.  The B.C. wildfires have already started and they are sharing their smoke with us down here.  I figured we'd have another month.  Now I don't know if we'll even get the rest of the garden in, because you can't work in that even with masks on.  And with DH's leg, we weren't able to rototill the last patch of land we need for the tomatoes.  And this was supposed to be my big tomato and pepper year.  It's been windy a lot the last couple of weeks so hopefully it will blow this stuff out to sea,

$65.00 Hawaii Trip Fund  This is a far on the horizon trip.  I am not saving large amounts for it at all.  Usually $5 to $10 a payday.  I just want to feel like I'm putting something towards it.  If the bathroom hadn't happened, I was going to start saving up in earnest for this at the start of next year.

$65.00  Electric Vehicle Fund  Like the previous fund, this is a far on the horizon fund.  Both vehicles we have are functioning perfectly and we plan to drive them until they can't drive anymore or the parts to fix them are no longer available.  Or Washington outlaws gas vehicles altogether.  When that time comes I want to be able to purchase a vehicle in cash.  Two would be nice, but by then we might need a truck anymore.  2030 is when we can't buy new gas powered vehicles in my state anymore, but I bet used ones won't be far behind.  Unless there is a very big change in our leadership and we break away from the lockstep of California and Oregon or we get a huge influx of centrists or republicans, I don't see gas powered vehicles continuing on much past 2035 or 2040.  In 2040 I'll be 70 and won't be wanting to drive much anyway and it will probably all be AI driven cars anyway.  But I have to wait for the bathroom to be fixed and I will start saving for this equally with the Hawaii trip.

$60.00  DD's Phone Fund  This is just DD's contributions so far.  I will be contributing, just not yet.  We are doing DS's phone first since his fell apart and he took a loan from MIL to get a new one.  We are contributing $500 towards his and $500 towards hers, but I wasn't expecting it and it wasnt in the budget yet.  Hers was planned for this month, but had to become his.  Hers still works, though, just the battery is only at 50%, but she never goes anywhere when she's not with me and it last through waiting at the doctor's office so she's still good.  I will be able to make my full contribution towards her phone in July and then she will have to save up the rest and add in her birthday money.  To be honest I might contribute more to her, since she doesn't make as much as her brother does doing chores since she is disable and can barely do anything.

$60.00  DS's Phone Fund  Again this is just DS's contribution so far.  I will make a $150 contribution on Friday and then on the payday after that $350, so our contribution will be done in June for him.

$11.00  Furniture Fund  This will start off by going for a new adjustable bed frame and mattress in the full size, and then will go toward a recliner that lifts you to a standing position.  I am downgrading my bed from a king to a full and then will add a recliner.  DH sleeps in his own room because he gets up very early for work and I have bad insomnia, it takes me forever to fall asleep, so if I get woken up that's it for me.  And I can't run on 4 to 6 hours of sleep.  I can barely function on 7 to 8, because even with a c-pap machine I don't get enough sleep.  And he's a tosser and turner which also wakes me up.  So there is just no point in my having a king size bed.

Plus, they have ruined by bed by sitting on it and creating a wallow, so that when I raise the feet it is lopsided.  Also, it is the side of the bed I sleep on, so my legs go down into it and it is hard on my hip.  The other side of the bed is too close to the window and I'd have to walk sideways to get into bed that way and because of my hip I can't walk sideways.  So the wallow is why I want to get the chair, too, so that they can sit in the chair instead of my bed.  Well, and I want it for when I need a change, because of my hip and tailbone.  Then anyone coming in to talk can sit in my computer chair.  It wouldn't be so bad if my husband and daughter didn't weigh so much, but it is a lot of weight to put in one section of the bed, day after day, when beds are meant to have the weight distributed and the foot is usually the weakest part of the bed frame.

Anyway, those are all my current funds.  At least I am earning interest while I save up.  It's still not much, but it is much better than it was.  I don't know if I trust the banks enough yet to put it back into C1-360.  My credit union is nice and safe.  Between these funds and the almost $10,500 of my emergency fund, well, that is a lot to lose for me.  I can't remember if it was last week or the week before when the government seized another failing bank, so that stuff is still going on.  They are keeping it much quieter, but it happened.  So I am still willing to forego the higher paying account for the time being.

 

Retirement, Emergency Fund, and Net Worth Updates

June 7th, 2023 at 11:08 pm

I updated my sidebar.  There has been some serious progress made in DH's 401K since the last time I upated retirement and of course that has propelled net worth forward a great deal.  DH has been working 80 hour weeks since the last week of April, so that has doubled his contributions and it has doubled the amount that his work has put in as well.  So 3/4 of the rise is due to contributions.

The rate of return for the year isn't great compared to any time in his working life except the two Obama years in a recession and last year (also was in a far worse recession by definition even though they won't call it one), but it is almost 8% for the year at the moment, which I will happily take over the negative of last year, or the 2% and 3.5% we earned during those two Obama years, which at least were still positive.

I remember how excited I got when our net worth hit $100K and then $150K and now $175K. We will soon be closing in on $200K.  I know they say once you hit the first $100K stuff starts to pile up more quickly, but it is really weird to see it.  Usually at the end of June is when they dump in more company stock, too.  I'm not sure how much DH will get.  You get a certain percentage just for working there, based on how many years you have worked there, but it doesn't vest for 3 or 4 years, and then you get bonus shares on top of it based on how many hours you have worked beyond your regular hours, and how high up in the company you are, if you have gone above and beyond your duties, etc.  And sometimes there are bonus shares if someone has retired and sold back their shares, which you have to do when you retire.

Anyway, DH is now fully vested in both his company stock and his 401K, so it is all his.  He loves his job and he isn't going to leave it, but if he suddenly had to he could roll over the full 401K and sell back the full amount of stock.  That's always a good place to sit.

I also updated the Emergency Fund.  It was off by $500.01.  That was a payment to the mold guy.

I had a great dream last night that my mother won the lottery, the biggest jackpot ever recorded, and we never had to worry about money again.  A nice retirement was assured.  Wouldn't that be piece of mind?

Payday Report for 1-6-23

January 10th, 2023 at 08:46 am

My computer keyboard is being wonky as...well, I don't swear, but if I did, you can fill in the blank with the word of your choosing but mine has an f in it, because I am that annoyed at it.  I need to get a can of spray air and give it a good whooshing.  So I will try to get this posted again without erasing it.  My analysis will be at the end.

$361.23 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Groceries

_400.00 Homeowner's Insurance

__75.00 Household Expenses Envelope

__70.00 Groceries

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__30.00 DD Spending Money

__75.00 DS Spending Money

_100.00 Computer Fund

_123.70 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

1110.40 Citi

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

3612.33 Total Money Out

For the groceries category, I still funded it even though we are doing the eat from the pantry challenge this month.  We are still allowed to buy things like fresh produce, milk, and a couple of other items.  Obviously not $400.00 worth of items, but whatever is left of that money will go into the Meat Fund, as we have started saving up for a steer for the freezer.  It currently has $120.00 in its envelope.

Homeowner's insurance isn't due for a couple of months, but I wanted to get it saved and in the bank right away.  I don't want to have to deal with it popping up suddenly, so I planned for it right off the bat.  I'll do the same with property taxes next payday.  I pay half for this stuff and Mom pays the other half.  Whenever she is ready to pay it, then I can transfer it out of savings and writer he a check.

You will note that I made a deposit to the emergency fund this payday.  The plan is to do $500 every 4 weeks.  The majority will come out of the second paycheck of the month, but I still made a deposit.  It is nice to start moving forward again.  I'd really like to get back to 3 months of income again.

I feel a bit better now that I have a balance of $200 in the car maintenance envelope.  We really wiped it out with getting all that maintenance work done two months ago.  I feel like we can handle anything small right now, but I'll feel a lot better when this gets back up to $500 and then $1000.  So much could go wrong with older vehicles, even though we keep them in tip top shape.

We did too much spending on the Citi card in the month of December.  With Covid we ordered too much take out in weeks 3, 4, and 5.  We could order and pay online and my mother would go pick it up and leave it at the top of the stairs for us and then call us that it was there.  It was pretty easy when no one had the stamina to cook.  Next payday will be about the same payment as this one.  This month I am determined to not do that, hence the pantry challenge.  And then I hope to stay in this habit, because we really do feel a lot better eating homemade meals.  And it'll save us the $100 or so it costs to get takeout for four adults these days.

I did buy a budget binder in December and it came a few days ago.  I transferred a lot of the money from my Dave Ramsey wallet, leaving only grocery and household money in there.  I was carrying too much money around in the envelopes and if something happened and I lost my purse, I did not want to lose all that money.  So I have nice pvc envelopes now for my different categories and most of them have stickers on them to show what they are.  I have a whole bunch from my scrapbooking days, so I didn't have to spend on those.  It's cute and fun and more importantly, safe.

So that's about it, really.  Thus endeth my payday report.

Payday Report for 12/23/2022 Including Bonuses

December 23rd, 2022 at 08:01 pm

$3584.10 Paycheck Amount

$1188.48 Christmas Bonus after Taxes (was $1700)

$1048.66 Extra Bonus for Being Exemplary (was $1500)

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

$5821.24 Total Money for Working Budget

So DH did very well for himself this year with the bonuses.  The company did very well for itself so they had extra money to divvy up and while everyone got a Christmas bonus based on a percentage of their pay, DH got an extra one based on those who did work above and beyond, showed leadership, and handled every curveball thrown at them.  He's now fifth in line for the top role at the company.  He needs a lot more experience and a longer work history with this company, but in about ten years he will have that and people above him will be retiring, except his direct boss.  They are giving him more responsibility with that in mind and he did great with it this year.  Anyway, I am done bragging now.  On to the budget for this paycheck.

Remember I run a $0 dollar based budget.  Every dollar, every penny has a job to do.

$582.12 Tithe

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Chiropractor

_150.00 Gas Money Envelope

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__87.15 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__30.00 Spending Money DD

__70.36 Emergency Fund

__651.27 Three New Tires for the Truck

1154.21 New Computer

__50.00 Spending Money DH

__50.00 Spending Money Me

_200.00 Chrismas Money Me

_496.23 Winter Jackets for 4 of Us

_313.22 Snow Boots for 3 of Us

_773.87 Citi for Auto Pays (Phone, Internet, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius, Etc.)

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

5821.24 Total Money Out

The bonuses were paid on the 15th and we used a lot of that for the coats, snow boots, and tires.  Just in time, too.  I was the last one to get their Christmas money because I did not want a present, I wanted money.  I am saving up for something.  The new computer took up the rest of the money, plus, I think, a little more, but I haven't done the math there.  I'm going to start saving for the next computer now.

Anyway, that is the budget for this paycheck.  It feels good to not have run the credit card up this month.  Even with everyone being so sick with Covid we didn't get a ton of take out because no one was well enough to go get it and I am not going to pay for delivery.  So the card didn't get charged up.

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 01:26 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

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

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 10:44 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 06:35 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 02:08 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

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

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 05:58 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 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!

 


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