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Payday Report

April 2nd, 2022 at 09:51 pm

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

$413.51 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

1000.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

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

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage Temp Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Temp Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_310.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan

_420.24 Citi

_250.00 Mom's Property Tax

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4135.13 Total Money Out

Interest, Emergency Fund, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates

April 2nd, 2022 at 09:35 pm

We recieved our dividend check from Louisianna Pacific for .70 last week (I think) and the interest income from C1-360 was $4.81.  I also had $15.50 in rolled coins.  I haven't checked the other two accounts but they are generally pennies.  I'll do that later.  Anyway, altogether that made the deposit to the Emergency Fund $21.01. We've already hit six month's expenses, so now I am working on hitting one year's expenses, but slowly.  I've other things to save for.

$20,264.50 Starting Balance

+__,_21.01 Deposit

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$20,285.51 New Balance

They haven't dropped this paycheck's contribution into the retirement account yet, but last payday's finally showed up.  With all the OT DH's contribution was around $1450, but it has gone up by $2639.45 since last I updated, so finally starting to make some gains.  The 401K is only down by 5.08% for the year, instead of 11%, so that's something.  Not sure on the IRA, but it hasn't moved much if at all in the past two weeks.  It's still down by around $700 from it's high.  So the new retirement total is $75,104.61.

That means NW is up by a total of $2660.46 between the EF and Retirement.  The new net worth is $133,303.40.  It's nice to see some real progress again.

I'm not going to add it in to Net Worth, but just for fun I checked to see the value of our vehicles again.  I had checked at the start of January to see if it changed our net worth and it was steady.  Well, when I checked it yesterday, the value of our van (54,000 miles) has gone up $2000 and our truck has gone up $500 (288,000 miles).  Toyotas are of greater value due to even higher demand than at the start of the year.  At least in my area.  I wouldn't have even looked, but we were checking prices on used Camry's for when my son has enough money saved, just to know a ballpark to save for, so since I was on there anyway I took a look and was quite pleased. 

Got Paid

March 25th, 2022 at 03:22 am

I got my AdSense payment today, $104.20.  I haven't even made a youtube video since May, I think, but I have two old vidoes that always chug along at the top of my views.  I haven't decided what I am going to do with it yet.  I've kind of lost my mojo at youtube, but maybe that will come back when it is time to start planting in the garden again.  I've thought about using it to upgrade my video editing software, but I don't want to waste it if I don't resume making videos.  I probably will, though.  I just need to get on the right dosage of anti-depressants and I will start caring about things again.

Oh, and Amber, if you are reading this, congratulations on all you have accomplished.  I don't want to deal with the pain in the butt captcha today to leave a comment.

 

Emergency Fund, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates

March 19th, 2022 at 01:39 am

We recieved our safe driver's refund from our insurance company.  It was $42.85, which is about double normal, but maybe it is because we have 3 drivers with no accidents in a year.  I also had $5.12 left after paying all the bills, funding all the envelopes, and funding the medical fund.

$20,216.53 Starting Balance

+__,_47.97 Amount Added

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$20,264.50 New Balance

The deposit out of this week's paycheck has not yet been made to the 401K, but it is still on it's way to recovery.  The IRA is just barely starting to recover and it needs to make up about $800 more before it is back to where it was, but at least it is above $13K again.  It's the first time in a while I haven't felt sick looking at the accounts.  I guess as the Ferengis say, "War is good for business."  I really hate that, but I'll take the recovery and pray for the innocents.  I wish that today's deposit had made it in, though.  With the amount of overtime on there the deposit would have been well over $1000.  Probably won't show up until Monday or Tuesday now.  Usually it shows up on Friday unless there was a banker's holiday during the week. 

Anyway, here's the amounts

$72,456.16 New Balance

_71,759.98 Old Balance

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

$__,705.18 Amount of Change

That brings new worth up by $753.15 to $130,642.94, so finally cracked $130K.

 

This and That

March 18th, 2022 at 06:09 am

I got my mouth guard from the dentist yesterday; best $400 I've spent since getting my orthotics.  It was a pain in the jaw using the broken one for two weeks, but it was better than none.  This one fits like a dream and I had a great night's sleep after not having had very many in the last two weeks.

I can restart my cinzia shots now because surprise, surprise, I am finally well.  Just in time for allergy season to go into gear with the blooming of dogwood and forsythia, but you can't have it all, and they are very beautiful.  I can really feel how bad my rheumatoid arthritis has gotten since having to stop the shots and am looking forward to getting some relief again.  You never realize how well meds can work until you are forced to go off them.

I cheated a bit on dinner tonight.  We got two rotisserie chickens and a 2-pack of ready made potatoes from Costco and made some of my home grown and canned green beans.  Total cost $19.95.  It was way, way cheaper than takeout and I have plenty leftover for making other meals over the next couple of days.  I figure a couple of chicken salads (over lettuce for me) and then some chicken salad (sandwich spread for the others), and quesadillas, and then I will pressure cook the bones in water for chicken stock and can it. We could do this once a week if we wanted to and I could make things like taquitos and enchiladas to vary things up a bit.  DH works very close to Costco and now that he is going into the office 3 days a week, it is very doable without having to waste gas making a special trip.

Speaking of gas, it is at $4.35 per gallon at the cheapy cash only gas station and $4.79 to $4.89 everywhere else.  I did make some budget decisions, one of them being gas.  I've doubled our monthly gas budget to $200.  We may not need that much, but I want to run a surplus in the gas envelope, because who knows how bad this is going to get.

I've also raised the grocery budget by $100 per payday.  With the extra money I'm going to start purchasing more long term pantry items.  I did get my wheat berries in the mail this week.  I still have to get them into mylar bags and buy some buckets with lids, but that can get done either tomorrow or on the weekend.  But I would like to buy more.

I have also raised the amount I am putting into the medical fund by $100 a month to $600.  And as long as DH is working overtime, I will throw extra into it, too.  With the very real possibility that DD will get kicked off our insurance on her birthday and we will have to pay Cobra for 18 months and then who knows what after that, we have to save money for that.

So that really means buckling down about the take out.  I'm still trying to get a disabled dependent exemption, but with having to find a new doctor for her to go to, it's making it really difficult.  You'd think with as many diseases as she has she would be a shoo-in.  And it is stressing me out.  I am trying to use the coping methods my therapist taught me, intead of my old stand-by of carbs, carbs, and more carbs, but it isn't easy.

Well, I better go over the ads and make my grocery list.  It'll be so nice to step foot in a store without a mask on my face.  I won't have to worry so much about my asthma, although I will start having to smell people again with their overwhelmingly scented soaps, lotions, shampoos, body washes, and perfumes, sometimes all on one person with a horrible clashing and clanging from all the different fragrances.  I struggle with that so much because of my synesthesia.  That was something that was mostly gone with the mask.  Still, I think maskless and not aggravating my asthma so much wins.

Bits and Bobs

March 10th, 2022 at 12:31 am

I am almost well enough to get my third booster shot now.  Actually I can't tell if I am still sick or if it is just allergies starting, because there has been pollen on my windshield for the past several days.  I still feel really tired, but I'm functional.  I have started taking my more serious antihistimine, though.

The last few days have been beautiful and in the 50's.  There is still a chilly wind, though.  It is nice even if it still isn't outdoors weather.  I'm not sure what is causing all the pollen.  The nearest daffodils are 4 blocks away and the forsythia haven't started yet.  That basically leaves crocus and no one in the neighborhood but us has them and there are only a dozen blooming.  Not enough to count for the pollen dump.

It looks like the guy who is going to do the mold abatement in the guys' bathroom and repaint it will start next week.  He's also going to do the alcove of the back door area and the room Mom watches tv in that also houses my piano.

I've been holding steady on my weight because I haven't been focused on weight loss while sick.  I also haven't been taking my cinzia, because I am not supposed to while ill.  I think I can restart it on the weekend.  I haven't really noticed any increased rheumatoid symptoms getting worse, but that may be because the weather is warming up.

I looked at all the grocery ads today and made up my shopping list.  I haven't been inside a grocery store in a long time.  DH has been doing the shopping, picking up little things here and there.  But I need to do a bigger shop.  Fred Meyer had the best ads this week, so that will be my main shop, but I think I will also go to Winco.  They never have ads, but they always have the best produce and best produce prices.  We've made it through all the potatoes we grew that weren't sprouted and it's the only place I know where I can get 20 lb bags of potatoes.  We're lucky if we can find anything above 5 lbs anymore.  Since potatoes are pretty much a staple of our diet I just want to buy the one big bag at a time.

We'll see how far my grocery dollars will stretch.  I have been debating about raising my grocery budget by $100 every 2 weeks, but first I want to see if it is necessary.  It'll really depend on the cost of chicken.  Which I'll likely get at Winco, because they always have the cheapest chicken prices.  They also have the turkey chorizo we like.  Since chicken doesn't go on sale anymore, that's where I need to go.  I don't need to buy pork except for a small ham.  I don't need to buy beef or lamb.  If I can find dark turkey parts (necks, wings, backs) either place for cheap, I'll buy those.  They make the best broth.  I might even go for chicken feet if I find them, because that is so much collagen for bone broth.

I have found the tomato strainer I want to buy and also the honey strainer.  I won't use the honey strainer for honey, but it will help in the tomato sauce making department as well as in the bone broth making process, since it is fine enough to catch all the spices that I use in making it instead of having to use cheese cloth, which is harder to clean.

I have been debating on buying a 25 pound bag of hard red wheat berries.  I have my own flour mill, and the wheat is from my state and non-gmo.  This is the type of wheat berry that will make whole wheat flour.  I might get a bag of hard white wheat, too, which is for white flour.  Soft white wheat, if anyone cares, is for making pastry flour.  Wheat berries last a lot longer than flour and these ones are sproutable, so if we wanted to grow it (which I don't) we could.

It's a little $2.24 a pound.  1 cup of wheat berries equals to cups of flour, so it would be like $1.12 a pound for flour.  Which you cannot get anymore.  Not to mention, we haven't been able to find whole wheat flour in months.  So 50 lbs of flour per bag without taking up the room of 50 lbs of flour.  I would have to figure out how to store it, though.  I haven't been able to find food grade 5 gallon buckets in about a year.  But I have found 1/2 gallon and gallon jars, so maybe I can store it in those.

I won't order until I know DH will be back to bring it in the house.  DS has tweaked his back getting my mom up off the floor yesterday.  Just what he needed, since he tweaked his back about six weeks ago.  Mom's okay, but this is the second time in a week she has fallen.  I'm trying to get her to go to the doctor, but she's refusing.  I may have to pull out my medical power of attorney documents and force the issue if it keeps happening.  We'll see.

Well, it's time to make dinner, so that wraps this up.

 

Taxes, IRAs, and Food Strainers for Tomatoes

March 6th, 2022 at 12:51 am

We set DS up with a Traditional IRA today and taught him how to do his taxes.  Of course we have to wait to get paperwork from Vanguard before they actually get submitted, but he dumped $3000 from what he earned last year into it.  So instead of having to pay $300 in taxes, he will now be getting $161 back.

He has been wanting to get this set up for a while and we didn't want to miss it.  I know we still have a month, but I never like to push it.  He would have got more back, but we still claim him as a dependent.  Which we will until he works full time, buys his own groceries (or contributes his share to our groceries), and pays 1/4 of the bills.  Then he can be an independent while still living with us.  He's not even working right now, so it is a moot point.

DH finally sent off our taxes today.  I thought he'd done it in early February like usual, but nope.  So I'll stop looking for it to be deposited and just check on Wednesdays, just not this coming one.  We always seem to get stuff deposited on Wednesdays from the IRS.  We usually do them in February because it only takes a week at that point and because we want to get it in early in case someone tries to pull identity theft.  Someone used DH's SSN back before we were married, and while it wasn't to claim taxes, it was to pay them.

He had to go through the rigamarole of proving that he didn't earn that money, because he wasn't living in California, so that we could prove he didn't earn an extra $50K that year. It was a pain, but since he was working at home, he hadn't started in Alaska, it was pretty easy to prove.  Plus he had receipts from his credit card proving he was making purchases during that time and the location.  So it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

We keep having these beautiful sunny days, but they are too cold to sit outside with the wind.  DS says it is still too cold most days to go on walks.  I want to soak up some sunshine, but I don't want to get chilled.  It's probably just false spring #2.  We can't plant around here until mid-April, but I really need to get my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil going.  I'll have to check the chart for anything else that takes a long time to germinate.

I'm only planting two varieties of tomatoes this year and it'll be mostly Opalka paste tomatoes  They are heirloom and open pollinated, so seeds can be saved from them.  I've grown them before twice with great results.  The tomatoes can be as big as your hand.  These aren't your typical baby romas.  I will also be planting Lillian's yellow heirloom tomatoes.  I'll probably just do two plants there.  Since I am planting organic seeds and using organic planting medium, I will easily be able to sell any extras I don't need.

I'm seriously going to be making homemade tomato sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and ugly sauce (from the yellow tomatoes), and anything else will be quartered or diced.  I need to buy a food strainer.  My food mill that came from my grandmother and was new in 1934, won't hold together anymore.  I am trying to decide between a hand turned one or an electric powered one or just the add on for the Kitchen Aid.  The latter two are quite a bit more expensive, but none of them are out of budget.  Anyone have any experience with these and could recommend a good one?  I want to make the purchase sooner, rather than later, before prices go up for tomato season.

Interest Income

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:22 am

Now, after that long-winded post, this one shall be short and sweet.  My saving accounts earned $4.32 in interest, so I will add that to the EF, bringing the Emergency Fund to $20,216.53 and Net Worth to $129,889.79.  I decided to dump the interest into the EF because it is easier than anything else, and I do want it to eventually grow to a year's expenses, which I will be rounding to $40,500.  Long, long, long term goal is a year's income.  But that is not the priority right now.

A lot of This, Some of That

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 am

I woke up feeling better today.  I slept in until 11:30 instead of 3:00 p.m. and was far less stuffy.  My voice still is scratchy when I talk, but my throat doesn't hurt.  Let's hope it's not a false spring situation where everything is starting to bud and then boom snow, like last week.  That's how this illness has been.  I know it is technically still winter, but you get my point.  But I got up, drank my water, and did my physical therapy exercises, plus some arm exercises I do to strengthen my shoulders.  It only takes 15 minutes, but when I am well I do them twice a day, so I get 30 minutes of exercise a day.  As I improve, I can start doing them 3 times per day.

After that I made lunch.  And not just soup.  I made stir-fry, which involves chopping things.  I don't remember the last time I made real food not out of a can and I didn't even do much of that the last 6 weeks.  DH did a little cooking, usually spaghetti, but mostly it was take out.  And I could really feel how detrimental that was to my body.  Not to mention how detrimental this has been to our bank account.  I mean, if it wasn't for the overtime we wouldn't be breaking even.  When I think where that money could have gone...well, I try not to, because that dog has already bitten someone.

After this recent bout of illness I am determined to change my health through proper nutrition and whatever exercise I can do.  I can't continue on this way with my weight.  I am literally killing my body.  My nutritionist has said to cut out a lot of carbs, but fat from dairy, tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck fat, goose fat, or healthy oils is fine. So when we do get our pig, I will get and render the leaf lard.  I'm going to make some ghee to make the butter shelf stable.  My nutritionist says that the government did the USA a world of hurt with it's old dietary recommendations for diabetics, people with heart disease, and extreme obesity.  That's why so few people actually got better on those diets and why so much more medical intervention was required.  Maybe 10% improved with a low fat diet.  I've believed that for a long time.

So I am cutting out sugar except on birthdays or holidays and replacing it with fruit, but only one serving of fruit a day.  And lots of vegetables and good quality protein.  If I have a starch it'll be a potato, sweet potato, winter squash, nuts, rice, or brown rice pasta.  I'm not the biggest fan of rice, but the family does like it.  Brown rice pasta is good, though and we have a lot of it to get through before I buy regular pasta again, if I can even find any.  The store shelves have been pretty bare of spaghetti or anything other than a few boxes of elbow macaroni, according to DH.  Pasta's not an end all for my family, though, and I can make noodles from scratch if I feel up to it.

I think I will try to avoid flour for a couple of weeks until the ball is firmly rolling and may then have it once a week in place of a starch, mostly so I can still have a slice of pizza here and there.  Depends on how good I feel.  I make a good gluten free pizza, though.  Either way, I pile on the vegetables and meat and cheese on my pizza anyway, and roll it quite thin, so it is pretty balanced, and add a salad.  In the summer I might allow corn, but it is extremely sweet and a grain so I'd have to be careful.  I will allow corn tortillas, but limited to once a week or less.

I would also like to eat more seafood.  We still have quite a bit of salmon and bags of spot prawns in the freezer that I need to get through before those seasons start up again and we'll have new stuff to put away.  DH has talked about maybe going for mussels, clams, and oysters this year and and also get the add on for gathering seaweed.  Seaweed is great in the garden when you are building new beds or for your compost heaps and is easy to harvest after a high tide as there is lots of dead stuff.  It doesn't have to be alive like for eating, it can just be what washes ashore.  He'll need to lose some weight, though, to be agile enough to do much of that. 

One day it would be fun to go for geoducks, (prounounced gooey ducks for non-coastal Washington and Oregon people), which I believe is the biggest of the clams in the world.  We'd have to buy a clam gun, though.  Which isn't an actual gun, but you can look that up if you are interested in knowing what it is.  It would be useful for other clams, too, but I'd have to look up the regulations on that.  It might be allowed only for geoducks.  My son would have to do the actual getting down in the sound and sticking your arm down the hole the clam gun leaves, but he says it sounds like fun.

I've been reading and thinking about growing my own peppercorns.  The same plant produces white, black, pink, green, and red peppers.  It depends on the level of maturity of the peppercorns.  It can be grown indoors, so I am thinking of trying it in a pot this summer that can be brought in when fall starts.  That may have to wait until next year.  The next time DH goes out fishing or prawning, I will have him bring back a couple of gallons of salt water as I want to try making salt, too.  As many spices and herbs as I can grow or forage, is what I think.  Has the salt shortage hit your grocery stores yet?  I have a good amount in my preps, but I want to know I can make it.  My food storage may be great, but I can't think how miserable it would be without herbs and spices to season it with. 

I have decided the family is going to eat like me or fend for themselves.  We all need to lose weight and this is how it is going to be.  I'm sick of their bad food habits dragging me down every time I try to get my diet under control.  I won't buy junk.  My son is on board.  The others are paying it lip service.  We will see.  I don't want to fail this time.  I can't afford to anymore.

Today was a beautiful day and 55 degrees F.  I did take a short walk out to the garage and back.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a start.  Maybe tomorrow I can do to the end of the driveway and back, weather permitting.  That's even longer.  I know that sounds sad, but for someone with two deviated discs in her lower spine, it's a lot of progress.  And I'm back to no cane.  So yay, me.

Also, I noticed the garlic was up about 3 inches and last week's snow didn't seem to do it much harm.  It was only here a day, though.  It looks like every single bulb I planted came up, so kudos to Fedco (for the Music garlic) and the grocery store (for the elephant garlic).  There are only a couple of weeds in the raised beds, which I will pull next time I go outside.  I didn't want to get my hands dirty and my garden gloves and shovel were on the porch.

I need to think up a meal plan with this new diet.  Good, healthy, tasty food that doesn't make us feel like we are giving anything up.  Tonight's dinner, at least, I know.  Rib steak, yellow potatoes, and green beans.

 

Retirement Seems to be Recovering a Bit and Mask Mandate End in Sight

February 28th, 2022 at 11:03 pm

Our IRA is back on the verge of $13K when it had fallen to nearly $12K and our 401k is on the verge of $59K, which it has never reached before.  The new total for retirement is $71,759.98, raising it by $600.21.  It still has lost so much this year that that doesn't make up for it by a long shot, but at least it hasn't eaten the whole of the last deposit made.  That changes net worth to $129,885.47 on the verge of $130,000.  If all goes well for the month of March, maybe things will continue in this fashion and we might actually see a positive rate of return instead of this monkey business.

Washington state is officially lifting the indoor mask mandate on March 12th. The outdoor in large groups mandate lifted on the 18th.  DH went to a restaurant for a work lunch meeting and no one, including the employees were wearing masks.  I don't know if the grocery stores will jump the gun like that, but it is nice to know that I will soon be able to do the grocery shopping again.  Masking messes with my asthma severely.  Hopefully I will be well by March 12th!

Of course, I don't think for one minute that they won't try to pull the rug out from under that, but if it does happen, I will be so happy.

Gardening, Sick kid, Prepping

February 28th, 2022 at 05:33 am

I got my seed starting kits in the mail, so I can start planting seeds this week.  I only ordered a small amount of seeds this year, because I ordered a lot last year.  I'm trying a few new things, a Korean pepper, a little finger eggplant, and dill.  It always sucks that when the cucumbers are ready, but the dill isn't, or vice versa.  And it seems like you can only buy the fresh dill (not the little packets), the cucumbers are mostly done.  So I will grow my own.  I got the kind with the big bouquets.

Mom wants us to take down the deck in the front of the house.  It's not made of wood, but some kind of imitation decking.  We are going to use it to build a long raised bed, probably 16 feet by 4 feet or 2 8 x 4's.  But I want it 3 feet tall, too, and I want to put my strawberries in it, so I can then easily pick while standing.  The strawberries are also in a place that gets so much sun they get scorched and no amount of water helps them, they barely stay alive.  Plus it hurts my back too much to stay hunched over to pick as many berries as we get, for as many days as we get them. 

I'll have to use a lot of dirt, but in the long run it is better for me to be able to continue gardening.  I'll hugelkultur a bit and add all the trimmings to the bottom, like the roses and the raspberry and blackberry canes that need to be trimmed.  Also the apple tree and blueberry bushes need to be trimmed.  And we still have a bunch of compost in the back that can go in.

I'm not sure if we will have enough deck to build a second raised bed or not.  Maybe a smaller one.  But we can use the balustrades to build the arbor that will make the garden gate.  I think we have enough to do two of them, so one into that main garden and one into the smaller garden, and then fence it up.  I feel good about being able to recycle so much.  There will be some trellises that covered the underside of the deck.  We might use that on the outside of the raised bed, just to pretty it up.  When we can get away with reusing so much of what we already have, and only adding the cost of screws it is a major win.  It might not even take the cost of screws if the deck was put down with screws.  If it was put down with nails, that's another story.

We'll be taking down the rabbit shed sometime this summer.  We should be able to reuse the plywood on the end walls and the roof, but the floor is not useable at all.  We'll have to see on the back wall after a lot of pressure washing.  But the 2 x 4's in the walls and ceilings look good and there will be either 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, I can't remember which, for the foundation.  With the cost of wood being what it is, every good piece of lumber is a piece worth saving and reusing.

It'll be a lot of work to be frugal, but the work has to be done anyway, so if it can build more beds, then that is the work we will put it to.

When we run out of the huge side yard and back yard, I'll start eyeing the front yard.  There are some narrow places off to the side that we could put a bed or two in.  It would  be hidden from the road going one direction.  and harder to see because of the bushes coming from the other.  But it gets 8 hours of sun.  And even when we planted zucchini and yellow crookneck squash by the road the one year, no one seemed to steal them, or at least not that I noticed.  There was still plenty if they did.  Anyway, that and the skinny side yard can't be planted until we do some French drain work to try to keep the basement from flooding during big storms.

It may take a few more years to do what I want to do fully, but by the end I'll have a fully handicapped acessible garden, so if I need to use my walker, I can, and if I end up in a wheelchair one day, I still can garden.  We might have to take a layer off one of the planned 3 foot tal beds to do it, but that will still be doable.

I had a setback at physical therapy last week.  He tried to put me on a machine I didn't think I was ready for and it ended up hurting my back and hip so badly that I started crying.  I won't be doing that machine again.  I will insist on it.  I had been doing so good up to that week.  I was walking without my cane most days of the week.  Now I've had to use it even for short distances like the bedroom to the bathroom.  It is so frustrating.

I ended up cancelling my next PT appointment on Tuesday, partly because I am still in such pain from the machine, but mostly because DD has bronchpneumonia, which is the worst type of pneumonia you can get and also the most rare, I believe they said.  I got my info secondhand because DH took her to the doctor for a car appointment, because we knew her lungs needed to be listened to..  I was too sick to go, but I don't have pneumonia, the flu, or Covid, I was checked for all, but they gave me antibiotics because of how long I've been sick and they do seem to be working.  DD can't be left alone and DH has a bunch of meetings that day.

I have to call the doctor tomorrow, because they only gave DD a week of antibiotics and she is not any better and tomorrow is her last day.  I worry she'll have to go to the hospital and I won't be able to see her.  She does not do well with withdrawal from the family due to her anxiety and one of her illnesses needs her to stay calm or she'll burn through her cortisol and have to take more prednisone and she already has to take so much just to stay alive.  In normal times we could have someone with her in shifts during the day, but now they won't let you have visitors at all.  Not that I'd be able to go being sick, anyay.  So I'm just really worried about her overall and stressing if she has to go in.

Nothing financial has happened since payday.  DH worked ten hours of OT last week and is due to work OT this week and the next.

I added some items to mid-term food storage this week.  2 cases of tomato sauce, 1 case of pineapple, and 25 pounds of flour.  WE will be freezing that for a bit and putting it into Mylar, sealing it, and into a bucket with a gamma lid.  I can't find whole wheat flour anywhere.   Costco was so low on everything.  No French fries, no frozen broccoli, no pasta.  And limits on meats.

We still have over half a steer, part of a lamb, not nearly enough chicken, a bit of turkey, some frozen salmon and spot prawns, but almost no pork in the freezer.  What we do have is bacon, one bag of pork chops, and a ham or two, so we'll be okay for a while.  Our potatoes are starting to sprout, but we still have about twenty pounds that have not.  Potatoes are getting a bit hard to find and there is a 2 bag limit.  I do still have some canned, but we won't make it until the next crop is ready.  I have some winter squash that we can eat after the potatoes run out, but only four.  And there is always rice.  We have a lot of that.

I'm not happy with what I am seeing at the grocery stores at all.  Prices and quality wise.  Stuff that would never have made it onto the produce shelves a couple years ago are now the norm.  There are bruises and brown spots and even outright mold.  And these are not bargain stores, these are regular stores.

We still haven't had our new freezer come in.  I really hope it does before harvest season.  I want to be able to freeze strawberries, plum prunes, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, and blueberries at the very least.  Corn, if we decide to grow it, since it tastes better frozen than canned.  But I won't give up room from meat for it.

I'm worried, but I am doing everything I can to be prepared.  If things get bad enough they will start limiting food purchases.  They're already limiting on chicken and some canned goods, beans, and rice.  Who knows what will happen if these things in Ukraine and Taiwan escalate?  If we enter into a war, we could see actual rationing again.  I want to be stocked enough that it isn't something I have to worry about.  I'm generally not this much of a worrywart, but these times they are a changing.

 

Payday Report for 2/18/2022

February 19th, 2022 at 01:27 am

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

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

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

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

$301.63 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

_1974.06 Citi

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

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

__50.00 Spending Money Envelope Me

__60.00 Allowance DS

__30.00 Stipend DD

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

3678.68 Total Money Out

 

Retirement Update

February 17th, 2022 at 02:06 am

Our 401K has started to creep back up, but our IRA is all over the place, but mostly not recovering or going down on average in a week.  Still, it's overall, better.  It's up to $71,159.77, which is a rise of $525.77.  That brings net worth up by the same amount to $129,285.26.

I feel uneasy about how much we have lost this year.  Our income on the 401K is -4.42%.  On the IRA it is -5.16%.  Not numbers that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.  But we're holding.  We either wait out this administration or we hope that something changes at the midterms that opens American oil back up.  Closing it down so much is what is causing a ton of this economic turmoil and inflation.  I've seen it before twice in my lifetime.  You may not agree, but that is my experience.

Turning Covid from pandemic to endemic and opening the world back up would also help a lot.  We are going to have to just live with it like we do the flu eventually.  It can't stay this way forever.  Esepcially when politicians and celebrities flout the rules at super spreader events like the superbowl and fundraisers.  Either we all wear masks or no one does.  And since they won't, there is not much point for us to keep it up unless we want to.  Being vaccinated has not stopped me from getting it and spreading it to my family who is also vaccinated.  Twice.  But at least we didn't die.

I've got to get my 3rd booster scheduled though and for the family as well.  Just waiting out the dregs of this head cold so that we are all healthy enough to do this.  Might have to do it separately as one person gets well.  Otherwise, I'm not sure how it will get done.

It's a little scary seeing Canada turn into a facist regime.  Real facist, not "I don't agree with your politics so I will call you a facist" facist.  The livestreams are scary at times.  But that's all I will say about that, because if I start spouting off on what's going on in Ottawa with that sorry excuse of a PM, I'll never stop.

Another New Instrument

February 15th, 2022 at 05:03 am

My MIL gave me a mandolin for my birthday on the 12th (I'm 52 now) and I started practicing yesterday.  I can do a G chord, a C chord, and a D chord.  Yesteday I got the fingering down and today I got the switching between chords down.  I have no calluses on my fingers, because the only instrument I've really been working on before this is the bass and tenor ocarinas, so I need to build up those again.

Tomorrow I will work on my speed, but it sounds good and isn't too hard to tune.  I like it better than the strumstick (mountain dulcimer) which only has four strings and was always falling out of tune.  The mandolin has 8 strings, but they are double strings so the top two are both G, then the next two are D, then A, then E.  It gives it more depth of sound, like two people strumming in unison.  It's strung like a violin note wise, which I have played for years.

It's a good little instrument for a beginner's instrument.  And a gorgeous cherry red with black edges.  If they had made a blue one in the price range I would have gotten that, but that was only in the professional level and that is $1500, not the $139.  Mine does have the stuff for plugging it into an amp, too.  We don't have one, though, and I just want to do acoustically anyway.

I love being able to play music.  It gives me something to do when I'm bored or, like today, when the power goes out for 1.5 hours, because some teenager in an SUV tried to run a red light and got plowed into by a Hummer and got knocked into a power pole, because the intersection is not 90 degree angles, it's off by quite a bit.  You could hear the crash from my house a couple blocks away.  My son went to be a looky-lou.  No one was hurt bad enough to go the the hospital and the Hummer isn't too bad off.  The SUV did not fare so well, but the speed there is only 25 mph.  It could have been worse.

My other gift from MIL was a turquoise 3 cup food processor, for when I don't want to pull out the 8 cup one.  This one is a lot lighter weight and easier for me to move by myself.  I can't lift much weight with this arthritis without dropping things.  It'll be nice for mincing a pound of meat fine.

DH gave me a teal leather ottoman for me to use under my desk.  It is gorgeous and has a storage compartment in it.  I needed something to put my legs up on when they fill with fluid, so this does the trick nicely and it has a good amount of padding on top so is really comfortable.  My mom doesn't give gifts anymore.  The kids are working on something, but didn't have it ready.

Today I finally had physical therapy again.  I haven't gone since November.  Then I got the flu, then we had snow that made it impossible to go anywhere.  Then I got a head cold.  And now I'm back among the living.  We did an assessment.  He said my range of motion has improved a lot since the beginning.  Pays to do your exercises even when you can't go in and are sick all winter.  I also took DD to her doctor's appointment.  We will be billed for these appointments, as the deductible has to be met again.  But we have $3000 on the HSA debit card again, plus a couple hundred that rolled over from last year, so we are using that.

I'll likely be the first one to meet the deductible as I have already had $1400 just for me, $1003 of which was for my arthritis shots, which at least seem to be working for now.  It's completely covered once I max out my personal deductible.  Or we max out the family deductible, but I will max out my own before the family contributes much.

Once DS is over his head cold we can start the process of taking him to the orthodontist and getting braces.  Fun for the whole family.  I have $6000 saved for it and no insurance for it.  So hopefully it won't cost more than that.  The last time I paid for braces it was $3000 for us and $1000 for the insurance and that was when DD was ten.  Has anyone done braces lately?  Especially Invisalign?  It'd be nice to get a little bit of an idea.  I know it varies by location, but ball park is fine.

I have to get a new mouth guard made since mine has cracked after 15 years, but that is only $400 and I've almost saved up for it.  I'd like to get another pair of orthotics made so I can use the old ones in my garden shoes and not have to switch them out.  That won't be until I save up for it after I finish saving for the mouth guard.

Oh, and I had a doctor's appointment with my regular doctor last week and he raised my anti-depressent from 50 to 75 miligrams, raised my gabapentin for nerve pain from 1500 mg to 1800 mg, and doubled my blood pressure medicine to 100/25.  I can feel it making a difference already.  I'm not retaining near as much water and I don't feel dizzy every time I stand up.  So here's hoping that was the problem.

I found two pennies today.  It's the first money I've found of 2022.  I stuck them in my coin jar.  Every penny counts.

We Hit It! Milestone 2 Accomplished!

February 5th, 2022 at 11:27 pm

We finally hit our six month's expenses with yesterday's deposit into the emergency fund.  I really felt like we would never get there.  It takes a huge load off my shoulders.  I will probably slowly work on rounding it up to $21,000, just because I like round numbers, but for now, we have done it and I am so happy.

$20,212.21 Starting Balance

+__,310.49 Amount Added

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

$20,522.70 New balance

This brings our net worth up to $129,069.98.

Future EF goals, after we save for some other things, will be $42,000.  But we've got a lot of other stuff to prepare for otherwise, like finishing the garden.  One thing I want to do is slowly bump up retirement savings.  We are currently contributing 16% of income to the 401K, and I am decideing whether we want to continue to slowly bump that up, or just save some money up and open a spousal Roth IRA for me.  We've talked about it before, but were never in a place to do so.

I guess we will figure it out as we go.  For now, it feels fantastic to have the second huge goal in our lives accomplished.  The first one was paying off debt.  Hitting milestones I never thought I'd hit when I started is amazing.

Payday Report

February 5th, 2022 at 11:15 pm

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

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

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

$415.03 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage

_167.00 Car Insurance Sinking Fund

__50.00 My Spending Money

___0.00 DH Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_400.00 House Insurance

_310.49 Emergency Fund

_950.54 Citi

_100.00 Gift Fund

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

$4,150.29 Total Money Out

Meal Planning

February 4th, 2022 at 12:46 am

In my quest to make February a month of no eating out, I will be meal planning again.  I started by picking out my main dish or main meat and built my meal plans around that.  I wanted one fish meal, 2 beef, 2 chicken, 1 pasta, and 1 pizza, so from there I filled in the rest based on what I have in my fridge, freezer, or jars and cans of food.

Day One--Pizza with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, onions, and bell pepper (if we have one, I have to check still, but I think we do, or will use frozen), served with a salad

Day Two--Salmon (stuff we caught during the summer), fried potatoes from our home grown potatoes, broccoli

Day Three--Beef Pot Roast (from our steer), Mashed potatoes from our home grown potatoes, green beans (home grown and canned)

Day Four--Baked Penne with sausage, tomatoes, onions, sauce and mozzarella cheese, salad

Day Five--French onion chicken, cole slaw

Day Six--Steaks (from our steer), French fries, broccoli

Day Seven--Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes (from our home grown potatoes), green beans (home grown and canned)

Now to see if I can stick to it.

A Frozen Future?

February 4th, 2022 at 12:23 am

Not very likely.  DH decided to check up on the freezer we ordered that was supposed to arrive this month, and surprise, surprise, it has been delayed until May now.  I am losing all hope of ever actually seeing this thing.  DH asked if the employee thought it would really come in March and he said nobody really knows.  Supposedly they are supposed to be getting in some brand I never heard of "soon," whatever soon means.  It's called Midea.  From what I've seen the 21 cubic foot upright has good reviews, but again, it may also never actually arrive.

I am done with this pandemic and how it is affecting the supply chain, shipping, and trucking.  We really, seriously, need to go back to building our own stuff in our own country.  It would have curtailed a lot of this having to wait months to a year for new appliances if we'd never moved our manufacturing bases to other countries.

My goal for now is to eat down everything that is in our mini-chest freezer, so we can at least get half a hog.  While I could fit a whole hog in the mini-chest freezer, we do need to have some room for fish, crab, and prawns once the different seasons start up.  Meanwhile I am keeping an eye out for used upright freezers.

We are still working through our chicken freezer stash, but I can't imagine that's going to last more than two more months.   I don't like what I'm seeing on chicken availability.  Or pricing.  I don't think I have the ability to raise meat birds anymore, either.  I know it is only an 8 week committment, but they are a lot of work if you don't have room to put them out in tractors.  Since most of our land is going towards garden space, we really don't have the space to give up to chickens.

Since my January pantry challenge crashed and burned due to the flu, I am doing a no eating out challenge for February.  I want to keep a handle on that, because it is my greatest financial weakeness.  It is just too easy to let money fritter through our hands when we get takeout as much as we do.

DH gave me the amount of tomorrow's paycheck so I was able to finalize the numbers for the budget for this payday.  There was a lot of OT on it.  There will be some on next time's paycheck, too, but doubtful it will be to this extent.  Internet went up again, so I changed that on February and March's spreadsheets, which were as far ahead as I've worked, and then changed it on the 2022 Budget Template as well.  I will also be adding line items to the budget for sinking funds for our yearly portions of property taxes and home owner's insurance, $25 and $34 per month respectively.

We have also finally convinced my mother to put out weekly trash cans instead of every two weeks and then having to call for an extra can at least once a month, so that will go up a bit, too.  Since there will be a lot of stuff to throw away for the next several weeks as we clean up the back porch and clean out the garage and then tear down the rabbit shed we will be filling the cans with a lot of stuff.

Some stuff  we will save, though.  All of the studs out of the rabbit shed will be saved and pressure washed down.  The roof's 4 x 8 plywood sheets look salvageable and possibly the side walls, but not the back and front walls, I don't think, or the floors.  Depends on whether there are weak spots or spots with too much moisture damage.  The window framing is also made from 2 x 4's, so those may give some salvageable wood as well.  The cost of lumber is too expensive not to conserve what we have available to us.  And we have always been ones to reuse as much as possible.

We may be able to build some garden beds with it.  Any raised beds built out of it won't be in the main part of the garden, though, as we want all that to look uniform with the cinderblocks, so long as the cost of cinderblocks doesn't go up to high.  We shall see.

I don't know if I mentioned before, but we are going to get grass-looking astroturf to go between garden rows as we can afford to do it.  I am done with fighting weeds all the time.

I just hope after putting all this time into the garden this year, I'll actually have space to store frozen vegetables.  I will can a lot of root vegetables, but some things are either not cannable or are just better frozen.  My goal has always been to freeze enough zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli for a year, but I still do not have the freezer capacity to do such a thing, so zucchini is my priority this year.  I don't want to be beholden to grocery stores anymore than possible.  The shortages are getting a little scary here and the produce is not best quality.  Growing and preserving as much as I can is the biggest thing on our agenda.

 

EF, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates plus an Aside for Gardners

February 2nd, 2022 at 07:12 am

Interest hit today and it was $4.59 at the online bank, and .07 at CU#2.  CU#1 only pays out quarterly.  So a total of $4.66 in interest, so that goes to the Emergency Fund, bringing the new total there to $20,212.21.  That leaves $310.49 to go to hit 6 month's expenses.

Retirement is starting to creep up again to where it was, but is still $342.72 short of that, putting it at $70,634.30.

That means the NW has gone up by $4.66, but down by $342.72, so the new net worth is $128,759.49.  Still nothing to sneeze at, but still depressing to see it going down and eating any money you put in every payday.  I know I am getting more stock, but I want more stock and good prices.

Let's hope that fire at that fertilizer plant in North Carolina does not make the markets implode in the morning.  I feel really bad for those that lost loved ones and probably their primary bread winner.  Plus, losing a fertilizer plant when there is already a fertilizer shortage, is going to mess with the farmer's and the food supply, which is already pretty screwed in many places.

If you're growing a garden this spring for your own family's food, go get your fertilizer now, because once the chemical stuff goes, they'll be swooping in for all the organic fertilizers like bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion and you won't be able to get it.  And no one wants to go haul rotted horse manure from the local stables, even if it is free.  Not that we won't.

The More Things Change, the More Things are Changed

January 25th, 2022 at 07:28 am

I got a notification from Costco's Citi card today saying that the amount I earned this year was $566.68 and that it will be available in February, so expect an email soon.  They also said that this year you can direct deposit the amount into your checking account instead of having to go to Costco in person to cash it out.  This is so much better.  I hate having to go to Costco to do this, mostly because they seem to change the rules everywhere of where you cash it out and asking doesn't help, because no one really knows until you try then they tell you, oh, we can't do that here, you have to go over there, and then they say somewhere different and so on.  This will save worlds' of frustration.

The plan will be using that towards the garden.  We never got around to building our third garden bed last year, and we have the supplies for that, but we will need supplies for a couple more garden beds, plus I want to buy some astroturf that looks like grass, not that artificial bright green stuff, to go down on the rows between the raised beds.  I don't want to deal with weeds in the pathways.  It'll take somewhere between $80 to $90 per row.  Which seems like a lot, but will be many years worth of weed control.

Mom wants help on the property taxes and the home owner's insurance.  She'd like us to pay half.  Since it is senior rate for the property taxes that is only $300.  Half of the home owner's insurance is $400.  That's for the whole year.  DH is making book on overtime right now and will be for a while yet, so it won't ruffle the budget.  We feel it's fair as it does cover our things as well.  And also we don't pay rent to live here.  We take care of Mom, take care of the house, take care of the property, and pay the utilities.  It's still way less than we would be paying out in the real world.

We are looking for an elder law lawyer so that we can set things up for my mother.  I have been her medical power of attorney for several years now, but she also wants to make me her financial power of attorney.  And she wants to figure out how to pass the house to us in the best way possible so neither of my sisters can make a claim on it after she has died.

We have agreed to take in my eldest sister when the time becomes necessary, which is when she decides to stop working, but she plans to keep on as long as possible.  She's 11 years older than I am and her hip is giving her problems so who knows?  We get along with her, even though Mom doesn't, and there will be room once Mom passes.  Mom might leave a little money to her if she has something left.  If we were to ever sell the house, we would give her some of the proceeds.

And my middle sister is already set in a home with plenty of money, with life insurance set up, and Mom doesn't want her to get a dime because she never visits or helps after surgeries, uses Mom for what Mom can do for her, expecting Mom to drive great distances (they moved further away two years ago) for an 82-year-old, instead of her coming here.  It's been so disgusting, the way my middle sister behaves.  Mom made the choice not to go see her anymore or do anything to help her due to her selfish, using behavior.  Which honestly, she's had her whole adult life so I guess it has just taken my mother this long to see it.  It has always infuriated me.  It has just hurt my mother so badly.

I do not get how you can just abandon your elderly mother like that.  She doesn't call, doesn't send cards on her birthday or at Christmas.  Just ignores her.  And Mom has done so much for her, to be dismissed like this is just horrible.  But middle sis is a narcissist.  My mother can be difficult and she can drive me crazy sometimes, but I could never abandon her and not care like that.  I can never understand why she turned out so differently having been raised the exact same way.  Oh, well.  I can't see ever doing such a thing to my mother, or to my eldest sister.

And even though middle sis has chosen not to be in our lives, either, if her husband dies and none of her four boys would take her in, and she ran out of life insurance money, I'd still figure out something, though it wouldn't be living here, because I have seen her true colors for years and don't want to be around her either.  But family takes care of family.  That's just what you do.  Or maybe that's just what I and my husband do.  Maybe we really just are that different.

I've set up my budget for February and started on March and want to get one set up for April.  April will be a three payheck month, and I want a plan going into it.  And because one of the payday's is on the first it will mean that the last paycheck in March won't need to pay some things it would usually be scheduled for, because the stuff comes out of checking on the 1st or the 2nd.  Sometimes as late as the 7nth if someone drops the ball somewhere.

We are thinking about switching life insurance to AAA, because we can get an additional $50K $8 a month more, than with Allstate.  Allstate is also selling our policies to somewhere else.  The reason we had them was we wanted a local office, so I don't like this.  And who knows what they might raise it to.  We also have some life insurance through his work, but that goes away after he quits working.  I also want to look at the life insurance offered through our credit unions.  It's like $2000 for $1 a month, you just have to fill out the paper work.

I also want to look into getting car insurance with AAA and see if it is cheaper.  Our Allstate office is changing hands and I don't really like it.  Especially the selling off of the life insurance policies.  If we have to deal with non-local people, we might as well do that elsewhere.  I hate change.

Well, maybe not all change.  We started DD on edibles a couple of weeks ago and the change has been amazing.  She is much more able to deal with the pain because it takes the edge off and she is also able to focus, so she is able to read and paint again, and her mood has been quite lifted.  The one she is taking derives its THC from the hemp plant and not the marijuana plant.  I even tried it a couple of times when my nerve pain was off the charts and it really helped.  I mean, you definitely couldn't operate heavy machinery, nor should you, for 12 hours, but it has definitely made a difference.  The dose is quite small, but wow on the pain management.  I never would have believed we would ever be doing this a few years ago, but when pain is so vicious and violent, you change your mind on a lot of things.  Plus, you know, back then it wouldn't have been legal.

Woman Within cancelled my winter coat order after mutliple delays.  I guess they can't get what was supposedly in stock when I ordered it.  And that is the problem with having your manufacturing in China instead of the USA.  But that's whole 'nother bucket of worms.

I am so anxious for my freezer to get here.  I know it won't be until February and we still don't know when in February, and something could go wrong with shipping just like it did with the coat, although I think GE is made here.  It used to be, anyway, just not sure if it still is.  I just feel this need to get more meat in the freezer.  I'll feel alot more food secure with a whole hog and about 3/4 of a steer still in the chest freezer.  Then I can work on chicken and then start saving up all over again for a steer.  And in the summer, we will go fishing/shrimping/crabbing for our seafood.  And also in the summer we harvest and can and freeze as much produce as we possibly can.  These food shortages are getting scary and I don't want to deal with sky high prices on the stuff that is left.

I don't have anything on the schedule tomorrow.  Maybe I can get those spot prawn shells made into bone broth in the pressure cooker and get it canned.  That'll clear out some space in the below fridge freezer.  I might even do onion skins with beef bone broth as well.  We have lots of bones and soup bones and onions skins in the freezer for that and I really want beef and onion broth for making French onion chicken and French onion pork chops.

I can always get out the huge All American canner as it can do 3 levels of pints if I decide to make both.  But I'm not sure I want to tie up both my Instant Pots making broth.  It depends on how early I get up in the morning.  Broth does not take that long to can compared to most things.

Well, this has gotten super long, so I'll sign off for tonight.

 

 

Payday Report for 1/21/22

January 22nd, 2022 at 04:06 am

DH had some overtime on this paycheck, so I still don't know what a normal paycheck is with the new rate.  And since he will get overtime on the next paycheck as well, I don't now when we'll know.  Hopefully the overtime will help us pull ahead and we will be very careful with our spending.

We also had a FSA reimbursement check for last year come through, so that is added in.  There will be some more of those coming, upwards of $500.  I went ahead and dumped that into the medical fund.  I also had $7.68 sitting in checking that I had meant to send to the EF last payday and forgot to do so that went with the rest of the payment to the EF.

$353.35 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_619.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Car Maintenance

_800.00 Citi

_310.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

_528.46 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Gift Fund

__56.21 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

 

Emergency Fund Update--Almost There!

January 22nd, 2022 at 02:46 am

$19,679.09 Starting Balance

+__,528.46 Amount Added

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

$20,207.55 New Balance

That means I have $314.25 left to go to hit my goal of six month's of expenses or $20,522.70.  It is so close!  I am budgeted to hit that on next payday, so that is exciting.  Then I can start saving up for other things.  I will probably continue to put a little into the Emergency Fund after that, maybe $100 per month (or maybe per payday) until I eventually, over the long haul, have one year's worth of expenses saved, but for the most part that will be a background thing, not a strive hard for thing.

With this networth has gone up to $129,097.55, although not really because retirement sucks this week.  I won't be doing a retirement update until it gets out of freefall.  I so miss 2019, 2018, and 2017.  This pandemic needs to have it's butt kicked out the door.  Every time Biden opens his mouth the stock market tumbles.  I'm so done with this president.  I gave him time, but nope, I'm done.  With food and gas prices off the chart, with what he has done to the oil industry, and with food shortages everywhere, anger is rising in the people here in my blue state.  And with his favorability rating at 31% and dropping, I am definitely not the only one who is done with him.

This and That

January 11th, 2022 at 02:03 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True date:  1/10/22

True time:  6:01 p.m.

 

 

Payday Report for 1/7/22

January 8th, 2022 at 03:07 am

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

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

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

$352.57 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_769.09 Citi

_118.18 Comcast

__70.00 Garbage Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH Allowance

__50.00 My Allowance

__28.51 DD's Allowance

_100.00 Gift Fund

_345.29 Emergency Fund

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

$3525.74 Total Money Out

Emergency Fund--Getting There Soon

January 7th, 2022 at 11:13 pm

Today I was able to make a decent deposit to the Emergency Fund, since there was some overtime on DH's paycheck.  Plus we are at the new rate.  We also recieved his Louisianna Pacific dividend check of 58 cents, so that went in there, too.  You laugh, but at the end of the first quarter that check was only 42 cents.  I also had $17.50 in the coin jar.  So with what came from payday which was 349.29, I had $363.37 to put into the EF this week.

$19,316.62 Starting Balance

+__,363.37 Amount Added

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

$19,679.99 New Balance

This means I have $842.71 left to go to reach my goal of six month's of expenses, or $20,522.70.  If all goes according to budget and nothing big comes up, we should reach that goal by the February 4th paycheck.  If the furnace breaks ago, then obviously not.

This increases Net Worth to $128,569.09.

They haven't made the payment to the 401K yet, so I don't know what that is going to be.  I can't even estimate it because this is the first paycheck with the new amount, plus it had some extra hours on it.  It might be there by closing hours today, but probably won't be there until Monday.  Plus I don't know if I got the increase to 16% in on time or not, so could still be 15% for this paycheck.

True Date: 1/7/22

True Time: 3:13 p.m.

Testing

January 6th, 2022 at 05:28 am

Testing for date and time stamp accuracy.

Weather, Catching the Flu, and Losing Weight

January 5th, 2022 at 12:02 am

The snow has finally melted, except for chunks here and there from the snow plows.  It's nice to see the green world again, but it's supposed to start sleeting tonight and turn to snow in the wee hours and snow all day tomorrow, then sleet for two days, then one sunny day and then rain for two days.  I don't mind the rain, it's the snow and the extreme cold I don't like.  Hopefully this will mean winter is over until February, where if we are going to get hit hard again, it will be then, based on previous years.

Hopefully we can start taking the Christmas lights down on the sunny day.  I don't mind the lawn ones staying a while longer, but I'd like to get the ones off the house itself before the next big windstorm hits.  And maybe the deck, too.  They clack.  Normally we'd have taken them down on the weekend that just passed, but not with 16 inches of snow on the ground.

I have to feel well enough to or DH will have to do it by himself, since I got slammed by something a few days ago and so did the kids.  DH had the sniffles for a few days and that was it, but not me.  Today is the first day I felt well enough to sit up for more than long enough to eat, I was so dizzy.  I think I've slept more than I have since I had Covid.  The one day I slept for 20 hours, not straight, but still.  I think it is flu, though.  I've had Covid twice and this was not it.  I've had the flu enough to know when it is flu and when it is a cold.  So I guess I caught whichever flu strain was not in the shot.

Speaking of eating, I've mostly been just eating soup.  Mostly plain egg flower soup with no vegetables in it, which is just taking my chicken broth and whipping up some eggs and then slowly pouring the eggs into the soup while stirring quickly to create ribbons.  DH had to do it, though.  I was too weak.  That way I get some protein in it and some calories.  Not having carbs for two days dropped my weight substantially and I have now lost 15 pounds.  Some may come back when I start eating carbs again, which will be today, but it was still nice to see it on the scale even if it goes back up a bit from getting off the too sick to eat diet.  I had to get off and get back on the scale again twice, just to be sure it wasn't the scale being weird.  I will have vegetables and beef in my soup today.  I haven't eaten yet, because I haven't been up long, but I will eat twice today.  I've been pushing the water pretty hard throughout this thing, sick or well.

My brain is craving spring rolls, but I am too tired to make them.  I have all of the ingredients.  I don't know if the eat from the pantry challenge is something I succeed at this year.  DH leaves on Sunday and won't be back until the following Saturday and if I am still sick or weak it's going to be pretty hard for me to pull meals together.  I have four days and then I will either have to cook or figure something else out.  It's easy to do challenges when you are well.  I will try my best, though.

  

Interest Income for December, Updates to EF and Net Worth

January 4th, 2022 at 11:11 pm

I forgot to add the interest income from my three accounts to the EF.

$4.45 C1-360 Savings monthly interest

00.86  CU #1 Savings quarterly interest

00.79 CU #2 Savings monthly interest

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

$6.10 Total interest

EF:

$19,310.52 Starting EF

+_____6.10

------------------ 

$19,316.62

Net Worth:

$128,199.61 Starting Amount

+______6.10 Amount Added

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

$128,205.71 Total Net Worth

I did recalculate the value of our vehicles and the amounts did not change.  I guess because the value of used cars is so high right now and having a Sienna and a Tacoma, which are in high demand, means we lost nothing to depreciation.  I knew used prices were good, just not that good.

Last Retirement Update for 2021

January 2nd, 2022 at 07:33 am

I didn't get this posted yesterday, but our IRA closed out the year with a 14.96% rate of return and our 401K closed out at a 12.38% rate of return.  The IRA ends the year at $13,925.02 and the 401K ends the year at $57,978.02.  The grand total of retirement is $70,978.02.

That increases our net worth to $128,199.61for the year ending 2021.

I went into the 401K and raised our contributions from 15% to 16% as the raise will start on the next paycheck.  That should notify them in time since payroll is done on Wednesday.  The 401K said they would email his work on the 3rd.  So hopefully it will, but if not, oh well.  I am not sure if the 401K Christmas bonus has been dumped in yet or not.  I did not see it, but maybe I am reading it wrong.

True date: 1/1/2022

True time: 11:33 p.m.

More Snow

December 30th, 2021 at 11:02 pm

I wish they would fix the time stamps to be accurate to the poster's location.  They've been off for two years and it is driving me crazy.  I'd like my posts to reflect the actual day and time of my post.

Anyway, we had more snow almost a half an hour after my last post and it was about 2 inches, and then 1 inch later that night, and last night it started snowing around 11:30 p.m. and my husband said it was still snowing at 8 a.m. when he started work.  It's not now, but it dumped another 8 inches.  Some of it is melting now because it is bright and sunny and I can see the icicles dripping, but that is just going to mean ice.

I'm glad we made it to the store when we did, even if the only root veggies we could get were sweet potatoes.  The parsnips were smaller than carrots and the turnips were tiny.  I was hoping to get out today to get cheese at Winco and see if they had them there.  So I guess we'll have to make do with the two turnips we have and the two giant parsnips.  We have carrots and we have a 65 pounds left of the potatoes we grew, so that's plenty.  I can stretch the parsnips by cutting them in half, so can get four meals out of them.  We never have them by themselves, but mixed with other veggies.  If it melts enough tomorrow we'll go, but otherwise no grocery shopping until February 1st, except for greens, milk, and eggs.

I've lost 6.8 pounds in the last two days.  The first day I wasn't on my diet yet, I'd just dropped down from 4 cans of soda a day to one.  I got back on them when Thanksgiving happened, and they are so addictive.  But then next day I was on my diet so most of the weight dropped of by this morning.  I really hope I can do it this time.

My whole family said they would try with me, but both my husband and son ate a ton of pancakes this morning and then DH had a sandwich for lunch.  That is not cutting back on carbs and that is not trying.  I guess I have to do this on my own again, which kind of sucks, but I can't let it derail me like it always does to have no support.  I know my daughter would try if the other two would, but if they don't she won't.  Even if she's the one who needs to the most for health reasons.  Oh, well.  The only person I can control is myself, so that is what I must do.

I think I'll spend the day looking at the two seed catalogs that came the day after Christmas.  That always makes me happy.  Although I won't be buying seeds this year unless it is one or two items.  I bought plenty last year.  I just hope the garden is big enough this year that I can plant everything I want to plant.

True date:  12/30/2021  True time:  3:02 p.m. 


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