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Retirement Update

September 23rd, 2021 at 06:31 pm

Our retirement accounts have been in freefall for the last month, but the IRA started to recover yesterday.  The only thing keeping our retirement account from dipping under the amount I had lost time I reported was the contributions we made.  So this yesterday we finally pulled back ahead by $235.30.  Ugh.  Rate of return for the year, though, has dropped to 9.34%.

Hopefully they'll get all these dumperster fires put out in the government and in the country and things will recover better by the end of the year.  I'd like to have the same rate of return as the last two years, but that is probably a pipe dream.

Anyway, retirement now sits at $63,288.53.

Emergency Fund Update and Retirement Update

September 9th, 2021 at 03:25 am

I didn't put anything in the EF this payday, but last payday I had $49.93 left to go in, plus I had $3.38 in interest bringing the EF to $16,765.69.

They still haven't put this week's contribution in to the retirement account, which is very annoying.  I know there was a holiday on Monday, but it usually goes in on Friday and now it is Wednesday and nothing.  So I'm just going to list it anyway, since it rose quite a bit from my last retirement update.  It is now $63,053.23, a rise of $1878.19 since 8/7.  And that was with a near $1500 drop in the middle with that Afghanistan news of leaving American behind along with all our equipment.  Fortunatley it recovered all of that and then a bit more.  Around $1580 of that was our contributions.  If they ever drop our contribution in this week, I'll update again.

This brings our net worth to $117,721.87, a rise of $1931.95 since I last updated it, also on 8/7.

Emergency Fund, Retirement (Again) Update and Hog Fund Update

August 7th, 2021 at 11:19 am

$16,623.91 Starting EF Balance

+__,_87.92 Amount Added



With the contributions that went in today, retirement now sits at $61,175.04, bringing net worth to $115,807.92.

I had $200 left in the grocery envelope from last payday, so I transferred that to the Hog Fund, bringing it to a total of $977.  Of course, we are still trying to find someone who does warranty work on the 9 month old Frigidaire freezer that isn't working right.  The Hog Fund may become a new freezer fund or a freezer repair fund, because there at least seem to be people who do non-warranty repair, as opposed to warranty repair, but it might be too expensive to be worth it and cheaper to buy a new one.

If this last guy does not call us back on Monday or doesn't do the work, I'm thinking of going to D&B and pleading our case.  We have bought a dishwasher, a fridge, a chest freezer, a small upright freezer, a mini-chest freezer, a washer, two dryers, a microwave, and at least one bed from them over the past 26 years.  I think a couple of more items, but I don't remember for sure.  We couldn't buy an upright freezer from them this time, because they didn't have any at the time we bought.  We did go there first.  If they had, we would have stuck with them.  But we are long time customers, so can't they please make an exception in this case?  It might work.  They only quit doing outside warranty work a couple of months ago.  I mean, it's worth a shot.  It has always been important to me to support local family businesses and I have as much as I could.

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

August 5th, 2021 at 04:49 am

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

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

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

$16,620.06 Starting Balance

+__,__3.85 Interest Added


$16,623.91 New Balance

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

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

July 29th, 2021 at 05:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retirement Update

July 10th, 2021 at 05:22 am

Our retirement account balance now rests at $59,197.67, an increase in the two week period of $1196.98, only $785.40 of which was contributions.  We gained $411.58 in interest.  I am starting to calm down a bit about the stock market.  I was getting antsy after last month didn't do so well.  Not that it matters, we are in it for the long haul, and I'm not about to bail.  It would be nice to hit $60K next payday, but who knows?  Might take longer.

That brings our net worth to $113,677.54.

Retirement Update

June 26th, 2021 at 06:07 am

Retirement has gone up to $58,000.69, a difference of $1136.27 since last payday.  All of that was contributions from DH or work, except $52.27  It was a rough two weeks, but the IRA finished ahead of where it was last payday by $15.31.  I hear the next six weeks are going to be very bumpy for the stock market.  I hope it is just a rumor.

I am really missing the stock market from the 3 years pre-Covid.  I have a feeling the only reason we will be moving forward at all this year is going to be mostly due to contributions, not gains.  Oh, well, we hold as always.  No panic selling.  Keep treading and we'll keep our heads above water.  This won't last forever and the recovery period will gain ground eventually.

Tomorrow I get to ditch the darn mask.  It's due to be 100 degrees F and I need to go grocery shopping, so thank goodness.  I finally feel like myself again.  The Moderna vaccine was really hard on my fatigue levels, both times.  I was exhaused for 12 days each time.  I had horrible bone aches after the second shot for 36 hours.  But those were my only symptoms.  I have waited out my time, so now, in my state, the fully vaxed only need them in medical facilities that require them.  It'll be weird to show my face again, but it has been lovely seeing other people's faces the last couple of weeks.

Bits and Pieces

June 24th, 2021 at 05:39 pm

So DH totally screwed up in telling me how much an hour his raise was.  It wasn't $11 an hour, it was $1.10 an hour.  Way to move the decimal point.  And no, he didn't give it to me in print, he literally told me $11 an hour.  So basically none of the stuff I thought was going to happen with retirement or savings is going to happen.  It's a bummer.  Hopefully he will also get a merit raise.  $1.10 an hour doesn't even keep up with how bad the cost of living has gone up in the last two years.  Better than nothing, though.

I did notice that if we could save just $66 more a payday into retirement we would max out, though.  I just don't think I can swing it, not with the forced long-term care insurance starting.  Maybe after we max out our Emergency Fund that can be something we work toward.

Our steer has gone to butcher.  It has a hanging weight of 665 pounds.  I have sent the check off to the farmer for the remainder, $1892.20.  With the deposit, that means the beef cost me $2292.20.  There is still the cut and wrap fee of .78/lb.  Well, they say .78/lb, but it tends to be more like .78 per package and a lot of packages have more than a pound of meat in them.  So while I do have $600 I left in the beef fund to cover it, it'll be $521.04 max and I don't think it will come to that.

Above that amount I had $254 left in the beef fund that I went ahead and moved to the hog fund.  That brings the total in the hog fund to $647.  As soon as I pay the cut and wrap fee at pick up, I will move whatever is left over to the hog fund, which will be at least $78.96, making that amount be at least $725.96 and probably a little more.  My goal is $1000, so I will be just shy of 3/4 of my goal.

We continue to eat down the chest freezer and move things into the house freezer as things from there are used up to make room for the steer.  It is coming along nicely.  He said I should be hearing from the processing facility sometime in the next 11 days for my cut orders.  I  want as much chuck roast as possible, but not so much the other types of roasts except pot roast.  I want all the round ground, we don't like them as roasts or steaks.  I want all the sirloin tip roasts cut into steaks.  And I want my steaks 3/4 inch thick not 1 inch thick.  I can genearally get two extra steaks out of it per type that way.

I want all the soup bones, the fat for making my own tallow, and the liver, heart, kidneys, and tongue.  We've never tried the tongue or kidneys before, so that'll be interesting.  Organ meats are quite healthy for you.  I'm a little squeamish about the tongue, but it is supposed to be quite good.  I guess we will find out. 

The special standing walker we ordered for DD arrived yesterday and it is really going to be a game changer for her.  And it has a seat she can actually sit down on.  Standard walkers are pretty painful for people with her conditions.  It folds up easily enough that she can do it herself, at last for the time being.  That was $248, but money well spent.

I can make do with the walker we inherited from FIL after he died for quite a while yet.  I only use it on severely bad days where I have to go out of the house.  Most days I am fine with my cane or if I am doing really well, without it.  But as things continue to worsen, I would definitely like to get one like that as it is easier on the L-4 and L-5 area of my back.  It takes up a lot less space when folded, too.

My referral for a neurosurgery consult finally went through so calling them is on my to do list for the day.  Along with finally getting the drip line put in the raised bed with the tomatoes in it added and the last set of hoops and deer netting up.  There is a lot outside that needs to be done and I am finally starting to feel like I can do some of it again.

I think I'm finally getting my sleeping straightened out.  I've been falling asleep between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. instead of 3 or 4 a.m. and I've been waking up in the morning instead of the afternoon, so hopefully this will last.  I like actually having a whole day of sunlight in which to live my life.

If I am feeling particularly ambitious I might try to plant some seeds in the garden.  I'd really like to have some kohlrabi this year.


Good News

June 18th, 2021 at 01:53 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retirement Update and Hog Fund Update

June 16th, 2021 at 12:23 am

Our retirement accounts now total $56,864.42, a difference in total of $2,689.12 in the last 17 days.  Most of that is from contributions from us and work, but about $400 was profit.  DH worked a lot of overtime on the last two paychecks so close to $1940 was what we contributed.  I hope one day work will go back to contributing 5% instead of 2.5%.

As for the Hog Fund, after I met my goal with the Beef Fund I had $29, so I transferred that to a new envelope and on payday I had $192 left in the grocery envelope, so that moved to the Hog Fund envelope.  Then I added $172 to that, so there is $393 in that enveope now.  The goal is $1000, so $607 to go.  I have reserved a whole hog for October.  It should dress out somewhere around 220 pounds max.

After that my goal will be to start stocking up on chicken.  I probably won't buy it bulk off the farm, though, as I prefer to just buy thighs and legs.  Unless we can find a source for that, we will just go with grocery sales.  I'm not sure if DH is going to get much fishing in this summer with the amount of overtime he's been clocking.  If he can go we will stock up on whatever he catches.

I just feel a really strong need to be prepared for 2022.  Either way, we'll have food.

Retirement and Net Worth Updates

May 28th, 2021 at 11:42 pm

Retirement has gone up by $2010.42 bringing it to $54,175.12.  That does not count today's contributions as they have not posted to the account yet.  Not sure how much that will be, either as DH had over time on this paycheck.  Some around $900, I think.

They dumped more company stock in as well.  I'm not allowed to say how many shares we own or what a share is worth, but the value of the new stock we own has increased our net worth by $4483.04.  Company stock can only be sold back at retirement and then it is 1/3 at retirement, 1/3 after a year, and 1/3 after two years post retirement.

With the amount added to the EF our net worth has risen by $7039.52, bringing it to a grand total of $108,466.40.

Retirement Milestone Hit

April 17th, 2021 at 03:21 am

This is a very woo hoo retirement update.  Since my update on April 7th, our retirement has gone up by $2,548.36.  Only $798.00 of that was contributions from us and work.  That's $1,749.48 in pure interest in ten days.  We blew right past our first milestone goal of $50K this week.  The new balance of our retirement accounts is $52,164.70.  The new total of our net worth is $99,675.89.  Getting real close to the next milestone there.

Retirement Update

April 7th, 2021 at 05:24 am

Retirement has gone up to $49,614.34 after the contributions hit the account today.  That is a rise of $1582.39 since the last update.  Getting closer and closer to that $50K milestone, just $385.66 to go.  I'm also getting pretty close to the $100K net worth milestone, too.  Just $2882.97 to go to hit that.

Retirement Update

March 16th, 2021 at 04:54 am

The retirement plans seem to have recovered from the chaos that was last week.  The new balance is $48,301.95, a rise of $1,228.61 since March 3rd.  $770 of that was contributions, so $458.61 was pure interest.  I really don't like the volatility since January, but what are you going to do?  We invest for the long-term.  I have the choice of looking at the roller coaster or ignoring it and I'd rather look.  I am looking forward to it hitting $50K, hopefully sooner rather than later.  But whatever happens, happens.

Retirement Update

March 3rd, 2021 at 02:30 am

DH got a decent end of year bonus finally of $682 put into the 401k so our retirement account grew quite a bit despite some major ups and downs (more downs than ups) last week.  It now sits at $46,803.34.  That is an increase of $719.30 since my last update.  I really don't like the lack of stability in the stock market since the Syria bombing.  I know it always gets volatile when something like that happens, but I am hoping it will settle down soon.

Retirement Goal for 2021

February 23rd, 2021 at 08:04 am

Our 401K contributions were finally added today.  Usually they go in on Friday, but not always.  The new amount in our retirement accounts is $46,084.04.  That is an increase of $833.56.  $770 of that was contributions, so only $63.86 was contributions.  If they'd have put it in on Friday it would have been 4 times that, but stuff fell a lot today.  Oh, well, it will rise again.

Retirement Update

February 7th, 2021 at 11:31 pm

It was a bad week, followed by a good week for our retirement accounts and we ended up $1039.39 ahead.  $660 of that was contributions from us and $110 was contributions from DH's job.  That means $341.35 in interest.  I'm sure it would have been better without all the hedge fund nonsense with Gamestop and AMC stock.  It usually is.  Personally, I don't think hedge funds should be allowed to exist, I find them unethical, but I don't want the stock market tanking because people wanted to purposely set out to destroy the hedge funds either.  Just don't mess with my retirement accounts, people.

Anyway, we have broke $45K this week and the new balance in of all our retirement accounts (minus the company stock) is $45,250.18.  $50K is getting closer and closer.

Retirement Update

January 26th, 2021 at 03:21 am

I know it has only been 5 days, but the contributions hit the account today, $660 from us and $110 from work.  The amount the account has gone up by in these 5 days, though, is $1292.69, so $522.69 was just interest.  The new total in the retirement accounts is $44,210.79.  We will likely hit $45K with the next contribution if we make any interest at all in the next two weeks.

Retirement Update

January 20th, 2021 at 03:09 am

Since December 18th our retirement accounts have risen by $1826.64.  So it's been a month.  $880 of that was our contribution and $110 was what work contributed.  It is so nice to have work contributions again.  So $990 was what was put in altogether.  $836.64 was profit.  It will be nice to see it rise much more quickly now, since the $990 will be every payday from now on.

Assuming the stock market doesn't tank tomorrow.  I just want this whole transfer of power thing to be done and over with without any violence so that normal Americans can get back to their lives without worrying whether or not the country will go off its rocker.

And please, no political comments on this post.  I will just delete them.  I don't care who you were for or against and I don't want to hear any negativity about either side.  We are all Americans and the majority of us just want to be a whole country and have a peaceful transition and get on with it.

Stimulus is Pending, Retirement is at 15%

January 3rd, 2021 at 12:11 am

I checked my bank account this morning and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but a pending stimulus payment. DH and I got $1200 together.  I'm a little disappointed that they couldn't get their act together and do the $2000, but free money is free money.  That will go into the EF, minus the tithe, and that will put us at a little over three month's expenses.  I plan to continue to save for six month's expenses, which will take to the end of the year or thereabouts.  Eventually I'd like six month's income and not just six month's expenses, but once expenses are met, I'll probably cut the contribution in half so we can save for other things, but still push forward.

We also made sure our retirement account was set to15% for 2021.  DH had done it once but it didn't take.  So we did it again and this time got to an end screen he didn't get to the first time.  I will make sure I check it again before payroll hits.

I did the numbers and between what we will contribute and what work will contribute (2.5%) it'll be a little over $20K this year.  And that doesn't include company stock.  If DH works until 72 and we get the same average rate of return as has been going for the last 20 years with the funds we are in, we should have 5.5 million.  If we max out it'll be a little higher.  If he can only work until 65, we still max out a little over 2 million.  That's assuming no raises that will allow us to max out our 401K.  Gives me hope that our disabled daughter will be well taken care of and that there will be an inheritance for my son, too.

And that's only if we don't put anything into the IRA.  If we can contriubte to it this year that would be amazing, even if it is only a little bit.  But I think if possible we would max out the 401K first, which would be an additional $2000 to what we are putting in.  That might be a big enough stretch on its own.

DH's work is considering doing something where if you work overtime, instead of getting paid overtime, the hours worked can bank for extra paid vacation time or can bank for a quarterly payout, or do half vacation time/half quarterly payout.  Since the project he is working on does not authorize overtime, this would be a way to actually work it, but get a different way of paying out.  Normally it is only offered to salaried employees, not hourly, but he is doing the work of a salaried employee.  I think they are putting it to a vote when everyone comes back from the holidays.

I am all for it.  I'd like extra paid vacation and an extra payout, so we would do 50/50 for the first quarter and see what that looks like.  And of course extra hours worked already means extra sick leave banked, since it is based on that at his work.  While straight OT is better than anything, that just won't be an option this year.  I guess we just have to wait and see how things play out.


Retirement Goal for 2021

December 24th, 2020 at 09:53 pm

This is our last paycheck for the year, and this will be our last paycheck with 5% being taken out for retirement.  From here on out we will be attempting a budget with 15% taken out for retirement.  If it makes things feel too tight we will back off to 10%, but I've done the budget and the numbers will work and we will still be able to save $1075 a month to the EF, assuming we stay disciplined with the no eating out of our own pocket thing.  MIL gives us $120 a month for eating out to make things fair as that is how much she spends on takeout for her daughter and her daughte'rs live in boyfriend each month, so we can get some take out if we really feel the urge.  But we could also save that if we don't.

I figured this would be a really good time to do it, because:

1.  The paycheck is going to drop anyway due to an increase in medical premiums, so I'd rather drop it all at once and see how we deal.

2.  It's a new year and it always seems to be more attainable to meet new goals for the new year.

3.  I will be 51 in February, DH is 51, and our retirement is very low for people our age, because we had to throw so much money at debt for so long.  We've really got to play catch up.  While DH wants to work for as long as he can, he loves his job, he can't work forever.  And he probably won't live as long as me, as women tend to live longer.  I want there to be enough money there between 401k, the IRA, and life insurance for me and my disabled daughter to have a decent life when the time comes.  I don't want to be a burden on my son.  I want him to be able to live his own life.

4.  Having it taken out automatically before we ever see it is always the best way.  It takes self-discipline out of the equation, because it is being put in an untouchable account.

5.  It won't affect any of our day to day living.  We will still have the same amount in every budget category that we do now, but a lot less wasted money on take out that could have just been going into the EF these last six months and should have been.  I've taught the kids how to make a few more easy meals, so if I am just wiped by the fibromyalgia or the rheumatoid arthritis, they can step in.  My son more than my daughter, but she can help to get food on the table.

So that is the plan.   15% seems so huge, but when it comes down to it, for us it really is not.  It is a necessity and with no debt we can do it.  I know we won't be doing Dave Ramsey's method completely right by contributing to retirement before the full EF is in place, but I think we are just too old to do it that way.  And if we can pull off this new budget, we will have a fully funded EF by the end of the year anyway.

Retirement Update

December 18th, 2020 at 09:26 am

With only a $220 contribution in the last 11 days, our retirement has gone up by $678.53, so $458.53 of that is profit.  Our new balance is $41,091.46.  May it continue to roar.

Money Goals for 2021

December 15th, 2020 at 12:48 am

I had DH work up a spreadsheet for me of what his projected income next year will be with the higher medical taken out in 2021 alone, at 7% going into the 401K and at 10%, and at 15%.  We can put 10% in and still be able to save at least $1000 every 4 weeks towards the Emergency Fund, so that is what we will be doing.

The Emergency Fund goal for next year is to get it to $22,232.86 and that will be 6 month's expenses.  I am currently at $8739.84, so will need to save $13,493.02 to hit that goal.  I'll be putting the $500 Christmas bonus in the EF, so that will bring it to $9239.84 by years end, leaving me with $12,993.02 to save in 2021.  So that should be done by the end of the 2021, at which point we could move our retirement savings to 15% and continue to save for 1 year's expenses, and additional $22,232.86, which would take 37 months.

And that is without MIL giving us any money next year, or possibly at the end of this year.  Mil is going to pay for DD's surgery to take out the liver tumor, at least what the insurance won't cover ($3000, I think), so I don't know if there will be money on top of that or not.  I don't expect it, but I will be happy if it happens.

Putting 15% into retirement means that we will only be able to save $600 a month (well, every 4 weeks, so 13 "months") towards the 12 month's expenses Emergeny Fund.  And that is all assuming there isn't another raise in medical that makes an income cut again or that DH doesn't get a raise during that time period.  They have a wage freeze at the moment.  So I assume the medical will go up and the wages might go down.

Mom is going to do a quitclaim on the house with a life estate for her, meaning she can live here until she dies and she will be responsible for property taxes still, but the house will be ours, with the provision we provide a set amount of the sale to each sister (2) if we sell the house, although we might just buy them out of that, and of course my eldest sister can stay with us as long as we are here (my decision, not Mom's) because family takes care of family.  Mom wants us to have the house, though, because we've helped her all these years when the others have not.

I won't count on it until the ink is dry and it has been five years (the gov could come back and take it if she needed to go into the nursing home).  With that in mind, we will start to save money, on the off chance it falls apart, towards a house once the EF is met, at least until the five years has passed.

Once the five years has passed on the quitclaim and all is safe from the government, we will reassess what we are going to do with our savings from that point.  Future future goals are a solar system for the house and possibly an electric vehicle if they have one that is disability assessible, say maybe in ten years.  I'd prefer a mini-van that could go about 250 miles between charges, but as far as I know they don't make those yet.

I think I have remotivated myself to stop spending so lavishly and refocus on saving.  We have made it a week without takeout and in January we will be doing an eat from the pantry challenge, so my main goal right now is no takeout until February, though a year without takeout would be amazing, if we could pull it off.  We'd certainly stop jeopardizing our goals that way.

A Bit of Good News

December 10th, 2020 at 10:59 pm

I do have a bit of good news in all the upheaval of 2020.  There will be a Christmas contribution to the 401K and a small bonus at DH's work.  And I do mean small in comparison to past years.  $500 after taxes is nothing to sneeze at and will go directly to the Emergency Fund.  Unless DH works overtime between now and the end of the year the 401K contribution will be $813.17 because it is based on a percentage of hours worked during the year.

Starting next year they are going to start matching 401K contributions again, but not at 5%.  At 2.5%.  It's a lot better than the 0% they had to do for the last half of 2020.

I saw the doctor yesterday so I could get migraine medication and pain medication and do a blood pressure check.  I got the flu shot for the first time in a couple of decades.  I had a gut level intuition that this was going to be a bad flu year and they had the right strains this time.  I don't know where that came from, but I have always found that I should follow that voice when it happens.  I'll probably feel cruddy the next couple of weeks because of it, I always do, but that's the choice I made.

We also talked about my hip and low back pain and how it radiates he is suspecting a bulging disc, so once I am done with this entry I am going to go get an x-ray taken and see if there is anything obvious.  I might have to do physical therapy again.  I don't see how that will help as I am still doing all the exercises from last time.  And 45 minute sessions to an hour with a mask on when I have asthma is going to be torture even if I use my inhaler first.  I'll probably have to do albuterol treatments afterwards.

Then after I've put in my PT time for the insurance company I can get an MRI on my low back and hip area.  It's a lot of hoops for this type of MRI.  I hope they find something they can fix when all is said and done.

Broke 40K

December 7th, 2020 at 08:20 pm

It's only been 6 days since I did a retirement update, but I just wanted to share that it broke $40,000.  It's a difference of $563.77, but that was enough to put it over with a few hundred dollars to spare, bringing the new total to $40,412.53.  None of that rise was contributions.  Our next contribution will be on the 11th, but won't hit the account until the following Monday.  Hopefully I can get the side bar to update properly.  It's been more hit than miss, but it still misses on occasion.

Retirement Update

November 20th, 2020 at 05:23 am

The retirement accounts have done really well the last eleven days.  They have gone up by $1,093.40 in that time.  There was one contribution of $220.  The rest is profit.  It has been a good couple of weeks.  I don't know how long this will last, but I hope it continues and we can recover some of the losses from standing still for most of the year.  Stupid pandemic.  So the new total is $38,919. 36.  $40K is getting close.

Retirement Update and Thoughts

November 8th, 2020 at 01:22 am

Our retirement has gone up  from $36,810.93 on 10/10/20 to $37,826.36, a difference of $1012.43.  Only $440 of that was contributions, so we've made a profit of $572.43 in 4 weeks, during one of the most unsettled periods of our nation's history.  I wish his work was contributing the to the 401K.  I hate that they had to quit in July due to Covid in order to stay afloat.  We would be further ahead.  I will be glad when this awful year is over and I hope and pray with all I am that next year will be better and the promised vaccine will be successful and actually here.

Once I know how next year is going to play out in the paycheck department, I can decide whether or not to increase our contributions.  Our portion of medical will be going up around $250 a month pre-tax.  I don't know what that will shake out to until we get our first full January paycheck.  The plan was to bump it up to 7% in January and then if that seemed doable, work our way up to 10% by adding 1% at a time and seeing how that shakes out.  Of course, if the tax cuts are revoked, then that will be moot as well, because we will lose another $250 a paycheck due to that.

If things get better next year at DH's work, and I'm not sure they will with Biden's vendetta against the oil industry, but if they do and DH gets the raise that should have gone with his promotion and we get their contributions back, we should be able to handle 10% no problem.  But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, this would not be a worry.  At least they have the biodiseal conversion contract at one of the oil refineries.

I know we have to step up our game somehow or other with retirement.  It helps that mom has told us we are going to inherit the $650,000 house since we are the only ones who have helped her all these years (as long as we give my sisters $100,000 each that we can pay them interest free over time for their smaller portions of the inheritance), we will never have to worry about a place to live.

Although we would probably eventually sell this place and move away from the city, possibly the state, we would easily be able to buy a house outright with the profits elsewhere.  We are looking at Montana because DH's work has a branch there that he works with now, and they have asked in the past about moving there.  We just can't currently afford it.  I would like to retire in a lower cost of living area that is less politically rabid to one side.  Somewhere a little more centrist to slightly conservative, so more pro gun, has better water rights, and is anti-big gov.  Montana is my favorite other state that I have ever visited and even though the winters are colder, the summers are amazing.

All this limbo makes me feel crazy.

Retirement Update

October 10th, 2020 at 01:26 am

I haven't been paying much attention to the retirement accounts. I don't think I checked since the end of August. Mostly because everything was pretty volatile. But I checked today and we are up $877.45 since 8/26. $660 of that was contributions. I am happy that it was ahead even a little bit.

It would be ahead a lot more if the company hadn't stopped contributing in July due to CoVid. They said they'd contribute at the end of the year, but I don't know if that will be more than they usually contribute or not. It was implied, but who knows? We're just grateful DH still has a job with health insurance.

$26,281.70 401K
+10,529.48 IRA
$36,810.93 New Balance

Next Retirement Milestone Met and New One Set

August 27th, 2020 at 12:52 am

Our retirement accounts have done very well in the last 3 weeks. They have gained $1,389.11, only $440 of which were contributions. We have hit our next milestone of $35K. Actually, it is almost $36K. Our next milestone is $50K.

It is so nice to see the IRA well above where it was in February. I hope this means that the economy is starting to recover from Covid. It seems to be in my area as more places are open now. I am sure there are places where things are still quite bad, though. I am very thankful we do not live in a big city.

Anyway, here are the numbers:

$25,481.16 401K
+10.452.43 IRA
$35,933.48 Total Retirement Amount

Retirement Update

August 5th, 2020 at 10:48 pm

The retirement accounts have really done well since my last check on the 14th. It is up $1,454.91 in that time, with only $440 of that being our contributions. We are $45 shy of the IRA having recovered completely from pre-Covid19. It is back over $10K. I remember how excited I was the first time it hit that amount. It is really good to see it up there again. And the 401K has jumped nicely even without contributions from the employer. I will be so glad when they go back to making contributions.

$24,442.71 401K
+10,101.77 IRA
$34,544.48 Total Retirement

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