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Home > Archive: July, 2014

Archive for July, 2014

Refinance Checklist #1

July 28th, 2014 at 09:16 am

In order to refinance our house hopefully in the spring, we have to finish some remodeling to get the best appraisal we can. I have decided to share my current checklist that needs to be completed before we can refinance our mortgage. I will come back and visit this list later on, to share our progress.


Finish Horse Shed
Build Permanent Goat Ramp
Close In Window on Milk House
Paint Sunroom Windows
Side Bathroom
Figure Solution for Roof


Trim Front Door
Refinish or Polish Floors
Trim Archway
Trim Baseboards


Install Curtains
Trim Windows
Refinish or Polish Floors
Trim Baseboards


Patch Outer Wall
Prime Outer Wall
Paint Outer Wall
Trim Doors
Refinish or Polish Floors
Trim Baseboards
Build Threshold
Install Closet Door


Repaint Walls
Caulk Tub
Replace Window
Install Door
Finish Trim


Paint Door
Trim Doors
Trim Window
Crown Molding
Trim Baseboards


Patch Holes
Paint Wall
Install Trim


Replace Broken Windows

As you can see it is a pretty extensive list, and progress is very slow at this point in time. But looking back we have done a LOT on the house already. This is mostly just tying up loose ends, and it is mostly cosmetic. Money is the biggest issue. All these projects cost, and since the house needs everything custom, everything is pricey!

Puddle of Tears Pt 2

July 28th, 2014 at 07:07 am

Thank for all the hugs and condolences. I am still very upset, and I am still crying randomly and many times throughout the day, but I guess it is to be expected. Frown

My husband helped me bury Tippy out under a very neat tree in our backyard. (It is about 10 trees growing together.) He didnt complain at all that we had to hack through tons of roots. I picked that spot because it is my favorite place in the yard, and under the tree grows the most beautiful wild violets. So now my Tippy will always be covered in flowers.

They worked on the fence yesterday. You think I would be happy, but I am not. The work they did looks horrible. And maybe it was my already fragile emotional state, but I was MAD. I called him up and told him it looked bad. He brushed me off, and he might be upset at me, but I dont care. I am not satisfied with the fence at all. There are so many little things wrong.

He put the fence on the inside of the corners, instead of the typical outside. It wont be as sturdy, and it isnt going to match up with the old fence. The wood posts are all different heights so nothing looks level. If it was a few inches I would not care, but I am talking there is a foot and a half difference in the posts...

He didnt use the brace pins I bought for the braces he just nailed them on, and he put the braces all the way to the top of the posts. So they braces are more than a foot higher than the fence. It looks bad, especially when it is right next to all our previous braces that are about 2 ft lower.

This is where my gate is going. This one looks especially bad to me. You can see to the far right one of the metal posts. The fence will only be up to the green part. So you can see the large difference. Besides the fact that the brace looks horrible!

My mother and I are going to redo all the braces today if we can get them off. It is going to be hard work, but I just dont think I can live with it.

The rest is permanent and I will just have to live with it. Sigh. I am trying to calm down about it, because it will still do its job. It will keep the goats in, but I feel like after spending $4,000+ it should look nice.

Puddle of Tears Pt 1

July 27th, 2014 at 04:14 pm

A few months ago I shared the story of my beloved pet Goatie. I also shared how her legacy lived on in her son Tippy who was nearly an identical replica of her.

It is with much sadness that I now share that Tippy has passed on to be with his momma. Frown

Words can not express how devastated and sad I am. I have done nothing but sob and cry for the past two days. I am completely non functional, And it feels like I am reliving the grief of loosing Goatie all over again.

Tippy was 100% healthy before, and suddenly on Thursday he had slight diarrhea. I gave him medicine and got it stopped by Friday, but he acted off. So I gave him vitamins, and several medicines just to perk him back up. He was not walking a lot but he was starting to eat and drink and I thought he was on the mend. Saturday I went to my moms to get him some more vitamins and when I got back he was gone.

To make matters worse, Zoey the cat who was sick and recently got better has completely vanished. She has been missing without a trace for two days. So I can only guess she is dead. We have looked everywhere, and have no idea what could have happened. She was acting completely normal beforehand, and she has never wandered before.

I am still in shock, and hurting very badly. Loosing Zoey is hard, but Tippy was my baby. Please pray for me. I feel so lost.

Job Questions & Opinions Needed

July 25th, 2014 at 09:21 am

I have went back and forth with this so many times, and I NEED HELP!

The fact is we need more money. We get by now. We can afford to go out to eat every once in a while, and we save a little money. But we are trying to save for children, and remodel our house, and progress is so slow.

If I was being paid the same as my husband we would have an additional $800 a month. Which would go a long way towards our goals!

I make nearly half as much as my husband does. Ive been working 3 years in an office. I am only making about $1.50 more than min wage. Ive gone to college, I have skills!

My job is high stress, and I feel very under paid, and under valued. Not to mention split shifts, and no benefits.

My husband has cheap insurance (only for himself), he gets bonuses, he gets raises, he gets overtime if he wants, and every Holiday off and paid. He gets vacation. His job is low stress. I am jealous.

I work only 30 hours a week, but it is still 5 days. The split shifts mean I work 2 evenings a week as well as days, and they make me feel like I am working more than 30 hours.

I also have to work anytime we have an event. Probably a couple times a month, in addition to my regular hours. This week I have worked evenings all week. (But still no extra hours, because I have to take a longer lunch and go home a little earlier in the day. Im not allowed to get extra hours.)

I need a different job, but its hard to pull the plug.

I see a couple options.

A.) Apply where my husband works, in the office. I know they have good pay, and benefits, and they are so nice. But I dont know if I would like the work. (Sales & advertising.) Not really my thing, but I would be willing to try it. I do have a friend there, and we would save on gas money by riding together!

B.) Find a different office job somewhere with better pay. Again. I am so tired of being a secretary. But it might just be the place I work.

C.) Pick up a fun part time job. Waitressing, or something similar. Then try to do more freelance web design. This is my ideal. But then I get no benefits, boo. Plus, no guarantee of pay.

I am thinking I need to get a real 40 hour full time job. I think husband is starting to resent that I am not pulling my weight around here with the bills and such. And I have to agree. Especially since I work so hard, and am always so stressed. It is not worth it.

I would like to save for a few years, and then once we have kids I can give more freelancing a go.

But I dont know if I should apply at his work, or seek out a different job. Both? I am also unsure what job I really want. I wont be able to find a web design job locally for a business, and I am getting tired of being a secretary, even though I am good at it. I also have 3 years of experience now, so I am not a beginner. Which is a plus for a resume.

I took a test today and I can type regularly between 80-90 words per minute. That is way above the 40-45 average. So obviously these years of office work have paid off.

I am just so unsure on what to do, but I know I am very unhappy where I am now. The unknown is scary though. Frown

ETA: Another problem I have is that, I have to give my current employers a LOT of heads up if Im going to quit. This job is hard, and I trained for 2 months before I took over completely when I got hired on. If I start looking for a new job and get hired, I will be expected to start work in 2 weeks. Which wont give me enough time to train a replacement.

But at the same time, I dont want to tell them I am looking for a new job, and upset the water at my current place, in case I am not able to find new work in the near future. What to do?

Fence Pictures

July 22nd, 2014 at 08:09 am

Here are some crappy cell phone pictures.

The 4 wood posts in the middle is where a gate will go. The horizontal braces arent up yet.

This is just to show the fence line in the back. You can see my rolls of fencing waiting to be put up too!

Fencing Going Up!

July 21st, 2014 at 11:23 am

*dances around crazily*

The day has finally arrived when I see real progress on fence. Over the weekend they put in all the wooden posts and all the metal posts. It looks glorious, and they have done a fabulous and quick job. It is unreal that it took them 2 days to do the same work it took us 6 months to do!

I am itching to let the critters out in it. The posts have to set up (concrete) for a week, so they will put the actual fence up this weekend, and it will be finished!!!

They put in more posts than expected, so I had to purchase 11 extra bags of concrete, and 4 extra posts Saturday.

They still need 5 more wood posts, and 10 more metal posts to finish. Plus some more brace wire. $$$. Which is kind of stinky, but I dont regret hiring them at all. The fence will be so sturdy!

Guessing about $250 - $300 more to spend for gates and the extra supplies. I am really hoping the gates come in by the weekend, so they can put them up while they are here and I dont have to later.

Total of $850 on credit card right now. Will be paying that diligently. It wont be due until first week of September. So I am not too worried.

I will snap some pictures, and try to get them on here tomorrow!

Big Money

July 18th, 2014 at 07:42 am

I spent some big money yesterday. $715 to be exact.

I bought all the posts, and little things I need for the fencing. Put it on the credit card, and got money transferred from the LOC to my checking account. I will wait a day or two until the transactions arent pending, and then I will pay off the credit card.

I have $1,500 left on the LOC max amount. Just enough to pay for the labor. He is starting this weekend, but I dont think he will be done until next weekend. So I wont owe him until then.

Tomorrow I have to go buy the actual fencing, which will total right around $1,000. I will put that on the credit card as well, and just pay it down as much as I can. When the statement hits, I will just pull from my EF and pay the rest off before it is due.

Then all that is left to buy are the gates. Which will be around $250 I think. They are special ordered, and I have no idea when they will come in. Hopefully I can put it off a couple weeks to save the money. lol.

Everything is going to work out. Money is tight, but I just keep breathing and remember that once the car is sold, and some goats are sold all this debt will go away. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

The fence is going to look fantastic, and the critters will be so happy.

Side Gigs & Freelance

July 16th, 2014 at 08:52 am

Did some maintenance on one of my previous website jobs. That is an easy and fun $20. That client is an absolute delight to work with, I wish they were all like that! Ha.

Also a friend referred their teacher to me that needed some help with a php web program for a class project. Outside my usual line of work. But I didnt take those classes for nothing I suppose. I was able to rattle my brain enough to remember some programming, and I am quite proud that I was able to complete it in only a couple hours.

I have no idea if he is paying me or not, he did mention it, but I am not expecting it. It would be a welcome surprise.

I usually only design complete wordpress websites for small businesses. That is my specialty, and what I enjoy. But this has certainly got me thinking. Maybe I could drum up a few little side gigs, designing programs. It is always a good idea to keep your skills sharp, in case I need them for a job one day. The pay is a lot less than a full website, but so is the work.

I need to update my portfolio soon. Ive done quite a few more websites. I am about maxed right now, working on 2, and maintenance on 1. But I expect to finish them soon, and then I will be taking more projects again. Need to keep my information relevant.

I have now done 7 complete websites. I get better and faster each time. Eventually I would love to quit my day job, get a fun part time job, and spend the rest of my time doing freelance and increasing my goat herd.

I would have to do at least 6+ websites a year. Which is very doable as far as time. But I am unsure if I could reliably find that many new clients.

If I could find 12 a year, I could completely work from home. That is an awesome idea!

So far this year I have done 4 websites, and the year is only half over. This is also on top of going to school, and my day job. Surely I could do even better if I was doing it full time, and actually trying to get business... Hmm. Something to ponder.

Fencing Problems

July 14th, 2014 at 07:52 am

Put back $50 for my car, and paid off the credit card. Also paid the interest for this month on the LOC.

Estimate came back for the fencing. $1,500 for labor. $200 more than I thought, but he has to haul his tractor out to my house to dig the holes, so he wanted to be reimbursed for that and his drive. An hour each way.

Total of the fence is looking around $4,000 now.

The problem is that since my car work is still on the LOC, that there isnt enough space on there for all the fencing. It looks like I am going to have to find a way to come up with $1,500. >.<

If anything I can borrow it out of my EF, but I REALLY dont want to do that. So Im racking my brain trying to figure out how I can come up with that much money in a week or two.

He is starting the fence this weekend, and he said it would only take 2 or 3 days probably! Big Grin So that is great news.

Other good news, I have two people interested in my Cobalt. My sister-in-laws fiance and my niece are both looking at it. I am hopeful one of them will take it, and then my baby will stay in the family.

I am really crossing my fingers that one of them will buy it this week, and then my money problems will be all solved!

First Fence

July 11th, 2014 at 11:53 am

Well I went and bought the first batch of fencing materials. Spending about $428 so far.

I needed 25 corner posts, but all they had were in horrible condition, so I only took 15 and I will have to pick up the rest once they get more in.

The good news is that the price of the actual wire fencing has dropped. So that will save me about $300! The bad news is I forgot about some of the little things I need to buy. So that will probably eat up most of my newly found savings. lol.

The professional fencer is coming out tomorrow to take a look, and give me a real estimate and timeline. I am almost giddy when I look outside and see my pile of fencing materials just waiting to be put in. The grass is already getting tall again! Crazy!

No joke when we left for vacation there was nothing in the neighbors field. When we got back a week later there was corn 4ft high. Now the corn is already way over my head. Probably close to 7ft! It is going to be a good year for crops.

Goal Assessment & Plan of Attack

July 8th, 2014 at 11:25 am

After Snafu had a thoughtful comment, I though it would be easier to reply into a new post.

The first half of the year is over... So how am I doing?

Roth IRA: A+
Completed this goal early in the year, and hope to do so again next year!

Fencing: C
Getting started today, so goal will hopefully be completed soon. The money is going to be an issue, but I will talk about that later.

Boooo. I have only added $200 this year to my EF. Shame. Life happens though, and other things took priority. It is still my main savings goal, after debt is cleaned up.

Animal Fund: C
I am not even close to completing this. But I havent sold any goats yet, and I actually did have $1,000 in there... I just used it to buy more goats. So I dont want to be too hard on myself.

Mortgage: A+
Doing fantastic!

So thats the bad news. Things happen, at the beginning of the year I had no intention of driving over $2,000 miles to buy goats, and I had never thought that the engine in my car would die.

It doesnt look like I have made much progress with my goals so far, so where did all my money go this year?

Well I bought 3 new house windows, replaced a car engine, bought a new car, went on a great vacation, bought 3 new goats, did some house projects, paid sky high propane bills, bought some furniture, and a ton of other little things.

If you look at it that way, my money has been put to a lot of use! So what about my goals? I still want them! Looking at our budget, there is no way we will be able to complete my current goals, and pay off the LOC, and the car. But I have a plan to get as close as I can.

The Cobalt is running well, and I miss it horribly! I keep having 2nd thoughts about keeping it, so Father-in-law took it to his house and has it parked out by the road for sale. I have to replace the windshield and then I will list it on the internet and everywhere I can think of.

According to our current debt, future expected debt, and goals, I need to drum up about $12,000 this year! Ouch!

Here is how I plan to accomplish this.

Sell Cobalt for $3,500.
I am still owed $300 for freelance work.
Normal savings will give me another $2,500.
I have $1,900 in goats to sell right now. Some are waiting for pick up.
Husbands Christmas bonus. $500 to savings.

So it looks like I need to come up with another $3,300 somehow.

Freelance work will help the most. 4 more jobs would get me there. I have no doubt I can get at least a couple jobs, maybe more depending on my time of course.

The rest I will have to pray for a miracle, and work and save as much as I can.

So what is the order of attack?

Putting up fencing ASAP. Putting labor & materials on LOC.
Paying off car in 2 months.
Continuing to pay extra $30 a month to Mortgage.
Adding small amount to EF monthly after cars are settled. $200?
Applying all excess funds to LOC until it is gone.
Divert cash flow to EF.
Complete Animal Fund.

To keep myself accountable I have added my LOC total to my sidebar. It will go up tonight after buying fencing!

This is a big undertaking, but I am confident that with a little hard work, and sacrifice I can get there!

Mortgage Payment Hit

July 8th, 2014 at 08:33 am

The mortgage payment finally hit putting us at:



We are so close to hitting our goal of getting it under $50k. We may even hit it next month!

Going to buy the first part of the fencing materials tonight. I am already anxious about spending that much money, but I know it has to be done, and I am so looking forward to having all that space for my goaties to run.

Now that the trip is over I am not quite sure what I should be throwing my money at... I think it would be best just starting to pay down the LOC, especially since I am going to be adding so much more to it.

My car has 2 monthly payments left after next week, so once that is paid I will probably start contributing a little to my EF again too.

Animal Fund is no big deal. I will add to that after I sell goats, AND pay for the fence. I dont need that money, its just a cushion for vet bills and such. Our personal EF comes first.

Focus on Fencing

July 7th, 2014 at 08:19 am

The fencing guy is coming out in the next few days to give us an exact price. But our estimate right now is $1,300 for his labor.

We could cut that in half if we did some of the work ourselves, but last time we did it ourselves it took 6 months! And I need the fence now!

If he does it, it will be done in just a couple weeks. So the $650 is looking like it is worth it. just to save us the time, and the work.

Sadly it seems the fence is going to cost more than expected.

Probably to the tune of a total $3,500. Ouch!

I have no idea how I am going to pay that off, and finish our other savings goals by the end of the year. Frown It is looking impossible. But if there is a will there is a way.

The good news is, that will be the last BIG expense for the house, until we add the basement addition. So after this is all paid off, we will be able to begin to save for other things, like a car for husband.

Paid $100 to the car, and paid off most of the credit card. Only have $75 more due next month. So that is a relief. Trip stayed in budget! Hurray!

I paid the mortgage online for the first time on Thursday. It still says pending... I will give it another day, then I will have to call them and ask what is up.

EF vs Roth IRA

July 4th, 2014 at 08:29 am

After posting my goals elsewhere, many people jumped on me about my emergency fund goal of 3 months expenses or $4,500 in a savings account.

They said since I am not maxing out my Roth it would be wiser to stick it in there for more growth, and no taxes.

After some debate, I think I have to agree. Not only would the growth be higher, and no taxes, but my income qualifies for the savers credit. So I would essentially be getting a 20% return just on that!

I currently have $1,700 in a savings account for an EF. My new plan is to get it to $2k or $3k (undecided) then put the remaining EF goal into the Roth.

I feel safe with only keeping that much cash because I will also have all our other saving items in cash, such as the animal fund, and vacations, etc, that I could pull in an emergency. We always keep quite a bit of cash on hand at any given time, and we also have the LOC and credit cards which could float us a few days if we needed to pull money out of the Roth.

I figure if we end up needing to pull from it, which is unlikely, then I really did not lose anything that was suppose to be for retirement anyway. If we dont end up needing it, then that is more tax free growth for my retirement!

I know some people are highly against this, but I feel pretty stable in our jobs, and since we have such a low income anyway, technically we could go out and get any old min wage job and pay our bills in the case of job loss.

My question is, should I keep $2k in reserved cash or $3k in reserved cash for the EF?

Back from Vacation & Good Updates

July 2nd, 2014 at 08:23 am

I am back from vacation!

We had a great time, and the driving went great. No issues at all, Hallelujah! I am glad to be home though, I missed it.

I believe we stayed on budget, but I wont be able to tell for sure until all the transactions post to the credit card in a couple days.

Zoey the sick cat, is 100% better. She has gained all her weight back, plus some, the only problem now is that she thinks she is a house cat.

I just got a call from the mechanic! My Cobalt is fixed and running great! The check engine light is on, so we will check that out, but so far it looks like we are about ready to sell it. Big Grin I am picking it up, and it is getting cleaned and detailed today, and then all that is left is to replace the broken window. The mechanic bill came in at $632 instead of the estimated $400. Boo. But I am glad that it is over with, and I just want to sell it and be done.

I admit, I am tempted to start driving it again, and part of me really wants to keep it, but I know it just isnt smart.

The LOC now has $2,500 on it, and I still need to buy all my fencing, and replace a few house windows. Ouch. The car has got to be sold ASAP.