Just got back from a short weekend trip to the windy city. One of my friends travels for work and is currently living there, so a few of us got together for a girls weekend at her place.
I had a great time and only spent $40. (which I had saved over the last couple weeks) We of course wanted to experience Chicago living so we saw the giant bean, ate classic style pizza and hotdogs, had a picnic on lake Michigan, and toured the field museum. We would have liked to see the aquarium but it was closed for the day.
I am SO not a fan of crowds or traffic, but I kept my anxiety in check and we got there and back safely. It was nice to have a weekend away from the remodel and work.
I am all caught up on bills and credit cards besides the giant LOC and 0% cards for the house. It is nice to be able to have money in the check left over to pay more than the minimums. I am determined to pay down debt ASAP.
Just got back from a short weekend trip to the windy city. One of my friends travels for work and is currently living there, so a few of us got together for a girls weekend at her place.
Back from vacation! It was great, and we stayed on budget! Yay.
Our home addition made crazy progress while we were away. When we left it was a hole in the ground. Now all the framing is up, windows are in, and they are putting on shingles right now.
Now for the bad news. Remodel budget has hit our original max. We knew this day would come, but still I was hoping for different. Waiting on a call back from the banker to find out what our options are. We are pre-approved for $12k more. But in all honestly it is probably going to take at least $20,000 to finish everything. Not sure if I am willing to take out that much more on a loan though. Ugh. Have to sit down and figure out payments and all that. I HAVE to start working more web design. That would easily cover payments, so I need to make it a priority. If husband got the new job he applied for that would also make things a lot easier. So many variables. Don't want to get in over our heads, so must tread carefully.
Well my husband did end up getting a raise this year. $.08... Yes you read that right. That is pretty much an insult. Not even enough for inflation.
Anyway, despite my husband not telling anyone he is starting to look for a different career, a neighbor contacted my father in law randomly about a job opening that he thinks would be a good fit for my husband. This job would be the same pay or more than he is currently working, only 4 days a week, no weekend/holidays, daytime, large yearly raises, and room for growth. And best of all it has awesome benefits, which is what we really need because of all my health issues. This job would be a God send for my husband. We are leaving for vacation TONIGHT! So I picked up an application on my way to work, we are going to fill it out and drop it off in the neighbors mailbox on our way to the airport. He said he will take it in for us!
Could really use some prayers that it works out. It sounds too good to be true. Husband has always wanted to work there but they rarely hire, and don't advertise so you have to know someone. It has been years since they have hired anyone, but one of their employees just retired.
Preparing for vacation is super stressful when I have to have all the animals ready, all my invoices for construction work taken care of, all my real work done, clean for the pet sitters to stay here, etc. Ugh. I'm glad it is about over.
See you all in 10 days!
The rains finally held off enough to get our basement finished! On to framing next. We only have about $10,000 left in the original remodel budget. I can not see the framing getting completed for that amount but we will see. Fingers crossed. We can get more money out but would prefer not to if at all possible.
Our money seems to have went so quick. But I have to keep reminding myself of all the projects that did get completed. We had foundation and structural repair on all 4 sides, all new exterior insulation, siding, new roof, new porch, new windows, dug out our pond, dug and poured a basement, etc.
One puppy and one goat are leaving this week, giving our goals a small boost.
Only one week until vacation. So much to do before!
Mortgage Payment today: new balance $45,268.89.
HELOC is now up to $44,500 but progress is/has been halted for a couple weeks now due to massive rain/flooding.
Goats will start to go to their new homes this month, along with one more puppy.
Husband is feeling super bummed at his job. Business has been slow and he is bored/worried they will lay off. He is actively looking at new jobs. There are a couple positions that pay really well/have good benefits but he didn't want them in the past because they work swing shifts and we don't want to work different schedules. But since I am now mostly working from home, husband has decided swing shifts wouldn't be such a big deal anymore. Once he gets more vacation time in July, he will go take the tests for them.
Also bummed because it appears that he isn't getting a raise again this year. His bosses are still getting bonuses and raises, but they have really been greedy towards employees the last couple years. It didn't used to be like that, and he is getting quite scour. I think this is due to the business being turned over to the next generation in the family. They do not treat the employees like their parents did... His first year he got a $3 raise. Since then he has only gotten one $.25 raise. They used to buy pizza for everyone on Fridays, Christmas bonuses were twice as much, etc. All that is dwindling, despite the business making tens of millions more in profit each year. He said job morale for everyone is at a low. What a shame for the younger generation to ruin a family business.
I am FINALLY caught up on all my extra expenses. I was able to pay the credit cards to $0 and still had $75 left over which I sent to the LOC. $75 seems like a drop in the bucket when the total is going to be over $100k but I guess every little bit helps.
I also got a goat deposit, and some puppy money. So I added $100 to vacation and $50 to the animal fund.
Thankful to be caught up. Just in time to pay for 3yr vaccines for two of the cats. (May is shot discount month) And also be able to take off work for vacation without stressing about money.
I can't say enough about how great it is to save for a vacation ahead of time instead of relying on credit cards and paying later. I don't feel nearly as bad splurging a bit without guilt if I know the money is there and earmarked. It also helps you keep to a budget if you have the cash in hand and don't spend more than you have. I highly recommend cash only vacations.
For a low income, young couple; my husband and I have really went on quite a few large vacations since we have been married. We have went to Charleston, Savannah, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Albuquerque, Yellowstone, Smokey Mountains, Florida, etc, some of these places multiple times in only 5 years. This vacation will be our most expensive at $2,000. Travel doesn't have to be expensive. You plan ahead, purchase tickets and rental cars at the right time, cook your own meals, be willing to camp or stay with friends, etc. We have got to do several once in a lifetime opportunities by doing thrifty shopping, or having friends/family across the country. Think outside the box with travel!
Home addition is still going fine. It is exciting to see progress. We have a basement now.
Got my new $5 raise this paycheck so that was nice to help me catch up on some credit card bills. Another week or two and I will be caught up on everything and be able to start funneling to the remodel. In just a couple weeks it will be time to start working on the interior.
Vacation is only about a month away. Plane tickets, rental car, and home are all ordered and paid for. Just need to purchase/pay for whatever attractions we are going to, and food while there.
Purchased a few much needed clothing items such as a swim suit top. Can't go to the beach without a swim suit! I got a $50 top for only $17!
May have to go shopping once more because I couldn't find everything I needed but first I want to go through all my clothes and purge/inventory check.
My house is a major disaster. I think it is time for a spring cleaning / take everything out and organize. It is hard to keep up with when I work every day, milk/bottle feed goats (which takes 2+ hours a day), care for the rest of the animals, work on the home addition, and try to get some rest time in. House cleaning is definitely what gets slacked on. I need to do better.
Tax refund was deposited into my account and I sent it straight to the Roth!
Mortgage payment is today. Balance is now $45,437.60.
Lots of good news this week!!
Start with the small things. I sold a goat and put that $350 in the animal fund. I sent $250 to my Roth.
Taxes are supposed to be deposited into my account this week for $450 that I will send to the Roth.
Puppy money continues to come in. I upped the vacation fund goal another $500 to give us more wiggle room for fun things.
I am owed $467 for client work. Not sure where I will use this yet.
FINALLY got husband's yearly profit sharing statement. (It is dated December 2016, geez) They contributed over $4,000 this year. So we are now at $10,662 in our account and 80% vested. Husband is worried that means there will be no raises again this year... But we'll see. Hopefully not. It is nice that his employer is contributing more than we are to retirement.
I was brave and asked for a $5 hourly raise from one of my design clients. I got it!
The web design company I work for mainly also mentioned giving me a $10 a hour raise in the near future as soon as funds allow. That means I would be making 3 times the amount per hour than my secretary job... Which brings me to my next point. I asked to reduce my hours to take Tuesdays off permanently. They said okay.
Addition is still on hold due to weather. But it feels nice that my income streams are slowly growing. I am feeling more confident that we can meet most of our goals this year.
My real big picture goal is to get paid enough an hour than I can work less hours and devote more time to living life and enjoying my hobbies, mainly farming.
The only bad news this week is that I have 4 bottle baby goats which need fed every 4 hours, day and night. I also have to get up an hour early to milk goats so I can feed said babies. Which is really hurting my sleep schedule.
Overall a very good week financially.
Sent $100 to the Roth. I also submitted my taxes finally and both federal and state were accepted. I will be getting $455 back which I will send to the Roth.
Besides that, all the puppies are sold but some are staying here longer for training so I get a few more snuggles in. Vacation fund is almost done.
Goats will start leaving soon and I will be able to contribute to my animal fund.
My web design has picked up and is overwhelming. I took off from my "real job" today so I could stay home and work on it. Because doing web design I make 2 - 3 times MORE an hour. I think I am going to ask about permanently going down one less day at my secretary job. I really can't afford not to.
I sent $100 to the IRA today. Double my normal amount. Want to get that done ASAP so I don't have to think about it anymore.
Remodel is going... Exterior on current home is just about finished. It's so nice to have all new windows, front porch, front door, siding, etc. 100% improvement.
Bad news is we are projected to currently be about $10,000 over budget. So that is a downer. But we had several issues pop up, and also added several things so not really unexpected.
We are going to push ahead with the addition. Money will have to be made up by choosing cheaper finishes, working more, and/or perhaps cutting out replacing the duct work for now. ($8k)
I have received deposits for all the puppies and they have started going to their new homes. :'(
Weekly $50 contribution to Roth today.
I have purchased our plane tickets for our May vacation. My husband changed his mind last minute about flying or driving back home, so I had to buy an extra ticket I didn't plan on. Also the ticket price was $60 more than I had planned. Boo.
So far we have spent $860 on plane tickets. Ugh. But better than riding in a crowded 15 passenger van with a bunch of children for four days. We will be flying and meeting his family down there, and also flying home. Flying saves us the cost of 2 hotel rooms, and we get to take one less day off work (and have an extra vacation day). So really the cost of the tickets are greatly offset, and much more comfortable for traveling. Well worth it, especially since I get high car anxiety.
So since the beginning I have kept part of my emergency fund in my Roth IRA since we get the savers tax credit for contributing. On my sidebar I had been listing that money under EF instead of Roth, but as our numbers grow it is getting complicated to keep track of how much is for the EF and how much is not. So in order to simplify I am changing it. Everything in the Roth is now correctly listed under Roth, and the EF total is the only cash we carry in our checking/saving accounts. That said, if we really did have an emergency we could still pull from our Roth, but it is silly to not put the majority of our savings in there to get the tax advantages. We do also keep quite a bit of cash for other random short term savings which I do not keep track of on my sidebar that we could definitely use in an emergency as well.
For more info on why I put part of my EF in my Roth here is a good link.
Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund
A goal that I don't see happening this year is the truck fund. We used $1,000 of it for a down payment on our remodel. We had originally planned to take that out of the loan and put the cash back, but it seems silly to be paying 6% interest just to have the cash sitting in a savings account. Husband is also wanting to focus on the remodel and has not been contributing faithfully to the truck fund this year. He says he can get a couple more years out of his car. So, we will continue to contribute to the fund, but it is on the back burner for now. No way it will get to $3,000 this year. We would like to have enough in there so that if something did happen to our of our cars we could afford to pay cash for a beater at least.
Home remodel is going well but money is getting spent quickly. We are up to around $11,000 already. It is so nice to see things getting done on the house though. Especially long lasting changes like siding and foundation repair.
With my payday today I sent $80 to the IRA. I will be getting an "extra" paycheck next month and will have $450 to put towards something. Perhaps the IRA.
Puppies are getting their shots this week, and will be ready to go to their new homes in just 2 weeks. :'(
My goats will start having babies this week!
Today is husband's payday so I went ahead and paid the mortgage payment and the LOC interest even though they aren't due for two weeks.
Mortgage is now at $45,499.86.
Well we are in the home remodel. It's going well, although it is really hard to write such large checks.
It's going a little slower than I expected, and I am worried about them needing more time/labor than allotted. Of course we are only on day 4 of a 10 week remodel. lol. So it's too early to tell if we are on track and on budget.
Money is/will be tight for a while. Things like lights, paint, etc, are being cash flowed. I am super excited to see my house looking better every day, and we have only just begun. Right now they are working on the front of the house, which included foundation repair, redoing the porch, new door, two new windows, and siding. This is the most complicated side, and I think the others will go faster.
After the exterior is complete, then they will start work on the actual addition/basement.
Got the money owed to me so I sent $170 to my IRA. Yippe!
Also, good news on the gym front. My mom is going to share a family plan with me and my husband so we can split the cost. She gets a discount through her job, also the owner gave me a discount because he knows/likes me.
All said my husband and I only have to pay $15 a month for BOTH of us. The normal price is $35 a person!!
The only downside is we had to pay for the whole year at once. But now it's paid for and over with and we can work out and get healthy. Yay!
I need to deposit $650 more into the IRA before April 15th so I can count it on 2016 taxes. I was going to just save it up and send it in one large chunk. But with the remodel happening, I think it would be safer and less stressful to just sent a small amount every paycheck. There are ten weeks left, so if I do $50 a week that will almost get me there. I also have $150 of side income that is owed to me and should be paid in the next week or so. That will make up the difference. I went ahead and sent $50 today.
Got a $105 bonus this month for having happy customers. (BTW my web design boss is awesome and really encourages me/spoils me.) I used that along with my normal web design check to pay off one of my credit cards. Now I just have the $500 from the door left.
Siding and windows have been ordered, roofing will be ordered later this week. I talked to the crew and they are going to be starting in earnest on Monday. They got held up at their current job.
I am beginning to get deposits for the puppies despite me wanting to wait until they were 6 weeks old. They are only 4 weeks now, but people keep bugging me to pick theirs. As of now 5 out of 7 are on lock down. Have several interested people in the remaining 2 but not settled yet. (Not bad for not advertising any yet! These people all found me.)
I went ahead and made my mortgage payment today a little early. Balance is now $45,693.06.
I am anxiously awaiting to hear how much the windows and siding are going to cost to know how close we are on budget.
I'm thankful that I ordered the door and handle and can cash flow that expense.
My HVAC estimate came back... $8,200. Eek! But spot on with the rough estimate he gave me a few years ago. That includes a new furnace, AC, and all new duct work. It's a huge job. He said if everything goes smoothly that the labor might go down because he planned worst case scenario, but I'm not going to bet on it. Our house is always worst case scenario on every single thing.
But oh how nice it will be to not worry about pipes freezing, having to run multiple oil heaters 24/7 to keep the house warm, and to have AC.
I'm sending $500 to my IRA today!! Whoot!
Also paying $500 for 6 months of car insurance. Glad to have two bigger things taken care of.
Purchasing our front door today. Exciting!
I worked a lot this month, so I am hoping for a bigger check in the next week or two.
Good thing, because the dumb dog jumped up and busted one of our windows out on accident. Of course it was one of the few windows we were NOT going to replace. It was very fragile old glass and when her paw put pressure on it she punched right through. Thankfully she just got a small cut and is fine, so it could have been a lot worse.
Somebody dumped another stray cat off at our house. ARG. I'm hoping it will go to a neighbors, otherwise I'll have to find it a home or be stuck with it.
Sweet little puppy did not make it. :'( She fought hard for 6 days, but in the end I think her injuries got the best of her. Despite her beginning to perk up, she started coughing blood and died within a day. Her punctured lung must have been too severe. Husband and I tearfully buried her last night.
I am horribly sad, but I know I did everything I could, and I am glad she is no longer suffering.
On to financial news:
I have all my W2's back and am ready to submit my taxes after double checking them again. I'm getting back $500.
Also, our loan was APPROVED! Our siding and windows are being ordered today, and there should be some actual construction going on within 2 weeks. I am super nervous about staying in budget. Additional things have already come up that need to be done such as a new front door... No extras unless we can pay cash! So let the scrimping begin.
Construction guys are very nice and are going to let us help with as much as we can to cut down on labor. I'll be shopping around for the best deals asap. We've already picked out our flooring (which is a bit of a splurge, but we are going to install ourselves) Saturday, we are going to go look at some home stores and window shop for tile, fixtures, lighting, etc. Just to start narrowing down prices. We are making a list of everything we need to save for, since we are trying to keep all finishes off the loan.
Guys I am so heartbroken. Late Wednesday night my favorite puppy started randomly squealing like someone was hurting it. Odd. But it was still eating and walking around.
First thing Thursday morning it's breathing was changed, and it was crying more often like it was in pain. I rushed it to the vet and he said it appears either the mom accidentally stepped on it, or it got squished under it's big siblings. :'( Broken ribs, possibly punctured lung, internal bleeding. He said it felt "squishy" inside. He gave her some pain meds, and antibiotics and sent me on my way with a good luck, but probably not going to make it.
She has no appetite, and no such reflex at all. So I have to dropper milk in every 3 hours around the clock. Poor thing just lets most of it dribble out though so she is skin and bones.
Every night I was sure she would pass, but I am surprised to see her still alive today. 5 days later! Last night she was so weak that I sat and cried over her for an hour and kissed her goodbye. But this morning she is actually slightly stronger.
She has stopped crying, and her breathing has improved. So I think we are past the danger zone with her injuries. But now I worry about aspiration, and starvation. If she doesn't start eating soon there is no way she can keep going on. I seen her rooting around mom this morning for the first time, of course if you stick a teat in her mouth she just sits there, but at least it's some progress.
I'm waiting on a call back from the vet to see if there is anything else he is willing to do, or if there is anything he can give her to help with appetite. I feel powerless and desperate. But I am doing all I can. I am so exhausted from feeding 24/7 that I actually fell asleep this morning after feeding at 7 and slept until 10. I never sleep that late!
So I would appreciate prayers for her, she is a fighter, but it's an uphill battle.
Here are a couple pictures of the puppies. They are so precious!
Half of them are for sure sold already. Have a few other people interested as well. Not bad considering I haven't even advertised them yet. lol. Any profit is earmarked for our vacation.
Waiting on a call back to set up the date/time for our appraisal. I'm nervous it won't come back high enough, so fingers crossed!
I have 2/4 of my W2s back. Tentatively it looks like I will be getting $500 - $1k back. Plus get to keep the $500 I had set back from my self employment. What a relief, since I had no idea how much I was going to owe. Most likely whatever I get to keep/get back will be going into the IRA.
Well no more progress has been made on the house. It was 3 degrees last week, and now all this week it's flat line winds and raining. Yay.
We are going to try to clean out some room in the shed tonight so we can continue sanding and painting our bathroom trim. Got to hurry before the appraisal.
I put the last $150 in my animal fund so I can purchase the rest of my winter hay. No more worrying about that fund until I start selling kids again.
Also, we have puppies!! 8 adorable, fat, squeaking puppies.
Mortgage is now $45,848.29!
We got our bathroom repainted this weekend, so all we have left to do is patch the drywall, finish trim, and paint the door. We couldn't do these projects because of rain.
Builders are saying last week of January or first week of February for starting the remodel. Huzzah!
We've picked out our siding and windows. Things are rolling!
Besides our already crazy remodel in 2017 there is something else happening in 2017 that I haven't shared.
Most likely in the fall I will be undergoing a new and innovative surgery for a possible cure for my very rare lung disease. They only started preforming these in the last year or so, and there is only one hospital and one doctor in the US which performs them. So we will have to travel to the east coast for a week.
Honestly I don't want to get my hopes up that it will even work. But my husband is absolutely ecstatic that I have agreed to go. I've lived with my issues for half my life so I can't even remember what it is like to feel normal anymore. But I know I worry my husband a lot. Poor guy gave himself an ulcer this summer when I had a bad coughing fit and nearly suffocated. He was more scared than I was.
Also, with my condition having children is not a super safe idea since none of my medicines are allowed to be taken while pregnant or nursing. So it's better to get this fixed if I can now, so we can start a family eventually.
My mother has graciously put back a lot of money in her flex spending account, and I won't have any medical bills.
There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but we've been in contact with the doctor. Insurance can take up to 10 weeks to okay the surgery, and then we will have to pick a date, etc.
I really didn't want to be the guinea pig, and I am super anxious about hospitals and needles. So keep me in your thoughts. 2017 is going to be a crazy year, but everything works out it could be life changing!
I've mostly decided on my new goals for 2017.
1.) Stay Below $105k Home Budget
2.) $1,500 for May Vacation
3.) $3,000 in Animal Fund
4.) $9,000 in Roth
5.) $3,000 in Truck Fund
My main goal for 2017 is completing a home addition, and substantial work on the existing house. We are going to cash flow as much as we can as we go along. This is so variable, but in the end I don't want more than $105k in total debt. With our current mortgage and LOC we owe $51,000. So that means we can only add up to $54,000. The rest will have to be delayed or paid for with cash.
I am going on vacation/business trip in May. I'm estimating to need around $1,500 for this. I already have $400. So it's a start.
The other 3 goals are recurring from previous years. I want to continue to add to our IRAs, animal fund, and truck fund. With the animal fund being the only need.
Christmas was great. Spent time with family, and I got practical gifts such as a nail gun and a vacuum I don't think anyone has every been as excited as me to receive a vacuum. I was nearly dancing with glee as I sucked every piece of furniture and every nook and cranny.
Unfortunately I was not able to complete my goals for 2016. But I am confident that I will have the money for the Roth by the April deadline.
I should have my credit cards from Christmas paid in full by next week. And I can't foresee any other expenses popping up. So that's good news!
I am unsure what goals I should set for 2017. Everything is so much up in the air. I am turning the loan application in for our home addition this afternoon, and then there is no going back. Every extra dollar will spent cash flowing remodel expenses in 2017.
We spent our weekend doing some much needed odd jobs on our house to get ready for the upcoming appraisal. This weekend husband will have 3 1/2 days off again, so hopefully we will get everything finished. It's nice seeing our projects come to a close... just in time to start more projects.
I have really been trying to lose some weight. The problem is, I love to eat. So I can't just eat salad daily like my husband does. My best friend has moved back to the area, and she goes to the gym daily. So I've been tagging along with her for a couple weeks. I am only able to go 2 - 3 times a week, on my work from home days, and on the weekends. Since I have to go at the same time as her so she can let me in, and she goes during the day when I am working.
I am actually really enjoying it! I feel stronger, and not so lazy. But I am beginning to feel guilty sneaking in the gym without paying, especially since I know the owner. I wanted to try it out for a couple weeks to make sure I would even stick with it though before spending a bunch of money.
Anyway, I feel like I need to purchase a membership or quit going. But a membership is $25 a month. :/ I don't know if I can justify the cost, on what I see as a non essential expense...
My mom is also wanting to work out, so she said she would get a membership too so we could go together. Since I know the owner I am going to see if there is any discount he would give me. Occasionally they run specials.
What do you guys think? Is $25 worth better health? Or would I be better off saving that money?
Husband got his bonus. $750 which is down from $800 last year. Bummer since the company made 20 MILLION more this year. Oh well, we are thankful for any extra money!
I sent $350 to the Roth IRA. First time I've been able to add to that in a long time. The other $400 husband wants to save for vacation. We will be going to Disney world in in the spring, and are estimating needing $1,500. I'm really hoping to get some taxes back this year and we can use part of our return for this. The rest will most likely go towards the IRAs.
Still working on paying off Christmas and other miscellaneous expenses. With the Christmas season and lots of sales, I've done really bad at splurging on multiple smaller expenses. Oh $20 here, $15 there, $20 here... It adds up!
Mortgage is down to $46,010.56! Every little bit that comes off is less we will owe when we refinance.
Remodel contract has been signed and $2,500 deposit has been paid!! This is really happening, guys!! We are expecting to start in two months, so that will give us a little time to work on saving/paying down debt.
I need to come up with $200 more to finish off the animal expenses until spring. First kids will arrive in a week. I'm so excited.
Husband should be getting his yearly bonus soon. We haven't decided what we are going to use it for yet, but most likely will put some in the IRA and the car fund. Husband's car is still chugging along right now, but we'd like to have enough money put back that he could purchase a decent car without needing to take out a loan in the future.
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