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August Check In

August 28th, 2023 at 02:06 pm


Mortgage -$113,890.54 (-$238.56)
Land Loan -$9,353.60 (-$189.99)
Hospital Bill -$741.41 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$26,908 (-$984)
401K +$53,076 (-$1,235)
Emergency Fund +$6,498 (+$413)
Animal Fund +$772 (+$503)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$303 (-$181)

Overall: -$980.45

Overall down from the market. But this was actually a great month for us. Besides adding to the above funds I paid for a $600 medical bill, $800 lodging for a future vacation, have the loan payment for next month saved, and have cash for a couple upcoming expenses. This is due to husband's bonus and I also finally got some back pay I was owed. 

I should have more side income coming and with September being a 5 paycheck month I hope we can continue to replenish savings. 

I still haven't gotten news about my heart yet. There was some poor communication between medical providers and it's all "not my fault" blame game right now between them and in the mean time I know nothing yet.

July Check In & Possible Heart Surgery?

August 5th, 2023 at 01:23 pm


Mortgage −$114,129.10 (-$245.11)
Land Loan -$9,543.59 (-$228.86)
Hospital Bill - $816.41 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$27,892 (+$858)
401K +$54,311 (+$2,074)
Emergency Fund +$6,085 (-$906)
Animal Fund +$269 (-$1,095)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$484 (+$385)

Overall: +$1,864.97

Up from the market. All cash accounts are down. On average we are spending over $300 a month more than we make this year. Which is NOT good. Unfortunately there just aren’t a lot of places to cut and husband is pretty much maxed out on overtime. 

My alternator did need to be replaced and it was $600. Had to buy hay which was $1,300. 

Groceries are our biggest climbing expense. We pay pretty much double what we paid before covid which is crazy to me. I do meal plan and don’t buy a lot of extras. I can’t help the price increases. We don’t have any streaming services, or cable, or memberships etc. 

I am still owed money and husband should be getting a bonus and a raise this month. I’m kind of bummed about the raise. He is going to get around $75 a month which we were going to increase retirement .5% and then put the rest towards groceries but just found out our home insurance/escrow is increasing by $45 a month starting this month. So there goes most of the extra. 

The bonus is hopefully going to be used to replenish some of our savings we keep borrowing from. 

I was casually running our taxes and forecasting it looks like we are going to make $3k or less too much to qualify for the earned income credit again this year. So frustrating to me to be so close to poverty line and not get any of the breaks or assistance. Especially since it’s not based on AGI but earned income so I can’t do anything to help. We don’t qualify for anything because we make too much but we also spend more than anyone I know on medical bills every single year (averaging over $12k a year) so we are really making less than it looks like. Sigh. 

On a related note I am having lung and heart issues again and we are discussing me possibly needing heart surgery again… Hoping for something minor like a pacemaker and not open heart surgery again for the third time. Hopefully I will know something soon. I’ve been wearing a heart monitor for a month and will do some more testing next week. Recovery for something like that sounds terrible with two toddlers, but I also feel terrible every day so I just want to be better.

Mid-Year Net Worth Update

July 1st, 2023 at 05:36 pm

Now that we are half way through the year (how is that possible already??) I wanted to check in on how I am doing financially. One of my big goals for the year was to increase my net worth. Which so far I have accomplished! My liquid savings are down but so is debt and retirement is up.


Cash/Liquid Savings:

 $1,364 Animal Fund (-$322)

 $5,720 Escrow Fund (-$322)

 $2,124 Checking Accounts (+$62)

 $20 Car Fund ($0)

 $99 HSA (-$1,020)

 $9,327 Total Liquid Savings (-$1,602)



 $52,237 DH's 401K (+$9,377)

 $5,683 DH's IRA (+$633)

 $21,351 My IRA (+$5,229)

 $79,271 Total Retirement (+$15,239)



 -$114,374 Mortgage (-$1,459)

 -$9,772 Land Loan (-$1,087)

 -$891 Hospital Loan (-$372)

 -$125,037 Total Liabilities (-$2,918)



$185,000 House

$20,000 in Cars (not counted in figures)


Mid-Year Total Net Worth: $148,561 (+$16,557)

Mid-Year Net Worth without Mortgage & House: $77,935 (+$15,098)

Numbers in () are the changes from the beginning of 2023.


Really pleased to see both my retirement contributions and the market are up, leading to the biggest increase in our net worth. Now if I can get my spending reigned in and my savings up I'll be in good shape.

June Check In

June 30th, 2023 at 07:28 pm


Mortgage −$114,374.21 (-$244.52)
Land Loan -$9,772.45 (-$151.32)
Hospital Bill - $891.41 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$27,034 (+$915)
401K +$52237 (+$2,025)
Emergency Fund +$6,991 (+$27)
Animal Fund +$1,364 (+$154)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$99 (-$2)

Overall: +$3,569.84

Our overall went up a lot which is quite surprising to me since I feel flat broke.

We went on a two week vacation and went $500 over our budget, which honestly isn't too bad because we had some unexpected expenses/changes pop up. We sold some concert tickets planned for later in the year and cancelled that hotel/trip which netted us enough to cover the overage. We spent around $2,700 on a two week trip for everything for 4 people.

My car windshield cracked and we had to fix it before vacation because we drove across the country. -$300 Then yesterday I drove my car for the first time since we got back and my battery light and some other errors came on. Then my electronics went off including my AC (it's over 100 degrees outside)... After diagnostics my alternator is broken. Frown I’m waiting on quotes but it’s looking like $500-$800 possibly. Yikes. But super thankful it made it through 3,000+ miles of driving and broke close to home, and that I’m a SAHM so I can do without a car for now. 

I had to replace my broken retainer which ate up all our HSA contributions this month. 

My checking account buffer is lower than ever because I’ve had to keep pulling from it. I’m owed $600+ and was hoping to refill some of it, but now it may be going to more car repairs. 

I had to transfer $150 from the EF to my animal fund with plans to pay for this years hay in July. Price has increased $300 from last year unexpectedly.

Somehow even with all that we have come out ahead, honestly I don’t know how. Hopefully in July we will have less emergencies pop up. It’s been several months of large expenses and I’m ready to have some breathing room. 

May Check In

May 31st, 2023 at 02:57 am


Mortgage −$114,618.73 (-$243.94)
Land Loan -$9,923.77 (-$187.82)
Hospital Bill - $966.41 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$26,119 (-$113)
401K +$50,212 (+$265)
Emergency Fund +$6,964 (-$1,224)
Animal Fund +$1,210 (+$4)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$101 (-$784)

Overall: -$1,345.24

Ouch! The expected vet bills along with an unexpected and sudden termite swarm which cost $1,200 to remedy really did us in this month.

Some good news is that both our land loan and our medical loan dropped a figure off, I’ll celebrate the small wins. Sometimes I get an itch to pay extra on the land loan, but our saving account is drawing almost the same amount in interest as we are paying. So right now it doesn’t really make sense to pay the debt instead of save since we would then have to take on new debt to complete more future home projects.  

April Check In - Lots of Vet Bills

May 1st, 2023 at 03:25 am


Mortgage −$114,862.67 (-$243.36)
Land Loan -$10,111.59 (-$188.36)
Hospital Bill - $1,041.41 (-$94.44)


Roth IRAs +$26,232 (+$577)
401K +$49,947 (+$1,533)
Emergency Fund +$8,188 (+$1,292)
Animal Fund +$1,206 (-$495)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$885 (+$143)

Overall: +$3,576.16

The month looks better on paper than it actually was. The market is up, but our general budget money is down. Unfortunately my dog was acting a bit off so I took him to the vet and shockingly found out he likely had an aggressive cancer. Within 3 days he had worsened considerably and I took him back and sadly had to make the decision to put him to sleep before we could even get an official biopsy. Frown He was only 3 years old and I lost my other older male last year to the same thing. Plus I had to make the decision on my lifetime horse just a couple months ago. I’m just heart broken, and of course had to pull from my animal fund to pay for pricey unexpected vet bills. Now we will also have to consider getting a new dog and all the expenses that come with that since they are working dogs and I really need to find a new partner asap for my remaining old dog. 

Overtime was hard to come by this month but I did have a yard sale and made a couple hundred dollars which helped us cash flow some things, and cleaned out some junk! This week I have vet appointments for 3 year shots for 4 animals. Ouch. Which I didn’t save for. Double oops. I think two of them I will only get 1 year shots this time so I can get them back on a rotating schedule and I only have to pay for a couple animals each year. 

There is also another $1,000 hospital bill on the CC which will drain the HSA as soon as the next paycheck is deposited. 

I was reimbursed all the money I had put down for the vacation deposit from family so that is where the biggest chunk of increase came from this month. I’ve been working as much as I can on web design so hopefully that will be enough along with more overtime to keep us gaining in May. 

March Check In

March 31st, 2023 at 03:04 pm


Mortgage −$115,106.03 (-$242.77)
Land Loan -$10,299.95(-$190.25)
Hospital Bill - $1,135.85 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$25,655 (+$456)
401K +$48,414 (+$2,744)
Emergency Fund +$6,896 (+$263)
Animal Fund +$1,701 (+$5)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$742 (+$293)

Overall: +$4,269.02

A really good month for savings and for the market. My husband and I went on a week long vacation without the kids for the first time. It was nice to get away and we kept it pretty cheap, only going over my budget by about $50 for a total of $800 spent.

Our sump pump went out during a storm and flooded our basement. Luckily no damage, just a mess to clean up. Husband got a bonus at work so we used it to buy the new pump, and saved $600 for driveway work when the weather clears. Our yard and driveway were destroyed when we had to trench over 400' for a new water line. It's been graded several times but over the winter it's settled again and we will need to backfill, blade, and get several dump trucks of rock. $$$ Thankful for the bonus to help offset some of the cost. 

It's nice to be caught up for the time being. If nothing major comes up we will be able to put back extra next month for our upcoming vacations. 

February Check In

February 27th, 2023 at 04:10 pm


Mortgage −$115,348.80 (-$242.19)
Land Loan -$10,490.20 (-$183.04)
Hospital Bill - $1,210.85 (+$22.83)


Roth IRAs +$25,199 (+$2,261)
401K +$45,670 (-$1,158)
Emergency Fund +$6,633 (+$1,835)
Animal Fund +$1,696 (+$5)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$449 (-$934)

Overall: +$2,411.40

It's kind of depressing that despite a $9k tax return this is all our net worth went up. A lot of our retirement contributions were offset by market loss. HSA contributions were over shadowed by an ER visit. With many more hospital bills to come. A high OOP max and a chronically sick child will do that.

At least our EF went up, and we do have savings not shown here for vacations and other things. 

Federal Tax Refund

February 22nd, 2023 at 02:00 pm

Got my federal refund today. I tried to stick mostly to the plan but due to some unexpected expenses I did have to shuffle things around. Here's out it shook out:

$8,600 Received

$3,000 to IRA

$3,000 to vacation fund

$1,000 to new tires, alignment, and plate renewal

$500 to HSA

$375 for dinner and new clothes

$650 to checking buffer

$75 to utility bill overages


My car's tires were bald and going flat every week. It was time to get new tires. I did manage to snag a buy 3 get 1 free deal, but I needed an alignment and my plates were due. I felt it was a good use of money since I use my car to haul around our kids, and we will be traveling across country in it in a couple months.

Our automatic payment for our trash bill charged us twice this month for some reason. Sigh. I turned off automatic payments, and it will be applied as a credit for next time. Our electric bill was also up this month. So I used a bit to cover that.

Got my buffer back up to normal levels, went to dinner and the family bought some needed clothes.

I was hoping to send $500 more to HSA and save $500 for Christmas. But I still do have $400 in state refund coming to allocate somewhere. Overall I feel like we saved the majority of our refund and/or used it on things we definitely needed.

January Check In

January 30th, 2023 at 02:26 pm


Mortgage −$115,590.99 (-$241.61)
Land Loan -$10,673.24 (-$187.63)
Hospital Bill - $1,188.02 (-$75)


Roth IRAs +$22,938 (+$1,766)
401K +$46,828 (+$3,968)
Emergency Fund +$4,798 (-$2,527)
Animal Fund +$1,686 (+$5)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,383 (+$184)

Overall: +$3,900.24

A good month thanks to the markets bouncing up. I had to pull from our savings for our 6-month car insurance. This is a planned expense that I use that account for besides emergencies. But the biggest loss in savings was due to putting a deposit on a vacation home rental for later in the year. Most of the money will be reimbursed to me by my family (we are sharing the rental home) so it's temporary.

I was able to catch up on all the budget overages this month and put some money back for next month’s budget. I am also owed a couple hundred for web design so that will give me gas money for February and allow me to replenish my checking account buffer a bit.

Still waiting on my Paypal 1099, arg. Hopefully tomorrow so I can submit our taxes.

Expected Tax Return

January 20th, 2023 at 04:03 am

I haven't filed yet because I am waiting on one more thing, but we finally got my husband's W2 and I can make a pretty good estimate on what we are getting back. It looks like right around $9,000, which is great! I was honestly only expecting at least $4k with hoping for up to $8k, so even better than I planned.

This is the first year completely without my W2 income and my old job was a major tax leech.  I was expecting our refund to go up, but then a lot of things that we got extra credit for the last couple years got removed like the extra kid payments and the charity contribution bonus.  I've heard lots of complaints about the refunds dropping this year.  Pleasantly surprised. I know we could reduce our deductions and get more money in the paycheck each week, but I kind of prefer the big chunk. Something to consider now that we have kids and get a refund each year. Before I was always concerned about paying in because we were so close to the line each year with my income. But without my job and kids lowering our taxes we may need to change things.

Crazy how much tax I had to pay on my previous tiny W2 income, which was part of the reason for quitting. The numbers just didn’t make it worth it. My web design last year only netted a little over $1,000 after all my expenses, BEFORE taxes. So barely worth it, but it does pay for a lot of business-related subscriptions and programs I use.  

As far as a plan for the return here are the current thoughts:

$3,000                   IRA

$3,000                   Vacation

$500                       Christmas

$300                       Clothing

$100                       Date/Dinner

$750                       Buffer

$1,000                   HSA

$350                       MISC


That would complete all my financial goals for the year, save some for future vacation, Christmas and clothing expenses, and get my buffer/EF back up where I like it to be. Husband asked to use a bit to go out to dinner, and the left over $350 would just be put wherever needed at the time or saved.

Plan is subject to change along with actual refund amount we get back, but this is a pretty good start.

2023 Goals

January 7th, 2023 at 03:33 pm

This year the goals were hard to figure out. Our budget is going to be super tight so honestly the main goal is to just survive without accruing more debt.  Which puts us at our first goal.


Increase Net Worth

2022 was the first year we had net worth loss. This was a combination of overspending, new land debt and market decline. For 2023 I want to go back to saving more than we are spending overall. Which I think the next two goals will help with.


Save $1,000 Extra in HSA

We already do an automatic paycheck deposit weekly but it’s not enough to cover our entire OOP max for medical bills. We don’t have enough in the weekly check to set anymore up on auto pay so I would like to send more directly over the year with windfalls. $1,000 is kind of an arbitrary number, I want to deposit enough to cover all our medical bills for the year so we can use tax free money. This number could be $0-$2,900 depending on how health issues go throughout the year. $1k is a good starting point.


Save $3,000 in IRAs

I was hoping to save $5,000 this year so we would hit 15% of our income but it is looking unrealistic for our budget. We’ll start with this and see how it goes.  


2023 is going to be the year for hustling and scrounging. With our barebones basic budget covered by paychecks, spending and saving are going to have to be fought for. At least I am aware in advance so I can tighten the purse strings and start looking for ways to save/make money. Our first big decision will be our tax return. It is going to be tough to decide where the money should be allocated. I am eagerly awaiting our W2 so I can get a rough estimate of what I’m working with. Hoping the return is bigger than I’m expecting and I get a nice surprise. It would be great to fund the IRAs and HSA at the beginning of the year.

2022 Net Worth End of Year Update

January 5th, 2023 at 07:41 pm

Cash/Liquid Savings:

$1,686 Animal Fund ($1,214)

$6,042 Escrow Fund ($7,537)

$2,062 Checkings ($6,427)

$20 Car Fund ($20

$1,119 HSA ($1,491)

$10,929 Total Liquid Savings ($16,689)


$42,860 DH's 401K ($45,294)

$5,050 DH's IRA ($5,463)

$16,122 My IRA ($15,337)

$64,032 Total Retirement ($66,094)


-$115,833 Mortgage (-$119,044)

-$10,861 Land Loan (-$0)

-$1,263 Hospital Loan (-$0)

-$127,957 Total Liabilities (-$119,044)


$185,000 House
$20,000 in Cars (not counted in figures)

2022 Total Net Worth: $132,004 ($148,739)
2022 Net Worth without Mortgage & House: $62,837 ($82,783)

Numbers in () are 2021 figures for comparison.

This is the first year we have lost progress that I can remember. I do know the land we purchased increased our house value but I'm not sure by how much without a new appraisal, and the markets are down even though we kept contributing this year. Sadness.

A wake up call that in 2023 we need to do better at more saving, less spending, and knocking down our debts again. I'll have to think a while on specific goals to set for the year with our tight budget.  

December Check In

January 5th, 2023 at 07:20 pm


Mortgage −$115,832.60 (-$241.04)
Land Loan -$10,860.87 (-$184.25)
Hospital Bill - $1,263.02 (+$1,263.02)


Roth IRAs +$21,172 (-$825)
401K +$42,860 (-$1,108)
Emergency Fund +$7,325 (+$49)
Maternity Fund +$0 (-500)
Animal Fund +$1,686 (+$4)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,199 (+$184)

Overall: -$3,033.73

Bad way to end the year. Received a large medical bill and several more hospital bills pending and more sure to come with our deductible starting over and our child’s continuing health problems. We made the decision to just do 0% monthly payments on it for now until our HSA builds back up. Once we are in better shape we will pay it off. But I have a feeling we are going to need every dollar for more medical stuff in the next few months.

I would love to be able to fill the HSA completely each year so it would 100% cover our OOP max, but on the weeks my husband doesn’t work overtime we would be short. So at this time we have to scrounge $2,500 each year from overtime to pay the entirety of our medical bills. Hopefully next year we can bump it up even a little, and hopefully eventually we will be healthy and stop having astronomical medical bills every year.

 Markets are down. Used up the last of the maternity fund I had saved. So happy I was able to put that back and then “pay myself” for over an entire year. I’m going to miss it for sure.

I will compare our end of year net worth in a separate post.


Feeling discouraged

December 30th, 2022 at 09:39 pm

Upon reviewing our income and spending for 2022 and forecasting for 2023 I am feeling very discouraged. I track everything and so I know the numbers are accurate. With our estimated income I am putting us at $4,800 short in 2023 for our budget NOT including vacation spending, home improvement or IRAs.

Adding those three categories makes our deficit a whopping $17,200! Which is almost half of our total budget.

Well how did we get here? The main thing I can figure is that we have received over $11,000 in tax returns and/or stimulus payments for both of the last two years which has given us a deceptively inflated income. I am estimating our tax return this year to be somewhere between $4-7k. Which will help offset some of the deficit, but we are going to have to make hard choices of where to put that money and where we are going to have to cut and/or scrounge up more income for the rest.

This is estimating very little side income besides husband’s paycheck, so if I can hustle a little, pick up more web design, sell things, etc, then we will be in better shape but it’s still a large mountain to climb. I’m also not sure what the impact of husband’s raise will be over the course of a year because he works so much overtime it’s almost impossible to see the difference in the last couple months. But I’m thinking it should give us $3k+ more to work with than I am budgeting.

Unfortunately there aren’t many areas to cut drastically, but every little bit helps I suppose. I may have to seriously consider going back to the workforce if we can’t hustle and cut enough in the next few months. Such as bummer since I don’t feel like we have added too much extra spending, the price of all the normal things have just increased dramatically.

November Check In - Rough Month

November 28th, 2022 at 04:39 am


Mortgage −$116,073.64 (-$240.46)
Land Loan -$11,045.12 (-$180.79)


Roth IRAs +$21,997 (+$1,324)
401K +$43,968 (+$2,950)
Emergency Fund +$7,276 (-$817)
Maternity Fund +$500 (-500)
Animal Fund +$1,682 (+$3)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,015 (-$473)

Overall: +$2,908.25

It's been a rough month for our household but the best the market has done in a long time! We paid around $1,300 for our new 500' main water line and hydrant.

I purchased nearly all our Christmas presents and my husband's and daughter's birthday presents for later in the year. Only two more things to purchase! I love buying everything early. It takes some of the stress off and I make sure to capitalize on sales. I spent a little more than I wanted to. I stayed mostly in budget for the gifts but with kids old enough to be excited we felt like we needed to replace a few things. We got a new tree, some new lights, plus a few small decorations and little things like a gingerbread house kit and pjs for the kids. Our tree and such were what we have been using for a decade and it was free/used when we got it. So it was time to replace.

I had to put to sleep one of my pets this month. I had him for almost 20 years and I am heart broken. On the budget side of things his geriatric care and food were costing $100+ a month so that should free up some extra cash flow to catch our overflowing expenses.

My human kid had more diagnostic testing for a chronic problem and also an unexpected hospital stay. So yay… more medical bills. At least it fell before the deductible starts over I guess. Thankful she is doing better-ish, still working on a long term solution.


Hoping we are about done with the spending because we have been bleeding money this month, along with high stress and busy schedules. My house is a wreck, I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I had my yearly doctor appointment and they said I’m constantly sick because I am chronically tired and stressed. Not much I can really do about it since most is out of my control but I sure hope life winds down a bit soon. I’m ready to have a peaceful and relaxing Christmas season. 

October Check In (House project and medical bills)

November 2nd, 2022 at 02:46 pm


Mortgage −$116,314.10 (-$239.89)
Land Loan -$11,225.91 (-$185.66)


Roth IRAs +$20,673 (+$134)
401K +$41,018 (+$457)
Emergency Fund +$8,093 (-$32)
Maternity Fund +$1,000 (-500)
Animal Fund +$1,679 (+$1)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,488 (+$358)

Overall: +$843.55

Markets are slightly up which is better than the typical sharp decline. Still pulling some from our buffer / EF, and we just completed a large outdoor project (replacing the main water line) so who knows what that bill will be but it will come out of the EF. The EF includes our saved amount for home projects as well but I leave it and label it as EF until it's used just to keep the numbers more simple.

I am thankful to have another project done especially before the cold weather sets in. I am thankful to not have another year of worrying about water lines freezing and breaking again, and I also added an outside hydrant which will improve my quality of life greatly. I've been carrying buckets of water from the bathtub for ten years all winter to water all my farm animals because my current house spigot freezes. Embarrassment

Still need to run gutter drainage lines and put in a new septic but that is looking like it’s going to be put off until next year again. Which is fine with me, gives us longer to save.

Just got our yard regraded a month or so ago and now it’s a disaster with the 500’ water line that was dug up and installed. Sigh. They are going to come back and regrade again in a week or so. Wish the projects would have coincided a little better but it is what it is.

Still having pretty consistent medical bills. Our medical costs are crazy crazy high. Me with my chronic health issues and both kids have been sick pretty much nonstop all year. We have been averaging over $12,000 a year out of pocket including our premiums for the past 4 years. American healthcare sucks. That is 20% of our gross income.

I have several friends who make around what we do and all have free healthcare and food stamps due to taking cash jobs and not reporting all their income so they quailify and/or having more kids. Kind of sucks that since we follow the rules and pay our taxes we have to lose 20% to medical every year plus our taxes. Bad system that is easy to scam. 

September Check In

October 7th, 2022 at 02:55 pm


Mortgage −$116,553.99 (-$239.31)
Land Loan -$11,411.57 (-$179.30)


Roth IRAs +$20,539 (-$1,426)
401K +$40,561 (-$2,060)
Emergency Fund +$8,125 (-$399)
Maternity Fund +$1,500 (+$430)
Animal Fund +$1,678 (+$6)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,130 (-$923)

Overall: -$3,953.39

Ouch! Markets are down, and our savings are down. Even sadder is the fact that we got an extra $600 in back pay this month. We did go on vacation, which was supposed to be to Florida, and then of course once we got there Hurricaine Ian was coming so we had to abandon that plan and leave to another state. Bad timing for sure, but thankful we were able to get out and praying for all the residents there. That did end up changing our costs a bit but we only went over about $400 and we have $600 in flight credits for next time so really it's a wash. 

Otherwise just lots of expenses that popped up, including a much needed new (used) lawn mower because our old small one couldn't handle the new acreage of land we purchased. 

Husband's raise contract passed, not the number he was wanting but he did also get some extra vacation time, and possibly paid paternity leave for the future. Plus a couple other perks. We are expecting $50-100 extra a week depending on overtime. Hopefully that will be enough to dig us out of the hole we are sliding in. 

August Check In

August 29th, 2022 at 09:17 pm


Mortgage −$116,793.30 (-$238.74)
Land Loan -$11,590.87(-$187.98)


Roth IRAs +$21,965 (-$189)
401K +$42,353 (+$268)
Emergency Fund +$8,524 (+$926)
Maternity Fund +$1,070 (-$500)
Animal Fund +$1,672 (+$2)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,053 (-$163)

Overall: +$770.72

Got the bonus which we used to replenish the emergency fund and save more for our upcoming vacation. Raise negotiations are currently on hold due to a different plant strike. The good news is that they will be back paid once the raise goes through eventually.

Haven't paid back the maternity fund yet until some medical bills are settled. Had another urgent visit with the other kid. Sigh.  Retirement is about even with our contributions which is better than declining. 

July Check In - Raise, Bonus, Bills

July 29th, 2022 at 03:10 pm


Mortgage −$117,032.04 (-$238.37)
Land Loan -$11,778.85 (-$181.61)


Roth IRAs +$22,154 (+$665)
401K +$42,353 (+$1,659)
Emergency Fund +$7,598 (-$1,635)
Maternity Fund +$1,570 (-$1,430)
Animal Fund +$1,670 (+$2)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,216 (-$853)

Overall: -$1,172.02

Retirement accounts were actually up a bit. But not enough to counter the dumpster fire that July was. One of the kids needed an ER trip. Then we all caught covid again and husband was out of work unpaid. Had to purchase the rental car for vacation which doubled in price since last year's vacation and quadrupled the price of our 2015 vacation. $1,600 vs $400! Embarrassment I'm still waiting on another person to pay me back for their share. 

Our propane which has always been on budget billing was increasing from $110 to $200 with no changes in usage. When I inquired they told me they could no longer offer a rate cap and this is how much they expected the rate to increase. Yikes. I found out if I pre-paid for the entire year they would lock in $2.14 a gallon so we went ahead and did that. Which was another large expense. 

Still have some large medical expenses coming, some of which I pre-paid but I expect another two thousand or so next month. 

Basically had to use up my entire buffer and pull from my maternity fund to cover things. About one thousand will be reimbursed from the HSA and thankfully husband is getting a bonus in August. Just kind of bummed because we were hoping to use that to get ahead and instead we will have to use it to dig ourselves out of the hole.

Some good news is that husband’s union contract is up on Monday and the entire plant is fighting for a large wage increase. They are wanting $5 an hour effective immediately and then 5% a year for the next 5 years to battle inflation. For reference he has usually gotten about $.30 a year in the past. So it would be a significant bump in pay for him. We really need that since the price of everything like groceries have ballooned and are really killing us. It could be months before they come to an agreement so we’ll see what we end up with, but husband says the workers are pretty firm so fingers crossed.

June Check In

July 11th, 2022 at 03:19 pm


Mortgage −$117,271.22 (-$238.61)
Land Loan -$11,960.46  (-$184.54)


Roth IRAs +$21,489 (-$914)
401K +$40,694 (-$2,279)
Emergency Fund +$9,233 (-$400)
Maternity Fund +$3,000 (-$500)
Animal Fund +$1,668 (+$301)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$3,069 (+$257)

Overall: -$3,111.85

Retirement accounts were down as usual. It was a hard month for us with little overtime and some bigger expenses so sadly we had to pull from our buffers/savings. July is shaping up to be better though. Except some looming medical bills which will probably deplete our HSA. 

May Check In & Land Purchase

May 30th, 2022 at 07:02 pm


Mortgage −$117,509.83 (-$238.04)
Land Loan -$12,145.00 (+$12,145) New Loan!


Roth IRAs +$22,403 (-$389)
401K +$42,250 (+$723)
Emergency Fund +$9,633 (+$203)
Maternity Fund +$3,500 (-$500)
Animal Fund +$1,367 (+$501)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,812 (+$208)

Overall: -$11,160.96

Retirement accounts were almost even with our contributions this month. Sold some goats, paid for hay and hired someone to clean the barn. Several more goats will be leaving in June. 

Land purchase went through, waiting on the county to record it so we can combine with our existing property and move onto the septic. Super excited!

April Check In (Late)

May 30th, 2022 at 06:42 pm


Mortgage −$117,747.87 (-$237.47)


Roth IRAs +$22,792 (-$2,010)
401K +$42,250 (-$3,497)
Emergency Fund +$9,430 (+$743)
Maternity Fund +$4,000 (-$500)
Animal Fund +$866 (-$0)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,604 (+$200)

Overall: -$4,826.53

Retirement accounts plummeted again. Saving as usual.

Land Purchase

April 7th, 2022 at 08:31 pm

Things have turned out better than expected! We are getting approximately two acres and he is only charging us a total of $10,000!!! We were honestly expecting to pay around $30,000. 

This changes things because now we can take a lien out on our car instead of getting a second mortgage. This reduces the loan fees from over $1,000 to around $75. We don't have to get an appraisal or do a proper closing or anything like that, so it also speeds up the timeline by over a month!

We are getting the survey next week and I already have a lawyer in waiting to prepare the deeds. Unfortunately, we must get a deed on the new property and then combine it with our current property and get a new deed again. Which means lawyer and recording fees x 2 but we are still getting a huge deal. We are estimating a final cost of $13,500 and hopefully it will be ours by the end of the month and then a few more weeks to get it combined.

The septic will take a while longer, but we are still hoping to complete it by the end of summer. It’s $700 just to file a permit and do the required soil testing which can’t be started until the land is purchased and combined.

March Check In

April 1st, 2022 at 02:57 pm


Mortgage −$117,985.34 (-$236.90)


Roth IRAs +$24,802 (+$995)
401K +$45,747 (+$3,475)
Emergency Fund +$8,687 (-$287)
Maternity Fund +$4,500 (-$500)
Animal Fund +$866 (-$100)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,404 (+$69)

Overall: +$3,888.90

Retirement accounts rebounded a little. Cash is down due to buying hay and also getting some old trees cut down. Thankfully I am owed $1,000 in web design which should come in this week. I will refill my buffer and then start saving the rest for our land purchase.

We also bought all our plane tickets for the year and our hotel for our fall vacation. So glad that is done and there was cash set aside for this. Makes vacations so much better to not have to worry about money! Just need to get a rental car and everything big will be paid for in advance. 

We actually have one ten day vacation and four long weekend trips planned this year. Plus I'll be going on three goat related weekend trips as well. Lots of traveling!

Changes and Chance of a Lifetime

March 23rd, 2022 at 02:52 pm

We had septic problems last week again. Our septic is 50+ years old, homemade, and every year we just hope it holds on another year because replacement is expensive. 

Well we finally told the company to go ahead and put us on the list for replacement this year. Then we realized that our property line is too close to our house to put it where we want. Currently part of our septic is on the farmer's land who sold us the property. We would have to put it in the front yard and also do a more complicated and more expensive type of septic because of limited room and distance from the house.

So we called the farmer and asked again if we could buy some more land from him. (We have asked multiple times over the last 10 years and he has always said no way.) Surprisingly he said yes! He is going to come over and walk about and talk to us about how much he is willing to part with. I'm guessing somewhere between 1-3 acres.

We are suuuuper excited to be offered the chance to purchase more land, but also a bit nervous because we were not expecting that and so we are going to have to get a loan. Which is a bummer when you are debt free. But we can't pass up this chance of a lifetime!

We will have to wait and see how much land and what price he offers and then decide if we are going to have to cancel the septic or not for another year. I've already talked to the bank and have some options. Most likely a land loan for 4.25% which we would pay off asap.

We have been working on all our different yard projects. We got our old trees all cut down. Still need to bury the gutters, run the new main water line, get a hydrant installed, install the septic, regrade the yard again and plant grass and trees. I wish we had known about buying more land before we agreed to all these expensive projects. But it is what it is. 

February Check In

March 2nd, 2022 at 09:38 pm


Mortgage −$118,222.24 (-$586.33)


Roth IRAs +$23,807 (+$2,426)
401K +$42,272 (-$450)
Emergency Fund +$8,974 (+$303)
Maternity Fund +$5,000 (+$3,000)
Animal Fund +$966 (+$1)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$2,335 (+$469)

Overall: +$6,335.33

Big bump from our tax return and overtime. We contributed quite a bit to savings and retirement and started saving for multiple vacations this year. (Not included in above figures)

We paid a little extra on the house since we have a separate checking account that gets weekly deposits where the mortgage is paid from and it’s a pain to withdrawal the extra from the 5th week months. Figured we might as well just start sending it to the mortgage in the future. 

January Check In

February 8th, 2022 at 03:03 pm


Mortgage −$118,808.57 (-$234.93)


Roth IRAs +$21,329 (+$529)
401K +$42,722 (-$2,572)
Emergency Fund +$8,671 (-$616)
Maternity Fund +$2,000 (-$0)
Animal Fund +$965 (-$250)
Car Fund +$20 (-$0)
HSA +$1,866 (+$375)

Overall: -$2,299.07

The first time we have lost in a while. Markets are down despite contributing to retirement. Bought hay with my animal fund, and had to pay for a home project and car insurance with our emergency fund. (Our short term savings are lumped together with our EF.) Just unfortunate that it all hit at the same time. But this month should be better!

In other news husband was told he is likely going to have to work 7 days a week until April. Frown He has already worked 7 days the last 3 weeks. And also a worker is out possibly for up to 13 weeks. Which means 12 hour shifts... They are training a new guy but he won't be ready for at least 5 more weeks. My husband really needs a new job. He is worn to a frazzle. 




January 26th, 2022 at 07:43 pm

I submitted our taxes today. We are getting back a little over $10k which is super high but most of it is from having a kid in 2021 and qualifying for the child tax credits and 3rd stimulus. 


We are putting $3k into my Roth IRA, $3k for vacation, and I'm saving $4k so I can continue to "pay myself" a monthly salary. I don't want to use it and then have a deficit later in the year without my income. So I will continue to pull and use only $500 a month from my saved buffer towards specific savings or expenses. This is working well so far and making the transition to a one income household much easier. If husband has overtime (always does) or I bring in any extra income then I don't have to pull from the buffer. I have enough saved to keep receiving my previous salary for this entire year and therefore not put any strain on our normal budget. 


I still have the original $2k I saved for maternity leave back in September. I have pulled from it a couple times and then was able to refill it with extra income. So perhaps keeping a $6k buffer seems a bit superfluous but it makes me feel more comfortable about not having a job to rely on, and we could always pull from it in a pinch. Just increasing our emergency fund I guess.

2022 Goals

January 26th, 2022 at 07:23 pm

2021 was a good year for us despite the pandemic. 

2021 Goal Priorities
1.) ($3,500 / $3,500) Medial OOP
2.) Regrade Yard & Install Water Heater
3.) ($3,000 / $3,000) Vacation

We managed to complete all our goals, plus some extra ones! We gutted and redid our kitchen which was $10k+, we got a much newer car as a gift from family, we had a new baby and didn't need to take out any medical loans for our crazy high out of pocket expenses $7k+ and we managed to survive on only one income. 

2022 feels comfortable and I am unsure what goals I have. Almost everything I can think of it less about money and more about living. Which is good I think. I no longer have to have laser focus to pay down debt or save for the next big purchase... we are okay and happy. 

But here are a few easy to reach things I want to accomplish this year. 

Goal 1.) $5,000 Added to Roth IRAs

I have already put in $775 and with another $3k earmarked from our tax return this will be easy but necessary since we have put retirement on the back burner that last couple years while having and paying for children. We are nearing 30 years old and need to make this a priority. Extra income will probably also be added to this. 

We also just bumped husband's 401k contribution up to the match which is 5%.

Goal 2.) New Water Line & Bury Gutters

This was sort of part of last year's goal which got pushed back because the price of materials went from $2 a foot to $10. (Yikes!) Money is there and we will wait until prices regulate before finishing the project. 

Goal 3.) Go on Vacation

This is a reoccuring goal. We always try to take a long vacation somewhere and make memories. We have one big and several shorter trips planned this year. Approximately $3,000 for the main one. 

Goal 4.) Be More Organized

Not a financial goal but a personal one. I would really like to be a better steward of my time. Which means keeping a cleaner house, cooking more healthy meals, and wasting less of my time on things like social media and stuff that doesn't matter. This will be my first full year not working (except my web design which I am doing minimally). With our finances pretty much on auto pilot and us now being a family of four it's time to get the rest of our house in order. Which will help free me up for my last goal.

 Goal 5.) Enjoy Life

I want to spend more time enjoying the important things and things I love. Spending more fun time with the kids, such as going to the park, library, swimming. More time with my goats, more time with friends, etc. 


Here's to 2022!

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