Home > Archive: February, 2014

Archive for February, 2014

About to Make a Decision on Cars

February 28th, 2014 at 04:35 pm

So while I was leaning towards keeping my Cobalt instead of buying the Neon.

My mind has been changed again.

Father-in-Law inspected my car last night while trying to clean the throttle body. He found a cracked hose, and a couple other problems including needing to replace the thermostat. *sigh*

This on top of the new recall on Cobalt has pushed me just about over the edge.

Grandpa told me he was firm in price... then he said he might negotiate. The Neon is a 2004 not a 2002. I checked Kelly Blue Book, and it is listed as worth $3,800. He also just had the timing belt changed, which costs about $600-$800 so that is nice. I took it for a test drive, and had Father-in-Law look at the insides and drive it as well.

I like it okay. It is smaller than my car, which I do NOT like. But I can deal with it for a couple years.

We found the original receipt for it. He paid over $17,000! I am thinking I can talk him down to $3,300.

The problem with my car is that it is going to need several repairs before selling. New windshield, cleaning, new thermostat, a timing belt tensioner, and various smaller ticket ideas.

We are looking anywhere from $200 - $500 before I can put it up for sale. Even with the repairs I highly doubt I would even get $3,000 for it.

So getting the new car will cost me around $1,000 I am guessing.

Right now my car is in my moms name, and on her policy. If I changed it to my own my insurance I would be paying about double.

It is suppose to go down in August, which is also when my plates expire.

So the current plan is to get the Neon and park it in the garage, and continue driving my Cobalt until August. During this time I would get the necessary repairs. Then as soon as my insurance price drops, I will license and insure the Neon in my name and sell the Cobalt.

I will make some payments to Grandpa until I sell the car, then he said I can square up the rest then. He is loaded, so no big rush for the money.

Part of me is still clinging to my Cobalt. I love that car. But we just keep finding new bad news on it.

Getting Closer

February 26th, 2014 at 02:50 pm

I received two of my extra checks.

I deposited them and paid down this months credit card bill. I also send $150 to my animal/goat fund & $250 to my Roth IRA.

I'm getting so close to meeting my Roth IRA goal! Whoot whoot! Only $350 to go. I should be able to knock that out within a couple weeks, or maybe sooner if some of my others checks come in.

If I get all my goals met before the year is out, I have a feeling I might be temped to add more money to my Roth. But we shall see how it plays out.

I am very busy at work right now, and these 3 side jobs are about to kill me. But at least I enjoy it. There is another small side job still being talked about right now as well.

I'm so happy to continue seeing progress on my goals, and our savings grow. It feels good!

Credit Card Limit & Grocery Bill

February 24th, 2014 at 03:42 pm

I sent another $100 to my Roth IRA today. Not much, but every little bit helps.

Despite us raising our grocery & home budget from $200 to $300 this month, we still went over by about $20. Sigh. The week is just starting too. Hoping I don't have to get anymore. I think we will be okay.

We don't eat really expensive, but food is expensive in general, so we have trouble staying in our grocery budget. We have problems when we go to the store and OJ is on sale so we buy it, or our favorite chips, etc.

I think I need to start sitting down, and using my meal plan to make a very precise grocery list. Maybe allowing us each to pick one snack or splurge item a week. And then ONLY buying off the list.

We do make a list now, but we often see stuff we want or that is on sale and we get it.

How do you stay in budget?

My credit card limit has been bothering me. Because we always paid in cash, we had pretty non existent credit scores. We both got a student card with a low limit last year to start working on establishing more credit.

Well I only had a $500 limit, and husband only had a $300 limit.

I use my card for as much as I can. Because I like the reward points. I always pay it in full every month. But it annoyed me that if I even just put groceries on it I would already be above the 30% utilization on the statement.

So I was hoping since I have been using it for some time now that they would raise my credit score. I decided to call them at the beginning of February. And lo and behold, the day I pulled up my account to find their number they had raised my limit to $1,500 on their own. Sweet!

I will never use that much, but I'm glad my utilization is lower now. Now I can also put bigger items on it that I am going to pay anyway, like the propane bill.

Husband got his card a month or two after me, so I'm hoping his will go up soon as well. Although he rarely uses his.

New Car!?

February 21st, 2014 at 03:27 pm

I find myself in an unexpected dilemma.

My grandpa informed me yesterday that he is selling his Dodge Neon.

While I am not in the car buying business per say, the last couple months, especially this month husband and I have been beating around the idea that my car is going to need replaced soon.

My car was bought new in 2006. It is a Chevy Cobalt. Both my mother and I used it to drive to school 2-4 hours daily for several years. We used it to haul goats, we used to to hold farm tools.

Basically it has had a rough life. The outside still looks new, but the inside is very very stained and dirty, and it has 170k miles on it. Embarrassment

It has had countless problems. The electric circuits in it were bad and all needed replaced, the steering wheel had a recall on it, the airbags had a recall, the fuel pump had a recall. The blinker switch had to be replaced.... etc.

A couple years ago it started rattling at start up for a while then it would settle down. They think it is a timing belt problem which is going to cost me $800 to fix...

It also started smelling like gas, and dying when it idled. So I spent hundreds getting it checked out and they could not find anything. Turns out the fuel pump had a recall, and I got it replaced for free.

That made it work great for a couple months. But here lately it has been dying on me again, like when I pull up to stop signs, or I am slowing down in the driveway. Sigh. I do not think they would replace the fuel pump again for free.

I am emotionally attached to this car, I really love it. I think it is so cute, and it has been a great work vehicle. It is starting to make me nervous though because I go to school at 10pm an hour away. And on some of the cold nights I had trouble starting it. It is also embarrassing to die at a red light and people are honking at you.

It drives great though when it is going...

I had just decided to continue to ride it hard, and just use it until it crapped out on me. (Which seems like it will be sooner than I thought.) Hoping I could get a few more years out of it.

But now this great deal has come along, and I am really torn about what I should do.

The Neon is a 2002. So older than my car. But it only had 75k miles on it. A hundred less than mine. It is in PERFECT condition. It has had an oil change every 3 months, he just took it in and got a $900 check up on it. It has never been driven over 50 mph... No joke.

No one takes care of their cars like my grandpa. He has 4... and he enjoys buying new ones every couple years. This is the longest time he has kept a car. I asked him why he was selling it and he said it had too many miles on it.... haha.

It is not as beautiful as my car. But I feel like it would last me a lot longer, and be cheaper in the long run.

He is asking $3,500 for it.

I could realistically sell my car for $2,500. So essentially it will cost me $1,000.

He said I can make interest free payments to him, which I think is more than generous.

Part of me loves my car and wants to keep it. Frown The logical side of me thinks this is a great opportunity to get rid of my lemon car and get something more reliable while I can still sell it for a decent amount.

My car get 3-5 more mpg, which is also a factor. The Neon is also a little smaller, which scares me about snow, and future kiddos.

My parents are urging me to go for the Neon. My father in law thinks he can fix my cobalt and that I should keep it. But even if he does, I feel like 100k less miles would get me a lot further.

I dont think I will find another car at this price that has been so well taken care of. I worry that if I pass it up my car will die on me in 6 months and I will be kicking myself.

At the same time, Id prefer to keep my car, if it will last me another 5 years.

What to do, what to do?

The Story of Goatie **Part Two**

February 19th, 2014 at 04:27 pm

If you have not read part one, see it here.

Text is and Link is

Goatie could open doors and gates, and would often get into our sheds, or let the other goats out, so every door had to have double latches.

She LOVED riding in the car. When people would come over, she would try to jump in their vehicles when they opened the door. Often times I would just take her for a ride to town. She would jump in and lay down on my lap and just sleep the entire way. Once she got big she could not fit on my lap anymore, so she would put her front feet on me and her head and just get as close as she could.

She loved me so much. Every time she had babies she would wait until I got there, I witnessed every single one of her 11 births. She would cry for me when I went inside. Or if I sat outside she would lay down beside me, and rest her head on my lap.

After a couple years Goatie grew too fat. We tried to put her on a diet, but since she ran free she pretty much just ate what she wanted. If we locked her up she would cry and cry.

Fat can cause problems when goats kid (have babies) and one time she had a stillborn. She mourned that baby like no animal I have ever witnessed. It was winter so we could not bury it. So we wrapped it in a towel and hid it on the other side of the house. Overnight she actually found it and was standing over it the next morning protecting her baby.

After we buried it it literately screamed and cried for two weeks. She wandered around looking everywhere and under everything for her baby. Because I raised her and made goat sounds to her when she was young, her voice did not sound like the other goats, it sounded like my voice when I try to make a goat sound. It is weird. But her cries were eerily human sounding. It was so sad, that no one wanted to go outside during this time because her mourning was just so depressing.

Eventually she got over it, but we decided not to breed her again because of her weight. She loved babies and was determined and she managed to get in with the boys. So we waited and prayed that everything would go smoothly.

The time came and she had 4 kids. Everything went great, and I was so relieved. She was happy again. Then two days later, she went back into labor.

We have no idea why, there were no more babies in there. The vets could not / would not do anything. They thought her uterus had ruptured and that she was bleeding internally. So I sat watching my beloved Goatie get weaker and weaker everyday.

Goatie was so strong, I thought nothing would ever bring her down. She was still eating, drinking, and walking up until the last day. That is rare.

One night she was doing about the same. I sat down with her and snuggled her, and stroked her head. I wanted to stay with her, but the vet told me that I was probably stressing her out by being with her all the time and that I needed to just let her rest. So I talked for a while, then I kissed her head and went to bed.

In the middle of the night my dad went to go check on her. He found her passed away in the yard, half way to the house. She was trying to get closer to us.

That is my biggest regret in life, was leaving that goat. I should have stayed with her when she was scared and hurting. I should have known better.

I miss her more than anything. She died a year ago, and even now I am sitting here bawling like a baby. Words can not describe how much I loved that crazy animal.

The only thing I have to cherish is that she gave me one last gift, her 4 babies. I kept two of her babies, and gave the other two to my goat mentor who helped me save her all that time ago.

One looks just like her, and they both act just like her. They follow me around, and enjoy riding in the car. I find it so amazing that even though they were not raised by their mother, there is such a resemblance. I look at Tippy (the one who looks just like her) and it makes me smile because I think of her. I had to bottle raise them too, so they have her same voice. They have her eyes. I love them so much.

I also have 2 other babies of hers from previous years.

And that is the long story of Goatie. Eventually I will post about my other goats, but I think I have said enough for today.

The Story of Goatie **Part One**

February 19th, 2014 at 03:57 pm

A lot of people have been asking about my goats, so I figured it was about time to post about them. I can not talk about my goats without first introducing you to Goatie. My first goat.

Beware this is going to be long, so I am going to break it up into sections.

Years ago we were at an animal fair walking around one day, and we heard a little baby goat crying.

Somehow I talked my mother into letting me take it home. We lived in a subdivision, and had no experience. She was only 3 days old, and had to be bottle fed. No matter what we tried she would not eat and we nearly lost her, but luckily we found a nice family with goats that helped us and taught us how to care for her. (They are still my goat mentors)

She slept inside the garage in a dog bed, and we left the door open and she ran around freely. She stayed in the yard, and played with our poodle. She also came inside the house, and was potty trained. She never had an accident.

About 6 months later we bought a farm, and we moved. She did not like the change at all when we put her outside. We still let her run free, and she slept on the front porch. She would greet people when they drove up, and followed me obediently when I was outside.

This was not a normal old goat. She was different. She knew just as many tricks as any dog I have ever seen. She could shake hands, rear up, twirl in a circle, moon walk, speak, bow, lay down, and I even made subtle hand signals and I could ask her a question and depending on my hands she would shake her head yes or no. So Id ask her, Goatie you are not a bad girl are you? And she would say no.

Every person who came to the farm was delighted with her. And she would willingly demonstrate her tricks. I even taught her how to pull a cart, and she would pull my sled in the winter with me on it.

I took her to parades, I took her treat or treating, I took her to nursing homes, I took her on walks to the park. She was my best friend. We shared a special connection.

After another year we decided she could probably use another goat for a friend. So we went out and bought another. When we brought it home, she HATED it. She took one smell then began spitting like it was the worst thing she ever smelt.

Since she had never been around them, she did not like goats. She would head butt them every time one got close to her.

Eventually we bred her and she found her new calling. She loved her babies. She took such good care of them, and every one she had acted just like her. (Goats pass down their personalities.)

To be continued...

Good Side Income Month

February 18th, 2014 at 03:43 pm

I have several sources of money coming in at this time, and I thought it would be a good idea to write it down so I can keep track of where it should be going when it gets here.

First I will be getting a refund on school tuition. It should be here next week.

Total: $238

I am wrapping up a freelance job, that has a balance still owed. Should be paid within the next 30 days.

Total: $462

I got a signed contract back for another job yesterday. First payment should arrive by next week.

Total: $750

Church Website will be started asap. My payment is sitting in an envelope. I am not going to claim it until the project is well under way.

Total: $500

With a grand total of $1,950!!!

That is pretty dang good for side income in about 6 weeks. Probably the most I have ever had. And that is not counting the tax refund we just got back.

1. $150 to tithes
2. $700 to finish my 2013 Roth IRA
3. $700 to goat money
4. $400 to animal fund

Things are subject to change but this is my current plan.

I am excited to knock out the IRA goal so quickly, and also put back money for the goats I purchased.

Bit the Bullet

February 17th, 2014 at 05:46 pm

I finally had to do it. I had to buy propane.

Our tank had dwindled down to 16%.

The price of propane was still at $3.39 a gallon and no matter what they would not let me only get 100 gallons even though they offered me that deal in the past. Gr. I did not know it was a limited time offer, or I would have accepted it back then.

Total cost was $722.29. That will raise our tank to around 65% I believe.

I just can not get over how I could fill my entire tank for $450 last year...

They let me pay $450 today, which is how much I had in my propane fund. And I will owe the rest by the end of March.

Poop poop poop.

Opened My Roth IRA

February 16th, 2014 at 02:24 pm

Yesterday I opened my first Roth IRA!!!

The money is not in the account yet, because they have to verify my bank account, but sometime in the next few days I will have $1,300 in there!! Hurray! This is our first retirement savings, and it feels good to get started on that.

I claimed the savers credit, so I have to put $2,000 in the Roth before April. That should be no problem.

I also added $125 to my EF.

There are lots of pending incomes right now, and I wont know my complete total until at least Monday. But it is looking pretty good right now. Finally I feel like we are getting somewhere with our fiances.

Hoping to knock out the animal fund and Roth IRA in the next couple months.

Charitable Giving Question?

February 12th, 2014 at 08:00 pm

I have a question.

I work for a church. We give 10% of everything we make, our tithe.

Well the church wants me to redo their website, and my fee for that is usually $750.

They are going through a rough patch financially right now, and I can not in good conscious charge them.

I thought maybe I could just take the amount out of my tithes. I would only take out $500. Because I do not mind giving them a deal, but we are talking up to 100 hours of work. As busy as I am, and especially since I have other freelance jobs, I just can not see doing it for free.

Especially since they want it done asap. Which means I will have to devote more of my precious time to the project instead of paying jobs.

Do you think subtracting it from my tithes is fair? Or would you just do it for free?

I am at a loss, and I certainly dont want to short change my church, but at the same time I feel like I would resent doing that much free labor.

When God Closes a Door...

February 10th, 2014 at 08:23 pm

Someone just emailed me about a freelance job that we had discussed back in November. I had not heard anything back from them so I assumed it to be a lost cause. Well they are still very interested and apologized for taking so long.

I am currently still working on the other one I got randomly this month. It is about to wrap up though.

So as long as they do not mind waiting until March it looks like I will have another job!

My employer has also asked me to redo their website, so that means 2 more!

After I finish these offers that will bring my portfolio total to 5! Before I even graduate!

I am super excited. Originally 5 completed was my goal before I would start considering dropping my day job and getting a part time work and focusing on my Website Design. Now I do not think I am quite ready for that, but I am a lot closer than I was before! How exciting!

The extra cash flow will help so much too!

When it rains.... it snows?

February 10th, 2014 at 03:14 pm

Things are not getting any better around here.

It is still snowing almost daily. The temps are still in the single digits, the news said up to -45 with windchill.

It seems like this stupid winter is never going to end. I got my car stuck, we had to deal with a neighbor, our pipes busted, the propane is outrageous. And now...

I went to feed my animals this morning and there were two dead baby goats that were born in the night. They were several weeks premature, and barely even had grown their hair yet. So I am not sure if I was out there when they were born if they would have lived or not.

Of course it was from my best doe (female goat) so that is $600 that I was counting on that is now gone.

The mama goat was acting completely normal before bed, and this morning she was acting completely normal too, as if she did not even realize that she had babies. I had no indication that she would go last night, as she was not due until March.

Now I am worried that the other 3 pregnant does are going to miscarry. They all look horrible because they have been in the barn with no sunlight for weeks and weeks. Goats hate snow and cold, so they refuse to come out at all. I am worried for their health if the weather does not break soon.

I am extremely upset about the babies, especially the what if I had been there. The poor things froze.

Just so upset. Frown

I added $75 to my EF.

Winter Woes

February 6th, 2014 at 06:47 pm

Tuesday we got another blizzard. At 2:30pm it was coming down so hard I thought I better leave early from work and get home before it got worse. Bad idea!

It was nearly a white out, and the roads had not been plowed for some reason. The snow was coming down so hard you could only see a couple feet in front of the car.

Then... my wipers started freezing up. They were not wiping the snow and ice off my windshield. Within seconds my entire windshield was pure ice, and I couldn't see a thing. Then it would wipe off for a second, then go right back to ice.

I had to pull over 3 times and scrap the ice off in just a couple miles. By this point I'm starting to panic. You can't see where the road ends or begins, and my window was randomly completely freezing, I mean I could not see anything. I was driving about 10 miles an hour, and looking out my side window to try to judge the distance from where I thought the other side of the road was.

It was the scariest driving I have ever done. The last time I pulled over I started crying, and didn't know what to do. I had also forgotten all my winter clothes at home. I had on yoga pants and a light jacket, with tennis shoes. I was driving blindly, and dear Lord what if a car came. I passed a few people, but luckily my window was not frozen at those exact times.

At this point I was only a couple miles from home, I thought I could make it, I scrapped my window again and started slowly.

Then it froze again. I felt my tires hitting grass... my left tires. I realize that I was driving on the wrong side of the road, with 0 vision. I made the decision to pull farther off, I could nott tell where I was or how far to the side I was, but I did not want to get hit.

My car slid down a ditch and I got out. (In my light clothes, which were now soaked up to the knees from the snow.) My back right tire was off the ground, because I was so tilted in the ditch. I was so afraid no one would see me and I would get hit.

I called my dad, who lives just a mile away. By this time I'm uncontrollably sobbing. He came and got me, but my car was stuck tight and we had to abandoned it.

Later in the evening my dad and father in law got a big truck with a wench and managed to drag my car back on the road and got it home. I am so thankful that I did not get hit, my car was not damaged, and that they got it out without a tow truck.

Today I called the propane company again, I am down to the low 20s%. The price has went back up 40cents since last week, and now they refuse to just bring me 100 gallons, I have to get 200. I wish they would have told me that last week, when they talked me into waiting! I have no idea what I am going to do. I can not afford over $750 for a half of a tank of propane!

New Phone, Road Trip, & $50k

February 4th, 2014 at 03:24 pm

I finally upgraded my phone to a smart phone! I am on the share everything plan, so it only cost $10 extra a month. We have no internet at home, and being a Secretary & a Web Designer, it makes it really hard. Internet will cost us $75+ so I figured this was a good compromise to hold me over longer. I really love my new phone. I got a GREAT deal on it.

It was suppose to be $100 but it was on sale for $50. Verizon charges a $30 upgrade fee, so that would be a total of $80. But I checked out Target and they had the phone on sale even lower for $20! If you bought it online they would also take off the upgrade fee! So I ended up getting a $130 phone for $20. Hurray for deals.

I still had not heard back from the plumber so I went ahead and just send him the darn check. It has been a month, and I just want to be done with it.

I paid an extra $80 to my mortgage. That covers the rest of my escrow due, and pays down a little principle. I am glad to have that small debt gone. That brought my mortgage down to $50,853.55.
Hurray! We are down to 50k. Cant wait to see it in the 40s.

Husband and I decided to finally make a trip to New Mexico like we have been wanting to for a couple years now. We are going to pick up some goats to add to my herd. But husband has never been out West so we will site see and use it as a mini vacation too. Best of all is that I will be able to find other people that want goats too, so they will all chip in on gas money. So we should be able to go there for very low cost or for free! It is an 18 hour trip one way though… so boo. I paid a deposit today to hold my goats. Now I will have to come up with another $700 at least before June. Yuck. Just when I thought I was getting ahead.