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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.

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. 

Taxes

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.

Surprise Check & Job

July 6th, 2021 at 03:27 pm

Husband got notified of a possible class action lawsuit a few months ago regarding ADP at his last employer. Well he filled it out and thought nothing of it, and last week we received a surprise $400 check for our settlement. Sweet! His employer also just sent him another one concerning his health insurance, so we submitted it as well. I used to think they were scams, but I’ve successfully received money for several of them now. Never hurts to fill them out and see what happens.

 

I am seriously considering quitting my office job again. I am feeling very burnt out and busy and tired. I’m sure part of it is pregnancy, but I can’t see me getting anymore energy or time after having two kids. My work also hired someone new as a salary position, and I’ve been asking for salary pay for many years. I’ve worked 10 years now (with one year off in the middle) and the new person is making pretty much the same as me, gets to do all their work from home, and doesn’t have the responsibilities that I have… I was a bit upset and asked if I could also get salary pay. I was told if I wanted more money I needed to work more, and that I wasn’t as needed or as important as the new hire which is why they got salary and I didn’t…

 

Since then I feel like the office attitude has shifted. My boss seems short tempered with me, and I know I feel pretty unmotivated to put much effort in and want to only do the bare minimum. I am good friends with my boss and I feel like this is detrimental to our relationship, which in my opinion is worth more than the job. The problem is I really need the income to pay for my animal hobbies since my web design job is also struggling. So I am a bit stuck at what to do.

I have never aspired to be a stay at home mom but it seems to be heading that way at least for a while. I want to be able to take my kids to the park and to story hour at the library, etc. Right now I’m just too busy and I feel like I’m being run ragged. I think a couple years break from working would do me good while the kids are young.

 I’ve already started saving for my maternity leave, our medical bills are all saved for, and husband’s income pays our bills. My income is literally only used for my animals, my spending such as eating out, and extra savings/spendings like vacations or house projects. I will continue to get some income for web design which will help, but it will be about a $500-$600 drop a month in total income. Honestly the new child tax credits are equal to my monthly pay, and part of me hopes they will continue thru at least next year as that would replace my missing income and make the transition much easier. Or I need to make some serious animal cuts and reduce the spending.

 

 Current goal is to possibly quit my job when I take maternity leave in October. Stretch goal would be to quit in September and have a couple weeks without working to prepare for the baby, spend some extra time with our current child and to relax towards the end. I haven’t decided 100% what I want to do yet. Thoughts?

 

Life and Death

May 28th, 2021 at 06:00 pm

The reason we needed to save for our Medical OOP again this year is that I am pregnant again! Baby #2 will be arriving this fall. So far things are going well. My kitchen remodel was definitely a project based on nesting. lol. Construction work is done and now husband and I are finishing up the trim and small details. 

In sadder news my grandma passed away recently very unexpectedly. This is quite a shock since she was healthy and we had dinner plans only a couple hours later. Her and my grandpa have been extremely frugal and hard workers their whole lives. They left a sizable inheritance to their children which they are in the process of sorting out. But my family has graciously gifted me her car. It's only a couple years old and much nicer than any car I have owned or could probably ever afford to own. 

My husband is still driving his first car and it's basically one mile away from dying at any moment so we have been saving off and on for several years for a replacement. He will start driving the new car which gets about 3x better gas mileage and we will use our car savings budget for other things. 

Although we are all sad about grandma it is such a nice parting gift to leave your family an inheritance instead of debt. I hope someday I will be able to leave something for my own children. 

Taxes and Jobs

January 27th, 2021 at 03:46 pm

I have most of my taxes filled out and it looks like we will be getting back around $6.5k!!?? Usually we break even. 

This is a combinaition of a lot less self employment income, having a baby and also the stimulus checks for the baby which we did not get yet. 

If the numbers are correct we will basically be able to fund all our goals for the entire year which is just crazy to me. I'm not sure what we will save for this year. Perhaps retirement, or some other future large home projects we want to do in a year or two. 

Anyway, every year around tax time I always re-evaluate working. I work 2 part time jobs which are both sort of high stress. I only pulled in about $12k this year, and my tax rate is crazy high because of it being self employement income, AND it pushes us out of some tax breaks. Around half of my income seems gobbled up by taxes. Which I am just not sure is worth working a few days a week plus random weekends, evenings, late night calls, etc. Especially since we are basically getting back in taxes what I net in a year. lol.

Especially now that I have a child and finding a babysitter has been hard. Our parents watch her, but my in-laws are super afraid of Covid, so we are frequently banned from visiting and babysitting if we see anyone else. Example: They will not be babysitting for possibly the next 8 weeks because of a few engagments we have to attend.

My mom is in healthcare and works crazy hours, and although she is always willing I feel terrible making her babysit when she worked 12 hours all night and has to babysit for 8 hours and then go back to to work. It's not really fair. I also can't pay someone to babysit because I would have to pay more than I bring in. So it's just kind of lose lose. We have been talking about more children and that just seems like it will make it even harder. 

I am afraid of quitting my job(s) though. I like having a little spending money, and I also like getting out of the house a couple days a week. I think I would get extrememly bored and lonely at home all day every day. I'm also afraid I would get lazy and fall into the trap of laying around all day. If I had some hobbies, or a few things to do every week I think I would be okay. But I'm just hesitant. I have always worked. I took one year off to do only web design for a year and I kind of hated it after like a month. I was so stir crazy. But that was before I had kids, and I enjoyed my 6 weeks maternity leave so I just don't know. 

My part time office job can be stressful but it is also kind of gravy. Especially since Covid, I come in late and leave early whenever. I called into today because of snow and I'm working from home. I don't get paid much, but I also like the flexibilty and time away from the house, so I am hesitant to give that up. But part of me would also like the 2 or 3 days a week at home to do other things. I'm worried if I quit I will regret it like I did previously. But I also see quitting as possibility if I get pregnant and have a bad pregnancy like I did last time. 

Thoughts? Has anyone else transitioned to stay at home mom?

Spendy Week

January 13th, 2021 at 05:52 pm

I spent a lot of money this week but surprisingly my finances are in as good of shape as ever. It makes a huge difference not having to use all extra income to pay debt. Besides the fact that husband has been working 6 or 7 days a week and some long hours. 

We got our on demand water heater installed and it's glorious to have all the hot water we want. Hopefully it will lower our electric bill slightly but I'm sure our water bill will go up with all the baths and long showers we have been taking. lol. 

We bought a used sectional, a new tv and some wall art for our livingroom. All told we spent about $2k this month on home projects, but our livingroom is almost complete. We had been using hand me down furniture for almost a decade and it is nice to have something that is more what we want and matches. Besides just cosmetic issues our baby is almost on the move and everything needed to be child proofed.  So a new tv that can hang on the wall out of reach is great. We still would like to purchase a recliner and some new end tables, but not in any hurry. 

I did sell the last of my available goats and added $850 to my animal fund along with pay for and pick up my remaining hay for the season. 

Also spent about $100 buying outfits for our upcoming family pictures. We never got any real maternity or newborn pictures so we are finally getting some. A friend is a professional photgrapher and is only charging us like $50. Which is insane! He did the same for our wedding. Usually his wedding photo shoots are $2k+ so I really appreciate his enormous generosity. 

 

 

Looking for Bloggers

November 11th, 2020 at 04:58 pm

In order to make anymore progress on https://budgetbloggers.com/ I need to add some blogs. Are there any bloggers here that would be okay with me copy and pasting a few of their posts over on my new website? After that is successful I will also be looking for a couple people willing to set up an account and make a few posts to try out the system. Let me know if you would be interested in that as well. Thank you!

 

If you are interested in setting up an account to test please email me at support@budgetbloggers.com

 

On My Own

November 11th, 2020 at 04:55 pm

I have almost all my clients switched over to either the new company or to myself. So far everyone except one account has paid their bill upfront for the next year. So I have a huge inflow of cash right now, but I have to remember it will only be once a year. I already saved back the amount I need to pay for the subscriptions that are due in a couple months, and paid for the hosting for all the accounts for 3 years. The rest I went ahead and put towards savings and debt pay off.

Still sad about loosing my job but I will be okay. The few clients I have taken over will pay for my personal websites and subscriptions. I have two companies I am picking up work from, and I can always find solo projects as well.

I have three more goats sold which will be picked up and paid for over the next month or two. 

Lots of things to do on the farm before winter. 

Losing My Job

October 14th, 2020 at 04:19 pm

Sadness. Frown

The design company I have worked for over the last  8 years is dissolving and my clients and I have been transferred to a new owner. I'm pretty sad about it. I think I will continue getting my tiny monthly maintenance payments (like $125) but I doubt I will receive any new clients. I am also losing a lot of the free subscriptions I have been using all these years such as Photoshop, my email, etc. If I were to purchase all the things on my own it would cost well over $100 a month, therefore cancelling any income. But not having the subscriptions will affect my personal clients, and also my own projects. Sigh. 

Thankfully I didn't depend on that income and have just used it for debt pay down. I am mostly sad about now being responsible for paying for all my programs, and because my boss was awesome and I will miss him. I usually fly to his house once a year and visit with his family. Hopefully we can stay in touch.


Now I have to decide if I want to try to branch out and go back to freelancing, look for a new employer, or if I am going to take a bit of a hiatus because of Covid and my new baby.

The other design partner I have worked with has been giving me a little work lately. So I have that to keep my busy for now. 

Saving Money on Insurance

July 22nd, 2020 at 01:50 pm

My car insurance was up for renewal in a couple months and I noticed the price was going up again. So I called my company and asked them to shop around for a cheaper rate. Within a couple days they called me back to let me know they found me a better deal.

My car insurance is dropping from close to $1,500 a year to $925 for the exact same coverage! That is almost half the cost. Just a reminder to everyone to shop around every once in a while, it is an easy way to save money!

Still Here Moseying

May 21st, 2020 at 02:32 pm

Still here, still moseying along. I am getting quite adjusted to this more laid back life. I've always been a busy bee who rushes to multiple things every single day. I won't lie. It's been nice not having to set an alarm (the baby wakes me by 7 anyway, lol) not have to rush to get ready to work, visit a bunch of people, etc. I work from home, enjoy my baby, piddle around the house and clean, watch some tv finally, spend time with my animals, etc.

After essentially maternity leave since January it is going to be really hard to go back to work soon. Frown Part of me is excited to get back out of the house again, the other part is thinking this is the lowest stressed I have been in a while.

It is not only work. Going to church multiple times a week, visiting family every week, seeing friends, going shopping, on and on. Some stuff I enjoyed and miss of course, but at the same time I realize that I was running around nearly every single day.

After my original maternity leave was up I was ready to go back to the office, now I think I am used to staying home. I hope I can adjust back okay. I still don't have a return date yet, but their original plan was to pay me until June. So I'll have to wait and see what they decide.

Debt repayment has been slower because after husband worked 6 or 7 days a week nearly every week for a year and a half he has had a couple months of weekends off. His overtime typically doubled his salary and we could put it all towards debt or savings. Without it only minimums. It has been so nice having him home, and although I miss the money I'm not ready for him to work so much again and for me to be at home alone with the baby every day.

Our house is getting appraised for the refinance sooner than expected. They wanted to do it today already but only gave me heads up yesterday. I talked them into Tuesday so I would have the weekend with husband to clean and maybe do some small projects before they come.

Also my current bank finally called me back after 3 weeks and I told them I was switching lenders. They offered me a lower rate to stay, but I am going to continue on with the new bank. My current bank has not been very reliable at all, and often breaks their word.

No Way & Refinance

May 12th, 2020 at 03:05 pm

I had hoped/planned on paying off the first medical debt in June. There is no way. So far this month I have made only minimum payments. I have another $150 set aside but I feel like I need to hang onto that until I make sure I have enough for next month's minimum payment.

With husband working no overtime and my hours minimal at my second job we have no extra to go around.

Hopefully Covid will get better and the overtime will pick back up in time for us to save for vacation and pay off our debts by the end of the year. Thankfully the debts don't have to be paid by then, but it would certainly be nice.

I have submitted all the documents to refinance our house. Currently we are quoted a rate of 2.875% but it could go up or down a bit before we are locked in. With our current rate being 4.75% this is a significant savings and should drop our payment by about $100. We will probably continue paying the same on the loan to knock some years off once we are debt free.

We are also going to try to get about $5,000 extra out to regrade the yard. Everything is still messed up from our new basement/addition and we need to bury our gutter lines to run the water away from the house. There are some trees about to fall that need cut out as well. After that is done we can reseed the yard, plant new trees, and put in some landscaping finally. Right now we have lots of standing water (we have cattails growing in our yard it is that wet! lol) and a several dirt piles. This is a project that is long overdue but we had to complete and pay off the waterproofing first.


The final puppy I need to get rid of has a leg problem that we can't figure out and I don't feel right selling him until he gets better. Spent about $300 yesterday at the vet and he is on 6 pills a day currently for 6 weeks, trying a little bit of everything to see if it helps.

Also have 3 cats and a dog due for their 3 year shots. Ew. That will be several hundred dollars.


Baby goats are due any day which is good and I have a few of the adults sold next month so I will save that money back for winter feed.

I did save up and do some significant renovations on the barn the last couple weeks. It was a project I've been wanting to do for several years, so having it finally complete is nice. Still have several other outdoor projects on the list. But they will have to wait until I get more money put back.

Waiting for my Check

April 14th, 2020 at 03:01 pm

My job has decided to pay me a minimum of my average hours. Which is great! They even back dated it to the stay at home order. I think I will use these unexpected checks to save money for my animals.

Unfortunately with the pregnancy and everything I did not breed my goats last fall. Which means little to no kids now, which means no goat income this year. If I hurry I could still breed for fall kids, but I will need money over the summer to purchase hay for the winter. So I need to start putting back money to pay for it ASAP. This is the first year I haven't had spring kids. Major bummer, but I needed a break with my busy life. It actually probably worked out okay, since the quarantine would make animal sales harder I imagine.

I am getting so close to paying off the construction loan! I was able to scrape together $650 so far this month so I only owe $1,900 now. Once the stimulus gets here I will be able to pay it off!

Possible Check

April 8th, 2020 at 02:47 pm

In addition to the stimulus check, I have heard that my secretary job is most likely going to to pay me my average hours for April and May!

That would be great, especially since husband's overtime is drying up and without it we can't really make extra payments on anything.

I look forward to the day when our debt is gone and we can live comfortably without overtime or 3 jobs.

If the stimulus and my check from work pan out I am hoping I will be able to pay off the construction loan this month. Then we will be down to just medical debt which is interest free and smallish payments. Of course we will continue to pay it down with vigor but at least if an emergency comes up will have more wiggle room.

The smallest medical loan will only take another two months to pay, but the big one will take all year, even we can even finish it by then. Fingers crossed!

How Will You Spend?

March 26th, 2020 at 03:19 pm

If you live in the US, when/if we actually get checks from the government, what will you spend it on?

It sounds like they are basing it off our 2018/2019 taxes so I'm not sure if my new baby will count or not...

But I will probably save $500 for animal expenses, and the rest I will use to pay down debt. If we get the amount I've heard then it would be enough to pay my construction loan completely and we will be down to just medical debt.

I am out of work right now, except some minimal web design. I have to say it is pretty nice to stay home and do what I want all day. Although I am beginning to get a little stir crazy. It's hard to do much outside with the baby with no one else to watch her. Husband is still working 7 days a week.

Be Careful

March 20th, 2020 at 03:19 pm

So much craziness going on. It is ridiculous how many people aren't taking this seriously. But who can blame them if the states aren't testing and people don't believe it is in their area.

I live in a small town and my mom is in the medical profession. She says there have been many people that have all the symptoms but the DRs refuse to test. First they were short on tests, now they have some but they still won't. They will only test if you have been out of the country in the last two weeks or in contact with someone who has, which is silly. Also the Dr has to agree, then they have to call and get permission from the health department, which has to call and get permission from the state. It's all a big pain, so they just aren't testing... This sucks because in her hospital's case (and probably others) these sick patients are with the general population, and the nurses are not wearing proper protective gear or treating them like a quarantine case. Also our hospital is already almost at full capacity and running out of supplies. This pandemic has barely even started in the US.

Just because they aren't testing and so there are no "official cases" does NOT mean they aren't in your town. A friend of mine was soo sick I thought she was dying from an "upper respiratory problem". She was tested for like 15 things and they all came back negative, but they wouldn't test her for Corona. They told her it was just bronchitis or something. Now her husband is sick, and her elderly father. This person has been out in the community since she has been sick!

I am high risk due to lung disease so I am going out as little as possible. I had a Dr appointment yesterday (at a hospital with verified cases) and today I have to go pick up my medicines. I hope they haven't run out of the daily inhaler I take! Also my husband works in food manufacturing so he is continuing to work, and I am also still working but I work alone so not much risk. I'm doing my best to stay safe, but we aren't completely isolated unfortunately.

Since my mom knew how bad this was before the general public she gave us some warning and thankfully we stocked up a couple weeks of supplies ahead of time. It's a mad house here, shelves are bare. Any staples are usually sold out within hours of stocking. Since I have to go to Walmart and pick up my prescriptions I will see if they have any food left and get some more to replenish what we have eaten while I am there.

Stay safe guys! And take this seriously! It's way way worse than it appears because they are testing only a very small percentage of the people that are actually sick. Just assume it's in your town, and stay home!

Vacation Planning

March 12th, 2020 at 06:11 pm

Well despite all the Coronavirus scares my vacation planning has continued as normal. I will be going to Glacier and Yellowstone this fall.

I have my three different lodging places booked and my airplane tickets. The only thing left to reserve is the rental car.

I am sharing lodging and the car with family. So I have been able to keep prices fairly low.

So far our costs for us three are:

Lodging - $946
Plane Tickets - $670

Rental car is estimated at $460. Then the rest of the costs will just be gas, food, souvenirs, etc. Not bad for a 9 day trip. Can't wait!

Medical Bills

February 26th, 2020 at 06:53 pm

The bills are no longer pending and we are currently on the hook to pay the extra $3,000 for out of network bills in addition to my normal $7,000 OOP max. Yuck! I called the hospital and insurance and they are going to re-review the charges. If that doesn't change anything they said I can appeal... I'm not sure how successful that is.

I'm also not sure all the bills have been submitted yet, more may pop up.

Super bummer than I made such good progress on debt this month and then next month our debt is going to go back up by at least $7,000 again. That same thing happened back in October. We had positive net worth and then we had to take out $7,000 in loans. Oh well. One day we will get ahead.

Plan is still to pay off the construction loan asap and then we will be down to just medical debt. I already have some money put back for March payments.

I'm going back to work next week. Little sad/worried but also ready to have money again and get out of the house.

Taxes and Insurance

February 12th, 2020 at 04:21 am

Got my taxes filed and our refund is supposed to be deposited tomorrow. We are getting back about $2,150 but I had to pay in over $200 to the state and it cost around $100 this year for me to file. So $1,800ish.

We will use part of the refund for vacation savings and the rest will go towards debt. We also received several more monetary gifts for the baby. So I have $500 extra to throw at the credit card.

Husband is working 7 days of 12 hours this week. Major bummer with a new baby but that may give us enough extra money to pay off the credit card this month! That would be awesome.

It looks like the baby's medical claims have hit insurance. Thankfully they ended up counting her bills as in-network. So we owe "only" $7,000. Which is still a lot, but much better than $14,000! We will be getting a 0% 60 month loan from the hospital, this will keep our minimum payment pretty low. I am still making payments on my pregnancy bills as well. But once our construction loan and credit card is paid we will focus on the medical debt, in addition to the weekly HSA deposits we do. Still hopeful we can pay everything off this year. Fingers crossed!

My permanent retainer broke randomly after 10 years and so I had to go to the dentist today and get it fixed. The metal wire was sharp and poking me, and I could already feel my teeth moving in two days. $30 well spent.

Baby is Here!

February 3rd, 2020 at 06:33 pm

I was quiet this month because the baby is here!

It was a bit of a whirlwind, and although we are settling in nicely now we had a rocky start. They thought she swallowed meconium which she actually didn't. This resulted in a frustrating 5 day NICU stay with a perfectly healthy baby. Lot of tears and upset. What a long story and a disaster. Bottom line is that there was/is nothing wrong with her, and we will making a complaint about the hospital.

We are happy to home now!

The next problem is that I received a letter stating that although the hospital is in network (and my delivery) the dr (whom I never met) who wrote the NICU order is not in network. Which would raise our OOP max from $7k to $14k!!!!

I'm freaking out a bit. I will have to wait and see what the actual bills say. So help me I will not be paying $14,000 for a NICU stay which was unnecessary and I felt we were held against our will.

Catching Up

January 14th, 2020 at 02:25 pm

Finally making a dent instead of falling behind.

3 puppies went to their new homes saving me approximately $30 a week in food, plus a lot of stress. 5 goats also left.

I used the money to save enough for my load of hay next month, to buffer my animal money a bit for when I'm out on maternity leave, and I also paid my cushion back. I am almost out of the hole and have refilled my EF. Less than $100 to go. That makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

Since this month is actually an extra paycheck month for my husband I am hoping to put a couple hundred towards next months bills.

Our nursery carpet is getting installed today! We finally took down the Christmas decorations and tree, and I'm trying to pack my hospital bag. Our house is still a wreck but hopefully we will be able to get the nursery sorted this week, and get everything cleaned before this baby comes.