Wednesday, December 22, 2021

As Morning breaks

 I think everyone is still trying to figure out where and who they are seeing for Christmas. We just decided to deliver to the kids on Christmas day evening when we go see Army Grandson that is suppose to get in later today from Italy, he stated he doesn't have many openings left to see everyone. We knew that because of Son 2 being in the Army. We have 2 that are coming up Boxing (Dec 26th) day for lunch.

Son 2 called last night as he lost a good friend who was 70. She helped him find his house, the first he has bought. 

We have set the budget for 2022 to start paying off the mortgage. I had to tweak it a bit but don't we always? I already paid Jan mortgage and a small amt. extra in the principal. Bills are paid until the 6th. 

I figured up we produced 61 % of our veggies and 4% of our fruit last year. Amish produced 10% of our veggies and 6 % of our fruit.  I did not start any plants last winter since I was having hip replaced and then only bought 6 when I started in the gardens. Oranges, limes, lemons, pineapple and raisins are always going to have to be bought.

This year we are aiming for 80% of our veggies and 25 % of our fruit. We have berry bushes, grape vines and fruit trees that are NOT producing yet. Maybe one to two more years. Probably will still get winter squash from Amish. 

We bounced around ideas to eat healthier or basically just eat as neither of us eat bfast and I don't eat lunch... I'm more a brunch and early dinner person(2 to 4 pm) with a small snack  3 hrs. before bed. 

I hope everyone stays safe, finds a small joy each day.

Blessed Be 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Holiday schedule and medical crap

 This week I am making for a potluck dinner on Saturday

sweet potato rolls (first time) 

Vintage Betty Crocker Refrigerator dough (for rolls , first time)

Basic soft white sandwich loaf (our go to now days)

Amish pineapple pudding (M's recipe) (first time making it but we have ate it )

Apple-Cider doughnut cake (first time)

Cranberry custard pie (first time)

Nantucket Christmas Cranberry pie (first time)

Christmas tortilla rollups (old favorite)

Jalapeno popper dip (spicy and mild, old favorite)

Crock pot Buffalo chicken (will be turkey) dip (granddaughter's recipe and we liked it)

celery sticks and tortilla chips 

MAYBE Cranberry eggnog salad (think jello salad) if I have a 8 cup ring mold.

Why? Because this is how we test new recipes and not have to eat or bring the leftovers home if we don't like them. Someone at this dinner will take it instead. 

Tomorrow I have physical therapy starting for the ice pick headaches I have gotten. Specialist mentioned dry needling (I hate needles) but left it to the therapist to figure out the best. Since I have rebar in concrete (what my deep massage therapist called them ) for shoulders. They are not sure that is the answer when maybe regular deep massage would be better. My massage therapist retired after getting hurt at his day job.  Therapy is an hour away so they are going to try to work my therapy into Tuesdays when I am already in the area but it might not happen that way. We will see. 

My EEG for the ice pick heads and to see what damage the stroke in 2000 did is Jan 4th. Specialist said the headaches gave him the opening to run the test. It will show if I have vascular dementia caused by the stroke. 

Meantime, Doc thinks Hubby has the beginnings of Parkinson due to hand tremors... his hands have done that since he was 17, he broke a carpal tunnel bone, that did not heal and had to have surgery in the left hand which is the one that shakes the most. They had put him on a med that no longer works. So they are going to start running tests in Jan on that. We know his grandpa had and his dad has Parkinson and both also had dementia from it. 

I said something to Hubby's parents and they said we are now at the age where driving each other to medical appointments is the "date" of the week ...OH MY.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Mortgage and what we saved this past week

* means the sales tax we did not pay on what we saved is included  

We refinanced our mortgage and on Sept 01, 2021, the first payment of the new loan had the mortgage balance at $247,500.00 with final payment Sept 01, 2051.

Cash back from Hubby's credit card (new card)  0.35

Cash back from my credit card  $79.00

Pinecone survey's $10.

Swagbucks $23.

Rite Aid $4.29 *

Cash discount at Dentist $10.20

Amazon coupon $4.29 *

Walmart sale 0.26 * 

CVS coupons/discounts $4.40* 

Total saved and transferred to mortgage $135.70

As of today with all the extra payments we have paid.  

We are at $237,108.85 with final payment to be Oct. 01, 2049 (Dave Ramsey mortgage calculator for the date) According to our Amortization schedule we have paid off over 25 months, just short $334 to be 26 months. 

We have ate from the freezers , pantry, gardens, and what others has given us. 

I turned the furnace down daily to help save propane. We have already cut usage to get us 3 wks (hoping for 4) farther on this tank than we did last year. 

I bought groceries for the rest of the month and for 2 dinners we are going to, one being for our grandson that is home from Italy. 

We are trying to coordinate Christmas deliveries. 

 Daughter 1 and Son 2  are before Christmas, 

Daughter 2 (whose had son coming in from Italy) Christmas day (supper time)

Son 1 is not sure yet, usually Christmas eve but he comes to us or he might be on vacation out of state by then. 

Daughter 3 is not sure yet .

Daughter 4 is celebrating Jan 1st (takes pressure off her daughter and son in law with holiday conflict).


Thursday, December 9, 2021

wondering thoughts


Does she think if he can't see her, he won't know she is there looking for what ever he drops while eating? As begging is not tolerated.

If I change the laundry routine and do table linen on Sundays to ease Monday laundry even though I don't like doing laundry on Sunday but with being limited to 2 drying racks it is happening. Can I get the bedding washed after supper and dried on drying racks over night through the week and not use the dryer at all? I already "air out" the blankets over the railing of the deck . I really miss the kitchen porch clothes line and so does Hubby

If I change the menu to use the stove oven on cold days will it help keep the main area warmer without turning the furnace up higher? A cold east wind hits the entire house and it's colder (and Hubby cranks the furnace up to 74 or higher) than a north western wind as it only hits the one corner . The barn protects a lot of west and northwest side.  We have already changed Wednesday and Thursday to meals that can be heated or reheated when Hubby comes in the door as he floats between 1 pm and 8 pm from work on those days. Like today that he was supposed to be done at 2 and got a call that a driver went down and they needed a load that is over 2 hrs. away one way. By time he gets it and gets back, then unloads, it will be close to 8 pm. 

I made an itemized spread sheet to list all credit card charges. Hubby caught 2 things he thought he had canceled on his credit cards. 

I ordered my Amazon order history.  I usually do it end of Dec but since our "new finance year" is starting the 20th. I ordered it now as I won't be ordering anything before then. 

I walk around the house wondering what else I can do to save money.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Frugal maybe

 We got Norton 360 with Life Lock. I went through Rakuten and got a nice rebate for it. Why did we? We have a family member that just got arrested for using another  family member's Social Security number. Even with the shock everyone immediately dealt with it to protect them selves . Stupid was they used a number that was already under Life Lock. The family member admits they went through stuff in the homes when there for family meals for the last couple years. Better safe than sorry as we already had another member mess with us over 20 years ago that took five years to get completely out of.

I spent a day unsubscribing from "ads". IF I do not see it I will not want it or want something like it. 

I cleaned out folders on my google accounts so to keep the amount in the "free" zone after I got my photos downloaded (Google sent it as a zip file) and on a thumb drive (old term  LOL).

I checked to make sure that paying for Amazon Prime is still worth it. It is. 

I unsubscribed from two "newsletters" that is no longer related to how we live ... that's a savings of time. 

We looked for dental insurance. After a week of hunting we have found we are in a OUT OF NETWORK area( unless we drive 50 miles where we never go to) including for AARP, for pretty much any insurance we could afford. SO I went and asked several seniors in our area how they cover those costs, four had dentures, two had bridges. Our dentist for regular care, cavities etc. , they take care of Amish also, and two other places for bridges and dentures including snap in dentures. Hubby's Social Security alone is over 200% poverty line so we do not qualify for the community health/dental program.  I nearly lost my Aunt as her entire system because infected due to bad teeth. Hubby's parents use Aspen Dental even for their dentures. 

Hubby needed new work tee shirts, he was down to 2 and they were pushing rag bag time. I found a sale using Rakuten and got him Hanes Beefy (which last years instead of months). I pulled the ones he has for "dress" and moved them up to work and the new ones will go into "dress" drawer. The lighter colored ones he wears during warm weather is now in spring/summer clothes in Rubber maid in barn loft. Earned $8 digital on the orders from Amazon.

I mended Hubby's work pants.

I turn the heat down from 72 to 70 during the day, turn it up at bedtime and turn on the fan to ON instead of Auto when Hubby comes in as it helps warm up the front room. By doing this our propane has lasted 3 wks longer than it did last year (temperature average the same).We turn it down to 65 when we are gone for longer than 1 hr. The upstairs is 54, the basement is 62 and the pump house on a separate gas heater is on 37,just enough to keep it from freezing the pump. Our water heater is instant ready so it only kicks on when you turn on the hot water.

The electric bill is still below the amount we budgeted with a week of Christmas lights on it and with more usage of the airfryer than the oven. The outdoor and 1 inside Christmas lights are on timers, 3 hrs. in the morning and 3 hrs. in evening. The only time they will be on all the time is Christmas eve morning until Christmas Night.

We did not go to the grocery store this week during errands. I have plenty of milk and just harvested enough greens for salads. 

I have found by lighting 4 candles at the dining table we "feel" warmer and the thermostat also goes up by 3 degrees. It's not that close to the table LOL. I have plenty of candles, yard sales, auctions and family that must think I burn a dozen a day over the years.  An oil lamp (our go to during winter) does not "warm" us as well. 

As usual I used homemade laundry soap, cold water wash and short cycle in the washer and dried everything on the racks. If  I need to wash bedding or table linen., I wash them at night so they are the only thing on the drying racks.

I got 2 $10 Amazon gift cards from Pinecone and 1 $5 gift card from Swagbucks. 

We decided to eat at a sit down restuarant after 2 back to back doctor appts. We ordered the specials and then immediately asked for take out containers and put half in the container. IF I add salad or fruit we might get two more meals out of it. Pretty good for $30

Hubby is supposed to get tested for damage to his left wrist (surgery in 1976) and I now need a EEG that the neurologist has ordered . Both his doctor and mine are trying to get us in before the New Year since the out of pocket amount has been met. We figured it will be next year due to the covid spikes around us.

I canceled my Real Simple magazine. Even though I read it, and two others of the family read it. We jointly decided to cancel it after seeing the renewal costs. The other two can read it at their library. 

Hubby has picked up a couple hauling jobs he normally wouldn't take to make sure he has enough in his business account to cover next month, Supply chain problems affect the Amish that he hauls for that build pallets for the supplies to be transported on. If you don't work in a job it affects you don't realize who it affects.

Due to kids struggling with on and off wages, they have all asked for cash instead of gift cards. Four of the six of kids (adult grandkids don't care if we give them anything or not as long as we text or call at holidays) have said they are using it on the groceries sales after Christmas and New Year's  to stock up for Jan as they all are figuring things to be bad.

We had 2 appts changed to Tuesdays as that is our errand day and we combine that with Appts. Our chiropractic floats our time so we can work that in also. So less gas bought for truck and less miles put on truck.

Blessed Be 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Hum? Is this frugal?

 I had the menu planned from the pantry and freezers....

Monday: Hubby comes home with gas station pizza... I'm like what gives? 

Amish bought it for him for doing extra work for him at the last minute. 

So I add our salad from the garden ,Little E knocks on the door. He had a small jello type dessert from M. 

Tuesday we had doctor appts so we ate out for a late lunch and brought home leftovers for Wed. Had Popcorn for a snack since neither of us was hungry

Wednesday Hubby calls and tells me to NOT cook or warm up leftovers. SIGH. Mennonite he hauls for gave him calzones and cheesy bread. So I added salad again and the last of the dessert M had sent over.

Thursday was leftovers of the take out. I added pickles and cottage cheese.

Friday was the leftovers of the calzones. Salad and pickles. 

Saturday was Brat patties for lunch and Hamburger pie aka Shepherds pie for supper. 

Sunday is leftover mashed potatoes and leftover noodles (from freezer) 

I need to focus to get the freezers down enough to get prime rib in it as it looks like neither one of the sons' is going to be up to help eat it. 

I was a little frustrated not to eat much out of the freezers but thankful for the free food

Friday, December 3, 2021

The laugh is mine

 The financial company that I use for my IRA sent a generic financial form, something they do every Dec.

Every time I hit save it would come back to I needed to answer the question. SO I started entering the words none and the number zero.

I shot an email to back to them and told them their program does not like it when someone does not enter personal loans (I have none, the business does but I don't). The credit cards are paid in full each month and mostly utilities, medical and groceries. I have no car payment. There was no place to add what Hubby pays so it looked like I was in the negative even after increasing my withdraw. 

Head of the branch said my guy walked into his office and told him I had an issue with the program... he asked who I was ... the gambler's daughter . OH WELL , that explains it. They always called Daddy the gambler, it's how he earned his living when he was younger. He did it when he retired and refused to get rid of stock that I still hold because I refuse to get rid of it also.

They did a manual report. Added Hubby's side also and filed a complaint to the head office over it along with the fact I had already met with my guy and dealt with every thing.  They did acknowledge they don't see many that can live on social security with very little of an IRA especially with a mortgage. 

I am my Daddy's child. Brother is Mother's when it comes to money.  I feel for his wife. 

OH GEEZE mess up

 I forgot eyeglasses, no insurance coverage for that. This past year that was about $1200 for the two of us with exams. I have 5 pairs :sewing, computer, reading, long distance and sunglasses long distance. Hubby has two pairs of computer and two pairs for driving. He wears bifocals when driving. Need to put $100 a month back for that.

I forgot dental and remembered it when they sent a card to remind me of my appointment on the 13th. They offer cleaning only and dentist only. They see a lot of Amish that do not have their teeth cleaned. I get both which is $150. This year we both had work done at $250 each. So we spend $1100 for the year. I figure I will just round it up to $1200 and put back $100 a month.

Hubby said take it from the extra money for the mortgage. I really don't want to do that unless we have to.

I called my IRA guy. He said he was just getting ready to call me as he had miss figured and I had 8 years left to pull the money instead of 7 and that he could add to what I am pulling now to cover those two bills and I would start getting that figure this month. 

WHEW.... Now I have to go redo the budget to reflect that. 

We do know we will be replacing two laptops that can no longer be updated but they are working fine for now. That can be on 2023 list (HOPE)

Son2 then texted me he had paid off the last of his medical bills so he set his checking up to automatically send me $100 a month to pay off what he owes us for fixing his car. He really likes his new job.

Daughter 2 called (something she does not like to do but is willing to text) which scared me as I thought something was wrong. She paying for her son's flight home, his dad is paying for him to go back to base IF HE EVERY GETS TO COME HOME, still is paying off court costs and probation costs (she was ONE hundredth over the limit of drinking and then got busted for driving without a license as hers had expired LAST YEAR). She was not sure when she was going to be able to start paying us.  Not bad news like I was worried about but we really figured she wouldn't pay us until she got her taxes back if then because she has one ,LAST one, graduating from high school.. he does take some college classes also and works as a cook and she is a server. BUT she did offer to give us gas money(wanted to know how much she should put back for us) when we went down to drop of Christmas or/and see her son. WHICH NO ONE EVER OFFERS US. Glad I was already sitting down. 

Daughter 4 is working overtime. From 3 days a week (32 hrs.) to 6 days a week. She has a couple past bills she has to pay off that she forgot about or we would have paid them off  and is continuing to save for a house of her OWN. The person (referred by my mortgage guy)  that works with first home buyers is working with her and her son in law and daughter to get them on track and be supportive of them. Daughter 4 said her credit score it almost there and she is saving for the down payment and closing costs. She is looking at the HomePath program as she is able to do repairs in a home. She won't be making payments to pay us back until 2023 as we agreed. We want her on her feet and in a better home as the one she is renting has a slum lord.  

Daughter 1 had surgery on her elbow and wrist of her left arm(had right arm done a couple years ago). They told her it's from running registers for a long time. She is in management now and finally sucked up going for surgery. 

Son 1 is waiting to see how things go with the new covid before he finalizes plans for his vacation in Jan. 

Daughter 3 said she is working extra hours due to people quitting. Just let her know when we would be down like a day or so before. We might have to drop off gifts(cash in cards) to her at work if none of the kids are home. Two oldest are working thru their vocational school , next one down is working with his dad and the youngest is babysitting.

 They grow up so freaking fast.   

Thursday, December 2, 2021

January 2022 through October 2024

 YES that is correct. Hubby said he wanted the mortgage paid off. I told him that the last of the big projects then would have to be put on hold until that. He moaned and groaned  and thought I was out of line.

We had our semi annual meetings with our IRAs guys. BOTH backed me. At this point if he continues to pull what he is then he is going to out of money in his IRA in 20 yrs at a 6 % interest rate (that has been the average and when it is over that is is called FROSTING on the cake) I looked him right in the eye and called him DAD. Because that is exactly what Daddy did on 2008 which is probably why I caught it. Mine is an inherited IRA that has to be closed out in 7 yrs. IN four years, I will have monthly amounts be sent to an account to be invested under my name instead of Daddy's when the taxes will lower (if someone is NOT pulling so much out of his IRA)

This is how the budget is and I am using my blog to hold myself accountable.

Monthly budget which runs from the 20th of each month as that is when all the money is in. 

Mortgage $1450.02 includes property taxes and farm insurance as according to our loan.

Medical insurance thru Hubby's old employer $828

Medical co pay and deductible  $420 ( I already have this in savings so it's not in the budget this year since we have to pay it upfront and we know Hubby is being tested for his tremors). I will pull 2023 from our tax refund. 

Propane $150 , we have to prepay in Aug for the next heating season. This is set to automatically go to savings.

Electric $150. Our company does not offer the budget so I just put the money that is NOT needed over into a savings . I figured up the average (holding for 3 yrs now)

Trash $17  this will probably go up since diesel went up. They have changed their routes to try to lower expenses. (Billed every 3 months so 2 months goes into automatic savings and then pulled)

Landline (cell phones don't work well in home) and internet $100  Only ONE company in our area even though others have said they were coming in... still not here.

Water softener co $65

car insurance (my truck and the motorcycle) and farm umbrella insurance $92.65

Life insurance $111 (his and mine and 5 of the kids that are not covered at work and we are not willing to put burying them on a credit card like 3 of our friends have)

OTC/ medication $20 

MS 365 program . We tried Open Office but there was things from Hubby's old employer  that would not open on that program.$12(goes into automatic savings until the bill comes due).

My cell phone $53.82. Business pays for Hubby's

Amazon prime $12 (goes into automatic savings until the bill comes due.) 

Kindle $11(rounded up)

Graduation IN SAVINGS  We should have 2 graduating but Daughter 3 warned us her older daughter might graduate this year as she has enough credits and she is in nursing school. She was suppose to graduate next year with our other grandson. ) Hubby uses his "odd jobs" he picks up off and on to pay for graduation. Since we know ahead of time who is graduating

Charlotte... $25 , includes food, treats, vet, nails clipped and tags.

Fuel $200, includes my truck, motorcycle, 3 lawnmowers (we will be selling one next spring), snow blower  and the tractor. Right now it's my truck, snowblower and the tractor (snow blade is on).

Regular savings (we get free checking due to savings) $150.

Cleaning items ZERO I should have enough to get through most of the next 2 yrs IF my kids don't need to raid me.

Home maintenance $20.  We have some Menards Rebates the will help cover this. It goes to savings until needed

Vehicle maintenance $100. This is my truck only and our mechanic will let us make payments if it's more than that.

Garden $20. I might need a little fertilizer or soil. 

Food processing ZERO. I have enough canning jars, lids, vacuum bags, and freezer bags probably for the next 2 yrs 

Personal items ZERO. We are stocked for 18 months.

Paper good ZERO for 2022. UNLESS kids raid me.

Office supplies. ZERO for 2022 

Weddings ZERO. we give what we can afford and if they are living in the area we fill their pantry from ours.

Christmas $100 automatic savings

Bday $30 automatic savings

Groceries $150 (what is left will be put back for stock up)

Eating out (as Hubby will not go to movies or watch one on tv and there is no rent a movie place in this town) $80... if we eat at one of the two sit down restaurants that is once a month with the tip. IF we eat take out Chinese or pizza/calzone that is twice a month. IF we eat fast food (Wendy's or Arby's once in a blue moon Taco Bell that is four times a month.   


Any tax refunds minus the following year's copay/deductible must go on mortgage.

Any cash back from credit cards must go on mortgage.

Any money paid back from kids, will go on mortgage. 

Any money left over  will go on mortgage. 

Any extra money earned not ear marked for something is to go on the mortgage. 

Any money found (like the 50 cents I found today at the mailbox) will go on the mortgage. 

Hubby's IRA (which I talked him into and his IRA guy backed me) withdraw has been cut to 40% of what he was withdrawing AND it goes on the mortgage completely UNLESS we need it for a crisis. Just to clue you in by doing that it will now last 

We will see how close we can get to paying it off by then.  

Last month of the year

The lights are all up (Hubby did a great job again with the outdoor lights) and I have started the list of what needs replaced. Son 2 is going to give us his tree as the lights don't work any more and he is tired of fixing them (added a strand to get him through this Christmas) so he is going to get a tree AFTER Christmas. 

Our Army grandson MIGHT get to come home from over seas for Christmas...the Army Nonna does not see it happening with the new covid crap, the civilian Nonna prays it does.  When you have been an Army Mom for twenty years you know how that goes. If he doesn't get to come home I will send his Christmas money to him as he said he is saving for a new car when he comes out in 3 yrs. I did order the prime rib for Christmas eve. BUT anything else is on hold until we find out if he is coming stateside.

Hubby is trying to lose weight. He lost 8 lbs. and then gained 6 lbs. back (I think he forgot to take his work boots which weigh 3 lbs. off this time). He started paying attention to how many steps he takes a day. Days he works hauling he gets the average of 6,000. Days at home, was 2,000. He said he lost count of how many times I have told him he was being lazy as he actually drove down the lane to get the mail, drove next door to talk to E or wanted to get the tractor to pick up something that he could easy pull in the wagon by hand. He realized he was really being lazy. Said something to his Dad and his Dad told him that is good part of why he went down hill with his own health. I also pointed out how much snacking his parents do especially before they go to bed. Hubby is going to sleep at 8:15 (was 9:15 during daylight saving time and more often I am turning off the tv and lights because he fell asleep with the remote in his hand when getting ready to set the timer for 30 mins. on the tv) and gets up at 4 am (was 5 am).  At least he is now paying attention and trying to get more steps in.  We moved dinner up to before 5 unless he is working and then it's either soup or a light supper. Days he is not working our big meal of the day is lunch. 

We are down to 167 items on the punch list. Probably will not start back on that until March  or April. February and beginning of March is pruning time.

We changed the budget for the 50th million time. Hubby said he wanted to focus on getting the mortgaged paid off. I told him how it had to be and both IRA guys backed me.

We are ending the year in better financial place since Hubby is still hauling 3- 5 days a week. Usually at this time he is down to 1 or 2. So it is nice to not have to cover the bills of the business. He has enough "net" he could cover the expenses of the business for the winter which is usually slow until April. He has 3 years payments left on his truck. He is 3 months ahead on it. He plans to continue the business until the truck is paid off.

On the sad note, we have had four deaths, 2 of the young men friends of the kids/grandkids gunned down with a random shooting. One of the kids friends wrecked after getting drunk and high, the people he hit are recovering  and another killed himself after hearing his parents one more time arguing over child support. His note was "Problem solved" Probably a good thing his parents are not one of my kids or I would be in jail for beating them.