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Archive for September, 2013

Apple Cider

September 30th, 2013 at 07:09 am

We have an apple tree in the back yard. It's been there as long as I can remember, and I have no idea how old it is.

Last year it yielded four apples, yes four apples - one for each kid. We had really, really warm (record high) temps in March 2012. Temps were in the 80s for a couple days in the middle of March. Then, there were three or four frosts in April. The tree (and all fruit trees in Michigan, and other states too?) blossomed, and then the frost killed the blossoms. So, the trees spent no energy making fruit, and that energy was on reserve for this year, and boy are the apple trees yielding.

DW has canned quart after quart of apple sauce the past couple of weeks. We have plenty of sauce now, so we decided to have some cider pressed. We got out the ladders, because all of the apples that are left are beyond our reach from the ground. We picked somewhere between 4 and 4 1/2 bushels of apples, and there are still some left beyond our (safe) reach from the ladders. My parent's also have a tree, and we found three roadside trees, and picked a few apples from them. By time we were done, we nearly doubled our number of apples, and had five varieties in the mix.

My dad had picked some pears at a neighbor's house, so we added half a five-gallon bucket of pears in with the apples.

We dropped the apples off to be pressed on Thursday, and I picked the cider up on Saturday. The yield of cider was 15 gallons! We paid $20 for the pressing.

DW was out of town on Saturday, so the job of canning the cider was mine. I've helped her can fruits and vegetables before, but I've never been in charge of canning before. I had a steep learning curve.

I canned everything into 1/2-gallon jars. There were three jars that I never did get to seal, so we put them in the refrigerator to use first.

The cider tastes absolutely delicious.

New Eaves Troughs

September 27th, 2013 at 01:37 pm

We had eaves troughs put on the house yesterday. The house had no eaves troughs before. The total was $416. About $60 of that was for troughs put on the end of one side of our barn, over the exercise lot for DD1's fair hogs. That will keep the lot dryer, and the hogs and pen cleaner.

So, that's about the end of our home improvement/savings/debt repayment extravaganza. Except for the plumbing work I mentioned a couple of days ago, and the attorney bill. We had our attorney re-work our trust/will documents. It's been about six weeks, and I haven't heard anything back from him. I called his office today, and he's out until Monday. I think it's about a 50 minute job, one that is easily left on the bottom of the to do list unless we bug him a bit.

Retirement Planning

September 26th, 2013 at 10:46 am

A year ago I resolved to increase my retirement savings by 1 percentage point each year, until my contribution plus my employer's contribution is at 20% of my gross salary. I'm currently at 16%. Last October, I increased from 15% to 16%, and now it's time to make the jump to 17%, sometime in the next month. The issue is to log back into my retirement account and slog through the pages, and figure out how to do it again. Maybe I'll get aggressive, and do it yet this month.

But, this prompted me to update the excel spreadsheet I set up a year ago to project retirement. My employers current requirement (emphasis on current) is that I have to work until I'm 62 to keep my health insurance. So, working at least until I'm 62 appears to be a given. Crossing fingers that I stay with my current employer.

I'm tempted to go into a degree of detail here about my projection sheet, but there are just too many variables, and unknowns at this point, so I won't. I'll just say that I can make a projection that works until I'm 100 and DW is 98 at a retirement age of 64, which is 23 years and two months from now. Clearly, a lot can change between now and then.

I will say one thing on my projection. I assume a 1.5K monthly, 18K annual SS payment starting at age 72. I see another debate has popped up recently in the forums on this. The prevailing opinion of the regulars is that they are not counting on SS in their retirement planning. Maybe I shouldn't be either. But, I think a monthly 1.5K payment starting at age 72 is conservative.

For now, I'll pump as much into my retirement as I can, while taking care of present needs and wants. Hopefully when I get to that 62-64 age range I have a few years left in me to continue building my nest egg.

Plumbing Woes

September 25th, 2013 at 08:03 am

We've got three minor, but aggravating plumbing problems. Maybe we could take care of them ourselves, but when it comes to plumbing, I've come to believe that I need to hire a professional to do things right the first time.

I called the plumber that installed the plumbing when we renovated our house. That was probably a six weeks ago? I called them the same day I called to have the gravel dumped on our driveway. The receptionist said that she would have the crew leader follow up with me to set up an appointment. No response.

So, I called another plumber. This guy works more by himself with a couple helpers. I think I called him for the first time three or four weeks ago, and I talked directly to the plumber/owner. He said he was booked that week, but could definitely get to us the next week. I've called him two or three times since, and left messages. No response.

So, I called another plumber this morning. I think this place would be in between in size compared to the other two. The receptionist said that the plumbing crew would be out of town until Friday, so someone would call me Monday. We'll see.

I can definitely see the preference for working a large job, as compared to my pittly little two hour job.

Maybe I'll brush up on plumbing procedures this weekend.

Adoption Credit Check Received

September 24th, 2013 at 05:47 am

We got our 2012 adoption credit check from the IRS in the mail yesterday. We got this one a month later than last year's check. The amount was $1,066.06 - $1,053 was credit, and $13.06 was interest. I'll deposit the check later today.

For those of you who may be new, or may not remember, we adopted two boys from foster care, DS1 in 2011, and the DS2 in 2012.

The adoption credit was refundable in 2011, so we got the entire amount in one check. In 2012, the credit became non-refundable, so we only received credit to the extent of our tax liability.

I'm pretty sure we'll use up the entire rest of the 2012 credit this year, because of the tax we'll owe on our short sale this past April. Probably, we'll owe beyond the tax credit. But, we'll see on that.

It's Monday!

September 23rd, 2013 at 05:53 am

The Tigers game was a great time. Detroit won 12-5 over the Chicago White Sox. It sprinkled and misted nearly the entire game, but it was a warm rain, and I figured was better than a really cold night, which it could have been. And, we spent $0 on concessions. DD1 bought a $4.50 bag of popcorn with her own money.

The family picture went well on Saturday. All drama was restricted to the planning stage.

I broke down, and started the furnace at home Sunday morning. It was 63 degrees, and I thought it was time. I was just 9 days short of my October 1 goal!

I mowed the lawn for (hopefully?) the last time Sunday. My dad needs to use it to mow his (hopefully) one more time, too. Then we can put it away for the winter. I'd like to have it services yet this fall. It's a brand new, expensive mower, and I'd like to keep it well maintained. I figured it would be better to get it done this fall when we don't need it back soon, rather than wait until March or April when everyone and his brother is getting theirs serviced.

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of or listened to Ric Edelman, but he is an investment adviser who has a syndicated weekend radio show. I listen to him occasionally on Sunday mornings. One of his callers had a question about rolling over his 401(k) from a previous job, and the topic of a Roth IRA came up. A Roth didn't make sense in this particular case, but Ric added his own thoughts about Roths in general. His thought is that he's none too confident in Congress, and that he's not entirely sure that withdrawals from Roths will necessarily be tax free 30 years from now. That is, he thinks the chances are more likely than not that Congress will change the rules on Roth IRAs, making a withdrawal a tax event. Does anyone have a thought on that?

Friday Grab Bag

September 20th, 2013 at 07:32 am

Tonight is the Tigers game. First pitch at 7:08, 80% chance of rain in Detroit.

The guy who visits my office to sell paper and office supplies was in this week. He is a huge Tigers fan - almost always wearing a Tigers hat, Tigers jacket when it's cool, and I even noticed that his cell phone is housed in a Tigers case. He an his wife spend several weeks each spring in Lakeland Florida, the home of Tigers spring training.

I asked him how much I could figure for four hot dogs and four Cokes at Comerica park. He wasn't sure, because he's never ordered Coke with his hot dog, only beer. But, he thought $40-$50 would cover it.

DW did some checking on the Comerica Park web site. Fans can enter with bottled water and juice boxes, and snacks, sealed in original packaging. We stopped by the grocery store to buy some snacks and water last night. We'll also eat before the game. I'm not saying that we definitely won't buy anything to eat at the game, but if we do, it will be as part of the experience, rather than to satisfy hunger.

I blogged last week about getting furniture from my BIL and SIL. Someone asked in the comment section whether we had a way to conveniently transport the furniture back to our house. We already had the furniture at our house when I posted. DW had to return her parent's golf cart. They have a golf cart so MIL can easily drive around the farm, and we had it so they could drive around the Octagon Barn festival, that I also blogged about. Anyway, DW was returning the golf cart with my dad's trailer, so that's how she was able to bring the furniture back.

I burned the furniture this weekend. I took the remaining metal to the scrap yard. Total weight was 80 pounds. About 15 pounds was scrap unrelated to the furniture, and one of the pieces was a hide-a-bed. The scrap was worth $6.

I think I mentioned our energy audit yesterday. We had an energy audit for our house as part of our decision making for the geothermal.

When we renovated our house, we had it insulted with spray foam on the main walls, and cellulose in the attic. We opted to not have the basement sprayed. That was probably a mistake. According to the energy audit, we could save 20% of our heating costs if we had the walls in the basement insulated.

We've gotten three bids:

One for $1,200 for an inch and a half of foam - but the guy bid based on my measurements, and has not looked at the basement.

One for $750 for an inch of foam, or $950 for an inch and a half.

One for $600 for an inch of foam, or $800 for an inch and a half.

I called, and left a message with the first guy to let him know his bid was high, and invited him to look at the basement. He is also furthest away from our house, so that may be part of the difference.

20% savings in heating costs is $480 per year, based on last year's heating cost. So, even if we don't quite get a 20% reduction in heating costs, we should be able to pay for the cost in the third year. I'm not sure if that 20% savings is based on an inch, or an inch and a half of foam. I'll have to follow up with the auditor.

Considering Geothermal Heat/Cool System

September 19th, 2013 at 06:18 am

DW and I have been thinking about geothermal heat (and cooling). Really, we entertained the idea four years ago when we renovated the house, but we couldn't justify the expense at that time.

If you're not familiar with geothermal heat, it's a heating system that collects energy from the ground, and transfers it to your house through an electric heat pump. No fossil fuels are used - except, of course, the fossil fuels that produce the electricity that runs the pump.

Geothermal also cools your house, with no additional equipment. You just reverse the heat pump when you want to cool the house.

Finally, geothermal can preheat water for your water heater. You do need to buy a second water tank, but the water enters the first tank at 110 degrees.

Geothermal is an efficient way to heat (and cool) a house (and water), but very expensive to install.

My first step was to do some investigating on the internet. I liked what I saw. I even found an on-line geothermal forum (I think there's a forum for everything). I got some basic questions answered there.

My electric co-op offers an energy audit for your house. The rep from the co-op was out on Tuesday. According to the energy audit, we would have a 70% savings in heating home costs, a 44% savings in cooling costs, and 41% savings in water heating costs.

A neat option offered by the electric co-op is that the electricity used to power the geothermal system is charged at a reduced rate - $0.065/kWh, our normal rate is $0.12/kWh. But, we would need to buy and install a second meter.

Then I called some contractors for bids. Two were out yesterday, and one will be out this afternoon. Of course, we haven't gotten a solid estimate yet, but one of the contractors did let us know that we would be looking at about $15K to purchase and install the system.

The lines that collect the heat from the ground can be installed either vertically or horizontally. Vertical installation is about 5K more expensive, because of the cost of the drill rig used to install. A home with limited space (close neighbors) would need a vertical installation. We have about three acres of available space around our house, so we can go horizontal. The lines need to be 120' long, spaced 7' apart, and about 7 feet deep. I think the first contractor (the one we're leaning toward right now) said we'd need five lines.

My next step was to set up an excel spread sheet with all of the above information. I used 15K as the initial price, and will modify that as bids come in. Right now, according to my spreadsheet, the geothermal system will pay for itself in year 10, and after 25 years (the expected life), we'd be ahead by about 26K. I ran a separate calculation for the water heater, because that's a separate decision. The water heater could pay for itself in eight years.

Oh, and this system would be eligible for a 30% energy efficiency tax credit.

I'm interested to see what the actual cost estimates will be. We're not going to jump into this right away. If we decide to go with geo, we'll spend the winter saving money for it, and have the install done next spring or summer.

Our existing oil furnace is eight years old. Expected life is 15 years. I dunno. Maybe we should use that for a few more years. The numbers we're looking at are $2,420 spent last year to heat the house with oil, and an estimated $732 per year to heat the house with geothermic.

The Hay Purchase

September 18th, 2013 at 06:51 am

DD1 bought some hay on Tuesday. She has some goats, three right now. One buck (male) and two does (female). One of the does is of breeding age, and the other will be in about six months. Our objective is that she breed her own goats for the fair, and, over time, perhaps build the herd to have some goats to sell.

It really doesn't make financial sense - there just isn't enough money in goats. But, it's a great learning experience for her, and she is responsible for the daily chores associated with her small herd.

For the past year and a half or so her grandfather has been giving her the hay from his own dairy cow herd. We've been buying the grain. We decided it was time to be big boys and girls, and purchase the hay ourselves.

There's a livestock auction about 20 miles south of us, and on Tuesdays there is a hay auction. Hay producers bring in lots of 20-30 bales, and interested buyers bid on the lots. Fortunately my brother-in-law had a couple of cows he needed to sell from the dairy, and we was at the auction yard, too. Their farm is about 20 miles to the south of the yard.

DD1 bid on the hay, but her uncle nudged her when it was time to stop bidding. She bid on the first two lots, until she received the nudge. She had success with the third and fourth lots. She ended up with 46 bales of a grass/clover mixed hay for $259.60, or $5.64 per bale. That will be enough hay for about 9 months.

I'm not sure how many of you are up on the current hay markets, but I'm guessing at least a few have no idea whether that is a good price or a bad price.

2012 was a drought year in the mid west. If she had bought that same hay a year ago, she would probably paid $7-$8 per bale. Hay was in short supply. If she had bought that same hay 5 or six years ago, she probably would have paid $2.25-$2.75 per bale. Hay has been steadily going up in price over the past several years. A lot of previous hay ground is growing corn or soybeans now, because of the increase in price for those commodities.

Based on current hay markets, I think she paid a good price for the hay. And, because her uncle was there, I'm sure of it.

DD1 helped me unload and stack the hay in our barn Tuesday evening.

We got our Tigers tickets

September 16th, 2013 at 05:53 am

My SIL and BIL brought my MIL and FIL to watch our girls play soccer this weekend. The girls each had a great game, and they started an hour apart, so we got to see most of both games.

While there they handed us our tickets for the upcoming Tigers game.

The total for the four tickets was $68, $17 per ticket. I had blogged about a handling fee before. That was per transaction, rather than per ticket, and it was $6. My SIL absorbed that for the group.

The game is this Friday, and the group has ballooned to 20. The seats are all in the same section, but not contiguous. Maybe people will play musical chairs with us, and allow at least some of us to sit together. The four seats for my family are not in a row, or in a square, but a "z", with two of us sitting beside each other, and the other two sitting one row behind, but offset by one seat.

Either way, it will be fun.

We'll be setting an in-park budget as well. We'd like to do some hot dog purchasing, or something like that without breaking the bank. I have a suspicion that some in the party will purchase quite a bit more than we will.

It could be a special game. Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer is listed as the probable starting pitcher, and he will be going for his 20th win.

The family pic will be the next day. That has set forth its own special family drama, but I won't get into it here.

Savings Deposits Made

September 13th, 2013 at 03:08 am

We've transferred some money to four different savings accounts:

$1,000 to each of our girl's savings accounts for college. We'll send that money to their 529's at some point in the future.

$5,200 to our emergency fund. EF total is now $6,000. It's nice to have a "real" EF now.

$400 to a sub account under regular checking. Plans are to transfer $400 to this account each month from here on out. That will be an account for non-monthly/non-regular expenses like property taxes, vehicle repairs, garbage (quarterly), Christmas and birthday gifts, and house maintenance.

Flexible Spending Account

September 12th, 2013 at 07:01 am

I'm sure most all of you frugally minded SA bloggers take advantage of your Flexible Spending Account, if your or your spouse's employer offers one. My employer offers an FSA, and I sure take advantage of it.

For those of you who may not know what an FSA is, it's an opportunity for an employee to defer some income into an account. The money in the account must be used for approved medical expenses. The money deferred to the FSA is not taxed. The catch is that if you don't claim the money over a 15 month period (Jan-Mar), you lose it. Forever.

An FSA is like a HCSA for W-2 employees.

The reason I bring it up, is I just submitted an FSA claim. Over the past couple of month, I've polled three of my colleagues about their participation in the FSA. Their responses are a mixed bag:

One colleague participates

One colleague is aware of the FSA, and chooses not to participate. He's afraid of losing his money at the end of the year.

One colleague had no idea what an FSA is.

So, based on my completely unscientific, informal, and extremely limited poll, 50% of employees in my organization participate in the FSA, 25% are aware of it, and choose not to participate, and 25% are unaware of the FSA.

As for me, I have $100 per month deposited into the FSA. My claims paid to date are $394.44. Today I submitted $110.20. That gets us caught up through July.

If you do not participate in an FSA (or HCSA), I urge you to look into it.

New to us furniture

September 11th, 2013 at 08:31 am

DW visited her parents yesterday. Her sister and her brother both gave us some furniture. A love seat, sofa, and recliner from brother, and a (nearly brand new) recliner from her sister.

I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago that furniture was high on our replacement list. It's not anymore.

The only draw back is that the pieces have been in storage in a building that my BIL owns. The building has an awful musty odor, and the furniture has picked it up. We got a mattress a few years back that was stored there, and picked up the same odor. So, we know that it will dissipate after a couple weeks, and a couple applications of Febreeze.

So, we have some new furniture. Actually, we're up one, because we didn't have a second recliner before.

We'll be having a bonfire with the old stuff this weekend. Trust me when I say that with four kids, our stuff has no resale value.

The Generator

September 10th, 2013 at 06:53 am

We bought a generator last night. It cost $664 plus sales tax. It's a 5,500 watt generator, and received good reviews on Amazon. It should be plenty to power our refrigerator, freezer, and some lights during a power outage. We'll just have to watch drying clothes, and other huge energy draws. Our oven is also electric, so we'll have to see on that. Probably won't be able to bake a turkey dinner during a power outage.

We also got a bid from an electrician for installing a transfer switch, so we can plug it in to our electric system. The bid was $390. The total cost for this project will be $1,054. I was figuring $1,200.

We didn't get multiple bids for installing the transfer switch. My cousin is an electrician. We usually have him do our work. He didn't get back to me when I contacted him twice. Must be busy.

The electrician that we did choose has done a lot of work for my family over the years. We've found him to be trustworthy and reliable.

There is one thing I'm not sure about yet. If you have a generator plugged in during a power outage, how do you know that the electricity is back on? My in-laws have a dairy farm so they NEED generator to run the milking and cooling equipment. They have a light next to the generator that turns on when the grid power is restored (it's not connected into the generator stream). I'll have to call the electrician, and ask about that.

The Octagon Barn

September 9th, 2013 at 06:41 am

There is an octagon barn about seven miles from my house. It's a large, beautiful building that sits on land that has reverted back to the state of Michigan. When I was younger, it was in disrepair, and was falling apart.

About the time I was graduating high school, and moving away to college, a group formed to save the barn. They raised some money, and restoration began.

When the project was at a certain point of completion, the Octagon Barn Society began inviting the public in to view the barn, and raise additional funds. The original "Fall Family Days" was held the weekend after Labor Day, and this past weekend marked the 18th annual Fall Family Days at the Octagon Barn.

During the past 18 years, the barn and house have been fully restored, and other features have been added such as a saw mill, blacksmith shop, one-room school house, a grain elevator, and other things. During Fall Family Days, there is an antique tractor parade, a patriotic program performed by children in the school house, a flea market, and other events. Fall Family Days typically attracts 10-15,000 people over the two days at $5 per person.

Our family attended both days this weekend. We were busy on Saturday, as my girls took part in the patriotic program at the one-room school house. I returned with the four kids on Sunday, and DW stayed home to can some vegetables.

I stayed with the boys, and our girls hung around with friends, with instruction to check in once per hour. I waited until near the end of the afternoon to take the boys to the petting zoo, because I knew they would resist ever leaving the petting zoo. The people who ran the petting zoo had your typical horse, calves, miniature ponies, ducks, geese, rabbits, chickens, etc. Some of the smaller animals were for sale, including two bantam (small) roosters. The price had been $14 per bird, but had been marked down to $3, because it was near the end of the last day of the event.

You may remember that we have chickens at our house, and you may remember that DD1 shows poultry. I called DW, and asked if we should buy a bantam rooster for $3. She said that it would be nice for DD1 to have another show bird. (DW had walked through the petting zoo the previous day, and had seen the roosters marked for $14 each).

I had the girls meet me at the petting zoo, so DD1 could inspect the birds, and decide which one to buy. When the decision was made, I gave the owner $3 for the rooster. He told me we could buy both of them for $5. I told him, no we're just interested in the one. We would be back at the end of the event, in about an hour, to pick up the bird.

At some point during that hour, I asked DD2 if she would like the other rooster. She thought about it a bit, and answered yes. When it was all said and done, we left Fall Family Days with two bantam roosters for $5.

I'm really not sure of the value of the birds. If they were sold at an event full of poultry enthusiasts, maybe they would have fetched the original $14 asking price. My guess is that this guy has a bunch of bantam poultry at home, and only needs a couple of roosters. Obviously, we'll be getting no eggs from the rooster. And if they breed with our hens, we'll have really weird looking medium sized chicks. But, the girls each have a new show bird, and our menagerie of small livestock just became a bit more interesting.

Gift Allocation

September 5th, 2013 at 05:25 am

It's been about a month since we received the gift of money from my in-laws. I thought I would make an attempt at an accounting of where the money has gone thus far. So far, we have spent/saved/paid down debt amounting to about $25,200 in the following broad categories:

Savings $9,200.00 36.4%
Home Improvement $8,322.05 32.9%
Debt Repayment $6,361.72 25.2%
Home School $745.60 3.0%
Vehicle Maintenance $636.00 2.5%

A coupe of caveats:
1. Not all of the money has been spent/saved in each of those categories yet, although it is our intent to do so. All but $2,000 of the "Savings" category is sitting in checking yet, for example. Some more to debt payoff and some more to home improvement.

2. We would have spent that, or nearly all of that on Home School curricula with or without the gift. Maybe not in one payment.

3. Same goes for vehicle maintenance (tires) my tire would have blown with or without the gift. Maybe I would have bought the used tire, or only one new tire instead of all four. Who knows. The gift did make the decision to buy four new tires easier.

There is one big ticket item that we have not purchased, but I have included it above. That is a generator and hard wiring for generator. I'm estimating that at $1,200. I think I already blogged about that, or I intended to blog about it. It goes back to the whole living in a rural area, we have the electric service of a third world country, yada yada thing.

We haven't taken action on a Roth for DW. That is big on my to do list.

So, when Savings plus Debt Repayment lines are combined, we get a total of 61.6% of what has been spent/allocated/intended so far. Yes, about a third the total has been spent on "Home Improvement" and yes, most but not all of that is the porch project. It did balloon beyond our original intent a bit.

We still have a pinch less than $5,000 to allocate yet. You certainly can't say that we're blowing it all in one place!

Special Time

September 4th, 2013 at 05:56 am

We had some mom+dad+DD2 special time last night. We scheduled a babysitter for the boys, and persuaded DD1 to stay home.

We were planning to see the new Smurfs movie in town. We live in a very small town, surrounded by other very small towns. So, there's not much else to do other than see a movie, or go bowling. So, we parked at the theater, and the marquee lights were shining brightly. We were met by Dick, the guy that has owned and operated the theater my whole life, plus probably five or ten years. He informed us that nobody else was there, since school had just started, and he couldn't run the movie with just three patrons.

I think DW and I were more disappointed than DD2 was. She probably figured that surely mom and dad would figure something out. DW had already looked at the neighboring small town theaters, and nothing else appropriate was showing. There are two larger towns about 40-50 minutes west of us where there are multi screen theaters, but no kid movies were starting that late. So, I stopped by the next small town west of us, and we got some ice cream at Dairy Queen. DD2 got a banana split for the first time in her life. We called the bowling alley, and it was league night - no open lanes.

After the ice cream was finished, we offered DD2 the opportunity to go to the toy store (aka Walmart), and told her she could pick out any toy for $15. She was OK with that offer. I don't think we've ever given our children the opportunity to go to a toy store, and pick out anything that they wanted. She took full advantage. She looked at, touched, smelled, and absorbed *everything*. Twice. She even made sure that we were aware of the availability of the Disney Princess Castle. "No, that's $50". You can't blame the kid for trying.

She ended up picking out a doll from the Barbie line. The doll has red hair, just like DD2, and wears a purple outfit, just like DD2 would wear. She was happy, and we ended up spending about the same on a doll and ice cream that we would have at the movie theater. Evening salvaged.

September Financial Snapshot

September 3rd, 2013 at 05:53 am

Mortgage $55,921
Truck Loan $8,555
Lawn Mower $103
CC1 $0
CC2 $0

Total Debt - $64,579

Retirement Fund $127,771
DD1 Savings $5,442
DD2 Savings $339
DS1 Savings $1,000
DS2 Savings $1000
Emergency Fund $800

Total Savings - $136,292

Debt reduced by $6,392
Savings increased by $3,657

About $1,700 of that increase in savings is because DD1 received her check for selling hogs at the fair. It's her money, but is earmarked for college savings, so I'll include it as a family asset.

I intended to pay the lawn mower loan in full last month. I went into the website to pay it off, and it's not easy to navigate. I entered the wrong amount to pay. When I went back in to see if the payment had posted, I saw that there was still a balance. I was unable to set the payment date for any sooner than 9 days before it's due. So, it will be paid in full on the 18th of this month.

I have another milestone to report. Our total family debt is now less than our annual household income! That sounds pretty good to me. Also, our total family savings is twice as much as our debt. Also good!

One last thing on the EF. We intend to beef that up. Right now the money sits in checking, which I've not listed here. Basically, we keep our EF in a bank in DW's home town. That way it's inconvenient for us to access. It's also inconvenient for us to add money. Our goal will be to get that money transferred over to the savings account before the end of this month.