BTW

if you don’t like the plan option that you chose initially, you can change the plan to any of the other offerings, as many times as you would like.

If anyone is interested in trying it

there’s a groupon for emeals, half price for a year. I just took it and signed up for the “slow cooker clean eating” plan. I really need to get better at menu planning! There are a lot of things in the first two weeks that I won’t eat – I don’t like to cook pork – but there’s enough to get us going, and some things are easy substitutions (like lamb or chicken sausage for pork sausage). I don’t cook recipes every night, some nights are just spaghetti or whatever, but if I can do 2-3 recipes a week I’ll pull ahead of the freezer (our monthly meat deliveries are starting to pile up!)
Although there are two of us I took the ‘3-6 person’ option because I like having enough for lunch the next day and seconds if we want them, so that’s 5-6 servings. The meat portions seem generous and I like that there’s an iphone app that makes a shopping list and lets you remove meals and their ingredients (but not tinker with them) although hm, the first two weeks had a roast on them. I don’t want to cook a roast every week, I hope that’s an anomaly!

I have the same issue

Biggest bill after the mortgage is feed for livestock and dogs and it’s a toss up between utility bills and fuel and cell phone. I could spend less on the cell phone bill when my contract runs out – I’ll have to shop around – I’ve been with T-Mobile for a long time and been an excellent customer so if I do need a little slack from time to time, they are happy to give it to me. If I get into a crunch, that comes in very handy to not have service cut, and I’ve had that happen once or twice in the past, especially after I kicked the ex out and was paying for his contract as well as his mother’s until T-Mobile told me how to have someone else take over the contract – they really were very helpful.

I shopped around for insurance and found that State Farm beats everyone else so I’m sticking with them – been a client since 2001.

I also have cable which runs me $40 and that’s my entertainment, between that and the $8 Netflix DVDs. No premium channels etc. I’m considering going over-the-air, so I’d need a converter box and antenna etc since my TV is not digital.

I do need to work more on spending less on fast food – it’s a toss up at this point since it costs less to grab fast food than it does to cook from scratch. As well as not impacting on time. Its hard to beat spending $1 for a sausage biscuit in the morning which sates my appetite and then I don’t eat until I head home at 6pm since I don’t get hungry. If I eat cereal, I’m starving within 2 hours. Same with cooked oatmeal (even using steel cut which does have a better texture).

I do plan to downsize the dogs – but again, I run up against who do I get pups from when I need them since there are not very many breeders who breed for working ability in Tervs and Icelandics. It’s cheaper for me to breed what I’m looking for since I have a decent market for the pet quality or companion pups. Same applies to my LGDs, I have specific goals and its a chunk of change to lay out $800 – $1200 for a pup coming from good working lines, on a working farm, where health and temperament checks are standard.

There are some days I just want to bury my head in the sand, until common sense reasserts itself and I realize that I’m further ahead than I was last year and really, having my mortgage paid off in 9 years is just NOT that awful, when all is said and done.

IF my sheep sales are mainly meat this year, that’s fine too – it would be nice to sell breeding stock – however, I’ll be delighted to have them pay for themselves and their feed for a year, regardless. Knowing I have my hay paid for through the winter goes a long way to reducing my stress level. And if the sheep could be nice enough to pay for one or two or even *fingers and toes crossed* 3 extra mortgage payments each year, I’ll be ecstatic.

Yeah, that is us too

We don’t do much for entertainment …. we allow $125 per month for eating out and have cable, which is WAY too high in my opinion. Dh is supposed to check on getting some kind of bundle price that is lower than what we are currently paying. It’s so high I am ashamed to say what it is. However we have NO premium channels like HBO, etc. so that is in our favor. We don’t go to movies, go to sporting events, etc. so eating out about 3 times a month and cable is about it.
This is why I am wanting to get my coaster/trivet business clearing more per month to help with some of the fun stuff we want to do.
Oh, we are also kinda interested in another sideline business, particularly a laundromat. There is one near our store and is in a good location but seems a little on the distressed side. I have thought about asking a realtor friend to check into it to see if the owner is willing to sell and what the starting figure would be. It would be one where we would have a person man it during business hours …. they currently do that and provide laundry service (wash/dry/fold/iron) … that way we would not have to be there all day.

I don’t agree with 100% of it

but it does highlight something that my DH and I have discovered in our own spending. There are categories where it’s relatively easy to cut back, at least over the short term, and we think gosh that’s great we cut back. However, there are categories where it takes some effort to cut back, either because those costs are harder to change and/or higher in general. Yet cuts there “count” more, either because once made they last, and/or because the actual cuts are a lot higher in saved $$$ over the passage of time. For instance, on our working farm, our feed costs are very high – it’s our second highest monthly bill. Only our mortgage is higher. Our eat-out costs are 1/10 to 1/20th of our feed costs. Sure we can cut back on eating out (and we’ve almost eliminated it), yet by eliminating it we haven’t touched our two biggest bills yet. That cut was only a drop in the bucket. If, on the other hand, we do our homework and shop around for better homeowner’s insurance (which we did in 2013) or if we tackle the feed bill (which we’re in the process of doing now), either of those might eliminate hundreds per month from our expenses. Most of you won’t have a feed bill, but everyone has some big monthly cost that we tend to think of as “untouchable.” I think a balance of both tactics – eliminating costs which are easy, but also knuckling down and doing the homework to put bid dents in the major bills – are perhaps the best recipe for long-term budget improvements. Just some encouragement to try……..

Really wishing the furnace fund was higher right now..

Bbbbrrrrrrr. Alternately praying the the electricity holds, Old Betty ( as we affectionately call our 40+ year old furnace) doesn’t fail, and the pipes don’t freeze. Our home repair slush fund is at, um, $50 right now write essay at www.essaydig.com. We’re supposed to hit negative 10 tonight (that’s real temp, not windchill). Also very thankful we have four walls right now! Also anticipating large electricity, gas, and water bills soon…. :(

I actually have a homework report for once!

I opened my oldest 3 kiddos their own saving and teen checking through capital one 360. I want to really to start letting them manage their money by the month. I have half of my puppies sold already . Once they are all sold the puppy money is going to emergency fund rebuild, new house windows and maybe stainless appliances. We have had plain Jane white since I sold my top of the line stainless ones when we started the Dave plan to pay off debt. It kind of feels like Dave’s jaguar story in his book more than enough. He gave up his prized car and years later God gave him one back. Hubby’s friend builds green houses and is getting us a great deal on the windows at his contractors price. The best part is we are FINALLY getting a heat pump. After years of burning wood I am sooooooo very happy !!!!!!

I know I am excited!

Our windows are really leaky and thin. I am slowly making a dent in all the things we put off while paying off the house. It has been almost a year since we paid it off. I thought I would be done with our needs replaced list by now.

I got a job today

It’s 8 hours a week at $12/hr. It will give us a slush fund emergency fund for the time being. Things are tight right now, but it’s going into savings and I’m going to scrimp and squeeze the budget. If things get better, I’ll start up our FFEF savings again and funnel my work money into a vacation fund. Either way it’s income and we can use it as we see fit if necessary for living expenses!

I’m excited to be back in the paying workforce after 13 years of being a stay at home mom!

Several times a year we work on trying

to get our home office totally organized and under control. It’s still a long way from there. This time last year we hauled off pick-up loads of stuff out of here—mainly charitable donations of things we had been going to sell. But after a while we ran out of steam.
Over the rest of the year I slowly have sorted things, and as Anthea will tell you have actually got some work areas set up, but it’s a long way from done. The good news is we’ve not back slid any.
So I’m back at it. As I wait for things to cut out on the Cricut—doing stock build up for the business I’m sorting AGAIN. Today’s big project, two sets of rolling drawer organizers of cardmaking/scrapbooking supplies. Only 2 of the 9 to go on these three sets to go. I’m finding tools I forgot I had….not good. Anyway, I’m back to working on decluttering the office

I think a lot of us get started with 401k’s

that are offered by our companies, and I don’t think Share Builder is a big player in that market. I’ve had 401k’s (and a 403B and a 401a) from Fidelity, Wells Fargo, and now Schwab, plus a TIAA/CREF and there was another one I’ve forgotten about . When I’ve switched jobs I’ve rolled any 401k stuff into Fidelity just to keep it all in one place (except for the TIAA/CREF, which is a different sort of beast).

Fidelity has really good customer service, and that’s worth something when you are having a 40-year relationship with a company . They’re a big local company, too, big employer in my field, so that gives me some warm fuzzies. I admit I haven’t done the research to know if they’re the absolute best dollar value around but my accounts have been doing OK relative to the market. (and I’m sure they know that happy customers are probably not going to do all the work to switch)