Saturday, April 18, 2020

Just Checking In

Life is trucking along.  The LoML did a run to Aldi last Tuesday and spent almost $300.  The only item on the list they didn't have was flour, of all things.  Really people? They still didn't have toilet paper or sanitizing wipes.  We don't need them but I find it irritating that people are still stockpiling. We will make do.

We were notified Thursday that my company's remote work will continue until June 1.  At the same time our President is pushing to open the economy and send folks back to work.  I feel terrible that so many are unemployed and hanging on by a thread, but I can't help but think, I'd rather be alive and scraping by than employed and risk dying.  But that is easy for me to say.

We received out stimulus funds.  However my 2 recently launched daughters have not.  Both have filed taxes for the last several years and had the funds electronically deposited into our bank account since they were a bit transient, financially.  Then I would just Venmo them their refunds.  But when you check the IRS tool to find out the status it says they can't determine eligibility.  WTF!  We may just give our funds to them if they need it, at least until we figure out if they are getting a check or not.  Ridiculous.  If it gets straightened out my next plan for that money would be to donate to the Food Bank and my favorite shelter that has a pet food bank.

Moving on. . .my veggie and herb starts are doing well.


My outdoor early spring veggies and herbs are taking off. The swiss chard, spinach, kale and arugula I planted last fall and kept a row cover on them through the winter.  The peas, radishes, beets, lettuce and peas were all planted mid-March and are progressing nicely.  Well.  That's all I have for today.  Life is stressful and boring all at the same time.  Thank God for plants, dirt, sun and rain.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

End of The Month Financials, Bills

This past month was expensive and stressful.  I thank God everyday that I am able to work from home and at the moment my job isn't at risk.  I am not, however, loving how busy I am.  I have two filings to put together and file on May 1 and they involve wrangling several subject matter experts, tons of data, financials and testimony.  With all of the stress of what is going on with COVID-19 it is difficult to stay focused.

A lot of money went out the door in March and the beginning of April.  I already talked about the $1,500 dentist bill I paid.  Yesterday I paid our 6 month car insurance premium for 4 of us for 4 cars.  That was $3,069.  Then I paid the credit card bills which were $552 (LoML travels for work so we keep those expenses separate as he gets them expensed) and $35 for our main credit card that had reoccurring expenses (Netflix, Sirius radio and such).

Retirement Savings Update:
So as of the end of this month our retirement accounts have lost probably over $100K.  I'm estimating it based on taking a peek at my 401(K).  I did increase my contributions another 2% to hopefully take advantage of the market bounce back - if and when that ever happens.   My pension cash balance finally recorded its 2019 company contribution and interest which amounted to $19,769.

Mortgage Pay-Down Update:
With my April mortgage payment I paid an extra 3 principal payments:

January Balance:        $96,555.69 - 3.5 principal payments
February Balance:      $94,242.49 - 4.75 principal payments
March Balance:          $92,429.89 - 3.6 principal payments
April Balance:             $90,429.93 - 4 principal payments

I've knocked out almost a year of my mortgage just in extra payments. That feels unbelievably good.

This last paycheck had my full raise in it.  With maxing out my 401(k) (plus the extra 2% for good measure) and the increase in benefit costs being deducted, my take home is about $120 less per pay than it was last year.  But it hasn't really impacted us since we are stuck at home and aren't really spending money.

I am an avid veggie and herb gardener.  We normally grow lettuces, peas, kale, bok choy, spinach, arugula, radishes, beets, etc. from seed and the rest I grow from purchased plants.  This year I did plant all of those (already coming up in the garden) but I decided to buy the seeds to grow pepper, squash, cucumber, and some herbs and edible flower.  I bought grow lights and a heat mat as well.  A one time investment that I will get a ton of use out of.  I started my peppers back in February.  The LoML loves to pick out our veggie plants to buy and I planned on letting him pick out all of the heirloom tomato plants we will grow.  But with the current state of the world I decided to go ahead and order those seeds as well.  They arrived last Tuesday, I planted them immediately and they have already sprouted.

Here are pics I took of my happy little peppers last month. 5 varieties: Shishito, Padron, Anaheim, Habanada, and Serrano.  These aren't all hot and since they are small peppers they are prolific producers.  You get a lot more produce than from a bell variety, which in my experience takes all summer to give you one or two peppers per plant.  YUM!

Today I will plant the second batch of peas, lettuces, beets, etc. to extend our harvest. 

I hope everyone is staying home and staying healthy!  I feel like this is going to be the way we live for quite a while.  Our world has dramatically changed and change is hard.  Keep on keeping on!! 

Fall Is Too Early!!!

 I love the change of the seasons.  Don't get me wrong - Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons.  But where I live we don't usu...