He’s gorgeous

Sorry about your mom, but I know she’ll be a huge asset to you. Good news on school wrapping up for your husband. I’m sure you’ve already figured this out, but don’t you dare worry about what your house looks like or whether or not you’ve gotten dressed for the day. Enjoy this time and just grab some sleep whenever you can. Life is pretty good for you right now, so don’t worry about anything but this wonderful, new addition to your (and our!) family, and take care of yourself too. Sending you a big, congratulatory hug!

So is the irobot supposed to be better?

Don’t know that I love the Roomba, but I like the fact that I’m not around vacuuming 🙂 I need a new one though, they don’t seem to last long enough for me. I set mine up to go 3 times a week and while I have the bumpers/barrier beams (forget the exact name of them) I just shut the door to the bathroom and to the back porch to keep it from meandering in there. It has bumpers so as not to damage anything it runs into like table legs. It will navigate under things – the sofa for instance and come out and go back 4 or 5 times (it has a random pattern) but it hits every inch. My dog just grew accustomed to it-she learned that it was a necessary evil and it hasn’t grabbed her up yet. The upright vacuum cleaner does a number on her though… she hides for hours from it.

The roomba is about 12 inches, it easily goes through chair legs, there might be a chair whose legs are extremely narrowly spaced apart, but for the most part it will go under the chair legs, and it will bump around until it finds its way out from between the legs.

Watching it clean, you will think it is missing great spaces, but let it go, it will go back and get areas it didn’t get.

It bumps around until it gets to the spot

you can also set up perimeters so it stays in certain areas and doesn’t fall off steps. i have both the roomba and scooba but never use them. they’re noisy and they scare the heck out of my dog. a lot of people love them (i pretty sure sharon is one of them), but for me, it doesn’t work. maybe if i was away from home a lot, i’d just set the timer to go when we weren’t here i would have a different opinion, but they’re just sitting there gathering dust.

Okay

I have looked at these. Here is what I don’t get. I have a dinette table and a dining table, both with chairs pushed up under them. How does an irobot or other brand get up under there to “sweep”? This also applies to a desk with chair under it, etc.

ETFs won’t have better returns than mutual funds if you buy the exact same thing

An S&P mutual fund will be almost the same as an S&P ETF. Look at your funds and make sure you aren’t overlapping holdings. If you have an S&P 500 and a Large cap fund, you are basically holding the same stocks. your person should be able to look at your asset allocations and let you know if you are overlapping. There will be some, but you don’t want too much.

Thanks for the information

I’ll share it with dh. We have all our mutual funds in one “house”. However they are spread among about 12 different mutual funds. I was just sharing w/dh that some of our funds are not earning what I’d like them to earn. Whether we switch to ETFs or not, we still need to sit down and look over our accounts so we can earn the most off what we have invested. We are fortunate the broker we use is DR friendly … believes in getting and staying debt free, FFEF, etc.

An exchange-traded fund (ETFs)

combine the broad diversification of conventional index mutual funds with the continual pricing and trading flexibility of individual stocks and bonds generally at a lower cost than conventional funds.

It is a mutual fund you can buy during the day in a brokerage account. Since most ETFs are index funds, they are not actively managed, which means they are cheaper to hold. A typical mutual fund has a cost of 1%-2% whereas an ETF can be as low at .05%-.40%. That 1% can be a good chunk of money over the long run.

You have to have a brokerage account and many ETFs trade for free now. Now, most can’t have a brokerage account in their 401Ks, but setting one up at Vanguard/TRowe Price/Fidelity etc, is pretty easy.

About 5 years ago, there was a fee to buy an ETF so many would buy large chucks at $5,000 a trade or more so the $10 fee would be spread over a larger trade. Now, with free ETF trades, you can almost dollar cost average ETFs.

You can go to Vanguard.com and learn more about ETFs and which trade for free. Some trade for free with X dollars in the account.

It is a great time to consolidate accounts if you have stuff in a few different fund companies.

That is a wonderful surprise and a great incentive..

But it seems like businesses aren’t too keen on accepting checks in these parts. I’m the same way though, I would rather not take a check from people, they bounce too much for my tastes. Cash is king, and debit is queen 🙂

Ha Ha!

Not only do we think a like, but we have like minded husbands. My husband isn’t part of carrying some debt (although he certainly used to be), but he lets me do most of the money crunching, investment allocation, worrying, on my own. Sometimes I think it’s easier this way to not have to argue (or compromise, to be honest), but I am making him sit down and look at his weekly business budget. He doesn’t like it; he’d rather I just took total control of that too.

I have to tell you, I’m going through a major house purging right now, and we’re starting to attack house chores like Keisha is. I keep staring at that iRobot of ours. You may just find it on your doorstep one of these days. I’ve already decided that once it goes, it’s going to you. :0)

Kathy, I ended up doing something similar

Most folks on the list will recall that my relationship with my folks is strained at times, and that pains us all greatly. We have been, and still would like to be, a very close family. My brother took steps late last year to start closing that gap, which was a wonderful first step. And my parents have been working really hard on not telling us kids how to live our lives, which has been vastly appreciated. My parents have also both had some health issues the last year or two which have legitimately made travel harder for them. When I was called out of town for the sudden funeral a month ago, it reminded me that we all do reach a point where we don’t get any tomorrows or any second chances. I had already been thinking that I wanted to find a way to go visit Mom for Mother’s Day, as a surprise. And that funeral cemented for me that I really wanted a chance to go for a visit. And stay for more than 18 hours, without a funeral in the schedule.
mymon
Well, with our unexpected escrow refund, and my DH newly practiced at tending the farm, we decided to go for it. I bought tix just this morning for me to fly down and see my folks over the Mother’s Day weekend. DH has agreed to stay here and watch things, which makes the trip possible. Everyone is so excited, including me. I shopped and searched for good airfare, and we were able to buy round trip tix for just shy of $400, which gives us over $800 left of that refund (prev $1K from LendMe1000.com). Not sure where it’ll go. But we’re pretty pleased with how we’ve spent it so far. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do for family, and this feels pretty darn good.

Kathy, I hope you’re able to really enjoy your trip to help your DD celebrate her graduation. Don’t you DARE feel guilty either. I won’t.

Your rising net worth is the fruit of your labor, um, investments!

Way to go. Now, can you explain in layman’s terms what EFTs are and how they are different from mutual funds. I know what mutual funds are and we are heavily invested in them … retirement accounts and non-retirement accounts. That is the only place we have invested. Our FFEF is split between a savings account and a checking account, each in a different bank. The checking is separate from our household checking account. Thanks in advance.

Investing through the bad times

Our net worth is up 471K from last year and up 265K just from the start of this year. We saved about 250K in a year and about 54K this year to date. Many of my purchases from 2008 and 2009 are over a 100% return. It doesn’t matter if you invested $10 or $1,000, if you are out of debt, keep investing in the market. You never know when the market will take off and if you are on the sidelines, you will never know when to get back in. I have done this with low cost index funds and low cost EFTs. I don’t agree with DRs stand on ETFs. They are cheaper to own than mutual funds and you can abuse anything. I buy and hold just like DR says, except I don’t do it with mutual funds, but ETFs. I am able to buy in the middle of the day on big drops in the market. It is a relatively simple allocation of funds.

Welcome back, and congrats on the progress you’ve made

Congrats on the wedding, too! 🙂

I see that most of your non-mortgage debt(86%?!) is student loans, so that’s just a steady process to get those done. You have a decent size shovel, so you know it’s possible. What does your husband do for a living? Just curious..

I was able to tread water with my firm for over a year

Ended up moving into a vacant house my parents had for a while, to help make ends meet, made a lot of other sacrifices, but I did it.

I took a job a year ago for the “stability” — guess what? I started spending too much AND… will probably get laid off again in the next year, unless this firm turns around. It is almost funny! It also made me think of this group, so I am back!!

I got married in Dec 2012, and combined we still have A LOT of debt. We decided when we got engaged to really attack it aggressively– reduced our 75-100 person wedding to 10 people at a free venue. We all went out to dinner, had beautiful clothes, flowers and a professional photographer… under $2k, which we had in savings. LOL, I am selling my dress, etc. back on Etsy for what I paid for it, so that will recover some of the wedding costs, too.

I sold my car this weekend, we are now a one-car family. And $10,662 less in debt, with $425/mo less in car and insurance payments. Everyone thinks we are crazy, must have been a good choice.

Also cut back the cable (still in mourning), slashed the food bill. We are making progress, although I recently had surgery so we have some medical bills that we have to add to the list now. It should take us about 7 years to pay everything off except the house.

Rebuild emergency fund to $5k after surgery $3.5k — Sept 2014
DH’s Credit cards $18000 @ 7-9% — Sept 2013
Save for new car in case I get laid off $5k — Jan 2015
My Combined medical $6100 @ 0% — April 2014
DH’s Car $15000 (upside down about $5k @ 5%) — December 2016
My 7.0% Student Loan $117000
DH’s 5% Student Loan $55000
My 1.75% Student Loan $75000– student loans gone by May 2018
Mortgage (Home) $175000 (worth the same, 3.25% 30-year loan)
Mortgage (Rental House) $100000 (under contract to sell in Sept, will net $18k which will all go to DH’s credit cards)

Yes– that is $286,100k in non-mortgage debt, including $247k in non-dishchargeable student loans, lol. Feel free to inhale sharply and shake your head, we do all the time.

Basically, this is the order of attack. We net about $1500/mo for debt, plus I get quarterly bonuses that are still coming in. No way to know how much, or for how long, but usually $2500-4000 after taxes.

Let me know if you have any suggestions! Great to be back!

I spoke with a friend of mine in New Jersey

She is their stake emergency preparedness specialist and also her ward’s Relief Society presidency. She confirmed that they had attended training on this issue, and for her area, they would no longer be doing dry pack canning on site, but would be able to order bulk items, check out a sealer, obtain cans and materials etc. I spoke with a person in the Houston Texas area, whose cannery provides all of the Church storehouses with peanut butter. Their facility already went “FDA/USDA” compliant, so their facility is not affected.

Since the LDS Church did not comment on the FDA/USDA aspect of the blogpost, I’m not going to either. But I can’t help but be reminded of the biblical parable of the talents. Three servants receiving 10, 5 and 1 talent respectively. Two of them multiplied their talents. One of them did nothing, and had it taken away from him when the Lord came to check.

I wonder if the Almighty is “checking” on our Preparedness Talents? I know in our ward and stake for whatever reasons, we do not utilize the cannery as much as we could, either through the bulk buying program, or on our own. Do we, like the servant with 1 talent, stand in jeopardy of our “one” being taken away from us due to our unwillingness to expand the blessings the Lord has given us?

My husband went down to part time work last Aug

and takes care of our son, who started kindergarten at the same time. But he is a lobbyist, and is looking to get back into the workforce full time. That will increase our income anywhere from $15-40K/year more, depending on if he goes nonprofit, governmental or private.

For the summer, my parents will babysit because they will be in town, but the leave the first week in Aug. At that time, I’ll have to adjust my hours. He has mild special needs (and is only 6) and can’t be in school/aftercare from 7:45 to 6:00 pm. It shouldn’t affect my base salary but will probably mean I won’t bonus as much. As he matures, we can look into more after school care options but in the short term… The reduction in bonus won’t be anywhere near what my husband’s income increase will be.

We had a scary thing like that happen to us last week too

Didn’t even think of it in terms of homework, but I’ve already got a few of my “gonna try first” plans in place, and still mulling the rest.
Our rental land is 10 miles away. It’s 14 acres of flat grassland, down a steep ramp from the road, and it’s about 50′ below the grade of the road. So if you’re on that property but near the road, traffic is going right by you without ever knowing you’re there. We have a locking gate on the one access ramp with the all-season road, but the other gate is uncontrolled. Since that ramp is the poorer of the two, and can only be driven on in summertime, we usually don’t have a problem. But we’ve had nice weather the last week, and that side of the field has really dried out a lot. I was there last Wednesday doing some work and noticed that ramp and access road were nearly ready to drive on. When I went out Friday, I noticed someone had already beaten me to it. Without permission.
Someone had driven their 4×4 down off the road, into the tall (3′ tall in places) grass, parked well off the ramp, walked even further back in the grass, and matted down another 10’x10′ area for what must have been a very nice spot to either get drunk, get stoned or get laid. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s almost certainly what was happening. We’ve found prior evidence of all three activities on that property in the past, but nothing so far this year. Problem is, it had happened in the last 48 hours, and it could very easily happen again even with me there working. I was not pleased. The fact that it was right by the animal pens, and we move the animals tomorrow, also had me on high alert. If someone was just being romantic, well, they probably wouldn’t have done anything obnoxious with the livestock had they been there. But alcohol and/or drug usage each dramatically increases a person’s stupid index. We now finally have insurance coverage (thank goodness THAT is finally squared away), but I really don’t want a pair of 17-year-olds testing it by playing dare with our animals. Or worse, simply cutting the fence and laughing as the animals scatter. One 300# goat up on the road, getting hit by a car, and there goes a heckuva lot of our time and money. Not to mention any human fatalities along the way.
So today, one of my tasks will be to get a heavy cable to stretch across that ramp so that folks can’t casually drive down the ramp. Having the vehicle parked up on the road is a whole lot easier to see, and more prominent for neighbors to check out. The next layer of defense, which will take some money, is to install some stout posts and hang a real gate across that ramp so that it will block not only vehicles, but casual visitors of both the two-legged and four-legged varieties. But the question of what I need to do to protect my own person down there, while working long hours, by myself, out of earshot and out of cellphone range, is a whole ‘nuther topic. It’s one my DH and I have discussed before, and one in which none of the options are particularly comfortable to consider. But I guess we need to have that discussion again.

Most of last week was pretty much the same old, same old

Check the budget daily to make sure we are working on it properly. We came in under budget on several line items the last pay period, but are already over budget on groceries for this one. We needed basics like meat this time, despite my fixing more and more meatless meals. I don’t feel too bad about going over budget this two week period on groceries because in the last 3 pay periods we’ve been under budget over $100 each pay period, so the $50 we are over this time (so far, will need milk next week) is not all that bad.
I got two unplanned on checks that will be going toward our debt one was only $10 for a book sale, but the other was $556 on a royalty check. That one was a MAJOR surprise, those checks usually are around the $100 mark at max and they are very sporadic at that. It had been over 2 months since we’d had one and so this one surprised us royally. Part of it went to get some minor repair on the truck done, part on the debt snowball, and the remainder into savings for Joseph—he’s sneaky and it seems anytime we have such a Millie Moment he shows up right after I apply the money to the snowball or something similar. So the bulk of it this time is going into Joseph repellant!
Then of course there was the news of the $2 an hour pay raise and promotion for dh that finally came through on Monday. If the guys understood their supervisor right the new rate started this last Saturday and will be on the next check. That’s a good thing.
This last week they also did open enrollment on the benefit package at work and of course they changed a lot of stuff around, which resulted in eating part of that pay raise if you didn’t mind your p’s and q’s while signing up for them. A prime example was the term life insurance, which I will post about on another post—it’s something everyone needs to be aware of if they are nearing age 65. Dh caught it at the last minute so they took the much higher rate out of this pay check, but will be reimbursing him for it next pay period, which of course did a small hit on the budget as well. Like I said another post.
Sunday started with a bit of a start around here and it made us aware of some things we needed to change security wise.
We were all just getting up and about when I noticed Sir Oliver Inkwell, our youngest cat, running back and forth on the windowsill like he was watching something. As I asked him what he saw I realized the girls were barking their “intruder” alert outside near the garden, and before I could say another word there were what sounded like to loud rifle shots almost simultaneously right at the garden!.. The girls went silent.
As I struggled to finish getting dressed quickly dh bolted for the door and was met on the porch by ds. How does that kid get down those stairs so fast? Each was prepared for trouble. Dh told our son to check the sunroom for the girls then join him. I was told to “stay here”.
Ds ran to the sunroom and hollered back the girls were in the sunroom—Praise the Lord—but both wouldn’t let him near them. I quickly pulled on shoes and rushed out to my babies while the guys went toward where the “shots” had came from. As soon as the 45 pound Jolie saw me she rushed toward me wanting “Mama”. Before I could even sit down on the step she was trying to crawl into the safety of my lap. She knocked me into the storm door and well I now have a mending job to do on one of my best pair of sweat pants.
As soon as I disentangled myself from the storm door and set down the dog crawled in my lap, shaking in terror, her heart racing. As I stroked her fur and talked to her I also tried to coax Georgia out of the corner where she was hiding. After a while the 50 pound Georgie was also leaning against my leg seeking comfort.
I talked to them softly as I felt them all over for wounds. That God there were none. Both were definitely terrified though. They wouldn’t even take their jerky treats. All they wanted was to be in my lap. I was safety to them because I’m the one that fixes all boo-boo paws around here. Slowly the girls calmed down as my mind raced wondering what was going on outside. Finally ds came to the sunroom to get a report on the girls’ condition and to fill me in. He said dh was still walking around to make certain of what they were pretty sure had happened.
They found no signs of an intruder, no foot prints in the soft soil, no rifle casings, nothing. What they did find, was a HUGE limb that had fallen out of the top of one of the trees and taken a second large limb with it as it fell. What they figure happened was the girls were chasing a squirrel, possum, raccoon, something of that sort and the fat thing ran up the wrong branch which snapped and fell taking a second branch with it. Thus the two popping sounds. Dh thinks that one or both of the branches may have nearly landed on one or both the girls and that is what scared them.
We were lucky this time, but what if it had been someone armed, with trouble on their mind? I had been left unprotected in the house with two dogs that were totally terrified. I no longer have Drifter Moon who would have died before anyone did me any harm. I had no weapon, all I had was the escape plan I formulated a long time ago and even that would have been hindered by the nearly 100 pounds of dogs on my lap and around my legs.
We fixed the protection problem immediately, I will not be unprotected if such a situation should arise in the future. As for the girls being so frightened, we have plans to work on training them to not be afraid of loud noises. We may also be looking more into a large guard dog, but then if it had been a shooter…
Ds has already been working on taking all the dead trees down but plans on working faster at it now, because what if that branch had hit one of the girls?