June brought the medical bills from Beta’s accident. We’re still waiting on the final insurance reimbursement verdict for the last one, but it looks like we’ll end up paying ~$1700 or so out of pocket. The largest chunk of that was put on a payment plan for cashflow reasons, but the smaller two chunks will be PIF.
Other than that, June has been a good month around here. I got a little freaked out with a cash pinch, perhaps too much, and ended up not stocking up on as many strawberries as planned. But picking and preserving 45 pounds was still a lot of work. The Alchemist, Alpha, and Beta all served as helpers for various parts of that time. We also picked 14 pounds of snap peas from the same farm, have gotten nearly 5 pounds already from our own patch, and 4 so far from our CSA boxes. Green beans have come in hard and fast as well. Fresh green beans are nearly as good a treat as fresh berries or fresh snap peas. We’re also already picking zucchini. This is high holy days for gardening, a time for me only equalled by the arrival of apples.
July is going to be fun. We’re spending a good portion of it with the Alchemist’s family in Baltimore, and also taking a short beach vacation to their traditional spot in North Wildwood, NJ. The goblins love beach vacations, and Wildwood’s mixture of kitschy carnival boardwalk and a decent beach is right up their alley. This time we’re bringing the adult bikes along, so hopefully the Alchemist and I will be up for some early morning bike tours up and down the beach. I remember thinking the bike path south of the main boardwalk looked quite inviting, but we haven’t been out there since I got into biking.
Our outflows were higher than income this month, but most of that came from already budgeted funds. In fact, I added over $300 to our cash buffer. With a raise and summer bonus season arriving in July, debt prepayment will probably resume at the end of the month, barring unforeseen events. My current plan is to get the buffer up to $3,000, which represents a single month’s expenses, then take additional cash 50/50 to buffer and debt prepayment until the buffer hits $9K, at which case 100% would go to debt until we pull the trigger on some projects, pull from the buffer, and need to replenish.
“Take Home” Income: $3,350 (HSA contributions factored into the HSA category below)
Total Outflows: $3,756
Total Non-Mortgage, Non-Debt “Burn Rate”: $1,957
Note: I’ve reorganized some of the categories, partly so this graphic has more clarity. If something is not clear enough for you financial voyeurs out there (I tease!), please comment.
Health and Wellness
- Life Insurance: $79 <–USAA sometimes skips a month, then double bills me on 1st/30th of the following month.
- Health – HSA: $177 outflow after contributions factored
- Health – non-HSA: $194
- Groceries: $330 (Detailed spreadsheet viewable here)
- Bulk Food: $125
- Garden: $0
- Note: our food costs are partially offset by what’s harvested from the garden and from the CSA share purchased earlier in the year. Details about what’s come from both are available to view in this spreadsheet, though I occasionally forget to record a CSA box or a day’s harvest.
- Discretionary: $146
- Personal – Chief: net inflow $16 (Forward balance: -$37)
- Personal – Alchemist: $159 (Forward balance: -$120)
- Alchemist webhosting: $10
- Cash buffer: $2,479
- Mortgage PITI: $1,076
- Chief cell phone: $0
- Internet: $59
- Gas/Electric: $135
- Water: $0 (quarterly bill)
- Netflix: $9.49 –> cancelling this next month, as the kids’ spend their screen time tokens almost exclusively on PC games now, and neither of us watch TV right now. It’s easy enough to renew it should we want it again.
- House Savings: $31
- Insurance: $68
- Fuel: $164 –>More driving than usual this month. Blame good weather, farms to visit, and the Alchemist having a sprained ankle that required chauffeur duty for part of a week.
- Maint/Replacement: $111 –>Mostly annual vehicle registration
- First Bank of Mom and Dad: $0
- Note: I’m not going to bother reporting my individual kids’ spending, but I do track it in YNAB and it’s reflected in the graphic above.
Travel (moved to its own category)
- Travel: $0
Student Loan Debt
- Required Payments: $724
- Extra Payments: $0
The stock market must have gone backwards a bit this quarter. Nor have we done any debt prepayment lately. And we have new (medical) debt. So, not a stellar quarter from a net worth perspective.
Mr. Market will do what Mr. Market does, but we’ll be back on an offensive footing in Q3 unless more unfortunate life events happen. Hopefully I can report a lot more progress on September 30th :)
- Home (Estimated Market Value): $80,000
- 401(k): $55,044
- tIRA: $17,109
- Non-Earmarked Cash: $2,508
- HSA: we do have some HSA savings, but at this point I’m counting it as “spent” money already. Once the balance gets sufficiently large (who knows when?) I’ll factor this in with NW.
- Total: $154,661
- Home Mortgage: 103,598 @6.5% –> PMI makes it effectively ~7.1%
- Student Loan (Chief A): 1,481 @0.1%
- Student Loan (Chief B): 5,317 @6.5%
- Student Loan (Alchemist A): $1,991 @0.1%
- Student Loan (Alchemist B): $24,273 @3.9%
- (New) Medical Debt @0%: $788
- Total: $137,448
Net Worth: $17,213
For an explanation of the FI possibility spaces, see this post.
We’ve been picking small amounts of snap peas for about a week now. I don’t think the current patch is big enough to ever overload us but I will gladly take that if it does. I will likely pick peas when we go strawberry picking (same farm) to get enough to freeze and/or dehydrate.
Spinach has all bolted now. My family’s spinach lasagna recipe is a great way to use up what we did get from the garden (not much) and the CSA. Lettuce is overwhelming us between CSA and the garden. Only so much salad you can make. Lettuce wraps/cups are enjoyable but again can only dent it so much. We’ll see if we do a CSA share again next year; if we do, I’ll plant much less lettuce, if at all. I’ve also picked some of our kale, and some of our kale/broccoli hybrid. The chard probably won’t be usable at all this year – looks awful between wind, insect, and animal damage.
That’s all we’ve been eating so far but I spied quite a few neat things in the garden today while weeding, and had to run in to grab the camera.
It’s been a while since the last meetup, so the Alchemist and I would like to extend an invitation to those in the Milwaukee area interested in coming and having a chat about topics ranging from frugal living to early retirement to gardening.
When: Saturday June 27th at 5PM.
Where: 78th and Auer in Milwaukee, WI. Our house is right on the corner with the massive garden. Hard to miss!
I’ll have a meal ready at 5 or shortly thereafter. Come eat, and stay to chat. Past meetups have seen folks stay anywhere from an hour to four hours. If attending, drink or food to share is always appreciated.
Questions or to RSVP: please email me at davidhughes117 [at] gmail [dot] com.
Erica from NWEdible wrote a fantastic post that I just read, had to stop eating breakfast, come here and share. Called “What I Believe” it’s well worth your time to go read. My favorite quote is this one:
I believe we are in control of far, far more than we typically act on, and far, far less than we typically worry about.
This is so true, and really speaks to the crux of my personal transformation since jumping on the early retirement/sustainability/lifestyle design train almost two years ago now. I’ve written in the past about the power of aligning circles of control/influence with circles of concern, but it’s something we need to be reminded of frequently. My latest thoughts about Antifragility are definitely all about putting myself in control of more than what I was acting on, and withdrawing my worry from things I couldn’t.
I want to do more than just post a link and a reaction to Erica’s post, however. Go read it if you haven’t already. Back? Now here’s my riff on it:
- I believe there are some things we can never know, and we have to embrace the mystery.
- I believe we can never, ever truly know someone, and that is the beauty of interacting with others. They are mysteries, other, and should always be able to surprise us.
- I believe in raising the children we have, not the children we wish we had.
- I believe too much comfort is a dangerous thing.
- I believe living your life according to other people’s opinion of you is a subtly tyranny, but a tyranny nonetheless.
- I believe in trying to be as healthy as you can, and no healthier.
- I believe life without being creative in some form is a life I don’t want to live.
- I believe in finding a piece of the earth that is yours, and leaving it better than you found it.
- I believe in the power of designing (and redesigning, and redesigning…) one’s life, and designing (if possible) the way one’s life ends.
- I also believe in embracing the beautiful chaos of life’s surprises absolutely destroying one’s lifestyle design.
Here’s a few I like and want to borrow from Meliad’s comment on Erica’s post:
- I believe that being a chatelaine [Editor note: chatelaine is interchangeable with my concept of a steward] is, for real, a 20hrs/week job all by itself.
- I believe that MANY people would be happier if they had the option of working half-time for above-minimum wage and dedicating the other 20 hours/work-week to creative/family/joy-inducing activities.
- I believe in glass and metal and wood and wool and leather; I believe in things that are made to last (but that will, in general, also rot given enough time and neglect)
- I believe in feeding people
- I believe in DIY, even though I’m not that good at a lot of DIY
- I believe in walking places
- I believe a good book is a great escape and, frequently, a great teacher.
What are some of your beliefs?
I’m a bit past due for a garden update. We’ve gotten good rain up until the past week, which is the first I’ve had to irrigate except for seedling trays. Weeding has kept me somewhat busy, but the one-two punch of a collinear hoe to shave weed seedlings and a Dutch hand hoe for the more recalcitrant weeds like grass has proven very time efficient.
Harvest has been mostly limited to spinach and a few cuttings of mesclun mix. I think I took a few nips of the rhubarb as well. Just today, however, I spotted our first snap pea pods! Snap peas are one of my absolute favorite vegetables, especially hand-to-mouth raw from the garden. Hoping for a good crop this year, as I devoted quite a bit of space to them. Depending on how fast they size up, we should get some kohlrabi soon as well.
I’ve made a few apparent failures this year. Our peach sapling died back after (I think) getting too dry, but is now fighting back with new non-sucker growth. A few of my purchased rhubarb crowns have not thrived at all, I think because of poor siting on my part. Despite rhubarb’s reputation as an unkillable plant, it is somewhat fragile until getting established. One of the beds I picked for squash is getting more shade than I anticipated now that our massive maple tree has leafed out. I’ve got fingers crossed that the bed will be productive. If not, I’ll try something more shade tolerant next year.
As far as successes go, it’s too early to tell, but I think a few of the varieties I’ve picked seem very well suited to this climate. Judging by plant vigor, Cosmonaut Volkov and SunGold tomatoes both seem very happy here. Arcadia broccoli continues to impress from last year. I’ll obviously have more thoughts as the season progresses.
Many people ask about animal damage. The fence helps a lot. In the non-fenced areas, we had some minimal nibbling on the snap pea vines, quite a bit of nibbling on the strawberries I couldn’t fit within the fence. That’s about it. Despite their reputation, the rabbits have not nibbled on my unprotected salad greens or carrots. Yet.
More comments in the gallery below.
Underneath the Temple was a smaller chamber of a very clear purpose. Lining every wall were inset hangers for a stunningly wide variety of weapons. It smelled like sweat, leather, wood shavings from repairs, and through it all was the pungent smell of the oils used to seal wood and metal against age.
“Have we ever sparred before?” Malakai asked.
Thalia shook her head. “You’ve watched me spar many times, but I would remember if we had fought. I rarely lose so quickly.” Read the rest of this entry »