Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February Garden Update

Our shipment of seeds came in the mail today, so I figure it's time to post an update on our garden. We have planted 3 trays worth of seeds, with each tray having 50 inserts. The list includes:

15 Green/Purple Peppers
5 Jalapeno Peppers
5 Lemon Balm
10 Broccoli
10 Eggplant
5 Artichoke (trying for my wife)

20 Tomatoes
10 Banana Peppers
10 Rocket
10 Broccoli Raab

10 Lettuce
10 Leek
10 Celery
10 Kohlrabi
10 Chives

We have them placed above our dryer to keep them warm and assist with sprouting. The total cost so far has been $60 ($42 for seeds, $8 for starting soil, $10 for tray inserts). Other expenses in the coming month we expect are 2 more lights ($15/each) and probably $10 more in tray inserts. After that, the only expenses we may have are some additional posts outside.

Regarding last year's garden items, we're still working through green beans, frozen celery, frozen peppers (pretty mushy), spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, apple sauce & filling, pumpkin pie filling (which my wife made more filling today), pickles, and jam. We'll see how productive our garden is this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Redbox is great, except...

When I first heard of Redbox, I thought it was a great idea. For those that don't know how it works, you get new releases for $1/night out of a vending machine. There is a touch screen that you can select what movies are in the machine, swipe your credit or debit card and out spits your selection.

Here are my reasons though for it not being a great idea:

- Location of boxes. In my area they are starting to get more and more boxes with one a mile from my home, but it's still 2 mile round trip drive to do if I'm not passing by one during the day (at $0.50/mile expenses on my vehicle, that $1 rental grows up to be a $3 rental).

- Waiting in line to return. At the "old fashioned" video store, I can just drop my rental in a slot and they take care of the rest. With RedBox, I have to wait in line often behind someone that is renting. My trip to return a movie on Saturday night took 20 minutes from getting my shoes on to taking them off, with at least 5 minutes of it waiting for someone trying to find a movie that wasn't available.

- Limited selection. What they mainly have is new releases, which is expected when they're going for volume. The problem is that my wife and I watch maybe 10 new releases a year. I know the legal and physical limits, but that's why we have our Netflix membership still.

The first 2 reasons are the main reason I dislike using Redbox. I've used them the past week, but that is because I love my wife and know there were a couple of new movies that she was wanting to see and Netflix had a long wait for them. What are your reasons for not liking Redbox?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February Budget & January Net Worth +$1,159

I know it's a bit late in the month to put up, but I've not been in the best of moods.

February Budget:

1073 Mortgage
200 Car Gas
200 Food
234 Natural Gas
51 House Phone
265 Electric
50 Water
37 Cable
9 Netflix
10 Garden Supplies
100 Mrs. going on women's retreat in March
55 Cell Phone
20 Oil Change
95 Life Insurance
40 Daughter's Health Insurance
20 Dr. Co-pays for pregnancy
1585 Last Capital One Payment
275 Home Equity Line Credit
203 Mrs. Student Loans
69 Mr. Student Loans

It's another very tight budget, March should be a lot better. Part of the problem is that I committed to making the large payments to Capital One, which blocked off a large portion of our income. The other part is that we are down to 1 paying roommate at this time. God has blessed us with some help from my father in the form of money to buy a dryer this month and money so we can help him file for bankruptcy.

The cable bill is new this month, it will be going down to $12 next month. We also brought Netflix down to the 1 at a time plan and I'm considering letting that go in a couple of months. The problem we've had is the new releases end up having a long wait time and with cable available, there is less of a need for Netflix. My wife has been planning a women's retreat at our church the past couple of months and it is coming up next month, so we're taking care of the payment for it this month. Next month will be our last monthly cell phone bill!

January Net Worth:

We made a large payment on our Capital One CC bill and a small payment on the home equity line of credit. 1 of the roommates has been paying us back, which has helped in that area. We also have been building up our daughter's education fund which included some Christmas gifts. We plan on adding more once we are out of debt, as well as my dad has offered to start putting some away for her.

Last CC Payment!!!

I've been fighting some down mood the past month, though I think I am starting to get out of it. One piece of good news is that our last credit card payment will be withdrawn from the bank on Monday! It's been 6 years since my/our balances on them have been $0. We have been so late on paying them that we do not have any active that we can use. That will indirectly help us to not use them again.

The question you are probably asking is "Will you ever use a credit card again?" and at this point of our lives, I will have to say it'll probably be many years until we even consider it. I have seen the benefit recently of having one to smooth out bumps during slow cash flow (we had no dryer for 3 weeks while we waited for funds to become available). Our goals though for the end of the year is to have enough emergency funds to smooth out those bumps instead of risking the chance of holding onto credit card debt.

From here on out, we have a home equity line of credit outstanding and then a bunch of small debts to take care of. Unless we have problems with renters paying, we'll be looking at getting it all taken care of by mid-summer. I can't wait!!!