Layoff at the maven household

March 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm (garden, mr. maven, work) ()

Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been a bit preoccupied and disgusted lately with financial matters. Mr. maven got the boot from work (we work together) on March 3, with a 2 week severance. I’m still relatively on track, but there are a few changes because of it – his ability to pay his portion of the rent has been delayed by a few weeks, and my expenses have gone up. I’m paying more for groceries and other sundry items that we had planned to split.

Another side effect of the economic slowdown hitting the small company we both had worked for (I am still employed and as I’ve mentioned before, that should not be impacted), is that I have been asked to take one day every other week off. In effect, my salary is being reduced about 10%. Which sucks.

The silver lining to all this is that mr. maven will be finished with his 2 year paralegal course by summer, and he is happily charging ahead on studying for a big certification (like the bar, but for paralegals). I’m not 100% sure what it’s called, but he’s plodding away on being able to practice on his own, eventually.

This past weekend we got our 6 cubic yards of garden soil and compost for our raised beds and rototilled soil. Whew, 3-days of back-breaking labor, $282 dollars later, and while we’re at it, let’s throw another $110 on for an herb garden, flower bulbs, some pots, etc, from the nursery. Whew, this is going to be an expensive month. Luckily I’m having some larger paychecks (despite 2 forced days off) this month with lots of OT that I’ve been trying to squeeze in.

I’m still mostly on track with budgetting. I’ve been a little frugal with buying groceries, and haven’t eaten out in a while (for a change!!!). A recent trip to Macys for clothes buying was within budget, $50 for 4 dressy tops (I love mega-sales, all 70% off, with an extra 20% on top of that for VIP shopping days!).

So I’m not gone, or off the debt-repayment bandwagon, I’ve just been taking a little break. I’m almost over the upset about the process (and I know a little bit more about it since I’m management at the company). When I get my head fully over it, I’ll start reading everyone’s blogs, commenting, and posting again, my heart just hasn’t been in it lately.

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Great progress this month – line of credit paid in full!

February 20, 2010 at 5:18 pm (debt stats, garden, taxes)

Today I paid off my personal line of credit with a $1,000 payment!!! It was my highest interest rate debt at 10%. Now, I’m left with $29,582 in my SBA loan, which is at 5% and about $5800 on my US Bank card, currently at 0%. I’ve been very careful this month with spending, and I was lucky enough to have 2 very nice paychecks with a lot of overtime. Going forward, I will dedicate myself with sniper focus on my SBA. In a way it’s a nice feeling to know that you only have to concentrate on one debt. I don’t know how people with a gazillion cards do it. But then, in the past I’ve only had 2 credit cards at most at any one time (now I have 3 but that was just to get the 0% interest rates; I did it intentionally, never used them except as a way to reduce interest, and have been paying them back steadily).

I should be receiving my $792 back from the IRS by early March. I think I will put $300 into my emergency fund to top it off back to $1,000. The rest I’m debating throwing at the SBA debt, or possibly saving it for next month’s expenses. I will have a fairly large expense in the next 3 weeks; we are building raised garden beds and will have 6 cubic yards of compost/soil delivered, which should be about $240. Add in the purchase of fertilizer and soil ammendments (we will have a lot of growing space to deal with), I’ll say it will be $350-$400 that J and I will have to split. To add insult to injury, my next paycheck will be extremely tiny. Not only will it only be a measly 9 days, but due to a 3-day management seminar work is sending me to, I’m losing 2 days of OT – both days that I stay late to close the building – to the tune of about 4 hours. So this paycheck will be a full day and a half smaller than usual.

I also updated my mini-funds a few days ago. Overall, this has been a good month for progress, great for making up for the past 2 months of much more modest gains.

Actually

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Gardening benefits to come

November 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm (garden) (, , )

Can’t wait to move! I’m already planning to build a compost bin in the yard. Something with nice slats all the way around in a box shape, to compost and turn over. We can get all the scrap lumber imaginable from work, so it won’t cost anything. Possibly 2 bins, so I can rotate it and allow some of it to decompose nicely for gardening this summer. We’ve checked the online seed catalogs, and have already planned some of our purchases. We’ll be focusing mainly on heirloom seed varieties. I’m looking forward to a real honest herb garden. Seattle is absolutely perfect for rosemary, and chives usually winter over well. Sage can also get very large, but I don’t use that very often. 

I’m planning on leeks, onions, salad galore, fava beans in the fall, nasturtium flowers (they make the greatest addition to salads), and J wants to do everything else under the sun: tomatoes, cukes, green beans, carrots, lots and lots of potatoes, garlic, melon, pumpkin, squash. I’ve been devouring a bunch of canning blogs and seeing all the luscious stuff that you can can and make, sweet and savory both! J already has a ton of canning supplies and recently bought a pressure canner for the low-acid foods.

There’s a full-size fridge at the new place (our current one is 3/4 size and we definitely notice!). However, J may want to get an extra freezer for all the stuff he wants to make. Right now, we’re limited, so there’s a lot of times we don’t cook as much as we otherwise would. I’ve been wanting to make pasta for ages, ravioli particularly. Mmmm, my mouth waters thinking about butternut squash, sage, shiitake filling, with a brown butter sauce. I also haven’t made homemade pizza in ages.

So again, can’t wait to stop throwing out all our food scraps and can’t wait to start making food from our garden! Having it directly in the backyard rather than a 5 minute drive away (as in our p-patch neighborhood shared garden space), will make me use the salads much more often. I mean, just walk outside to grab what you need?! Fantastic!

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