April, 2017

Started off with $140

DD16’s college fees had to come out of that (went from $9 to $16 to $36 effective Jan 1) So now I was down to $104.

$25 at Costco for 8 gallons of milk and 18ct eggs (the milk will last 2 weeks, as I freeze it.)$27 fruits & vegetables (evidently the Almighty answered DH’s juicing prayers: found a store which had carrots on sale for .33/# and apples for .79/#, bought 30#/carrots 18# apples)$21 peanut butter, 5# yeast (for bread), a bunch of beets, 4 cucumbers
leaving about $31 in the checking account for other grocery incidentals. of that, I’ll probably need about another $5 for beets & other greens. We found a great vegetable produce store near my son’s co-op/school but that is 26 miles away, so I can only go there on the days he is at co-op.
what’s ironic, is that we are eating better, for less $ than I normally spend. granted, other than yeast, I didn’t have to buy any staples (i.e., toilet paper, trash can liners, sugar, meat etc.), though I would have liked some bacon to make ranch style beans, and I may break down and buy a pound. we’ll see.
like Rosalind, what’s really impressed me this month is that if I switch things around a bit (i.e., buy my staples with the 1st check of the month where I am paying bills and getting out of debt where I have a bit more of a cushion) then use the 2nd check of the month just for essentials, it might work out better for us. granted, it just happened that we found a gigantic deal on produce, but it makes the point of being aware. maybe even set aside an additional $100 from the 1st check for groceries to help supplement the 2nd check.

I’m finally back on email

after 3 days of no contact except via smartphone. Whose bill is due this week but I’ll be a little happier paying it, since I was able to stay in contact with customers during the service outage.
Been a big week here:
1) that combine that we’ve been agonizing over, and which I was able to make a VERY good business case for buying, was sold to someone else while we deliberated. That first felt like a Murphy moment (“augh, if only we’d decided sooner!”) but then it became a Millie moment when I learned what the sales price was. I had learned about it as an eBay auction that didn’t meet the reserve, so I had started our deliberations with some “feel” for how much it would cost, but not a fixed “he’ll accept this amount”. Turns out, his reserve was 2x what we were comfortably able to pay. So the Millie moment came that we’ve done all this business break-even analysis, and now we know a lot better how much we can afford to pay and how much we can afford to do with it, and the search has begun for a combine we CAN afford. Furthermore, the hog sale in early April which would have funded this purchase, would have been totally wiped out by the cost of that particular combine. Now we can put that money towards a variety of purposes, including debt, sinking funds, future projects, or some combo, AND still shop for another combine that doesn’t cost as much. I’m chalking this up as a “win”. Two years ago, I just would have slapped this on credit and been done. I like this new way of doing things better.
2) I was able to talk to the county about our logging situation, and they told me of not one but TWO ways we can proceed with logging our property without having the moratorium slapped on us. So now I’m reviewing those two options, to see which one pencils out the best for us. We’ll definitely be able to log the property now, and either save costs by having our own lumber to build with, and/or earn money by selling the lumber. We might also be able to get a break on the land taxes by going through what’s called a land use conversion. So, I have 5 acres of gazelle feed out there several steps closer to harvest. Again, what I was viewing as a Murphy arrangement of rules/regs might work out to be a Millie arrangement instead, by carefully navigating how we want to proceed and making the most of what we have, within the limits of what’s legal for our property. There have been times I’ve been tempted to try to either forget about it as being too much of a hassle, or just start logging and hope the county wouldn’t notice (that sounds absurd but out here tree poaching is actually a fairly active, and lucrative, crime industry). Neither of those options felt right, and I’m glad we’ll be working above board. Chalk another one up for Lucy.
So, starting the new week with email (yay!) and two very big wins for the farm as a biz, and for the finances as we take deliberate steps towards a financial future WE design, proactively. Much, much better than how we would have done things several years ago. Thanks to you folks and thanks to Dave!