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Archive for March, 2011

Dried Bean Failure

March 15th, 2011 at 03:59 pm

So I fail at making dried beans. This is my third time and I still can't get it right. The first time I soaked red beans overnight and nothing changed. So I soaked them through the next day and they still didn't change. I finally boiled them and finally there was a change. They were finally soft enough to eat, but they had no flavor, zero, zip. The second time I quick boiled both kidney beans and pinto beans. I added them to a chili which turned out great except that each bite of bean had no flavor, zero, zip. This final time I needed pinto beans for burritos. I boiled them for 5 minutes, then let them sit in the water for 4 hours. I then got new water and cooked them for 1 hour. I then threw the beans into a pan with a bunch of spices and mushed them. They have no flavor, zero, zip. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong!! I'm doing exactly what all the directions say to do. If I don't get this right soon, DH is going to finally get fed up with it all and stop the whole thing. Then we are back to buying canned beans from Costco. I've never failed this utterly in the kitchen before. What am I doing wrong!?

Early Retirement Chart

March 11th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Assumed $0 current savings, 8% growth, and 25 x expenses [(1-% saved)*income] to retire

% Income Saved - Years Until Retirement - 25x for income
90% - 3 years - 2.5 x income
80% - 6 years - 5 x income
70% - 9 years - 7.5 x income
60% - 12 years - 10 x income
50% - 15 years - 12.5 x income
40% - 19 years - 15 x income
30% - 23 years - 17.5 x income
20% - 29 years - 20 x income
15% - 33 years - 21.25 x income
10% - 39 years - 22.5 x income
5% - 48 years - 23.75 x income

The Unspoken Years

March 8th, 2011 at 08:34 am

Last night DH and I were reflecting that our parents never talk about their lives when they were our age/stage. We have heard the stories of them in college, shortly after college, and after they had kids, but there is this big gap--for both sets--between meeting each other and having their first kid together. My parents talk a bit about dating, and my dad's interactions with my older sister (from my mom's previous marriage). My in-laws talk about the first time they met and moving into their new house with my DH. Otherwise neither of them talk about being a young, childless married couple. Neither of them talk about the ages of 25-30. And we think we know why: They suck!! Immediately after college you're dating, getting married, getting new jobs, but after that, you're just standing still. Take for example DH and I. We are stuck for the moment in a holding pattern. We are working, going to school, and just trying to save up money the best we can. Very little changes for us. Very little of interest happens for us. We take small vacations to local destinations. We go out with friends to dinner. We don't go on interesting, outlandish trips (like our Europe backpacking in college) or party like crazy (like we did in college). Even now we tell stories about parties a few years ago, not parties a few months ago.

And this should change. I want my parents to share what it felt like to be young and poor and struggling and childless. I want to understand that my situation is normal by hearing about my parents. For once in my life, I really, really want to hear "when I was your age" stories.

Frugal Date Night

March 4th, 2011 at 07:31 am

I just had to share my accomplishment. I paid $9 for 2 movie tickets deal from Living Social on Wednesday. I then bought $10 for $20 of pizza and beer at a local brewery using my Groupon Bucks. Because I bought both of these through Swagbucks, I earned a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card.

So for $9 out of pocket I got
- 2 movie tickets
- $20 of pizza and beer
- $5 from Amazon.com

Best date night deal ever.

Disappointing Realization

March 2nd, 2011 at 08:27 am

So I came to a disappointing realization last night: DH only has his insurance for 9 months out of the year. Thanks to union, district, and state laws/budgets he is fired every year as of July 1. Every year he is able to get his insurance back by October 1 by substituting. So for 3 months he uses COBRA to get his insurance. So far this is not a problem.

The problem is that I'm not eligible for COBRA because my university offers me insurance. This leaves me relying on the Student Health Center for my medical needs, not good. The service there is mediocre at best.

Now this is all fine and livable in general. I can handle this under normal circumstances, except DH and I want to get pregnant this summer. (Note any child we had could be added to COBRA.) So here are the questions running through my head:

1) Do I get pregnant July - September and rely on Student Health for my first Trimester?
2) If DH is rehired before July 1 this year and doesn't lose insurance (yay!), do I count on this happening the year after?
3) Do I stop trying in October expecting DH will not have insurance next summer? Do I have the will power to do this?
4) Can DH get another job so that he doesn't have to worry about this as much? Should he?

California, you have 2 choices: either raise taxes so my husband can keep his job or find him a new job. I know this is a bit defeatist, but it's the only solution I can think of right now.

Another Great February

March 1st, 2011 at 08:38 am

February is always a great month for savings for us. We got out tax refund, DH's coaching extra pay, and our spending was pretty low. With all that extra money we are currently on track to:

- Finish expanding our e-fund for baby in October (6 months early)
- Finish our car fund in November (5 months early)
- Finish our down payment fund in April 2013 (2 months early)

After that is achieved, I'm going to continue putting money into the Car Fund account. After my lease ends and we buy the car in April 2012, I'm going to redirect my monthly lease payment into my Annual Savings account. This will then serve as both an annual expenses account and a car fund. The old car fund account, and any leftover money, will then become our student loan account.

DH's loan, $8500, will be due around June 2012, but with APLE paying them off, we are planning to only pay the minimum until DH finds a new job. At that point he will probably either not be a teacher or not be teaching in a low income school. As soon as APLE is no longer supporting him, I want to pay off the loan.

In addition, my loans, $19125, will come due around December 2013. I'm really, really hoping to pay them off. There are a few mitigating circumstances:
1. Half of the loans are at a variable interest rate so if they are low I won't pay them quickly. The other half is at 6%. I'm hoping I can direct my extra payments.
2. I'm uncertain if we will have saved enough when they come due and I don't really want to tap our other accounts (down payment, car, efund) to pay them off.
I'm going to have to see how high my rates are when I start paying them off and where we are in life.

Other life plans that are coming up:
- Any day now DH will get his pink slip. Thank you unions and state and district budget offices for giving teachers another middle finger. Love ya.
- If DH gets rehired (and doesn't lose his health insurance over summer), we will start trying to conceive this summer. Otherwise we will start when his insurance returns. I have to avoid having the baby after July 1 when the insurance always stops. (Thanks again unions and budget offices).
- I'm looking at finishing my dissertation Spring 2013. I'm going to start applying for jobs July 2012 when my data collection ends. If someone wants to hire me, I will start work while I finish analyzing and writing my dissertation even if that means moving.

Cross that bridge when I come to it.
~This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life.