Sinking Funds – Who, What, Why Etc.

Sinking Fund.

Money

What it is, why you need it, how to do it.

What it is: A savings account for known non-monthly expenses. Any expense you can reasonable predict but that you don’t get billed for monthly. Car insurance for example. What it’s not for – emergencies, fun things etc. This is not the savings account you use when your car transmission dies or when you want a new dress.

Why you need it: So you aren’t late with bills. So you aren’t stressed when you realize that you have a car insurance bill due next week. To be prepared for the expected expenses.

How to do it: figure out all non-monthly expenses for the upcoming year and set aside money each payday into a dedicated savings account.

What to account for:

  • HOA fees
  • Car insurance
  • Car registration
  • Vacation
  • Christmas, birthday and other gifts
  • Medical deductible (use a H.S.A. to cover this if you can)
  • Property tax and homeowners insurance if mortgage is paid off
  • School tuition
  • Water and Sewer bill if not monthly

My Real Life Example

High School Homeschool Tutor Fees $5,000

Property Tax $5,000

Homeowners Insurance $1,300

Quarterly Water Bill ($350 every 3 months) $1,400

Car Insurance $1,200

Car Maintenance $500

Total $14,400

Divided by 24 paychecks = 600

Every payday I have $600 automatically transferred into my Sinking Fund Savings Account.

I have 3 different savings accounts at Capital One 360: Sinking Fund, Emergency Fund and regular savings account.

I use the sinking fund for the above expenses. The emergency fund is used for the unexpected…water heater dies, roof gets a hole, you forget your wife’s birthday and need to buy your way out of the doghouse. The regular savings account is used for whatever we want…night out, weekend away etc.

sinking fund

Rob’s Marinade

Every time we serve this everyone wants the recipe!!! We marinade it mainly on chicken. But it is also good with beef or pork.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • A few cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped onion

Throw everything in a sauce pan. Bring to boil. Turn off and let cool and use.
Marinade at least 6 hours…overnight is best…tastes amazing on the grill but you could bake or broil if necessary. ENJOY!!!

World’s Easiest Cookies

THE EASIEST COOKIE RECIPE IS:

1 Cake mix, 1/2 cup of oil, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup anything (chips, nuts, raisins, etc…) Be creative with the cake mixes and additions. cook 350 for 7-12 min-they will look undercooked but are good and chewy.

Our very favorite Healthy Snack

I love the Marathon Mom blog We found so many great recipes there

This is our very favorite:

Granola Energy Balls

2 cups oats
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Roll into bite-size balls. (The size you roll them will determine how many the recipe yields. I rolled mine a little bigger and the recipe made about 18 golf-ball sized balls.)
  3. Store in fridge.

Chicken and Broccoli

Chicken and Broccoli

Good comfort food and very creamy so serve with bread or rice on the side.

1 large family pack of chicken breast: boil for about 15 min till no longer pink
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 large can of cream of mushroom soup (or one small can of cr. of mush and one can of cr of chick)
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 cup of butter (original recipe says 3/4 cup but I think it is too much)
1 pack of Italian seasoning ( I think this is the secret ingredient)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (of course I accidentally spill more in)
1 large bag of frozen broccoli

I cut up the chicken and then mix all ingredients together (butter last because it is melted) and put in one huge dish or two small- one to freeze or give away or if you have a big family eat it all. Serve with bread for dipping in the yummy gravy and rice is good too

Working Hard Now to Play Hard Later

When your in the moment and grinding away at working, it’s important to remember what/why you are working.

Some people love their career choice and can’t wait to go to work. For me my job is a means-to-an-end. It doesn’t define me and I don’t particularly like it. I work to support and provide for the many persons living under my roof. It’s not a dream job. It’s a job I tolerate, some days better than others, and put up with to get money. It is a very shallow and base mindset I have towards my job.  So why not do something different?

A few reasons:

  • It pays decently (enough to support us and allow us to save a good size chunk).
  • I am able to work from home. No commute, $$ savings, less stress, more flexibility.
  • At this point in life I am not in a position to be taking risks.

At some point in the future, 7-10 years from now, I will pull the plug on the job and be “retired”. Then I will play hard. For now I play semi-hard. While I have to work 40 hours a week, I still get to have a fair amount of fun and do things I enjoy: family time, running, working on cars. At this point in my life it is a balancing act between Work and Play.

Slowly Adding Content

Thanks to all who have been stopping by. We are working on adding more content. The 13 kids and 3 grandkids are occupying most of our time. That and work, and play, and life and homeschooling the little buggers.

Enough will our excuses…off to write.

Junk by Any Other Name is Still Junk

Storage Units?! Really?

You have so much crap that it won’t fit in your house and you have to pay to have it stored? (I’m not talking about people in the process of moving and between homes, or those in the Mob who need places to stash bodies, guns and drugs. Storage units are great for those needs.)

Paying $100-$400 a month (the going rate around here for a storage unit depending on the size) to store your material excess is insane. Sell the junk on eBay, at a garage sale, on Craigslist. Donate it to Goodwill or some other group. Throw it in a freaking landfill. Just quit paying all that money to store your grandmother’s “antique” furniture she left behind. It was cheap then and it is junk now. Your grandmother wasn’t a Rockefeller, she was a tightwad. She is rolling over in her grave and cursing your name that you are paying a small fortune each month to house her Montgomery Ward catalog furniture. Just let it go.

Are you really gonna use that Bowflex or thigh-master 2000? Will you ever fit into your clothes from college and are they even in style anymore? Your bobblehead collection of the characters of Joanie Loves Chachi? Get rid of them.

On the other-hand owning and renting them might be a good way to make a buck. So many people have so much stuff. It’s probably a good business to invest in.

We have a ton of junk too, but it’s all in our attic, closets, garage, shed, and every room in our house. But that’s an issue for a separate post on detachment.

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Pros of Homeschooling:

  • Parental control of what kids are taught and how it’s taught.
  • Get to teach your value system to your kids, not the government’s “values”.
  • You can teach to your kid’s learning style. There are no learning disabled kids, just teacher disabled adults.
  • If you want to spend all day learning about how caterpillars become butterflys or how to conjugate verbs you can.
  • Better socialization skills (home-school kids being un-socialized is one of the great lies). Our kids interact with kids and adults of all ages, not just with kids their own age. This is of particular importance for boys.
  • Lots of time and freedom to pursue other activities. Homeschooling allows them to do much more if the parent so chooses.
  • Takes about 1/3 of the time of regular schooling. My kids, if motivated, are done school in 2-3 hours tops. The lazy ones can take all day.
  • Can do school in your pajamas.
  • Don’t have to get up super early to meet a carpool or the bus.
  • Lots of time to play outside and just be a kid.
  • No getting dropped of at 7am for before-school care and picked up at 6pm from after-care.
  • Lots of one on one time with parents. Builds better relationships with parents and siblings.
  • No busywork and filler in the classroom.
  • Kids learn at their pace not at the pace of the slowest kid in the classroom
  • Costs are very low, much lower than private school and about the same as public school. We spend less than $200 to school our k-8 kids (high-school homeschooling costs more and will be covered in a future post). This assumes you aren’t using some expensive curriculum package. My bride does up her own curriculum. But even the packaged curriculum is affordable for most.
  • Safer – we have had no bomb threats, school shootings, stabbings, drug use, bullying…well ok, my kids do bully each other. But we prefer to call it “Life Lessons”.
  • You can take vacation whenever you want. We get to go to the beach when it’s the off-season. Beaches aren’t crowded and the rents are a lot cheaper.
  • You are there to help you kids through the “big issues” in life and can decide when they learn about them.
  • The person who loves the child most in this world is also their teacher.

Cons of Homeschooling:

None. Well none for us. I hear other people comment on the downside of homeschooling but this has always been from people who have never tried it. I have no time or patience to deal with these objections and people any more. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and have heard it all. If you have problems with the idea of homeschooling try sitting down with a veteran home-school mom (like my bride) and talking about it. We have dealt with all the objections over the years. Or better yet give homeschooling a try. You can always ship them back to the public school, they would love to get their meat-hooks back into them.

Results so far – My oldest graduated college 2 years early and got her masters in a year. 2nd oldest graduated and his working. 3rd just finished Grad school with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and has started work. 4th has graduated and been working for a year. The 5th finished undergrad and is heading to Grad school in a few months. The next 2 kids are in college currently. All of our kids have finished high school either 1 or 2 years early. 2 kids are doing high school currently. 1 is middleschool age. 3 are elementary school age.

Over the Top Birthday Parties

Warning: Getting on my SoapBox.

The following rant was prompted by an article on kid’s birthday parties that I recently read.

Kid’s birthday parties should cost under $50, actually they should cost under $25 but I’m feeling generous.

What is it with parents taking kids to places like; build-a-badger, laser tag, bowling alleys, gun clubs, fashion shows etc…Did they have such deprived childhood’s that they have to live through their kid’s? Are they guilty about something? Wusses who can’t say no?

These are the same people you hear complain about never having enough money as they are heading to the mall in their leased cars to shop. Well, duh. Waah, waah waah, someone call the waahmbulance.

Party-bags?! Really? We just fed and entertained your sugared-up brats (sorry about all the sugar) for 3 hours and now we have to give out a party-bag! What’s that you say? You gave my kid a gift? Well no kidding Sherlock, it’s his birthday. But you know what? We don’t really need any gifts; we have enough junk in our house already. But if you want a party-bag for your kid filled with dollar store crapolla, then fine, enjoy. I hope that in the middle of the night you step on some small plastic pieces while walking around barefoot.

So tell me what’s the deal with inviting tons of kids? I hear of parents inviting their kid’s entire school class so no one’s feelings get hurt. Hey kid, you were not invited because my kid thinks you are a booger-eating-goober. Get over it, that’s life. Thank God my kids are homeschooled. My kids get a party from ages 5 thru 10. And that’s it. And they get to invite one friend for each year old they are.

Social media like; Facebook, Instagram and Vine just make matters worse. People post all their self-indulgent pictures and videos of events like birthday parties. They are just showing you a small slice of life. The good life, through a rose colored internet. They want you to think that everything is all peaches and cream. When underneath the peaches are rotting and cream is curdling. Guess what? You might be fooling others and even yourself for a while, but you ain’t fooling us.

Gift registries for kid’s birthdays, really? I’m speechless.

Some of the more outrageous themes in the article: ice sculptures, snow machine parties (for backyard sledding), karaoke bar, live animals, spa parties (yes at a spa). In that light hauling a bunch of kids to the bowling alley or Chucky E. Cheese is kinda quaint, still stupid, but quaint.

Be careful. You give your little girl a 5th birthday party that costs $500 and you are gonna have a helluva bill when the princess gets married. And you sure aren’t doing your future son-in-law any favors.