Home > Archive: July, 2021

Archive for July, 2021

Camp Post

July 4th, 2021 at 01:14 pm

I hadn't mentioned camp in a while.  We have an annual tradition to go to family camp, which I describe in further detail below.  When the kids were little they had a lot of activities planned for them (so that the adults could relax).  We've gone in the past with my in-laws, nieces, SIL and my Dad (often all together).  This year was just us and in-laws.  We paid our own way early on (it's actually pretty expensive, not what I would classify as frugal).  But at some point in-laws were doing well and was their annual treat.  Last time we went, DL brought his friend and so we just payed it forward and paid for his friend. 

I *really* thought my kids would outgrow camp by now.  But...  What the heck do I know?  😁  DL(15) has just been over the moon happy about camp.  By far the worst thing about 2020 was that camp was canceled.  He *needs* this for his soul. 

Post from 2017:

I hadn't thought too much about it, but was describing to a co-worker. It's basically like summer camp for the whole family. The camp is run by our city. Year 1 we tried San Jose's camp (near Yosemite). But Sacramento's camp (near Tahoe) has nice cabins. It's easier to get to, and we all just love it. So as I described to my co-worker the nice cabins, how all food is provided (dining hall) and they serve beer by the patio. The more I described it the more heavenly it sounded. 

So that is a little bit about camp.

In the end, it was a really good camp year.  Everything was actually pretty terrible because of the pandemic.  Mostly couldn't do anything inside.  Huge staff turnover.  Apparently lack of consistent food supply, etc.  While everyone was griping one day, I was just, "Yeah, it's always like this, since we moved to the first session."  I couldn't remember why we did that, but were discussing and I guess it's because they changed the dates around and so we moved from 3rd session to 1st session.  Which just makes us the guniea pigs and practice run for the season.  But anyway, lord forbid we go another time (everyone else's response), but at least everyone stopped complaining after that.  I just remember they had some major turnover 2018 and I am pretty sure 2019 was just as bad.  Except for the food being so much worse this time.  It was actually kind of funny because they went way vegetarian the first couple of things, which I just thought was due to demand or something.  ???  I guess it was the food supply because then they went crazy the opposite direction.  

Anyway, all of that said, I think overall it was one of the more fun times at camp.  Definitely not all bad.  They were only operating at about 1/3 capacity, which I think was due to a little bit of everything.  They were majorly understaffed, I don't think they could have had more people if they wanted to.  In turn, it was kind of extra nice and peaceful.  They also put in a new deck which we largely had to ourselves.

Because there has been so little going on the past year or so, I do think everything was a little extra exciting.  I was telling the kids on the way home that there may have been 3 or 4 mini dramas one day.  Mostly minor stuff, but when you haven't had so much adventure or even been around crowds of people you don't know in so long...  I think the vibe was mostly people were ecstatic to get back to some normalcy. 

The kids had the *best* time.  I know my MIL is kind of over it and waiting for my kids to outgrow.  Ha!  At 13/14, they were not going to do the teen activities.  This year, they did them all and DL(15) wanted to make new friends and be social.   Heck, I think MM(17) did all the sports (volleyball and softball) for the first time.  They both had a blast.   

We also were able to upgrade back to some of the nicer cabins.  They are newer, more well sealed, and have electric outlets.  We got bumped at some point when we missed a deadline and someone took our cabin.  This time went the opposite way, with such low attendance.  Everything opens up on the last day (whatever isn't reserved/claimed for next year) and so we bumped back up to the cabins with electricity.  That will be extra nice next year.

Here is an (older) cabin, that we stayed in this year.

Oh yeah, and we did just take the electric car.  There is a charger right down the road from camp (maybe 1 mile away) and so it's very convenient in that regard.  If we ever did want to charge up, but it was completely unecessary.  MH has been making the drive a lot (we have a family cabin in this area) and so he is very comfortable with it at this point.  I was a little bothered when we drove 100 miles and only had a 70 mile range left showing on the car.  Even though I know logically the car wouldn't use any electricity most of the way home.  (Not only does going down hill take no electricity, but the downhill regenerates electricity).  In the end...  We literally made it all the way back to our city before we used any electricity.  & that included blasting the A/C the entire 100 miles because DL(15) was car sick.  We've never blast the A/C quite that much on that car.  We started to use electricity for the last 20 miles (back to the flat land) and had a 50-mile range left when we got home.  That seems to be our thing, always over-planning by 50 miles.

Filling Up Some Buckets

July 2nd, 2021 at 01:51 pm

I usually just keep our cash savings in one big pot, but I do track short-term and mid-term cash.  (Long-term money is invested).  Now I've got a bunch of new buckets popping up that I need to keep track of.

I've added a separate tracker for college start up costs.  Which is probably extra complicated because most of that cash is in MM(17)'s bank accounts.  But maybe all the more reason I need to keep track of that somehow.   

Not too much has changed since I reported the 'college start up costs' plan.   I did redeem my credit card reward already, it ended up being $800. 

My SIL also gave MM(17) $100. 

So here is the current tally: 

MH's Family:  $780

Credit Card Reward: $800

Target Gift Cards: $300

Grand Total:  $1,880

Most of that will be going towards a laptop, the rest for dorm set up expenses.  At this point, I think we are well covered.  

The other bucket is crowdfunding for MH's movie.  It's a long story...  Someone picked up his script and was going to produce it last year.  Just before the pandemic.  Which is pretty much the story of MH's life.  It's not the first time things far beyond our control have yanked the rug out from under him.

Anyway, he's been really anxious to move forward but everyone has been flakey and it's just been drama.  He's just kind of whatever, will do it himself.  I don't know that he particularly wants to self-produce and self-fund, but he's been looking forward to making this movie for so long and is the only way it will get done.

This is a non-financial investment *I* want to make, with stimulus money that fell from the sky.  But I don't know if MH will ever agree.  In the end, he did raise $1,000, and most of that was not from family.  It was mostly from people he has worked with and met in the industry, as well as finding enough people willing to do everything for no pay.  (His dream goal was a few thousand dollars, so that he could pay everyone).  

I am glad he did the crowdfunding because it was so interesting.  Maybe especially because we have always covered everything re: starving artist friends.  We are more apt to treat if we get together for a meal, to pay for script software costs and contest submissions, stuff like that.  Everyone always acts like it's the end of the world to spend $20 on collaborative software (that makes your life 100 times easier).  So I was absolutely dumbfounded when the same people largely gave us $50 or $100.  ???  I admit some of them probably felt like they owed us.  But I really wasn't expecting much from the starving artist crowd. 

{As an aside, MH was invited out to lunch by his biggest donor, someone he didn't really know on a personal level.  Turns out he was very young retiree.  Probably around 50 now but retired a while ago.  It's pretty normal for our long-term friends and family to be financially independent, but might be the first time we met a young retiree out in the wild.  😁  MH is meeting a bigger variety of people in his current professional group, I think a couple of others are probably independently wealthy just based on what we know about them.  I can see how things would sway to either extreme.}

MH's relatives also gave him some money.  A bit of a gimme, being the first time he has ever asked for money for a passion project.

Last we discussed, MH was just going to keep the budget to what he could crowdfund.  $1,000 is plenty.  If everyone works for free, we can make it work.  But I am still earmarking a few thousand and won't sweat it if we do need it to get this project completed.  The hard part will probably be convincing MH, if it comes to that. It sounds like most likely he may want an extra $500-$1000.  He wouldn't pay anyone unless he got funding or was able to make money on the project.

In other news, looks like we won't be touching our savings this month.  I have no idea how that happened.  Mostly expecting to find an error in my math at some point.  I pre-paid some health insurance and double checked and triple checked I got that part right.  I usually wouldn't pay that until August.  That's really the only part I could have got wrong, so I am still finding it hard to believe.  (I use accounting software, so it's difficult to "forget something" or to make a math error.  Impossible might be the better word.  It's impossible.  So I am confused but confident in my numbers).

The major thing working to our favor is that we had a really low grocery month.  Came in about $300 below budget.  Phew!   We were treated to a few meals out, plus vacationed 3 full days with food provided.  MH has gone back to more careful food shopping (with things normalizing) and MM(17) is done with track.  <----That last part is the most of it.  MM(17) did also received some free meals at work.  I guess it all added up.  This was an extremely rare occurence, to have so much grocery money left over.

I still don't entirely understand how we cash flowed the following: printer paper & ink,  blender, pest control, medical expenses.

I did fund vacation expenses and a dental cleaning with short-term funds.

I had a dental crown done but was able to cash flow with that $800 credit card reward.  Just kicking that can down the road, for now.  Will need to deduct that $800 when we pay for MM's new laptop.

While thinking about expenses, I looked up where our medical bills stood and we are up to $500 (that's due in July; will charge and pay off in August).  It's at least trickling in slowly. 

June expenses (charges) will be paid in July, so I have a pretty good estimate through July.   August may be our last one-income month, and we won't pay those expenses until September anyway. 

July might be our last one-income month then (July charges paid in August).   I don't really know what to expect.  I can see that our energy will probably be largely focused on spending down these buckets.  But that's money I don't otherwise have to come up with.  MH & MM will be in Florida for a week, so we might get away with an extra low grocery month again.  Florida is mostly paid for already, their only expense will probably be food.  Is another bucket (short-term funds earmarked for vacation spending) that we will just be spending down.  

In the end, MM(17) finally ordered his college laptop (will take about 6 weeks to ship) and MH spent his first $150 on technology and props for his film.