Home > Archive: August, 2023

Archive for August, 2023

Movie Stuff

August 26th, 2023 at 05:33 pm

MH is working on a very low budget horror film.  

I have to back up and say that I don't think we saw a low budget movie short (at the festivals) made for less than $50K.  For a 10 minute movie.   For a full length movie with a lot of effects, this movie needs a $50K minimum budget.  This is extremely low budget in the grand scheme of things.  The stretch goal is a $90K budget.  Which would mean bigger actors and more effects.

MH met the producer online.  This project is the producer's baby.  He has already had success with a low budget horror film.   What's extra interesting is that the guy lives in Ohio, near my sister.  So it makes it easy to participate more with the "kill two birds with one stone" aspect.  The movie will be filmed there. Heck, MH has never been to Ohio the ~20 years that my sister has lived there. 

This is the first project that MH has ever been offered any pay for.  I am not holding my breath on that.  He's also doing very little on this project.

Right now they are doing the crowdfunding.  The producer has experience on this front and is doing very well.   They raised $25K in a week, and maybe this thing might actually happen.

In the meantime, the producer hadn't told MH that he had entered the script into a LA festival.  It got in, so we are planning to go to LA.  This could have been a very frugal trip for just MH.  But I am tagging along.  We added some days at our forever hotel (by the college).  I was surprised how short the drive was from college to LA (last time) and it was a somewhat relaxing 3-day weekend.  With a stop to visit MM(20).  This is a much more luxurious trip where we will stop by the beach for 2 nights and then hop on over to LA for 3 days.

MH is worried that I will be bored.  I don't actually think that I will be bored.  (Will have the roku for all my TV shows, library books on my Kindle, the gym and the pool.  I am good.)  But...  I told him even if I am bored, is exactly what I need.  I look forward to the three days of peace and literally nothing on my plate.  Not holding my breath (there is always some emergency) but I am trying.  I told MH, "Being bored would drive me crazy, but I think it's what I need right now."  He's not looking forward to all the schmoozing, but that will also be good for him.  

We are also going to Hearst Castle.  Trying.  (I am so not optimistic that trips I have tried to plan many times, that have been canceled many times, that they will happen.)  That was one trip we did cancel twice already.  & then we figured we'd get there while MM(20) was going to school in the area.  But we never have.  So now we are just doing a completely separate trip.

{I don't even know if we are helping MM move in this school year.  But if we do, it will just be a quick weekend thing.  Logistically.  MH goes back to work when we get back from LA.}

I had a question about the writer strike (in my last post)?  Yes, the professionals are striking.  This is a small independent film.  It's a hobby project.  Making any profit sounds about as likely as winning the lottery.  

Edited to add:  Apparently SAG is giving their actors exemptions for Indie films.  One of the actors for this movie is SAG.  But I expect that most working on this film do not belong to any unions.  

July '23 Savings

August 19th, 2023 at 01:48 pm

Received $122 bank interest 

Received $240 I Bond interest 


Snowflakes to Investments:

--Redeemed $30 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card 

--Redeemed $75 cash back on Citi card

--Redeemed $7 cash back on dining out/gas card 


Other Snowflakes to Investments:

+ $8 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)


TOTAL: $120 Snowflakes to Investments


401k Contributions/Match:



Snowball to Savings/Investments:



Savings (from my paycheck):

+$  450 to investments

+$1,000 to cash (mid-term savings)


Pulled from mid-term savings:

-$165  Garage Door Repair


Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,500 to cash

-$130 Graduation & Birthday

-$100 Travel (college trip EV charging & multiple gas trips to camp)

-$100 DL supplies for summer at camp

-$  78 Pest Control

-$  70 Concerts


TOTAL: $3,584 Deposited to Cash & Investments


Note:  Also pulled $1,375 July/August rent from 'college savings'  


Hybrid Miles Driven:  

Electric (EV) Miles Driven: 

These auto updates are slowing me down.  I decided to let it go.  I think I have got the point across that we are saving a lot of money re: car gas. 

Still expect to completely breakeven on EV purchase in just 5 years.  (Fuel saved = cost to purchase car).  I can circle back in 2025, do some math, and see how this played out.  I expect gas prices will rise and the breakeven point will just happen faster.  Interestingly, was not our motivation whatsoever re: EV purchase.  Was much more interested in the quiet (re: hearing diability), just charging the car at home, not worrying about brakes on big hills (if ever).  Stuff like that.  But I always get "Your bad at math" comments.  Always from someone with a $60K+ brand new SUV/truck with fuel payments that rival my mortgage.  This has just got me thinking more and more how the car entirely pays for itself.  Very quickly.   

I always think, "What on earth do they think I paid for this car?  $100K!?"  It was a $15K slightly used sedan.  Americans aren't known for their financial sense, what can I say.  I know there's some expensive EVs out there but I don't know anyone buying those cars.  MH's financially independent friend just bough a Bolt.  He was eyeing the fast charging Kia? but told MH the Bolt was half as much.  He just couldn't get past that, even if he could easily pay cash for the $40K car.  My bff was financially independent in her early 40s and ended up with the same car.  She is frugal to the extreme (most years lived without a car).  She found a $100/month lease deal because of course she did.  & my in-laws bought a Bolt this year.  I've never had a car that all my friends and family were buying up.  It's just such a no brainer if you are cost conscious.   It's *the* car.  I think it just stands out as the frugal sweet spot.  You can go cheaper and deal with other issues (low range and battery degradation).  I certainly have had some very broke friends buying or leasing less practical EVs due to low cost.

If there's something new and interesting on this front, I can do a separate post. 


Note:  I am always lagging a month behind because any bills charged in June will be paid off July 1 and reflected in my July numbers.  I charge in one month and the next month I figure out how to pay for everything (if I need to pull anything from savings).  So this update reflects June spending & July savings.

MH has the summer months off.  His time off keeps getting shorter and shorter.  I think it's only going to be July & August that we don't have the extra income.

Monthly college rent will be a new thing.  I am just pulling from savings in the short run but will reimburse form I Bond money at the end of the year.

Nothing crazy on the spending side.  But we have exhausted short term funds for the year.  Ugh!   & I mean, I will continue to save for the dentist, property taxes & insurance.  But every other category (vacation, auto repair & misc.) has been exhasuted already for 2023.  I've been resisting bumping the monthly savings amount because of all the more one-off kid centered expenses.  But when I look through 2023, I don't see a lot of one-off expenses. 

At the least I should probably add $50/month to short term savings (will start in January).   For the summer I will have to pull from mid-term savings.  The rest of this year will pull from MH's income.

Finally got garage door repaired.  It was a nice surprise that it was a quick fix.  Another long story, but it's done. 

June & July were nice savings months, but it's all going to go to heck in August and September.  August will probably be the worst.  No MH income, tuition due, etc.   & I am charging a lot of expenses that will be paid in September.

Weird Murphy

August 19th, 2023 at 01:42 pm

We've been going through a round of 'weird Murphy'.  Just dumb little stuff.  Which I appreciate, versus the big expensive stuff.  But man, what a pain.

The door handles are breaking off of the kids' car.  Someone on SA has a 2-year newer car (same model) and had mentioned.  I vaguely recalled some weird repair and looked it up when the first door handle broke.  Yes, it was the door handle.  Not just one, but all 4!  I told this to MM and MH but they just weren't taking me seriously.  MH was telling me how that's ridiculous and we were only going to replace the one door handle.  When...  MM(20) texts us that another door handle broke.  🙄

Oh yeah, that was how we found out that our forever mechanic closed down their shop.  😭😭  Writing was on the wall re: my last post.   It's just such a bummer.  I am not as confident about this car lasting many more years, without a trusted/conservative/low cost mechanic.  I have some homework to do.  

So we paid a bajillion dollars to another shop to replace one door handle (driver door) and MH just basically super glued the other door handle.  When he got the quote, he said, "No thanks."  He was actually just telling me this had worked very well on his chair.  & then the chair broke (again) later the same day.  But it had held up for some years and MH just wants to limp the chair along.  So he was able to kill two birds with one stone.  

{Note:  The kids split the car door handle cost with us; we just split it 3 ways.}

Then DL(18) was cleaning out his room and noticed that his window had cracked.  What the heck!?  We don't know if it's been like that for 10+ years.  It's a decorative half moon window.  I will pick my (home builder) boss's brain later.  Hoping he tells me that happens all the time and why they don't use those windows.  & I mean, just hoping it's not something too unusual.  

I also got my Inivisalign rubberbands.   They glue the metal hooks on your teeth, for that part.  The two bottom hooks snapped off right away.  So I went to the ortho like 3 times last week.  It's not like I had any work to do or anything.  By itself, it's probably somewhat expected.  But it was just in the middle of all this crazy Murphy. 

Edit to add:  Just lost another metal hook.  These rubber bands are going to drive me crazy.  (As they replace them, they have taken more care and used a stronger glue.  So far it's just the originals popping off.  Fingers crossed.)

August & September are crazy expensive for us.  I just paid all the tuition (x2).  Middle class grants are sorting out late again, and so I am just pre paying the full sticker price and will see how things sort out later.  MM(20) at least has a grant estimate, which happens to match my estimate.  Mine was a "pulled out of my butt" number, basically.  Just rounded to the next $1,000.  Which was conservative compared to last year increase, but know they are continuing to increase these funds.  & that's the number that MM(20) got as an estimate.  I have no idea how useful that number is.  & I don't have anything for DL(18).  I had initially presumed he gets the same dollar amount, but have since learned that it depends on the school.  So it's just a big question mark at this point.  A question mark that might sort out in another 6 months.  (In the meantime, don't know if his tuition is $1K or $5K annually.  Either way is very reasonable, but I look forward to having real numbers to plan around.)

In other news, MH has a big movie project that he is working on.  That has to be a separate post later.  But because of this project we are going to LA next week.  So that is adding to some of the September expense.  Medical bills, travel expenses, etc., etc.  Thankfully MH should be back at work and will have some paychecks by then.