Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pics from the Weekend

This was our little cabin in the woods.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Entertainment Expenses

One area we have decided to spend more on is entertainment.  We want to have more experiences and are willing to pay for it.

Last weekend we went to Wisconsin to spend New Years with two of my sisters.  We went tubing at a ski resort there.  It was expensive but totally worth it.  Lil G even lasted for the entire 3 hours.  He was a trooper.  Punky had a blast going down with my sisters, brother-in-law and her cousin.  It was fun to travel to see them.  I miss them so much.  We even talked about moving to be closer to them.

We are currently renting a rustic cabin in a state park.  We had actually planned this trip a few months back with friends.  We each have a cabin for our families.  The cabins have electricity but no other amenities.  We brought an electric skillet with to cook breakfast tomorrow as there are no cooking facilities.  We rented cross country skis today and went sledding.  It was so cold though, about minus 10.  We are now hunkered down in our cabin.  Y and the kids are watching a movie on the portable DVD player and I'm catching up on blogs while appreciating the fire and being in the middle of the woods.  We had a couple bottles of wine earlier with our friends and played a dice game.  These are the times that memories are made of :)

Next weekend we are planning on going to Monster Jam with the kiddos.  Lil G is excited to see Grave Digger.  It's crazy that monster truck is still around because I saw it more than 20 years ago.

We are comfortable increasing how much we spend on entertainment.  We feel that it does improve our quality of life.  Anybody else spending more and enjoying it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Almost Free Vacation

We are going on vacation next month to Arizona.  We fly into Phoenix, will stay one night, drive to Sedona the next day where we will stay for two nights and go back to Phoenix to a water park for a couple nights.  I have used credit card points to pay for most of it.  We signed up for the Barclay card this past year and used it for everything.  We were able to use those points for all but $167 for our flights.  I used my previous points from my US Bank card to rent a midsize SUV.  I used previous points from my Chase card to pay for the hotel in Sedona for two nights.  I was a little short and had to cover $98 for that hotel.  I signed up this past year for a Hilton card.  I used it a minimal amount but was able to get enough points to almost cover 2 nights at a  Hilton Resort which has a water park for the kiddos.  I had to pay $100 for additional points to cover the Hilton hotel.  So far, I've spent $365.  I do still have to cover the first night in Phoenix but we will just get something mediocre since we get in late that night.

We plan to drive to the Grand Canyon from Sedona.  I also want to go the Butterfly museum in Phoenix one day.  I would also like to go hiking around Sedona with the family.

My goal was to use points for our whole vacation.  I'm very close to doing it but it won't happen this year.  Plus, we will not have any points after this vacation to keep for next year.  I'm ok with what we have but I'm going to aim for a completely free vacation next year.

Has anybody else used perks or points to vacation free?  I love hearing others stories as it inspires me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Car Update

I bought a different car.  My old car was not totaled out by the inaurance company bit I was offered a very good deal by the bodyshop.  They offered me $5000.  I thought the most I would have gotten would be $3500-4000 so I sold it.

After car shopping for a couple weeks, I bought a 2015 Dodge Durango.  I wanted an SUV with all wheel drive and third row seating.  I'm looking forward not to getting stuck this winter.

We paid cash for the new car.  I wasn't planning on buying a new vehicle so soon but life happens.  I had the car fund, plus selling my car, and I pulled the rest from various accounts.  I feel very poor now and don't want to spend any money.  It feels good to pay for this car in cash but also nerve-wracking to spend that much in one sweep.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hit A Deer

I hit a deer as I was driving home from work on Friday.  Thankfully, I do have comprehensive coverage on my car.  I really have no idea on how much my car is worth so it might be totaled.  I turned the insurance claim in right away and brought it to the bodyshop this morning for an estimate.  My coworker has an extra car they don't use so I'm going to be borrowing that.

My deductible is $500 so I know that I'm out that.  I was not planning on getting a new car so soon.

Everything feels in limbo now.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Selling High

As the market hit abother all time high today, I took the opportunity to sell a few stocks I have made money on.  I sold Target after owning it for only a little over 2 months.  I owned about $3000 in shares.  I made over $400 on it.  I would buy Target again but I think that it has rode the wave of a high market.  I also sold Coach.  I've owned that for over a year and a half.  I owned about $3000 of that stock.  I totally bought it on a whim but its done very well.  I sold for a profit of slightly over $500.  J also sold New York Mortgage Trust.  It is a high dividend stock.  I only had a little over $400 but I made almost $100 on it.  Mortgage rates are increasing and I thought it would be a good time to unload it.

I captured about $1000 in gains today and I have $6700 sitting in my investment account waiting for the next opportunity.

Anybody else selling when the market is high?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Today is our payday and a commission check for me.  The commission check is the largest that I have ever received.  I'm grateful and thankful that last month is over.

This is what I plan to do with it:
Pay annual home insurance premium
Put $7000 into our house fund
Put $2000 into the kids' 529 plans--I opened these a couple months ago
Put $8000 aside for stocks--since the market is at an all time high, I will likely wait to buy
Buy a new Christmas tree--I would like a large 8-9 foot tree to fit our house

With this paycheck, I maxed out my 401k and saved $50,000 year to date.  Woohoo!

To top off this election season, my husband no longer wants to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  His mom keeps going on and on via Facebook about the election.  All the talk about a Revolution is a trigger for his PTSD.  People keep talking about Syrians not being let in this country.  When Y was in Iraq, he traveled with a colonel and they were targeted by Syrians.  There was a roadside bomb that took out the Humvee right in front of them that was meant for them.  Y has no desire to hang out with his family over Thanksgiving in large part due to their comments and I don't really blame him.