Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why I Save

You may have noticed in the past couple months that I have focused on saving money.  I have increased my retirement contributions to 10% this summer and just upped them again to 12%.  I started a retail investment account and contributed $11,000.  Since today is payday, I just added another $2000 to it also.  Our liquid savings is sitting at $10,000.  The reason that this has been my focus lately is because of my father-in-law.

He turned 61 this year.  They were planning on retiring early this year but things went a different way.  About a year and a half ago, he had routine knee surgery and then back surgery.  Suffice to say that neither surgery was routine and his life hasn't been the same since then. He had massive complications with both.  Then he had a second back surgery.  He was told to get out and walk after that.  He was walking and fell and hit his head.  He was taken to the ER and was in critical care for a week.  He recovered somewhat and returned to work.  He then had two more falls.  The last fall was last June.  He has been out of work since then.  He has disability insurance but they are arguing with worker's comp.  Their income stream has taken a huge hit.

This has been a huge financial derailment for them.  They were planning on retiring but instead have had less income and much greater expense between medical expenses, time off work for my mother-in-law, and travel expenses as they have had to travel to other cities for second opinions.  

This has been an important reminder that things don't always go as planned.  We need to save money when we can because nobody knows what the future holds.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Manic Monday

I didn't really have another name for this post.  We had a busy weekend.  The kids and I went to a pumpkin patch with a couple of my girlfriends from high school and their kids.  It was fun but a very exhausting day.  Yesterday kind of sucked because I had a headache all day, not a hangover headache but a congestion one that would not go away.  Also my fantasy football team lost big.

We have a very busy week.  Lil Punk has picture retakes this evening.  I am going to a friends Tastefully Simple party tomorrow.  Lil Punk has gymnastics on Wednesday.  To top it off, I have a very busy work week.

On Saturday, Y's BFF and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner with Y's parents.  Y's parents will watch our kids while we go to a haunted hospital.  I can't wait!!  It's going to be so much fun!  The hospital is the old state hospital and it was used as a mental hospital so it is really haunted. I love October and Halloween!!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Increasing our Grocery Budget

I realized yesterday when I added up our monthly spending that I need to increase our grocery budget.  It was at $500 and we cannot make that work with our current habits.  I'm debating increasing it to $550 or $600.  This covers breakfast and dinners for all of us, snacks and lunches at work for Y and myself.  Lil Punk eats at school for lunch and Baby G eats lunch at daycare.  We rarely eat out.  We had two huge splurges of dinner out last month and we spent a total of $100 on dining out.  The previous month we spent around $30 on dining out.

Because we eat at home and take our lunches, I can't make $500 comfortably work.  I say comfortably because I'm not willing to change our diet to eat cheaper options.  I like having fresh fruit, veggies, fish, good cheese, and fresh pasta on occasion.  All of those are more expensive than trying to bare bones it.

I am also a foodie at heart.  When I make a grilled cheese sandwich, I want cheddar and Munster cheeses with fresh tomatoes and poblano peppers on good bread with a pesto spread.  Instead of making a basic taco dip, I want mine loaded with lots of fresh veggies, olives and avocado.  I know it costs more to cook like this but its a splurge that's well worth it in my book.

To top it off, I also like entertaining at our house.  It's fun for me to make a good dinner and to have friends over to share it with.  I want them to come over with their kids and enjoy a good meal with appetizers and drinks.  It's cheaper than going to a crowded restaurant and its way easier with kids.

Maybe I am justifying increasing our grocery budget but I'm okay with it.  Food is expensive!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Money Post

Tomorrow is our payday.  Have I ever mentioned that I don't care for having the same payday as Y?  I wish our paydays were spread out so we could have income coming in more than twice a month.

I looked up my paycheck amount today and Y's is always the same.  I deducted the amount for daycare ($800), for our savings account for irregular expenses ($200) and for the Lowes card ($373) to pay for our blinds in full.  I paid $300 earlier in the month for our Lowes card.  I just got the bill today but I often pay ahead of the bill.  I will also put $400 into savings tomorrow.

I've made a couple payments for the pickup and that now stands at $14,500.  Our investment account is at $11,000.  Prior to year end, I would like the investment account to be $20,000 or at least more than the pickup loan.  I don't regret making regular payments on the pickup while chunking more of our money into investments.  I can't wait to get a sizable amount in there that will actually grow.

I was hoping that my 401k would top 50k this month but it looks like it won't make it.  While that's a bit disappointing, it is better to buy shares at a discount.

I still have to total all spending for September but I think it should be pretty good.  I had quite a bit of grocery spending this past week so we start October with a full pantry and fridge.  I'm also focusing on using up all garden produce.  My tomato plants are still producing like mad.  Everything else has pretty much wrapped up at this point.  I'm already tentatively planning for next year's garden.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kids Expenses

Lil Punk is starting to have some of her own expenses outside of daycare.  Now that she is in school, there are school lunches and daily milk that total $2.05 per day.  She has mentioned that she could also eat breakfast at school.  That would be an additional $1.50 per say.  Up till now, she has eaten breakfast at home but its nice to know that option would be available if we don't have time one day.

She also came home one day selling magazines.  I did buy a couple as it was a good price.  I bought All You for 2 years for $21 and one year of Organic Gardening for $15.  I didn't go around and ask people to buy magazines though.  I have no interest in peddling magazines for my daughter's public school.

She finally starts gymnastics today.  She has been on a waiting list for awhile.  There is a $20 membership fee and a $30 fee for every 4 weeks.  It certainly isn't cheap.  We're hoping that gymnastics helps her socialization.  She has always been in daycare but the transition to kindergarten isn't going well.  She says she hates kindergarten except for lunch, recess and doing art projects.  I hope that as she makes more friends, it will get better for her.

What do you pay for your kid's school lunches?  I'm just curious.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Celebratory Dinner

Y and I went out on Saturday night to celebrate our retirement milestone.  We went out for dinner with two other couples and went to a concert. It was so much fun.  Y's folks watched the kiddos and we went there after dinner to feed Baby G.  We walked to their neighbors' house to get the kids.  One of the ladies there asked us where we were going.  When I replied that we were going to the concert at the Fireman's Ball, she gave me tickets.  That saved us $20 and it was BYOB so a cheap night.  I had so much fun hanging out with friends.  I had forgotten why we don't do that more often until the next morning.  I wasn't hungover as I only had one drink but was super tired from going to bed at 12:30 and waking up at 6.

We are going to make it a point to go out at least once a month.  I think that is reasonable.

Happy week!

Friday, September 19, 2014


I reactivated my Facebook account to get on the local classified page.  I happen to see that one of my friends rented a stretch limo for her kids' birthdays.  Guess how old they are?  5 and 8!!  Wtf?  I immediately felt a bit of jealousy.  This friend is the "perfect" mom.  Her kids are in several activities and are just the perfect little kids.

My kids are wonderful, BUT not perfect.  Currently they are not in any activities.

I deactivated my Facebook account right away.  I don't need to feel like that and I do feel that FB is one big competition.  Paint the perfect life for everybody to see.