Friday, December 28, 2012

December 2012 Debt Round Up

This is where we're at after this very expensive month of December.

Car  $10,200  Down $350
Student loan $4,149.41  Down $333.47
Best Buy CC $5,000 Down $1000

Total that is paid off this month is $1,683.47 for the month.

I need to post my 2013 financial goals yet but they will basically focus on paying off debt and saving money.

I've only been to the grocery store/Walmart 3 times this month.  We've spent right around $500 this month on groceries.  I'm happy with this amount.  I think that its a reasonable amount because it includes toiletries.  I also started stopping at the Dollar store for small things like tampons.  It's much easier and cheaper to run in there than tackle Walmart. 

That's about the only area that I'm happy with this month.  We've just been spending way too much money.  We need a break from spending.

How was your December? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Gift for the Mailman

I'm a firm believer in getting something for our mailman.  We live in the country and its not always easy to get here in the winter with the snow.  The roads can really be a challenge in the winter and I appreciate our mailman bringing our mail even in inclement weather.  Yes, I know that its his job but I'm still appreciative.

I usually bake him cookies and this year was no different.  For the third year in a row, I put a plastic baggie of chocolate chip cookies in our mailbox.  I don't do anything fancy like ribbon or anything.  In fact, this year I didn't even include a note because I was running behind but just wanted to get them in the mailbox before work in the morning. 

I always get a handwritten thank you note.  Well, actually its a Post-It with a few words.  This year it said, "Thank you for remembering your mailman again this year.  It really is meaningful. --Ben"

I know that some people will vehemently disagree with getting something for somebody who is just doing their job but I'm a firm believer in something small to show my appreciation.

Side note:  When we lived in town, I did not get for my mailman.  I had no idea who it was and we had community mailboxes. 

Do you do something for your mailperson? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Skipping Christmas Presents

This year Y and I are skipping Christmas presents for each other.  We've had such an expensive month year that we just need a little break from spending.

I used to wonder why people would ever do this because I loved getting Christmas presents from Y.  I now get it.  It doesn't change the meaning of Christmas and it actually takes a lot pressure off. 

Do you exchange gifts with your significant other?  Have you ever skipped a year?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hug Your Kid Today

As I type this blog post, I'm listening to Lil Punk sing a song when she's supposed to be sleeping.  She's in her room but it doesn't sound like she's trying to go to sleep.  I'm so thankful that I have her to "deal" with tonight.  I gave her an extra hug(s) today and tonight. 

I cannot fathom how somebody could do this to anybody, let alone children.  I really feel for all of those affected.  Like our president said, "Our hearts are broken today."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Short Days

It's starting to hit me a little bit how short the days are when it gets dark at 4:30.  I know that its only mid-December but I already am starting to feel the winter blahs.  I'm thankful for the snow and love looking at it but am longing for spring when everything starts growing.

Y and I have been trying for baby #2 for almost 6 months now.  Still not happening.  Do me a favor...when you see somebody that you think should have a baby, PLEASE, PLEASE refrain from openly commenting on it.  Some people seem to think that its their business to comment on this at the most inopportune times like Christmas dinner. 

One area that I am proud of is that we have not been to the grocery store or Walmart for almost 2 weeks.  It will be 2 weeks on Saturday.  We've saved so much money by getting what we need and doing without until our next shopping trip.  It's those "little" trips that really kill our grocery budget. 

I've done most of my Christmas shopping online this year for the first year ever.  I've taken advantage of coupons from Kohl's, JCPenny, Herbergers, etc.  I used to love shopping but its gotten to be more and more of a headache for me.  I cannot stand the crowds like I used to. 

Happy December!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November 2012 Debt Round Up

Car 10,550                         0% interest
Student loan 4,483.18       4.5% interest
Best Buy credit card 6,000 0% for 18 months, then 25%
Total 21,033.18

Down $782.41 for the month

This past week I did get new tires for my car to the tune of $527 but it drives like a new car.  My car has just over 51,000 miles and it was starting to ride really rough.  Apparently, it was just that I just really needed new tires. 

I've blogged before about how the many trips to Walmart really add up.  We went yesterday and it is my goal to not go to Walmart for 2 weeks.  I'm hoping that we can make it because those "smaller" trips really add up. 

We made Christmas treats today.  They were so easy. 

Rudolph Noses

Round little pretzels
Bag of Hershey's kisses
bag of M & M's

Put the kisses in the pretzels.  Bake at 250 for 3 minutes.  Take out and put the M & M's on the melted kisses.  Pop in the freezer until they are solid. 

Super easy and a fun little project for the whole family. 

Happy December!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

If I Won The Lottery

I bought my Powerball ticket today.  With the all cash option, it is up to $380 million.  I could do a lot of things with that money.  There is the obvious things that I would do: pay off all debts, go on a couple trips like see the Grand Canyon and go salmon fishing in Alaska, buy hunting land for Y, set up a college fund for Lil Punk and invest enough to never be poor again.

But....I would need purpose in my life and that would involve giving back.  My best friend is an addiction counselor at a faith based organization.  I would love to set up a place for her to run it and do pro bono work at her option.  I don't always understand addiction but I will always support her in her sobriety and work. 

I would also want to set up a horse camp/program for underprivileged and troubled youth.  It's been proven that working with animals gives people a sense of trust and purpose.  I love horses and I think that this would be fun and rewarding. 

I would also like to set up a women's shelter and program for those who are victims of domestic abuse and/or rape.  So many times women (and sometimes men) stay in a bad situation because they don't have a way to support themselves.  I would love to be able to offer education opportunities that would benefit them in the long run.  Working with them to get reliable housing set up and working on budgeting would be right up my alley. 

I know that many lottery winners regret winning the lottery because it can lead to having to move, addiction, divorce, etc.  I would hope that I could do more good with the winnings in a way that would give me purpose so it didn't ruin my life.  Anyway, I highly, highly doubt I will win but its still something to think about.

What would you do?


Monday, November 26, 2012

I Did NOT Pay Best Buy

I had intentions of paying off my Best Buy card when we got paid on the 15th of November but....then I started thinking about Black Friday sales and a few other expenses we have coming up.  The bills we have coming up that are significant are annual home insurance ($745), bill from the electrician ($515), new tires for my car ($525), and of course Christmas.  Oh, also remember that bed set we really wanted...

Anyway, on our payday I paid $300 to Best Buy and transferred $6000 to savings.  Then on Black Friday we bought the bed set we wanted to the tune of $4450.  Yes, I feel like a failure but we so wanted it and Y is having back problems because of our current mattress.

Go Ahead.  Blast me.  I really feel like I deserve it.  I guess that I still have another 14 months to pay off Best Buy but still...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm so thankful for my wonderful family.  We are truly blessed and I'm so happy that I'm a mom to Lil Punk and a wife to Y.  I have a job that I look forward to going to and a wonderful home. 

We are very lucky and it's nice to take a day just to be grateful.  We played games last night and ate too much today.  It's a reminder that we are so lucky to be able to stuff ourselves with our loved ones. 

Good luck to those of you who have a hectic Black Friday planned for shopping.  I am working tomorrow and I'm okay with that.  I might shop a little bit online for some Christmas gifts and maybe some much needed stuff for Lil Punk.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Family Pics Taken

We had our family pictures taken this weekend for the first time in 3 years.  We've had Lil Punk's pictures taken in the past 3 years though.  It was not without drama.  We were at a friend's house about 3 hours from our home.  15 minutes before picture time I put Lil Punk's shirt on.  5 minutes later there was red chapstick all over it.  Oops! 

We got the pictures back this morning.  The pictures turned out really nice.  I paid $100 for 25 proofs and the copyright for the pictures.  The photographer was our friends' aunt but she has a studio set up for it.  Now I need to go online and order the pictures.

But where do I go?  Walmart.com?  And go pick them up?  Shutterfly?  I have a $10 coupon for them that I received in the mail.  There aren't any big name drugstores in my town so unless I do it online, I wouldn't be able to pick them up.  I would think that Walmart.com would be cheaper than Shutterfly even with the $10 coupon. 

Any input is appreciated.  Thanks. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4.2% Raise!!

I hesitate to write this post but this is an anonymous PF blog so here goes.  I got a 4.2% raise today because my social security withholding is met for the year.  I have made over $110,100 this year.  This is the first time that I've ever made over 6 figures and I didn't even really think it was possible.  Wow!  I'm truly blessed with a job that pays me well that I love. 

If you're in a job that you can't stand, look for something else.  A year and a half ago, I never would have imagined that I would like going to work and make good money. 

I do realize how lucky I am.  Wow!  I still can't believe it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eating Healthier

 We're making an effort to eat healthier at our house because I'm a little bit concerned about Lil Punk.  Lil Punk is very much like Y.  She's not overweight but I can see how it could get to that point.  Y was a very heavy kid and got teased a lot about it.  I don't want Lil Punk to get teased but more importantly, I want her to have an active and healthy lifestyle.

We've started by limiting how much juice and fruit snacks she can have.  She can only have a glass of juice in the morning.  After daycare, she can have water and milk with dinner.  She only gets one fruit snack per day.  Snacks seem to be the biggest downfall and we've tried to really focus on healthier options like carrots, apples, other fruit or yogurt. 

I know that I'm doing the right thing as a mom by trying to curb the issue when she is only 3 but its so hard when she looks at me and says, "Please, Mommy!  I want fruit snacks and juice."  I really need to change my grocery habits so we don't have that stuff in our house. 

I cook pretty much all of our meals so I don't think that's the issue.  We don't have a fast food habit.  She maybe gets McDonald's once a month.

Has anybody else dealt with this?  Did you feel bad?  Did you know that you were doing the right thing?

Please hold the harsh comments about how I let it get to this point.  I'm very sensitive about this.  Thanks in advance, Blogging Friends.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Best Buy, You are Dated!

I plan to pay off our Best Buy card next week when Y and I get paid.  We have $6300 left on it from our appliances and I want it gone.  I hate owing money on a credit card and knowing that if either Y or I would lose our job, it would be very tough.  We've always tried to manage our budget on one income.  Now that doesn't mean that we actually only live on one income but we could if we had to.  We always try to keep our mortgage and other fixed payments down.

I did hear today that they do Black Friday furniture sales.  We so want a king size bed.  Aahh, still those wants!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Financials Concerning the Election

I cast my vote today which included a vote for the president.  Judging from my earlier post, you can accurately guess that I voted for Romney.

However, I have realized that it would be to my own financial best interest if Obama was elected.  Let me explain.  I work in banking and I'm commission based.  The lower interest rates have greatly increased my income.  I think that if Obama is elected, the economy will remain in trouble and thus, the interest rates will remain low.  If Romney is elected, I'm confident that the economy will have a faster turn around and interest rates will increase which will lead to a lower income for myself.

I realized this prior to voting but I still couldn't vote for Obama because this out of control spending needs to stop.  My Lil Punk's generation will be stuck paying it back.

I talked to my best friend about this today.  She is a devout Christian and Republican.  She told me that her job may be in jeopardy if Romney is elected.  She is an addiction counselor.  Much of the funding for her program and many programs like it rely on federal funding.  She voted for Romney knowing that it may jeopardize her job if he was elected because he is likely to cut much of the federal funding for diffferent programs. 

Have you ever had to deal with making a decision between what you feel is the right thing to do and what may benefit you financially in the long term? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eye Exam Time

It's been over a year since I had been to the optometrist.  I had put it off because I didn't have an established relationship with an optometrist in my town.  I asked around at work and got mediocre answers on whom to go to.  My very good friend recommended one at a small vision clinic with 3 optometrists.  I made the appointment and got in last week.

We are very blessed to have vision insurance through my employer.  I had a co-pay of $35 for the contact fitting and eye exam.  My insurance also covers $100 towards contacts so I ordered 4 boxes with 6 each.  I had to pay $40 for the contacts but they should last me about a year because I only change them every couple months.  I don't keep track of how often I should change them but when they get sticky, I get a new pair.  I also made an appointment for Y for later this month. 

I've never had insurance that covered a portion of the cost for my contacts.  I'm very grateful for the awesome coverage :)

If you haven't been to an optometrist in the last year, I urge you to go.  Kirby Puckett (incredible baseball player that used to play with the Minnesota Twins) was diagnosed with gluacoma, an eye disease, that caused him to go blind on one eye.  It put an end to his baseball career but if it would have been caught earlier, they could have stopped the blindness. 

Do you have vision insurance?  Have you been to the eye doctor lately?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Reading
--Nothing at this time.  I need to go to the library. 

Watching
--I just finished watching the Vikings lose :(

Listening to
--Documentary about 9/11 that Y is watching

Cooking/Baking
--I made bread pudding today that didn't turn out.  I'm annoyed because I followed the recipe exactly.  If you have a good recipe for it, I would appreciate it.

Happy you accomplished this week
--Stitched up Lil Punk's blankie bear

Looking forward to next week
--Hmm...I'm not really sure

Thankful for today
--quiet day hanging out with my family.  I'm thankful that Y is no longer working shifts.

What was your favourite show as a child?
--The Brady Bunch.  We didn't have a TV until I was 13 so we always went to my Grandma's house to watch TV.  We could have afforded a TV but my parents chose not to get one so us kids would always be outside.  I still don't have the patience to watch cartoons, a little bit odd. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Respectfully Disagree

If any of you have ever noticed from my posts and comments on your blogs, I don't always agree with everything.  I have some strong viewpoints.  Here goes:

1.  I'm a Republican--I cannot fathom how Democrats want to heavily tax everybody and give it away in handouts.
2.  I'm a part of the 53% and think we should have more say
3.  I think same sex marriage should be legal--this is the same as not letting women or black people vote because of their gender or skin color. 
4.  I think that Christian fanatics are a bit dangerous
5.  I think Dave Ramsey is a genius and an idiot.  A genius for taking all the poor peoples' money and an idiot for his financial advice.
5.  I think that by chopping your grocery budget to nothing and living off of rice and beans is not a way to live
6.  I gladly spend plenty of money on beer and cigarettes
7.  I think the Duggars are good parents and don't see anything wrong with them having more children
8.  I think that individual bar owners should have say on whether they want smoking in their own bars.
9.  I think that Obamacare is a joke and cannot see how we are forced to have health insurance or have to pay
10.  I don't understand vegetarians.  We are at the top of the food chain for a reason.  Plus there is nothing better than a huge medium rare steak.
11.  I have no tolerance for people who want to live off of our system or others generosity when they're perfectly capable of working.
12.  I cannot stand people who blame their shitty life for being shitty parents.  Get over your life and do what's best for your kids.


These are just a dozen of the top-of-mind things that I often disagree with others on.  However, even though I disagree with you doesn't mean that I don't like you.  I will just argue my point.  Feel free to argue back.

That's what makes our country so great.  We are open to opposition and we welcome it.  We have an avenue for it. 

Do you get where I'm coming from?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 2012 Debt Round Up

Car  10,900                                                             0% interest
Student loan 4,615.59                                             4.5% interest
Best Buy credit card 6,300                                0% for 18 months, then 25%
Total 21,815.59

Down $1,052.24 for the month

I am tracking all of our spending this month and hope to pay down Best Buy quite a bit.  I'm getting a good commission check this month that will help with paying it down and replenishing our savings account.  Our savings is sitting at $3000 but I would like to have $5000 minimum for our comfort level. 

Hope everybody had a happy and safe Halloween!

By the way, did you know that Halloween is the worst night for car accidents, even more so than New Year's Eve?  I know that because I rolled my car on Halloween when I was 18 :(  I wasn't drinking but young and not an entirely experienced driver. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mega Storm

I'm thinking and praying for all of you that are affected by Hurricane Sandy rolling in.  I hope all of you prepare and don't take any unnecessary risks. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat...

  • Reading
  • --Nothing at this time.  I just finished Plain Perfect which is about a young lady becoming Amish.  I really like Amish books.

  • Watching
  • --60 Minutes, then The Amazing Race--I love that show

  • Listening to
  • Lil' Punk

  • Cooking/Baking
  • --I made Artichoke Bruschetta this afternoon and I might make a homemade pumpkin pie

  • Happy you accomplished this week
  • --Taking a mini vacay with Y--even though the Vikings got hammered, it was still fun to get away

  • Looking forward to next week
  • --Halloween!!!

  • Thankful for today,
  • --hanging out with my family :)

  • Are you located in an are that's supposed to be affected by Hurricane Sandy?
  • --No, I'm not anywhere near Hurrican Sandy but I really feel for the people who are.  I think its also a reminder to have some basics stocked up in your house along with flashlights, batteries, water, candles, possibly a generator...  I hope Hurricane Sandy just sweeps back out to sea. 
  • Monday, October 22, 2012

    Mini Vacay Planned :)

    On Thursday Y and I are heading to the Twin Cities to watch the Vikings vs. Buccaneers football game.  We're staying downtown Minneapolis at the Ramada.  I'm so excited!!!

    My mother-in-law e-mailed me last week that she had 2 tickets she had purchased at a United Way auction and they weren't able to use them.  Did we want to go?  I talked to Y and even though the timing isn't great because of our money situation, we want to go.  We're huge football fans but we've never been to a football game together.

    My mother-in-law also offered to let me take over their hotel reservation for $199 per night.  I know its a nice hotel because I've stayed there and it would be a perfect location, but no.  Way too expensive for us.  I Pricelined it and got a room at the Ramada for $88 including tax. 

    I'm so excited and looking forward to this time with Y (Lil Punk is staying back with a friend of mine.)  Yay for a mini vacay :)

    PS Why isn't football an Olympic sport?  I have no idea why  the rest of the world would prefer soccer over football--I know this may sound ignorant but I really don't get it.  Football combines athleticism, skill, brains, brawn, some fights, throwing, catching and gameplay.  Isn't that the perfect game?

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Case of "I Wants!"

    I want so many new things.  Y and I went shopping yesterday and we just happened to stop in a furniture store to look for a bedroom set for us.  We want a king sized mattress and bedroom suite.  We would like a platform bed with drawers underneath the bed.  We also both want our own nightstands because often the sets only come with one.  We found one that we both really like.  With the mattress, it would be about $4000.  Sigh...

    We also want a shower curtain for our bathroom with new towels, toothbrush holder, etc.

    We also want blinds for our house.

    We also want a new sectional for our living room.

    We also want an aquarium with really cool fish.

    It would be so easy to go so far into credit card debt with the thoughts of just paying for it later.  Just so easy...

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    $108 Phone Call!

    I received my DirecTV bill today because we just got it set up on the 11th of this month.  I was surprised to see a $198 bill because I had a credit of $89 as of my last statement (which was July).  I called them up and explained that our account had been put on pause because we had been building our house.  The guy I talked to was very nice and said he didn't think that he would be able to fix it.  I patiently waited on the phone for 20 minutes while I was making dinner.  My wait paid off because he went back and paused our account back to September 6 when it had been reactivated.  DirecTV is crediting my account with them $108.

    I was very happy that I had called and proud that I had kept my last statement showing the large credit.  I probably would have forgotten that we had an $89 credit if I hadn't kept it.

    Happy Tuesday!

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    New Job for Y

    Y got a new job within the same company.  He previously worked rotating shifts for 8 months out of the year, meaning that he would work one week of 8-4's, then one week of 4-midnight, and one week of midnight-8's.  He worked 4 out of 5 weekends.  It was very disrupting to our life.  I also had to try to keep Lil Punk quiet when he was sleeping on the weekends.

    A different job came up at his company that was more along the lines of what he did before.  Management knew that he wanted it so they did an internal posting and he got the job.  We were actually worried that if he got the job, he would have a paycut because he made a lot more money because of the shift work. 

    He got the job and they kept his pay at the same amount.  He will have regular hours now but be on call sometimes. 

    I'm so happy because this just works out so much better with our family.  I'm thankful for the blessings in my life :)

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Five Things Friday

    Here's a little post to get to know me:

    1.  Favorite food:  Lasagna--I love it!
    2.  Best Purchase in the last week:  TV mount for our big TV from Best Buy.  We bought our appliances there so I had $130 in coupons.  I only had to use $110 in coupons and paid about $10 for the tax.
    3.  Most Unexciting purchase:  Probably gas and ibuprofen
    4.  Odd Thing I look forward to everyday:  Getting the mail--even if its just bills or junk mail.  I always love getting it.
    5.  Most Odd TV Show I Really Like:  Women Behind Bars.  I find it fascinating to hear their story and how they got to where they are--usually involves drug and previous childhood abuse.

    What about you? 

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    A Day Off :)

    I have today off just to have the day off.  I intend to do some cleaning and cooking.  I also might have to do a little working for my job.  I get 28 days off a year but I'm so busy that its hard to use them.  I decided to take a random day off to try to settle in a little bit more.

    On Monday, I was at a meeting with my coworkers.  One mentioned that she had bought her daughter a Halloween costume from a boutique in California.  I asked another coworker if she had any old costumes from her daughter who is now 10.  She said that she did and would take a look.  Yesterday she brought me in 3 costumes including a pumpkin one that will fit Lil Punk.  Yay!  That is money saved but also another costume won't end up in a landfill.

    I've come to realize with moving and getting settled just how much stuff we have.  We want it, we buy it, we use it and we throw it.  It is all just a huge waste.  I'm not always that green but I want to be more so because it seems like a shame to have so much stuff rotting away in a landfill. 

    Does anybody else think about this when they're looking to buy something new yet again? 

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    I am a Grocery Hoarder

    I am a grocery hoarder disguised as a cook who just wants everything on hand.  Since we've moved into our house 3 weeks ago, I've spent $600 on groceries.  Yes, we have a well-stocked pantry and freezer below the fridge.  Our fridge has what we need plus some. 

    I think that I have an issue with hoarding food.  I just cannot stand a bare pantry.  Even if I only use black beans once a month, I want to have a couple cans on hand just in case. 

    I've tried to examine why I'm like this and I'm drawing a blank.  My mom hoarded food and was very messy about it. She would leave grocery bags of food on the kitchen floor because her pantry was overloaded with very likely expired food.  She would have 4 bottles of ketchup that she had bought at all different times.  I hated it.  It was a waste of food and you could never find anything.

    Yet I find myself buying so much food.  I do not let food go to waste and my pantry is very well-organized.  We eat our pantry and freezer down to almost nothing at least once, often twice a year just so we don't have old food. 

    Why do I do this?  Should I stop?  Does anybody else just feel the deep need to have a lot of food on hand?

    BTW:  I love to cook but am not overweight at all.  I'm a size 4 or 6 depending so its not like I'm eating all the food at once. 

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    I Didn't REALLY Think We Would Build

    To be honest, I thought there was no way in hell that we were going to build our house this Summer.  Beginning the year, we had savings of $37,375 and a mortgage of $49,671.  I didn't think that we would be able to pay off the mortgage and have enough left over for the overages to build.  Y really wanted a new house and pushed it.  He said that the low mortgage rates made it the perfect time to build. 

    I'm so happy that we did build.  I love my new house.  It's a rambler with a full basement.  There are 1810 square feet on the main floor, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.  It has an open floor plan with a bar between the kitchen and dining room.  It also has an oversized 3 stall attached garage.  I will have a covered porch in the front when we build it this spring, right now it just has the covered part but not the deck part. 

    We still have a couple bills trickling in that I will be paying this month.  We owe $530 for the company that trenched our propane.  We also have a $550 Lowe's credit card bill and another $170 credit card bill.  I will pay them this month out of our savings account.  Yikes!  This all really added up.

    I'm so happy that I listened to Y and took a leap of faith that building our house this year would work out.  With the increased gas prices, the cost of building will be sure to go up next year.

    Has anybody else ever taken a leap of faith and been thankful for it later?

    I would post pictures and I know where my camera is but not the adapter to plug it into my computer. 

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    Blogroll

    Over time, some of my favorite blogs have fallen to the wayside for whatever reason.  I updated my blogroll with a few blogs that I usually check out.  Please let me know if you would like to be added to my blogroll or if there is an awesome new (or new to me) blog that I should check out. 

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    September 2012 Debt Round Up

    I've never done a debt round up before but I want to now because I'm in a different place than before.  I will not include my mortgage because I have many other things to do before I will be paying extra on that.  This is for the end of September.

    Car  11,250                  0% interest
    Student loan 4,748.08            4.5% interest
    Best Buy credit card 6,869.75      0% for 18 months, then 25%

    Total of $22,867.83

    I'm not sure which one I will go after first, probably Best Buy.  I want to have all of them gone by May 2013.  It will be a stretch but possibly doable.

    What plan of attack would you do for my situation?

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Watching Every Penny

    Two weeks ago I felt like I couldn't whip out my credit card fast enough to pay for lights, flooring, bathroom accessories, bathroom fixtures, faucets, going out to eat, etc.  This list never seemed to end.  I felt like I was bleeding money.

    Times have changed.  We are now watching every penny and tracking our spending.  Do you know what?  It feels really good to know where all of our money is going and have a sense of control over it.

    Is that weird or what?

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

    Way Off in Checkbook!?!

    I have been balancing my checkbook for the entire summer by checking my balance online and deducting credit card purchases at the same time.  Needless to say, there was too much activity for me to have any confidence that I was correct in all my calculations.  I was actually $4000 short at one point because I forgot to transfer money over that I had already written in.  Anyway, I figured that one out.

    I took the time to make sure that I had everything accounted for including any credit card purchases.  Turns out that I was way off.  There is an EXTRA $1226 in our checking account.  Yay!  I'm going to leave it there for a month or two to make sure that I didn't miss anything.  With our savings account at only $671, that money sure helps out big time.

    Have you ever made an error in your favor in your checkbook?  This almost seems to good to be true :)

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    General Update

    We closed on our house last week.  I was super stressed about it and completely felt like a borrower.  I was worried that our house wouldn't be done in time and the toilets were only put in the night before.  For clarification, our house payment is $937 per month which does not include our taxes and insurance.  We don't know how much our property taxes will be as we were taxed on our other house previously here.  I'm meeting with the property assessor next week for him to assess the property for tax purposes.  I'm sure I'll know more after that meeting.  Our home insurance was $834 but I think that I'm going to change companies because I have the shittiest agent ever.  More on that later.

    I was super worried about having to go into credit card debt because of the house and we technically are.  We purchased our appliances at % for 18 months and we still owe a little over $7000 on them.  However, that is the only credit card debt we have.  We managed to pay for everything with our savings and current income.  I still have to pay for the septic and we will have about $600 left in our savings after paying that bill.  That's the lowest that our savings account has ever been since we got married 8+ years ago.  It scares the dickens out of me.

    My game plan going forward is this:

    1.  pay septic bill--we have the money but I just need to do it
    2.  build up savings account to at least $5000, preferably $10,000
    3.  pay off student loan--balance of about $4500
    4.  pay off Best Buy Credit card--appliances, I might do this before student loan, the interest rate is 25% if we don't have it paid in full by 18 months, ouch!

    And somewhere in there, we need a bed for Lil Punk and we would like new bedroom furniture for us and the living room, maybe after step 2.  Lil Punk's bed might not wait that long.  We have a crib mattress for her and she is currently sleeping on an air mattress (which she loves).  Yes, bad parents.  We just need to go buy her one. 

    Thank you all so much for your nice wishes.  That really means a lot to me.  I hope to post more :)

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Closing This Week!!!!

    We're scheduled to close on our house on Wednesday, September 12th.  At closing, our construction loan will be paid off and we will have a regular 30 year mortgage.  We're locked in at 3.375% for 30 years for $212,000.  We're not escrowing, meaning we will be paying our insurance and taxes on our own.  Our mortgage payment will be $937 per month. 

    There is still a lot of work to be done this weekend and early next week.  Y is finishing up the plumbing this weekend and the carpeting will be going in on Monday and Tuesday.  The kitchen is pretty much done and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Our appliances will be delivered on September 15th.  We did get all stainless steel appliances.

    I'm looking forward to getting in our house, figuring out exactly  where we are at financially, and getting back to our budget.  I will keep you posted :)

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Scared of Being in Credit Card Debt

    We are almost done building our house and we had so many overages.  We are over at least $30,000 and we aren't able to cover all of it.  I don't have final numbers yet but I'm pretty sure that we won't be able to pay it all.  We've been using our credit card to purchase different materials and have always paid it monthly.  Right now it is at $11,000 and we don't have the money to pay it.  We are in over our heads and I just hope we make it out okay. 

    I am very uncomfortable with debt and I don't like being in this position.  We knew that we had went over in certain areas but it just kind of seemed to be inevitable.  We do have good cash flow and will have to pay it off as soon as we can.

    Another option would be to take out a home equity loan after we close on our final mortgage which is planned for September 12.  The interest rate for the home equity loan would be 4.75% which is far better than any credit card. 

    For good news, we locked in our mortgage at 3.375% for a fixed 30 year loan.  I will give more details about our mortgage in a later post. 

    How did we get ourselves into this mess?  I'm super stressed about money. 

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    Blogging Break for a Bit :(

    I will be taking a blogging break for a bit because I'm packing up my computer and don't have another way to blog without my personal computer.  Let me explain.  We knew that we had to be out of our apartment by August 1st.  That hasn't changed.  I rented a storage unit for 2 months until our house is done.  We will be staying with a friend until her husband comes home from Kuwait in mid-August.  We will then be staying with my in-laws about an hour away and commuting. 

    Building a house has not been without stress by any means.  I just can't wait until we're done.  We're about $5000 over budget right now but we will probably be going more over budget.

    I will come back in about 6-8 weeks to give you all the details.  Stay tuned.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Super Busy and Lazy About Money :(

    We've been so super busy with the house and running out there every night that we've gotten very lazy about not cooking and grabbing food on the go.  We live in a little town where the fast food isn't very expensive but it really adds up.  We have made a habit out of this and it needs to stop.  Yes, technically we can afford it but its such a huge waste of money. 

    I need to be better about menu planning and using my beloved crock pot.  Any other ideas on avoiding this money trap?

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Getting Credit Card Rewards

    I feel like I'm a bit behind the bandwagon on this one.  We've just started using our credit card to pay for all monthly expenditures to get the credit card points.  We now use it for all gas, groceries, eating out, anything that we can put on credit card.

    I know that many other personal finance bloggers have been doing this for a long time but I hesitated because I wasn't sure that I would be able to pay it off monthly if I did so.  I didn't want to overspend and not have the money for the basics that we were used to paying cash for.

    I now have a system that has been working for us.  Both Y and I use the same credit card.  I now log in online every couple days and record the expenses in our checkbook register.  That way the money is "spent" but is still there waiting for when the bill comes.  It's not really all that different from logging into our bank and tracking expenses that way. 

    We now have 25,000 points that I could cash in for $250.  We've been using this card for over a year but just using it exclusively instead of our debit cards for 2 months.  I think that I will hold off on cashing it in for cash because we could purchase a $500 plane ticket with our points.  I would really love to take a vacation.

    Do you use a credit card for points?  What is your system?

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    Sunday Evening Tidbits

    Our house is moving along.  We picked out the cabinets on Friday.  We will have cherry cabinets.  I'm very excited about my kitchen.  We have been very budget conscious and I think we're doing a good job.  It's so hard when you think about what you want.

    We finally got Y's appendectomy bill today from the hospital after our insurance paid.  It was $1064.  I will have to get that paid.

    Besides the house, I'm kind of ho-hum about money.  I'm just eager to get into our new house and be settled.  That won't happen for a few months. 

    Have a wonderful week!

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    2012 Financial Gameplan

    This is my gameplan moving forward:
    • build house and get end mortgage
    • buy new furniture items needed--bed for Lil Punk, new bed for us, new living room furniture
    • get savings to $30,000
    • pay off student loan--currently at about $5000
    • I'm debating paying off my car.  The balance is around $13,000 but its at 0% interest.  I'm just sick of being in debt and I want to free up this monthly expenditure because I might try to get pregnant this fall.
    What do you think?  Should I aim to pay off a 0% loan or keep it?  Between the student loan payment and car payment, that would probably cover daycare for the new baby.

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Sunday This 'n' That

    We had a very good weekend at the lake with my in-laws.  We went yesterday morning and stayed until this evening.  We went boating, swimming, walking, and just hanging out at the lake.  It was nice.

    The stove in our crappy little apartment broke.  The oven won't turn on at all.  Y tried making my mother-in-law a cake on Friday but couldn't get the oven to work.  We tried again when we got home to no avail.  I should call and complain.  I will probably do that tomorrow.  We should have an oven where we live.

    This will be a busy week for me at work.  Have a great week!

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    New Appliances: Ouch, Very Ouch!

    Last weekend Y and I started looking at appliances and bought them.  We walked into Best Buy with the best of intentions to browse around and we left Best Buy the next day the proud owner of LG appliances.  A new fridge, range, microwave/hood, dishwasher (yay, it's been almost 2 years without one), front load washer and dryer. 

    Now the part that I'm very, very hesitant to admit.  We spent almost $7500 all said and done.  I'm so embarrassed to write this and this is an anonymous blog.  We basically went all out on our appliances and I can't believe how much they cost.  The most ridiculous thing is that we paid almost $1000 more for the front load washer and dryer because they have a larger capacity and use less water. 

    We did leave the store and go comparison shop with the other stores in town before we actually bought them.  We signed up for a Best Buy card and got 5% off and 18 months without any interest so we will have them paid off in the 18 months. 

    I don't know what caused us to go overboard with the appliances but we were driven by a couple different things.  We have an open floor plan and we want a very quiet dishwasher.  LG happened to make the quitest one at only 45 decibels.  We bought cheap appliances for our other house and ended up replacing our dishwasher and range after about 3 years. 

    I'm completely justifying my purchase because I still feel bad about it but not bad enough to actually return them.  What do you think?  Think I'm stupid and overly indulgent?  Think I made a worthy splurge?

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Happy Fourth of July!

    Yay!  It's our independence day and I love it!  It's the perfect break in the summer.  We did some kiddie fireworks last night like smoke bombs and sparklers.  Lil Punk loved the smoke bombs and was begging for more.  I only spent $9.90 on fireworks but we might go back today and get some more. 

    Our house is coming along and consuming so much of our time.  I fall into bed exhausted at night.  I need to write a post about appliance shopping but every time I try to write it I get a little sick.  UGH!

    So happy that its a holiday here!  Have a wonderful day!

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Returning Milk?

    I opened a jug of milk before its expired date and its one large chunk of white.  I bought it from Walmart and don't have my receipt.  Would you return it?  Or is that just cheap?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Poised for Biggest Commission Month Ever!

    July is poised to be my best commission month ever!  I'm so excited and little nervous about how much work it will be.  I will handle it and this money will help pay for our new house. 

    I'm really tired tonight so this is a short post but I had to share my excitement about my hopeful July numbers.  I find that some of my posts are whiny and I dislike that because I'm a super happy and positive person.

    What do you have to be happy about?

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Bogus Hookup Fee

    We received our new electric bill yesterday.  It was for $28.63 which includes a $15 hookup fee.  It is an apartment where the electricity was never turned off.  They charged us $15 to put the bill into our name.  Since we don't have the option of choosing what electric company we use, I think that's a rip off.  I understand the fee if somebody physically needs to hook something up.

    I had forgotten how many extra little costs are associated with moving like these little hook up fees.

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Paying for Doing Laundry Sucks!!!

    I didn't think about this topic for many years as I was an apartment dweller without a washer and dryer in my place but it now becomes a major source of contention for me.  It is 75 cents to wash and 50 cents to dry.  This $1.25 pains me.  Doing 3 loads of laundry for $3.75 seems like such a waste of money.  I hate throwing money away and thats how I feel about it.  It's not really a waste as I'm washing and drying clothes for me and my family.

    Please don't tell me to line dry my clothes.  We're in a tiny apartment and have too much stuff in here already. 

    Please weigh in on this subject.  Do you happily pay to do your laundry or grumble the entire time about wasting money?  Are you completely removed from this situation and never think about it? 

     

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Still Here!

    I haven't blogged for so long because I've been super busy with work and starting on the new house.  The last thing that I've felt like doing at the end of the day is blogging.  Work is going great but very, very busy.  I love my job but it is mentally exhausting.  However, this is no comparison to how I felt a little over a year ago at my old job. 

    For some of the questions on our construction loan, yes, it is a mortgage but not our permanent mortgage.  The construction loan is an interest only loan and you only pay interest on the balance that had been advanced.  For example, we needed to give our builder 30% upfront at the start of our construction loan.  Until the next draw, we only pay interest on that portion.  When the builder wants their next draw, they will submit an invoice and the title company will pay them.  That portion will then go on our loan.  Our construction loan is for a total of $212,000 but only the full balance will be advanced toward the very end of our project.  We will then roll the construction loan into a 30 year fixed mortgage. 

    We will be having our land in the loan because it all on the same land parcel that the house is on.  Also, we need the equity of the land to make it all work. 

    We've still not received the title for the mobile home and I paid it off on 4/13, almost 2 months ago!  Luckily for us, the mover isn't requiring that we have the title as long as we can prove that we own it which we can.

    We are about $6000 in overages at this point much to our chagrin.  I'm getting a bit annoyed that we're 2 weeks in and already over by so much.  We're not made out of money.  At this point, we're relying on my upcoming commission checks to make this all work.  I hate relying on upcoming money for anything, let alone paying for our house that we're already committed to.  Our builder said that he would keep us in budget.  THIS IS NOT IN BUDGET!!!!

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Construction Loan Details

    We signed our construction loan yesterday.  The loan is for $212,000 and is an interest only loan.  The interest rate is 4.125%.  The payments are due on the first of the month and we only pay interest on the money advanced.  The title company takes care of disbursing all the money and making sure all parties involved sign a lien waiver.  Lien waivers protect the homeowner so that there is a clear title when they are ready to close their permanent mortgage. 

    We will roll our construction loan into a permanent mortgage in 3-4 months when our house is done.  I'm hoping that interest rates stay low.  For a 30 year mortgage yesterday, it was 3.5%, almost down to 3.375% for a fixed 30 year mortgage.  Wow!  That is cheap money.  We picked a very good time to build. 

    Y and I have been compromising on the house already.  We're going to have a light olive green house with tan trim and a brown roof.  I think it will look really nice. 

    If you have any questions on our construction loan, do not hesitate to ask.  I will give you all the details you want.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Out Of Sorts

    We moved this weekend and last night was our first in our new place.  I feel out of sorts in it.  I guess that its not really home and its only for a couple months so there's no point in getting too comfy. 

    We spent a lot of money moving.  We spent a lot of money on eating out.  Storage bins were another expense.  Of course, there was gas money.  Also, we did have to put a $100 deposit down for this place.

    To top it off, I realized today that I made my car payment twice this month.  I wasn't sure if I had made it so I made it again and they both posted today.  Oh well but it would have been nice to keep the cash for other expenses.

    I also took a little bit of time to reflect on loved ones that are gone this weekend.  My best friend died in a car accident 8 years ago.  She would have been 31 last Friday.  I still miss her so much.  We are all so lucky to have another day.

    On a brighter note, Happy Summer!  It's finally here!

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    We Have a Place to Live Finally!

    We need to be out of our house by Sunday so it can be moved.  We didn't find a place a minute too soon.  We are going to be renting an apartment from the college where Y works.  It will be $446 per month plus electricity.

    The other guy finally called me back yesterday and we could have gotten that place for $350 per month but it didn't have any air conditioning.  Y will be putting in long hours on our house doing the mechanical (heating and air conditioning system) and plumbing.  I didn't think it was fair to him to be coming home to no AC and he really wanted AC so we went with the place that was almost $100 more per month.  I know that its $300 more over the course of 3 months but it was worth it to us.  Plus, its also in a better neighborhood with a park right behind it for Lil Punk.

    How much is AC worth to you?  Would you pay the extra $100 per month to have AC in the summer? 

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Realtor: Real Job or Phoney?

    I work closely with many realtors.  I have great respect for a few but I think that most could really careless about anything but their paycheck at the end. 

    I have not had good experience with realtors that we've used.  The first one kept trying to get us to buy a twinhome and we told him numerous times that we didn't want it.   He always talked to Y and competely ignored me except when there was a big bathtub.  Then he would make a comment about how I would fit in that tub.  Um, I'm 130 pounds.  Whatever!

    The second realtor that we used did not go to bat for us when there was an acreage discrepency.  She was very nice but just thought we should accept that we were getting over 2 acres less for the same price because it was still a good deal.  It is about $5000 per acre for farmland here.  Why should we just accept a $10,000 reduction in the asset that we are buying?  We finally did get $6000 off and a riding lawn mower when Y met face-to-face with the seller.  Our realtor and his realtor couldn't work it out when it only took 10 minutes of Y talking to the seller to get it all figured out. 

    What prompted this post was a realtor this week.  She steered a young couple toward a mobile home in a very bad area that she had listed.  Now she is supposed to be working for the buyers but she is looking out for her best interests.  In no way can you convince me that buying a double-wide in a crappy neighborhood is the best way for a young couple to spend their money.

    I think that there should be only listing realtors and only selling realtors.  I don't think that a realtor should be able to list and sell properties.  That way they would be forced to look for the best interests of their clients.  Does anybody else agree with this?

    Do you think that being a realtor is a respectable job or that its the job for the phoney?

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Sold Our Appliances!

    We sold our fridge, built-in microwave, stove, washer and dryer to the guy who is taking our house for $1300.  We kind of wanted to keep the fridge and stove to have a beer fridge in the garage and a canning stove but we want the money to buy new appliances.  $1300 won't pay for all the new ones but it will put a nice dent in them. 

    I'm a little bummed about parting with the stove because I will have a glass top one and you can't can on them because it's too heavy.  I will have to figure out a different option for canning. 

    We're still in our house but only have our essentials including mattresses, boxsprings, clothes and a few dishes and pots and pans.  This is becoming much more real. 

    Did I mention that I cannot stand moving?  Does anybody actually like moving?

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Appraisal is Back!!!

    We got our appraisal back today and it came it at $265,000.  That means that we're able to build.  We will need to come in with an additional $8000.  That's fine.  We have that in savings right now.  Our savings currently sit at about $19,000 which needs to include the $8000 and closing costs.

    I'm so freakin' happy.  Our dream is going to become a reality!  Yay!!!!!!!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Payday! Payday!!!

    Today is mine and Y's payday!  I have always loved my paydays.  It's such a good feeling all day long.  Today is my commission check too so its a big one.  I am also paid out today for my small quarterly bonus.  My bonus was $445 after taxes.  Not too much but better than nothing.  My commission check was a big one, about $5500.

    I transferred $5500 into savings today.  We need the money in savings to pay for our house.  We're still waiting on the appraisal and hoping that it comes in where we need it to be.

    I also talked to the county tax assessor today and he is going to send me the paperwork to apply for the property tax exemption on our house.  The first $150,000 is tax exempt for 2 years so it will be in affect for 2013 and 2014.  That will be very nice. 

    In other unrelated news, my co-worker announced yesterday that she is expecting.  I'm very happy for her and I think I'm ready to go down that path again.  I'm leaning toward getting pregnant this fall.  We'll see how that goes...

    Happy Tuesday!!

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Found a Temporary Place to Live

    I called a guy I had talked to a few weeks ago about renting a newly renovated apartment for a couple months and he said that we could.  He said that he would have one ready in about a week or so.  I asked him about price and he said about $300-350 per month.  Yahooo! 

    Also, the guy who wanted our house flaked out today.  We always told him that June 1st was the deadline and he couldn't make it happen because he farted around too long.  Luckily, we have a back up guy who said he would take our house.

    Do you think that $300-350 is a good price to pay for a temporary apartment?

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Preparing to Move & Friends Reactions to Building

    We're in the process of moving all of our stuff into our barn and detached garage.  We don't have a place to live yet but we will need to get that lined up next week.  We completely cleaned our garage today and I'm so tired.  We have a lot of stuff! 

    Last weekend, I went to the Parade of Homes with a friend of mine.  The Parade of Homes is several new homes that you can tour.  She kept giving me suggestions on what I had to do for our new home.  It wasn't very nice the way she kept doing it.  She wanted to see my house plans and I purposefully forgot them because I don't want her criticism.  She always has something to say about what we do.  I just wish she could be happy for us. 

    It seems like many of our friends aren't very happy that we're building our house.  Maybe about half are happy for us and excited.  The others keep saying how hard it will be and blah, blah, blah. 

    Does anybody else have friends or family like this?  Please just be happy for us and support our decision. 

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    My Best Hobby Ever: My Garden!

    This is the second year that I've had a garden and I love it!  I learned many mistakes from my garden last year that I'm trying to learn from.  I had a really big garden last year, about 80 x 40.  It was way too big to weed and properly take care of.  I didn't spray my garden with Round Up before I started so I had a massive weed and grass problem.

    This year, I have a much smaller garden, 20 x 40, and I sprayed it so hopefully the grass will be better managed.  I did have to do a new space this year too, because there was too many mosquitoes last year where it was.  I couldn't even be out there in the evening with Lil Punk because we got eaten alive.

    I'm planting corn, green beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, yellow squash, radicchio, okra, beets, turnips and onions.  Oh my goodness, I'm going to be so busy and I love it.  I might have even missed a couple veggies.  I just love growing my own fresh food.

    Do you have a garden?  What do you plant?  Did I miss anything?

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Construction Process Update

    Our appraisal has been ordered.  Of course I know all the appraisers in my town.  I'm very hopeful for a good number, thinking $280,000.  I need to e-mail him specs and set up an appointment to come see our place. 

    Our hopeful date to close on the construction loan is June 1st if all goes well.  We will need to move prior to that and have our double wide moved as well.  We don't actually have a place lined up to move to.  Yikes!

    The bank has pretty much everything that they need.  We still need to get them Y's paystubs and a couple other minor things.

    Lil Punk was home sick today.  Poor little girl had pink eye.  I felt so bad this morning when I went to wake her up and her eyes were so crusted over that she couldn't even open them. 

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    I Spend Less on Alcohol!!

    I was thinking about my post yesterday and I realized that there is one area that I spend far less on.  I can't even imagine how much money I used to spend at the bar.  A typical night was $30-40 and I usually went out 4-5 nights per week.  Yes, that's a lot of money.  Sometimes, I would only have a couple drinks and it would be under $20 but sometimes I would want to have fun and do shots and I would spend $80-100. 

    Is it any wonder that my best friend is now sober and an addiction counseler?  Yes, I abused alcohol.  I can't even fathom how much money I would have if I would have invested all that money.  However, to be realistic, I needed to be wild and have fun when I was younger.  I never wanted to have kids and regret the time that I would be spending at home with them.  I partied so much when I was younger that I truly got it out of my system. 

    Do you spend less on alcohol now than you did previously? 

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Lifestyle Inflation: Guilty!!

    I was at my friend's house today and she had a Mary Kay book.  I started browsing through it and thought of how much I would like quite a bit of the different make-up.  She asked me if I wanted to order anything (casually, she wasn't pushing).  I realized then that I can't buy anything because we've cut our spending and are saving all the money we can for our house. 

    I realized that we're completely guilty of lifestyle inflation.  Slowly but surely our standard of living crept up to meet our income.  We still saved money and paid down debt but we spent more money than when Y was a private in the army and I was a student waitressing part-time.  We used to second guess every purchase and rarely went out to eat. 

    Before the last couple months, we went to the store when we needed something and just randomly picked up everything we needed wanted.  I always bought soda as soon as we ran out.  If I forgot my lunch, I went out to eat.  When I wanted new clothes for myself of Lil Punk, I went shopping and hoped that there might be sales. 

    It is so easy to experience lifestyle inflation.  When you're in school and not making much money, you always look forward to the time when you can buy what you want.  Our friends subsequently made more money and we would do things together that cost more money.  I don't doubt that we will go back to where we were before we had to madly save for this house.

    Have you experienced lifesyle inflation?  Where do you notice it the most?

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    April 2012 Goal Update

    I had 2 goals this month.  One was to pay off our mortgage.  We did that on April 13th.  The other one was to keep $7000 in liquid savings.  We have just over $9000 in liquid savings as of today.  However, I should have specified how much I wanted to keep in our stock account.  We have about $5500 in that account.  I have liquidated some of my stocks and I plan to do more of that.  I like my stocks but I will just have to rebuild that account. 

    How did your April goals turn out?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Mini Girls Weekend Away

    Tomorrow after work I'm going with my BFF to a horse expo.  This is the 3rd year that we've done it.  No husbands or kiddos, just us girls!  I'm super excited to get away.  We stay with her parents in their camper and we eat every meal back at the camper to cut down on costs.  I'm thinking the entire weekend with gas will be about $100.  Not too bad!

    I kinda wish I wasn't spending the money but I love catching up with my girlfriend and recharging professionally, as a mom and wife. 

    We don't have horses but I really like them.  This reminds me of Saving4Later.  I miss her :( 

    Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Appendectomy is More Expensive than Having a Baby

    I received my explanation of benefits from Y's appendectomy.  I was completely shocked to open it and find that his appendectomy cost $16,630.78 plus emergency room charges of about $400.  I completely understand the emergency room and I was actually pleasantly surprised by that amount.  I was flabbergasted by how much it cost.  It cost about double from when I had Lil Punk almost 3 years ago.  I think it cost around $9000 to have her which included all of my prenatal visits, birthing, hospital stay, and a follow up appointment for her. 

    For Y's appendectomy, we arrived about 7:45 am and left by 6 pm.  Yes, he had surgery in there but it didn't really seem like it should cost that freakin' much.  Our cost is $1114 which isn't too bad considering but still.  We don't pay for our health insurance as it is a benefit to Y from his employer and they pick up the entire cost.

    Just needed to vent...freakin' ridiculous!

    Side note:  Canadian friends:  please don't tell me that it sucks to live in the States and I should move to Canada for their healthcare.  I really like where I live.  Thank you.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Closing Out Old Bank Accounts

    Almost a year ago we switched banks but I never closed out my checking and savings accounts at my old bank.  In part it was because our mortgage was with that bank.  I would transfer money from ING to my old checking account to pay our mortgage.

    Today when I logged into that bank to check my credit card balance, I was surprised to see my checking account overdrawn.  I knew that it only had about $18 in it.  I was assessed a $19.95 fee.  I called the service center and they told me it was because I had their platinum package.  I needed to have $25,000 in either deposit accounts or loans.  Since I just paid off my mortgage, I was assessed the fee this month.  I asked the very nice customer rep to refund the fee.  He did so.  My plan going forward will be to close out the accounts at my local branch.

    I love it when I get good customer service.  I was always impressed with that bank before and its nice to know that hasn't changed. 

    I almost feel a little guilty about closing out my accounts.  Would you?

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    My Pantry Challenge Update

    We've only spent $233 so far this month on groceries.  We've been eating down our pantry and freezer.  We still have a lot of meat but our pantry is getting down there.  We have hardly any food in our fridge but we did pick up milk and buns. 

    One thing that I'm proud of is not buying soda.  We've been out of soda for a week at my house and that's the longest that we've ever been without it.  I know that you're thinking that's not a big deal but it is to me.  I love my pop!  In fact, when I was pregnant, it was the one thing that I wasn't able to completely give up.  Now, I haven't actually went a week without a soda because I do buy it at work.  It is 50 cents per can so I might buy one or two a day there.  Yeah, still an improvement for me.

    We will probably spend another $25 for the month at the grocery store for milk and maybe eggs and bread but it is still far better than before.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Massive Pantry/Freezer Challenge

    From now until June 1st, I plan to completely clean out our pantry and freezers.  Yes, we have 2 freezers, a deep freeze and a freezer on top of our fridge.  I plan to clean them out because we will be getting rid of our house and moving to an apartment for a short period (more on that later). 

    There is not any point in moving food to another location.  I plan to have a completely bare pantry and freezer.  The only exception for the freezer food may be possibly food that we would grill.  Our grill will remain at our place with the freezers so we could and probably will actually grill when we're out here from time to time. 

    I think that many of us are guilty of having food in our pantry that we bought with good intentions but when are we really going to eat i?  I'm challenging myself to use down all of our food.  Hopefully, our grocery budget will decrease as well.

    Does anybody want to join me with cleaning out your pantry/freezer in time for summer?

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    We're Mortgage Free!!!!

    Yesterday I wrote out a check in the amount of $18,468.57 to pay off our mortgage.  It felt unreal.  I was super excited but also nervous about taking such a big chunk of our savings.  It leaves our regular savings at about $4600 and about $8300 in stocks that I plan to liquidate.  We paid off $87,200 in 16 months.  Whew!

    It does feel pretty cool to actually own our property now.  To know that the only thing we need to pay to keep it is our taxes is an exuberating feeling.

    Of course this is just a temporary time without a mortgage but I'm still going to relish it.

    By the way, Y and I are doing better.  We never fight in front of Lil Punk because she won't tolerate any loud voices.  Even if we're just joking around, she gets very upset.  Raised voices are not allowed in our house.  We just argue in a conversational tone if we're fighting.

    Happy Saturday!!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Construction Loan Lowdown

    This blog is about my life and I want to write about building my house because it’s so FREAKIN’ stressful.  We have our complete contract with our builder.  It stands at $224,865.  Here is the breakdown:

    Electrical 11,065
    Concrete 42,300
    Plumbing 9,000
    Heating & Cooling 10,000
    Materials 80,000
    Contractors 44,500
    Custom cabinet allowance 12,000
    Fill 10,000
    Flooring allowance 10,000

    Total of 224.865  That doesn’t include the $4000 for the septic.  We will have to pay that out of pocket.

    I’m paying off our mortgage on Friday when we get paid.  The mortgage payoff for 4/13 is 18,468.57.  That’s a lot of money. 

    We applied for a mortgage loan today and our credit is outstanding.  They pull from all three credit bureaus.  Mine are 808, 807 and 784.  Y’s are 775, 790 and 802.  Pretty darn good considering that Y’s was about 680 5 years ago.  Everything looks good on the mortgage side.  We may be running a little short on cash to close if the appraisal comes in lower.  We would like it to be at least $260,000. 

    Oh, and Y and I have had a couple minor fights.  Uggh!  Any advice?

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Using Rewards to Get Free Things

    As we've been trying to save more money lately, I've looked elsewhere to get what I want.  I broke my camera a little while ago.  With have a little tot, that just won't do.  I had about 15,000 United Mileage Plus miles.  I have their credit card and have for a number of years.  I don't use it as much anymore because I don't travel as much as I used to.  It's been a long time since I've used my miles to get a free airline ticket but I have received about 3-4 free tickets.

    Anyway, I logged into my Mileage Plus account to see if I could use my miles for anything other than a free airline ticket.  (I knew that I didn't have enough for a free ticket.)  There are many items that you can buy with your miles.  I selected a camera for about 10,000 miles.  I got it the other day and I've been very happy with it.  It would have been about a $100 camera if I would have purchased it retail.

    I also lost my earbuds a little while ago.  Its been quite awhile since I've looked at my Swagbucks account but I knew that I had at least one Amazon gift card.  I found a pair of earbuds that were about $12 including shipping.  I requested another $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon (I won't receive it for up to 14 days.)  I paid $7 for a pair of earbuds after using my $5 Amazon gift card.  I'm pretty happy with that price because I know that I would have paid more in the store. 

    Do you use your rewards as soon as you get them?  Do you have any rewards out there that you could use?

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Cutting Grocery Budget=Cutting Quality of Life

    This post goes against the common view of many personal finance bloggers but I truly believe it.  Cutting our grocery budget would really cut our quality of life.  I think nothing of buying more food to entertain.  I like cooking for friends and family.  We grill and socialize while enjoying delicious food and drink.  It is quality time for our entire family.  Lil Punk is of course included in our entertaining as well as our friends' kids.  I believe that by cutting our grocery budget it would cut down on the socializing aspect of grilling and entertaining.  Yes, you can socialize at home without food but that goes against my grain.  I'm not going to invite my friends over and not feed them.  That just feels wrong.

     I also think that it would also affect our overall family quality time.  We enjoy cooking together and having a family meal together.  We all sit down at the table, eat our delicious food, and talk about anything we like.  Yes, we can have that quality time eating mac n cheese but it is nice to be able to put together a quality meal together to enjoy.  I like cooking with fresh veggies and herbs which are more expensive than just buying a can of vegetables. 

    The obvious retort to this is that I can use coupons.  Yes, I can and I'm not opposed to doing that but I'm not about to devote hours each week to figure out how I can scour the entire town to get free shit to more than cover the fresh food that I want.  Sorry, not gonna do it.  Props to those who do but I have better things that I can do with my time off.

    I spend about $400-500 per month on groceries and I don't expect that to change much going forward.  In fact, it may increase with the summer because of entertaining.

    What about you?  Have you tried to cut your grocery budget so much that it affects your quality of life?

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    April Goal: Pay Off our Mortgage!

    Our goal for April is to pay off our mortgage.  I will do this when we get paid on the 15th.  I should be getting a pretty big commission check and I will take the rest from our liquid savings. 

    Our other goal for April is to keep $7000 in our liquid savings.  This will really be pushing it.  This will also be the lowest amount in our savings since the first year we got married.  That is a little bit scary for us because we like having a cushion for the what if's.

    Mortgage, you are dated!

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

    1st Quarter Annual Goals Update

    I'm taking a look at where I'm at for my annual goals.  It's only the end of the first quarter and they've already changed a bit.

    Financial:
    • Stop and stay not smoking Fail!
    • Pay off mortgage Doing okay, it sits at around $28,300 but this will be gone soon.
    • Keep $30,000 in savings Doing good, We have $30,658 in savings and another $9500 in stocks that will be liquidated but this will need to pay for our mortgage.
    Non-financial:

    • plant 2 apple trees
    • plant asparagus
    • plant vegetable garden
    • plant herb garden
    • Run at least a 5K
    • Go on a mini-vacation with family
    • Go on a solo vacation  (NYC will count as this.)  Done!
    The rest of the non-financial goals will come this summer.  I think that my main goals for 2012 are to pay off our current mortgage and build a house.  That's it!  Easier said than done :)

    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Still Here!! Internet Problems!

    I'm still here but I've had internet connection problems lately and it sucks!  Right now we have AT&T wireless internet and I think that we're going to switch when our contract is up in December.  Not so happy with our internet connection.  Maybe if we didn't live in the booneys it would be a little bit easier.

    We are pretty sure that we're going to build our house.  We met with the builders this week and things went pretty well.  We will try to keep it around $220,000.  And our start date will be around mid June (hopefully) if all things go as planned.  Wow!  I can't believe that its finally happening.  We have so many decisions to make and I don't want to fall in the trap of "We have to have this because its going to be our house!"  We still need to be very cognizant of our budget.  I will keep us to our budget! 

    Work is super busy and it was kind of a stressful week for me.  Y had an appendectomy yesterday which was a surprise of course.  (I'm pretty sure that an appendectomy is always a surprise.)  Luckily, he went in before his appendix burst.  People, please listen to your bodies!  If you need to go in, just go in and get checked out.  I felt like a bad wife because I was worried about work stuff when Y was in the hospital.  Job stress!  Usually I don't really mind but its hard when I have a couple closings going on and I'm completely not able to work.  I think that I need a smart phone because of work.  Yes, that is a need.  I think it would pay for itself so I could work when I'm not at work.

    So, how do you balance work stress and family?  Any tips?

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    The First Blog I Ever Read

    The first blog I ever read was probably about 5 or 6 years ago.  I was completely addicted to MSN Money and the Women in Red.  Basically, it was a message board dedicated to helping women get out of debt.  You really got to know other posters and it was sort of like having blogging buddies. 

    There was a poster on there who always put her blog address on the bottom of each post.  I knew that she wasn't supposed to because it was advertising her blog.  Anyway, that is how I happened to find my first personal finance blog, South County Girl.  I was so amazed that she could follow a budget so closely and be so dedicated to saving money.  From her blog, I branched out and found other Women in Red blogs and other blogs, etc. 

    How did you find your first personal finance blog? 

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Sunday This 'n' That

    I haven't posted for a week because I've been so busy at work that the last thing that I want to do when I get home is get on the computer.  I hopped on a couple nights to check out other blogs but didn't have the energy to compose my own post.  Work has been going awesome.  I love it.  Like I said, I had a super busy week but it went well and I look forward to another busy week.

    Talking about work, my old co-worker and very good friend invited me to a concert that she had tickets through from her work (my old work).  She was able to invite 5 people to go with her.  This meant that I had the pleasure of going to a concert with my old boss and some of my old co-workers.  Man, I certainly do not miss that job nor my jerk old of a boss.  He was very pompous and thought he was all that.  NOT!!!!!!!

    We have our house plans drawn up and are waiting for bids from 3 different builders.  We already know which builder we would like to have but do want to have other bids for a reference point.  We live in a small town so I know all of the builders and what kind of work they do. 

    Our Direct TV bill keeps on creeping up.  It's now at $68 per month and we haven't changed service.  We live in the country so we're not eligible for cable.  I'm definitely going to check out Dish.

    Y's motorcycle insurance is due on April 1st and was with the old company that I worked for.  I canceled it and am starting with a different company.  It would have been about $230 annually and I'm getting it for $146 for better coverage.  Can't beat that!

    It's been so nice here.  It was close to 80 degrees today.  Wow!  We're so blessed!

    Have a wonderful week!

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Sick of Saving!

    For so long, we've been pinching pennies and trying to save money so we can build our house.  I'm so sick of saving money.  I want to spend!  At a certain point, it just gets old to not spend what you really could be with your income. 

    Saving 40 to 50% of your income is possible but it doesn't allow for much fun.  I know I shouldn't think this way because we still have more fun money now than we did right away when we got married but we make a lot more money now.  Our friends make more money and it sucks not to go to concerts and such when we're invited. 

    I dislike rarely going out for lunch.  I know its frivolous but bringing my lunch everyday gets old.  I know that I'm sounding like a whiny baby but this is how I feel. 

    Do you get sick of saving/paying down debt?  How do you deal with it?

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Mistake! I made the List!

    I think that they made a mistake by including me in this list by Women's money Week.  It is a list of women bloggers.  I can't believe that I'm on it. 

    I started this blog as my outlet for talking about money and my life.  I continue it because it still gives me an outlet but I've now made so many wonderful blogging friends.  I cherish all of your comments and feel a connection with you.

    Thank you so much for reading my blog.  I'm very grateful and humbled.

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    I Would Way Rather get a Tax REFUND!

    As a pf blogger, I know that it is not in my best interest to get a tax refund because it means that I gave the government an interest free loan.  I should take the time to figure out approximately how much tax I will owe at the end of the year and adjust my withholdings.  I should calculate it and try to get as close to zero as possible or even owe a small amount.

    I think that is a bogus idea.  I want a tax refund because it means that I paid too much money throughout the year and now I get it back.  I don't care about the interest that I lose.  I would much rather get a refund than risk owing any money to the government.  It is nice to get a refund and do whatever I like with it.

    That said, I do think it is silly if you are consistently getting a huge tax refund above $5000.  With that large amount, it can really make a difference with your monthly cash flow.  Surely, you would notice an additional $450 or more per month in your paycheck.

    I'm all about getting a refund.  Are you?  Or do you think it is stupid to give an interest free loan to the government?

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Feb 2012 Goal Recap

    • Have tax documents ready Done!
    • File taxes--appt set for 2/28 Done!
    • Stick to $500 budget for NYC--I think I will do a separate post on this Fail!
    • Get house plans drawn up--If we don't get this in writing and as a goal, who knows how long we could put it off. Fail!  But we are getting closer
    • Make wellness check with doctor Fail!  Didn't even think about it
    • Keep to grocery budget of $400 Not sure.  I didn't spend much but didn't actually track it.  I need to do better for March. 
    I will try to post March goals this weekend :)

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Tax Refund: Yay!!!!!

    We did our taxes last night and if you remember I was worried because I had put our numbers into TurboTax and it showed me owing $29 for federal.  Well, I'm happy to report that it was wrong!  We're getting back $1444 for federal and $132 for state.  I'm so happy and relieved that we aren't going to have to pay in.  That money can go straight to our house fund.

    Also, it is nice knowing that the taxes are done.  We just need to sign one more item and our accountant will fax it to us for a signature.  We paid $200 for our accountant to do our taxes.  After doing a dry run through TurboTax, I would say that the $200 was well spent.  I would recommend that everybody use an accountant.  They have so much more knowledge of our tax system that they usually more than pay for themselves.

    Have you done your taxes yet?  Were you surprised by the outcome?

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Mortgage Update--Feb 2012

    I received our latest mortgage statement yesterday.  Our mortgage sits at $35,323 and that is after the March 1st payment has been made.  I've wrote before about how I want our mortgage to be gone before we start building our house.  We have $31,700 in savings and $10,500 in stocks that we plan to liquidate.  That would leave us about $6900 if we would pay off our mortgage right now.  Ideally, we would like to have about $20-30,000 in savings by the time we build. 

    I have no idea if that is realistic or not.  It really depends on what kind of commission checks I see in the next few months and if we could get a tax refund or not.  I will know in 2 days about the tax refund.  Meanwhile, we need to live as frugally as possible and save as much as we can.  Easier said than done!

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Saturday Random Thoughts

    Last night I completely prepared for doing our taxes on Tuesday.  I'm a little nervous because when I did a dry run with Turbo Tax I ended up owing money on our taxes.  I was hoping to get a big fat tax refund but I can only do what I can with our information. 

    This weekend I had a few things that I wanted to do:
    Prepare for taxes--Done!
    Send in money for my employee with return (finally got this figured out)--Done!
    Clean out car--still need to do.
    Clean house--still working on this but its much better,
    Clean out Lil Punk's room and box up old toys
    Menu plan for the week
    Spend time with Lil Punk--poor little girl is sick today

    Y and I have been arguing yesterday and today.  He just doesn't get that I want/need more help around the house, both with picking up and with Lil Punk.  It gets frustrating on my end.

    My friend wanted us to go to The Home Show today but we couldn't because Lil Punk isn't feeling good.  I'm watching The Celebrity Apprentice and its cool that I was just in New York and I can actually identify some places that I see on the show. 

    Happy Saturday!  What do you have going on?

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    NYC Recap

    Thank you all for your supportive comments!

    I think that I ended up spending around $700 on my trip but we did some amazing things while there.  We went to a Cabaret show at the Carlyle.  We saw Chicago.  We were going to see The Book of Mormon but it was $460 per ticket.  Um, no thanks.  I did the Hop On Hop Off bus through downtown and uptown.  We had a drink on the 48th floor of the Mariott.  The bar rotates so we got to see the entire city at night.  That was $46 including tip.  I saw Times Square and it is so much like I thought but better.  I got my haircut and it is kind of growing on me.  I took the subway.  The only other time I've taken the subway was in Korea and its much easier to navigate when the directions are in English.  LOL!  I went shopping in Soho and ate at a few real NYC delicatessens.  I saw St. Paul's Cathedral and Ground Zero. 

    Overall, it was a very cool experience. I'm glad that I did it but I would never trade my life for living there.  I missed Lil Punk so much and it was so wonderful to see her yesterday.  I realized that I'm not materialistic and my life is full of wonderful things where I live including my family, job, and my home. 

    Have you ever went on vacation and had fun but realized that you are so appreciative of how your life really is? 

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    OMG! So Much Money Spent!

    I'm doing a quick blogpost from my sister's place in Manhattan.  It's so freakin' expensive here and it just doesn't slow down.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that I actually spent $95 yesterday on a haircut and tip.  It looks cute but I'm not sure if that cute. 

    Drinks are ridiculously expensive.  Food is expensive but I expected that.  I cannot get a grip on my finances here.  It's insane.

    I think that I've spent around $500 in spending money here, maybe around $600.   I will try to do a more thorough recap when I get home. 

    It's been fun here but I'm so ready to go home tomorrow and see Lil Punk.  I love my very zen life. 

    What do you think?  Should I be embarrassed about how much money I've spent?  Is this ordinary or ridiculous for NYC?

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    I was Tagged!

    1. What is one thing that brings you joy that requires money?
    This is a hard one.  I really like eating lunch out and travelling. 
    2. What would your ideal retirement be like?
    Playing bingo, having a lake cabin, travelling, playing and spoiling my grandchildren.
    3. Do you use a mac, windows or a linux based computer?
    A really freakin' old PC.  I'm not up on computer lingo.  I call IT a lot at work. 
    4. What got you into blogging?
    I pretty much hated my job and needed an outlet while I was at work.  Plus, I really love talking and sharing finances and it just not all that appropriate in the real world.
    5. Do you love your current job?
    Yup!  I feel very blessed.
    6. Do you have any pets?
    No, but I would love an outdoor cat.  It could live comfortably in our barn.  Y is allergic to cats.
    7. What is the most important thing to you on earth?
    My daughter and being a good parent to her. 
    8. What is one thing that you miss that has either entirely disappeared or is slowly disappearing because of technology?
    Talking on the phone.  Having a good chat with a friend is not the same as texting or checking out their Facebook page.  I'm still not back on FB either.
    9. Do you think the recession is still a valid argument for people not doing something about their financial situation?
    Um, not sure how to answer this.  If people are making excuses, no.  If they're looking for a job and not able to find one, yeah, we are still in a recession and I feel for them.  The biggest way to feel like a piece of crap is to keep looking for a job and not getting anywhere. 
    10. How do you start your day?
    By pressing snooze multiple times, getting up to fetch a Diet Dew and taking a shower.
    11. What is one skill you dream of learning?
    Hmmm....surfing, I think.  That would be really cool.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Guest Post: Rafiki: Patience with Saving

    This is a guest post from my fellow blogger Rafiki.  I have been reading his blog for over a year and I enjoy his wit and determination.  I will be doing a guest post for him in the near future but I'm kind of a bad (and busy) blogging friend and haven't gotten that far. 
    Saving money? Hard. Managing time? Being in a relationship? Hard. Raising a child? Hard. Getting a degree? Hard. Finding a job? Hard. Starting a business? Hard.

    Learning and having patience? Extra Hard.

    The truth is though, the answer to those first seven questions and many more questions in life can be easily changed from 'hard' to 'can be hard' and then further changed to an easy if you can learn and use the skill mentioned in the last question.

    That skill is Patience and in today's fast paced world it is even more rare to find and even harder to learn and use.

    To achieve anything it takes time and the cold truth has always been time waits on no man. As true as the saying is, it doesn't mean that we must have everything instantaneously or with amazon prime 2 day shipping. A little patience and you can use you free super saver shipping which can save you money and get the same results.

    Without patience you can set yourself up for some major disappointment. Disappointment can bring a tonne of bad waves on your day to day life and activities. For example, suppose you were waiting on something to be delivered, it was scheduled to arrive at 3 pm. You wake up in the morning all excited and can't wait for 3 pm to come. You don't know what to do to get the time to pass but there is so much you can do and should be doing, instead of focusing on those other things, your mind is occupied with your package that should be arriving at 3pm. You fill your entire morning and afternoon doing unconstructive stuff, browsing the internet reviewing your package, tracking the shipment to make sure it is on time to arrive, playing solitaire, dozing off, watching useless TV, and basically doing anything mindless you can find to do to pass the time. 3 pm comes and you find out your item won't be arriving on time or today even for that matter because of unforeseen circumstances. You fall into a slump because of the disappointment and you don't know what to do, you had your entire day planned out on receiving this package and once received you had all intentions of filling the rest of the day with said package. Upon not receiving it, you are at a lost now for what to do, not only did you not receive your package, you lost an entire day and now you are in no mood to do anything else but sulk in disappointment.(based on a true recent experience mildly altered)

    Let's add patience to the above scenario and see what could have been. You had an entire day you could have planned out constructively. From the time you woke up, after having breakfast, you could have sat down and reflected on the day before and maybe even your week. You could have then come up with an action plan for the day, is there anything you need to do like laundry? After you have sorted out your to do list, you could have started on it right away, if there wasn't much on it, you have time to work on a few side projects, your blog, writing some job applications, practicing some essay writing for an upcoming english test, constructive reading, things that will benefit you in the long run. By the time you look around it would have been 3 pm and if the package had arrived you would have already have spent an already constructive day and can feel good to waste as much time as you want doing what you must with your new package. If it hadn't arrived you would already be patient enough to wait for it. Your mind would be at ease and you can properly plan the rest of your day, heck, it could be a blessing in disguise because you now have time to do other things you didn't plan on. If you so choose, you could even just relax and enjoy a little TV or doing some mindless stuff. The bottom line is that you wouldn't have wasted your

    Patience can bring blessing to a lot of other stuff you do in life as well, a few examples are:

    You could save up for an item you want with the possibility of getting it at a cheaper price later because of a price drop or finding it somewhere else or you could buy it on credit and end up paying way more than necessary for said item.
    You can take some time, but some ingredients and make a homemade meal, saving money and more than likely getting a much healthier and tastier meal or you can go buy some fast food.
    You could wash your clothes and hang them on a line to air dry which would either save you some electricity or save you a trip to the laundry or you could go with using your own washer/dryer or going to the laundry and lose out on some savings.
    An extra $100 may seem impossible to find in your budget but if you can find just $10 a month to put aside, at the end of one year you would have $120. It isn't tough, it just requires patience.

    There is another saying, 'good things come to those who wait'. This is also a true statement, just by waiting something beautiful or good can happen. This post also reminds me of the marshmallow test I read about on a few blogs before which was a study on delayed gratification which in turn, requires patience.

    A lot can be achieved with a little patience, an oak tree doesn't grow in a day, the Great Wall of China wasn't built in a day and the Roman Empire wasn't achieved in a day.

    Be patient, persevere and you can achieve success along with greatness in anything you set out to do. I am going to end with a link to a song that was stuck in my head the entire time writing this post. That song is from Sesame Street and is entitled, 'It's a long hard road'. I enjoyed Sesame Street as a child and it seems it has never left me.

    Patience is a virtue.