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!