Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So I Messed Up...

So I messed up in a good way. I incorrectly calculated my earnings while I'm on maternity leave. My comp plan is fairly complex. I have a base and/or commission. I had assumed that I would only get my commissions that were over and above what my regular pay would be. I was wrong. I get all of my commissions plus short term disability pay. My paycheck today was $1500 more than I had expected. I transferred $1200 into our savings.

The other $300 is going to pay for a new windshield for my car. I went to get it repaired yesterday and just as I turned my car off at the glass repair shop, the rock chip turned into a crack. Sigh...

 I called and talked to the daycare director today. For January, daycare for both kids is $750 as I'm going back to work on the 13th. I had calculated $850 for this month. It will be $1025 regularly which is more than our mortgage payment.  They are so worth it.

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends! I hope 2014 brings you much happiness!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 2013 Wrap Up

Even though there are 2 days left of the month, I'm calling it a wrap. It's very chilly here today, 25 below with the windchill, so we are not going anywhere today. Tomorrow I have to bring my car in to get a rock chip repaired in my windshield. My insurance will cover it if its repairable. I also have to run to my work to renew my work license before the end of the year.

I tracked all spending for December. I took our Christmas spending out as that is already budgeted for and medical spending as I'm waiting in a reimbursement from our flex medical account. Instead of looking at all the separate categories, I wanted to look at the big picture. Our new budget allows for $1580 for all variable spending. We spent $1402 this month for food, gas, eating out, entertainment, baby stuff, household needs, etc. I'm happy that we came in under budget but it has only happened with constant vigilance and careful planning. Y has been on board but I can tell that he's already getting bored.

The weather has been exceptionally cold here for so early. 25 and 30 below isn't uncommon here but those are usually January or February temps, not December ones. We will have to fill up on propane shortly. I will try to wait at least another couple weeks so we make it through the rest of the winter.

For good news, I'm currently playing for first in my fantasy football league. If I get second place, I get $30 but first is worth $50. I'm not sure what I will do with the money.

I am taking place in Carla's No/Low Spend January. There are a couple exceptions that I am going to allow myself. I have a bachelorette party and I will be ready to have a couple drinks. I will also buy tax software because I will be doing our taxes this year. I will also need to buy a few things for the baby for when I go back to work like bottles. I do consider those necessities though. I'm hoping that I get the last of our medical bills in January so I can take care of those.

How cold is it where you're at? Anybody else hibernating?




Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 Goals

We had a very nice Christmas and we're now exhausted. We had our Christmas on Christmas Eve and went to my in-laws early yesterday afternoon. We stayed over last night. It was fun but its hard to stay overnight with a nursing newborn. The baby started cooing which is adorable. I need to find a nickname for the baby for this blog but we don't have a nickname for him here yet.

For goals, I have financial and non-financial.

1. Increase regular savings to $10,000
2. Pay off car
3. Increase car fund to $15,000
4. Increase retirement savings to $100,000
5. Pay down mortgage to under $200,000
6. Increase giving by 10%
7. Stick to grocery budget of $500 per month

Non-financial
1. Remain smoke free
2. Lose weight to get down to 132 pounds
3. Plant 3 perennial plants outside of my garden--trees do count.
4. Plant regular garden and vine garden

Do you have your 2014 goals yet? Any advice for me?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Frugal Week Ahead

I'm starting Carla's No Spend January a week early because we are ready for Christmas. We have all presents and stocking stuffers purchased. Y just finished his shopping on Saturday. We spent more on Christmas this year but we had planned to do so. We did spend much less on each other.

I opted to go to the grocery store tonight to get the remainder of groceries for the rest of the year. With the windchill, its been 20-25 below so I didn't want to take the baby out tomorrow. I made a list and followed it to a T. I went to WalMart and did price matching. I only wanted to spend $50. I spent $51.80 so I consider that a success. The total spent on groceries for December is $454.55. With all of the extra holiday baking, I'm very pleased to have stayed within our $500 grocery budget. Making a menu plan and making a grocery list has helped us stay under budget.

For the remainder of the year, we are closely watching all spending. Y needs gas for his pick-up and I'm planning on no more than $100 for all other spending. We are good on groceries and gifts but I know there will be a few other things come up.

How is your December budget looking?

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Goals Review

I revised my financial goals in June after we purchased our tractor and we were planning for our new baby. I don't regret changing my goals midway through the year because they need to be relevant.

1. Increase savings to $10,000--Fail. Right now it is at $3850.
2. Payoff tractor--Done!
3. Increase retirement savings to $75,000--Done! I don't have final numbers for the year end but it should be around $80,000. The market definitely helped with this goal. Our total in retirement savings at the beginning of 2013 was $52,934.11. This doesn't include any of our pensions.
4. Paydown car loan to $5,000--Done!

I think that I will have my 2014 goals finalized soon.

How did you do for your 2013 goals?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sushi and Christmas Lights

We have a super fun evening planned. Lil Punk, Baby and I are going to a nearby town to look at Christmas lights with friends. Actually I will drop Baby off with my mother-in-law. Lil Punk and I have plans to go with my friend and her little boy to look at Christmas lights. I do know of one city park that we will go to and give a donation for their light display. We are doing this in lieu of exchanging gifts this year.

When we are there, I'm going to get sushi for the first time in almost a year. I don't know when I started loving sushi but I do. I gave Lil Punk some options on where she could eat. She chose Taco Bell and McDonalds. I did make her choose one so we will pick up a taco for her at Taco Bell.

We will also go to Target to exchange a baby gift for a bigger size and pick up diapers. I have several friends who swear by the Target brand diapers for boys. I've already ran into some leakage issues with Pampers and Huggies.

I'm debating about going to the mall to get a personalized ornament. I get one every year but my patience with malls this time of year is not much.

We made cookies for Lil Punk's daycare class today. She told me that her Christmas party tomorrow was cancelled because one boy was naughty yesterday. I actually texted her teacher to make sure and it is still on. She just made the cancellation up. The mailman will get the other half of the cookies we made. If I keep them, I would eat all of them and I still need to lose some weight.

Super busy day and I'm not feeling the best but we made the plans awhile ago. I thought I had mastitis yesterday but am feeling a bit better today.

Ok, gotta go. Everyone is waking up from their naps.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Plans

We have a relaxing day planned. I plan to take Lil Punk to the library this morning. She loves the library and I want her to like reading. She can't read yet but we're working on it. We've had some behavioral issues since we brought the baby home so I would like to spend individual time with her.

Later today we will make the gingerbread house that Y bought yesterday. Lil Punk is very excited to make it. We might go look at Christmas lights later this evening. 

My paycheck was quite a bit smaller than anticipated yesterday. I can only assume that some of my deals from late November were pushed back when I wasn't there. I was upset about it yesterday but in not going to let it ruin my holiday mood. The bills are paid and we had some go into savings.

What are your holiday plans?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pre-paycheck Update

We both get paid tomorrow so I'm making plans today. My paycheck tomorrow is a commission check and it should be the last good one for awhile. I'm thinking it should be around $5000 total but I'm a little confused on how they will figure out my commissions with maternity leave. I inquired on it before I left but I'm still not sure.

My medical bills are starting to come in. We still have $709 left in our flexible medical spending account. So far, I have a hospital bill for $897 and will get a clinic bill for $142. That maxes out my out of pocket for medical. Baby will likely get a bill for $400 for his deductible. The total of my hospital bill was only $3665. I'm assuming that's for the delivery of my son and my overnight stay. I thought it would be more? Sidenote--whoever thought up circumcisions should have their head examined. I know its common practice but I hate having my son's boy part cut. So cruel!

We did not get a discount on our new well. Y asked him and he said no. He said he reports all income so he doesn't give discounts. He did tell us we could take the next year to pay him though. I just paid the bill.

Our savings is pathetic right now. In our regular savings, we have $34. In our new car fund, we have $3050. I guess that we're also using that as our emergency fund. We need to build up our savings to $10,000. That will be a goal for the new year.

For Christmas spending, we are doing good. We've spent less overall this year. I do still have a few gifts left to get. I also want to buy a gingerbread kit to make with Lil Punk. I hope our doesn't turn out like Sonya Ann's MIL's. I have no intention of making it from scratch. After buying the candy needed, I don't think it would be much cheaper and I am so not crafty.

I was hoping to pay off my car this year. The balance is at $5000 at 0% interest. On of my earlier goals was to have it to $5000 so I accomplished that but it will stay at that.

There are probably some big changes coming at Y's work. I will do a separate post on that at a later time. He's not in danger of losing his job.

I just love paydays! I have ever since I got my first paying job. I can't imagine ever forgetting that it was payday. Have you ever forgotten about your payday?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Commercials

I tend to get annoyed this time of year when I'm watching TV commercials. According to these commercials, my life would be splendid if my husband bought me diamonds or jewelry for Christmas. My kids would be perfectly behaved if I dressed them in perfect little outfits, gave them huge toys, and took them to a photo shoot where we dressed up as a British family drinking tea (WTH!).

The reality is that since we got married, my husband's gifts are on the very practical side. I think he will get me snowpants this year and he is giving me new black boots (that I ordered). I won't be getting diamonds but I will use my snowpants to play outside for many years to come with our kids.

The photo shoot this year consisted of both kids laying on the floor. The baby slept and Lil Punk made funny faces. There was no tea involved.

I just get so annoyed with the things that are pushed as happiness on TV. The commercials are so good though that sometimes I need to consciously remind myself of this.

Do these commercials annoy anybody else?

Monday, December 9, 2013

How To Save Without a Budget

I have read a number of blogs that swear one cannot save money without a budget. I beg to differ. When we were saving for a down payment for a house, we saved $40,000 in one year while making around $60,000 annually without a budget. (Y was in Iraq so his income was tax-free).

I followed two basic rules to save this much money.

1. We paid ourselves first.
2. We stopped spending when the money was gone.

First of all, when Y's paycheck was deposited, I transferred it all to our savings account. I did it on the day he was paid.

Second of all, I didn't spend any money when it ran out. This required a little bit of planning. If I had to fill up the car weekly and I didn't get paid for two weeks, I had to make sure I had enough money to fill it up next week. I paid the rent and utilities with my pay.

I didn't budget until much later in life and even now I will go months without budgeting. I have budgeted for the last two months more so to track our spending.

It is annoying to me when a blogger insists that you will end up destitute without budgeting. In a way, budgeting is for people with money. It allows us to spend money without any guilt. One will end up destitute if they don't save any money throughout their life but budgeting is not the only way to save money.

What about you? Do you budget? Have you saved money without budgeting?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grocery Spending and Menu Plan

I kept track of our spending for November and we were within budget except for one area, groceries. I budget $550 per month for groceries and we spent a whopping $710 last month. That is a lot of money for food for one month. There were a few WalMart charges and I'm not exactly sure what they were but I think groceries so they went in that category.

We really need to watch our spending. Thus far, we've spent $183 this month. I think the only thing I need to pick up is milk for the week. I made a menu plan last week prior to shopping.

This is what's on the menu for this week:

Asian Beef & Noodles
Pork Chops & Stuffing with veggies
Homemade chicken noodle soup
Mac n cheese with broccoli
Chicken Alfredo

How is your grocery spending going?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well Update: Yikes!!

We received the invoice for the our new well that I had been anxiously awaiting. It was for more than I wanted. It came in at $6109 for the well plus $900 for sealing the old well. We qualify for a coop with our county for the well sealing. I believe the county pays for 60% of the well sealing. We need to submit the final paperwork but its already been approved.

The quote for the well was between 5 and 6 thousand. We had them replace our outdoor water hydrant which we knew was additional, between $200-250. I didn't know that the well sealing wasn't included in the original quote but Y did. I guess this is an example of miscommunication between us.

Y is going to call them to see of they will give us a cash discount. We have $4500 in our regular savings and the remainder will come from our new car fund. 

I'm so disappointed in how much this invoice is because I was going to raid our new car fund to pay off my car loan. We still owe $5000 on my car and the new car fund is/was at $4550. We talked it over and even though my car is at 0% interest rate, we wouldn't take out a new car loan with your that out there anyway. If Y's pick-up dies and we need to finance a new (to us) one, we would pay off my car because we don't want to afford two car payments at one time. I have been very, very nervous about paying $1060 per month for daycare, so I wanted to pay off my car this year to lighten the burden.

Such is life...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Shopping

I did very minimal shopping this weekend but I logged in this morning to check out the deals for Cyber Monday. I was looking for two very specific items.

I wanted to get Carhart bibs for Y. He asked for them for Christmas and its a super practical gift. He needs them for moving snow and playing outside with Lil Punk. The cheapest that I've seen them in the store is for $95. I found them today on Amazon for $90. I also used two $5 gift cards I obtained through Swagbucks. Considering I saved 5 bucks and didn't have to drive to get them, I consider this a win.

The other item I wanted was a little electric car for Lil Punk. The one I wanted has monster traction so she could ride it on gravel and grass. I had researched it and the one I wanted got great reviews. The issue was actually finding it. WalMart, Target and KMart were all sold out of it. I found it on Fisher Price's website for 25% off. It was on the expensive side at $207 total but I've debated buying one for a couple years. I have a couple other little gifts for her so I'm done shopping for her now.

Did you do Cyber Monday?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So Grateful

I have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I'm most thankful for my new son, my little girl, and my amazing husband. I stare at my son and cannot believe the miracle that he grew in my belly from a fertilized egg. I look at my daughter and am so thankful for the amazing little person she is becoming and has become. I'm so thankful that my husband is supportive and a hands on dad. For the first week post-partum, I couldn't stop crying and he stepped up and did what I needed.

On the financial front, I'm grateful for the fact that we have a warm house and plenty of food to eat. Both my husband and I have good jobs. My work has not bothered me at all since I've been on maternity leave which is nice. We do truly have first world problems.

Our new well was drilled this week. I'm not exactly sure how much it will cost and I'm a little anxious about that. I'm thinking between $5-6000. We have $4000 in our regular savings. We also will have $4500 in our car fund that we will need to pull the remainder of the money from.

 Following the birth of my son, I haven't been overly concerned about our daily spending. I've relied heavily on Y to stop and get what I've needed from the store. He has a habit of also buying cheese and tortillas when he goes shopping.

We haven't received any medical bills yet. We have just over $700 in our flexible medical spending account for 2013. I'm hoping that covers the remainder of the bills.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Welcome to the World

This is the story of the birth of my son, born one week ago.

I left work early on Tuesday, 11/12/13. I wasn't feeling well but had been having contractions with more regularity since the previous Friday. I mentioned it to my friend and she was adamant that I use her exercise ball. I picked it up and rocked on it for a couple hours. I began to have more contractions. Around 10 pm, I got to bed with the intent to see if the contractions would subside or increase. At this point, I talked to my husband and realized that we didn't have a solid plan for what to do with Lil Punk when we went in. He called his mom to give her a heads up and ask her if she could come over later.

It was obvious to me that I was in labor so around 12:30 Y called his mom again to ask her to drive over. She arrived around 1:15. We then went to the hospital. We got there around 1:45.

I labored in the whirlpool tub for awhile. My doctor broke my water around 4. At that point, I was in pain and just wanted my baby OUT. He was born at 5:15 am. He was a little bigger than I thought, 9 pounds 15 ounces. We were blessed in that he is healthy. He had a bit of jaundice but is doing well now.

I am so in love with my son. I can't imagine life without him now and its only been a week. In a way, its been a long week. Lil Guy has not been sleeping at night. He wants to use me as a human pacifier but won't take a real pacifier. I get that he was in my womb for 9 months and he wants to be close to me.

I love being a mommy for the 2nd time. We are so blessed.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mandatory Mental Health Coverage

Anybody who has read my blog for a little while knows that I'm not a fan of Obamacare. I do not like being told that I have to do something for my own good. However, I do see some positive in the mandate that we all have health insurance and not just any health insurance but insurance that covers specific things.

An area that I feel often goes undiagnosed and/or untreated is mental health and substance abuse. I see it as a huge win/win that we will all have access to mental health professionals. Depression and other mental illnesses are on the rise. For far too long, mental illness has been pushed under the rug. I don't think everyone can be helped with therapy but its certainly not going to hurt.

Substance abuse is another area of expansion of insurance under Obamacare. Substance abuse will take a thriving member of society and turn them into unproductive people. I don't fully understand why one chooses to continue to use when its obviously ruining their life but my bff is an addiction counselor. She has helped me understand what an illness substance abuse truly is.

I hope that going forward those in the mental health profession educate the general population on the options they will have with their new insurance, whether this is done through advertising or referrals.

Thoughts? Do you think this added coverage will really matter?

Natural Induction Methods?

I am so ready for this baby to be born. My bottom and pelvis hurt so bad. I want to meet my little guy. Does anybody have any advice?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Thank you to all the veterans. Without people like you who are willing to make sacrifices, our country would not enjoy the freedoms we enjoy. Thank you so much.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paying for our New Well

I mentioned earlier that we need a new well and it cannot wait until spring. The estimate for the new well is about $5000.

This is our plan to pay for it. Our regular savings is at $3800 and out new car fund is at $4500. We also just had to pay for our landscaping rock which was a little over $800. We will drain our savings and dip into the new car fund leaving us with only $2500. This is far below our comfort level but I would rather drain our savings than put it on our home equity line and pay interest on it.

If we have another emergency in the near future, it will go on our home equity line. The available credit is $28,500. We took that out when we bought the tractor but we got a better rate on the tractor.

The one newfound financial comfort is that the tractor is now paid off so we can focus on rebuilding our savings. We are watching our spending very closely in all areas. I'm hoping to put some money into savings this month but my pay is reduced due to the government shutdown last month.

I still think I prefer having our own well and septic rather than having city utilities. You still have to pay for the initial hookups when you buy a new house. With our previous house, the special tax assessments for the road, sewer, water and paying for the development were just over $20,000. We also then had a water and sewer bill monthly. So far we've paid about $6000 for a new septic and the well will be $5000.

Would you rather be on city water and sewer or have your own?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking Handouts

I have an issue with people taking government handouts who don't really see them. I would definitely take a handout to keep a roof over my head or to feed my kids, if absolutely necessary. By absolutely necessary, I mean that I had no other options. I would take a job at a fast food place or stocking for retail or driving truck before I would apply for assistance. I would take a second job on nights or weekends. I am capable of working and I'm good at it.

For housing, I don't know what would have to happen for me to be on assistance for housing. I could always cash in my retirement plan to buy an older trailer house or small house. If I was 20, single, and pregnant with my third kid, I can see how I wouldn't have these options.

For food, I would do what I had to do to stay away from food stamps or WIC. Both are good programs and have their own purpose. For food stamps, I feel its designed for those who aren't capable of working like those with either disabilities or the elderly. For WIC, I think its designed for those whose children would lack proper nutrition without it. For the girl who gets pregnant in high school and doesn't have family support, this is a good program. I also firmly believe that the WIC program steers those at a lower income level away from breastfeeding because the formula is free. (Statistics back this up.)

In their own way, these are great programs for those who truly need them. It's the people who work the system for their own benefit that irk me. Are they really working as hard as they can and using these programs as a last resort? Or is it just easier to get the benefits and call it good?

Does this annoy anybody else?

ETA: This post was inspired by a blogger who had a plan to retire very early, have a million dollars and take $40,000 as annual income to qualify for the tax subsidies of Obamacare. If you have a million bucks, should you really be taking a tax subsidy that the rest of us are paying for?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Underpants for Christmas??

Every year I buy a gift for a needy child. This is done through our local county. I get a little bit of information like age, sex, clothing sizes and interests.

I received the information today about a 14 year old female. Under the clothing/size category, she wrote: shirts XL, underpants size 6 and jeans size 13. Under the interests category, she wrote: nail polish, glitter, makeup, like kitties and puppies.

I can easily buy something for this girl. I figure I will place an Avon order because you can get lots of little sparkly makeup and nail polish fairly inexpensively. I will get her an outfit too with underpants.

However, it really breaks my heart for this poor girl to have to ask for underpants for Christmas. And from a stranger! Can they really not afford underpants? This just makes me so sad. I'm excited to buy this girl a nice Christmas gift.

Do you think its sad to ask for underpants for Christmas?  

Sidenote: Y and his two brothers still get socks and underwear from their mom for Christmas. Even Lil Punk now gets socks and underwear. I only get socks from my MIL.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 2013 Goals

  • Have baby
  • File for the remainder of daycare flex benefit
  • Pay for our new well--this will be paid for out of our regular savings, monthly cash flow and from the new vehicle fund
That's it. I know I will definitely have the baby because my doctor won't let me go past 41 weeks because Lil Punk was 9 pounds 1 ounce.

How is your November looking?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Under Budget for October 2013

We started off the month with the government shutdown scare which could have affected my pay big time. After the government reopened, we paid off the tractor and then realized that we need a new well. We were very aware of our spending for the entire month. I'm only going to post our discretionary spending here.

Household--budgeted $200, spent $217.17, this includes some necessary items for baby but is the only category that is over. Not too bad considering we were still getting ready for baby.

Entertainment--budgeted $100, spent $15.09 just rented movies from Redbox

Gas--budgeted $500, spent $349.15

Clothes--budgeted $150, spent $25.46

Eating out--budgeted $150, spent $107.08

Y miscellaneous money--budgeted $150, spent $62.81, mostly on energy drinks

Beer--budgeted $180, spent $164.97

Groceries--budgeted $550, spent $438.17

Gifts--budgeted $100, spent $29.39, early Christmas shopping

Miscellaneous--budgeted $100, spent $28.63, postage and a Halloween costume for Lil Punk

My miscellaneous money--$50

I'm pretty happy with our spending this month. We need to continue spending like this for November because we need to pay for the new well this month.

How was your October?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ready for Baby

We are pretty much ready for baby. We still need to put the crib up and wash some baby clothes. I borrowed a lot of clothes from friends. I plan to breastfeed so that is taken care of. I do have a couple boxes of diapers but decided not to stockpile after reading all of your comments.

We have a swing and vibrating bouncer. The only other item I need to check is our infant car seat to see if its expired. I don't buy into the notion that babies need a ton of stuff. They need somewhere to sleep, something to eat, diapers and preferably a swing. We used the swing a lot when Lil Punk was a baby.

I also need to get my baby monitor back from a friend I lent it to. I think she is still using it and her kid is 2 1/2. She knows I need it back so hopefully.

I'm due in 2.5 weeks so I'm getting very uncomfortable. I expect to go to my due date but we shall see. As of last week, I've gained 46 pounds so I'm sure I will hit the 50 pound mark. I'm hoping this baby is under 10 pounds as Lil Punk was over 9 pounds. I want to be back in my jeans by 6 weeks out. Lofty goal.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Eating Poor in the Country

I have noticed from reading a number of blogs that being poor in the country is vastly different from being poor in the city. One of the main differences is with food. I draw on my own experiences growing up for this post.

Venison is probably the main source of protein for poor people in the country. You can always shoot one deer per person but sometimes more depending on the season. One can usually count on a neighbor or relative to give you an unwanted deer. You cut up the deer yourself because it costs money to pay a butcher. Typically you would have venison steaks and maybe venison burger. You can also supplement your protein supply for the year with pheasant, duck, maybe turtle and possibly either bear or moose. If you are a little better off, you might have homegrown chickens but it would cost to feed them so that's a maybe.

Potatoes would likely be your main starch for the entire year. You need to grow enough potatoes for the entire year. You can make mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, baked potatoes and lefse. There is no such thing as too many potatoes.

For vegetables, you need to grow and can your veggies. Green beans, beets, peas, and corn are the main staples. You would also typically have homemade pickles and jellies. Milk can be bought much cheaper from a local dairy farmer.

A cheap meal for the country folk is "cheapy mac". This is the cheapest mac n cheese (usually 4 for a buck) combined with cooked ground venison. You can feed a family of 6 for 50 cents.

It is a bit odd to me that because of these habits growing up, it shapes how I still think about food. I still like venison steaks and can still help butcher a deer with no problem. I could eat potatoes every day. I have gotten back into canning and I really like it. I will not ever go back to eating Cheapy Mac. I do draw the line there. The other side is that I will always love buying food and have slight hoarding tendencies with regard to food. I am constantly aware of this and struggle with it.

Is your relationship with food now shaped by your childhood relationship with food? Can anybody else relate to being poor in the country?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Is 94K A Lot?

I was talking to my brother today and we happened to talk about Obamacare. He and his wife are self-employed and he mentioned that he was hoping it would help drive down his health insurance premium. They now pay around $700 monthly with a $4000 family deductible. This is for coverage for a family of 4 (likely without maternity coverage but I didn't ask to make sure).

I also brought up that the tax subsidies go away at $94,000 and how that's not that much money. For a family of 4, that amount of money goes very quickly. My brother agreed with me. I don't know how much they make but its likely quite a bit more.

My brother drives truck but doesn't own the truck. He works in Western ND in the oil fields. He didn't graduate high school but works very hard and likes to make money. He will easily work 100 hours a week if given the chance. He is easily making 6 figures after accounting for the added expense of having a separate apartment out there. My sister-in-law owns her own daycare but doesn't work out of her own home. She works from 6:45 to 5:30 M-F. She works long hours but their two kids are with her after school. She has a high school diploma. She wasn't that ambitious when they got married but my brother definitely had a hand in her buying a separate house to do daycare in. Her daycare has been open for over 10 years and has a waiting list.

I use my brother and SIL as examples of what hard work can lead to. They don't have high education levels but are smart about making money and making it work for them. Where they live, they could probably live comfortably but modestly on 94k.

Tell me what you think. Is 94k a lot of money? To support a family? Is that a low amount to have the tax subsidy phased out for Obamacare? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh No, Murphy!!!

We received news today that we need a new well and it will cost around $5000. Yikes! We don't have that much money in savings anymore. I guess it will need to go on our home equity line of credit. I'm sure glad I opened that.

Y had called several well guys in the last couple months. We thought we just needed a new pump. The one guy got back to him today and told him that we need an entirely new well. $5000 is just an estimate but it won't be over $6000. Our well is around 35 years old and they only last around 15 years.

This really stinks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tractor is Paid Off!!!

Y and I had been talking about paying off our tractor but with the uncertainty of the government we decided to wait. Since the government reopened today, I logged in and paid off the remaining $6880 from our savings and most recent paychecks. This leaves us with $3100 in our regular savings and $4500 in our car savings account that could be used for an emergency if needed.

I really wanted to have it paid before we are paying for daycare for two kids. Also, our lawnmower is fully paid for now, too. We just owe on my car to the tune of $5800 but that is at 0%. I want to get that paid but we need to build up out savings account first.

Woohoo!!! No more tractor payments!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Living on One Income

I don't plan on quitting my job but what if? Could we make it?

Y's Income: $2800 (its not quite this high now but I'm assuming we wouldn't be flexing $5000 annually if I wasn't able to work)

Expenses:
$950 mortgage
$350 Irregular expenses including property taxes and all insurance
$85 preschool
$163 phone
$160 electricity
$71 DirectTV
Total $1779

This would leave $1021 monthly for gas, groceries, savings, and all miscellaneous spending. I think we could do it but it would be tight. Our income taxes would go down substantially so that might increase our income a bit. If you notice that this budget doesn't include either the tractor or car payments. Those would need to be paid.

This would be doable but not for an extended period of time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Garmins, Priceline and One's Health

I was so looking forward to this weekend and it was not very a good weekend. We left around noon on Saturday and my in-laws drove. They had just bought a Garmin and were trying it out. For the record, I effing hate Garmins after this weekend.

We had a very nice dinner and drinks at the hotel. We realized at this time that the hotel was not centrally located to the Metrodome. We had to take a bus to the Mall of America and then the light rail to the Dome. I guess that my father-in-law has severe mobility issues that we weren't aware of and needs a cane to get around. This is a huge issue when going to a football game. His mobility issues stem from previous smoking, overeating, not exercising, previous knee surgery and other health problems he has. (He is 60, so not old.)

The Vikings lost and the game pretty much sucked. On the way back, my FIL could barely walk so it took us a long time to get to the light rail. Over an hour after the game finished, we got back to their car. Enter road construction and the Garmin. The Garmin took us in a huge circle and my FIL wouldn't deviate. I finally got him to drive north toward the interstate but the effing Garmin told him to turn so he turned. It took us over an hour and a half to get out of the Twin Cities.

Two worthwhile things came of this weekend. I realized that Priceline is the bomb and it sucks to overpay for your hotel. The other thing I realized is that I need to push Y into taking better care of himself. If he can't walk to a football game on 20 years, I will go without him. If he got in a car accident, I would accept that. I'm not accepting him being unhealthy and watching him self-destruct like his dad.

I don't care if I sound cruel. One's choices today dictate tomorrow's path.

What are you thoughts on Garmins, Priceline, and taking responsibility for your health?

Friday, October 11, 2013

I wrote a snarky post this week that I published and immediately took down about the government shutdown and the negotiating (or lack of it) between the two parties.

The reality is that I just want our government up and running. More than half of my pay for October will be cut if this continues. I don't have a government job but we need government approval for a large part of what I do and I'm on commission. As much as I don't want my pay cut prior to taking maternity leave, we are lucky I'm that we will be okay.

If they take peoples' Social Security away, many can't afford food. They truly need that income. What's a 85 year old lady supposed to do to get money for food?

We are off to Minneapolis tomorrow for the Vikings game. Maybe they will win two in a row? I hope so.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Investing Fun Money

Since I liquidated my stock account a year ago to pay for our house, I've missed buying individual stocks. I like having a lot of risk with a little bit of money. I like watching the stock market and my own account to see if I'm up or down. I like researching and buying a stock that I think will make me money.

I have managed to hold off for the last several months because the stock market was doing so well. I don't want to buy stocks at full price but on sale. October is a notorious month for the stock market so I wanted to keep an eye out for a good deal. On Friday I couldn't wait any longer.

I transferred just $300 into my old Sharebuilder account and made a small purchase. I bought Titan Machinery, stock symbol TITN. I have owned this stock before and made quite a bit of money. I sold it a year and a half ago for around $31 per share. I bought in again at around $16 per share.

I hope I make some money but it feels good to be buying stocks again, even if very casually. Do you buy individual stocks? How do you decide what to buy?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Homemade Edible Gifts

This weekend is my brother-in-law's birthday. We will get together with the fam for a BBQ or dinner. We get together for all birthdays and this BIL doesn't give gifts to anybody. Due to his own choices, he kind of scrapes by financially. We always get him a gift, maybe a gift card or something similar.

Would it be cheap of me to just make him a couple loaves of pumpkin bread? I know he would like them. Lil Punk can help me make them so it would be something special for her uncle.

Is this crafty or just cheap?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Personal in PF

Reading through the comments from my last blog post from my blogging friends made me realize that many of you don't understand where I'm coming from. I know that I've made decisions that have made many of you probably raise your eyebrows.

When we decided to buy a new tractor and take on a loan for over $25,000, I think many of you didn't understand why we would do that. Last winter we had a huge amount of snow. It made us realize that we are easily snowed in here. We needed a reliable way to move the snow and our old tractor had broken down a number of times. Used tractors that were about ten years old were only about ten grand less. We bought new so we know how its been treated and we will have it for the next 20+ years.

One of the reasons that I was willing to buy it is because I see it as a necessity for living in the country. Before we moved, our property taxes were around $4800 annually. Since we moved here three years ago, they have been about $700 annually. After our tax abatement ceases, they will be around $2500 per year. We have already saved $12,300 in property taxes but we need to be more self sufficient out here.

Another way that I'm reminded of how personal finance is very personal is our decision to have another baby. Nobody has kids with the intention of saving money but we wanted another baby to complete our family. Childcare, diapers, clothing, food, school expenses, the list will always go on and we are okay with that.

I understand that I'm not going to get every PF blogger out there. As I look at the decisions I have made, I need to remember to cut others slack.

What PF decision have you made that others didn't get?

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Progress

This was a good month. I tracked our spending and we are right in line with my budget. I guess that is a little lucky because I haven't tracked it for several months. The only category that we were over in is our household category because we spent extra on our landscaping. I need to do a separate post about landscaping.

I also paid $2500 to our tractor loan again and ended up paying extra to the tune of $6500 bringing the balance to $7480. If I could continue paying $2500 per month for the rest of the year, it would be paid off. I think that's highly unlikely as my commission checks are expected to be smaller and I really want to beef up our savings.

How was your September?

By the way, I was doing some reading online about cloth diapers which brings up the question, how many loads of laundry do you do in a week? We do 2 or 3 depending on whether we have bedding to wash. We bought the largest LG washer and dryer so we don't have to do a ton of loads. It is hard to imagine doing laundry every day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Diaper Advice Please!!

I'm at the point where its time for me to stock up and really get ready for baby. I've purchased a couple boxes of diapers already. With Lil Punk, I used Pampers until she was around 9 months or so. When she was eating real food, I switched to the generic WalMart brand. I liked the name brand diapers for the very little baby stage because its not fun cleaning up poop that makes it all the way up their little back.

However, are name brand diapers really worth the extra money? Target has their own brand of diapers that I've heard people swear by and are much cheaper.

What brand did you use? Is it different with boys?

Sidenote: I don't have it in me to use cloth diapers. I get that they're much better for the environment and all but I just do not have the energy and effort to be constantly doing laundry to keep up with them. If I was a stay at home mom, maybe. (Who really knows?)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weekend Away with CC Rewards

Y's parents invited us to go to the Vikings game the weekend of October 13th. I'm so excited. We will be driving with them and staying at the same hotel. The way we book a hotel is through Priceline and pay $50-60 at the most. My mother-in-law found a hotel with a tram to the game but with tax it cost $148.

Luckily for us, I have my rewards from my new credit card, Amex Sky Blue. I get up to $400 in airfare, hotels, or rental cars reimbursed. I will definitely be charging the room to my card and getting reimbursed for it.

Of course we could have requested to stay at a cheaper place but we are getting free tickets through them and riding down with them. I feel it would be rude to change the hotel that they've already decided on.

I'm super excited. Now if the Vikes could just won a game... They are playing the Carolina Panthers who are 1-2 so maybe... Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Maternity Leave

I work for a medium sized corporation that is doing well. My maternity leave is based on how long I've been with the company. I will get 4 weeks off paid at 100% of my salary plus outstanding commissions. Assuming a natural delivery, I will get an additional 2 weeks paid at 80%. I can take up to 12 weeks off.

I'm okay with my benefits. I've heard much talk about how the United States has a terrible maternity leave policy. I don't think its right that the government pays people to have kids. I think our income tax system is skewed by giving a monetary benefit to those with more dependents. It doesn't take a genius to pop out kids and we don't need to increase our population, so why pay people to have kids?

Since there are a number of Canadians who read my blog, I'm sure they will comment on how they can't believe how little time off we get. I prefer our system because we're not subsidizing everybody else. You just pay for yourself. I prefer to pay lower taxes and take care of myself.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Maternity Medical Costs

We are very blessed with wonderful health insurance through Y's employer. There is not any monthly cost to us to have the family plan for health insurance through them.

I called our health insurance today to see if they would cover a breast pump. They will only cover it of your baby is required to stay in the NICU and the mom is discharged. I also inquired on how much it is going to cost me to have this baby. Year to date, I've paid around $75. I have a $400 deductible with a maximum on coinsurance out of pocket of $750. The most I will have to pay will be $1150 but baby will start incurring his own charges and have his own $400 deductible. However, they have a program available where I have to take a couple phone surveys and they waive my deductible. Yay!!!

Then the representative asked me if I was going to have the baby in our state. I am not as my town doesn't have a hospital. I will go to MN to have the baby. This is in the town right next to mine but split by the river and Stateline. Because of this, there is an extra $500 charge. I'm not really surprised by this because my state often has incentives to keep it local.

Now I could deliver in the town 45 minutes away but I'm not going to change doctors and go there. It would have cost me more than $500 to doctor there between time off work and gas. Plus, it is local to me to go to MN in the town I work in.

We flexed $1000 this year for medical and we still have around $700 left.  We will still need to cover some out of pocket but it shouldn't be too bad.

I prefer not to get an epidural or other drugs. I don't even want an IV. I just want to push the baby out the same way I did Lil Punk. Of course babies do have their own agenda so we will see. Epidurals are really expensive so it will save money by not having one. I'm not skipping it because of the money though. That's just my own preference.

We are very blessed to have awesome health insurance. It was around $9000 to have Lil Punk 4 years ago so it will be interesting to see how much the costs have increased. We had different insurance at the time and we paid around $1500 out of pocket that year for health care.

If you've had any babies, how much did they cost? How long ago?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mortgage Update: 1 Year In

We have now had our mortgage for one year. Our original mortgage was for $212,000 at 3.375% with a monthly payment of $937.24. That is our entire payment as we do not escrow. I prefer to pay our taxes and insurance myself.

We pay $950 per month. After 1 year, our mortgage balance is $207,688.72. We have paid down $4311.28. It's not the greatest paydown but I have not paid any extra and I'm very reluctant to do so. I think that our money could work for us in retirement or other investment accounts better. I will continue to pay $950 or $1000 per month but no more.

Do you pay extra on your mortgage?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Cheap and Lazy Decision

I have made a cheap and lazy decision about my future baby. I plan to breastfeed my baby for the first year. This won't be free as I do plan to go back to work. I will need a breast pump and baggies for the milk.  This will probably run around $350-400 over the course of the year. This is still way cheaper than formula.

I call this my lazy decision because there is no way that I would be willing to get up multiple times in the night to go make a bottle.  Its much easier to just get up and stumble into the baby's room and everything is all ready to go. This is my lazy decision but the alternative would be to make my husband get up. He would do this bit I'm okay with getting up every time. The newborn phase goes too quickly not to cherish it.

There also a host of other reasons why I choose to breastfeed. I do think its healthier for the baby. It gives me a reduced risk of breast cancer. It helps me lose weight without working out. My favorite part is the cuddling with mg baby. It is our time together.

There are so many decisions to make as a parent but this one is super easy for me to make.

Sidenote: I'm not casting judgement on those that choose a different option. Formula is not evil and babies are fine on it. This is a personal decision.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lawnmower Update

We did buy the lawnmower that was on clearance. With tax, it came to $3780. It is still in its original package sitting on the trailer. We have two months to change our mind. I don't think that's going to happen because I have a plan to pay it off by the first of the year.

Between my larger than usual commission checks this month and last month, I was able to pay extra on the tractor. We now owe $7500 on it. I plan to pay $2500 each month through the end of the year to pay it off. Our savings is sitting at $10,000 and (hopefully) will stay that way, barring an emergency. We will use our remaining daycare flex money to pay for the lawnmower. I have only turned in one claim in March for daycare flex so we still have $3750 remaining.

I just need to work really hard to make sure my checks are large enough to pay $2500 per month to the tractor. I should be able to do that. I need to make sure that I have enough in November before I have my baby to get a good commission check in December.

It is pushing things financially to buy the lawnmower now instead of the spring but we saved over $500. Do you think it was a silly decision?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Random Things About Me

1. I have never swam in the ocean but would like to.
2. I am completely comfortable talking to anybody about being regular/irregular. Poop is not embarrassing to me. Everybody goes!
3. I like watching show about prison inmates. Many times it is their socio-economic status and poor decisions that have intertwined to land them in prison but they all have a story.
4. I once drove on the Autobahn in Germany. My friend was still too drunk at 7am and I needed to get to the airport.
5. Shopping for jeans is my favorite--except when I'm pregnant.
6. I loved my baby inside me as soon as I found out I was expecting. I'm not sure if dads can really understand this.
7. High quality bed sheets are definitely something I value (TJ Maxx is awesome for these).
8. I failed eighth grade art. Its just not my forte.
9. I just started a Fantasy Football league for the third year at my work.
10. At one point, I would like to become a foster parent. I had a rough go in my early years and I think that I could bring something to the table with being a foster parent.

What is one random tidbit about you?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We bought our rotary tiller on 8/18 for $1780 plus tax. When we sold the motorcycle, we put away the money for the tiller. We had been watching the weekly ads for it to go on sale. The 4, 5, and 7 foot tillers were going on sale but not the 6 foot one we wanted. Yesterday when I opened the paper, it was on sale for $1700. Y called the store we bought it at and they said it was outside of the two week window so they couldn't give us the refund and we couldn't exchange it and rebuy it because it wasn't in its original package. The receipt clearly said it was good for returns through 10/17.

I wasn't satisfied with this answer because it didn't say anything about having the original package to return it and we were just going to buy it again. I called a different store that is equal distance away. After being transferred twice and speaking with three different people, they agreed to the refund and we just had to bring in the receipt. Our refund ended up being $88 and change.

Here's the bad part about our little trip there. We saw the exact lawnmower that Y wants on clearance. It is a zero turn mower with a 54" deck. It is normally $4000 but was on clearance for $3500. We were planning on buying it next spring if our finances permitted. Even if we had to pay interest on our line of credit to next spring, it would be around $70.

Do we buy the lawnmower or pass on it? $500 is a good savings but we should probably build up our savings account instead.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ironic

After a crappy ending to a pretty good day, I went back and read my recent post about stress and how it pays. Its a little humorous now. That post was definitely very cocky. Sometimes life is funny that way.

Monday, September 2, 2013

August Goals Recap and Sept Goals

My main goals for August were my pantry challenge which I already posted about, getting rid of Lil Punk's old clothes and paying $2500 to the tractor. I got rid of many of her old clothes by selling some to Once Upon a Child, giving some away and donating others to a thrift store. I did not sell any on E-Bay because Y doesn't want me to sell any. He said the money is long gone so he would rather give them away and help someone else in the process.

I did pay $2500 to the tractor. We are still on schedule to have this paid by the end of the year.

For September, I have two big goals.

1. Finalize hail claims for both vehicles
2. Pay off the tractor--this is a huge stretch goal but I want it gone. We shall see.

The last couple of days have been much cooler here, around 70. Its been very nice.

How is your September looking?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My B-Day

It's my birthday today. 34 years old. I had a relaxing day going out to lunch with my awesome husband, Lil Punk and in-laws. I even got a nap today:)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 2013 Grocery Challenge Update

I ended up spending $306 this month for groceries and my goal was to come in under $400 for the month. I definitely consider this a success. Most months we spend around $550 or $600. We ate down our pantry and ate from our garden as much as possible. I did not do one large grocery trip but did a few smaller ones.

While it was a successful month and we ate decent food, I did miss trying a little bit more elaborate meals and menu planning. I menu planned but only for the meals that we could make out of the pantry, fridge and freezer. Since I enjoy cooking and eating very much, I did miss this.

For September, we will still try to use up some items in out pantry but I will go back to regular grocery shopping and trying new recipes. I will do my best to keep it under $500.

On a much more lively note, we got three kitties for outside. They live in our shed. They are so cute. Watching them play is fun for all of us. No names just yet but we're working on it.

How did your August turn out for grocery spending?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Preschool Supplies

I called this morning and got Lil Punk in preschool starting tomorrow. I was quite relieved that they had room for her. There is a $15 registration fee and $85 per month. We were also given a list of required supplies. Y took care of getting everything but a new backpack. They also had student pictures taken today so that was another $25. This is starting to add up.

A part of me just wants to cry because my baby isn't big enough to go to preschool. She won't be taking a nap three days a week. Time has flown so quickly. She needs to stay at 4 years old. That age is perfect. Does this feeling ever go away? Or is it just more pronounced as they get older?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Starting a New Car Fund

After my post a bit ago about my crappy car, I decided that I needed to start saving for a new to us vehicle. This might not be for me but for my husband. He drives a 2001 Ford F-150 and it has held up well but its aging. I started it this month and we have $1587 so far in it. This is where the money came from:

$200 from last paychecks
$25 from recycling aluminum cans
$1162 from hail payout for Y's pick-up
$200 from my work expense reimbursement

My car loan sits at $6600 and is 0%. It should be down to $5000 by year end. Having this car fund will give me piece of mind that we could pay that off if things get too tight with paying for daycare for two.

Speaking of daycare, I somehow missed signing up Lil Punk for preschool this year. I don't know how I missed it. She goes to a church daycare that also has a preschool and school. I will call the daycare director tomorrow to see if they can still fit her in. I plan to have her start school next year so I would like it if she was in preschool this year. She turns 5 next July so she will just make the deadline. I know I could wait to send her but I was held back due to an August birthday and I was bored in school. I easily could have went the year before.

Have you kids all done preschool? Is it absolutely necessary?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stress Pays

This post came about from a conversation with my husband. Our neighbor has decided to look for a job after living on alimony and child support exclusively for five years. She cannot handle any stress and needs someone to constantly direct her. Her boyfriend needs to tell her how to care for their garden because she cannot handle the stress of making those decisions. It is my assumption that she will get a low paying job or a job that requires physical labor because she cannot handle stress. I think you either get paid for physical work, skilled labor or stress.

I have a lot of stress in my job. I have production goals every month, work on commission, am responsible for my own work, and shit hits the fan every day that needs to be dealt with in an efficient manner. My cell phone is on my business cards and rings when I have a day off. I am paid very well for the stress of my job. It is demanding and I do well with that. If it were easy, it wouldn't pay a third of what I make.

I think that if you are unwilling or unable to handle stress, you are not likely to make much money without back-breaking labor or a desired skill set.  I think that stress pays.

What do you think? Does stress equal money?

ETA: I don't meant to make it sound like I don't like my job. I love it. I like the constant challenge of getting the deal and making it work. I love dealing with people for the sales part of my job. I also like the money that comes along with it :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Garden Goodies and Other Ramblings

My garden is in full swing. I've already made a tentative plan of what I need to change next year. Y and I are sick of summer squash and zucchini. He won't eat it at all anymore. We do have a lot of cherry tomatoes. They finally started to make it out of the garden this week. Lil Punk and I love tomatoes and snack on them in the garden. We also have several pepper plants. Tonight I cut up bell peppers and onions. I packaged them up and froze them. They will come in handy later for fajitas.

We also have a ton of cucumbers. Again, Lil Punk and I love them. We have four kinds: lemon, salt & pepper, Straight 8, and Armenian. I don't want to pickle this summer. Any other ideas on how to preserve them? Can you freeze them?

We will also have corn in a few weeks and winter squash which keeps well. I'm not sure how our potatoes will turn out. We have heavy clay soil which isn't conducive to root vegetables. We shall see.

Y and I were playing with my belly tonight. We would push on my lower left side and the lil guy would kick back. He kept doing it, like he knew it was a game. Its hard to believe that we will have a baby in a few months. I have all the big stuff but now need clothes and a breast pump. Would you buy a used breast pump? I would buy new tubing and everything else that the milk touches. Haven't decided on that one yet.

I am almost done covering an extra location for work. It has been nice for commissions but has been super busy. I will just be mentoring the new hire. I have think that will be a challenge as she is a bit of a know it all. I don't know you know everything when you just start a new job but some people are amazingly smart.

Regarding my personal grocery challenge for August, I'm at $187 for the month but need to buy milk and some fruit. This might continue into next month.

How is your week looking?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Carry a Baby for Money?

Would you be a surrogate for a certain sum? With being 6 months pregnant, I wonder about this. I'm not talking about carrying my biological child but the biological child of the parents to be.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I loved my baby. At first it felt a little unreal but as I started to experience constant fatigue and sickness, it became more real. I truly loved my baby when I felt movement for the first time. It would be so hard to carry a baby and feel it move and know that I wasn't planning on being the baby's mommy at the end.

Aside from the happiness of being pregnant, there are some not so great things about it. Extreme fatigue, "morning" sickness, heartburn, acid reflux and back pain are some of the more common ailments. My body often hurts as things shift and expand to make room for baby. I could feel when my ab muscles were slowly stretched apart. Weight gain and stretch marks go along with pregnancy. Labor and delivery aren't exactly a walk in the park either.

So, would I go through all this for a certain amount of money? No.

But I would go through this for a friend or sister who was unable to carry a child at no charge. I could never carry a baby and give it away to never be part of its life moving forward. There would never be enough money to be okay with giving the baby I carried to strangers. Only love would allow me to carry a baby for a loved one.

Is there an amount you would be a surrogate for? Could you do it for a loved one for no money?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Payday Progress

Today was payday for both of us. We both get paid on the 15th and the end of the month. This paycheck was my commission one so it was larger. I paid $2500 to the tractor loan, bringing it to $14,000. We are on track to have it paid be the end of the year if my paychecks continue to be good.

Another goal for 2013 was to have my car loan balance to $5000 by the end of the year. I made an extra $400 payment that puts us on track for that. I will continue to make $400 monthly payments to hit the $5000 by 1/1/14.

The other savings goal I started today is a new (to us) vehicle fund. I put $200 in an old Capital One account that I wasn't using. The balance is now $209 that can go to a new vehicle. It might have been my post the other day that made me finally do this.

I also added $4000 to our savings account, bringing the balance to $13,000. This is our emergency fund. I'm not sure what number in comfortable with. My goal was $10,000 but now I would like to see it higher.

I'm getting quite nervous about paying for daycare for two kids. I have made a budget based on our incomes (without commission) and the numbers work but I'm still anxious about it. We're really not the best at budgeting.   

Comments? Advice?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hail Damage

We had a mega storm here last week with severe hail and tornadoes. Thankfully the tornadoes touched down in rural areas and nobody was hurt. The hail did damage to both my and Y's vehicles. We noticed Y's pick-up damage right away and turned in a claim. I washed my car today and noticed a few small dings. I brought it in for an estimate after work and the total is $2572. Yikes!

Here's the hard part: I don't want to get my car fixed. Its only 3 years old with 60,000 miles but its a piece of crap. Its a Mazda 6 and is falling apart. The entire underbody has been wired up because it fell off in pieces and would drag on the ground. The wheel well fell apart. The entire hood is chipping because of a bad paint job after hitting a deer when I owned it for 2 weeks. Basically its a piece of crap and I regret ever buying it. The worst part is that I'm still paying for it.

Buying this car was a stupid decision. Its not made for gravel roads and cannot stand up to our harsh winters. The two options are that we trade it in for a four wheel drive or I drive it for several more years to lessen the impact of the depreciation and poor craftmanship. Either option stinks. Getting $2000 out of my insurance for this car makes it a little sweeter but I will always be left with a sour taste in my mouth for this car.

What would you do?

Friday, August 9, 2013

August Pantry Challenge 8/9/13

I'm doing a pantry challenge for August. We moved into our house last September and I prefer to eat my pantry down to nothing at least once per year.

I have spent $122 so far this month on groceries. My goal is to keep grocery costs under $400 for the month. That is very tight for us. We usually spend around $550 per month. My garden is in full swing and that is helping out as well.

Tonight is the Vikings' first pre-season game. We invited friends over but I'm not sure they'll be able to make it. Go Purple!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Marital Money

Homeowner By 30This post is inspired by LBC Teacher at

I married Y when I was 24 and he was 26. I was a college student and waiting tables. He was a private in the army. He had just moved back from Korea and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He asked me to marry him when he came home on leave after Korea. Two months later, I flew to TN and we got married at the courthouse. My sister met me there and his Sargent from Korea stood up for him. I moved there a month later.

Amazingly, we had never talked about money in detail or what our game plan would be for money despite dating for four years. The only thing we had agreed upon was that I would keep my own separate account with enough money to escape if I needed. Sidenote: after growing up in a very abusive situation, my husband needed to know that I would always have the means to leave if he hit me. This wasn't just for show--I would have and still would leave in a heartbeat at the first sign of abuse. I have zero tolerance for abuse.

Since I moved cross country, I closed my regional bank account and Y put me on his account as soon as we got to TN. He never kept a register but would check his balance via ATM. I pretty much took over the record keeping.  I didn't have a job yet so we shared all of our money.

Throughout the nine years of our marriage, we've always shared one pot of money. We keep at least $500 in our checking account so we don't overdraft it. We talk about big purchases and share common goals with respect to paying off debt or savings. Neither one of us feel guilty for buying lunch out or going shopping. If we are spending too much money, we agree to make an effort to cut back.

By sharing one pot of money, we saved over $40,000 the year that Y was deployed to Iraq. We both wanted a house and we jointly saved for the down payment. It didn't matter that Y was making much more money than me.

Y made more money at first, then me, then Y, then it evened out and now I make more money. It is still our money, not his or mine. I really feel that if we had separate accounts, we would not be where we are today. I don't feel it would be fair if I had a ton of discretionary income and Y had not much. It wouldn't feel balanced. Even if we divided up the bills in proportion to what we make, I would still have way more money.

Obviously I'm a huge fan of having one shared pot of money. What do you think? What works for you?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gift Card Shopping

Lil Punk is spending the weekend with my in-laws at the lake. We haven't had a weekend like this since last summer when she was at the lake. It feels so weird and lonely. She has been exceptionally whiny this past week so I think I'm happy for a little break, just time to recharge and truly appreciate being a parent again.

Y and I went out for dinner last night, like a real date. It was great! We went to Red Lobster because we had a gift card for there. We also went to Target afterwards. I had a $40 gift card so we bought Y sunglasses and I got a new bracelet. I still had a gift card for Bed Bath & Beyond from a year ago. I bought a trio of bathroom art and new onesies for the baby.

We had a very good time for not a lot of money. I love gift cards! Too bad we don't always have enough to shop with.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Recap and August Goals

For July, I made the $2500 tractor payment that will put us on pace to have it paid by year end. I didn't make any other transfers to savings or to my car.

For August:

Pantry challenge--clean out my pantry
Pay $2500 to tractor
Pay $400 extra to car
Pay for propane
Sell 5 items on E-bay
Bring Lil Punk's old clothes to a second hand store or donate them.

Here's to a more frugal August than July!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Garden and other Ramblings

My garden is coming along well, right along with the weeds :). I made a cabbage and ramen salad tonight with cabbage, green onions, and carrots from the garden. I've also made several dishes with summer squash and zucchini. I have made a pasta salad with zucchini, fried zucchini and grilled zucchini. Y is so sick of zucchini. I would gladly take any recipes or cooking suggestions with either zucchini or summer squash.

Lil Punk and I ate the first ripe cherry tomatoes today. I love, love tomatoes. I like eating them plain, in salads, cooking with them in almost all dishes, stuffing them with rice and cheese, in relishes or salsas, in soup, broiled, grilled and any other way I can think of. They were the one food I craved when I was pregnant with Lil Punk and it seems like she now shares my tomato appreciation.

We've eaten the following from our garden: kohlrabi, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, beets, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, ground cherries, bell peppers, hot peppers, carrots, peas, and tomatoes. The other things we would like to eat are the following: corn, tomatillos, garlic, edamame, lima beans, shell beans, string beans, parsnips, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, turnips, and potatoes.

We celebrated Lil Punk's fourth birthday yesterday. I love the age she is now. I don't want her to grow up. She's so perfect (in my eyes!). She got quite practical birthday gifts. I'm decorating her room for a little girl. I ordered a bunk bed set online but it didn't make it here for her birthday.  I am excited to see how her room looks when its all done.

Do you have a garden? How's it coming along?

Friday, July 26, 2013

My First Luxury

In high school and for one year after, I worked at a bank for minimum wage. Then I got a job doing road construction. I usually worked around 85 hours per week and made around $12 per hour. I felt rich.

I also hired my first luxury. I hired my oil changed instead of doing it myself. It was around $21 to have it done. I could usually do it myself for around $11 by buying oil by the case. I had blocks that I ran my car up on and changed it.

It was really nice to hire it done. So easy!

What was your first luxury that you purchased or hired out?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unfrugal Friends

Do you ever just kind of expect that your friends should invite you over instead of going out when you are in their neighborhood?

I love hosting people at my house. I'm pretty creative with cooking a good meal, usually using stuff I have on hand. If somebody is coming over, I feed them. I don't ask them to bring anything and I would not suggest going out if we're at my house. I plan ahead if I know we are having guests but I can also plan an entire meal on the fly.

Lil Punk and I are hanging out with my friend and ger kid after work. We are going to their house and going to play on the park. She suggests picking something up. Its just an added cost that I wasn't entirely expecting because I would do it differently. Yes, I was expecting her to cook or grill. Maybe a bit presumptuous...

Do you ever find it hard sometimes because people just have different expectations than you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just For Asking

I have saved over $100 this past week just by asking. I ordered a bunk bed set online from Target.com almost two weeks ago for Lil Punk. I still haven't received it today but checked out Target to see if it was on sale. I have been watching this set with mattresses for over three months when I finally decided to order them for her birthday. They were on sale today so I called Target. I didn't know when I called that they have a price matching policy that includes their own website. They informed me of their policy and are sending me a gift card for $41 and change.

The other way I saved money was on our DirectTV bill. I received our bill and it was $40 more than usual because we being charged for NFL Sunday Ticket (this is $225 per year--holy cow!). I called them to cancel it and I asked the guy if they had any discounts available that we qualified for. The guy said he would take ten bucks off our bill for 6 months. It was that easy.

Just for asking...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Friend, Rafiki

My friend, Rafiki, has moved his blog. Please check out his new blog:

http://bajanbudgeteer.wordpress.com/

Rafiki is a super positive person and I love reading his blog. Check it out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Car Repairs...Ugh!!

Y's pick-up needs repairs to the tune of about $500. Remember how my last post I said it needed something with the front-end, maybe alignment, it turns out it was the tie rod and something else. I guess it will come out of savings. Ugh!!

This just happens to come after an expensive weekend of camping. Whoever said camping is cheap lied. Camp site fees, gas for the 4 hour drive, food, drinks, it all adds up. We need to stop spending so much freakin' money!!!

August will be a pantry challenge. More to come on that later. Care to join me?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Expenses Before Winter

I know its still July but I can't help but thinking and planning about expenses that are coming up prior to winter. Here goes:

  • Filling our propane tank, I just ordered this when I found out the current price is $1.39 per gallon. About $700
  • Tiller to finish grading our yard, $1900. This is already budgeted for from the proceeds of the motorcycle sale.
  • Tires for Y's pick-up and alignment because the current ones are wearing funny. We don't know exactly how much they will cost but he definitely needs them before winter. We are estimating $1000
  • Blinds for our house. They would cut down on our winter heating bill. Even though we have a new house, there can be some wicked winter wind. We will check out some place online, estimating $1200. Has anybody ever bought blinds online?
  • Landscaping supplies to include fabric, plastic edging, grass seed, and rock. Maybe around $2000? We would like to get it seeded prior to winter. The rock will be the main expense and we need to shop around for that.
I'm not even going to add them all up. Propane and tires are the priority. We need to plan for these things as the winter months will be pretty skinny for us with me taking maternity leave and having increased daycare costs. Planning for maternity leave will be another post.

Have you thought about upcoming expenses that should be taken care of before winter?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Annoying Coworker

I happened to mention to my coworker that I would like to buy a rental house or a small apartment building, like a 4-plex, but my husband isn't on board. She said that I should just buy stocks, like around $3000 or $5000, and try to make money doing that. She said she did that a few years ago. At that point, I had to cut our conversation short.

Does she really think that's the same thing? They are in no way similar. This is the same coworker who treats me like I'm poor. When I happened to show her the drapes I was looking at Kohl's online, she showed me a much more expensive website where they were around $300 for a set. She made sure to follow it up with "Oh, you probably can't afford that though." I could afford $300 drapes but why spend that much if I like the ones online at Kohls? I was truly offended after that conversation. That's just plain mean. 

People who think they're rich need to get a clue. Its never okay to talk down to somebody like that. Clueless!!

Have you run across anybody like this? If not, lucky you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Credit Card Rewards

I applied for a new credit card today, Amex Sky Blue. After charging $500 in the first three months, I will get 30,000 bonus points. I can exchange those points for $400 in travel. It needs to be airfare, hotels, car rental, or cruises. I plan to go to Minneapolis with my family for a long weekend this fall. I thought that be perfect for our hotel.

I'm not worried about my credit score taking a hit because its over 800. If I can't use my credit score to score deals like this, then what good is it?

Have you taken out a new card specifically for the perks?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Retirement Check Up: July 2013

One of my goals this year is to increase our retirement savings to $75,000 (excluding both our pensions). We started the year with our retirement savings at $52,934.11. I just received all of our end of second quarter statements. We are at $64,976.71 so we are more than halfway to our goal.

 However, we've contributed about $7200 this year. That means that the other $4800 was due to market gains. While that's nice, we have no control over that. We are not on pace to currently got our goal this year.

Even though this is a goal, I'm not going to increase our retirement savings to make it happen. We have too many other things going on like preparing for maternity leave and paying off our tractor. 

Overall, I'm happy with our progress. We started saving for retirement late in the PF world. I was 27 and Y was 29. We were more interested in having a good time and just getting by than putting money away for our future. While some could argue that was a dumb decision, we needed those years to sow our wild oats. We just need to catch up now.

Where are you at with your retirement progress for the year?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Motorcycle is Sold!!!

Y finally sold his motorcycle today. He originally listed it for $7000. We were getting very worried as its almost mid July and we've not had the best motorcycling weather. Last week we made the decision to relist it for $6400 and it finally sold today. WooHoo!!!

The allocation for the money is as follows:
$800 for tool chest for Y
$2000 for roto tiller
remainder to the tractor

We really want to get that debt paid.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Student Loans: Why I Loved Them

I graduated from college in 2006 with around $18,500 in student loans. This covered tuition for 3.5 years at two different state colleges. I paid for my last semester in cash because I had added up how much I would owe after college and it scared me. I always paid for my rent, living expenses and books from my income from waiting tables and bartending. I graduated in 4 years with a college transfer by taking 18 credits every semester.

I would not have been able to go to college without student loans. I asked my parents to cosign a student loan for me and they said no.

After graduation, we still lived in TN until Y got back from Iraq and exited the army. For the six months after graduation, I worked full time and paid off about $3500 in student loans. I then consolidated $15,000 at 4.5% interest. My payments were $113 monthly.

I am so thankful that I was able to take out student loans because I would not have been able to go to college otherwise. A college degree is an absolute requirements where I work now. My college set me up for a greater earning potential throughout my life than I would have had otherwise.

What do you think? Are student loans evil or are you grateful for them?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Baby Update: 20 Weeks

I'm now 20 weeks along. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and then my ultrasound will be set up. We are definitely finding out the sex of the baby. I want to know and to be able to further bond with my baby. I don't want a surprise.

The baby is getting more and more active but I still don't feel it often when I'm busy at work. Lil Punk and Y haven't been able to feel any kicking yet.

My weight gain has been much more in control this time. I've gained around 15 pounds so far. I gained around 60 pounds with Lil Punk so I'm so far behind that number. I'm not worried about losing the weight because I will breastfeed again but I had constant back pain before that I would like to avoid if possible. It does get hard on your body to put on so much weight. I just don't feel that the recommended 25 to 35 pounds is realistic for most women.

Names? We have no idea. We don't agree on anything. Hence, another reason we need to find out about the sex.

We are excited but life still goes on. Its still summer and we still have work responsibilities. November 15th will be here before we know it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Goals Recap and July Goals

Looking back at my June goals, I didn't do to bad.

1.Apply Y's work reimbursement to the tractor
2.Increase savings to $6500
3.Pay $2500 on the tractor
4.File for flex reimbursements for dental appointments
I accomplished the first three but not the last one. I have been waiting almost six months to get my dental bill figured put with my insurance. Its been an ongoing headache.

For July:
1. Pay $2500 to tractor, bringing total to $19,500
2. Get new bed for Lil Punk
3. Add $200 to savings
4. Pay additional $200 to car, $600 total for July

Happy July!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Family Drama

I don't have any contact with my parents and one biological brother. My parents were shitty parents growing up. My childhood was filled with abuse, physically, verbally, and emotionally. I remember thinking that I would change my life as soon as I could.

Enter adulthood and I began to make my own choices. I became a mom and my number one priority is protecting my daughter. My mom thought that I should bring Lil Punk around my one biological brother who is a rapist. My last conversation with my mother almost three years ago was me telling her that Lil Punk would never be allowed around my one brother. She pretty much told me to take a hike and I gladly did it.

My oldest sister has a tight relationship with my mom. (she also lets her kids be around the rapist). I finally told her today that I'm pregnant and asked her not to tell her parents. She asked if I meant forever and I said yes. I'm relieved that I finally told her but I hate family drama. So stressful.

This has nothing to do with PF but just on my mind. ...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Musings

We had a busy day planned with a birthday party but Lil Pink got sick about an hour before the party. We of course cancelled and she was so disappointed. We will have to set up a separate playdate with the birthday boy.

We are planning to go to the zoo tomorrow with friends. That should be very fun. My town might not have much but we have an awesome zoo. You can spend a good four or five hours there looking at all the different animals.

I weeded my garden for about 3 hours today. We've had so much rain. Everything is growing rapidly. I've had a few spinach salads from my garden. Love that!

We ended tonight by having a family bonfire. Good summer fun!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekly Spending 6/21/13

This was a crazy expensive week and I can't even tell you why.

Prescription 5.45
Gifts 51.00
Beer 52.86
Eating out 16.91
Gas 123.15
Groceries 186.18
Misc. 67.69. This includes numerous trips to the convenience store for Y, something for our water pressure and a trip to Family Dollar for water wings and other small summer items.

Total of $503.24

The sad part is that we didn't do a huge grocery stock up for that amount of money. We have a lot of drinks, snacks, and miscellaneous food. I really need to work on this category. Y and I need to talk.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What if we Dave Ramsey'ed Now?

We could get out of debt now if we were gazelle intense. But would it really help us out? We have 2 debts, my car ($7800) and tractor ($22,000). We also have $9300 in savings. We could pay off my car with savings and still have the recommended $1000 emergency fund. Considering we just bought the tractor for $29,000+ and they don't really depreciate like cars, I'm confident we could sell it to cover the loan.

Where would that leave us? We would have paid off a 0% interest loan and not have much in savings if one of us did lose a job. We wouldn't have a tractor loan but we would have no way of moving any snow this coming winter. We may be able to save up for a new tractor but not likely the whole thing before snow falls.

We would be debt free except for our mortgage but its very debatable if we would be in a better position.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day! I hope you all had a great day. Its been a very rough weekend for me. I have had a terrible cold that has bordered on the flu for 10 days now. After coming home from work early on Friday, I slept for 24 hours. I just don't seem to be getting better. I hope I feel better soon.

Lil Punk has been such a sweetheart. She rubbed my back last night every time I coughed and said, 'Its okay Sweetie." Sometimes when she's naughty, I forget that we must be doing something right.

I just hope I feel better for this week.               

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Spending 6/14.13

I'm kinda liking doing these spending reports weekly because they do make me think about my spending more closely.

Groceries 80.25
Beer 43.58
Eating out 28.38
Gas/car wash 68.93
Bar stools 39.99 (I had a $200 gift car)
PTO shaft 174.01 We borrowed our neighbor's tiller and Y lost the shaft when returning it. Expensive mistake but we spent at least 6 hours looking for it with no luck.

Total of $435.14. Excluding the PTO shaft, we spent $261.13. Not too bad.

Somebody is coming to look at Y's bike tomorrow. Fingers crossed that they buy it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Calculating Net Worth

I don't post my net worth on my blog but after reading numerous blogs about their June 1st net worth. I decided to calculate my net worth just out of curiosity. This is my dilemma. What all do people usually include for physical assets? All vehicles? Motorcycles? I don't feel right about including certain things of value like my wedding ring. I'm not ever selling that. Same thing with my furniture.

What all do you include? All vehicles? Anything else outside of your house or condo?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Spending 6/7/13

I have not done a weekly spending report for a long time but I feel that our spending is getting away from us and I want to have a better handle on it. This includes all of our household spending, excluding regular bills.

Prescription 5.91
Eating out 13.37
Y fun 16.90
Beer 18.52
Gas 83.69
Target 104.02
Groceries 139.52

Total $381.93

Expensive week. For the Target purchase, Y commented last weekend that it looks like nobody lives in our house because we haven't decorated. We got a few things at Target for the house and I got a maternity shirt. In coming weeks, we will likely be spending more on the house and of course maternity clothes.

How was your week?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

I'm at home this afternoon with Lil Punk. She has an ear infection. She has been very crabby this afternoon.

Y received a 4% raise that will be effective July 1. Raises are not guaranteed so we're so thankful.

I felt the baby for the first time yesterday. I love that. Its the best thing about being pregnant. I love this baby so much already. In 4 weeks, I will be halfway done.

We received Y's reimbursement from work and applied it to the tractor right away.

I would like to buy drapes for my living room. They are on sale at Kohls and I have a 30% off coupon that starts tomorrow.

I am more than ready for it to warm up here and feel like summer.

Work has been extremely stressful lately. I have been super busy which is good for my pay but it does take a toll on me. Working on commission is hard but I like it.

My veggies are growing so well. So excited! I would post pics but I'm a little incompetent with uploading pics to my blog. I guess it would help if I actually posted from a computer instead of my phone. (hence the number of typos)

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, May 31, 2013

June 2013 Goals

  1. Apply Y's work reimbursement to the tractor
  2. Increase savings to $6500
  3. Pay $2500 on the tractor
  4. File for flex reimbursements for dental appointments
If I get all of those done, I will be a happy camper. Happy June!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rain, Rain, Come Everyday!

Ir has rained here almost everyday for about the last 10 days which has made it a bit dreary. BUT my newly planted garden loves it. I have so many plants sprouting. This is a list of everything planted: squash, watermelons, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, asparagus, herbs like cilantro, basil, oregano, and dill, peas, beans, edamame, lettuce, spinach, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, radicchio, garlic, tomatoes, bell and hot peppers, okra, potatoes, corn, beets, ground cherries, tomatillos, Swiss chard, bok Choy, eggplant, cabbage, and lots of onions.

I love garden time. I love cooking with the fresh food and just going outside to get a snack. I wish all of my blogging friends lived close so I could just drop off a garden basket for you all.

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Goals Revised

I decided that due to a change in circumstances that I needed to revamp our financial goals.

  • Increase savings to $10,000--currently at $6000
  • Payoff tractor
  • Retirement accounts to $75,000
  • Pay down car to $5000--currently at $8400
These goals are right in line with both Y and my priorities.

Have you revisited your 2013 goals? Did you need to change any?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spend More to Make More?

This post does not follow any logic that I've ever seen in the PF blogosphere but I think there's truth to it.

My hypothesis: People who spend more make more money because they need to fuel their expensive lifestyle.

I firmly believe this to be true in many cases. Many people who have a ton of toys and an overall expensive lifestyle find a way to make more money. They aren't willing to be satisfied with a small salary. They want to get promoted or will ask for a raise. Many of these people are attracted to professions where they can make a lot of money, often by commissions.

If they were willing to budget and be satisfied on a small salary, they wouldn't have the inner drive to push harder to make more money. I feel that this statement most often goes against PF logic. I think that too much emphasis is put on proper budgeting within your current income and not enough focus is on making more money.

I have most often had commission jobs and some of the people who make the most money are those who have the most extravagant lifestyles. They need to push as hard as they can to pay for their boat, sports car, golf membership, lake house, expensive shopping habit, and who knows what else.

I realize that this doesn't sound very financially responsible and it isn't to a certain degree. What do you think? Think I'm smoking crack with this one? Do you know of someone who falls into this category?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Plan for Paying Off the Tractor

I have spending too much time thinking about our tractor debt. We don't have a payment due until next month but I paid $600 to it this month. It brings the balance to about $24,650.

This is my game plan to pay it off.

$7000 from sale of motorcycle--it hasn't been terribly nice here so not many buyers yet

$3000 from remainder of daycare flex money

$2500 paid monthly until November when I go on maternity leave--this will be pushing it but these are my better months for commissions.

We should be paid by the first of the year and the start of double daycare. This is pushing it for us but I honestly do better when I'm super focused and a little uncomfortable.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Student Loan is Paid!!!

After thinking about it all weekend, I logged in this morning and paid off my student loan in full. Yay!!! I'm so grateful that I was able to borrow money to go to college because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to go.

Have a great week!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Gardening Day!!

Gardening is my best hobby and its finally time to plant everything this year. Yesterday I planted onions, garlic, beets, peas, okra, and all the plants I bought; tomatoes, many peppers both sweet and hot, cabbage, and eggplant. Today will be a busy gardening day until it rains this afternoon.

Y plowed up a separate vine garden for cukes, pumpkins, squash, zucchini, and melons. The unfortunate part is that when he was returning the plow to our neighbors house, a piece fell off and they can't find it. We will be replacing it for them. Not quite sure how much that will be. They looked for it for four hours yesterday and couldn't find it.

I'm now 14 weeks along and getting back my energy. I had a Dr appointment this past week and everything is going well. Lil Punk came with me and was able to hear the heartbeat. She thought that was pretty cool.

I've put an effort into stocking up on groceries when they're on sale. I found a deal where soups were only $.98 after a coupon yesterday. I even saved 30 bucks last weekend on a grocery trip. Small progress...

What's on you agenda today? Any gardening?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Excuses

This post isn't exclusively about debt but more about life in general. It greatly annoys me when people have excuses for everything that doesn't go their way in life. I have written about it before in this blog but I had a very hard life up until the age where I was able to start making my own decisions. I am estranged from both my parents and one sibling. I am not able to go back to my hometown without hiding out because I get physically sick. It was very rough but I knew I could change my life around by working hard and making good choices in life. I did that and have succeeded.

I did it by not making excuses. I powered through the rough times by knowing that I could do it. I used all resources available to me.

It is said that after Anne Frank was captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, she was so happy to be outside and hear the birds. That is more than looking at the glass half full. That is the optimism that I want to carry throughout my life.

ETA. I am in no way comparing myself to Anne Frank. I merely admire her and her optimism.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Debt to Pay?

I'm typing this post because I know the logical choice but its not the emotional decision I want to make. I want to devote all of our "extra" resources to paying off our new tractor. Here is a list of our debts. You tell me what you would try to pay off first.

Car 0%, $350 payment, $8400 balance

Student loan 4.5%, $150 payment, about $3000 balance

Tractor 3.75% currently, $587 payment, $25,215 balance. We planned to transfer this to our line of credit but haven't because the rate would be 4.25% with an interest only payment of about $90. Might as well keep the lower interest rate while we can.

If you remember from a few posts back, I was going to try to wipe out most of the student loan in April. I'm on commission and some things were pushed back. Its just how commission works. This is a good month for pay though.

What debt would you pay first?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Upcoming Daycare Expenses

I am due in November so I approached the director at Lil Punk's daycare to get an estimate on how much we will be paying. We currently pay $475 monthly for Lil Punk at a private daycare center. With the baby and Lil Punk, it will be $1025 monthly for daycare.

I'm sure I could find something cheaper if I was willing to look at home daycares. I am not willing to do that because they always close. Two weeks off in the summer and numerous sick days throughout the year became the norm at the daycare I was at. I ended up taking so much time off on top of sick days for Lil Punk. If I had a work ethic like that, I wouldn't make any money. Sorry that's my rant about home daycares.

How does $1025 for a baby and 4 year old compare to daycare costs in your area? Kids sure aren't cheap but are so worth it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New CC

I got a new credit card yesterday and I'm so happy about it. Lil Punk desperately needed new clothes so we went shopping at Kohls. I had contemplated for a long time about getting their credit card because they send out awesome coupons to their cardholders. My mother-in-law has their card and will let me use it anytime. I wanted my own so I would get their coupons in the mail and could shop online.

I applied and was approved for their card. For doing so, I received an extra 30% off their sale prices. This is what we got for $61: 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of capris, 2 shorts, 2 packs of socks, headbands, and 4 shirts. Lil Punk is super happy that she has clothes that fit now. Kohls is awesome!

Do you shop at Kohls?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

$25,200

That's how much we paid for our brand-spanking new tractor with loader that was delivered yesterday. We bought a Kubota 5100. I'm not exactly sure how much our payments will be because we're going to put it on a line of credit. We hope to pay it off this year. We will do this by selling Y's motorcycle for around $7000 and focusing on it next.