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.