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.