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?