Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Promotion!!

Y got a promotion.  He is now the head plumber.  The promotion comes with a $5000 raise.  I'm so proud of him.  He started his plumbing apprenticeship when he got out of the army 9 years ago and now he will be testing for his master license.  Woohoo!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Big Picture vs. Small Picture

I peruse many personal finance blogs and one thing that stands out to me is whether they focus on the big picture or the small picture or both.  Focusing on the big picture means building wealth and bettering one's long term financial situation.  Focusing on the small picture means cutting everyday expenses.  I read both types of blogs but I'm more interested in the big picture blogs because it is my ultimate financial goal to be at least a millionaire.

One area that I really like about the big picture is focusing on earning more money.  I think that it makes for an easier life to save 20% of $100,000 income than to save 50% of a $40,000.  I like earning money and I'm on commission so my earning potential is high.  When I was in college, I waited tables and bartended so I could make more money than I would have from working a minimum wage job.  I've long focused on making more money because I want the better life that more money can partially provide.

Another area that I like about the big picture is investing.  Growing up I was told that investing is only for rich people.  I was never taught that it would be easy to invest a small percentage of my income from day 1.  My first experience with investing was opening my Roth about 7-8 years ago.  Shortly thereafter, I opened up a retail account at Sharebuilder to buy individual stocks.  I do think that building long term wealth needs to include investing.

Housing and transportation make up the other portion of the big picture for me.  We sold our previous house because the taxes were almost $5000 per year and we didn't see that we were getting anything out of the higher taxes.  We pay more now in maintaining our property than we did in town but we feel that is the right decision for us.  We took a huge risk by buying a doublewide trailer on a nice lot, living in it for a year and a half, and building our new house.  We know many people wouldn't downgrade like that to get what they want but we did so we could get the new house we wanted on the lot we wanted.

I think the small picture things are important but I like focusing on the large picture because my long term goal is to build wealth.  I will do a separate post on how I focus on the small picture things.

What about you?  Have you noticed the 2 different mind frames with of bloggers?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

I started Christmas eve off by working until 1.  When I came home, I took a nap.  When I got up, we opened presents with just our family.  The kiddos were very excited.  I received a long down dress coat with a fur collar, exactly what I wanted.  I gave Y a helmet for the new 4-wheeler.  He loved the style but needs a smaller size.  We then made the scallops, King crab legs and fresh pasta with sauce.  When I had asked Lil Punk previously what she wanted for Christmas dinner, she had replied that she wanted ravioli, meaning the canned Chef Boyardee ravioli.  The fresh spinach ravioli was my compromise.

On Christmas morning, we took our time going through our stockings and the Santa gifts for the kids.  We had a lazy morning and then were off to Y's folks house for a noon dinner.  We spent the rest of the day at their house.  They gave us a Kitchenaid mixer.  It is so nice.  And so expensive.  I seem to be the only one who wishes that they would cut back at Christmas.  My mother-in-law is retiring in 3 months at age 59 and I'm worried that they won't have enough to sustain their lifestyle.  Overall, it was a good time at their house.  I even snuck in a quick nap with Baby G.

Today my BFF and her mom made the 3 hour trip to visit me.  They brought me our half beef and we had a wonderful visit.  Her mom made me a quilted throw.  I'm so grateful because I know how much work goes into quilting (and money).  We had coffee and snacked on pomegranate.  I so wish that I loved closer to them.  We chatted about our plans for our gardens next year.  Her mom is taking classes to become a master gardener and I would like to do that at some point too.

I did take Baby G into the doctor today because he keeps pulling on his ears, 10 days after he's been on medication for a double ear infection.  Turns out that he just likes to pull on his ears.  I felt a little foolish but I felt like a terrible mom before when I learned he had a double ear infection and impetigo.

Y and I have been talking about our plans and goals for the new year.  That will be another post.

How was your Christmas?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas!  I'm focusing on enjoying spending time with my family.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Family Drama Continues

I received this news from 2 of my sisters this morning.  My mom is currently in jail.  She beat up my dad, tried to burn the house down, and then left with a rifle threatening suicide by cop.  My oldest sister is up there and trying to get my dad to divorce her.  I hope he does.  He is a decent man who let her rule the roost for far too long.

All this violence makes me physically ill.  Uggh.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Week

I am so close to being ready for Christmas.  I still need to buy a couple things for stocking stuffers.  I am getting Y hot sauce for his stocking.  Lol.  He loves the crap and tries different types all the time.  I mailed Christmas cards yesterday.  I bought them at Walmart for 44¢ apiece.  It seems that the cards I'm getting in the mail are all Shutterfly or something equally expensive.

Lil Punk has her skating program today.  Y's parents are coming down for it so I'm making a potato, ham and broccoli casserole for after the program.  Lil Punk still doesn't really know how to skate but she is getting better.  She still falls but gets up every time. :)

December has been a very expensive month.  I will be thankful when its over so we can get back to normal spending.  December always feels like we're bleeding money.  We are getting half a beef next week that will be $1050.  I have $1000 tucked away for it.  Expensive but well worth it.

In January, we are off to Florida for our vacation that I booked 9 months ago.  I paid for a rental car using my airline miles.  I did upgrade to an SUV so hopefully we should have enough room.  I did order a bag to put our stroller in and I still need to order a carseat bag.  I'm nervous about traveling with kids but Y will be there to help me.  Thank goodness!!  I need to do a separate post asking for some Florida suggestions.

Until about 4 today, we have a simple day planned of watching the Vikings and eating chili.  I look forward to hanging out with the fam before the craziness of Christmas starts.  Have a wonderful Christmas week!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Goal Recap

I think that overall 2014 was a good financial year for us.  I will recap personal goals in a different post.  My income stayed very close to 2013 which is a huge blessing for us.  

  1. Increase regular savings to $10,000-- we achieved this early in the year and have stayed fairly consistent but we only have $9000 in there now because of my BP and Conoco impulse purchases.  
  2. Pay off car--sorta pass.  We paid my car off in July only to turn around and refinance Y's pick-up.
  3. Increase retirement to $100,000.  We blew this out of the water but I won't know final numbers until the end of year.  
  4. Get mortgage under $200,000--I never paid extra so this goal was pretty much let go in favor of others.  It is currently around $202,000.
  5. Increase giving by 10%--we definitely achieved this.  We have given more this year than ever before.
  6. Stick to grocery budget of $500 monthly.  FAILED!!!
  7. Open retail investment account and fund it to $20,000.  I actually added this goal in July.  While I didn't make it to $20,000, we do have just over $17,000 so I'm pretty happy with this one.
I will be happy if 2015 ends as well for us :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Terrible Day

Ugghh!!  I had a terrible work day today.  It started off with a bad phone call at 8:15 this morning in which I was hung up on.  It went downhill from there until I decided to leave early at 4:30.  When I have days like this, I really wonder if I am going to work until I'm 60-65.  If we liquidated and moved to a much smaller, paid off home, we could probably work part time at jobs with less stress.  I like my job but after a day like today, I'm not eager for tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Finances

I bought 54 shares of BP stock today for a total of just under $2000.  BP has plunged with gas prices so I thought it would be a good buy.  I guess this is my own hedge for current gas prices.

Y's boss was fired a couple weeks ago.  His position was posted this week and Y's bosses talked to him about applying.  It would require additional testing for him and one of his bosses even looked up the testing criteria and test sites.  We are hopeful.  We don't know how much of a pay increase it would mean but I'm hoping for about $6000 annually.  If it is less than $4000, we would have to evaluate if it would even be worth it as it is more responsibility.  His boss was making $12,000 more than Y currently makes but he had been passed up for the last few merit raises.

Christmas has been expensive in our household.  I haven't added up the total damage yet.  I am probably about 80% done at this point.  I do need to get my Christmas cards made and sent out.  I did go to a seafood sale today to get Christmas dinner.  I bought King crab legs and scallops, 2 pounds of each for about $60.  Expensive but we rarely go out and we love seafood.

I did finish out the shopping for my needy family of 3 kids.  I got each one an outfit.  The two little boys got a monster truck and the 9 year old girl got a satchel she can color and bling up.  I talked to a couple other members in the group about what they bought.  One guy said that he always gave clothes because he figured that kids in that situation needed those the most.  My first thought as that every kid needs a toy for Christmas.  Another said that he went to Walmart that morning and dropped $120 on gifts for 2 kids because those poor kids needed some good toys.  I gotta say that I agree more with the second guy (but I prob wouldn't spend that much, I spent $90 for 3 kids).  Either way, it does feel good that this group gives back as part of our Christmas party rather than doing some silly gag gift.

Do you think gas prices are going to keep going down or will they go back up?  Maybe I should buy some shares of Conoco.  Hmmm...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bought an ATV!!!

We are the proud owners of an Arctic Cat 650 ATV.  I'm so excited.  It was used and we got it for $3000.  I can't wait for the weekend to go sledding behind it with my hubby and kiddos.  I love living in the country because we have the space to have fun the way we like :)

Anybody else like riding 4 wheelers??

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I'm Thankful For


  • My wonderful husband who is an awesome father
  • My two perfect (in my eyes) little children.  Lil Punk who is so smart and funny and Baby G who is so easygoing and adorable.
  • A warm cozy house that is so comfortable for our family
  • My job which allows me to provide well for my family
  • Enough food to eat so my kids nor I ever have to go to bed hungry
  • Having the acreage to plant a big garden and having a husband who helps me plow and plant
  • My good friends who support me even if they don't always support my decisions
  • Good health for my family and myself--this is so often taken for granted until one doesn't have it
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stay at Home Day

I am at home today with Lil Punk because she threw up last night.  However, looking at her now, one would never guess she was sick last night.  We have had fun today.  We've snuggled on the couch, colored pictures, sent Daddy a cute picture text, and been a whole lot of silly.  She told me that she likes being sick so she can stay home with me.  I do miss our quality time together.

We are going to Y's folk's house for Thanksgiving.  I'm bringing black and green olives with a corn dish made with homegrown frozen corn.  It should be good.  Thanksgiving is very nice at their house--no yelling or getting mad, no panic about the food.  Everything is very relaxed with good food, football and a nap.  My mother-in-law will take my kids while I nap afterwards.  I think she likes having the individual time with them.

I have a pretty good start on my Christmas shopping.  I still need to get a gift for Y but I think I will get it on Black Friday online.  I'm looking at getting him Beats headphones. I do also want to get a large black sled for the kids.  I need to sit down and make a list.

We are working on eating the rest of our beef before we get more next month.  I have a roast in the Crock pot today.  Then we only have 7 pounds of hamburger and a couple packages of steaks left.  I'm trying to spend less on groceries so I can build up some cash to help out with the price of the beef.

I've been thinking about goals for 2015 already.  This next month will fly by.  Anybody else thinking about the new year yet?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Financials


  • Last payday was a very good one for commissions for me.  My check had about $6000 just from commissions.  Y commented to me that I'm paid well for an easy job.  My job is anything but easy.
  • I decided not to put any in our retail investment account as we have some large expenses coming up.
  • We have half a beef coming which should be about 350 pounds of meat and it will cost a whopping $1350 approximately.  Yikes!  It comes out to be around $3.85 per pound.
  • We are going to Florida in January.  Plane tickets and hotel are taken care of but we will need spending money.
  • We decided to buy an ATV, up to $3000.  We really want this.  Y is researching used ones.
  • Christmas shopping has been started and we have a good chunk of it done.
  • I usually volunteer to buy a needy kid a Christmas gift.  This year we got a family of 3 kids--little bit more money but we are fortunate in that we can afford it.  I wonder if they only get these presents?  And who they are?  
  • I signed up for the Amex reward of spend $10 at 3 small businesses on November 29th and they match up to $30.  I will definitely be doing that.  If you have an Amex card, I would encourage you to sign up.  
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Practical Parsimony

Head on over to Sluggy's blog and check out her post about Practical Parsimony.  She needs money to get her water turned on.  Even if you can spare a couple bucks, it all adds up.  Sluggy's blog is the one labeled Don't Read This, It's Boring on my blogroll.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blogging Break

As I was home alone with my kids last weekend, I received a call that my classmate had died in a car accident.  He was a good man, 35, engaged but no kids.  It was a sad day.

Following the death of my boss' husband, it put me into a melancholy funk.  I think that realizing your own mortality requires some soul searching.  However, life goes on.  Baby G turned one this week.  We had a lovely party for him yesterday and he loved it.  He was so excited to eat his cupcake.  He was trying to eat his gifts and was crawling on top of everything.  It was a fun day.

Financially, things are good.  I need to sit down and plan for some bigger expenses coming up.  I am going to have a couple skinnier months coming up.  I still have to get a better grip on it.

Have a good week, my blogging buddies!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Local Holiday

This weekend is a local holiday here--deer hunting.  Y left on Thursday to go hunting with his buddy.  He hasn't gotten a deer yet but I hope he does.  I really like venison.  Venison does not end up being cheap meat but its more about the sport and camaraderie.

Anybody else have hunters in their family?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Much to Give?

How much do you give at funerals?  I give $20 if I don't really know the person, like a coworkers dad that I had never met.  I give $100 if it is somebody that I know fairly well, like a friend or friend's spouse or (cringe) child.  I was talking to some coworkers and they give $10 or $20.  I would only give $20 or $25 for a wedding but way more for a funeral because that's final and not by their choice.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October 2014 Expenditures

I like reading what others actually spend so I will share my numbers.
Mortgage 950
Daycare 800
Savings for irregular expenses 400
Pickup 500
Phone 185
Electric 138
Direct TV 93
Lowes blinds 373
Groceries 597
Gas 452
Household 250
Gifts 29
Alcohol 115
Y misc 67
Clothing 69
Personal care/medications 55
Entertainment 59
Misc 55

There you have it.  I get work reimbursemens for my phone and mileage.  I also put $2000 into our retail investment account.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Life is Short

My boss' husband had a heart attack on Sunday while he was out running.  It was all of 8 minutes from the time his Fitbit recorded him last moving until the ambulance got there.  He is 52, a runner, coach of the cross country team, seemingly very healthy.  They announced today after numerous meetings with the neurologist this week that they will be donating his organs.  My heart just aches for the entire family.  Hug your kids, tell your spouse you love them cause you just never know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

50k

I just checked my 401k and the balance is over $50,000.  It is $50,135.91 to be exact.  I started this account just over 3 years ago.  I've been pumping it with money and the market has been kind.  Woohoo!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sick--Ugh!

I have had a terrible cough for the last 5 1/2 weeks.  I finally went to the doctor and I do have bronchitis.  I called in yesterday to make an appointment and got in yesterday afternoon.  It was to a doctor that I had never seen before and she was awesome.  She asked me a whole slew of pertinent questions and took the time to thoroughly examine me.  It as a full 2 hours that I was there as I had to wait about an hour after my appointment time  but I would rather wait for a knowledgeable doctor who cares than the one who gives the usual 5 minute consult.

I have just felt so rundown for so long now.  I can't wait to feel better.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Retirement

I want to retire early, like next year.  I would like for both Y and myself to work part time and be able to hang out with our kids more.  Y wants to retire early, like around 55 or 60.

We could sell our house and buy something for around $125,000 that would be owned free and clear.  We could pay off Y's pickup and be debt free.  I think we could make it on two part time incomes.  Ideally, I would like to move to Alaska off grid.  We could buy a dry cabin and Y could plumb it.  It would be cheap living.

I really think I want to do this.  Big risk, big reward!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why I Save

You may have noticed in the past couple months that I have focused on saving money.  I have increased my retirement contributions to 10% this summer and just upped them again to 12%.  I started a retail investment account and contributed $11,000.  Since today is payday, I just added another $2000 to it also.  Our liquid savings is sitting at $10,000.  The reason that this has been my focus lately is because of my father-in-law.

He turned 61 this year.  They were planning on retiring early this year but things went a different way.  About a year and a half ago, he had routine knee surgery and then back surgery.  Suffice to say that neither surgery was routine and his life hasn't been the same since then. He had massive complications with both.  Then he had a second back surgery.  He was told to get out and walk after that.  He was walking and fell and hit his head.  He was taken to the ER and was in critical care for a week.  He recovered somewhat and returned to work.  He then had two more falls.  The last fall was last June.  He has been out of work since then.  He has disability insurance but they are arguing with worker's comp.  Their income stream has taken a huge hit.

This has been a huge financial derailment for them.  They were planning on retiring but instead have had less income and much greater expense between medical expenses, time off work for my mother-in-law, and travel expenses as they have had to travel to other cities for second opinions.  

This has been an important reminder that things don't always go as planned.  We need to save money when we can because nobody knows what the future holds.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Manic Monday

I didn't really have another name for this post.  We had a busy weekend.  The kids and I went to a pumpkin patch with a couple of my girlfriends from high school and their kids.  It was fun but a very exhausting day.  Yesterday kind of sucked because I had a headache all day, not a hangover headache but a congestion one that would not go away.  Also my fantasy football team lost big.

We have a very busy week.  Lil Punk has picture retakes this evening.  I am going to a friends Tastefully Simple party tomorrow.  Lil Punk has gymnastics on Wednesday.  To top it off, I have a very busy work week.

On Saturday, Y's BFF and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner with Y's parents.  Y's parents will watch our kids while we go to a haunted hospital.  I can't wait!!  It's going to be so much fun!  The hospital is the old state hospital and it was used as a mental hospital so it is really haunted. I love October and Halloween!!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Increasing our Grocery Budget

I realized yesterday when I added up our monthly spending that I need to increase our grocery budget.  It was at $500 and we cannot make that work with our current habits.  I'm debating increasing it to $550 or $600.  This covers breakfast and dinners for all of us, snacks and lunches at work for Y and myself.  Lil Punk eats at school for lunch and Baby G eats lunch at daycare.  We rarely eat out.  We had two huge splurges of dinner out last month and we spent a total of $100 on dining out.  The previous month we spent around $30 on dining out.

Because we eat at home and take our lunches, I can't make $500 comfortably work.  I say comfortably because I'm not willing to change our diet to eat cheaper options.  I like having fresh fruit, veggies, fish, good cheese, and fresh pasta on occasion.  All of those are more expensive than trying to bare bones it.

I am also a foodie at heart.  When I make a grilled cheese sandwich, I want cheddar and Munster cheeses with fresh tomatoes and poblano peppers on good bread with a pesto spread.  Instead of making a basic taco dip, I want mine loaded with lots of fresh veggies, olives and avocado.  I know it costs more to cook like this but its a splurge that's well worth it in my book.

To top it off, I also like entertaining at our house.  It's fun for me to make a good dinner and to have friends over to share it with.  I want them to come over with their kids and enjoy a good meal with appetizers and drinks.  It's cheaper than going to a crowded restaurant and its way easier with kids.


Maybe I am justifying increasing our grocery budget but I'm okay with it.  Food is expensive!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Money Post

Tomorrow is our payday.  Have I ever mentioned that I don't care for having the same payday as Y?  I wish our paydays were spread out so we could have income coming in more than twice a month.

I looked up my paycheck amount today and Y's is always the same.  I deducted the amount for daycare ($800), for our savings account for irregular expenses ($200) and for the Lowes card ($373) to pay for our blinds in full.  I paid $300 earlier in the month for our Lowes card.  I just got the bill today but I often pay ahead of the bill.  I will also put $400 into savings tomorrow.

I've made a couple payments for the pickup and that now stands at $14,500.  Our investment account is at $11,000.  Prior to year end, I would like the investment account to be $20,000 or at least more than the pickup loan.  I don't regret making regular payments on the pickup while chunking more of our money into investments.  I can't wait to get a sizable amount in there that will actually grow.

I was hoping that my 401k would top 50k this month but it looks like it won't make it.  While that's a bit disappointing, it is better to buy shares at a discount.

I still have to total all spending for September but I think it should be pretty good.  I had quite a bit of grocery spending this past week so we start October with a full pantry and fridge.  I'm also focusing on using up all garden produce.  My tomato plants are still producing like mad.  Everything else has pretty much wrapped up at this point.  I'm already tentatively planning for next year's garden.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kids Expenses

Lil Punk is starting to have some of her own expenses outside of daycare.  Now that she is in school, there are school lunches and daily milk that total $2.05 per day.  She has mentioned that she could also eat breakfast at school.  That would be an additional $1.50 per say.  Up till now, she has eaten breakfast at home but its nice to know that option would be available if we don't have time one day.

She also came home one day selling magazines.  I did buy a couple as it was a good price.  I bought All You for 2 years for $21 and one year of Organic Gardening for $15.  I didn't go around and ask people to buy magazines though.  I have no interest in peddling magazines for my daughter's public school.

She finally starts gymnastics today.  She has been on a waiting list for awhile.  There is a $20 membership fee and a $30 fee for every 4 weeks.  It certainly isn't cheap.  We're hoping that gymnastics helps her socialization.  She has always been in daycare but the transition to kindergarten isn't going well.  She says she hates kindergarten except for lunch, recess and doing art projects.  I hope that as she makes more friends, it will get better for her.

What do you pay for your kid's school lunches?  I'm just curious.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Celebratory Dinner

Y and I went out on Saturday night to celebrate our retirement milestone.  We went out for dinner with two other couples and went to a concert. It was so much fun.  Y's folks watched the kiddos and we went there after dinner to feed Baby G.  We walked to their neighbors' house to get the kids.  One of the ladies there asked us where we were going.  When I replied that we were going to the concert at the Fireman's Ball, she gave me tickets.  That saved us $20 and it was BYOB so a cheap night.  I had so much fun hanging out with friends.  I had forgotten why we don't do that more often until the next morning.  I wasn't hungover as I only had one drink but was super tired from going to bed at 12:30 and waking up at 6.

We are going to make it a point to go out at least once a month.  I think that is reasonable.

Happy week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

OMG...Jealously??

I reactivated my Facebook account to get on the local classified page.  I happen to see that one of my friends rented a stretch limo for her kids' birthdays.  Guess how old they are?  5 and 8!!  Wtf?  I immediately felt a bit of jealousy.  This friend is the "perfect" mom.  Her kids are in several activities and are just the perfect little kids.

My kids are wonderful, BUT not perfect.  Currently they are not in any activities.

I deactivated my Facebook account right away.  I don't need to feel like that and I do feel that FB is one big competition.  Paint the perfect life for everybody to see.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Investing our EF

I love the 15th of every month because its my commission check.  I usually have an idea of how much it will be but I eagerly check my bank account to see how much it actually is.  Yesterday's pay was good.  I earmarked $2500 to go to our new investment account.

My new plan for the investment account is to have at least 6 months of expenses between that account and our regular savings account.  We have a hard time keeping over $10,000 in our savings account because something always comes up.  The investment account will still be fairly liquid but not as easily accessible.  I want to get $24,000 between the two accounts for starters.  That would be 6 months of bare bones budget of $4000.  We had over $11,000 in our savings account and $8000 in our investment account before the new transfer.  

But wait?  One's EF is supposed to be liquid, not invested.  Yeah, but I'm okay with the added risk to make more money.  We still have our regular savings which I want to keep $10,000 in and we have our home equity line of credit with $28,500 available.  I think we can handle any of the small emergencies.

Is your EF completely liquid?  Do you think this is a silly idea?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Funday

We are winding down a super busy weekend.  We left on Friday after work and headed to my BFF's house about 3 hours away.  It was our annual weekend to make salsa.  We made a huge batch of salsa.  It turned out very good but I wish it was a bit hotter.  We visited, rode four wheelers, had a bonfire and just hung out.  We came back last night so Lil Punk and Baby G would sleep the whole way.  It was a fun day and a half.

Today we had a relaxing day.  I dug out most of the potatoes and onions from the garden.  I still have a few in there.  I picked most of the peppers and the ripe tomatoes.  I'm not ready to pick the green tomatoes as I'm hoping we have a bit of time before the first frost.  My friend's mom also gave me homegrown garlic so I'm going to plant that.  It's always a bit sad when my garden is done for the year.

Tomorrow is payday so I will try to do a financial post then.

Happy Sunday!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Investment Account Started

One of my goals for August was to start a taxable joint investment account.  I opened it and funded it with $8000.  I liquidated all of our investments two years ago when we built our house because we needed all the money we could. I feel fortunate to have a good job and I
need to save for the what-ifs.  You never know what curve ball life will throw at you.

We had our first sale for this month.  We sold 12 quarts of motorcycle oil for $25.  Since the motorcycle was sold a year ago, it makes sense to sell the oil and declutter.  I also gave 4 big patio chairs to our neighbors.  We didn't make any money but I like getting rid of stuff we don't need or use and they will make use of them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Selling Crap

I want to sell a bunch of crap this month.  My goal is to make $300.  I listed a vacuum and amplifier today.  The vacuum is $10 and the amp is $100.  Really I just want to get rid of shtuff but I want the MOOLAH!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

6 Figures in Retirement!!!

One of our Goals for this year was to break the $100,000 mark for our retirement accounts.  I'm happy to report that we broke that goal this month.  I received Y's annual pension report which is over 12k.  He is now fully vested in this account but I hadn't been including it in our totals.  I added it in and we have just over $110,000 in our retirement accounts.  I will still push on to get $100,000 in our other accounts but I'm checking this box off.

Since I turned 35 yesterday, I'm especially pleased we reached this goal.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Minnesota Accents

I seem to have lost my pf blogging mojo so I'm just going to blog about whatever.

I got into an interesting conversation with Rivulet over at $12 A Day about accents.  I'm from Minnesota which has one of the most made fun of accents in the country.  If you have seen the movie Fargo you know what I'm talking about. The accent is usually done wrong in the movies but it is there.  It has its roots in a strong Scandinavian background.

My grandparents were Norwegian and even though they were both born in the States they never lost the thick accent.  The o's are longer and th is often pronounced as d.  When you listen to them talk, it is very up and down with accentuating different syllables than normal.  When Y first met my grandma, he asked where she was from and couldn't believe that she had lived in MN her whole life.

I could hear the accent before I moved away but when I lived in TN and went back, I could really hear it.  I live now in North Dakota and the accent here is not as pronounced because it was settled by many Germans.

Anyways, I'm proud to have Norwegian ancestry.  Norwegians came here and worked their own land to make a modest living.  They were typically educated and women played a strong role in farm life from taking care of the house to working the fields with their husbands.

Anybody else have Norwegian ties?  What is your ancestry?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day of School!!!

Today Lil Punk started kindergarten.  As she just turned 5 a few weeks ago, she will be one of the youngest but she is ready to go.  We went yesterday at 4 to meet her teacher and drop off her supplies.  It was a little hard to say goodbye this morning but she, I mean we, managed.  I also paid for her lunches which are 1.75 a day plus milk.  I just wrote a check for $100 and was directed to their online system.  I have no intention of paying extra to use the online system.

Her bus driver also came over to our house last night to meet Lil Punk last night.  He is a very nice man.  I was a little surprised that he made the effort to come over on his own time so my little kindergartener wasn't scared when she got on the bus.

I talked to her about how her day went and she was pretty excited.  She likes her teacher and is overall very excited to finally be in school.

I will post a different time why we decided to send her to public schools over the private one that she had preschool at.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Garden Bounty

My garden is producing quite a few veggies and fruits so I thought I would update.  I am making a roast later with potatoes, carrots, onions and thyme from my garden.  This will be the first time that we have eaten any potatoes from the garden.  I have made quite a few stir fry meals with fresh eggplant, baby summer squash, onion and peppers.  So far we have had peas, grean beans, kohlrabi, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, bok choy, eggplant, summer squash, and onions.  We had a few radishes right away but it wasn't a good year for those.  Our tomatoes are just getting into full swing and I'm happy about that because I love LOVE tomatoes.  Cucumbers and melons are growing but haven't produced anything big enough to eat yet.

Our sweet corn completely failed this year.  Thankfully a guy I know came into work and gave me a bag of sweet corn.  Since he is a farmer and had a ton of sweet corn, he invited me over to pick as much as I wanted to freeze.  The kiddos and I went over that night.  We picked enough to freeze 24 quart freezer bags of corn.  We should be good for the winter.  I'm so thankful that he gave us so much corn.

We've also eaten quite a few ground cherries and raspberries.  If you've never had ground cherries, definitely try them if you have the opportunity.  So delicious!

How is your garden doing?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Payday Payday!!

I haven't felt like posting lately.  We got new phones last weekend and this phone isn't as user friendly to blog from.  Lil Punk told me on Tuesday that we couldn't afford to buy milk because we bought new phones.  I hope she doesn't tell people at daycare that.

Today is payday for both Y and myself.  I love payday.  My check is the biggest that I've ever received.  Woohoo!!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Update

I haven't posted all week even though I've thought of writing something several times. It was kind of a hard week. One of my best friends miscarried on Sunday and it seemed to put me in a funk. She only told me a couple weeks ago that they were expecting and I was so excited for them. They have one child and have been trying for years to get pregnant. They had just gotten approved to be adoptive parents and are just waiting to get picked when she got pregnant. It's just so hard to watch somebody you love who wants a baby so bad when there are parents who could care less that they are going to be parents and drink or do drugs throughout their pregnancy.

Right now I'm chilling on the couch watching the morning news. I have the day off to take Lil Punk school shopping. She is still sleeping so I'm just catching up on blogs, balancing my checkbook, checking Twitter, just relaxing. It's a little unreal that Lil Punk just turned 5 and starts school in less than two weeks. After shopping today, I'm dropping her off with Y's parents to go to the lake for the weekend. I'm looking forward to spending the whole day with her.

Lil Punk and I had dental appointments this week. I need a crown. I do have very good dental insurance but my out of pocket would still be $438. I might wait until after the first of the year so I can flex more for 2015.

Last weekend we had Lil Punk's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. It was not frugal but it was fun. Total spent was $103. Honestly it was nice to not worry about getting ready, hosting and cleaning up. Plus, it was fun. The kids loved it.

Our daycare bill goes down starting in September to only $800 per month. I also won't be paying for preschool so that is a savings of $85 monthly. Combined that is $340. Y's annual raise also went through and is $80 net monthly.

Also, Y said I could quit my job if we paid off our mortgage. Some days it is tempting. We only owe $204k. He said we could just work part time jobs. Maybe we could buckle down for a few years and get it paid. Haha!

Off to go shopping with my big little girl!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Working on Commission

I work in sales and my compensation is salary plus commissions. I am guaranteed my salary and earn overtime. I love working for commissions because I like being paid for my hard work. Before I had a commissioned job, I would find myself working harder than many coworkers and wasn't usually compensated for my harder work.

Before having a professional job, I waited tables and bartended. I loved doing both and was very good at it. I made a minimal wage of $2.13 per hour and relied on my tips for my main income. I worked hard and was focused on each shift to make as much possible. Money motivated me to do the best I could to earn the most.

Fast forward to my current job and I'm still motivated by money. I want to earn as much as I can without working crazy hours to provide for my family. I won't work more than 45 hours per week because I don't want to interfere with my family time. I always know where I'm at with upcoming income. I like being in control of my own paycheck and having the opportunity to earn more than I would in a regular job.

This past month is my best month ever for commissions. I don't know how much my paycheck will be on August 15 but it will be the biggest one I've ever received. July was a little hairy at work trying to get everything done but I'm happy that it all came together. Now I will have a bit of money to start the retail investment account.

Are you in sales? Do you or have you ever worked on commission? Do you like it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 2014 Spending

We had a fairly good July with regard to spending considering we went out of town camping and went to the lake for a day trip.

Eating out 115.99--fairly high for us but we were traveling a bit
Entertainment 1.61--just one Redbox movie
Gifts--62
Alcohol 173.32--Ouch! We were definitely overbudget here. We spent $50 alone last weekend because we bought extra for our family.
Gas 447.90--again, traveling is expensive
House 117.54
Personal Care 46.93--had to add this category as I can't fit toiletries for the whole fam into our grocery budget
Y misc 98.24
me misc 90
Clothing 206.13--needed a new swimsuit and some Crazy Days specials
Groceries 488.25--could be better but could be much worse. $150 was for groceries to bring for camping as we were in charge of certain meals.

We definitely spent more on alcohol and groceries due to camping but we didn't pay for the gas for the boat or the campsite. It all works out.

How was your July?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Update

I have a stir fry planned for tonight with eggplant, summer squash, onions and bok Choy, all from my garden. I hope its good.

Camping was fun but I'm so so tired. We went tubing and kneeboarding. Add in sleeping on an air mattress in a tent with a baby and it makes one tired mama. 

How is your garden coming along if you have one? I just love hearing about everybody's gardens.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Update

Today is my Friday. We are going camping tomorrow with my older brother and his family and two of my sisters. I'm so excited!! It will probably be expensive as we are driving 3 hours to get there but this is our annual get together.

Our credit cards were hacked yesterday. I caught it right away when the charges were still pending. I canceled our cards and reordered new ones. Meanwhile we are using our debit cards. Its kind of a pain because I now have to constantly balance our checkbook. I haven't done daily balancing for a long time.

We have been riding bikes in the evening. Baby G sits in a bike trailer and Lil Punk is on a Weeride Copilot behind my bike. It's a fun workout and good family time. We have only been going 4 miles but 4 miles on gravel is a workout, especially with the wind here :).

Work is going very well. July should be my best month ever for commissions. August will be a little slower and I'm grateful for that. I plan to invest most of my big fat commission check!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How I Plan to Build Wealth

My plan going forward is to build wealth through a taxable investment account. I plan to actively invest all extra money we have. I have talked to my broker and I'm not sure if we will do this through individual stocks or mutual funds. It will depend on what the market is doing when the money is invested.

We have almost $10,000 in our emergency fund. I plan to keep it at that. The $2000 on the credit card will be paid when I get the statement. I only put it on there to get the credit card rewards.

We had about $13,000 in our taxable account until we built our house. I'm super excited to have this as our next financial goal.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back in Debt

I almost feel a little bad for posting this after the comments on my previous post but here goes.

Y bought a new to him pickup yesterday, a 2012 Dodge Ram. He traded in his pickup. Here are the numbers:
Price of new pickup $30,000 plus $1540 in taxes and registration
trade in $4000
credit card $2000
cash down $10,000
financed $15,540 at 2.66% for 48 months, payment of $342.03

Yes, we were debt free for one day. I'm not going to focus on paying this off right away. I want to build wealth by investing instead. More to come on that later.

How ironic!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, Monday...

Just a general update...

On the situation with my mother, thank you all for your kind words. I don't know yet what I'm willing to do. I prayed about it with my bff and I have some peace for now. It's a work in progress.

My cell phone broke. Not so happy about that. I do have an older phone from my sister that I will likely use instead of buying one.

Lil Punk is sick this afternoon so I'm home with her. We took a little nap this afternoon. She is still just laying on the couch so I know she's not really feeling better. Poor little girl.

Tomorrow is our payday. It is a commission check for me and a very good one. I plan to pay off my car, $2200. I also intend to transfer some to the new car fund which is for a new pickup for Y. I was planning on saving enough to pay cash for our next vehicle but it looks like that won't be happening. His pickup is on its last leg and we would like to sell/trade it before anything happens.

I'm a little annoyed that I will be out of debt and likely right back in it. Probably another post coming on the vehicle situation.

I also need to add up grocery spending.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Family Drama

Thankfully I'm anonymous here. Here is a post with too much info.

I had a tumultuous childhood. I have 5 siblings and violent parents. My mother was very abusive, verbally, physically and emotionally.

Things went from bad to worse when I was 22. My younger brother drugged me and raped me in my parents house. He is a monster. My mother's reaction was just as bad. She basically said it was my fault too, even though I was found unconscious. She kept my brother employed by her and my dad because they had financial obligations. He still lives with them. She even lied to the police and refused to give them any information after I went in for a rape kit.

I turned to counseling several years after it happened to somewhat sort out my life. I have tried to do my best.

I cut contact with my mother almost 4 years ago when she wanted me to bring Lil Punk around my brother. We had a huge fight on the phone. She told me that I was a willing participant with my brother. I cut ties.

I got a voicemail from my brother today that she has a brain tumor and is going to have an operation.

What would you do?

I know this post is very convoluted. My stomach is in knots.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid-Year Retirement Update

One of my goals for this year was to increase our retirement accounts to $100,000. We started with $80,141.07. I'm happy to report that as of June 30, our accounts are at $91,392.36. Woohoo!!! I can't believe that we are over 50% of our goal when I was on maternity leave last winter. I can't wait to hit six figures!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upped My Retirement Contributions

I increased my 401k contributions to 10% today. I also get a 5% match that isn't affected by this. I'm really nervous because my paychecks will be smaller. But I don't want to be poor when I'm older. But I have so much other stuff to save or pay for.

I'm still a bit torn on this decision.

For groceries, we've spent $123 so far this month. We are about right on pace for the month. The sad thing is that I don't feel like we've bought much food for that price. I did buy steaks and stuff for kebobs over the long weekend. It was a splurge but cheaper than going out. We've only spent $14 on eating out when we grabbed breakfast on our way to the lake last weekend.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 2014 Zillow Value

I don't put much faith in Zillow but I do check it occasionally. The Zillow estimate for our house this month is up to $321,813. I think that the value is around $325,000 based on the comparables but it's a little hard as our property is very unique. We have almost 20 acres with a beautiful old barn but a new house. We have around $350,000 into the lot and house. We have no intention of selling any time soon so it doesn't really matter.

Do you check Zillow? Do you think its accurate?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 Days In

Y stopped and picked up a few things for his lunches. We are at $45 spent for July. It's those sneaky little trips that really add up if you don't track them. We still gave food in our fridge and I'm hoping that my garden starts to produce veggies soon. I think that green onions, lettuce and radishes will be ready soon.

We are having friends over tomorrow night to shoot off fireworks and have a couple drinks outside. I might pick up stuff for s'mores.

Have a great Fourth of July!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

July 2014 Grocery Challenge

I have noticed that our grocery expenditures have been steadily creeping up these last couple of months. It could be that we are now buying baby food, the cost of food is going up, or the summer when I love cooking. I don't care why. I just want to keep my spending to $500 this month. That will cover three meals a day for all of us.

I'm going to track my spending and blog about it on a regular basis this month. Our month starts today because it is our payday.

I spent $29 on cheese, salad dressing, brats, buns, and juice. All except the buns were a good sale so we stocked up a bit. We have $471 left for the month which seems like a lot but will go so fast if I let it.

Anybody care to join me?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We went camping this weekend for one night only. We went to Storybookland in Aberdeen, SD.

We left on Friday after getting off work early. It turned out to be about a 2 1/2 hour drive but it was a beautiful little road trip. We met Y's best friend there with his three boys. We grilled when we got there. It turned out to be fun night.

We went to bed late as the kids fell asleep on the way there. We were woke up at 2 by a vicious thunderstorm. Our tent felt like we were on top of a waterbed. I was worried that one of the trees that was over our tent was going to fall on us. It was a little nerve wracking but we survived just fine. The kids were up at 6 and ready for the day.

Saturday was a bit drizzly. We had breakfast and went to Storybookland. We enjoyed carousel rides, a balloon ride, exploring the Land of Oz and playing on the different exhibits. We also took a train through the entire park and zoo.  We left around noon when it started to downpour.

We had a super fun time for minimal cost. We spent $20 on the campsite and firewood. The different rides were about $20 total. Admission to the park was free. We also had gas and food. The gas was around $45 and the food was around $50 but we still have a lot of food because of the early departure due to the rain.

The only downside besides the rain was that Y forgot the air mattress. According to him, who needs an air mattress when camping? Jeesh! Way too old for the ground. Lolz!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hubby Got a Raise!!!

The fiscal year for Y's work begins July 1. I hadn't heard if he had gotten a raise so I was asking over the weekend. He realized that he hadn't heard either. This raise would be just a cost of living raise but we expected something.

He checked it out today and he is getting a 3% raise. It will be about $120 gross per month. It's not a huge amount but every little bit helps.

Definitely better than a Polk in the eye. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Tiller

We bought a tiller yesterday, a Honda 4 cycle. It was $375 with tax.

I left the research up to Y because I don't have the patience for that but I wanted the best tiller for our needs. We have heavy clay soil so that eliminated the mini tillers. We didn't want anything huge because I wanted to be able to use it. The Honda we got had great reviews and we have had luck with Honda small engines in the past.

I used it today in my regular garden. It worked great but the vibrations bothered my hands. I will have to use gloves when I use it. After tilling the entire garden, I weeded a few rows. It's so much easier to just weed around the veggies than the entire garden.

It was an expensive purchase but I love gardening and I'm able to cut our grocery budget tremendously for a few months of the year. I don't think that I will have any regrets about our latest purchase.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Financials

I received a reimbursement from my boss for $500. It went directly to our savings, bringing the balance to $8700. I also found a check from Ebates when I was cleaning out my purse. It was only $5.45 that I sent to the new car fund.

I'm planning on buying a garden tiller tomorrow. It might be expensive. Any tips on brand or specifics would be appreciated.

Y is doing a small project for a coworker. We bought the needed supplies last weekend. It was about $100 and he hasn't been reimbursed yet. Y hasn't asked for the money from her but stuff like this kind of annoys me.

We are actually doing fairly well budget wise foe the month. We are planning a camping trip next weekend that will add up a bit.

Happy Friday! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Savings First

We made the decision to increase our savings to $10,000 while we continue to make monthly payments to the car of $400. Friday was our payday and today I received the reimbursement for our daycare and medical flex. I transferred $500 from our paychecks along with the entire reimbursement. Our saving account is now at $8198. When I saw that balance, I immediately felt a huge sense of relief so I know I made the right decision.

Should an emergency arise, it is more important for us to have savings than a paid off car. Now I just need to get to $10,000 and start paying on the car. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Too Many Irons in the Fire

I feel like I have too many irons in the fire. I have three goals that are important to us.

1. Increase savings to $10,000--currently at $5300
2. Pay off my car--currently at $2600
3. Increase car fund to $15,000--currently at $3700

I feel like I have been dividing my attention and not focusing on one goal entirely. Thus, I don't feel like we are making progress with any of our goals at this point. We need to buckle down and make it happen. As much as I want to be debt free besides our mortgage, I'm going to focus on our savings. It simply makes the most sense. I'm going to divert all additional money over the regular car payment to savings, beginning tomorrow with our paychecks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contracting Propane

After a very cold winter, I inquired on contracting propane. We had to fill this past winter and paid a pretty penny for propane. I want to avoid that going forward.

I ordered our tank to be filled at the current propane price of 1.59 per gallon. We have a 1000 gallon tank and are currently around 7% full. For summer fills, they only fill up to 70% because propane expands with heat. This fill will cost us around $1000.

The contract price comes into play for future gallons. We have two options with contracting for the future. The first is to order and prepay at 1.81 per gallon. For 500 gallons, it would be $905 which would be payable now. The other option is to contract for 500 gallons at 1.85 per gallon. 10 cents per gallon would be due now for a total of $50. The $50 is credited to last fill of the 500 gallons. The remainder would be due when we fill.

Basically, to prepay we get a discount of $20. I would like to have this paid now because my commission checks tend to be smaller in the winter but I don't think its worth it. I don't really want to pay $2000 for propane right now. I would prefer to keep the money in savings for the time being.

The 500 additional gallons will be more than enough for us for a year. We keep our house warm, around 72 in the winter. We also heat our garage, plus our backup generator is fueled by propane. I'm sure we could cut our propane usage but I'm not willing to do so. I grew up in a very cold house and we live in a cold state. Heat is not something I believe in skimping on.

What option would you do? Would you do a contract for future propane or just risk it?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Increasing Retirement Contributions--Maybe???

I'm fairly close to paying off my car and I am toying with the idea of increasing my retirement contributions. I currently contribute 8% to my 401k and receive a 5% match. My contribution is set to increase by 1% every year. I also have a pension. I have an old Roth but am not contributing anymore. Y contributes 2% of his income to his pension and his employer contributes another 10%. He also contributes another 5% to his 457. He also has an old Roth but is no longer contributing.

I am thinking that I would like to increase my automatic contributions at work to 10%. I'm leaning towards this for a few reasons. We get hit hard with taxes. Our marginal tax rate is 25% and will likely be lower with retirement. Also, sometimes we can't even claim the child tax credit. I'm not an accountant but I think it makes more sense to lower our taxable income by utilizing my 401k.

What do you think? Or should I leave them as is?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Financial Errands

I will get this list of financial to-dos done this week:
  • Submit medical flex reimbursement
  • Submit daycare flex reimbursement
  • Return Wee-ride to Amazon
  • Request work expense reimbursement --need most recent cell phone bill
  • Deposit insurance check--this was from an accident almost two years ago but just received the last payment last week.
I've been putting off all of this stuff and need to just so it. Writing it down should be motivation for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Target Card

I have debated for some time on getting a Target credit card so I can save 5% there. I decided to do it the other day. I was approved for a $2500 limit. Since I pay my credit cards off monthly, I certainly don't need that large of a limit. I had been thinking about it for awhile but did it on a whim at checkout.

Do you have a Target card?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Busy Weekend

This was a busy but productive weekend. Here's what we managed to get done:
  • Watched Baby G get good at army crawling and rocking back and forth on all fours--so cute!
  • Cleaned and vacuumed my car
  • Went shopping and bought much needed new work pants. Mine are all too big :).
  • Cleaned and vacuumed our bedroom, the living room and Lil Punk's bedroom. The floors need to be vacuumed all the time with a little one on them.
  • Bought groceries and really had to restock on many basics--spent $210, ouch!
  • Did laundry and put it all away
  • Washed our bedding--Baby G's diaper leeked some time early this am when he was laying with us.
  • Planted our vine garden--two kinds of cantaloupe, three kinds of pumpkins, yellow summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, watermelon, and 5 kinds of cucumbers (lemon, salt and pepper, straight 8, Armenian and Sweeter Yet).
  • Listed an extra bike we have on Craigslist
  • Played Old Maid and Memory with Lil Punk
  • Taught Lil Punk how to use her new little loom
  • Made delicious provolone and pesto grilled cheese sandwiches. I did other cooking was this was the best.
  • Weeded my raised bed with asparagus. I was so excited to see it coming back. I've been watching and nothing until today when its a foot tall.
  • Watched The Bachelorette and cheered for the pantsapreneur.
  • Made goals for June
  • Biked 3 miles and ran 1. It's painful to get back in shape but I need to.
  • Took a nap both today and yesterday
Whew! How was your weekend?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Grocery Budget Update May 2014

We have spent $651 this month on groceries. At what point do I just give up on my $500 grocery budget and increase it? We have added one more person and food keeps going up. We also prefer to entertain at home rather than going out and we tend to do more of that in the summer months. I seem to be over budget for groceries more months than not.

I guess I should just increase it to $550 or $600 a month. Has anybody else increased their grocery budget lately?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Financials

I decided to wait on paying off my car. It is at 0% so time is not of the essence other than wanting to be debt free (besides the mortgage). I decided to wait because I'm not sure how my commission checks will be.

The number one rule for budgeting with commissions is not to spend them before you have it completely sold. My May was going to be pretty good but kind of fell apart. I will know more after this coming week.

I did buy Y an awesome laser level for his birthday to the tune of $320. He loved it but it wasn't working correctly and got terrible reviews. I returned it for him and he is buying good quality work boots instead. I'm guessing those will cost around $150-200. He can spend the rest on something else he wants.

My breast pump broke today. Sigh... It's a good thing we live in a small town so I can leave work to nurse Baby G. I just ran over there a couple times today instead of pumping. I was going to buy a used pump off of Craigslist but my mother in law's coworker had hers for sale. I bought it for $50 and will just use all my tubing and parts. I did think about stopping but I'm not quite there yet and I would have to supplement with formula.

I did a little shopping last night at Kohls.com. I love that online store. Lil Punk needed shorts and tees. I like Kohls discounts. I can get better deals there than at the local used kids store.

We have a relaxing weekend planned. We do have two graduation parties tomorrow. I also want to plant most of my garden.

What do you have planned for the long weekend?

Monday, May 19, 2014

To Pay or Not?

I don't often weigh in and ask for readers' opinions because I generally just make up my mind and do it. I'm not sure what I want to do in this situation. I'm debating paying off my car which has a balance of $2600 at 0%.

Here is where the money sits:
Regular savings $5300
Car savings $3400
Unrequested daycare flex balance $2100

Should I just pay it off and be done? Or should I wait until we are in a better cash position? What would you do?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How I Spent my Graduation Money

After reading a post Jennifer at Absolutely Sweet Chaos wrote, I was inspired to write my own post about my graduation money. I graduated 16 years ago from high school. I was working at the time and had to pay for my own invitations. I truly saw the entire process as a business venture. I spend X on invitations and invite Y people, thus I will likely make XY for money.

I had to pay for my own invitations. I remember going as cheap as I could. I didn't order the ones through the school but instead had them printed at a local printer. I invited everybody that I could think of, people from school, church, neighbors, coworkers, relatives, everybody I could think of. I really just wanted their money.

Many people came to my party and I had a great time. Aside: this was before my entire family life as I knew it would fall apart. I had a wonderful time at my party. I also made about $800 thanks to the generosity of some relatives and friends.

I took all the money and bought a ticket to Dallas to see my older sister. I had a wonderful time there. She took me to gay bars, dance clubs, strip clubs, shopping, picking up guys, out drinking and partying all night. Honestly, it was a fabulous time. It was my first real vacation and I loved it!

I wasn't planning on going to college at the time so this was my fun way to spend my graduation money. I have no regrets (except for possibly having the wrong motivation when I invited everybody).

How did you spend your graduation money?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Next Raise Already Spent!!!

Y is a journeyman plumber and his boss is a master plumber. His boss is on very thin ice. He actually told one of his bosses that he was a F%*#ing idiot. Y is eligible to take his master plumber test in October. I am pretty confident that Y will be the next master plumber there which will come with a large pay raise, likely around $10,000 more annually.

We already have it spent in our plans. We want it to go to daycare. We want another baby. We've toyed around with the idea since Baby G was about a month old and its not going away. We just don't feel that our family is complete yet.

We could have lots of money or another baby. I think we are a bit crazy to even entertain the idea :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Happenings

It is Y's birthday on Monday and I bought him a laser level. It was on sale for $300. He told me last weekend that he was going to buy it because he needs it to build our deck. He also wanted it so he could do some ditching. I kind of freaked out last weekend in the store when he was going to get it. I hadn't planned on buying it for him but it is the perfect present because he is saving us money by building the deck himself.

I noticed an error this week in my checkbook. I had not recorded a $400 payment to my credit card. I have as pretty bummed when I figured it because I had to transfer money out of our savings.

Y might have to work today which really stinks. I would like to go to the local nursery to buy my garden plants this weekend. If I wait too long, they tend to get picked over. I've tried growing tomatoes from seed but I don't have a good place to do it in my house. It's worth it to buy good quality garden plants.

Tomorrow is my special day. I love celebrating being a mom. Happy Mothers day to all of my fellow mommy bloggers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Breastfeeding and Work

Baby G is almost 6 months old and has been exclusively breastfed until just recently when we started introducing baby food and baby cereal. This is the story of how I've managed to balance work and breastfeeding.

I returned to work when Baby G was about two months old. I hadn't planned on going to breastfeed him on my lunch. I called the director of my daycare the first morning I was back at work to deal with getting his immunization record. She mentioned that I could stop by any time to feed him if I wanted. I told her I would stop by at lunch to nurse him. I went there at lunch that day and continued to go every day thereafter. It is nap time when I go so all the lights are off. The baby room that Baby G is in is like a little apartment. The caretaker is the only one in his room besides the other three babies but they are usually in their cribs in a different room napping. Nursing Baby G at lunchtime is my time to relax and bond with him. It is an instant tension reliever.

I treat my lunch appointment with Baby G as I would any other appointment. It is on my calendar and I make sure I keep it. My coworkers know that I take lunch at 11:30 and if I need to change that, I need advanced notice so I can let my daycare know.

The other part that goes with breastfeeding is pumping. I work at three different locations. The first location has a large restroom with a separate lounge area. I had to find an acceptable area to pump at the other locations. I absolutely will not pump in a bathroom without a separate lounge area. I found a place in two separate storage areas. I never asked my boss but just spoke to whomever at the locations.

I didn't ask because pumping is my legal right and I treat it as such. I even had a work conference in March. I emailed the marketing person ahead of time and told her I needed a place to pump. The conference was held at our large corporate location and they had a separate facility for breastfeeding moms. The marketing person made sure I had access to that part of the building.

I have found that overall both my coworkers and my boss are supportive. Nobody has made any negative comments to me. I would just shrug off anything if somebody did have the nerve to say something.

Have you been a working mom who breastfed? How did it go for you?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Expensive Weekend

I went grocery shopping yesterday and spent $300. I had not done a big shop for a long time and our pantry was really feeling it. We were out of so many basics. I haven't received a larger paycheck since December so we had been slowly eating down the pantry and freezer. My paycheck this month should be considerably larger so I wanted to restock.

Y is also planning a trip to Menards and Lowe's to buy decking materials. He will just be buying for the support structure. I also want him to pick up a long squeegee to wash our outside windows. I could hire it out but I might as well buy the necessary items to do it myself.

We had friends over for dinner last night. It was the first time we had hung out with them. Dinner went well but Lil Punk was rude, embarrassingly so. I hope they give us another chance. Making new friends that we all like is never easy. I'm certainly open to tips if you have any.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Car Payment Snowflake

I received my reimbursement today for a month and a half of work expenses to the tune of $380. I applied it directly to my car balance. It brings the balance to $3120. I want to get that paid sooner than later so I'm now trying to pay extra every month. I did apply an extra $300 last month that was from work reimbursements, too.

I started the year owing $5000 on my car so we're definitely heading in the right direction. Woohoo!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Payday!!

It's our payday today. I will pay daycare, $1055, preschool, $85, and put $200 away for miscellaneous expenses like property tax and insurance. I also need tabs for my car for $93 and a medical bill of $25. Fun stuff. This is the last payment for preschool and every month since September, I said I was going to pay it in full but every month something else came up. Lil Punk has her program tomorrow.

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rainy Sunday

It has rained here pretty much all day and will likely continue most of the week. Its been a relaxing but productive day. Y made a ham in the crock pot. I cut up the remainder and portioned it out for upcoming meals. I made homemade pizza dough for later in week. Lil Punk and I made homemade chocolate chip cookies. I made a menu with grocery list for this week. It feels like we have been in a rut with dinner lately.

I had a fabulous day with my best friend on Friday. We shopped, got massages, took a long lunch, and shopped some more. One of the stores we stopped at was a very nice second hand store. I must admit that I usually don't like second hand stores because they're a mess and smell funny. This store wasn't like that at all. I would definitely go back there. I bought a pair of Lucky capris, a couple tees and a pair of Cole Hahn shoes.

How was your Sunday?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Work Stress--Ugh!

My work has been very stressful lately. I hate it when that happens. I haven't had time to do any stress relief like exercise or drink. Lolz

I do have a day off planned for tomorrow but trying to get caught up to actually take the day off is so hard. My best friend and I are having a girls day complete with shopping and massages. I can't wait!!

What do you do to combat work stress? Do all jobs have stress at some point?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hiding Money from your Spouse

This is a conversation between Y and I the other day.

Y: Do you hide money from me?
Me: Yes
Y: You do?
Me: Yes, in my jewelry box for my own shopping. It's money I get for Christmas or just tuck away.
Y: I actually know about that money.
Me: ok?
Y: yeah, like really hide money in a separate account?
Me: Well, I have our savings in two online accounts, one for a new vehicle for you and one for irregular expenses.
Y: I know about those.
Me: what do you want?
Y: The guys at work were talking about how they all have separate accounts that their wives don't know about.

Pretty sad, huh? Like are they saving for a divorce?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sick Baby Today

Little Baby G had a fever of 99.9 when I went to feed him at lunch so he had to go home. I took off this afternoon and Y will take off all day tomorrow.

We are laying in my bed and I'm holding his hand while he sleeps. I need to tidy up the house as my sister is coming this weekend from Wisconsin but for now I will just listen to the soft snoring of my son. These are the moments...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Recap

We had a nice weekend. We started Saturday off with a fundraiser, a walk for March of Dimes. Somebody actually asked me if Baby G was preemie after hearing how old he is. He's at least 20 pounds now and doesn't look like a preemie at all. LOLZ

We had free tickets to the circus so we took Lil Punk. She wanted to ride the elephant. I said no to that because she has been too scared to ride my friend's miniature horse. We got out of the circus with only buying her a juice. That crap is so overpriced its ridiculous.

We then went to a BBQ at my in-laws. I like them but can only handle so much. My brother in law bragged about how he only shops at Amazon because its cheaper. He said if he needs something right away, he buys it at a local store and returns it when he has a new one from Amazon. That really pissed me off. That drives up prices for all of us. And he was proud of it!

Yesterday was a perfect day at home. It was super nice out. We spent plenty of time outside. Y committed to building me a raised bed for my asparagus, strawberries and raspberries. I also took a long nap with Baby G. I just love napping with him. I really love being at home with my family :)

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Debt Update

Our only non-mortgage debt is my car at 0%. The balance was $5000 at the beginning of the year and now stands at $4200. It is my goal to pay it off in full this year but I've had a very slow start financially. I did not make a car payment in March due to having decreased income coming off of maternity leave. We are paid up for several months in advance but I feel like we're going backwards by not paying at all.

We do have a new car fund which stands at just over $3300. I don't want to drain it to pay off my car but Y and I decided that we would not have more than one car payment. This means that if he had to get a new vehicle, we would have to pay off my car then. Basically, I want to pay off my car and keep the money in savings for a new vehicle. I guess you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vacationing with Credit Card Points

I booked a trip this morning for our whole family to Florida for 6 days and 5 nights in January 2015. It included airfare and hotel. This was all booked with 120,000 credit card points from our US Bank rewards travel card. We have used this card for all purchases for the past two years and it paid off. We have never paid interest on it either.

We only have 15,000 points left but I will continue to use it for our next vacation.

I'm so excited. I love vacationing and we haven't taken a family vacation in 4 years.

We are staying in Kissimmee. I know we will rent a car so we can get around (hopefully with points). Any suggestions? Lil Punk will be 5 and Baby G will be about 14 months old.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Financials 3/28/14

This has been a very expensive 2 weeks.
  • We needed more propane. The cost is down to $2.08 a gallon. For 150 gallons, it was about $300.
  • I bought Easter outfits for the kids so I can get their pics taken. Total damage at The Childrens Place, $80. This did include a few item they had in clearance and a new swimsuit for Lil Punk.
  • $85 for a cavity filling for Lil Punk. She fell asleep in the dental chair, without gas. Lol
  • Added work expenses and travel for both myself and Y. We need to submit expense reports
  • I'm expecting a work reimbursement for about $550 that I need to put back into savings.
  • crap fell through at month end for me so my next commission check will be small. Boo!!! But I will still get the sales but not this month. Sometimes it isn't so great working on commission.
  • Started swimming lessons last night for Lil Punk. $35 well spent.
  • I'm just not going to buy any more groceries this month. Total damage was $338 but eating out is way up compared to usual.
  • We have 4 boxes of diapers stocked up. Target runs great deals on their diapers.

We have a quiet weekend planned and I'm grateful for that. I love relaxing with my family.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wacky Wednesday

Here are some random thoughts for today:

Adam Levine is totally hot.

We have only spent $338 for groceries this month but we have spent a whopping $168 on eating out.

I think my baby is the cutest kid ever!

Swimming lessons start tomorrow for Lil Punk. She's finally old enough to do them by herself so I don't have to get into a swimsuit yet.

I still have 10 pounds to lose but have lost 40 since my highest pregnancy weight.

I would be a bad sister wife because I would want to be the favorite, the prettiest, the best in bed. Lol!

I am so excited for my garden. I love summertime!

Happy Hump Day!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lazy Sunday

I'm sitting on the couch in my jammies just hanging our with my kiddies while Y is still sleeping. I'm getting lots of smiles from little Baby G. We don't have anything planned today and I love those days.

I will make a menu later today based on what we have. This will be a busy week as Y is out of town all week for training. Lil Punk starts swimming lessons this week, too. I also start with my new territory in full swing. After an initial freak out, I talked to a coworker who will gladly help me and take over if I need him to.

I'm seriously contemplating hiring a house cleaner. I don't think I "deserve" one but its really hard to keep up. I inquired with a friend who had somebody clean her house. She was paying $100 each time twice a month. $200 is not in the budget. I was thinking more like $100-120 per month for two times. If you have your house cleaned, how much do you pay? Does that make me lazy to hire a house cleaner?

Financially, we are just cruising along. There is nothing exciting with our finances which is good.

We are discussing building our deck. We went to Lowes yesterday and we liked the composite decking material they had better than Menards. It was quoted at about $300 higher than Menards but I have their card so I will get 5% off which brings it down to about an extra hundred bucks. Its really a covered front porch so I'm super excited to get started and have it done. We are outdoor people and I see us using the front porch a lot.

I should also sit down and figure out where I'm at for the month with grocery spending. If I don't know, that probably means I spent a lot.

I hope all my blogging friends have a wonderful week:)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Expanded Sales Territory

I'm in sales and I am a commissioned employee. I found out today that my territory has been expanded by one third. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. It gives me an opportunity to increase my income by 20-30% but it also means more work.

I just need to remember to keep my work/life balance. I make it a point to leave work by 5:15 or 5:30 every day.

I just need Baby G to sleep through the night now. I am tired...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Paddy's Day!

Y and I were engaged 10 years ago today. How tine flies! Our engagement lasted 2 months and 11 days before we eloped :).

Have a wonderful green day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

4 Month Baby Update

Little Baby G will be 4 months this week. It has flown by and I desperately want it to slow down so I can enjoy it just a little bit more.

Baby G is now about 18 pounds so he's not gaining weight as rapidly anymore. He "talks" on a regular basis by cooing and he can almost roll over.

I am still breastfeeding exclusively, both for Baby G and my own selfish reasons. I like being the only one to feed him outside of daycare and I'm still dropping my baby weight. I have 13 pounds to go and a bit of toning needed:)

I go back and forth about a third child. Y is about on the same page I am. I'm not sure if we could afford daycare for all three. It would be about $1350-1400 monthly. Yikes!

As Mysti says, why does it always comes down to finances?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Financials 3/7/14

This has been a super busy week. I had a work trip for three days, two nights. I left on Tuesday morning and got back yesterday afternoon. When I saw Baby G in the swing in his daycare room, he smiled at me right away. I almost started crying when I picked him up. It's crazy how I can miss a little baby the most when he doesn't even talk yet. Y handled everything well when I was gone but he definitely missed me. It always feels good to be appreciated.

I charged my room on my Amex Blue because I will request the last $200 in credit from signing up for that card. I will still be reimbursed the full amount from my company. I will also be reimbursed for mileage so I will be able to put away a bit into savings.

I went to the store to pick up my gun last weekend. I instead opted to take a gift card for the same value, $323. We bought snowshoes and a life jacket for Baby G. I still have $130 left on the card that I will likely use for a new bathing suit or clothes.

I was in the top group for sales so management took us out to a fancy dinner. I had a delicious filet and a couple martinis. I was feeling pretty good:). I also received a $1000 gift card that can be redeemed at many different stores.  I would like to use it towards our new front porch.

We priced out a composite front porch/deck last weekend at Menards. It was $3600. I didn't like the color options they had though. Y wants a two tone colored deck but I don't know. Since he picked out most of the finishings for our house and I love how it looks, I should just trust him. Y will likely build the deck himself.

This post is a little convoluted but I'm just going to publish it. I've went back to it 4-5 times already.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lowering Monthly Bills

I have three variable bills and I set out to lower all of them this month. Electricity, cell phones/internet, and DirectTV were all on my list.

I have been whining the last couple months about our sky high electric bill of $270. When I got it last month, it was around $270 again, roughly about a hundred bucks higher than I thought it should be. I flipped out and told my husband to shut off the space heater in the garage. He told me that wasn't the problem...until he figured out the cost and it was about $100 a month for that stupid heater. I also started using the sleep timer on the TV in our bedroom. We have been very diligent about turning off lights and using the dishwasher less. I'm hoping that we can get our bill below $160 a month.

Regarding our cell phone bill, this was the easy one. I received a text from our provider, AT&T, that we could change to a different family plan. This should save us about $40 a month for more data usage. We use our cell phones as hotspots for our home internet. I have seen other people switching to Ting to save a boatload of money but that's not an option where we live. We need to stick with either AT&T or Verizon as they are the only two with good coverage here. I'm hoping our new cell phone plan will be around $120 a month with taxes.

The DirectTv bill was a bit harder to lower. It was $73 but went up to $83 last month. I call them about every 6 months to get it lowered. The first lady was very helpful and told me that since I had been out of my contract for 2 years, I could come back in as a new customer and get the promotion rate of $34.99 for the base package. I was pretty happy with this deal. I just needed to be transferred to somebody else to implement it. I was transferred twice before I got the lady who would "help" me. She told me I was ineligible for that promotion but she would lower my bill by $5 and give me something I didn't want at no charge. After trying to understand why I couldn't get the promotion package, she actually said, "What more do you want? I'm offering to lower your bill." I was pissed. I hung up and Y called back. They gave him a one year promotion price of $63 per month for everything we have now.

I'm pretty happy with my results but I will have to see what the actual bills come in at.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Won a Gun!!!

This past Friday I went to a benefit for a local nursing home. I left about 15 minutes before the end because I needed to get home to feed Baby G.

I guess that they called my ticket number for a Remington 870 shotgun right afterwards. Woohoo!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I wanted to carpool with Y and it looks like we will be carpooling all this next week. His pickup broke down when he was almost to work on Friday. I guess the spark plug shot out if the engine. It will be at least $100 to fix but might be much more. Sigh...

I'm super annoyed this morning. BIL came over to hang out with Y last night. He stayed over and urinated on our couch. Really? I looked it up online and baking soda is supposed to work well to clean it. I told Y that he is cleaning it up.

I need to change around my mood this morning because I don't want to ruin my whole Sunday.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Deck?

We would like to get our savings accounts built up a bit and then I would like to save for our covered deck. I want to do synthetic decking in a tan to match our trim, garage doors and soffit. I don't know how much it will cost, maybe around $10-12,000. I think we will hire this project done as we want it perfect.

I don't know much about decking materials so we will have to research that.

Does anyone have any helpful deck advice?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Post Presidents Day Post

Both Y and I were off yesterday due to Presidents Day so we bundled up both kiddos and took them outside. Lil Punk held Baby G in her lap and we pulled them around the yard in her sled. Baby G just laid there and opened his eyes once in awhile but the sun was really bright. It was 32 here yesterday and felt like spring. One can only hope that spring is right around the corner.

We also had to break down and buy propane. We purchased 200 gallons at 2.95 a gallon. There is a $20 discount for paying cash in the next 3 days so I will drop that payment of $590 off today. I wish we could've waited for a better propane price but we only had 6% left in our 1000 gallon tank.

We set a grocery budget of $400 for this month and I'm determined to stick with it. After picking up a few things yesterday, we have $64 left for the month. We will make it. Y seems to be on board also.

Daycare is going up. For both kids, it will be $1055 a month. They're so expensive and so worth it. The cost of daycare sure does put a damper on having another one though. Daycare will go down to $800 a month in September when Lil Punk starts school. Both kids go to a Catholic church daycare and Lil Punk attends preschool there. They want to meet with us to discuss her going to school there next year. I already enrolled her in public kindergarten. The schools in our area are very good so I don't see the point in paying for private school.

I'm still feeding Baby G at lunch during the week. I love this. Its made the transition of going back to work so much easier. I still pump twice a day at work though. We have a mothers' lounge where I can go. My employer is very accommodating, especially because I never talked to anybody about pumping. For the record, its the law that I can pump so I don't need to ask for permission.

I hope everybody had a nice holiday and have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Husband's Spending

My last few posts have had a bitchy undertone about my husband so I thought I would do a separate post on it.

We've been together for almost 14 years, married for almost 10. Y has matured considerably in that time with respect to finances but is still the generous guy I met. When we met, he was cooking at a restaurant and didn't make a lot of money but he freely spent. That is, until he didn't have any more. He would spend all of his money on me, himself, whatever. One of my favorite memories of Y is when I stopped at a convenience store so he could buy smokes. It was bitterly cold, like 40 below. He came out with a cappuccino for me because "I looked cold." But he didn't have enough money for both so I had to buy him smokes later. It's the thought, right?

Y was generous when we were dating and is still that way. He doesn't put a ton of thought into money and doesn't stress about it like I do. He has the attitude that it will all work out. I like that he is giving and generous. He would literally give somebody his last ten bucks.

We share similar long term goals which has helped us achieve what we have. We both agree that its important to have money in savings and to live on less than what we make. We prefer to keep our debt to a minimum because you never know what will happen. However, we disagree more on the day to day spending.

I knew going into our marriage that we wouldn't always agree on financial matters. I'm actually ok with that. If I was with somebody just like me, life would be boring. I like being with somebody who is more of a free spirit with money. I like having a generous husband (even if its our money).

My only complaint is when we need to cut back and he's much slower to do that than me. We're still working on that...

Is your mate just like you with regard to finances?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Carpooling

Today is the first day that Y and I have carpooled for the sake of saving money. We have previously done it because of the roads. We live 10 miles from his work and 12 from mine. I figured out that we can save roughly 60 bucks a month by carpooling.

While this may seem like a no brainer, its a total pain. I have to have the car because I go feed Baby G at lunch. Y does have to stay late every once in awhile if they have an emergency. Its also just a hassle to pick up and drop off.

I came up with this plan to save money because it seems like Y is having trouble cutting back. We've been very poor before so I know he can do it. He seems to not really value just not spending. I don't want to nag at him so I came up with this idea. We will see how long it lasts. Maybe I'm just super practical? Or a little sadistic?? Hehe

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Catch Up

I haven't posted for a week due to being busy and having an uneventful financial week. We received our state tax refund and I transferred it right into our savings account which now stands at $3719. For February and March, I won't have any commissions. I still get my regular salary but I'm motivated to work extra hard to make more money.

Y and I ordered our trees and other garden supplies yesterday.  I ordered honeyberries to plant around the house. I'm very interested in edible landscaping. I also ordered hardy kiwi trees. I will probably do another gardening post soon.

Y and I talked about ways that we can save more money this weekend. We agreed to try carpooling. We live 10-12 miles from our work. Y often has to work late so I'm not sure how this will go but we will give it a try.

We have held off this long with propane. The price has come down to $2.95 a gallon from a high of around $5 a gallon. We have about 11% left in a 1000 gallon tank. We need to order at least the minimum of 150 gallons this week. I'm going to try to wait until later in the week to see if it drops further.

Our electric bill last month was $272. Ouch! That's about $100 more than usual. Granted I was home on maternity leave but still. We need to get this under $200.

I've been watching the Olympics. There was a Norwegian skier on his 7th Olympics. Wow! Especially for cross country skiing. That's super hard work. Those Norwegians can really ski. Its interesting to me that they would choose to come over and settle in MN. There aren't any mountains where I grew up and most everybody was of Norwegian descent. I digress. I'm so proud of the American athletes.

Snowboarding is my favorite sport to watch in the winter Olympics. What's yours?

Monday, February 3, 2014

2013 Taxes Filed and Funny Comments

I filed our taxes on Friday because we had our required docs. I was an eager beaver to find out where we stood. We are getting back a combined federal and state refund of $1877. Yippee!!! I don't care what anybody says, it us way better to get a refund than owe. We owed last year and it was sucked.

My sister visited this weekend from New York. I love her dearly and only get to see her a couple times a year. She is single and doesn't have (or want) kids. She was happy to hang out with my kids but I could see that she was overwhelmed at times. She said the following comments **not meanly**: "I can see why rich people rely so much on their nannies," "Babies really are a lot of work, huh?" "Wow! babies are a constant work in progress." However, she handled the weekend well. She dried Lil Punk's hair, helped her decorate a Valentine box, and played Old Maid with us. We are lucky to have her visit from NY.

Have a good week, Everybody!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January Low Spend Wrap Up

I'm calling it a month budget-wise. I would normally wait until the 31st when we get paid to close out the month but I need to do next weeks shopping tomorrow because my sister is flying in from New York on Friday. She knows I will throw a super awesome Super Bowl party and she hasn't met Baby G yet. I'm so excited to have her here.

For groceries, we spent $525 for the month. I'm going to have a separate baby category going forward. I do consider this month a success.

For our other spending, excluding gas, we spent around $400. This does exclude Y's personal spending. We spent around $75 on eating out, $20 on gifts, and the other $305 was spent on supplies to finish the basement and other miscellaneous things like a birth certificate. We did stock up on laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs and toilet paper when we were at Menards.

Our gas budget is $500 and we only spent $275. Woohoo!

One of my goals for this month was to have $3000 in our regular savings. We have $3400 as of today but I'm still expecting one last medical bill for around $400.

Y's spending--I'm not sure if I should just give him an allowance or what. He spent $283. Thus includes beer, smokes, energy drinks, snacks for him and Lil Punk, and who knows what else. Oh, I think he also had to buy something for our water heater, too. How do you all account for your significant other's spending?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another Adventure

We had our fourth blizzard in two weeks today and it wiped out our power about three hours ago. Our generator didn't kick on right away so Y jumped it with the battery out of his pick-up. It started so we do have lights but our furnace isn't kicking on. Our generator puts out 62 hertz and the furnace needs exactly 60. We do have a small space heater that us plugged in and working due to the generator.

I talked to the lady at the electric company and she said they were stopped by the police but would be out when the snowplows go out in the morning. I talked to the dispatch at the police station and she said they didn't stop the electric company. I told her that we do have a small heater. If it gets too cold in our house, she said to call back and they would send an emergency snowplow to get us out.

Lil Punk is already in her bed but we will move her into our bed and put the heater in there. Baby G will sleep in our bed too. I guess we got a king sized bed for a reason. I don't even want to think about how much propane we're burning with the generator. We have no choice but to leave it on all night.

Scary but kind of exciting. I hope my neighbors are okay.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Confession

My husband and I are swingers and we love it! Cheap entertainment!! Haha! Just kidding! My confession isn't that good ;-)

We bought blinds for the kids' bedrooms. We went to Lowe's and they were 20% off for the ones we wanted. I used my card to get another 5% off but will pay it right away when I get the bill. They ended up being $330 for the three blinds with tax. I know they're expensive but good quality blinds are expensive. Plus I refuse to have cords because many children hang themselves or get hurt on those cords.

Baby G's room is so much warmer now. He's actually able to sleep in his crib now. Our house is only a year old but its still amazing how cold the windows can be.

We also are getting a bit low on propane. I called to find out the price and its so expensive right now, $2.55 a gallon. Apparently there is a propane shortage. Anybody else on propane? How much is it there?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Low Spend Challenge Update

We are all at home today due to the third blizzard in two weeks. I would rather have the cold than the blizzards. However, its not my choice.

Our grocery spending is at $441.33. My goal was to keep this under $450 for the month. I did some stocking up last week because canned tomatoes, beans, soups, veggies and tomato sauce were all on sale. I also included things for the baby in this category like diapers and wipes. Honestly, that stuff is too expensive to sneak it into this category. I either need to increase my grocery budget or do a separate line item for baby. I think I will separate it. My new goal is to keep this under $500 for the month.

Another goal for the month was to keep all other spending to $300, excluding gas. We are at $283 which includes a trip to Menard's for supplies to start finishing our basement. I'm pretty happy with this category.

Gas--I budget $500 and we're at $223.22. We are way below budget here. Woohoo!

I had a goal of paying for all medical bills this month with the savings from our low spend month. We paid all of mine and I submitted them for reimbursement from our medical flex account. The gal in HR refused it and said we needed to go back to the hospital and request that they take our insurance company's in-network rate (even though they are out-of-network). I was annoyed but did it. They revised it and I owed $190 less. Cool beans! Yesterday I received the bill for Baby G so I called the hospital this morning to see if they would revise it again. She said she would look at it and let me know.

Besides paying medical bills, my goal was to increase our regular savings to $3000. I'm happy to report that it is at $3000 now and I received the medical flex this morning for $709. I'm hoping that after I pay for Baby G's medical bills, I will still be able to add another $300.

I have everything ready to file our taxes but need to wait until the end if the month. After the debacle last year with the accountant, I've decided to do them myself. I'm not sure what software to buy. Anybody have any ideas? TurboTax or TaxAct? I'm hoping for a refund of around $1500.