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!