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Steam Cleaner Referral?

November 2nd, 2016 at 07:36 pm

I know a few of you guys were recently talking about/recommending a steam cleaner. Could someone point me to the post(s) that reference that topic? Guess who is in the market for one? haha

2017 Benefits Costs/Changes

November 1st, 2016 at 05:39 pm

The most cost-effective way for our family to do our Medical Benefits is for my daughter & I to go through my employer's insurance and for my husband to solely go through his employer's.

His benefits remained stable within $2-3 per paycheck more being taken out.

For my benefits, I had more significant changes:

Medical increased $134.40 per year.
Dental icreased $22.80 per year.

Vision Stayed the same.
My Family FSA deduction stayed the same. I put in 2/3 ($3666.67) and my employer contributes 1/3 ($1333.33).
Employee Death & Dismemberment Stayed the same.

The most significant changes were to the Employer contribution to my HSA. In 2016, it was $1500 for the Employee + 1 plan, in 2017, it decreased to $1000.

I also added Group Legal, which we will use to get our wills, medical directives, etc completed. For the year, several hours of legal work will cost $254.88. Since we have the little one now, our wills would be more complicated and we want them to be clear.

So overall, the change in costs between 2016 & 2017 is a $912.08 increase for the year. Without the added legal benefit, the cost increases $657.20 per year.

That $500 loss of HSA money from the employer really hurt. People were not happy.

Retirement & HSA Account Updates

November 1st, 2016 at 05:24 pm

New Retirement Account Balances (without my husband's, which is about $60k at the moment)


HSA Balance: $$1,375.16

Decent article on the SA blog!

September 28th, 2016 at 06:31 pm

Did anyone see the article from the SavingAdvice Blog? "What Having a Family Member Steal From Me Taught Me About Protecting My Finances". Its a little light/for less personal finance aware readers, but it was interesting to me. I have heard/seen a lot of horror stories about family theft.

P.S. I swear I wasn't asked to write this post lol

Retiremen Accounts (not including husband)

September 20th, 2016 at 01:30 pm

Last count, the retirement accounts total was $109,610.23 on 8/26

Today, its $110,054.89. I will take that!

Making our new house into a Home

September 15th, 2016 at 01:27 am

Over Labor Day weekend, we took advantage of the sales and bought a new couch & love seat set, as well as a large dining room table & chairs. I also used coupons and sales to get great deals on kitchen counter stools and an area rug for the bathroom. Lots of planned spending. But still a lot of spending.

So other decorating/organizing is coming in as frugal a way as possible.

The Guest bathroom upstairs (Little One's Bathroom) is a hideous brown color in it. We're not going to be able to paint for a while, so to cheer it up, I bought a $3 shower curtain in bright colors and a matching bath mat. [$8 out of pocket]

I repurposed the grey shower curtain & rugs from our old house for the basement bathroom. The colors (grey) did not match the brown in the guest bath, so it was nice to repurpose in the basement.

A family member downsizing gave me a desk & chair that matches a bookcase I already owned. Both originally were from my great-aunt's house. I love them!

She also gave me a really cute Pooh Bear Lamp that will go in the playroom.

The couches came last week. We are putting the old couches in the basement for a fun tv area. The dining room table will be coming in a few weeks.

The bathroom rug came today, so I aired it out on the deck & set that up.

Today, I organized/unpacked some items that have been sitting in boxes in our new study. These are items that get used, but had no place to 'live' in our last home.

I used old organizer boxes and put together boxes for miscellaneous electronics accessories, office supplies, paper products, ect. Used my handy dandy label maker to create labels. [Organizing cost $0 - repurposed items]

Then I took some silver spray paint I recently bought [$7] and sprayed plastic containers from the dollar store that were already being used for storing items in the pantry & laundry room. They were originally colorful, but mismatched and I wanted to test how the spray paint would do on plastic. They came out really well!

August Lunch Challenge (To Date)

August 26th, 2016 at 05:33 pm

My coworkers & I were doing a bit of a lunch challenge to curb spending. Each of us set our own goals for ourselves. Mine was to pack breakfast, & lunch for all but 2 days. I got sick mid-month and splurged on soda, but mostly met my goal otherwise.

This Month To Date, I have Spent:

$7.50 on 5 bottled sodas (sore throat when sick ‘required’ extra soda)
$3.25 on breakfast one day
$5.95 on breakfast & a soda today

TOTAL Spent in TO DATE in August on Breakfasts/lunches/drinks $16.70

Retirement Accounts & Savings Updates:

August 26th, 2016 at 05:32 pm


Personal Retirement Accounts Total: $109,610.23
Spouse’s 401k $50,694.93

Little One’s Savings: (at age 1 year)

529: $318.90
Kids Savings: $153.31


Home Fund: $500
EF: $88.51
Slush Fund: $626.50
Home Upkeep: $123.11
Medical: $310.54
Auto Savings (just had a car repair): $60.60
Vacation Fund: $0.29
Memberships: $39.14
Clothing: $29.47
2016 Gifts Fund: $1583.40
Rental Property EFund: $223.96
Nephew Car Fund (partially funded by him) $782.08

H.S.A Medical Savings:



Ebates: $19.13
Amazon Gift Cards: $15.00
CC Rewards $14.96
CC Rewards 2 $49.48
BING 1 455/475 for $5 Amazon Gift Card Goal
BING 2 354/525 for $5 Amazon Gift Card Goal
My Coke Rewards1 372/670 for $10 Gift Card
My Coke Rewards2 422/670 for $10 Gift Card

LOTS of Updates - Sorry!

August 26th, 2016 at 05:14 pm

It's been a while since I've posted - been super busy these last few months. We moved in July, finally got a renter into our townhouse last week, I am working OT, but not as much as before, been sick off & on and generally been living a lot.

We have had a LOT of social obligations. Never dull for me!

-My daughter turned One this month. We had a little party that my mom paid to be in a restaurant (she HAD to do my nieces and didn't want to be seen as favoring my sister's kids - that was her choice).
-Last weekend, I was at a bachelorette party.
-This weekend, my husband is going to the bachelor party.
-In September, we are attending a housewarming for friends (child friendly event)
-In September, we are attending a friend's house party (kid friendly)
-In October, we have 3 weddings - 2 out of state

We also are waiting for the rental income to come in. We have a renter, but are also using a property management company. Because of the renter starting mid-month and the PM fees, we won't see a full month's rental income coming to us until the middle of October, which will go to the 11/1 mortgage payment.

I have lots of cashflowing/savings goals -
-cashflowing budget deficit
-cashflowing wedding events/gifts/travel
-save 1 month Rental Mortage buffer
-save 1 month New Mortgage buffer
-Save 5k Rental Efund
-Cashflow tickets to an event in Oct
-cashflow new furniture

Fun stuff, people! I will say, that we are not revolving any credit card debt as we have been spending a lot. I am so thankful for overtime!

I also want to note that usually I buy Christmas gifts all year long - but not this year as I didn't want to move all the stockpile of gifts! So I need to get busy on that Smile

Retirement Update

July 31st, 2016 at 11:12 pm

I have $107,362.92 in retirement accounts as of 7/29 not including DH's accounts!

Move was successful and stressful

July 25th, 2016 at 12:33 am

We closed on our new home 7/15. The movers came 7/17. We packed up the family (husband & myself, baby, dog & cat) and Sunday night, slept in the new house for the first night!

The animals were settled in within a day. The dog LOVES the extra room. The cat loves the windows. The baby loves the kitchen and since we had no room in the old house, we can now eat at the kitchen table as a family! Just in time for her to start eating real food. She turns 1 next month. I will have to stop calling her the 'baby'.

We had some moving expenses - such as movers, a few boxes and wrapping supplies. Roughly $850 altogether.

Our realtor, a family friend, took us to lunch after closing. That was really nice.

My husband took off Monday through Wednesday last week and I am off through next Thursday. My work requires a core leave where I take 2 weeks at the same time at least once a year. So of course I took it for the move!

I return on a Friday, so my boss told me to just work from home that day. That was really nice!

Our old house (the townhouse) is being shown for rental. We have an application in and the Property Management company is vetting the background/finances for us and we make the final decision.

We took 2 days to clear out the stuff in the townhouse. Then we paid a cleaner to scrub kitchen, bathrooms, dust, sweep, do windows & blinds, cleaned the fridge & oven. She did a phenomenal job and we paid $125 for the service. We were SO exhausted, that was worth every penny instead of doing it ourselves.

We have been cooking at home mostly, with some treats out due to time/stress/this being my 'vacation'. Spending has all been within the entertainment budget though.

Now that we are in the new house, we have new expenses. I have been working hard to get a budget together. However, I have to wait to see an electric bill/gas bill. So some things are still 'guestimates'.

I am definitely going to be online more and sharing more with you guys Smile

Couple of deals:

We had to buy new air filters. Home Depot had a sale on a good one (we have the pets and need quality) - so I bought 2 six-packs for $45.98, using Shopathome for 2% back and a card for another 2% back. Every little bit helps, right!

We still have plenty of unpacking and organizing to do. We also are in search of some blinds and a new sofa set. These were already planned/budgeted for. We just have to buy them. We have been looking for couches for a while - no luck so far.

Sales! and 2016 Alt Income

June 22nd, 2016 at 02:23 pm

I sold the leftover clothes (about 160+ items) in 3 garbage bags to a lady on OfferUp. I like the site - its free and people make an offer on what you're seeling. I put it up for $50 and took the $40. That is a lot of items out of the house.

And it turns out that she sends them to an orphanage in Africa where she is from. So, maybe she's telling the truth, maybe not...but I feel good about my sale! lol

I have tallied my alternative income for 2016 so far:

Bing Rewards $5
CC Rewards $128.18
MyCokeRewards $35
Baby Items sales - yard sale/fb sales/Offer Up $316.50
Household Items Sale - yard sale/fb sales/offerup $60
Ebates: $19.78
Miscellanous promotions $124.25

TOTAL: $688.71

Yard Sale a bust for me

June 19th, 2016 at 03:03 am

My sister-in-law's neighborhood was having a community yard sale. My MIL & other SIL decided they wanted to participate, so I joined in. Between my other SIL (with my 10 month old niece) and I, we had TONS of baby girl clothes & items. I mostly had clothes though and didn't expect too much money.

Still - the neighborhood advertised big time. We put it up on all the local facebook sales sites. We had several people say they stopped by because of the posts (so yay, that worked).

I had maybe 200 baby clothing items. My MIL was selling soda & hot dogs, SIL had bigger baby items, plus toys & clothes.

Not sure how much my SIL made in the end, my MIL made maybe $15. I made $23.

However, I spent $1 for tag labels, and I spent 3 hours last night sorting by size & pricing, an hour setting up this morning and then breaking down later. So Hours spent on this - about 9 total.

definitely not worth it. Overtime hours, which I could have worked last night and today would have net me SO much more.

However, it was nice to be outside, I ran into an old friend AND I got to hang out with my husbands family (who I am lucky to like).

Question for the Group - Auto Insurance

June 1st, 2016 at 05:50 pm

We are setting up homeowners insurance for our new home and switching our current home to an investment property. I have that all nailed down, but in doing the research, we are bundling in our car insurance with a new company.

They are PUSHING one of those driving Data Recorders. You use for 90 days and depending on how you do, they supposedly decrease your insurance from 10-25%. We have always been against that type of data collection as it doesn't account for so many things.

However, since we are discussing it, I was wondering if anyone tried it and if so, what was your experience?

House Purchase & Renting

June 1st, 2016 at 03:03 pm

In addition to purchasing a new (bigger) home with my husband, we are renting out our little 2 room 1.5 bath townhouse.

We are utilizing a Property Management company, which is worth it to us because the fee to have them do the work is very fairly priced given the headaches renting can cause.

Lately, I have been working 20 hours of OT per week (OT is unlimited currently and I can work it from my couch & in my pjs). We have been purging some stuff here & there and doing some things to make the house 'pretty' for rental.

This weekend, my folks took the baby for 3.5 hours and we were able to get 1/2 the basement cleared, windowsills and passthroughs the bathrooms scoured, etc.

We are working to fix little annoying things as well - a broken burner on the stove (waiting for a part), patching a small hole made from a broken doorstop letting a door knob hit the wall, did yard work and generally worked to get it looking spiffy.

I actually enjoyed the painting though!

So far, we have spent very little for these things, which is good as we are being pretend cash poor right now to save as much as possible.

May Savings Update:

June 1st, 2016 at 02:57 pm

Most savings went to the new house fund, but I saved $4393.56 in the month of May!

YTD Savings Total: $17,038.85

FINALLY have 100k in Retirement accounts!

May 27th, 2016 at 01:08 pm

I have been posting about being so close to the 100k goal. I have been within a few hundred dollars and checking every week.

I got paid today and usually wait until Monday to check, but because of Ceejay's post, I checked this morning and I officially have $100,660.76 in my retirement accounts (not including anything in my husbands!)


SOOOOo 100k in retirement accounts (a little disappointed)

May 17th, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Had some small hits in my porfolio, so the large amount that went into my 401k over the weekend did not bring me above the 100k mark.

However, its pretty darn close! $99,549.83. I will take it!

Excited about the new home!

May 4th, 2016 at 08:15 pm

I am definitely getting excited over the new house. There will be so much more privacy. The lot isn't terribly big (we weren't looking for that), but there is privacy. No looking directly into any neighbor's houses. No house directly across the street (they staggered them nicely & there are trees between the house & the street.

The lot is about 1/2 an acre, which is still sizable. We back to woods owned by a private school that owns a huge amount of land in the area. They have kept that land maintained, but unbuilt for 3/4 of a century. We couldn't be luckier.

We do plan on building a fence, not for privacy but for the safety of our dog. He'll have plenty of room to run around & play with the baby.

In other news, the baby is over the Hand Foot & Mouth virus, but now I have it. It isn't as bad as it was for her, but I feel so badly that she felt blisters like this. Luckily I can work from home and don't feel to badly. Just pain where the blisters are.

Under Contract on a Home!

May 3rd, 2016 at 01:18 am

Last weekend, we found the house for us and put an offer on it. There were several other interested parties & multiple bids, but we made a competitive offer and we will not have a contingency, so they chose ours!

The house is well maintained and in great condition. We are getting a good deal in a great neighborhood/school district and we are very excited!

Closing is July 15th, which is perfect for us as we will be renting out this house we are currently living in. Lots of to-dos, costs, etc. But we are being frugal & planning accordingly!

That being said, we had our inspection today. The bones of the house are great - a few small issues found in regards to code changes and needing to meet them for sale. Nothing big or costly for the seller, so we are in negotiation.

In preparation of moving out of this house, into the new one, getting this house ready for rent, etc, we reduced our heavy contributions to 401k to have a heavier cash flow for the next 3 months. That pained me SO much. However, its temporary as we are just storing the extra cash. And the plan is to increase it back in August.

Part 2: Retirement Accounts Update - SOOO close to 100k

April 19th, 2016 at 01:52 pm

Friday's payday contributions hit and I am now at $98,361.76! I am just so darn close!

Retirement Accounts Update - SOOO close to 100k

April 15th, 2016 at 02:20 pm

Today was payday & my 401k contributions/match aren't showing in my account yet, but I am pretty happy to say that I am pretty close to meeting 100k in my personal retirement accounts (my husbands are not included).

IRA AF: $16,417.01
IRA JP1: $44,512.37
IRA JP2: $2,006.63
VG 401k: $33,983.48

TOTAL: $96,919.49

SOOOO close I can taste it! Today's check includes $734.29 and match $275.36 will get me a little close. I can't wait to see that magic number!

Payday tomorrow - SAVINGS totals! Yay overtime!

April 14th, 2016 at 03:04 pm

Tomorrow is payday & I have already set up all the savings transfers. I have been tracking those savings - per this paycheck, MTD and YTD 2016. We (my husband & I) have made HUGE progress this year!

Category This Paycheck - MTD - YTD Savings

New Home
$1,212.10 This Paycheck
$2,034.44 MTD
$10,321.75 YTD

$13.51 This Paycheck
$13.51 MTD
$117.92 YTD

$0.00 This Paycheck
$0.00 MTD
$450.00 YTD

Home Upkeep
$0.00 This Paycheck
$50.00 MTD
$250.00 YTD

$115.00 This Paycheck
$115.00 MTD
$678.00 YTD

Auto Repairs
$0.00 This Paycheck
$13.00 MTD
$343.00 YTD

$20.00 This Paycheck
$20.00 MTD
$50.00 YTD
$13.00 This Paycheck
$13.00 MTD
$39.00 YTD

Personal Items
$5.00 This Paycheck
$25.00 MTD
$55.00 YTD

Gifts Fund
$0.00 This Paycheck
$60.00 MTD
$431.95 YTD

Nephew Svgs
$62.00 This Paycheck
$62.00 MTD
$239.02 YTD

Daughter Svgs
$10.00 This Paycheck
$10.00 MTD
$93.00 YTD

$175.00 This Paycheck
$385.00 MTD
$815.00 YTD

$1,625.61 4/15 PAYCHECK
$2,800.90 MTD
$13,883.64 YTD

Getting Back into fully tracking spending is tricky

April 12th, 2016 at 06:09 pm

Tracking spending was a lot easier when I was one person. Now, we are a family and its harder. So I am tracking all personal spending for myself and all household spending. What my husband does with his personal spending won't be included. MUCH easier this way. (To be clear, we both contribute equally to the household, its just his individual checking is used for day to day expenses that I might not see).

Yesterday, I spent $1.50 on a soda at work (I know, bad!) and $40 on baby clothes.

I have been given so many hand me downs and utilized used clothing groups to supplement each new size. However, as summer gears up, my hand me down seasons are not quite matching up to my daughter's growing/size. So I am having to purchase a few things like sleepers/summer pjs and pants to supplement all the other clothing we have.

I haven't really bought new for her except once or twice, but Carters was having a great deal and I was able to buy 2 pairs of pants, 2 footie pj sets, and 2 3-piece summer pj sets for $40.00. I will 40 rewards points (75 = $10 gift card), used Ebates ($1.00 cash back) and a 3% rewards credit card.

Ugh at the price, but I am happy with the purchases as we should be all set for summer now!

The only thing we may need is some shoes towards the end of summer, but no need to worry about that yet.

FB Sales Site - great for frugal baby items!

April 7th, 2016 at 07:21 pm

I have been blessed with plenty of gifts and hand-me-down baby items. However, we are starting to get to the piont of having to fund our own clothing purchases for the little one. She'll be 8 months old in a week. Crazy, right?

My area has a very big FB Sales site geared towards family & kids.

I have had some successes selling and buying. Some things that haven't sold... it just depends.

I have even sold some things for my sister (after we used them for our little one) and given her back the money (she needs it more). Below, I do not count sales for my sister.

Overall, we really have lucked out. For example, I sold a large lot of newborn clothes to a lady who was donating them to a coworker in need. Both of us won on that deal!

Another example - I bought the infant car seat and 2 bases from a good friend whose daughter only used it for 3 months. We knew for sure it was not in any accidents, etc. We paid $100 for 3 month old supplies

My daughter used it for 6 months and then moved into a convertable car seat. I turned around and sold it on the FB sales site this week for $50. Can't beat that!

2016 Tally:

-Sold: lot of newborn clothes $50
-Sold: 3 1/2 shirts for newborns $6
-Sold: newborn shirts $10
-Sold: extra boppy cover $5
-Sold: 6 3 month onesies $8
-Sold: 9 3-6 mo onesies $10
-Sold: minnie mouse outfit $8
-Sold: car seat & 2 bases $50
-Purchased: 5 12 month summer outfits $12
-Purchased: 5 12 month dressy outfits $12

Net Profit: $123

Savings Updates and Reading old blog posts

April 5th, 2016 at 04:56 pm

Still excited to see that its been 10 years for me with SavingAdvice. I have been reading through my first year's blog posts. SO neat to see/remember how my day to day life was then.

New Home Fund:
Amount Added MTD: $822.53
Total Added YTD: $9,132.53

EFund (savings plus cash):
Amount Added MTD: $210
Total Added YTD: $585.61

Slush Fund:
Amount Added MTD: $130
Total Added YTD: $450.49

Amount Added MTD: $93
Total Added YTD: $578.14

Home Upkeep:
Amount Added MTD: $114.74
Total Added YTD: $264.98

Amount Added MTD: $33
Total Added YTD: $343.60

Amount Added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $50.05

Amount Added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $39.23

Gifts Fund:
Amount Added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $433.20

Kid Savings (Daughter):
Amount Added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $9.33

Kid Savings (Nephew):
Amount Added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $178.01

Daughter 529:
Amount added MTD: $0
Total Added YTD: $170.00

Remembered my Blogaversary ON my Blogaversary!

April 5th, 2016 at 03:16 pm

After years of missing it, I actually remembered that today is my Blogiversary! I started April 5, 2006. Its been 10 years! How crazy is that?

I started at almost 27, renting, working full time and going to graduate school part time. I was living in an extra bedroom of a friend’s house with 2 people. I was single and having fun.

10 years later, I am about to turn 37, own a home, am currently looking to buy a new one, am married, with an 7 month old, a cat, a dog and a great job with wonderful salary, overtime opportunities and benefits.

I had a small retirement savings then and am on track to hit $100k in retirement savings in the next year (not including my husband’s retirement savings).

Its amazing to go back & read some of the old day to day posts I had then. I am enjoying ‘reading through my life’.

Thank you, my Saving Advice family for such a great environment!

Retirement Update

March 22nd, 2016 at 12:17 pm

AF 401k Rollover $16,075.90
JPM1 401k Rollover $43,610.12
JPM2 401k Rollover $1,951.46
Vanguard 401k $32,663.13

TOTAL $94,300.61

Payday! Mini Goals Update

March 18th, 2016 at 07:39 pm

Today is payday. This check includes my bonus and raise.

I had lowered my 401k contribution to just the match for this paycheck only. I already have increased it back to 16% for the next check.

With this check, I have been able to put aside the following:

$4279 to new home fund (cashflow, overtime plus bonus)
$155 Medical Savings
$80 2016 Gifts
$13 Membership savings
$15 Emergency Fund
$5 Clothing Fund
$20 Automobile savings
$31 cash savings
$130 Slush Fund
$50 Home Upkeep Fund

MARCH Savings (since I won't be paid again until 4/1)TOTALS are as follows:

New Home $4,857.32
Efund $15
Slush Fund $130
Home Upkeep Fund $50
Medical Fund $170
Automobile Savings $20
Vacation $20
Longwood $13
Clothing $10
2016 Gifts $109.25
Nephew Car $16.90
Baby Savings $10
529 $10
TOTAL for March: $5431.47

2016 Mini Goals (Goal End Date 4/30/2016)

*Goals are the dollar amount I want to add to these accounts and not the new total*

1. Extra Splurge on CC $155/$155 Goal
2. Car Savings $310/$343 Goal
3. Medical Savings $470/$493 Goal
4. Nephew Savings $45.19/$486 Goal
5. Efund $104.53/$936 Goal
6. New Home Fund $8300.76/$10,334 Goal

Food Frugality!

March 9th, 2016 at 07:51 pm

We are hoping to sell our house & buy new this year. Unfortunately, I (single at the time) bought the house at the higher end of the market and the neighborhood has changed a lot and we are not sure how much we'll be able to sell the house for (we may take a small loss).

Because of this, and other expenses lately, we are buckling down on spending. Today, I have gotten a LOT of freebies at work and I am a happy camper.

My manager keeps a snack pile for the team - I grabbed a small bag of popcorn and a piece of candy today.

I packed my breakfast/lunch/snack:

Tuna & crackers, pasta salad, tomatoes & oil/vinegar/herb dressing.

I brought a water bottle and had a stash of soda at my desk. I also splurged on Snapples at the grocery store yesterday - 2 - 12 packs for $13.99. So for $0.58 each I can have a treat once in a while. I brought a few to keep at my desk at work. When I want a treat - I put it in the work fridge to chill.

About an hour before my shift ends, we got an email that a work meeting had a ton of leftovers & they were providing to-go containers if any of my group wanted to take some home. I got a piece of crusted chicken, some beef, potatoes and fruit salad. That and a bottle of water. The food, plus leftovers in the fridge will cover my husband & I for dinner tonight. Can't beat that!

I am thinking of restarting my Lunch Challange - so today is the 1st day of it. I spent nothing and packed or received free food today.

Since today is the 9th and I have 16 more work days in the month, (3 of which will be remote work), I am pledging to pack breakfast, lunch & snack for 15 of those 16 days. Wish me luck!

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