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Taxes - Do you ever REALLY pay attention to how much you pay?

March 9th, 2017 at 04:16 pm

So last night I dropped off my taxes to a professional. The very first time that I have not done our taxes. This year, we bought a house, put our townhouse up for rent, had non-payment from renter and a few other out of the norm financial items that led us to take the advice of a professional for this year's taxes.

I know from talking to friends and family and from reading blogs, that a lot of people focus on the amount they owe or are being refunded when they file their taxes. I know I am guilty of it, but I really want to take a hard look as the dollar amounts we pay in taxes – Federal, State, Local (if applicable), Social Security and Medicare.

We do pay attention to what is withheld versus what is estimated to be owed. Our refunds have usually been within $500 or so. Last year, we had a slightly larger refund. This year, I’m not sure how its going to turn out.

I am also looking hard at any way to lower my AGI to pay the least amount of tax as possible. Right now, my husband & I contribute to our 401ks, but not to the max for both of us. We contribute to a H.S.A, and a Childcare FSA. My goal this year is to try to contribute to IRAs for both of us and this year I am hoping to max out on my 401k at least.

Still – seeing the hard #s of what we gross, what we pay in taxes and what we actually net is eye – opening.

Do any of your take a hard look at the dollar amount and/or percentages paid?

March Goals

March 6th, 2017 at 07:53 pm

1) OT Hours Goal: 60 Hours this month to cover mortgage on rental that is being prepped for sale, $300 per paycheck into savings and a 1/2 of the car repair I put on a 0% card

2) Savings: $1046 (including Savings but not sinking funds, 529 and Kid Savings)

3) 3) Debt repayment $400 (including the partial car repair)

4) Cash flow Rental Townhouse Mortgage Payment: $1009 (from OT)

5) Sell 8-10 Items on FB Sales Site. Baby items plus household items

6) Pack Lunches a minimum of 3 times a week (only work in office 4 times per week, work 1 day remote )

7) Do Alt Income tasks (Bing, mypoints and mycoke rewards)

8) Continue to track all personal & household spending (I don’t bother with DH’s personal spending – no need to know how much he spent on lunches, etc when it’s his fun money)

9) Professional Tasks:
a. Mail Professional Membership recertification paperwork
b. Complete 1-2 webinars
c. Update resume

10) RENTAL Unit:
a. Complete repairs
b. Meet with realtor about putting up for sale

11) Meet Tax Professional – Appointment set for 3/7/17

12) Keep up calculations for utilizing OT to keep on track to max out 401k this year

13) Research/plan for bigger house purchases:
a. Fence
b. Blinds for 1 room
c. Pressure washer
d. New bed and bed frame for master bedroom

February Goals - Update

March 6th, 2017 at 07:37 pm

1) OT Hours Goal: 54 hours in the month FAIL: 27.80 hours. Was sick the first week of the month and did not worry about doing OT.

2) Savings: $1046 (including House Savings, 529 and Kids Savings); Actual: $1061.64

3) Debt repayment $100; Actual: $157

4) Cashflow Rental Townhouse Mortgage Payment: $1009 – GOAL MET

5) Sell 5-10 Items on FB Sales Site – Sold 2 items and a 10 pack of clothes

6) Meal Plan all 4 weeks - FAIL

7) Limit lunches out to 4 days in the month - FAIL

8) Do Alt Income tasks (Bing, mypoints and mycoke rewards) – Did, but not consistently

9) Continue to track all personal & household spending (I don’t bother with DH’s personal spending – no need to know how much he spent on lunches, etc when its his fun money) - DONE

10) Keep within budget for Atlantic City Trip. Budget $200 for DH & I. We have a free room, are bringing drinks & food, have coupons for meals and are planning on only playing a few penny slots and enjoying time with our friends. - DONE

11) Professional Certification Tasks:
a. Attend Chapter Event - DONE
b. Complete 2-3 webinars - DONE
c. Sign up for recertification & start paperwork (once work pays) – DONE (Work submitted payment as well)

12) RENTAL:Unless paid up by Day 11 after court date (where the renter agreed to all amounts owed and the judge said we have the right to evict), the PM company will fill Writ with courts for 24 eviction. That would be on Monday the 6th, so wish us luck - DONE - Eviction complete. Repairs started and hoping to put on market asap

13) Set up tax appointment - I normally do our taxes, but with the rental, the rental income loss, etc, I am going to a professional for this year only - DONE

14) Start sale process on townhouse - Pending

15) Keep up calculations for utilizing OT to keep on track to max out 401k this year - DONE

February Update:

March 6th, 2017 at 07:23 pm

Retirement Update Balance as of 3/1: $128,841.71 (not including Spouse’s retirement funds)
CC Debt Balance as of 3/1: $2470.86 (all 0%)
Sinking Funds Balance as of 3/1: $2195.78
Daughter Savings: Balance as of 3/1 $213.67
Daughter 529: Balance as of 3/1 $549.65
Savings Accounts: Balance as of 3/1 $13,789
Health Savings Account 1 (invested) Balance as of 3/1 $1799.67
Health Savings Account Balance as of 3/1 2 $803.21
Cash Savings (FB Sales) Balance as of 3/1 $259.50
2017 Gifts Fund Balance as of 3/1 $1271
2018 Gifts Fund Balance as of 3/1 $37.01
Total Alt Income in February: $79.01


February 12th, 2017 at 01:08 am

I was sick a week and half ago - lost OT, because I took 2 days off to recover. So my OT goal for the month will likely not be met. I am fine with that. OT is a luxury, not a necessity Smile

I am selling a few baby items this month & am gearing up to put together Groups of summer baby clothes to sell in lots. Hopefully that will bring a few bucks in.

My husband and I went to Atlantic City with some friends for Superbowl. 4 couples, 3 free rooms. We splurged on valet parking ($10) and gambled a little (with planned cash) and had some food. Spent about $200, which was the max amount we had budgeted. So that was a win. We had a blast!

Today, our one friend helped my husband load up and unload a bedroom set from some friends nearby. It was sitting in their basement and we needed a guest bedroom set. A queen bed frame & headboard, a night stand and a dresser and mirror/shelf top. $30 approximately spent on a truck rental and maybe another $20 on dinner for the friend who helped us move. Great deal for us! I hope to take pictures once its fully set up.

Late Posting Meal Plan

February 7th, 2017 at 08:27 pm

Saturday: Chili & cornbread
Sunday: Out of town (Atlantic City)
Monday: Make due from the fridge
Tuesday: Pasta & meatballs
Wednesday: Honey Balsamic Pork Chops
THursday: Shake N Bake Chicken

Lunches: prepped a bunch of egg salad and prepared grab & go portions of nuts, applesauce and cornbread muffins.

Breakfasts: rice chex and milk (for me), my daughter gets breakfast & lunch at daycare and my hubs sometimes packs and sometimes doesn't, using his fun money to eat out. He handles that himself though.

February Goals

February 1st, 2017 at 09:17 pm

1) OT Hours Goal: 54 hours in the month
2) Savings: $1046 (including House Savings, 529 and Kids Savings)
3) Debt repayment $100
4) Cashflow Rental Townhouse Mortgage Payment: $1009
5) Sell 5-10 Items on FB Sales Site
6) Meal Plan all 4 weeks
7) Limit lunches out to 4 days in the month
8) Do Alt Income tasks (Bing, mypoints and mycoke rewards)
9) Continue to track all personal & household spending (I don’t bother with DH’s personal spending – no need to know how much he spent on lunches, etc when its his fun money)
10) Keep within budget for Atlantic City Trip. Budget $200 for DH & I. We have a free room, are bringing drinks & food, have coupons for meals and are planning on only playing a few penny slots and enjoying time with our friends.
11) Professional Certification Tasks:
a. Attend Chapter Event
b. Complete 2-3 webinars
c. Sign up for recertification & start paperwork (once work pays)
12) RENTAL:Unless paid up by Day 11 after court date (where the renter agreed to all amounts owed and the judge said we have the right to evict), the PM company will fill Writ with courts for 24 eviction. That would be on Monday the 6th, so wish us luck
13) Set up tax appointment - I normally do our taxes, but with the rental, the rental income loss, etc, I am going to a professional for this year only
14) Start sale process on townhouse
15) Keep up calculations for utilizing OT to keep on track to max out 401k this year

Final January Update (I promise to streamline next month)

February 1st, 2017 at 08:58 pm

60.26 hours worked

No income from non-paying Renter
$1009 mortgage paid


Sewer: $137.77

FB Baby item sales $18

Cash EF: $170 added
Joint House Savings: $974.96 added
Daughter 529 $20 added
Daughter Kids Savings Acct: $10 added
*Not including funds that go into sinking fund savings accounts

January Savings Update

February 1st, 2017 at 08:46 pm

January Savings Amount:
Cash EF: $170 added
Joint House Savings: $974.96 added
-$25 cashflow from DH
-$250 from Childcare FSA reimbursement
-$191.64 from Childcare FSA reimbursement
-$300 from DH Pay

January Goals Update

February 1st, 2017 at 08:42 pm

JANUARY Financial Goals: Update
1) Pay $463.08 towards 0% Debt: ACTUAL PAID: $866.09
2) Sell 5-10 Items via FB sales site: 7 ITEMS SOLD - Made $18 in Alt income from FB sales
3) Work 60 hours of OT: ACTUAL WORKED: 60.26 Hours
4) Meal Plan each week: COMPLETED 3 OF THE 4 WEEKS WITH A PLAN (It’s a start)
5) Calculate what is needed to meet Professional Re-Certification
a. Make step by step plan: DONE
b. Start request for employer to pay for recertification: APPROVED, PENDING PAYMENT
c. Pay to join Local Chapter (not covered by employer) $30 fee annually: DONE
d. Sign up for 1st Chapter Event (Free with membership): DONE

Jan OT Goal Met

February 1st, 2017 at 08:33 pm

My OT goal for Jan was 60 hours and I just eeked in and met it at the end of the month! Yay for me.

Jan 1 to Jan 8 - 22 hours OT
Jan 9 to Jan 15 – 15.13 hours OT
Jan 16 to Jan 22 – 11.43 hours OT
Jan 23 to Jan 27 – 8.73 hours OT
Jan 28 to Jan 31 – 2.97 hours OT


Meal Plan for the Week

January 24th, 2017 at 06:34 pm

Although its Tuesday, thought I'd put up my meal plan for the week.

Sunday: Chicken Patties with mozzerella, pasta & sauce
and peas

Monday: Baked Barbeque Chicken and corn

Tuesday: Meatball sandwiches with mozzerella

Wednesday: Baked Potato Bar

Thursday: Honey Balsamic Pork Chops and Rice

Friday: Steak and Blue Cheese Salad

Meal Planning & Recipes

January 19th, 2017 at 02:34 pm

This week, my meal planning was non-existant, but we were working with a lot of freezer stuff & leftovers, so it works out.

Monday - We had leftovers
Tuesday - I made do as it was my husband's late night at work
Wednesday - Hubby made pork chops & fries
Tonight (Thurs) - I am going to dinner with a friend, so probably hubby is getting take out for our daughter & him.
Friday - We both have a happy hour with friends and my daughter is being watched by my parents.

The point of me saying this - is I am trying new recipes. The last week of meal planning, I tried a fabulous recipe for honey balsamic pork chops. SUPER yummy.

However, we are looking for new ideas. Asking anyone in the community to feel free to share ideas and/or recipes! Thanks in advance Big Grin

Placeholder for old 2015 and 2016 goals from sidebar

January 13th, 2017 at 08:11 pm

2015 Goals:
Contribute $8k to 401k
Company 401k Match Goal - $2770
Pay off CC TY $1087.11(Paid off Feb 6th)
Pay off CC FR $5762.60 (Paid off Mar 6th)
Pay off CC BA $9257.35
Pay off Car Loan $1595.93 (Paid off April)
Cash Only Gifts - Birthday AND Christmas
Spouse Paying off the last of the credit cards he came into the marriage with.
2016 GOALS:
1. Keep contributing 14% to 401k (plus 6% match)[increasing to 16% as of 3/18]
2. $2500 to HSA (PLUS $1500 Company Match). Already set up
3. $3333.33 to Childcare FSA (PLUS $1666.67 Company Contribution)
4. Cash only Birthdays/Holidays/Christmas (add $1294 to 2016 Gifts Fund)
5. Increase New Home Fund by $8000
6. Increase EFUND by $946.81
7. Increase Vacation fund by $274.86
8. Increase Nephew Savings by $500.05
9. Increase Medical Savings by $483.69
10. Increase Car Savings by $442.68

TOTAL GOAL: $27,715.42

Month Goals for January

January 2nd, 2017 at 03:41 am

Mix of personal, work & financial

1. Pack breakfast and lunch for work 3 of the 4 days per week we are in office. There are 2 holidays in January, so the Monthly Goal would be to pack 17 times this month.

2. Drink 48 oz of water every day. Its more than my annual goal, but I want to have a great start.

3. Exercise 3-4 times a week for a minimum of 30 days. My schedule is hectic, so incorporating this time will be a challenge. Once I start working it in regularly, I hope it will be easier.

4. Eat Healthier (nonspecific goal either than high protein, low fat, added dairy)

5. Pay $463.08 towards 0% debt

6. Work 60 hours of OT

7. Attempt to sell 5-10 Baby/Household Items

8. Meal Plan each week

9. Calculate what is needed to meet Professional Re-Certification. Make step by step plan. Start request for employer to pay for recertification. Make plan for if they refuse to pay.

2017 Goals

January 2nd, 2017 at 03:21 am

1. Get Renter Out
2. Sell Townhouse
3. Cash only gifts/holidays/Christmas. I include all birthdays, holidays, cards, Christmas, Thanksgiving groceries, my daughter's birthday party in this category, so it seems big. I need to add $1249 to this fund in 2017
4. Pay off small debt at 0% before it runs out in 2018 $3481.09. Part is medical expenses that I am hoping to just cashflow paying the card for instead of using funds from my HSA. But we will see.
5. Keep up OT to pay Rental Townhouse Mortgage so we don't have to utilize any further savings
6. Add to Emergency Fund by $5000. Stretch goal is $8000. This would be significantly dependent on goals 1 and 2.
7. No new debt
8. Continue FB sales of household and baby items.
9. Continue 16% of salary to 401k
10. Continue contributing to Childcare FSA for $1666.67 contribution from employer (Automatically set up already).

1. 30 Minutes of Activity 3-4 times a week. So for the year 156 days of a minimum of 30 minutes activity. The Stretch Goal would be 208 days of a minimum of 30 minutes of activity.

2. 5 days a week of hitting 48 oz of water per day. I am terrible with water. So I am setting the 5 of 7 days goal with a stretch goal of 7 of 7 days. (260 days of the year/stretch 365 days).

3. Eat healthier. I don't want to put a weight loss goal on it, but that essentially is my goal. To have more energy, stamina and to lose weight.

4. Mealplan each week.


1. To refocus myself in the position. I have been feeling burnt out and want to expand my experience in a few areas. I will not be sharing the specific steps
because its work specific.

2. Finish completing requirements for my career accreditation. Need to re-up at the end of the year.

Financial Changes in 2016

January 1st, 2017 at 04:30 pm

Financial Changes in 2016

This was a big year for us. We bought a house (yay), put a large down payment down, put our townhouse out to rent, working with a property management company, moved, had medical issues, and got a lot of overtime in.

I was able to cash-flow major expenses such as the purchase of a lot of furnishings, a car repair, the movers and Christmas. Some furnishings were bought new, some bought used, but all clean, long term use items.

We funded slush funds that are not calculated in the amount of money change in 2016 as they are not savings or cash-flowed large purchases.

Cash-flowed Purchases Include
All of Christmas Expenses:
A dining room table plus 6 chairs
2 8 x 10 area rugs
2 kitchen stools
1 bathroom area rug
1 couch and 2 arm chairs
1 couch & loveseat set
Car Repair

So Financially,

I cash-flowed large purchases in the amount of $6139.72

We paid Expenses on the Rental Property to the tune of $4576 after Rental income.

We saved $12,531.99 towards the New Home Fund, which was then used in additional to the amount already saved to make the deposit/closing costs on the new home purchase

We saved additional amounts of $1503.82 in the Home Fund, $892.95 in the EFund, $1001.59 in the 2017 Gifts Fund, $389.46 in my Nephew's Savings account, $193.72 in my daughter's savings account and $472.92 in her 529 account. TOTAL SAVINGs INCREASE: $4454.46

I contributed $17,474.02 to my 401k, the company matched $6785.30.

My company also provided $1666.67 in my CHildcare FSA.

In Addition, we created Cash Savings:
Emergency Cash at home: $218
FB Baby Sales $199.50
House FB Sales $51

So our financial turnaround this year was definitely significant.

FB Sales & Purchases on the last day of the year

January 1st, 2017 at 12:08 am

My little one is already incredibly into books. We read to her, she flips through books herself, she 'reads to us' (she's one, so she's just babbling at us with some real words thrown in). I want to foster that love of books, so we have a bunch and incorporate the library (more later than now obviously).

However, a woman locally was selling 100 kids books for $30. At 30 cents each, and including several series of books that I loved to read as a kid, I bought them. I did try to counteroffer, but she held firm. LOL Using money I had from FB sales of my daughter's stuff, no budget money was spent.

At the same time, I sold one of my daughter's old infant toys for $5.

I am ending the year with $199.50 in the FB Baby Sales envelope. This is Sales minus Purchases from the site.

2016 GOALS update

December 29th, 2016 at 01:02 am

2016 GOALS:
1. Keep contributing 14% to 401k (plus 6% match)[increasing to 16% as of 3/18] COMPLETED. CURRENTLY 401K CONTRIBUTION FOR MYSELF IS AT 16% AND WILL STAY THAT WAY INTO 2017
2. $2500 to HSA (PLUS $1500 Company Match). Already set up COMPLETED
3. $3333.33 to Childcare FSA (PLUS $1666.67 Company Contribution) COMPLETED
4. Cash only Birthdays/Holidays/ChristmasCOMPLETED
7. Increase Vacation fund by $274.86 GOAL POSTPONED FOR NEW HOUSE PURCHASE
8. Increase Nephew Savings by $500.05 INCREASED BY $400 AND GAVE $100 CASH AT CHRISTMAS INSTEAD
9. Increase Medical Savings by $483.69 POSTPONED DUE TO NEW HOUSE PURCHASE
10. Increase Car Savings by $442.68 POSTPONED DUE TO NEW HOUSE PURCHASE

This year, we purchased a new house, rented out the old one, had a renter stop paying after 2 months, cashflowed several large purchases. I will do a post of this years 'financial change', but it is significant and I am happy!

Final 2016 401k Contribution #s

December 28th, 2016 at 11:30 pm

In 2016, I was able to contribute the following:

$14,747.02 My Contribution
$ 6,785.30 Employer Match
$21,532.32 TOTAL CONTRIBUTION in 2016

Because of increased contribution percentage, plus overtime, this is the best contribution amount I have had before and definitely the largest employer contribution amount! Woohoo!

Major issues with the Renter of the Townhouse :(

December 28th, 2016 at 11:15 pm

When we bought our new home this summer, we decided to hold off on selling the townhouse that was in my name only & instead rent it out. This was for several reasons, mostly financial.

We went through a very reputable Property Management company, who did a thorough vetting of applicants. We (my husband and I) made the final decision on the renter. She had ok credit, no issues with previous landlords/apartment complexes and although was lower income, seemed to be good.

She moved in mid-August. Paid up the deposit, 1st months rent, etc. Paid September and October with no issues. She sent a check in November, which BOUNCED.

The same week we were notified it bounced, I was in the neighborhood dropping off my 2016 HOA check and saw that the front door (screen door) was off the hinge and laying in the yard.

I notified the property management company, who said they had no contact with the renter about any issues with the door and that they had not received any response to calls, emails and a note on the door about the rent.

Because of the issue with the door/damage to the property, they serviced notice per state law for an indoor inspection and a day or 2 later, did a walk through.

The interior had no issues, was well maintained and very clean luckily. The PM left a note that because of the lack of contact and the returned check, they would be speaking to the owners (us) who may choose to exercise their right to start court proceedings.

The renter called that night. They said they'd been in a car accident and had to be out of work, had their phone shut off and other excuses why they didn't reach out.

They said they are just returning to work now and would be paying a 1/2 payment the next Friday & another 1/2 payment the following Friday. However, this would put them another month behind as December 1st was in between those 2 promised payments.

Based on the lack of communication, lack of clear plan to get caught up, bouncing a check so early into the lease, etc, we decided to go with giving notice & starting court proceedings to get her out of the house.

State law has us waiting for a court date. In the mean time, Dec 1st passed with no payment. The Promised Payment Friday did not appear.

The PM talked to her again and she said she meant the 'following Friday as she's paid biweekly'. That next Friday passed with no payment as well.

As of today, a 3rd Friday passed with no payment. So she is 2 months behind, owes 2 months of late fees and is aware of the eviction process starting.

If she magically got caught up , we could drop the court proceeding, but in the mean time, she is not in communication and has not paid.

We used our Rental EF of 1 month mortgage to the Dec 1st Mortgage payment. I cash-flowed 1/2 of January 1st's mortgage payment and used savings for the 2nd half.

For Feb 1, I am doing OT to avoid using savings for the payment. IN Jan, we should get a court date, but it could be until late Feb before she is out. Once she is, we are going to just sell the house.

Its going to be a real challenge to sell at the amount owed on the mortgage Frown

We knew renting was a gamble and it did not pay out for us. Unfortunately the house values in that neighborhood plummeted quite a bit in the last 8 years and its not going to get better. Crime went up in the area and a lot of homes are for sale, but just sitting.

I am not looking forward to this process, but we have and will be doing everything to do this in the smartest way possible. Wish us luck!

Final 2016 Alternate Income Total

December 27th, 2016 at 02:11 am

Alt Income:
01/14/2016 $5 AGC bing
02/08/2016 $20 coke reward agc
02/13/2016 $19.78 ebates
02/22/2016 $37.92 TD cc rewards
02/26/2016 $50 samsung pay bonus
03/06/2016 $4.25 Red Bull Settlement
03/07/2016 $25 Citi TY Bonus
09/06/2016 $20 agc bing
09/16/2016 $11.99 amazon cc rewards
10/13/2016 $66.08 TD cc rewards
10/14/2016 $5 AGC bing
10/24/2016 $2.01 Red Bull Settlement
11/10/2016 $78.2 TD cc rewards
11/14/2016 $15 AGC bing
11/15/2016 $26.18 ebates
11/16/2016 $110.17 BOA cc rewards plus bonus $100
11/22/2016 $150 checking bonus
11/30/2016 $5.55 coke reward agc (partial)
12/05/2016 $14.45 coke reward agc (partial)
12/22/2016 $2.9 Discover balance refund
12/22/2016 $5 AGC bing

TOTAL: $524.50

2/1 $50 Lot of Newborn CLothes
2/1 $6 1/2 shirts
3/1 $10 shirts
3/1 $5 Boppy Cover
3/1 $8 3 month onesies
3/1 $10 6 month onesides
3/1 $8 Minnie mouse outfit
4/3 $10 extra infant car seat base
4/6 $40 infant car seat & base
4/25 $5 maternity shorts
4/18 $5 baby outfit
4/29 $12 baby clothes to Brittany
5/4 $15 playmat
6/19 $22.5 yard sale
6/20 $40 3 bags 6-9 month baby clothes
7/30 $8 superhero bibs
8/1 $8 extra boppy sale
8/17 $10 4 oz bottles
9/6 $14 9 oz bottles
10/18 $8 bouncer & blankets
10/19 $5 Halloween outfit 3 months
11/07 $3 holiday bibs
11/17 $8 bumbo seat
11/19 $10 9 month xmas clothes
12/4 $5 xmas outfit newborn

2016 FB Household items sales

2/27 $5 house survey
7/4 $40 cradle
7/5 $20 upholstered chair
7/29 $3 mirror
11/17 $8 wall hanging
11/19 $35 wall shelf


Retirement Update

December 9th, 2016 at 01:21 am

Retirement update as of 12/8/16

$117,088.35 (not including my husband's 401k).

Lots of catching up & Holiday updates

November 28th, 2016 at 01:02 am

Its been a while since a good post from me, I plan on doing more soon. Lots to catch up on!

We had a good holiday weekend. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at our house for myself, my husband and daughter, my mother-in-law, 3 sisters-in-law, 1 brother in law, 1 boyfriend of my SIL, 1 13 year old nephew & 1 1.5 year old niece. It was a lot of fun and a LOT of food.

My folks were invited, but my mom wanted to do Thanksgiving at her house. This is the 1st year in my life that I did not see my parents/sister/nephew on Thanksgiving. It was weird, but luckily drama-free (my mom is not a fan of 'sharing' me at the holidays).

Since the dinner was last minute, I did well at shopping, but still spent about $119 for groceries. Everything turned out well, the guests brought food too and we had a really nice time.

Friday, the baby's daycare was closed. My husband was off, but I was working from home, so he got to sleep in & I did pretty well with watching a 15 month old and still actually getting work done! lol.

Saturday, we had to drop off my husband's car to be repaired and we ended up at a local nursery/store that does a big Christmas business. My daughter got to ooh and ahhh over decorated trees inside & out of the cold. It wasn't very crowded and we bought an ornament and a new tree topper. It was a nice time.

Today, we vegged at home, I had a slight migraine, so I spent a good part of the day on the couch. We ate leftovers for lunch and I made Italian wedding soup for dinner. Very nice & relaxing.

All throughout the weekend, I did a little online deals Christmas shopping. Got a few really good deals, so that was nice!

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!

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