Home > Category: Uncategorized

Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category

Coming back to the group during a weird time

May 8th, 2020 at 12:45 am

Starting off with how we're doing. Which isn't 100% financial, but lays the groundwork Smile

So I'm about 8 weeks into a shelter in place order. My 4 year old's daycare closed. My work, which was already half in office/half remote, went full remote. My husband, whose office NEVER has anyone remote, went fully remote a week later.

However, he works in an area where the pandemic is affecting his job in a way that they are helping some of the government backed initiatives for small businesses, which means he's worked 7 days a week for the last 7 weeks. On salary, but had gotten small bonuses here & there for extra help.

My work (i.e. Senior management that have no idea what its like for those of us in the trenches at my job) expects us to maintain/exceed all goals.

Which is fun to try to do when my husband is training and on calls half the date, I try to maintain my production and quality and at the same time, try to make a 'normal' for my pre-k kid.

Poor kid wants our help with things all the time, wants 'help' with schoolwork, and for us to play with her.

She misses school, we have been left with no guidance on how to 'teach' her. I have spent hours researching schoolwork/activities and over the weeks, we have made mistakes, but made a 'schedule.

I get up first, usually with her, at 7am. We can watch Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger or play a game on her tablet until breakfast, giving me time to start prepping work.

9am we start school. She does pre-k workbooks, home projects for learning and art. At 10am, she watches an online Kindergartern class (its 1 hour and this woman volunteered to do a sort of circle time to keep kids feeling ok). It is phenomenal and my daughter has thrived with it.

Free play at 11 when the Kindergarten Live is over. Lunch, then an hour rest (she hasn't taking naps in a year).

More school when she gets up, then depending on my workload, we do art or coloring or more free play.

If my husband gets a break, he takes her for a quick walk in the day.

As long as its not raining, when I am done between 3 and 4, I take her outside.

On the weekends, we try to make things fun. We hit up local parks for hiking(free), play in the yard, do art projects.

I'd say we have spent maybe $150 on pre-k workbooks, craft supplies, paper, construction paper, small items, a kickboxing stand and a new bicycle helmet.

We've been eating out 1-2 times a week to support local small businesses and our grocery spending is up (we're all eating breakfast & lunch at home now). Prices seem to go up too.

However, we are lucky. We both are working at full salary and while its stressful to parent + teach + work all day, we've been doing it. We can do this.

Things will start slight openings tomorrow - although the #s of hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing in my state. So we plan to still isolate. Maybe eventually some 'playdates' with family or friends we know also have been self-quarantining. But I figure not until the end of May before we'd consider it.

Just some of the frugal things we're doing to entertain:

We checked out a bunch of books and movies from the library, right before they closed.

We are using old summer toys: a slide ($5 a yard sale last summer), water table ($10 yard sale find - lasted 3 summers), chalk (gifted), Frisbee (free), kickball ($5 from 2 summers ago), tee-ball set up ($10 a year ago). She's learned to ride her bike (a birthday gift)(with the new helmet $25) and her scooter ($5 yard sale find). She's also getting really good at driving her Barbie jeep ($20 yard sale).

We have been using our fire pit, eating on the deck when its nice, hiking a lot.

Indoors, I have pulled out all the stops with art supplies (mostly on hand already) and spend about another $25 bucks on additional paper, handwriting practice pater, construction paper, paints, beads, etc. We have kept tp rolls and paper towel rolls, Kleenex boxes, cardboard boxes and are utilizing those too.

Trying to stay as frugal as possible, but happy to invest in pre-k workbooks, paints, connect the dots books, hidden pictures books (like Highlight magazine), etc.

We have invested in a chest freezer and are going to purchase from a local farm. Beef is getting hard to find and chicken is hit or miss in the stores. I am meal planning and we are utilizing what we have.

I also have been braving the stores every 10 days or so for supplies for my parents and dropping them off to them. Rough times out there.


April 27th, 2020 at 08:57 pm


Rough Couple of weeks - emotionally and money wise

June 5th, 2018 at 05:04 pm

My last day at my job was 5/24, a Thursday. I had a half day (paid for full) and then we off Friday. My husband took off with me and we had some time together- lunch out and a movie and had a really awesome time.

Saturday morning, my dog (of 3 years) bit me. He has been having behavior issues, but he was hurt and I reached to help his paw, and he bit me hard. An emergency room visit resulted in my hand getting 14 stiches. $$$ large bill coming

Because of his bite history and the severity of my bite, we worked with the rescue we originally adopted the dog from to address this issue. Unfortunately, after the 10 day quarantine, he had to be put down. We are so upset, but medically/mentally, something was wrong with him. The rescue & vets office agreed. He was sick.

By Memorial Day (Monday), it was infected and I was back at the ER. I was admitted right away and they started me on IV antibiotics. There was concern about possibly doing a surgery, but after 3 days, I was released to go home on Thursday.

Friday morning, I woke up with infection symptoms returning and I was right back in the ER and being admitted. Saturday, I had hand surgery. I was released to come home yesterday (Monday).

So of the last 8 days, I spent 6 in the hospital. That bill will be ridiculous. Our family health insurance deductible is $2400. We used up some of it already, but the actual out of pocket cap amount is $7000.

I am doing better. However, because I could not start my new job on the 29th as I was supposed to, I had to tell them to release and open the position up. LUCKILY though - the company that I really wanted to work for called Tuesday and offered me a position at a salary higher than the original new job offer. I have a start date of the 18th.

I have mobility issues of the hand and hope that my dexterity is better by then. Trying to take it easy is hard!

So because of all this craziness, we have unknown medical bill coming, $361.45 vet bill, and incidentals from eating out, etc. that my husband had to do while traipsing back & forth between home, babysitters and hospital for the last week.

I am very lucky though - my hand will be ok, my family is ok and I have a new job starting. I just have to hold onto that.

Doing Math and preparing for my job to end

March 27th, 2018 at 01:07 pm

My last day of work is 5/24, which gives me 4 days into the paycheck period. Each pay period is 2 weeks, which is how I budget the household. This last check will also include 6 days of TOP time that I rolled over from 2017 and 12.5 TOP days there will have been earned & unused in 2018. This will come in the 6/8 pay period and is enough to replace my normal base pay income from the 6/8 and 6/29 pay periods.

My severance should hopefully arrive before 7/6 (if not, we will pull from savings). Then the severance (after estimated taxes) should cover the pay periods of 7/6, 7/20, 8/3 and 8/17.

If we get uber-frugal, we can definitely make that last a LOT longer!

My goal though – is to NOT use up that severance money and hopefully be able to put some if not all of it away. I have the ability to get a contract job within a few weeks of my last day at my current position and have that as my last resort plan, if I do not find a permanent position.

I was way over stressed, but running the numbers and knowing how much we have in savings plus how long the severance will last us makes me feel SO much less anxious.

I really want to BANK that severance, but if I dont, at least I shouldn't have to touch the savings!!

Crunching Numbers and Making Hard Decisions

January 31st, 2018 at 01:51 am

So my job is coming to a close. I will have been with the company 5 years in April. Although other groups have been let go, mine has NOT been given 90 day notice.

We have been promised 90 day notice, plus 2 weeks severance per year (which means 10 weeks for me as my 90 days would be after my 5 year anniversary).

I also have 6 rolled over TOP days that will be paid out.

Each month, I accrue 2.5 TOP days that will be paid out if unused.

My company also hands out bonuses in March, not end of year or January like most companies.

HOWEVER, many people are job searching at once. I am overpaid in the industry and with market saturation, I will not only lose 20-30k in unlimited overtime, but at least 10-12k in base salary.

I have a lead on a job through a friend - slightly out of my immediate wheelhouse, but in the same industry.

Here's where the gamble comes in.

In a perfect world, I would work out my 90 days notice and net approximately $12k from severance and TOP time, PLUS saving unlimited OT for the next few months AND getting any (possible) bonus in March. Then magically hop onto another full time job.

If I get an interview (likely given my connection to the group) and get offered the job in say the next month. I won't be bonus eligible. I would lose any severance offer and not be able to save up OT for the next 90 days or so. But I'd have a job. A stable job and could continue to look for something more interesting and higher paying.

I also know, that in the worst case scenario, I stick out the term until completely being severed, that I could do short term contract work until I find a full time position. But I'd be competing against a lot of people for full time jobs.

There is a mystery meeting on Friday this week. It might be to give final notice to those of us without end dates. But I don't know as the person 'hosting' is not in the chain of command for our group.

I kind of hope it is giving us the notice - because then if I get the offer, I have some possibility given the length of time companies take to actually start jobs, I might make that severance package.

So many what ifs and part of me really wants to gamble for $12k NET plus at least an extra $800 per paycheck in overtime for another 4-5 paychecks PLUS a potential bonus.

But would potentially having no job after be worth that price?

Stewing on things right now. Talking to the hubby and applying all over still. We'll see how things go, I guess.

Update on Job Situation and Action Plan

January 23rd, 2018 at 01:31 am

I still no end date, but I am really betting that we will get 90 day notice in March, with a June End Date. At this time, I would get 10 weeks of severance (based on time with the company), paid out for any earned TOP time (accruing 2.5 days per month).

I am actively looking for Full time work, but knowing I have some time, I have been a little choosier. I have had several offers for contract work, which could turn into permanent, but until I get an end date and closer to it, I wouldn’t take that. There are always contract options in my industry.

My family all went onto my husband’s insurance, knowing that I would be ending my relationship with the company mid-year. That will be helpful.
I am saving all overtime and since I don’t know when that OT could end (as my employment comes to an end with the company), I am attempting to push myself and do 20 hours a week.

I also will be saving all of my 3rd paycheck in March (minus budgeted gas, groceries and a little spending money).

We are also in budget lockdown. We are very social people, so we’re going from going out a LOT go going out, with coupons/ specials 1 time a week and hosting people over for things like game nights.

Losing this job, I will be losing around 20-30k a year in OT, plus I will likely be taking a pay cut as pay is oversaturated in my industry right now. Saving is important to help with this transition!

I also am doing everything I can for some extra money, which will go to my 2018 gifts fund and if I can swing it, a mini vacation as we haven’t had one in about 2 years (except for a couple of weddings in 2016).

It’s stressful, but my husband & I are working as a team to make it as easy a transition as we can!

Hello Old Friend(s)

July 5th, 2017 at 02:38 pm

It has been quite a while since I have posted and I am sorry for that. Things have been crazy lately and I have been 'triaging' some of my priorities. I have quite a few updates and a goal to post much more regularly, so please don't mind the looonnng post.

I am writing this in a bit of a stream of consciousness, so bear with me.

*Short Sale on Townhouse (non-primary residence) is going slowly. The paperwork requires that we apply for a loan modification, although I will not qualify at this time (see bullet #2). Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Its a long and frustrating process, but I am dealing with it pretty well.

The mortgage company asks for bank statements, so I was incredibly annoyed to find a $1125 deposit from our previous property management company in my account last week. They accidentally applied someone else's income into my account (because of having the same last name). So because they couldn't figure out how to reverse the payment, I had to cut them a check to get it out of my bank account. They provided me documentation to send to the bank as well, since it was their error.

We actually have an offer on the house for the short sale, so hopefully we can present it to the bank soon!

*For the 1st time in my life, I am being 'let go' from my job. Its a weird situation - to save money, the company is pulling out of my state. They announced our site closure a little over a month ago and it will be closed by mid to late 2018. Different areas/people will be given 90 day notice at different times.

For my very specific and small job function team, we are currently starting training of employees in another state that would be the team taking over the work. Until they are up and running well, we would not get 90 day notice. Politics of the office - our bosses' boss hates our management team for various reasons and wants our state's site gone ASAP and has said as much directly to our group. Upper management said we'd likely go in mid 2018. She said, and I quote, her goal is "the end of 2017."

So that being said, we (my family) will lose my salary, my substantial overtime income and more at an undisclosed time. I have only been with the company 4 years, so my severance (after the 90 day notice) would be 8 weeks. The competition of 400+ people from my job site all looking for jobs at the same time is not worth waiting for that type of severance, so I am looking now.

I also am doing as much OT as I can to save up. My overtime is covering the rest of our normal household bills and my husband is using his salary to build an emergency fund in an account in his name only. This is his money as far as the mortgage company is concerned as he is not named on the townhouse mortgage and deed and they stated having his income in the calculations would be messy, so this is considered fine with them.

Once my job is being eliminated, that OT would not be able to be considered in calculations anyway, so saving a bit from it now is appropriate.

* Our baby girl is almost 2 and definitely not a baby. Things are changing day to day with her. She's feisty and fun. She turns 2 in August and we are planning a birthday party at home, keeping it very simple with friends and family coming over. Hotdogs, sides, cake. We have a very small budget, but a big set of guests. It should be perfect.

I already bought her 'big' gift for her birthday. An excellent used condition Strawberry Shortcake tricycle! Super cute and she will love it as her favorite thing to do is 'go outside!'. $12 out of pocket, can't beat it!

*We have made the choice to continue saving for retirement at our current rate. With my overtime, it increases significantly every extra hour that I do. We are very happy with the #s

* I joined Weight Watchers in late April. I really didn't get on the program until early May, but I am doing well. I have lost 24.2 pounds. I had some ups and some downs, but the overall loss is phenomenal to me. I fight against some thyroid issues and not having the time I'd like to incorporate a ton of exercise, so I am very happy with the results. My husband joined me in mid-May and is doing well too.

* Groceries/eating out/meal planning: Our grocery bill has increased a bit since we are trying so many new things/recipes. Our eating out spending has gone significantly down. Overall, the $$ is going in the right direction and I am getting to try a lot of new and fun meals!

Additionally, I have been packing breakfasts and lunches for work. That has helped with the WW and with saving money.

I have lots more to talk about, but those are the big things Smile

Rental Townhouse Update - almost up for sale

April 11th, 2017 at 05:56 pm

Last month, we evicted the tenant and will likely not see that money back (although garnishment paperwork is in submission) It is what it is.

That being said, we are cash flowing the mortgage from my overtime and now cash flowing electric and water for the townhouse as well. We had to do some spackling/painting and pay a handyman to fix the front door frame, which was severely damaged by the tenant.

The house has been cleaned & carpets shampooed. I contacted a realtor who will be taking pictures today, so hopefully the house listing gets online ASAP.

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?

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.

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

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

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.

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


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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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!

Savings Amounts for February

February 29th, 2016 at 07:09 pm

Contributions to various Savings accounts for the month of February:

$2078.33 new home fund
$61.03 efund
$190 slush fund
$50 home upkeep
$285 medical
$130 automobile
$20 vacation
$13 membership
$15 clothing/hair
$187.7 gifts
$13.92 Nephew Savings
$73 Baby's Savings


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>