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  • 11/18/13--03:25: A Minimalist Holiday Season
  • For the longest time, Christmas stressed me out.  Then last year came, and Mr. Money had just lost his job, and we were on no-spending mode so we really didn’t do too much as far as gifts went.  This year we’re dealing with a huge pay cut, so we’re being very careful with how we spend the money we have budgeted for Christmas.  I’ve also decided that instead of being stressed out about buying gifts for everyone is not something I’m going to do this year. Mr. Money and I don’t typically buy each other extravagant birthday, anniversary, or Christmas presents.  A lot of the time we don’t really need anything so to go out and buy something just because feels silly to me.  I try to keep our clutter to a minimum, so buying some tchotchke does not bring a smile to my face.  Last year Mr. Money bought me one present: a Home Alone DVD, and that meant more to me than if he had bought me a diamond ring.  I love that movie, and it was such […]

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  • 11/26/13--11:34: Having Another Baby
  • Now that Penny’s almost two, we keep getting people asking us when we’re going to have another baby.  I seriously feel like I was just trying to conceive and was pregnant!  There are many factors to when the best time to have another child is, and here are some of our thoughts: -There’s no best time to have babies.  Money will never be perfect and we’ll probably always wish we had more money.  However, we are doing okay money-wise and I don’t feel like it would be catastrophic if we decided to try to have another baby in six months or so. We can wait and wait, but we could wait forever. -Babies are really not that expensive.  When they are little, you have the added cost to health insurance premiums, food (I’ll breastfeed the next baby as well), and diapers (we’ve got a bunch and would probably only have to buy a few more).  Since I am a stay at home mom we won’t have to pay daycare for two kids so that is huge!  I think the real […]

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    I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping, and I have to admit: most of the gifts that I purchased were ordered online. I did a lot of shopping from Amazon, and it was a lot easier to order gifts from my living room while Penny played nearby! When I have to go to the store, I have to bundle Penny up and then buckle her in the car seat, unbuckle her when we get there, and then throw her on my back when we get to the store. If I don’t, she wants to either stand in the car or run around the store and pick up items that we “need”. I’m so thankful for online shopping! We stuck true to our minimalist ways when it came to buying Christmas gifts for Penny. There are many fun toys I’d love to get for her but she really doesn’t need a ton. We decided to go with quality over quantity.  Here are just a few gifts I think would be great for kids: Baby Stella is Penny’s “big” gift this year. We […]

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  • 01/02/14--10:43: 2014 Goals
  • Each year I try to set financial and life goals for our family. Here are the past years’ goals: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Apparently last year I decided not to set goals, and that’s okay!  I do have some things I’d like to get accomplished this year, and I think writing them here will help keep me accountable and on track. -I’d like to get $5,000 paid down on the principal of our mortgage. I don’t think this is a huge stretch, and I’d love to see our mortgage balance shrink that much. Of course, I’d like to see it shrink to zero, but it’s going to be a long time before that can actually happen! -Replace the back roof.  Right now, we have rolled roofing on the back part of our house.  The slope is not enough, so we’ve got a leak in the door frame to our basement.  I think we’re going to go with a metal roof and hopefully will be able to do this ourselves with the help of friends and neighbors.  That would be an […]

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    Lately I’ve kind of been a Debbie Downer when it comes to money. I feel like we aren’t saving enough and we have all these things that we should be saving for.  Almost two years ago I quit my job to become a stay at home mom.  I don’t regret that decision one bit and I’ve enjoyed my new job of being a wife and mom tremendously.  I love my husband and daughter more that I ever thought possible.  That doesn’t mean that things are always perfect though, and I struggle with the lack of a second income (especially now that Mr. Money had a pay cut) as well as having to be on a strict budget.  Truth be told, I don’t like living on a budget; I like to go out to eat when I want and make trips to Target to bask in the fabulousness that is Target and not worry.  However, if choosing not to do those things and being aware of where our money goes is what I have to do right now, then I will.  […]

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    The other day I realized it’s going to be seven years since we purchased our house.  It is so hard for me to believe, and I’m so proud of how I’ve really helped turn this house into a home.  I’ve painted pretty much every surface in this house; installed new flooring in many of the rooms, and decorated to make it feel like it’s truly our home.  Right now, I’m very happy with our home and I work hard to keep it clean, decluttered, and organized so it’s a place we love to be.  With a two year old, we don’t go out as much as we used to, so it’s nice to have a place to hang out in which we’re comfortable. About five years ago I couldn’t wait to sell our house and move.  We’ve considered moving to Michigan (where my family is) or Colorado (where Mr. Money’s family is).  My sister ended up moving to our state about a year ago and since she did that, we’ve felt more like this is where we are meant to […]

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  • 02/04/14--07:30: Start a Cleaning Routine
  • Keeping a clean house can certainly be a challenge, especially when you have little ones running around. A few weeks ago I decided I was tired of trying to clean my house from top to bottom every day and that something had to change. I decided that I would continue to tidy up every day, and save the deep cleaning for one room every day. That way, I was ensuring that the house was actually getting clean and I wasn’t getting overwhelmed. There are certain things that need to be done every day or more often than once a week: sweep the kitchen, wash laundry, vacuum the floors etc. I sweep the kitchen when I see it needs to be swept; when Penny is in the bath I wipe down the counters, etc. I multi task to make the most of my time. Here is the schedule that I’ve come up with that works for me: Monday: Kitchen Tuesday: Bathrooms Wednesday: Dining Room Thursday: Living Room Friday: Bedrooms When I clean the kitchen, I wipe down the counter tops, make […]

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    The last time I talked about my ROTH IRA, I mentioned how my laziness cost me $115.  Well, I no longer will be losing money due to silly fees at the old brokerage firm.  I finally moved my IRA over to Vanguard and couldn’t be happier! It’s a huge weight off my shoulders and I’m looking forward to contributing as much as I can every month.  It may not be a lot, but I figure every bit counts and the earlier I get the money in there, the more time it has to grow. I also transferred my old pension from working at the bank and Mr. Money’s ROTH IRA to Vanguard as well.  It’s starting to look good!  I feel very optimistic because having everything at one institution just makes sense to me.  The only thing I haven’t done yet is moved over my old 401k from working at the bank and I’m unsure if I’m going to do that.  I know part of it is traditional and part of it is in ROTH. I cannot tell how much […]

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    A few years ago I considered going without dental insurance. At the time, I was working at the bank and the premium was deducted from my paycheck so it wasn’t a big deal and I continued to buy the dental insurance. I took advantage of the two free cleanings a year to maximize my money’s worth and keep my teeth in good working order. I like my teeth and don’t want to have to get new ones. Two weeks ago I decided to go to visit a different dentist to get a second opinion on my broken crown. Our first dentist said when it broke (over a year and a half ago) that I didn’t need to get it replaced unless it was causing me problems. I was excited because who wants to get dental work done unless they absolutely have to? Plus, that would give me enough time to save up the money to pay for it. At the time we didn’t have dental insurance because it hadn’t kicked in at Mr. Money’s new job. The new dentist discovered […]

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    Shortly after Penny was born, we opened her up a savings account. Any money she receives from birthdays, holidays, grandparents, etc, we stash in her savings account. She’s got a nice little nest egg that hopefully we’ll be able to help her grow over the years. Now that we finally got our IRAs opened with Vanguard and we’ve been really happy, I’m considering opening up a 529 plan for Penny with them.  I have some hesitations, and I definitely need to do more research but it’s something that probably would be a really good idea. A 529 Plan would allow us to save money for her college education while receiving tax advantages.  The downside is if she decides not to go to college we’d be subject to income tax plus a 10% penalty.  Ouch. One of the biggest concerns I have about opening a 529 plan is if Penny decides college is not for her and the money will be taxed and penalized.  Of course we would love for Penny to attend college and become something she would love, but […]

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  • 07/07/14--07:26: Getting the Itch to Upgrade
  • Lately I’ve had the feeling that I would like to move to a bigger house with more acreage.  Our house is just the perfect size for us right now, but we wish we had a garage and more property.  Not to mention, if we end up expanding our family it would be nice to have an extra bedroom to put our office and guest room in.  We have a three bedroom house right now, and it works because we’ve got the master, Penny’s room, and then the third bedroom is the guest room and office. I feel conflicted because I am a huge fan of minimalism, I don’t like clutter, and I have always felt like a smaller house is better. Smaller houses cost less in upkeep, property taxes, heating and cooling, etc.  I have to say I kind of hit a plateau with decluttering and I feel like we are doing pretty well with the amount of stuff that we have and bring in.  I do continuously go through things and as Penny outgrows clothing, I keep a lot […]

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  • 01/01/15--09:13: 2014 Goals Review
  • Happy New Year!!  I cannot believe it is 2015. I feel like I just wrote our 2014 goals!  For the past few years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.) I have made and updated our financial and life goals here on my site.  I’d like to review our 2014 goals and see how we did!  Here are our goals, and how we measured up. -I’d like to get $5,000 paid down on the principal of our mortgage.  SUCCESS!  We actually paid off $5105.29 this year!  I didn’t make any huge extra principal payments- we refinanced last summer and went with a 20 year mortgage and because of that a lot more of our payment is going toward principal versus interest because of amortization.  Every month I do add a little bit extra to our normal payment so we are chipping away at the principal.   -Replace the back roof. FAIL.  This is a good thing, though!  We had a roofer come out and he determined that the roof is actually in pretty good shape and didn’t need replacing.  Great news for our budget.   […]

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  • 01/02/15--09:14: 2015 Goals
  • Now that it’s 2015, I’d like to get our financial and life goals written down so we’ll have focus.  It is really hard for me when I don’t have some idea of what my goals are.  I feel like I’m lost!  Mr. Money and I discussed the things that are important to us, and where we’d like to be in a few years.  Here are some of the things we touched decided we’d like to accomplish: -Pay $5,000 down on the principal of our house.  According to the amortization, this puts us ahead.  We decided that paying off our house is probably not the number one priority for us.  There are other things we need to do with our money: save for retirement and Penny’s education, to name a couple.  $5,000 is still good progress, and I’ll honestly be happy if we accomplish this! -Save more money for retirement each month.  Mr. Money and I have IRAs through Vanguard that we’re going to be contributing to.  This year I finally consolidated ALL of our retirement accounts so I have a […]

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  • 01/12/15--11:01: One and Only Child
  • After the birth of our daughter Penny, I said I wanted at least two more babies.  My thinking was that since we had such a hard time conceiving the first time (we were even considering adoption at one point) surely the second time it would be much easier.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  Last year about this time we decided we would like to try to have another baby.  I met with a new doctor who is a fertility specialist, and she devised a plan to help us get pregnant.  I went through various medications, shots, hormones, ultrasounds, etc. and no progress.  Mr. Money and I decided after me not responding to fertility treatments that maybe we were just meant to have Penny and be satisfied at that.  It took me awhile (and sometimes it’s still really hard for me to go through her baby clothes or our cloth diapers) but as of today I am satisfied with my beautiful daughter and am trying to move forward.  One of the things that helps me cope is focusing on the positive parts of […]

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    The other day I ran out of my normal laundry stain remover and had to make some with items I already had on hand. Here’s what I used: -1 part blue Dawn (I used 1/2 cup of the original that I buy at the Dollar Tree. It is the non concentrated but any Dawn will work) -2 parts hydrogen peroxide I put it in my old stain remover bottle, which is dark blue, so that the hydrogen peroxide will still work when I use it on my clothes. You have to keep hydrogen peroxide in dark bottles. I used blue Dawn because it cuts through grease on EVERYTHING, and so far it hasn’t disappointed with removing oil/grease stains on our laundry! The hydrogen peroxide acts as a color safe bleach and helps remove stains. If you would like enzymatic action in your stain remover, you can add in 1/4 cup of Biokleen – Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator. We keep this on hand always. It is very helpful in potty training accident cleanup, and will “eat” many stains. I’ve tried […]

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  • 03/26/15--11:27: Diono Pacifica Review
  • Since Penny was born, we’ve had a few car seats: her infant car seat, and two convertible car seats.  The first convertible we bought Penny she didn’t like because she couldn’t see out the windows.  We bought a new one that sat her higher up and she much preferred that to the old one.  As she grew, it became harder to get her in and out of the car seat due to the high sides.  I grew frustrated of having to lift her in the seat and sometimes almost hit her head on the top of the car!  We started researching and came across the Diono Pacifica, and fell in love.  The Diono Pacifica is sleek, has low sides for easy loading, and is also very narrow, making it a great choice.  We are still rear facing Penny and plan to until she is at least 4 years old.  Penny is now 3 years old, about 36″ and 24 pounds.   The Diono Pacifica is installed with LATCH in a 2005 Ford Freestyle. The basics: Rear facing weight range: 5-50 pounds Rear […]

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    Have you seen this quote circulating the internet? I’ve seen quite a few people post it on Facebook and I have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I love it because I love to travel and I’d much rather spend money on traveling than crap that will clutter up my house.  On the other hand, I don’t agree with it because I don’t believe in spending money you don’t have or going into debt just to take a vacation.  We’ve been kicking around the idea of traveling to Colorado for a week to visit family but the logistics and money issue has been making us hesitant.  We want to be responsible but I also don’t want to regret our choices later.  Here are some of the things we’ve been taking into consideration: Money has been tight because we’re a one modest income family.  Every day I wake up thankful for what we have: a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and pantry, health insurance, good health, happiness, family, etc.  However, each month we don’t have hundreds of […]

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  • 07/20/15--09:46: Is Home Ownership Worth it?
  • Recently, we had a large storm come through and it took one of the big trees between our neighbor’s house and ours down.  It landed on the power lines and surprisingly enough, we didn’t lose power.  We called the electric company and they came out to assess the damage and decided that they needed to turn our power off because the tree had ripped our electric meters off our houses.  They also told us that we needed to get an electrician in to repair the electric meters.  Sigh. We got the electric meters repaired and called to have the electricity turned back on.  They told us that we had to call the county to have the work inspected.  We called, and then found out that we had to pull electrical permits (more money) to have the inspector come out. We took care of all that, went and paid for our permits, and are currently waiting for the inspector to come out.  Thankfully, he was kind enough to call the electric company and have our power turned back on so we […]

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    Open enrollment just ended for Mr. Money’s employer.  Since I’m a stay at home mom, we basically have the option of enrolling in Mr. Money’s health insurance through work, try to enroll through the exchange, or seek another option such as Medi-Share.  This year we ran out of time and enrolled in the health insurance for our whole family through United Healthcare with his employer.  The cost? Over $7,000 a year. Whoa. First off, Mr. Money is a chef and does not make that much money. $7,000 is a huge chunk of change to us, especially with being a single income family.  I see that huge sum and think of all the better uses I could do with that money.  Second, our deductible for this health insurance plan is $5,000.  We have to hit that out of pocket before they cover anything! That’s ridiculous. I’m pissed off and am going to be exploring different options as we have time to research it. I’m really thinking of checking out the health sharing companies such as Medi-Share.  I considered it many years […]

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    I probably shouldn’t have made the last post I did complaining about health insurance. As it turns out, my daughter ended up having to spend two nights at our local children’s hospital, including Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  I noticed that she had swelling on one side of her neck on a Wednesday night. We all had been ill so I chalked it up to swollen lymph nodes and texted a picture to our neighbor who is a pediatrician (she was sick or she would have looked at her). She said it did look like lymph node swelling and to make an appointment with our pediatrician in the morning. The next morning, I took her to our pediatrician and she agreed, that it looked like a swollen lymph node but because she’s young she wanted to make sure so she sent us for blood and lab work.  We went, had blood drawn, and waited for the results.  Of course, as a mom, I started worrying about worst case scenarios (lymphoma, leukemia, etc) and it was hard to wait for the […]

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