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More prom pictures as requested :)

May 21st, 2016 at 06:00 pm

P.S. We purchased this $600 dress for just $99!

Diminished value claim?

May 20th, 2016 at 07:10 am

In a previous post, I had mentioned that we had been rear-ended while we were on Spring Break vacation. We finally got our car back from the shop after all this time. When we picked up the car, our body shop guy suggested that we file a diminished value claim with the other party's insurance company. We had never heard of this before but apparently, since the damage of the car was so severe, we should be able to recoup some of the value lost due to the accident. The car is just a year old and pre-accident value would be guestimating at around $26k. The cost of the repairs was almost $13k which is nearly half the value. Since the accident was such a high dollar amount, we'll have to disclose it if we want to sell it in the future... which means that we couldn't get $26k for it right now like we should've been able to prior to the accident. A diminished value claim would provide us money for the difference in values.

I've emailed the other insurance adjuster about this 2 days ago and have gotten zilch response... Has anyone else gone through this kind of claim before?

Sharing our win!

May 19th, 2016 at 11:52 am

So, a month ago, I posted a "teaser" in announcing that our oldest DD entered into a national contest and was the winner! Here is what she won:

Prom package--

1) $1,000 gift card to Macy's
2) Professional hair and makeup for her and her girlfriends
3) Professional photography session with free pictures, etc
4) Catering for a pre-prom party for all her friends
5) Limo ride all night for all her friends

Her prom was a blast and everything went so well that day.

Feeling grateful

May 6th, 2016 at 10:15 am

So, I just gave away a dining table with 4 chairs to a coworker... and I feel good about it.

Life isn't just about making money at every turn. Sometimes you have to give back to the universe. My coworker is a secretary making about $25k a year. She supports herself and her elderly mother. They just rented a trailer and are moving in this weekend. I asked if she might need anything and to my surprise, she needs everything. Apparently, the small apartment they were living in had no furniture to speak of at all. Besides the beds, that was about all they had.

How could I not have realized this about a coworker? I knew she has tons of medical issues (we've had to call 911 before when she had a seizure at work)... but you know what, she's never complained. She's always positive and friendly and is always here for others.

But back to the table... my mother had found this table set at Goodwill and paid $35 for it. She bought it to resale on Craigslist. We had listed it for $50 but no bites... so I just said to my coworker that it was now hers. I will pay my mom the $50 for it. My coworker offered to pay for it but honestly, how can I take money from someone that has so little to begin with? I am always searching for ways to earn more snowflakes-- I sell on ebay and other online platforms all the freakin' time Smile but sometimes giving is just better than receiving.

So, yes, I am feeling grateful for all that we have. DH and I have great paying jobs, we have nice things, we have good health.

I'm not posting this to brag or anything but to remind ourselves that sometimes it is good to just give out of kindness to others without expecting anything back in return.

My financial journey... Part 1.

May 4th, 2016 at 11:37 am

I am in the mood to just "talk" a bit so go ahead and ignore this blog post if you just would rather... it won't hurt my feelings, lol Smile

My family came to the US when I was four years old with nothing but the clothing on our backs and a bag of immigration paperwork and that was it. My parents worked hard, really hard to get us established in this country. My mom worked nonstop in manufacturing plants. As each plant would close and move their operations overseas, she would find another factory job and start over. My dad worked in a restaurant as a cook. However, my childhood was not a bad one at all. No drugs or alcohol involved. No domestic violence. Just a simple childhood with my 3 siblings.

We definitely fit the bill of the typical low-income needy family. We were on food stamps and got free school lunches, etc. We are talking hand me downs, accepting gifts from others, and making do with the bare minimum. Whether it was clothing, household needs, or whatever, our family either made stuff or got things from church members or donations.

We were a 6 member family living strictly on a very small blue collar income and my parents did not make any excuses. They did not keep up with the Jones's. They did not succumb to the kids' desires to keep up with the coolest clothes or gadgets. We just had no money. They accepted "charity" up to the point when we didn't need to any longer.

Reality IS hard and to cloud it up with falseness is never a good thing. My parents understood this. We couldn't afford luxury cars or brand name clothing. My mom hand sewn and made all my t-shirts until I was in middle school for goodness sakes. But you know what? I had clothes on my back. I was fed. We had a home (rented). We had our own car (purchased a really old one). We had all the basics covered and MY PARENTS DID NOT USE DEBT AT ALL.

So, fast forward to college... My parents took out a very small $1500 federal loan that I had to pay off upon graduation to teach me how to deal with my first taste of financial responsibility. They paid for my entire tuition while I had to pay for my living expenses. So, yes, I waitressed my tail off while in school... and I did pay off that student loan right after graduation, had no debt, and had about $5,000 in savings. Not too bad for a kid right out of college. I got my degree in Business and Financial Management and thought I had all the best money sense in the world.... but I was wrong.

To be continued

The total cost from rabies vaccine...

May 2nd, 2016 at 09:22 am

So, the total from the feral cat bite that DH was the unfortunate recipient of back in March has been tallied up....

Before insurance, the total cost is $10,892!!

After insurance, our cost is $1,133 but we were able to file on our supplemental disability insurance as well and got back $220 on that policy so NET effect is $913 OOP.

$913 is nothing to sneeze at but dang, how is it that getting simple vaccination shots should cost over $10,000 to begin with?!

Earth Day 2016

April 22nd, 2016 at 09:51 am

Go watch Cowspiracy... today! Let's honor our beautiful planet by becoming more aware of how we are literally killing her each and every day Frown

A win, fitness, and food thoughts

April 20th, 2016 at 06:36 am

So, Murphy left our house and we finally got some great news.... my oldest daughter entered into a national magazine's giveaway/sweepstakes last month and she was chosen as the winner!! It a package value worth about $5k. I won't say what it is just yet as it won't come to fruition for another month but once we get it all, I'll let you guys know. Let's just say that any teenage girl would be tickled to have won this...

In other news, my DH bought us fitbits (he sold some stuff to purchase them so they didn't hit our budget because I told him we didn't need them). I am actually quite happy with this little gadget. I am a tracker by nature so keeping up with my activity levels all day has been great. We've gone to the gym very regularly, I'm pleased to report, so our new $50/month has been definitely worth it.

For the past 2 weeks, DH and I have decided to go vegan. We have never eaten a ton of meat but dairy/cheese products have always been in our diet. We decided to go all vegan and plant based and so far so good. It's actually been pretty easy. Our kids have asked us to allow them to try vegetarianism instead and we are happy to let them try that instead (they love cheese pizza haha). Anyway, we are attending a local vegan potluck meetup today and looking forward to meeting other like-minded folks. I know it's not for everyone but we have been enjoying this journey so far.

Murphy hit us :(

April 5th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

1. DH tried to rescue our cat from a fight with a stray and the feral cat took a big bite on his hand. Had to go to ER for tetanus shot, antibiotics, and rabies vaccination. We do have insurance but will expect some medical bills from this.

2. We got rear-ended while on our Spring Break vacation. The hit pushed our car into the car in front of us so our once new 2015 Honda has severe damage on both ends. Yes, we won't be out of money since the other driver is at fault, but my poor car...

3. Super strong wind storm the other night caused a power outage... after the power came back on, we noticed that our furnace now doesn't work. Our trampoline was basically folded in half and our backyard grill was thrown around like a twig.

All in the span of about 2 weeks. I think we are done with Murphy since he's hit us 3 times. Can someone come take him away now?

Spring Break... so needed!

March 23rd, 2016 at 07:12 am

A big perk of DH and I working within our school system is that we get time off that coincides with our kids' school schedules. Our Spring Break is next week and I cannot wait! I have been in the thick of budget season and need some decompression time. We haven't made any plans to go anywhere though. We want to go somewhere but just can't decide on what to do. Sometimes being spontaneous is just what we end up being and it all works out Smile

In a previous post, I had mentioned we would be joining a gym. Well, we did but on a different program than what I thought. So, the cost is $50/month for both DH and I to go to any handful of gyms in the area. We've been doing great so far and really enjoy getting out there and working out. DH has lost about 10 lbs just by cutting out sodas and working out. I've lost nothing but am feeling pretty good... I think I haven't lost any weight because I'm gaining muscle mass (I would've described myself as fluffy). Toning up is high on my priority list so I think I'm heading in the right direction.

On the financial front, we've operated on a very exact budget since Jan. 3 months in, I can say that it has been a game changer. I know some folks don't care for keeping up with every little detail but I would recommend it for everyone at least just once... a very eye-opening and realistic look. I love being able to know exactly where we stand with our budget each and every day.

Our goals lately are to save as much money as possible toward 2 things: 1) We have a kid going to college next year. 2) We have another kid driving next year. Both are big expenses and I just hope that we will be prepared enough.

Old Navy... sigh

February 10th, 2016 at 06:37 am

So, I got an Old Navy credit card a while ago. I've only used it when there are special promos... During the month of January, they ran a promo that basically got me a free $20 to spend there. That plus what I already had in credits from prior promos that has been carrying over has put me to a credit balance of $65 to spend at Old Navy. I also have a $40 off $100 purchase coupon (SuperCash as they call it) that expires today. Basically, this means that if I can find $100 in items today, I could use the $40 SuperCash and $60 worth of my credits to get the entire order for free. Sounds great, right? So, why is it so hard to find anything?! I don't want to just waste the "money" so I only want to get things we need/want but there just isn't anything appealing for any of us. #beingfrugalandcheapproblems

2015 Taxes done

February 8th, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Have to pay federal => $75
Getting a refund from state => $40

Net effect => $35 to pay

Not too shabby.

Payday! February 2016 Budget Prep

January 29th, 2016 at 06:37 am

I could not wait for today! It's so much fun to play around with our budget and to plug in actual numbers when we get paid. Since both DH and I get paid at the end of each month, today's paychecks have now funded our Feb budget.

Because our refinance in Jan caused us not to have a mortgage payment due in Feb, we are able to push that payment into our savings account this month Smile

I still have a buffer of $1200 that I need to find a "home" for. I like to keep a buffer for those unknown but expected expenses that will pop up during the month. For Feb, this will be for some medical bills that should be arriving anytime now (DH spent a week in the hospital in Jan). I have no idea how much of the $1200 will be needed for this or if I might need even more so we'll see. But, this works for now because I do mess with our budget everyday... always entering in adjustments and actual numbers. I guess it's just fun for me lol.

Hope everyone had a great fiscally fit January. I know we did in our household... I am looking forward to February 2016!

$105 Family Fitness monthly fee

January 27th, 2016 at 10:54 am

So, hubby and I know that we need to exercise. He was told by his doctor at the beginning of January that he is borderline diabetic if he isn't careful. He was addicted to Mt. Dew and sugary sweets and for the past month, he's done very well and has stayed away from the sodas. We've always known that diabetes would be a concern for him since he has a family history of it but it took the doctor finally telling him this before he would "believe" it... he also needs to participate in cardio workouts daily. Hubby is by no means obese but he is about 20 lbs overweight. We have a treadmill and lots of various exercise dvds BUT we have come to the realization that we must get out of the house with a structured routine. Some people can just work out at home.... We don't think we are those people.

So, after a bit of research, the option we are leaning toward is joining a club that is about a mile away from our house. It offers the typical gym environment with the machines, etc.... but what we are looking forward to are the classes that are offered. Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, etc. The classes are offered at 5:30 daily so we can go after work (we WILL NOT get up early in the morning to workout). And, then there is a 10:00 class on Saturdays that we will attend as well. For a family membership, it will cost $105 a month. That will allow all 4 of us to use the gym at any time and take advantage of all the classes that they offer.

We've never joined a gym before as we always thought we could take care of things at home on the treadmill or using our dvds. We've not stuck with it nor have been consistent. There are just too many distractions at home (i.e. the couch and tv).

So, we think we'll sign up starting Feb 1 and just incorporate the $105 monthly fee into our monthly budget. My allowance was $100 a month and if nothing else, I'll just use that money toward this now... as I am embracing minimalism anyway and not in the mood to purchase anything at all.

January 2016 - Awesome month!!

January 26th, 2016 at 06:47 am

Hey, guys. So, I've done a ton of work on the financial front this month.

Since Christmas, I have been on a minimalist kick. I've cleaned out drawers, cupboards, closets, and more. Bags and bags and more bags of clutter have been donated to Goodwill. No more frivolous shopping in this household.

And, I've also cleaned up our finances at the same time Smile In Dave Ramsey style......... WE ARE DEBT FREE except for the mortgage! The only debt we had was our car loan but I finally decided to pay that sucker off with our savings. We also refinanced our mortgage from an ARM to a 15 year fixed in January! The goal for us now is to save, save, save. We need to build back up our savings and to set aside funds for the upcoming college expenses (our oldest will be starting college in 2017).

So, January 2016 has been a busy month but a very fulfilling month. I have worked hard to rid our home of any clutter (physically and fiscally) and it feels awesome.