Awhile, awhile

It's been awhile. Work and adjusting to being a full time working mommy has been a struggle. Every morning up at 5:45am to get bottles together, dogs fed, lunch packed, and boobs pumped. Somehow in the tirade I produce each and every weekday morning, I'm able to get to work on time with a few mins to spare. I am fortunate though that my hubby who doesn't have to be at work a whole 30 mins later than me, always gets up and gets around with me and we all leave at the same time and he drops off the little one and gets to work 15-30 mins early every morning....just so I can have some sanity and control in my life as to having everyone up and out at the same time. I do love him greatly for that and he doesn't know how much I appreciate it.

It's the holiday time and I've been busy trying to find good deals for the family and the additional foster and angel kids I said I would buy for at Christmas. All at the same time, we are living frugally to pay off our last debt (my monster student debt) and our house. It does feel good that we accomplished so much this year. Once we have everything paid off I will feel so much better and feel more like I can really 'give' myself out to a career and to others. Right now I feel like I am confined to constantly think $, how to save it, how to spend (and not spend it), and how to use it wisely.

Little one is over 5 months now and has been growing in leaps and bounds. We're still breastfeeding which I'm very proud of myself for and he can hold his own bottle (which is pretty neat to us). He really is a happy baby and I love each and every minute of it. When I think about all the foster kids my agency alone is buying for this christmas, it makes me want to cry. So many little babies and youngsters who have no idea really what is going on in this world and what they don't have in terms of love and family. I feel for these children and all children. I really think we need to do more as a nation to help and protect the children instead of trying to only help ourselves. I would gladly pay higher taxes if that meant protection, safety, and all good things for children. But I also know just as many who would not, saying it's up to parents to do that.

It's so hard to understand how people can justify a child not having access to health care or food, yet we adults do, each and every day. These people have probably never went without food for a night, never been on food stamps, never had to think about where the next meal is coming from, and probably never wore 'off brand' clothing. For example, taxes, they say, will increase in the forms of the health care bill going around....yes but if you read the fine print it is only for families who are already making a very nice salary ($200,000K+ I believe). However we are led to believe that the everyday man will have to pay an increase in taxes for this. I don't know about you, but I don't have a whole lot of friends who make that much a year....I don't even know if I know personally of people who make that. But you can be well assured, those people, the same ones saying that we all will pay, are the ones who are being targeted and thus don't want to pay more than need be b/c they can afford health insurance and all the other needs/wants that come along in life. Lucky them eh?

Anyways, /rant....it's been on my mind and it just doesn't make sense in my mind how people (moms, grandmothers, dads) can say 'I shouldn't have to pay for others' and the like. Well I shouldn't have to pay for your child's public education, but I do. I shouldn't have to pay for your access to a library full of books free to check out, but I do. We shouldn't all need to pay for civil servants like police and firefighters, but we do. We certainly shouldn't have to pay for our political leaders going to conferences and having nice trips to other counties and the tropical areas, but we do. For once, please take the me out of the equation and think about 'us' as a nation, as a human, as a mom/dad/child themselves.

It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. If the majority of this country is to believe 'treat others as you would want to be treated' does this not apply to a basic human right to health?


Debt coming along to being payed off

So since I haven't posted really any since I started back full time at work, I figured I had a few precious mins on a Sunday morning and would update our progress.

So remember these pesky loans and debts back in August?
Loan 1: $5,800 : 15% interest (UGHH!!!)
Student Loan 1: $4,400 : 6-8% variable interest
Student Loan 2: ~$20,000 : 5.625%
Student Loan 3: $1,500 : 5%
Sears: $700 : 0% till May

Well here's what has happened:
Loan 1: PAID OFF
Student Loan 1: PAID OFF
Student Loan 2: Next on list to be paid...a work in progress: ~$20,000 : 5.625%
Student Loan 3: PAID OFF
Sears: $430 : 0% till May (this will be paid off by May, but I just do 'monthly' payments)

Our goals for 2009 have came and gone. We have managed to pay off about $20K in debt in the past year, along with buying a 'new' (aka newer model car) paid in full, sold the mustang, and still been able to buy things we wanted (but keeping in mind frugality).

Our goals for 2010 are:
Student Loan: $20K (hopefully completely pay off, or knock out a good portion)

Mortgage: We've been doing an extra $100/month to knock off 6 yrs of it, but I'm going to do an extra $150/month to knock off more. We will bump up the Mortgage with the amount we are paying off towards the student loan so we will have this mortgage paid off in less than 10 yrs and we are hoping closer to 6 years. (to note: mortgage started in 2008)

Life Insurance: I am upping my life insurance policy at work for myself $120K, my spouse $20K, and little one $5K. This is as much as I can for my spouse and little one at work and it comes as a combined thing. And it's pretty cheap too. For one year it's only an extra $120 for all of this. My goal is to get term and whole life insurance policies for both me and my hubby. We just need this for piece of mind and to take care of little one if ever anything bad were to happen.

Roth IRA's: Our goal is to open up Roth IRA's for the both of us to at least start saving some for retirement and little one's or (ones) college fund(s). This is a better option for us instead of 529's and Coverdell b/c if the little ones didn't want to go to a state school or even to college, we still have money in retirement for us. Plus we don't want their financial aid impacted b/c of $ we've saved for them.

Vacations (one big and one small every year): This is something important to us but prolly a luxury or not needed for a lot of people trying to cut their debts out. For us, we find it extremely important for a couple of reasons. 1: You only live once. 2: Money is just money. It's not worth it to work our butts off and not be able to get some good family memories in. 3: We didn't get to travel as much as we would of liked when we were kids and we want our kids to experience the world and everything with it. We've already started making lists of where we want to go and at what ages with our little one. Also, saving for these vacations will put us a couple years behind paying off our house. And that is okay with us now. We will get it paid off. But if we wait until we pay it off to go on vacation, you just never know. Someone might get really ill. It might become that much more expensive.

So here's our semi-list for now of what we've came up with vacation wise (and these are mostly the 'big' ones for each year:
2010: Jamaica/Hawaii - just for the hubby and I
2011: San Antonio - Sea World and maybe down to the Gulf and neat zoos and animal like stuff (little one will be 2 and we think seeing animals he'll be able to enjoy and understand)
2012: Another thing for just hubby and I?
2013: One of the BIG DISNEYWORLD vacations :) (we plan to do this every 4 years, so every child will have an experience, plus if little one forgets at 4, he'll remember at 8 and 12 ;)

Now we've come up with places, but not yet tied down which years are best:
Washington DC/Virginia Beach
Disneyworld (every 4 years)
Vermont or Colorado (skiing)
San Francisco/Napa
Yosemite Park

We hope to travel across seas when he gets a little older prolly like 8+yrs.

We've done a lot though in the past couple months to pay off debt. It's pretty nice only having 1 student loan and a mortgage left.


Order new baby carrier

Okay, okay so a new Beco baby carrier isn't exactly saving money...however I think of it as an investment. B/c I will use it with all my kids (when the time comes) and that I really enjoy having my LO close to me and I think it's a good thing to carry your LO's.
Here is my new carrier just ordered: https://www.sproutsoup.com/product.php?productid=326&cat=61&page=1

I wanted a gender neutral print (just in case in the future for any siblings of his). I'm very excited about it!!! It'll be easier when we go places to carry him and have the option instead of having a stroller.

Right now LO is sleeping and I'm needing to do some dishes and paperwork. I start back to work next week and I still have a good number of things to do around the house b/c I won't have much time when work starts. My evenings will be spent with the LO and hopefully not to many of those evenings will I be crying for having not been with him all day. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something will be mentioned at work about bringing him up there certain days. If so, I'm ALL for it. He sleeps mostly anyways, and I work fast and get stuff done. So who knows. One can always dream...

I really need to clean and work on my sewing projects. I already made the wraps, which are much better than the one I bought for 10 times the price of the ones I made.


First shots

LO has his first set of vaccines today. We are going against the norm and are having them spread out some so he doesn't have more than 2 shots at a time. He did good today though. He just got 2 shots and oral medicine. He screamed at the shots but as soon as they were over I gave him a bottle of breastmilk and that helped him return back to his normal happy self.
We did go by to see if Maurices had any shirts marked down for returning back to work after maternity leave, but alas I still will not pay $10-11 a shirt, when I know it was 75% off a few weeks ago and I got a couple of shirts for $3 each.

I've been reading up more on babywearing and will hopefully get to make 2 more wraps today with the fabric I bought and put the LO in it and see what he thinks. I will have to take a pic and post. I feel in love with it. :)

My hubby got the Sims game (I think 3?) and made our little family. Everything is pretty much like it is in real life and that's kinda weird. Even our ambitions and goals and the way we look. I've yet to play it any (maybe I might now since I'm just surfing the net and nursing). I've been finally able to pretty much master nursing while at the computer thanks to a boppy and a very hungry (yet always falling asleep) baby.


First day of daycare

Today I took in my LO for his first day of daycare for a few hours. I meanwhile went to the fabric store to pick up some really cute (and cheap) fabric to make a couple more baby wraps, a nursing cover, 2 blanket/pillow combos for LO (for daycare), and some extra fabric to make LO an outfit. Oh yeah, and another blanket. I also got ribbon. I got a lot of fabric for only $38. I had to dig in the remnants to find the cheap stuff as well, heh.

Daycare was alright. I was about to break down in tears. I only left him there for 3-4 hrs today, to let him smell the smells and see the people. I feel really comfortable with the daycare, but it's just a sinking heart feeling that every day I will not be able to share it with him for the majority of it, instead I will be a slave to the working force. However, hopefully for not too long. I don't think I could be a SAHM for a long time, but I wouldn't mind being a part-time or working on bank hours/school schedule mom. LO is almost breaking out in laughs. DH says that he does it for him, but I've yet to catch him with the laughing. But oh the smiles are coming out and those are wayyyy too precious. :)

It's late and I still have household duties to attend.


Pay down and out

Since we have recently sold one of our vehicles (we now have 2 vehicles) due to buying a 'new' (aka new to us), I used that money to pay down a good chunk of one of our loans. As soon as I get back to work after maternity leave and get another paycheck of decent size, I will start heavily paying down our debt again. I pay at least 2-3 times what the minimum is due on all debts.

Here is how we stand being a 2 income family with 1 child (after paying down yesterday):
Loan 1: $5,800 : 15% interest (UGHH!!!)
Student Loan 1: $4,400 : 6-8% variable interest
Student Loan 2: ~$20,000 : 5.625%
Student Loan 3: $1,500 : 5%
Sears: $700 : 0% till May

Besides that we have our mortgage which is $126K left to pay with a 5.875% interest. That will be the last thing we work on, although I think I will start rounding up our monthly payments which pays down $75 more a month, thus an extra payment and some yearly.

I plan on paying off SL3 in Sept/Oct. Then when I get my disability leave pay I will throw that down on either L1 or SL1. I will have Sears paid off before interest hits. I pay a certain amount by the way I divided out the months, so it goes down each month. SL2 I pay a little extra each month, but not too much, b/c this will be the last debt we tackle. Also if something happens I'm good on my payments till 2013 so we wouldn't be falling behind or whatnot. The other debts would come after you, that debt is paid up till 2013 (it was at $40K until I saved up and knocked that out last year).

So that's where our debt stands. I get really excited thinking about when we pay it off. Already this year we have paid back my grandmother (for our house down payment) and a Best Buy credit card.

We go from the teachings of Dave Ramsey with some Suze O. I, though, modify it to our family. We saved up a good little piece before I went on maternity leave, just in case anything happened. Which after I get back to work, we can use that to pay down debt. In addition, I pay extra on all debts, not just the one with the highest interest. Although after paying the extra, I will knock out the highest interest debts first with the extra extra payments (if that makes sense).

For being married for 1 yr and having a baby, we're doing pretty good. We have worked up our savings accounts quite nicely. We have our emergency fund (baby step 1 check) which I build each month, b/c $1000 won't get many people far nowadays, plus savings for our LO, dogs (b/c of vet expenses, food, etc), vacations (2010 and future Disneyworld vacation w/ LO in 5 yrs), car insurance, and my hubby's income from freelancing (he's saving for a jeep...but to get one I will approve of, it's going to take awhile ;)

I plan to have all debts paid in full by May 2010, with regards to the SL2 which I'm hoping by December 2010 it will be gone.

Goals for rest of 2009:
Pay off SL1, SL3, and L1.
Continue funding savings.

Goals for 2010:
Pay off SL2 and Sears (which is not a problem).
Increase mortgage payment to shorten loan period from 30 yrs to 15 yrs or less.
Open up Roth IRA's for both of us.
Research best ways to save for college for our LO (instead of just a savings account).
Open savings account to fund an Europe or Ireland trip.
(Our plan is to save for 1 major vacation each year & 1 minor (weekend trip). Our honeymoon in 2008 was Cape Cod and saved for, 2009 no vaca b/c of new baby!, 2010 an all-inclusive in the Carribean (already being saved for and DisneyWorld (2014/15/or 16? depends on maturity of LO), which will be a major, major trip with all the icing and cake!!!)

So there it is...our debt situation, which isn't all that bad. I'm confident that it'll be down and out before we know it. All the more towards our (well mine in specific) to be able to do what I love and really want as a job and not feel as though I 'have' to work, b/c we need the money. Don't get me wrong, I love the people I work with now and am so thankful I'm no longer at the place I use to work at earlier this year (aka hell). However, it's a difference of the feeling inside. Like knowing that I can quit my job and go do what I want is something I really look forward too.


Weekend Shopping = Not Saving $

After a weekend spent celebrating my and DH 1st year anniversary, I have been out shopping. I know, shopping does not equal saving $. There were some good deals though, I got the little one which I might be referring in my blog as little one or LO, chibster, baby boy, and bubby. Weird nicknames, I know, heh.

Kohls had the 15% coupon with any purchase and tax free weekend, plus they had some really good 60-70% clearance. So I walked away with 9 outfits for $25. Which I do kept tags on outfits until the LO wears them, b/c you never know when he will grow super fast or you don't like the outfit. Same goes for me as well. I keep tags and receipts for clothing since when it comes time to wear it, I dunno if I will or not. Thus giving me the option to return the item for $ back or store credit.

Also went to a garage sale this weekend and got 25 outfits for LO for $8. He now probably has enough clothing for the next year or two to wear an outfit everyday and never have to wear it again. That's the problem with baby clothing, it's all soooo cute, which makes you think 'My baby will look super cute in this, I must get it.'

I told myself last week, he has enough clothing for cloth all of Angelia Jolie's children and the octuplets. But no, I give in when onesies and Carter's outfits are <$3 a piece. However, I think this will be the end of shopping for a while. I will have to return back to work soon (since I'm on maternity leave) and will not have time for shopping anymore.

Although I am trying to find a rainforest or tiny loves mobile that plays for 20 mins and has the projection onto the wall on craigslist for super cheap. I had no clue that mobiles play for such a short time until I play ours and then read about these mobiles. I'm really trying to figure out what I should send to daycare to hook up to his crib, since he'll be there the most everyday. I have a cute doggy mobile, but I need one of these as well to hook on the otherside.

In reality, I know he will be fine without anything, but I think 'He's going to lay in his crib for a while every day up there, I really need stuff for him to look at'. I also thought about making some extras like a black and white blanket for him...I dunno.

What hangs in your child's crib at daycare or at home? What 'extra' thing would be fun or good for his vision development?



This blog is about about me and my family's ventures, mostly discussing finance (savings, couponing), mommy/baby related issues, pushing towards my dreams of being able to work at home/part time/or becoming a business owner to help me be a great mommy, giving me more time with my child (and future children).