Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big Changes

Ah, where to start? Well, I'm pregnant! My husband and I are due to have our first child in August.

When I started this blog two years ago, I subtitled it "Preparing our finances for starting a family". Well, the family is on it's way, are the finances prepared?

I think we are about as financially ready as we can be for having children and becoming a one-income family. Our emergency fund is where we want it to be. We have a good-sized home improvement (repair) fund and enough in our car fund to buy a late-model used vehicle. We will also still be able to fund our retirement accounts, although we'll probably be putting in a little less than we are now. We even have two vacations planned (and money to pay for them) before the baby arrives!

I've always heard that if you wait for the "perfect" time to have kids, it will never happen. I can definitely see how that's true. There's a part of me that thinks, "I wish we had just a little more in our emergency fund, car fund, home improvement fund, etc." Overall, though, I think we're well prepared.

I say all of this to lead up to letting you know that I plan to stop writing on the Family and Finances blog. The bill for renewing the domain name is coming due, and this seems like the right time. I'm going to try to move the blog back over to blogger at, but it may not work and I might lose everything! I do not plan to continue writing here, but if you are interested in keeping up with my personal life, you are welcome to follow along at my personal blog here.

Thanks for joining me in this two-year journey!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Great Thing About Home Depot

Did you know that Home Depot takes competitor coupons? My husband and I found this out about a year ago and have saved hundreds of dollars over the course of the year. In fact, we saved $100 just the other night!

My husband has been wanting a table saw for quite some time, and has watched Craigslist for the right deal for months. He finally came to the conclusion that he wasn't going to find what he was looking for on Craigslist. He did some research and decided that he wanted a Ridgid table saw (Ridgid is only sold at Home Depot).

The table saw costs $500 on never goes on sale. There is occasionally a rebate available, though, plus we knew we could look for a competitor coupon.

Then, a few nights ago, my husband randomly decided to look through a AAA magazine we get. He noticed a Harbor Freight coupon for 20% off a single item with no dollar limit! I convinced him that it was time to get the table saw.

We had to borrow a pick-up truck and go to two Home Depots, but we came home last Friday night with a $500 Ridgid table saw for $400 (bought completely with Christmas and birthday money, yay!).

My husband couldn't wait to get it out of the box:
...and he's already gotten a lot of use out of it!

We use Tru-Value coupons all the time, as we get $2 off $10 and $5 off $25 coupons from them in our community mailers every month or so. The 2010 Entertainment Book for our area also had a 15% off Menards coupon and 10% and 15% off Harbor Freight coupons. Perfect for all of the home remodeling we've been doing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good News and More Good News!

I posted awhile back about the cost of getting oral surgery done. The good news is that last week, I received a letter from my health insurance company (Aetna) saying that the surgery is approved! That would have been a huge relief had I not received even more good news about 3 weeks earlier. :)

The other news is that I might not need the surgery after all! My orthodontist took me completely by surprise last month when he told me that. You can read more about that here.

Whether I end up needing the surgery or not, I really am glad to know it's covered.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What I Got for $1.49

I picked up some amazing grocery deals lately by combining sales and coupons. Check it out!

My grand total for this deal was 99 cents! I picked this up a couple of weeks ago at the local Piggly Wiggly, which I never shop at. I read on a blog that there was a great deal available if a person had some $1.60 off a bag of nut clusters coupons. I had received a bunch in the mail, so I cashed in :)

I got all of this for 50 cents last night! Whoo-Hoo! I love when things work out just right.

I had noticed a really good deal in our Copps/Pick N Save ad yesterday. I thought about trying to make a deal out of it on Wednesday (double coupon day at Copps/PNS), but then noticed that a bunch of coupons I needed to get a good deal were expiring on Oct. 11th. I talked the hubby into grabbing some backpacks last night and taking our nightly walk to the grocery store :)

I thought we were going to get these items for 25 cents each after coupons, but I had a free item coupon for the Rice Krispies. The cashier took off the full price for the Rice Krispies, which is how my total got so low.

There you have it. I got everything in those two pictures for $1.49. Deal shopping is so much fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Teeth Are Expensive

As I've mentioned in the past (and talked about more on my personal blog), I am in the process of getting my teeth prepared for oral surgery (in other words, I have braces). As of my most recent conversation with my orthodontist, the surgery is looking to be early next year.

Since I'm now about 6 months away from surgery, I'm starting to think about it a lot more. As a result, I've joined some online forums and groups for people going through jaw surgery (this is a nasty surgery - trust me, support groups are very helpful!). While reading through these forums, I've come to the realization that I never really got any hard numbers for how much this surgery will cost.

When I first discussed oral surgery with my surgeon (almost 2 years ago), his office sent a "Request for Benefits" to my insurance at the time. That came back with a cost of just under $10,000 for the surgery. I've kept that number in the back of my mind all this time.

As I've been reading through the forums lately, I've discovered that the $10,000 is just my surgeon's fee! The big cost is actually the hospital bill, which could run up to another $25,000! Yikes!

The reason this is a big deal is that it can be difficult to get this surgery covered through insurance. It gets submitted to your medical insurance, not your dental insurance. From what I hear, medical insurance companies like to deny it on the basis of it being "cosmetic". I may need to submit extra documents/xrays/etc. to try to prove to them that I need surgery because of a jaw deficiency.

At any rate, I called the oral surgeon's office last week and asked them to submit for approval from my current medical insurance company. Please say a little prayer that they will cover the surgery. I really don't want to have to try to come up with $35,000!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Frugalest Strawberries Ever!

Two nights ago, at about 9:45pm, my husband and I were in the kitchen, just about ready to head to bed. Suddenly, our doorbell rings. Very odd. My husband goes to the door and there stands our elderly neighbor with a box of fresh strawberries!

Our neighbor's name is Dot and she's a real sweetheart. She explains that her daughter is visiting from out of state and they went strawberry picking that day. They picked more strawberries than they could handle, so they dropped the extras off with us! So thoughtful!

The coolest part of the story is that I was just telling my husband last weekend that I wanted to go strawberry picking so I could freeze some fresh strawberries. I thought it might be cheaper than buying frozen bagged strawberries at the store. Instead, free strawberries showed up at our doorstep :)

Here's a picture of the strawberries I froze:

I re-used two frozen strawberry bags I had kept in the freezer after using them up. They are crammed full, with the extras going into a Ziploc bag.

This is what I make with my frozen strawberries:


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Part Time Has Begun!

I am in the middle of my first week of working part time! A young woman who has done some temp work in my company was interested in the position and she started on Monday! She will be working Mondays and Tuesdays and I'll be working Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I am really excited!

I am going to be training with her a little bit this month. My boss doesn't want to have to pay either of us overtime, so I went in for one hour on Monday and one hour yesterday. Then, she went home an hour early on Monday and I'll go home an hour early on Friday to make up for it. Not ideal, but we're working with it.

I can already tell that I am not going to have any problems filling up my two days off. I'm pretty happy with what I accomplished this week. I think my biggest challenge is going to be to not waste too much time on the Internet :)

Financially, I should be getting a lump sum payout of my unused vacation time in with my next paycheck. I plan to use that to top off our emergency fund, which will then be at our goal amount! Anything left over will probably be split between the car fund and the home improvement fund.

I'm a little nervous about the large decrease in my paycheck. We've never relied on it for living expenses (it's all gone into savings funds), but I've become really accustomed to growing our savings accounts fairly quickly. We have a lot to save yet before we'll be ready to replace our old vehicles, and that's going to go a lot more slowly now. I know I just need to have faith, though, because I'm really sure that this is where God wants me.

I'm looking forward to a productive summer!