Monday, January 26, 2015

Baby Budget update

So I sat down and worked out some details with my friend from church for watching our little baby boy... so we have a good update to our baby budget!

After our conversation, I'm really feeling comfortable with this arrangement and I think we have made a choice to go with in home care instead of the Montessori Day Care.

We spent an hour discussing a variety of topics from child rearing styles, thoughts on TV viewing, play dates, watching other children, illnesses, vacations... even things like what would happen if Eli hits her daughter... etc. We pretty much covered a ton of material (I pulled stuff from various websites on interviewing nanny's and combined them to cover what was practical for our situation).

After figuring out that we both have a similar style of parenting, ie we believe that if a baby is crying for a need, that need should be met immediately... whereas if a baby is crying just to cry, you can let them pout it out a bit before interfering... We don't believe you can discipline a baby.... etc....

So I feel very comfortable with how she handles situations from what I've seen her do first hand and from what we discussed. (She used to nanny full time before moving to California).

The General Stuff & Plan
We plan to bring and leave a pack n' play and spare sheets over at their place to help with nap time. Based on their ages, Eli will be in the crib they have most of the day since he'll still be taking multiple naps, but depending on timing both kiddos might be down for the count around the same time, so that's where the pack n' play we scored off Facebook for $40.00 will come in handy.

We plan to keep a storage container with diapers, wipes, and essential items over there and when we are low on supplies, she will let us know and we can re-stock it up the next time he comes over (very similar to a daycare.)

When we are ready to transition over to solid foods (at our insistence), we will pack his food and some supplies to bring with him. We can keep some basics there as well so we aren't carting so many things around each time we drop him off. She has no problem preparing foods that we supply, mixing bottles if we have to go the formula route, etc.  

We don't need to bring over a spare infant car seat base as they already have what they need there for day trips or in the event of an emergency, etc. She already has a carrier for park trips so she will most likely wear Eli and put her daughter in a stroller until she can walk a bit more, etc. (Her daughter will be 16 months old when she starts to watch Eli).

Their place is clean and child proofed :) There are plenty of toys and things for him to play with so we don't need to bring over any age appropriate things for him.

While she will be watching another child for a few months in the morning, it is a short term arrangement that will be finished before she begins watching Eli. We took the time to discuss if she would consider watching any other children besides her daughter and my son. While she told me she will never watch more than 2 children besides her daughter because anymore and she would need to be licensed (she researched all the legal stuff on her own already)... but she isn't planning to solicit for more kiddos to watch and would speak to me before hand. 

Illness:
We took the time to discuss illness and the kids. While she's okay with us bringing Eli if he has a little runny nose... any fevers or green coming out of him he stays home with me or SCB just like he would with the other daycare option. We will still pay her the full weekly amount if Eli is sick (this was at my insistence since I know her family will be planning on that income.)

The reverse though, if her daughter has more than a runny nose, Eli won't be coming over and we won't be paying them for that day of care so we can use that money to bribe someone else to watch him or call in a sick day at work. I have another friend of mine from church who will be having a baby as I'm going back to work and she had mentioned helping us out with daycare too so I think she will be our "back up" if we can't bring Eli over to his regular place once she gets settled in.

Vacations:
While we both aren't planning any long vacations or trips at the moment, we have decided that we need to give the other party at least a months notice of any planned vacations and we won't need to pay for care while we are on vacation. (this is a nice perk over the other daycare option). So if they take a week off, they will give us at least a month's notice so we can make arrangements for someone to watch him (my other friend from church, my mom, maybe a couple of sick days if need be split between SCB and I, etc)...  and likewise if we are planning on taking a trip, we give them a months notice and get to keep the daycare money for our trip. 

Payment:
We also talked about payments and transaction records, taxes, and all that. She IS reporting the income to the IRS, wants us to pay her in a way the payments can be recorded and tracked... and yes we will be able to write off the childcare expenses at the end of the year on our taxes to save us even more money.

We plan to set up electronic payments, paid weekly on Fridays so we aren't paying her in cash or going through checks like crazy each week. Thankfully I can do that through my electronic checking account at Capital One 360. At the end of the month, we will get an invoice showing our payments that we can keep for our tax records too.

Flexibility:
What's really cool is the flexibility of the situation. Since we only need 4 days of care, we are welcome to switch those days if my work schedule were to change to accommodate a special event. For instance, if I have to come in to work on a Monday for an event, and get a Wed off instead that week, she is fine with watching Eli on a Monday and me taking Wednesday off instead that week and cutting her the same amount. If we need an additional day of care, (like a Saturday or a Monday on top of the regular 4 days), we pay her an extra $55 per day.

We also talked about swapping date nights at no charge, which will be awesome once we get the energy to spend time alone with one another again. 

With all that in mind, I love the fact that he's going to get more individualized attention, a playmate, time outdoors, a no TV environment and while we may have to take a extra sick day throughout the year to cover her or her daughters illness, Eli will be less likely to get ill over all being in a smaller environment then in a place with a lot more children and parents who try to sneak in a runny nose, saying its teething when its not.

So now we just need to figure out the health care choice... and considering he won't be in the major daycare environment, we think we might be able to get by with the High Deductible plan if we find a good doctor we like and we have a good over all delivery... but that decision won't be made until he gets here so let the health insurance ideas/questions keep coming!

With Kaiser, I can interview pediatricians at no charge so we hope to have a Kaiser option set up in case we choose that route... and hopefully we will be able to find a non Kaiser option to compare it to.

Friday, January 23, 2015

We're going to go over on our grocery budget...

We have one more grocery shopping week left and only $5.36... which won't even cover a gallon of milk... so its safe to say we are going over on our grocery budget for the month.

I was really hoping to start the year off right and hit the $300 marker just to show I could but I forgot how hard it is to stick to a budget. We have been getting much better over the past few months, but I haven't been holding myself to the $300 and with a bare pantry, we went through most of our funds earlier in the month just re-stocking and getting the best deal on products in bulk instead of just buying what we need to get through the week so to speak.

Some of it was poor planning... Like SCB not knowing that the package of uncooked but open bacon was for a meal I was planning the following week and shouldn't be cooked just because... Which meant I had to buy more bacon the next week to make soup... (I have to buy the no nitrates stuff cause I'm pregnant so paying $6 for bacon on a small grocery budget can stick it to ya).
 
Then there is the fact that in  3-4 ish weeks we have gone through 5 gallons of milk... WITHOUT cookies being in the house... and since i'm pregnant, SCB is firm on buying organic and since Costco doesn't sell fat free organic milk (they have 2% and 1%, but not fat free) we have been paying $6 to $7 a gallon for it.

We also had to re-stock our poultry because we had weeded through most of it....

We also bought a disgusting loaf of bread because we ran out of homemade bread and I didn't have time to make any before SCB needed to make his lunch... (it was gross... I think i'm a bread snobb now).

Then we found an awesome cereal deal for SCB's favorite type... with an added electronic coupon bonus from Ralph's (it was on the ad... that was the only reason we knew about it) so we ended up buying 10 boxes of it Cinnamon life for ... $13.80...

I also noticed we didn't buy any household items and I'm wondering If those should come out of our discretionary funds to give us some more wiggle room with groceries...

February will be much easier since its a short month, but I'm hoping I can keep the whole thing down to $350 for January. Who knows, we may need to up the groceries allotment for the year. Last year our monthly average was $341.00 so for 2015 we were actually hoping to DECREASE it over all.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mortgage going up

We got a notice in the mail that our property taxes will be going up for 2015... so the amount we pay to our escrow account will need to increase to cover the bill.

It's a little annoying that I get the notice after I've made the budget and all our baby budget options for the year... but I'm not going to mess with any of those until we pick one!

Right now we pay $771.99 a month... now we will be paying $792.01 to add the extra amount to our escrow account for property taxes.

I kind of don't mind.

Sure I'd like to have the extra $20 a month in our budget, especially with the baby coming, but its nice to see property values stabilize and come up over $200,000.00 again for a 1 bedroom property... especially since we want to stay in our condo for a few more years before we move, but its nice to have the equity if we have to move sooner.




Monday, January 19, 2015

Baby Budget Options

We have 5 budget options to look at in regards to welcoming our little goober into our lives. The first budget, listed below, we have already decided does not work well for our family (It’s the budget where SCB becomes a stay at home dad). Since his boss just gave him a HUGE raise and we found at least one daycare we are comfortable with, it doesn't make too much sense for SCB to quit and stay home with our little guy when my maternity leave ends... but we wanted to include a stay at home budget option since some of you have asked about it.  


Option 1: Baby Budget - SCB stays at home & Family gets “platinum” Kaiser Insurance.
Spending: (Money that leaves the bank account each month)

  • Tithe: $392.00 + $20.00 Fast Offering 
  • Mortgage (P&I, Property Taxes): $771.80
  • Home Owners Association: $295.00
  • Groceries & Household Items: $300.00
  • Work cell phone allowance: $60.00
  • Electricity & Internet: $150.00
  • SCB’s Burner Cell or Land Line: $30.00
  • Gasoline: $200.00 (a little less since he’s not driving to work)
  • Date Nights: $80.00
  • Pocket Money: $80.00 ($40 each)
  • Diapers/wipes: $92.00
Savings: (Money for semiannual/annual bills that will eventually leave the bank account)
  • Prescriptions & Dr. Visits: $47.60. 
  • Roxy: $47.60
  • Insurance (2 cars, earthquake & Homeowners): $155.00 
  • Car Repair/Replacement Fund: $100.00
  • Car Registration and Smog Fund: $25.00
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since I am paid bi-weekly but budget 2 paychecks a month)
  • Total Tithe: $392.00 
  • Clothing Replacement: $600.00 a year
  • Vacation: $700.00 (1 trip to visit SCB’s extended family in Utah)
  • Emergency Fund: $308.00
  • Christmas Savings: $600.00
  • Birthday & Holiday Savings: $600.00
Retirement:
  • Just my 8% contribution to my City Pension + $120 a year to a 457 deferred compensation account which adds up to 8.28% of our income.
Now that that one is out of the way,  lets look at our real contenders. We could look at more budget “options” but we eliminated some of them from the running because they didn’t make sense financially for us (some health insurance options only left us with an extra $20 a month for less care, so we tossed those ones out). 

We actually have 2 daycare options and 2 health insurance options to consider, so 4 total budgets. We already know that I will always be on my work plan with Kaiser because if I don’t use my benefits, the money we can cash out is reduced enough that we don't really save any money but forfeit better insurance on my end.

Our first health insurance option is for the entire family to join me on my Kaiser “platinum” insurance plan. The second option would be for the baby and SCB go on his work insurance (a high deductible plan) while I keep Kaiser. Then we need to look at the 2 daycare choices/options we have found (a Montessori school… or paying a friend to “nanny”).
  •  Just a quick mention about the word “nanny” and tax implications. Since we would be the only “family” she is watching along with her own daughter, with the care taking place at her residence and not ours, she does not need to file a license with the state and we are not required to make her a household employee and pay employer taxes. I did the research and we believe in doing things 100% legally or we wouldn’t consider it an option. She is looking to quit her job to stay home with her daughter and make a little income watching our son on the side. We will be meeting today and discussing details to see if it is a good fit logistics wise.

Now that that is out of the way, we are going to list the budget options as they get better for us financially. We know that some decisions can’t be made purely by looking at numbers since peace of mind is a strong factor and worth the money. We actually feel like we have options and that we could live with either budget now that SCB was blessed with such an amazing raise. It actually makes this a much more comfortable discussion to have because we feel like we have options and can make choices instead of just “making it work.” Opinions are welcome in the comments below. I’d love to know what you would do and why!

Option 2: Baby Budget – Family gets Kaiser “platinum” insurance & we pay for 4 days of infant care at a local Montessori school.

Spending: (Money that leaves the bank account each month)
  • Tithe: $608.00 + $20.00 Fast Offering 
  • Mortgage (P&I, Property Taxes): $771.80 
  • Home Owners Association: $295.00 
  • Groceries & Household Items: $300.00 
  • Work cell phone allowance: $60.00 
  • Electricity & Internet: $150.00 
  • SCB’s Burner Cell or Land Line: $30.00 
  • Gasoline: $250.00 
  • Date Nights: $100.00 
  • Pocket Money: $80.00 ($40 each) 
  • Diapers/wipes: $118.00 
  • Daycare: $1,081 (including the annual enrollment fees saved for monthly) 
  • Discretionary money: $100.00
Savings: (Money for semiannual/annual bills that will eventually leave the bank account)
  • Prescriptions & Dr. Visits: $47.60
  •  Roxy: $47.60 
  • Insurance (2 cars, earthquake & Homeowners): $155.00 
  • Car Repair/Replacement Fund: $100.00 
  • Car Registration and Smog Fund: $25.00 
  • Christmas Fund: $50.00 
  • Birthday Savings: $47.00 
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since SCB is paid bi-weekly but we budget 2 paychecks a month) 
  • Total Tithe: $216.00 
  • Emergency Fund: $1,000.00 
  • Roth IRA: $384.00
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since I am paid bi-weekly but budget 2 paychecks a month)
  • Total Tithe: $392.00 
  • Clothing Replacement: $600.00 a year 
  • Vacation: $804.00 (1 trip to visit SCB’s extended family in Utah) 
  • Roth IRA: $1,404.00
Profit Share Check:
  • SCB’s work pays profit sharing once a year. We don’t count on this money coming in to survive and will use it for large purchases, savings, retirement, or mortgage payments.
Retirement:
  • My 8% contribution to my City Pension + $120 a year to a 457 deferred compensation account. 
  • SCB’s 401 k gets 6% of his salary plus a 3% employer match. 
  • We can save some money from our extra paychecks to add to a Roth IRA: $1,788.00 
  • 10.62% to retirement
What we like about this plan:
$1,000 to savings every year, a monthly discretionary amount of $100 to help as a budget buffer, really good health insurance for baby, husband and me, a dependable daycare option (no worries if the “nanny” or her daughter gets sick), 10% of our income is going to retirement and our extra paychecks are going to savings (things like vacation, Retirement, & Emergency Fund savings).

 
Option 3: Baby Budget –Baby & SCB get High Deductible Plan (I keep Kaiser) with 4 days of infant care at a local Montessori school.

Spending: (Money that leaves the bank account each month)
  • Tithe: $636.00 + $20.00 Fast Offering 
  • Mortgage (P&I, Property Taxes): $771.80 
  • Home Owners Association: $295.00 
  • Groceries & Household Items: $300.00 
  • Work cell phone allowance: $60.00 
  • Electricity & Internet: $150.00 
  • SCB’s Burner Cell or Land Line: $30.00 
  • Gasoline: $250.00 
  • Date Nights: $100.00 
  • Pocket Money: $80.00 ($40 each) 
  • Diapers/wipes: $118.00 
  • Daycare: $1,081 (including the annual enrollment fees saved for monthly) 
  • Discretionary money: $100.00 
Savings: (Money for semiannual/annual bills that will eventually leave the bank account) 
  • Prescriptions & Dr. Visits: $100.00 
  • Roxy: $50.00 
  • Insurance (2 cars, earthquake & Homeowners): $155.00 
  • Car Repair/Replacement Fund: $100.00 
  • Car Registration and Smog Fund: $25.00 
  • Christmas Fund: $50.00 
  • Birthday Savings: $50.00 
  • Vacation Savings: $100.00 
  • Clothing: $57.00 
  • Roth IRA: $53.00 
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since SCB is paid bi-weekly but we budget 2 paychecks a month) 
  • Total Tithe: $216.00 
  • Emergency Fund: $1,000.00 
  • Roth IRA: $134.00 
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since I am paid bi-weekly but budget 2 paychecks a month) 
  • Total Tithe: $392.00 
  • Roth IRA: $2,808.00 
Profit Share Check: 
  • SCB’s work pays profit sharing once a year. We don’t count on this money coming in to survive and will use it for large purchases, savings, retirement, or mortgage payments. 
Retirement: 
  • My 8% contribution to my City Pension + $120 a year to a 457 deferred compensation account. 
  • SCB’s 401 k gets 6% of his salary plus a 3% employer match. 
  • We can save some money from our extra paychecks to add to a Roth IRA: $3,578.00 
  • 12.91% to retirement
What we like about this plan:
$1,000 to savings every year, a monthly discretionary amount of $100 to help as a budget buffer, a dependable daycare option (no worries if the “nanny” or her daughter gets sick), a bit more going to retirement (12.91% of income), our vacation fund gets budgeted in on a monthly basis so we could add in some fun day trips since we get $400 more a year, clothing savings works its way in monthly and we see a small amount of money going to our Roth IRA each month with our extra paychecks covering just our emergency fund and retirement.

 
Emotional considerations:
By trading less health insurance coverage for Eli and SCB, we end up with an extra $2,190.00 a year, not factoring in the additional $600 more a year we have added to our monthly budget to cover the higher cost of doctors’ appointments and out of pocket medical fees. Eli will have a minimum of 5 doctor’s appointments in 2015 if he is healthy and if his visits are similarly priced to what SCB’s have been in the past with his insurance, those will cost us the $600 extra we are already budgeting in. The question becomes is saving $2 grand “worth” the gamble that everything goes okay?  

 
Option 4: Baby Budget – Family gets Kaiser insurance with a “Nanny” 4 days a week. 
Spending: (Money that leaves the bank account each month)
  • Tithe: $608.00 + $20.00 Fast Offering 
  • Mortgage (P&I, Property Taxes): $771.80 
  • Home Owners Association: $295.00 
  • Groceries & Household Items: $300.00 
  • Work cell phone allowance: $60.00 
  • Electricity & Internet: $150.00 
  • SCB’s Burner Cell or Land Line: $30.00 
  • Gasoline: $250.00 
  • Date Nights: $100.00 
  • Pocket Money: $80.00 ($40 each) 
  • Diapers/wipes: $118.00 
  • Daycare: $880 
  • Discretionary money: $100.00 
Savings: (Money for semiannual/annual bills that will eventually leave the bank account) 
  • Prescriptions & Dr. Visits: $47.60 
  • Roxy: $47.60 
  • Insurance (2 cars, earthquake & Homeowners): $155.00 
  • Car Repair/Replacement Fund: $100.00 
  • Car Registration and Smog Fund: $25.00 
  • Christmas Fund: $50.00 
  • Birthday Savings: $50.00 
  • Vacation Savings: $100.00 
  • Roth IRA: $51.00 
  • Clothes: $57.00
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since SCB is paid bi-weekly but we budget 2 paychecks a month) 
  • Total Tithe: $216.00 
  • Emergency Fund: $1,000.00 
  • Roth IRA: $384.00 
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since I am paid bi-weekly but budget 2 paychecks a month) 
  • Total Tithe: $392.00 
  • Roth IRA: $2,808.00 
Profit Share Check: 
  • SCB’s work pays profit sharing once a year. We don’t count on this money coming in to survive and will use it for large purchases, savings, retirement, or mortgage payments. 
Retirement: 
  • My 8% contribution to my City Pension + $120 a year to a 457 deferred compensation account. 
  • SCB’s 401 k gets 6% of his salary plus a 3% employer match. 
  • We can save some money from our extra paychecks to add to a Roth IRA: $3,804.00 
  • 13.20% to retirement

What we like about this plan:
We get all the perks of option 2 health insurance wise with emergency fund savings, vacations, etc. AND we get more going to retirement (13.20% of income).

 
Emotional considerations:
We change daycare options with this budget and pay considerably less a month for infant care… but it does open up some additional things to consider. By having just one person watch him, he will get more individualized care and will get to be raised in a like-minded home… but it opens up the possibilities for some frustrations along the way.
  • What if her daughter is ill (currently 10 months old)? Or what if she is under the weather for the day? Would I need to take a sick day for their illnesses to make sure my son doesn’t get sick… and would we pay her for that day ($55 a day)? What would we do about vacations? How much notice would they give me if they are planning a trip out of town and where would we place Eli during that time? Would we still pay them if we have a scheduled vacation? Or do we decide to coordinate time off together and pass up “last minute opportunities?”

Option 5: Baby Budget – I keep the Kaiser “platinum” insurance, Baby/SCB get High Deductible Plan, with “Nanny” 4 days a week. 
Spending: (Money that leaves the bank account each month)
  • Tithe: $636.00 + $20.00 Fast Offering 
  • Mortgage (P&I, Property Taxes): $771.80 
  • Home Owners Association: $295.00 
  • Groceries & Household Items: $300.00 
  • Work cell phone allowance: $60.00 
  • Electricity & Internet: $150.00 
  • SCB’s Burner Cell or Land Line: $30.00 
  • Gasoline: $250.00 
  • Date Nights: $100.00 
  • Pocket Money: $80.00 ($40 each) 
  • Diapers/wipes: $118.00 
  • Daycare: $880 
  • Discretionary money: $100.00 
Savings: (Money for semiannual/annual bills that will eventually leave the bank account) 
  • Prescriptions & Dr. Visits: $100.00 
  • Roxy: $50.00 
  • Insurance (2 cars, earthquake & Homeowners): $155.00 
  • Car Repair/Replacement Fund: $100.00 
  • Car Registration and Smog Fund: $25.00 
  • Christmas Fund: $50.00 
  • Birthday Savings: $50.00 
  • Vacation Savings: $100.00 
  • Roth IRA: $254.00 
  • Clothes: $57.00
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since SCB is paid bi-weekly but we budget 2 paychecks a month)
  • Total Tithe: $216.00
  • Emergency Fund: $1,000.00 
  • Roth IRA: $134.00
Extra Checks: (received twice a year since I am paid bi-weekly but budget 2 paychecks a month)
  • Total Tithe: $392.00 
  • Roth IRA: $2,808.00
Profit Share Check:
  • SCB’s work pays profit sharing once a year. We don’t count on this money coming in to survive and will use it for large purchases, savings, retirement, or mortgage payments.
Retirement:
  • My 8% contribution to my City Pension + $120 a year to a 457 deferred compensation account. 
  • SCB’s 401 k gets 6% of his salary plus a 3% employer match. 
  • We can save some money from our extra paychecks to add to a Roth IRA: $5,990.00 
  • 15.99 % to retirement
What we like about this plan:
We put a full 15% away for retirement and have the most income at our disposal. 

 
Emotional considerations:
Again, we pay considerably less a month for infant care… but we have those nanny questions to consider…. And the health insurance considerations too.

Over all Choice:

If we look at our most expensive budget, the Kaiser insurance with the Montessori daycare and compare it to the three others options, we can potentially save $2,270 a year if we just switch insurance.... if we just switch daycare and keep the insurance, we save slightly more at $2,496 a year... if we switch both daycare and insurance, we could save $4,682.00

Our insurance decision will be based upon some interviews with some doctors and delivery. If he goes anywhere near the nic-u, we are putting him on Kaiser without question... but $2,200 a year is enough money to question how many visits our little guy might have with the doctor (since we are factoring more money in on a monthly basis that's not included in the savings)... 

Since I'm meeting with the potential nanny today, we hope to have that decision made by mid February so we can either pay to hold his space at Montessori, or move forward with nanny land.  

But what would you do?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mortgage Update (Jan_15)


Principle paid down: $335.92
Interest: $334.04
Additional Principle: $0.19
New Balance: $1106,555.60

The pay off date is June 2033. 

If I continue to pay the minimum on my loan, we will end up paying a total of $69,410.24 in interest over the course of our entire loan. 

Before our refinance, we would have paid $116,404.23 in interest.

Getting the Keys...

It took me $7,057.08 to get the keys to my condo and then I spent another $17,672.29 to remodel and repair it... In short, I was -$24,729.37 in the hole on day one...
  • In 2009 I got the First Time Home buyer's Credit giving us $8,000.00. I also got to write off some of the property tax I paid in addition to taking the standard deduction. This gave us an extra $90.10... but then I had to pay an Electrician $95.00 to fix an outlet... We also got a refund from my botched tile job that gave us another $1,265.00.
  • In 2010 I saved $1,087.00 on my federal taxes and $461.00 on my State taxes from itemizing my homeowners expenses. (This is what I received ABOVE what I would have gotten back with just the standard deduction).
  • In 2011 I spent $12.97 at home depot and $72.29 on a kitchen door. When we subtract those costs from what we saved by living in our condo instead of renting, we came out ahead $494.04 (See Mortgage Update + Condo Costs December '11 for that break down.) We also received a small $70 refund check from over paid closing costs. We didn't Itemize our taxes in 2011.
  • In 2012 we finished our Kitchen/Laundry door which cost us $103.24.. We also replaced both our glass slider doors which cost us $2,957.00... and repaired our dryer for $81.42....It ended up being $3,383.47 cheaper to OWN our condo than to rent an apartment on a monthly basis, (See Housing Costs 2012 for the break down) so even after we subtract the windows and other minor repairs, we still came out ahead $241.81 by owning our condo instead of renting...
  • In 2013 we got $52.53 back from challenging my property taxes in 2012. I also refinanced our condo, costing us $447.00 up front for our home appraisal... but we got a check back at closing for $747.20 and a check from my old escrow account for $489.74... We also got to skip a mortgage payment too! In addition, they automatically lowered my property tax value, giving us a check for $86.77.. and we saved $5,191.81 by NOT renting a place (see Housing Comps 2013)!! Additionally we ITEMIZED our taxes in 2013, saving $702.45 on a federal taxes and $503.74 on our State Taxes. (This is what we would have owed had we not had our property to write off).
  • In 2014 we did a few home repairs totaling $976.00... but even with those factored in, we still saved $3,119.04 living here instead of renting an apartment.
All of that "math" leaves us $2,669.14 in the hole. If we assume our home is worth at least what we paid for it ($120k), we have $13,444.44 in equity...

Leaving us a profit of $10,775.30 after 5 yrs & 4 months!

For 2015, we will again assume our monthly mortgage payments are going to be a wash since it's cheaper to OWN our home then to RENT an apartment. (Check out Housing Comps 2015 for how we figured that one out). So far in 2015 we spent $1,066.99 to live in our condo, instead of $1,738.00 to live in the apartment.
  • Mortgage: $771.80 (P&I, property taxes)
  • Extra Mortgage Principle: $0.19
  • HOA: $295.00
 For a total savings of: $671.01

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

RAISE!!! He got a Raise!!!

I know the blog title gives this post away, but back in October or November, South County Boy went into his bosses office to ask for a raise...


Apparently when he talked to his boss, it was the perfect time to discuss it because his boss needed to give financial projections to the corporate end of the business for the next year... so if he was going to give him a raise or even consider it, South County Boy sure timed talking about it at the right moment. Now his company doesn't give annual raises at all because they do profit sharing instead if the company has profits... but since South County Boy was hired originally as a driver and since then has done more warehouse and now sales work, he's become far more valuable...

Right now since they fired their old driver, he's technically doing 2 jobs and working his tail off at $11 an hour...

He wasn't going to talk to his boss until February, but he had a feeling or a prompting and so he talked with his boss out of the blue about it when the timing was actually perfect. While his boss understood our predicament (it looked like daycare would cost us more than his take home pay each month so we were possibly considering him being a stay at home dad)... he couldn't make any promises but appreciated the open discussion.

We hadn't heard anything since then... and SCB wasn't going to talk to his boss until early March to see if there was an update...

But this week he was called into his bosses office...

and told he got a raise...

a big one...

22.7% more.... 

because he thought to ask his boss for it.

He now gets $13.50 an hour... and we are feeling so incredibly blessed because this will provide a nice chunk of change for us each month and it makes us feel like we have options for our budget and not just worst case scenarios...

On top of that, South County Boy can keep his job with all the perks that come from it. (Like staying in the workforce... earning 401k contributions, giving us a second option for health insurance, getting profit share checks... and helping to pay for things other than daycare like diapers and wipes)...

It is really satisfying for me to know that my husband feels he significantly helps provide for his family. SCB has always been bummed that he doesn't make that much money, or that I make more than he does.... but with this raise he actually feels like he is helping to take care of his son and his family and that means so much to me. I can tell him how much he contributes and how valuable he is as an earner to our family, but if he doesn't believe it, I can't make him... and its so wonderful to know how much this means to him.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Annual Purge

Since we spent most of the year purging the house in preparation for our "mini me" ... the annual purge was REALLY easy to do this year.

I didn't have to purge my clothes wardrobe because that's not a smart thing to do until our little replica is at least one years old... 

We didn't have a walk in closet to go through... now that our goober has a "room"...

We purged our Christmas decorations in November when I decorated... so my santas village and our inflatables went to go live with my sister at her house...

and nothing lives under our bed now that it folds up since we installed the murphy...

So what did we decided to toss out?

Earlier in the year we bagged up some extra bathroom towels we weren't using... and we haven't touched them in about 4 months so I think its safe to donate those to a dog rescue.

We are getting rid of one of a large suitcase roller bags because we got 2 new ones last year and held on to the third one just in case but we really don't need it...

An old sweatshirt...

and I was going to get rid of our coleman stove because our BBQ is so portable, but I decided against it today and put it back in the closet.

I also got rid of all of the birthday and Christmas packaging bags we had "saved" from old gifts. I never end up using them and wrap everything anyways so we decided against storing them because they always fall out of the closet when we open it anyway...

and some blue tooth capable speakers that I'm going to attempt to sell on facebook.


We still have the outside patio closet to go through and a few drawers in the kitchen but it is what it is and i'm calling the project done for the year :)