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What I've been up to?

September 27th, 2016 at 09:15 am

Getting the kids back into school has been busy. I've been ironing out their schedules and it's pretty crazy. DH has been on the hamster wheel getting up to speed on a new job. It's always a big learning curve with a new job. As for me? Well I started taking the HR block tax prep course 2x week at night. It's until December so we're on a kid handoff at night at the park and ride so I can make my 6 pm class!

I'm trying this out as a way to see if I like tax prep and if I can possible land a seasonal tax prep job. I need something on my resume after 6 years out of the workforce to get back in. I figured this is better than nothing. I'm also hoping that perhaps this is a way to landing a part-time job in bookkeeping or accounts payable I see on craigslist.

I'm not looking to go back full time in my field. I think that 1.5 jobs for our family would be best. I've already gotten push back from DH for taking this job because he doesn't think it's worth my time. But I'm hoping to get back next fall into a part-time work routine when my youngest might go to kindergarten. That's not decided yet.

I also won month 5 of my dietbet! I lost my 10%. Now is the real struggle. I don't know if I can maintain it. I find it easier to lose but it's so hard to keep the weight off. I missed month 3 and month 4 from traveling so i couldn't weigh in. But I kept at it and made month 5. Now can I keep it off is the question?

And we're deep in the house hunt. That's the next post. It's so hard to find something we like and finding the time to house hunt. UGH.

I am also on the decluttering challenge of 465 items in September. It is getting rid of 1-30 items over the month daily increasing as the days go on. I am at I think 380s items. I am going to make it. I have an appointment at the consignment store to get rid of 30 items. And they usually tell me what else they won't take. And I sell 6 items there daily. Apparently I've sold over $100+ there in mostly clothes.

So now back to my regular programming...

quick check in

August 29th, 2016 at 10:13 am

I have so much to do. We are back from almost a month away. We have new budget to work on, school to start, and house hunting. I think I am dreading the house hunting.

I need to iron out the kids schedules and figure out where we are with activities. It's weird this year we have so much more to do it seems than last year.

We blew August budget out of the water obviously but it's okay. Back to the grind. I'm so excited we have medical insurance and income again.

Going into probate and vultures

August 4th, 2016 at 03:46 pm

I have to say seeing people become vultures about money is disgusting. I haven't had to see it up close and personal until now how people behave about money. How money really can be the root of all evil. How desiring money can lead people to behave poorly.

Uncle J passed away and the funeral was over the weekend. DH went down to support his dad as his dad requested. We decided I wouldn't go because it was too long and leaving my mom with the kids at the last minute seemed like a bad idea. We'll be there tomorrow anyway less than a week later for DH's work.

My MIL, DH's other uncle, a cousin and her daughter, 2 ex wives, and other people were at the house cleaning and looking for a will. My in-laws are divorced. Anyway my MIL picks up DH at the airport with BIL and proceeds to lecture him in the car ride about behaving properly. As soon as they arrive at Uncle J house MIL lays into FIL and they argue. Ends with my DH telling her she's obnoxious, overbearing, shut up and leave. She turns around and yells at him. Boy am I glad I wasn't there. Anyway a will hasn't been found and she makes the comment "at least this way FIL will get what he deserves." And that FIL is expending $x on the funeral and other expenses and maybe he'll be able to recoup it. Yes in the midst of the mourning my MIL is being this crass.

She's not the only one. The cousin who came said she had been asked to be the executor and had come to see the will. But that she hadn't signed any papers potentially because Uncle J hadn't finished doing it. He was 68 so the death from heart attack was unexpected.

He was a nice guy. He always wrote me an email on mine and he kids birthdays. He gave us very nice presents and just kept in touch. He was really thoughtful. A hoarder, eccentric but I thought him nice. We were going to have dinner with him this week. I am disturbed at how callous and money grubbing my MIL and other family members are. My DH and his brother said they wanted NOTHING. They had to prevent people from trying to take the gold rolex and other jewelry off the property.

Uncle J was twice divorced and without children. He died single as well. So his heirs as I understand it are his 3 siblings, none of whom reside in the US and DH's dad being the closest in area and geographical distance. DH and BIL both living in US but DH only one with citizenship and BIL on visa. So I guess we're going to probate.

But his dad asks for advice and doesn't take it. I can't take having them call and not listen to simple instructions like call social security. Call X, Y, Z. I get a lot of response like "can you do it? Why do I have to? What is going on?"

I bet people wouldn't be so damn interested if the property Uncle J owned wasn't worth 7 figures. And I bet people might not have even shown up.

If anything this just make me more cognizant that I need to get our affairs in order. DH and I are going to likely be the executors of our parents estates and we likely have to have the talk that they have wills. I know mine do somewhat they are constantly it seems working on it. I'm not sure about my in-laws.

I wish people would stop arguing and just go away. I also realize the problems that arise from dying without a will.

40 credit cards

July 25th, 2016 at 09:06 am

Over the years I've accumulated probably at least 40 cards. I am one of those people who never cancelled cards. As long as there wasn't an annual fee if we opened and tried it I left it opened. So this weekend I don't know why my DH started looking at our paperwork. When we moved we literally threw stuff into boxes because we didn't get to it. I had debit cards expiring in 2005 from Washington Mutual. 4 of those cards and papers I found in our box of paper. I also had debit cards from chase that expired in 2008. So this obviously a long term problem. We haven't had either accounts since 2005.

We got to the decluttering easy stuff like clothes, kid toys, etc. But older harder stuff we are still working on. I mean we still have boxes of unopened stuff to look through in the garage. But the reality is that we have a ton of cards that I have no idea when I opened them or what is going on.

So yesterday I started organizing some of the cards and calling to see if there were closed. I had over 40 cards and had I think over 20 that were closed so I started to shred them and the paperwork. I still have a few more to work on but now it's a small stack that fits in a box.

I can't close any that we don't use and are open still because we want to buy a house in the next year and I don't want to hurt our credit scores. I need to pull our credit reports soon to check and make sure everything is okay. My credit dropped from 835 last July to 804 this July. It says because I have too high credit loan balances to credit limit. This is from discover and not an actual score. But I'm worried of course. My DH is 816 but it says the same level of credit used to credit limit is problem. Ugh.

Some of this is because Uncle J passed. We're trying to be motivated to get more organized. We shredded and got rid of 200 pieces of paper. I'm up to 958 things I've gotten rid of this year. Perhaps I am on track to get rid of 2016. But seriously I know we have a ton of paperwork still.

lawyers can earn a lot

July 23rd, 2016 at 05:05 pm

Wow I was reading a blog about someone's journey to biglaw and I had no idea that lawyers make so much money. I mean I knew they did I just didn't have a clue it was a public payscale.

1st year (class of 2015) – $180,000 ($160,000 + $20,000)
2nd year (class of 2014) – $190,000 ($170,000 + $20,000)
3rd year (class of 2013) – $210,000 ($185,000 +$25,000)
4th year (class of 2012) – $235,000 ($210,000 +$25,000)
5th year (class of 2011) – $260,000 ($230,000 + $30,000)
6th year (class of 2010) – $280,000 ($250,000 + $30,000)
7th year (class of 2009) – $300,000 ($265,000 + $35,000)
8th year (class of 2008) – $315,000 ($280,000 + $35,000)

8 years after you graduate you are making $300k. If you started at 25 making $180k and then by age 33 you are making over $300k. Seems crazy like a lot of money. No wonder so many friends I knew said lawyers make a lot.

Had you any clue they made this much? I know this is for biglaw and smaller firms pay less. But from reading the blog they don't make that much less necessarily.

I wouldn't do it unless I like it. But it certainly is food for thought about telling my kids if they want to go into law, they could easily be like Mr Money Mustache and retire very, very early.

A rough couple of months

July 22nd, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Death comes in threes. So it's been a rough couple of months. A lot tonight has been feeling some regret. DH and I moved to be closer to our families. We always felt that being so far away we couldn't visit. So we moved. It really has made a difference.

Anyway DH's grandmother passed away in early June, she was 94. His dad and uncle went and spent the month back home. We had discussed going this past year when DH wasn't working but we thought it was too expensive because of the lack of income. And now we have regrets. I told DH to go but he was feeling stress over the job hunt and in the midst of landing his job.

Anyway my uncle also passed at the end of June. My dad really wanted to go but with the time difference and how fast they did the funeral he didn't make it. Instead my parents will do the 100 day celebration after death. Fortunately my parents had gone to visit him in March. Our thoughts were to go to both places next summer we had been planning this trip from last year.

We thought it would make more sense after DH got a job and settled in and we knew our finances. We'd have time and money. Turns out we'll have money and not enough time. It's going to cost us likely $15k-20k next summer. $2k tickets, another $2k hotels, and everything else.

Then just a day ago DH's uncle passed away. DH just came back from visiting his parents with the kids on Wednesday and his dad called us to say Uncle J died. He was happy they had managed to spend June together and travel. They flew back on July 5th together so he enjoyed the time together.

We were supposed to see him in June but he had gone back for his mom's funeral. So we had been emailing and had made arrangement to see him and stay in August when we went back. Now instead DH's dad is flying down probably this week to take care of all the arrangement. Uncle J has no kids and currently wasn't married. He was married 3x. We enjoyed seeing him and he loved seeing us and the kids. He was supposed to have come at Thanksgiving but instead went home so he said maybe September/October. Actually he had plans to come this summer before everything happened. We typically saw Uncle J once a year on our annual trip. He was 67.

I guess it's melancholy. That we've made these plans and feel like we've missed a window. We weren't able to before because the flights were so long and we weren't sure we wanted to with the kids being so small. Then we moved without a job and didn't feel right spending so much on a trip. The same thing happened when we got married. The year we got married DH's 2 grandfather's passed away right before they could come to our wedding.

FWIW we decided next summer we are taking one trip to Asia to see family. We're going to see DH's grandma and extended family and my Dad's family. This will likely be perhaps the only trip before people pass away. It's funny we moved to be closer to our families and now we have seen them a LOT more. And now we even had an opportunity to see the extended family as we'd hoped and it's to late.

And our dog this week relapsed with cancer. He's on his last few months i guess. It's hard to accept and harder still to know that we don't have much time. We can't board him anymore which is another reason traveling this year has been limited to driving. We just can't fly or leave him anywhere. So that was another stupid reason why we didn't want to travel this year.

Ugh it's been a difficult summer.

HCOLA versus LCOLA

July 20th, 2016 at 11:44 am

People always ask why do people live in HCOLA versus LCOLA? Does the salary support the difference in cost of living? Absolutely not. The HCOLA usually salaries aren't commensurate with the higher cost of living. I can say that with absolute certainty. Until now I've only lived in expensive cities so I've never experienced anything else. I grew up in HCOLA and started a family in a HCOLA. But now we are able to buy a home.

So people think it's only about the home prices. But there are so many factors involved. Small things you don't think about. Right now we pay for a SFH electric/gas bill a high of $150/month, currently it's $80/month. I was previously paying $250/month for electric alone monthly plus my heating bill was $250/month balanced and during the winter we spent around $600+/month. We pay $125/month for water now and our portion previously was around $200/month. The food bills I think are around the same.

We pay $190/month now and used to pay for the same days $390/month. So double and even if I priced out full time it's around 2x the cost. It even translates to babysitters charging $10/hr here versus $20-25/hr where we were. Private schools are also much cheaper. Average private school costs around $12-15k versus $30k where we were.

All these small things contribute besides the cost of homes to the cost of living. When we were looking at places to live, I admit I only looked at the cost of homes. But the truth is that there is so much more to it.

Should people move from a HCOLA to LCOLA? It depends. If you want to yes. But on the same token should people move from a LCOLA to a HCOLA? It depends.

I can say that people who stay in HCOLA without high incomes do so for other reasons. There are other reasons like staying put to be close to family. Because they prefer the lifestyle. And sometimes because it's the fear of the unknown. The same things go for people who live in a LCOLA and are tempted to move to a HCOLA.

After meeting friends who moved from LCOLA to HCOLA I will say that it's harder to do that than go the opposite way. There are a lot more sacrifices. It's eye opening to see how much more things can cost outside of housing which everyone see immediately. I mean a friend moved from a place where her house cost $300k and is bigger than her rental that costs her $3k.

Do you ever think about moving?

Tentative Budget

July 20th, 2016 at 11:02 am

Right now with the knowledge I have from company documents and potential gross income I have drawn up a potential budget. Right now I have us saving 30% of our income excluding bonuses. Right now I hope we are able to save our bonuses after taxes. Right now I plan on us saving the maximum 401k, roth ira, college ESA, and ESPP. With all of that we will be at 30% savings. This is of course with us approximating taxes.

With the approximate budget I've drawn up we have $3500/month to save/spend on food, groceries, fun, etc. It's close to what we spend now so we should be okay.

But my budget assumes that we are still paying the same in rent/mortgage. What happens when we buy a house and pay more? I am worrying about our budget. I have to admit that renting another year is a relief. It gives us time to stabilize a budget.

I'm starting to understand now what renting buys freedom. It's buying me peace of mind. However I get why people buy before moving into an area. It's so stressful though to go through a new job, budget, and moving.

How to find a job?

July 18th, 2016 at 11:35 pm

I have been reflecting a lot on going back to work. But the problem I'm running into is what do I want to do? Not just what do I want to do but how to get there? I mean it's so hard to find your passion. But more than that how to even get back into the job market after so long out.

For me it's been 6 years. What does a person do? I've been toying around with trying to set up and internship. But the question is will that help land me a job? But before finding a job how do I find the right one?

I can see that my DH struggled a long time with his career change. He's so excited with his new career and he's passionate again. The two months he was job hunting I saw the high and the lows and the doubts. The doubt that he had made the right decision. That he would be able to find a job. He wondered if giving up something he knew he could do. He actually still has imposter syndrome. He wonders if he can do it. If they'll realize he's fake.

That's exactly how I feel. I don't really want to do what I did. If I do something new then do I need to get more training? How do I test out the new career track? How did you change careers? Was it worth it?

Not liking the candidates

July 18th, 2016 at 09:08 am

I was told in a conversation that by not voting for Hillary Clinton I was voting for Donald Trump. What? Why couldn't I vote for Hillary? And how can I turn my back on the Democratic Party? I nearly lost it. I very politely said I will vote but I'm going to write in Bernie Sanders or I'm going to vote for any independent.

Apparently I'm crazy to think that the democratic party basically gave the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Apparently that being a Bernie Sanders fan means I'm a democrat instead of an independent. And I'm a female suppressor.

No to all of these things. I think I'm actually more a liberal counterpart to a Donald Trump supporter. I mean in the sense that I get anyone supporting the Donald because they hate the establishment. I am not fond of the democrat establishment and I don't want to vote for Hillary.

I could care less if she's a women. She's dishonest and thinks she's above the law. And I was told how is she any different from GW, Colin Powell, etc who had private servers? It wasn't illegal when she started doing it, but it became illegal. Um okay yes but she continued doing it and I believe it's because she thinks she's above the law. Apparently everyone who runs for president thinks they are above the law. I don't think so the only other one I feel like who thinks that way was Nixon and we saw how that ended up.

Yes both liberal and conservative people are beholden to special interests. But why can't a person who supported bernie not support hillary? I don't like donald and what he stands for at all. I am not in support of his comments or platform or him. But I don't want to vote for a woman I despise and think is lying every step of the way. And I see nothing wrong with saying I'm probably less of a democrat than I've ever been and turning more independent as I get older. I hold more liberal views than what the "democratic" party holds. But I have a ton of friends who were republicans but now would call themselves liberaterians. Because republicans are not the party of smaller government anymore, but rather the government of spend more money on their agenda. So how can either party wonder why people are fleeing them?

Do you think both liberals and conservatives aren't in sync with the big party elites?

my neighbors are jerks

July 16th, 2016 at 07:09 pm

Did I mention what's been going on? Remember the incidents earlier in the year about the bullying? The hitting and drawing on my DK1? The luck we had about switching classes. Anyway before the end of the year I turned in a request that they are not in class together. Nor my DK1 is any class with any neighbors.

So a reason we also looked at moving out of our rental was the neighbor situation. Anyway recently we got a note from saying "you suck DK1." We also were left weird rock piles on the door. Until the note we said nothing and then my DH went next door and explained to the parents the situation. We did not show this to DK1, we asked if DK did it and she said no.

The parents said they don't talk that way. They didn't let them out of the sight. The truth is I caught them this week leaving notes again at the door. I am not sure what to do now. By caught I mean I opened the door and the kids were standing in front of our house and ran.

So now what to do? Make situation worse and confront them? Or just realize my neighbors are assholes and that there is nothing to be said or done before they realize their kids are being jerks because they are allowing it? Is it wrong to feel like we should move? I hate feeling trapped in the house and constantly on the kids so nothing happens?

my experience now with realtors so far...

July 15th, 2016 at 03:24 pm

Okay we're house hunting now. Not aggressively but slowly. We're using redfin, but we might change to a regular realtor. I haven't been impressed with the redfin agents but maybe it's because we are using a discount service. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that I am able to see homes without pressure. I love the fact that the realtor showing me the home is being paid per house and not there to pressure me into buying. I love the fact it's based on them just being free to tour me on the house.

So what am I having an issue with? Well I've changed agents once with the redfin agent who is supposed to write the offer. Why? The first agent never wrote back to me or contacted me. The market is hot so I suppose he was too busy. Valid point since we weren't in a rush to buy and not interested in a bidding war or closing a deal fast. I actually got an email from him saying that I needed to be faster and put in offers in a bidding war style. He also wrote me an email that I needed to let go of having an inspection or mortgage contingency. He and I obviously did not mesh.

This second realtor has followed up on my tours and asked questions about my preferences. However this realtor as well has made commentary that I need to get in on this bidding war situation. I need to be ready to move.

I'm not ready. I feel like a kid being peer pressured into buying a home I don't want. Hence why I am keeping these realtors at an arms length. I know what I can afford. I know what I am looking for. I know that I am not interested in offering on a house in a bidding war period. We aren't desperate and we don't have to move. We have the financial situation to buy but we aren't going to rush in and buy without contingencies. We aren't doing it and any house we buy will allow us our contingencies or it's not the house for us.

I know this because I know myself and DH. This is a lot of money. This is a big investment and a hefty chunk of change. I am not going to buy a house after visiting it once. I am also not going to buy a place to settle and regret it. If I am buying a place then I better really like it.

My strategy is to see homes that have been sitting a month. This is not uncommon in the price range we are looking at. It also is not uncommon that people in this range are "overpriced" and I've seen many sales below asking simply because they are asking too much. I've watch price per sq foot. I've been watching the market for a year and tracking data on a spreadsheet.

I really am annoyed with these realtors. When I see something I like they'll know. They'll know because I'll drag my DH to see it and we'll see it at least 2x before making an offer. They'll know because I'll tell them instead of them asking me. They'll know because I won't be submitting an offer on an offer review date. I mean I flat out told them I'm not going in on a bidding war. But this second realtor isn't listening.

A friend recently bought a house for $680k and regrets it. It was listed for $675k, they offered $5k over asking and it had been on the market for 24 days! This is in a super hot market where the average days on market is 14. So they obviously listened to a realtor and put in an offer over list price. They say they regret buying a 30 year old house and wish they had bought a newer house. Personally I thought they nuts. I'd have gone in and offered $625k and seen where what they came back with. My DH said it's because they were first time home owners who only saw themselves making another 10% next year. Now they have doubts it'll appreciate that much in 1 year and are worrying if they bought at a peak.

Personally I think the market won't go down. But I think that perhaps appreciation will slow down or stay flat until incomes catch up. I also think for these homes to go up another 10% is a lot to pay $750k for what they bought seems too pricey, but I could be shocked into being wrong. Maybe it'll go up 10% more in 1 year. It will go up I believe, just not perhaps at the rate previously seen. Where it went up about 40% this year alone.

So how do you prevent this from happening? I think staying strong to your plan. Buy the house you want for the price you want. Don't let yourself get emotionally attached to any house. Don't let yourself get caught up on making money on the house. I'm struggling because I want to move and settle. But I don't want to make a financial mistake because I'm feeling impulsive.

I'll keep readers updated. Right now nothing I've seen has been the right house. The location, layout, yard, etc has all been wrong. There was one house but it's been on the market for 6 months since January severely overpriced. We're not ready to move and they obviously are hoping for the moon.

Do you have any more tips on how to find a house? What should we compromise on?

The good, the bad, the ugly

July 15th, 2016 at 11:44 am

Lots of news of all sorts. Good news is I saved another $20 on our trip to hawaii by checking prices. The one way ticket dropped to $199 and I called the airlines and got $20 on each of 3 tickets credited back to me. Sometimes it pays to price check.

Second I took my car in for a an oil change and found that I might need new calipers $900 repair. However I took it to the dealership instead for a free 40 point check and they recommended instead just replacing the rotors for $370. They also said they would price match any other deal ad and would replace for just the cost of parts the burnt out lightbulbs. I found a local dealer with a deal for brakes for $199 so I'll get the work done potentially for $250 instead of $900.

The bad news? Well my auto insurance went up to $1400 for 6 months for 2 cars and 2 drivers. I was paying $700 so the price doubled. We are bad drivers. DH has two accidents and I had my first ever accident in January. As you know he's had many accidents, but until I had one we were forgiven for 1 of his accidents. Ugh, now I may shop around for better deals. I might also raise the deductible from $500 to $1000. Of course they said one of his accidents comes off in Janaury so we'd be back to $700 for 6 months. Yes sometimes I think about my DH not driving but he won't give it up. And I realize me typing that as the most recent person to have an accident is ironic. But right now we have to many other things to deal like starting a new job and figuring out a commute, where to live, and budget/taxes to resolve the issue.

The ugly? Well we were supposed to see a friend who was visiting her family nearby and meet her new baby and other kids. But her dad unexpectedly passed away a few days before she flew in. It was awful since he lived alone and she hadn't heard from him so her aunt called and said she hadn't heard from him in a week so they drove out and found him passed away. It was awful because she supposed to have come around the holidays but she didn't because her job asked her to come back early from maternity leave and she felt obligated to do so. Her dad hadn't had the chance to meet her 3rd child yet. We connected over the phone and she expressed regret over not just coming and screwing the job. Ugh.

Sometimes it's so hard to know the right decision. And it's worse yet to know that money drives most of our decisions but how can we know if it's the right decision? I guess this is why we work and save. So we can make the best decision we feel without the pressure of finances. I just am going to promise myself we are going to try to become Financially independent as soon as possible.

golden handcuffs and renting

July 6th, 2016 at 08:08 am

This weekend we hung out with my BIL staying at his apartment. He's 36 and never bought his own place. Partially because he's not had a down payment and partially because he's never been sure he wanted to stay put. Truth is his first 2 years working there were layoffs at his company and he wasn't sure if he would stay. He feels secure now but not happy.

So buying a place for a job he isn't in love with doesn't make sense. We've told him if he's unhappy and thinks he'll find a new job or career don't buy. But at the same time he feels he's flushing money down the toilet. And he feels he can't leave his job, he's got some security through a large salary. He's in the middle of being handcuffed to his salary. Honestly if he buys a condo I think he'll be even more handcuffed.

And yes he has been renting his apartment for 4 years and rent keeps escalating. It was $1600, then $1750, then $1900, and now it's $2100/month for a 1 bedroom. But buying means he's committed to the area he doesn't love. It means he needs a big EF in case he loses his job and if he gets a new job and it's not easily commutable he has to sell and move.

SA thread was discussing whether you hate your job. I think if you do you should figure out how to change it or your career. Sometimes it's just the job and sometimes it's the career. And it's hard to leave the job if it's so lucrative for your family/self. It's hard if it's convenient. But you can make a plan and change I think.

What do you think about being handcuffed to a job?

Economize where you can?

July 6th, 2016 at 08:02 am

When we travel we tend to spend more. To be expected right? We just can't afford to be quite so frugal because of circumstances. But this trip there were things that made me laugh and blink because we paid a premium for but still saved us money.

For instance I bought DH a pack of instant starbucks coffee and gasped to find out it was $12.95 for the box of 10. OMG. But then logically it was like well it's cheaper than a $2 cup of coffee that would only last 6 days instead of 10. Or paying full price for a small pack of cheese sticks because we'd finish the 12 pack instead of the family size. Or the luncheon meat/cheese/bread not on sale but buying the cheapest because we had no flexibility of store or time. Instead it's still a sandwich instead of eating out. Or full price for a 12 pack of soda instead of waiting until it was on sale. Or buying boxes of milk so we don't waste it and it's easily portable. Anyway I realized yes we shopped and spent probably $200 on groceries for the weekend but when one meal out for 6 cost $100 it's really not a bad deal.

Have you had those moments? Where you have to in your head justify how expensive some stuff is, but when you put it into perspective it makes sense?

Travel Savings Tips

July 1st, 2016 at 08:06 am

So a lot of my friends wonder how we travel so much. How do we afford it. Besides the fact that it's a big priority the truth is I usually score huge deals.

As usually we're doing our summer trip to hawaii. This time I scored roundtrip deals for $320/per person. Incredible, especially considering I'm flying out of one city and back into another. How'd it happen? Well I had $150 credit each for me and the two kids so our $219 one way ticket cost us $69/each. And our return ticket was $249. And that's means we're going to hawaii for $960 for 3 people for 10 days. We don't usually pay for a hotel or rental car. We tend to eat at home quite a bit and pack lunches for the zoo and beach. So my entire trip to hawaii will likely be under $1500 for 10 days for 3 people. I'm not "vacationing" like most with a hotel, car, and eating out.

February was the same thing when we went to Hawaii. I spent $209 one way and used miles coming back from hawaii. That meant we likely spent if I had to guess under $1000 for 10 days in hawaii. For those not in the same situation a lot of savings can be had. How? I always tell people the cheapest tickets to Hawaii no matter where you are is April and October. If you watch the deals they'll hit and from the east coast of the US you can go for around $600 round trip during those season. You need to fly usually on a Tuesday through Thursday.

I'd also not necessarily package a car or hotel with the flights because sometimes it's cheaper to do a "hacker" fare and cobble together as I did 2 one way tickets. A lot of times it's cheaper to check out one way tickets and buy them on different airlines or use miles on the very expensive day of travel. I have a friend whose into mileage runs and tells me to value dollars at 2 cents per mile. Truth is I can usually beat that because I've mostly saved it for Hawaii at Christmas the most expensive time to travel.

That being said I also bought DH and kids ticket to see his parents in Canada yesterday. Roundtrip the tickets were $260 per person. I paid a slight premium because he could have gone for $210 but the hours were terrible and DH refused to get in at midnight and leave at 6 am. Instead I bought tickets arriving at 12 pm and leaving at 7 pm. FWIW usually we buy the cheapest but it's the first time the kids will be without me and I decided to cut him some slack. Plus to get the $210 I would have been again using a hacker fare of alaska airlines going for $83 and coming back on air canada for $126. It pays to do some permutations of traveling by air. Searching by roundtrip usually allows the airlines to price your tickets on their highest fare. Even the $260 had come up as $279 when I checked on round trip tickets versus booking 2 one ways on the same airline.

Right now we're on a roadtrip. We spent 3 days on the road before arriving at my BIL. We did eat out but we minimized it by eating buying subway one day eating at a taco stand for dinner another night total $9. Also we arrived and knew we had two days of musuems planned so we bought groceries for the 5 days and enough food to make sandwiches for 2 days. We also tried to fill up everyday a costco a huge benefit of being a member is costco always has the cheapest gas and very cheap food if you are driving.

Anyway I'm off to enjoy my vacation. Any other tips? I just wanted to post because as I was booking tickets I realized it sounds like we spend a ton on vacations every year. But if not for the flights to canada, and if I were going we'd be driving. We really are pretty good to go to hawaii twice in 1 year for under $2000 for three people. Then to include canada for under $2800 sounds very reasonable. Most people who fly places are spending easily double or triple that.

Lifestyle choices

June 29th, 2016 at 08:04 am

We're in the midst of another road trip so we've been chatting a lot in the car. I'll post pictures if I can figure out how of cool stuff we see.

We're doing our due diligence and starting to focus on areas we'd like to live permanently. Right now DH works around 20 miles from work he'd like to cut it down to 10 miles. I'm all for him having a shorter commute that's in line with our values and lifestyle choices.

But he brought up potentially moving out of the suburbs and moving into the city. He would be within 3-5 miles of work, bikable/fast transit, one car family, convenience/urban and fun. Trade offs are smaller home, not a big deal, postage yard (big deal to me), lack of privacy, and not great schools potentially. So he suggests maybe private school instead for the kids? Something we've never really considered both being products of public schools.

So now I'm torn. Do we shorten his commute considerably and change our lifestyle drastically? Is it in line to be really close to work, 1 car, no yard, I don't mind a small house but hate having neighbors right there, and private school? Is this a lifestyle I want or does he? We're really struggling because this would be permanent.

I know it'd be cost efficient probably to buy a house in the city for less money potentially in a bad school district and do private school. We'd save on time and costs. But I'm really not sure I'd enjoy it.

I have been a huge proponent of living where you love. That people in HCOLA who shouldnt' live there or LCOLA not making much should live where they love. And now we're at that same point.

DH could love the commute and he likes walking to places. But at the same time we aren't sure about living so close to neighbors and doing private school. What happens if he loses his job? While other jobs are in the area and he'll likely find one in the same area we'll be on the hook for private school tuition no matter what. But many people pay for private school even in good school districts for different reasons. Would we consider private school anyway in the suburbs? We have neighbors and friends doing private school now.

I think I'm feeling more pressure because before we always felt we had flexibility and time to make a mistake and correct it. But now the kids are getting older and more settled and I don't want to keep on moving. This is just difficult because it really is a lifestyle decision.

More talking to commence. FWIW we've been looking at houses in the city and they are fine. The parks are cute and walkability is amazing.

Do you like where you live? Do you wish you lived in the city or suburbs or more rural? And do you do private school and why did you choose it?

financial planning for 2016

June 27th, 2016 at 11:47 pm

So a fun financial benefit with DH's job is that he gets free food. No more brown bagging it. He's actually a little sad. He's always brown bagged lunch since I've meet him and it's something we've done as part of our lifestyle. Now it'll be weird to not plan leftovers as lunches. Someone at the company a single guy told DH he saved $700/month eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the company's dime. I would estimate he'll save $20/month. I am curious if we'll see a difference in our grocery bill. I'm sure we'll start eating out again.

But on a serious note we've decided already to max out the 401k for the rest of the year. Typically companies allow you to contribute up to 50% of your salary so we decide to rachet it up to 50% of his salary and hit the maximum as fast as possible.

We are also planning on maxing out the 10% ESPP contribution as a general saving plan. With the 15% discount on stock purchase we tend to use the ESPP as a long term savings vehicle we hold in case of emergencies. We tend to sell it after 2 years of purchase because according to tax laws it becomes long term gains but the 15% discount is taxed as ordinary income.

Because of this I think we might be short monthly with the extreme 401k contribution. We decided that we'll use our savings to make up the difference. It'll smooth out next year with a normal income and I think we still might be able to manage since we live pretty frugally.

We also decided to tap our cash savings and contribute to our Roth IRAs $11k and Coverdell ESA $4k as soon as DH starts working. Typically we'd funnel it from our paychecks but this time with the market on sale it makes sense to contribute asap. Plus I am pretty sure we won't qualify for a Roth IRA after this year.

We are also calculating our taxes and potentially refiling 2015 taxes. We have DH's 401k from his old job and we are considering rolling it to his Roth IRA. We could move it to a Rollover IRA and recharacterize a certain amount up to the 25% tax bracket married ($150k). We might not have the chance again. DH quitting mid year and getting a job mid year means that we stretched out our tax basis over 2 years.

But we're not sure about the Rollover IRA. If we do the rollover IRA, DH told me that we couldn't do the backdoor Roth IRA in the future. He said if we did then we couldn't move the money from a non-deductible IRA to a Roth because it'd be pulled from a Rollover and non deductible IRA. So we have a lot to consider.

We have a lot to do in the next month organizing our finances. We also get real insurance and dental insurance and vision. DH hasn't gone since last august so he's been waiting.

I'm so excited. The budget nerd in me is screaming and waiting to get started. I can't wait! I can house hunt and run numbers and spreadsheets and projections. I write this because I am so weird and only people here would understand.

It's official!

June 27th, 2016 at 11:24 pm

DH got a very nice counter offer and took it on the spot. The company called and gave them offer and said he could think about it. The woman barely finished talking before DH jumped on it and said he'll take it. Very excited. They sent it electronically and he signed.

We also resigned our lease today. Property manager sent it to us and we signed and scanned it back in. So we're set for another year.

I also accomplished disposing of a 36 outfits at the second hand store. I donated another 40 items, and threw out about 20 items like crayons, shells, whistles, and toys from the car. I am up to 740 items gone. Not quite halfway but I am feeling like I could potentially hit maybe 1200 for the year? Imagine where I would be if I didn't even try. I may have to keep this up every year.

I also won my second month of my transformer bet by 0.2 lbs. OMG yes! So an offcial win. I will say I sort of cheated because I was ahead in month one by almost a pound so I lost less than I needed. And barely eeked in a winning weight. I am already up above the number the next day. Sigh. Well at least I am moving forward to transform. I struggled a lot this month.

And the dice says...

June 24th, 2016 at 09:06 pm

Well it turns out the gamble was correct. DH landed his dream job. He got two very solid offers from two great companies. Company A offered $x + bonus less money than Company B. But Company B is a lower salary and higher bonus guarantee. He likes Company A but asked for more money. Company B told him to name a number that would guarantee he'd work for them. He's spending the weekend thinking because he really loves Company A.

We've decided he'll take company A even if they can't match the compensation of Company B. It's worth it. Besides the biggest thrill? It turns out that he's making more money than he was making last year. Cheers! Lower cost of living, more money, happier/closer to family, and DH got a year to be with us. Life couldn't be sweeter. Guess the gamble paid off.

We spent the last two days desperately looking at home to buy for pricing ideas and rentals. We decided we just aren't comfortable taking the risk of moving into a shorter commute with the chance we might hate the neighborhood. We don't want to risk moving our kiddos three times in three years. So instead DH has agreed to suck it up and try this commute. If it's miserable our new goal and plan is to spend every day/weekend looking at homes and neighborhoods to figure out what might work. We're going to hang out this weekend in the cities and walk around, see shops, libraries, parks, and overall impression.

We've been very insular since we've moved focusing on where we are and making friends in our area and it's been successful. But now we are honestly able to not focus on studying/school and get out more.

We made a plan that in 1 year we'll be moving into a rental or house no matter what. That we will have a decision made. We've also decided that if DH is miserable we'll hasten the timeline and take a hit on our lease agreement. I'm really impressed DH is taking this hit for the family's well being by making a commute I know will make him unhappy. But this is delayed gratification and in the long term we'll be better off is why he's making this sacrifice for me and the kids. We've always valued minimum commuting time and time as a family has always taken #1 priority. He proved it last year walking away from his job and moving into the unknown. So this sacrifice I know is huge.

Finally our dog survived his surgery. Sounds stupid but I was super worried with him being put under for anesthesia and the dr did say it was possible he wouldn't pass the liver test and the surgery was impossible. He had a fractured tooth that had to be extracted along with other teeth and 10 skin tags that needed removal. He did great and survived. I know it's ridiculous but we were really worried that instead of helping him we might have sent him to die on the table. I'm really glad he's okay. I know our time is limited, but he really is my best friend and support. I walk him 2-3x a day and it's the only time I get to really think and clear my head alone. He listens as I talk and think.

Well life is beautiful. If you had told me we'd be in this position a year ago I'd tell you it'd be a dream. Turns out sometimes it happens.

Now I'm off to figure out the next steps of our plan.

2 offers are coming

June 21st, 2016 at 09:56 pm

OMG this is it. Two job offers are coming in. I am crossing my fingers that they are good. I think so. At least DH is happy with the potential employers. This is a huge deal. Before the 1 year mark the bet we paid is looking to payout. An income again. Potentially moving locally.

Looking over the benefits we are losing some of the 401k match before it was 3% matched at 200% = 6% of salary. Now it's 50% match of 7% so 3.5% of salary and about the same price for slightly worse medical benefits to be expected because we had premium medical care before. Also slightly less vacation 21 days a year versus the 26 days year DH got.

Do you think it's worth moving for a shorter commute into another neighborhood and paying $1000 more a month for a slightly larger house? And testing out another area? Or should we try to buy? Or just be content renting?

My phone died on Sunday so I've been using the free Nokia phones we got last year when we switched to T Mobile. Going to look into replacement by warranty.

counting up!!!

June 20th, 2016 at 10:12 pm

So we probably got rid of around 200 sheets of art work and kids papers this weekend. Took pictures, scanned in and managed the kid's stuff. So with everything else I'm purging we're up to 633 items this year. It is eye opening. I know it sounds ridiculous but I don't count too many broken toys or clothes that are torn. But I do count stuff like all this paperwork that piles up. It's sort of thrilling secretly to be at 600+. I'm gleeful.

On a quick note I think DH has a job offer coming in tomorrow and crossing my fingers on the other two. This is way to nerve wracking.

I also pulled a muscle in my back or it's sciatica. Ughh. I have muscle relaxants and pain meds. Tell me this gets easier.

job hunting is a full time job

June 15th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Job hunting is stressful in a different way than the bootcamp has been. Both things have been tiring. Honestly having a job was easier since DH would go to work and be done when he got home. He rarely worked late and rarely brought work home. He might go in early and stay late but not on a consistent basis.

During the bootcamp he left very early and came home late everyday, then ate dinner and went straight back to studying. Basically like being in college except he had a wife and two kids who saw him for a few minutes at dinner. Plus on the weekends he would go into the school and study all day, come home, eat dinner, and study more.

I must say his frugality muscles were amazing and everyone in his cohort commented. They said "of course DH brought his lunch, how do you do it with two kids? And they asked him how do you just go home and eat?" He'd pack chips in a sandwich bag, granola bars, etc to tide him over until he got home. Spending money eating out for convenience was not something he ever did. But truthfully this was the exact same thing he did since we've meet through grad school (both of us did) and after when he was making big bucks.

Then the job hunting started and he could relax his schedule. He could leave for school after the kids were up and come home and eat dinner and help put them to bed. Or even cook dinner some nights. But at the same time there were many days and nights where he'd leave around 2-3 pm and be home around 10 pm after a networking event. An average week he'd go to 3-4 networking events. Then there was a conference he did from Friday 6 am to Sunday 10 pm.

It's been interesting watching the job hunt go on while unemployed. It's very different than job hunting while employed. The amount of effort really is a full time job if done properly with studying and networking and just taking the time to tailor each resume and cover letter.

I can see how people can get complacent and stay at a position they hate. Or how it can be very difficult to switch jobs. Sometimes it's just easier to stay put.

Anyway onward we go. Let's see if this ends soon or if we continue on this merry go round.

job update

June 14th, 2016 at 08:52 pm

So we are five weeks out from DH finishing his program. We are 40 weeks since the last paycheck. Our retirement accounts and investments have rebounded and we're still doing well. We've burned through a large chunk of cash with living and tuition.

But DH is hot on the job hunt. He hit a lull I'd say for a month with applications going out and having companies taking time to get back to him. But he is in the final stage of interviewing onsite with 3 companies. He is very satisfied with all three companies. We've agreed if nothing pans out then he'll regroup and apply to more jobs and lower the bar. But right now he's excited at the prospects.

Our lease is supposed to be up July 31st, but we aren't sure we want to stay. All three positions are in the city and where we live isn't the easiest commute. But we're not really ready to rush into buying, but aren't sure we want to commit to staying put. So we're twisting in the wind between buying and moving to another rental.

I'm really torn. I hate the idea of moving the kids after 1 year then potentially moving again if we rent. However we might be able to land a rental in the neighborhood we'd like to buy so perhaps it's a good idea.

Cross your fingers. My DH's week of hell is starting tomorrow. His onsites start Wednesday, Friday, and Monday. I pray that he gets one offer and more than one would be perfect.

DH said the hypothesis we made 1 year ago is about to be proven one way or another. I don't know if we can ever make up the money we burned through not having an income for a year. But instead I feel as though we took a year of early retirement for an opportunity we couldn't pass up and a chance to be happier until we "retire".

Financial Infidelity

June 14th, 2016 at 08:20 pm

Went out with another 4 moms on Saturday. LOVELY night first time in new place and wow it was fun. Settling in. But my reason for writing?

I was the only one out of 5 moms who is transparent with my DH. All the other four talked about stashing money and paying for things without telling their spouse. Two work and two stay at home and the two who stay at home said they wanted to work to stash their money and not tell their husbands what they spend on. The two that do work, keep their money as theirs and spend it as they wish.

Okay I don't get this at all. This mentality is something my mom tells me all the time. "LAL you need to work so you can have your own money and spend it as you wish!" That way your DH won't tell you how to spend his money.

I say and I repeated this Saturday, why would I do that? I mean truthfully we don't have enough money (in my opinion) for me to go out and spend whatever I make on whatever I want. I don't have the luxury for us to live on DH's salary and waste mine "income" on whatever I want.

The truth is that even if I got back to work and I make say $2k/month I can't spend that on clothes, makeup, hair, etc. Honestly my DH and I would sit and look at our entire budget and work out where we should put that money. In all honesty if I go back to work the money I make is earmarked already for college savings for both DK. I can't go out and get highlights, waxes, facials, etc. We don't make enough even if I work.

My DH would be pissed and honestly rightfully so if his "income" is for us to live and save on and I blow my "income" on luxuries. My mom says that's what women who work deserve. My answer is that's fine if it's like her a 2nd marriage and you keep things separate.

But a 1st marriage? I mean I was shocked all the other moms thought it perfectly reasonable to do this. I found it shocking the SAHM are sneaking extra money on the side to do what they wish.

Truthfully I can get why people in the US get divorced. I think it's the financial infidelity. People in the US don't save enough and because we as a country like to spend money when you have two people married and NOT communicating or on the same page for spending I can see how problems arise quickly.

My DH and I aren't perfect. We do have our struggles with out budget and sometimes DH does give me "crap" about stuff I buy. I am the "spender" in our relationship. But i'm transparent about it.

I also think that he knows how practical and logical I am in general about money (i'd say I'm in the top 5% of people with financial savvy of the general population. If you are reading this you are too likely).

But I can't help but wonder how many other couples don't talk about money? And are financially unfaithful? How many hide and lie about money? Or have control issues?

I have no problem with separate accounts as long as it's transparent. But I wonder if couple divorce because they can't reconcile their habits? And then more importantly lie about it? The lying would drive me out of the relationship more than the spending or debt. I would be pissed if DH went around hiding money or charging up CC and then lied about it and it came out. I don't know if I could trust him again. Sometimes it's not the act but the lying.

Do you think most financial sound couples are transparent?

won diet bet and purging and happy day

May 27th, 2016 at 04:03 pm

I forgot to mention it's my birthday. Anyway nothing too big just a dinner out and maybe a cake.

I won my kickstarter and transformer bets!!! Woohoo! Now onto month 2 of transformer.

I also purged today 171 items to a clothing bank and threw away a ton of stuff. I'm up to 270 items for the year out of 2016. I am on a roll. I hope to hit 300 by this weekend. I think I will since I'll be sorting things out and will do a big push on Tuesday.

I'm just excited by my accomplishments on my birthday no less. Oh my. New Year and new me.

so i'm guilty too

May 27th, 2016 at 09:32 am

Like my parents LAL and Mr LAL's secret shame is our lack of wills now. We had it done about 8 months before we moved and 5 years after having a kid. But then we moved and now I'm pretty sure we need to redo everything. So again we've not done it.

But this time things have changed a little. Our kids are older and we're more secure with the idea of my mom taking the kids. My dad's older but the kids are easier. We've got $5m+ (life insurance plus savings) to help her if anything should happen to us. That will provide I would guess the ability to buy the right house, private school (need in hawaii), and live in help permanently.

But now more than ever we need to look at someone to provide financial oversight and planning for her and the kids. When I brought this up over my parents lack of financially planning my DH made a face. Before we had his best friend but since we're more unsure about his financial planning skills. A cousin I would have trusted before got married and I'm not sure about his decision making. I wonder if we can hire a bank? Would a CFP work out?

My aunts and uncles are not good financial investment planners. None of them including my mom are overspenders and all are very frugal. But long term? I'm not sure what to do now.

Before we struggled more with finding a guardian for our kids. Now we're struggling with a financial manager. This is compounded by the fact that I hate to do a will and we move again. It's something else we've talked about and thought perhaps we should wait until we settle in a place we know we'll stay.

Sometimes the simplest tasks seem so difficult.

parents part 2

May 24th, 2016 at 03:05 pm

Talking more with my parents, my mom is extremely uncomfortable with sharing any details of their finances. I am trying to steer her to buying proper home and auto insurance and I'd really like to know they have a proper will. I'm not being snarky nor greedy, which since I'm bothering her I'm being accused of. Trust me we don't need the money. Everything is coming out defensive.

But my mom admitted that they have no idea who they bought their auto or home insurance because the broker is a personal friend. And they continued with them and the way it works is if they were in an accident they would call the broker and he would deal with the insurance company. Well that's changed now and the broker is now the "son" and they really don't do that anymore.

Now she has to deal with an insurance company for the home insurance policy and it's not a big company. It's not well known and I'm not even sure what sort of coverage they bought. I'm fretting now because my mom has no idea what they bought for auto except it's some shady small name auto insurance.

It's hellacious. I'm struggling because I am going to guess my parents who are using the same "family" friend accountant and lawyer, honestly I'm not sure how competent either of my parents are at this point financially.

My mom is constantly talking about dropping off books at the accountant and they owed money this year. She can't understand why when they've never owed before. Then they were updating their wills.

The fact is that when it comes to money my parents have always been bad at money. They probably could have been millionaires multiple times over but didn't because of the way they spent and handled money. The truth is they are still invested in C shares of mutual funds if I had to guess.

When I ask questions I always get I don't know or I'm not sure or we don't have it answers. I feel like I'm banging my head on the wall.

I plan on going in August and perhaps just digging into the paperwork once and for all. My mom has boxes of files of CRAP. Nothing is organized. She has no idea what an insurance policy looks like. She has no idea what their taxes look like really. She signs papers and my dad has no idea either.

They still carry a mortgage on their condo because some IDIOT told them the deduction was worth it. It's NOT!!!!! But do they listen to me? Nothing.

I talked to my DH and his answer was that I just need to wait until my dad passes and then deal with all the shitstorm then. At that point I'll be in hell and spend months just going through everything and untangling everything and probably fixing it at that time. He called it a shitstorm and said it's not going to be pretty. He knows my parents and I'd say likes them a lot.

But dealing with my parents and money is one of the ugliest situations. The fact that I'll be having to figure out even when my dad gets sick what to liquidate and where the money is gives me a headache now. I just want to cry because truthfully I feel like they should try to get some of this taken care of now.

But I know part of it is embarrassment. Embarrassment they've let it get to this. That they are of the generation of people who were "people/brand/company" loyal.

And yes I know they are secure. My mom has a pension and SS and IRAs. My dad has SS and tons of IRAs and investments, he's still working at 85 and was forced at 70 to start RMD which they stashed away in more investments. Paid for home and should be paid off condo.

But I'm uncertain about insurance, wills, and cash positions in case of liquidity. I'm also unsure if my mom is the beneficiary properly and if everything is jointly titled. And because it was a second marriage they kept many things separate and not joint.

Please tell me this sort of hiding behavior about money is normal. That everyone goes through this with their parents. That prying information out of their hands will be when they are dead and cold. Do people know their parents circumstances? How do you help your parents manage when they have enough but have no idea what they are doing with it?

How to help your parents?

May 23rd, 2016 at 05:10 pm

I'm at an awkward age of wanting to help my parents but them being cognizant of what's going on and refusing. I hate the fact that in our society we aren't allowed to be transparent about money. I hate the fact that we have to "hide" until death how we spend and what we save.

My parents are absolutely the worse. The pieces they reveal make me upset and it's never revealed until it's too late. I am writing this under tremendous stress and guilt because I just don't know how far to let this go on or what to do or how to push. My DH handles his parents and I handle mine. We decided this long ago and said we would never interfere with the in-laws. So it's entirely on me. Neither parents should need financial help but mine in particular are very, very bad with money in many, many ways. Background they are 64 and 85 and my mom has a pension and my dad still works. Money is not an issue for them, hence why my mom constantly uses the phrase "i don't ask for money so don't ask or tell me what to do."

Until the crap hits the fan. My parents condo they owned flooded and they have the worse condo insurance and my mom and dad have no understanding of how insurance works. They lived in a small town and bought insurance from a broker who sold them a policy. My mom's copy is apparently from 2008 and they have no idea who the insurer is and no electronic copy to send me.

I have tried to set up electronic accounts for some banking and retirement stuff so I can periodically track stuff and help when issues arise. Well now I'm in a pickle. My mom has been working with the adjuster whose screwing her over and she's taking it and crying (yes literally crying over it on the phone) that they didn't buy enough insurance, she has no idea who the insurer is and the other party is refusing to pay.

So they have a $25k policy and the people above their unit washing machine broke and their insurance company is refusing liability. When I questioned my mom and explained it like a car accident she said that's all they get. She's not sure what to do and keeps talking about how they have to pay out of pocket. I questioned how are they getting money from the insurance company when the adjuster says it's a curtesy claim and not going against her policy.

I'm also worried now that my parents have used this friend for years and have no idea what sort of home insurance they have on their primary residence.

In case you were wondering I also have no idea where their wills are or how anything is set up. I honestly am not sure my parents are really savvy to set anything up. They tend to listen to other people and make bad financial decisions. Thankfully they've always outearned stupid and been high wage earners and never overspend.

I ended up asking them to fire their financial planner over 15 years ago when I found out my parents were invested entirely in C shares of mutual funds with Merrill Lynch. They refused because they thought the FP knew better and stayed until she retired. Then it turned into Raymond James and the same thing happened.

Because of this I decided I would have to stop worrying about it until my dad dies and then i'll take complete control of the train wreck. I am pretty sure at that time my mom who admits for the past 25 years since they've been married she's been a stepford wife who has just nodded and literally assumed everything was taken care of. She hadn't a clue that my dad had no idea what sort of condo insurance they bought.

I am frustrated and unable to know what steps to do or I can take. I mentioned today that they refuse to listen to any advice. Or let me sit in and start to have some input. I'm not perfect but honestly I think I'm savvier than the average financial planner. I'm well versed in dealing with condo insurance having owned and been on the board for nearly 15 years and running an association and doing taxes and dealing with others. I've also seen policies and dealt with shopping around. I also manage our investments with DH and we're pretty good, especially for our ages.

But I don't know what to do. I know my DH knows his parents are fine and a little too financially savvy. But mine? I can't deal with them. What am I going to do?

Is there anything that can be done until my dad passes? I know it's a generational thing about not sharing any details but I'm frustrated and I know that they are wasting a ton of money and I am worried about the organization period of their finances. For reference I'm 36 and longevity runs in the family. My grandmother is still alive at 88 and my great grannie lived to 101. My dad's mom lived to 95.

I don't know how to help or more likely take over. I mean my mom literally only pays credit card and utility bills. But she has no idea how the taxes are or anything else. I mean they don't even have a copy of their insurance policy!!

Off to chat with my mom.

moratorium on eating out

May 21st, 2016 at 07:29 pm

So I'm almost done with my second kickstarter and 1st month in a transformer. I'm meeting the transformer goal and it's iffy for the kickstarter although I think I'll make it. Anyway I have to say one of my biggest weaknesses in losing weight has always been eating out.

Even before kids I when we were DINKS I limited my eating out lunches because my shorts wouldn't fit otherwise. So bad for pocketbook, bad for figure.

But I noticed this time it is a lot easier to lose the weight because we've been on a moratorium on eating out. Since we've moved and been "retired early" or on sabbatical we've curbed a lot of our spending. We are living pretty frugally and probably closer to $2k/month, excepting the dog costs (chemo is expensive).

Our biggest budget change we control is definitely eating out. I mean yes we spend about $100/month on gas for cars versus $300/month. And our utility bill was $90 this month versus $500-600/month previously. But that we couldn't really control.

But eating out? Well we used to spend if I had to guess because while mint.com does a good job, it's not perfect and there are cash eating out. We spent around $400/month. Our grocery bills averaged $500-600/month, and now they are a solid $750/month. But we eat out under $50/month and the kids are eating more as they get bigger.

I'm not sure if this moratorium will last after DH gets a job. But it's been eye-opening on how much we ate out. It's also been good for us to get back into the habit of cooking more.

When we ate out before it was always the weekends. Compared to most of our friends we cooked "a lot" because most people we knew ate out during the week and weekends. Even now many people we know eat out during the week and weekends.

Do you know how much you eat out? Do you do it because you enjoy it or for convenience? Most would say convenience and I have to agree. It's a lot of work to cook, do dishes, clean up, etc.

But I admit I did miss experimenting with cooking. Last night I made Rolo Cupcakes. And this week we had tacos, burgers, ma po tofu.

On the agenda for next week? Shrimp tempura, fish and chips, and other stuff from the pantry.

But first I have to win my kickstarter.


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