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Archive for August, 2014

Working for stuff

August 27th, 2014 at 06:57 pm

I have a friend I've known since pre-kids, and she's recently had her third child. She's been on maternity but is due to go back soon. She made a comment to me recently about how this is the first time she's had regrets about going back to work. I said it's good for her. She loves what she does.

But she admitted she start looking at downsizing her house. That she wondered if they could do it on her husband's very generous salary $200k, but she shook her head and said no. She said "i'm too in love with my stuff." She's got $100k in cars sitting in her driveway probably paid cash for. And another $100k in student loans. She is pretty sure she wouldn't be happy staying at home. But she did question whether she would be happier if she moved to a cheaper house? Or drove a cheaper car?

Working/staying at home, kids/no kids, early retirement/or not; it doesn't matter. I guess what is the saddest part is that fact that no matter what you earn, knowing you are dependent on that paycheck can be depressing. Realizing that to fund your lifestyle (whatever you choose it to be) is at risk because you need to work. Not that you are choosing to work.

Now we're not at that position to be financially independent. We do need an income, but at the same time I know we are moving towards not needing it and not worrying. I wonder if it's not more stressful knowing you make a lot, but have to make that much because you are used to living very well? In the sense that if you don't make much perhaps you are just used to living on less? And it's never on your radar that you'll be able to drive a mercedes SUV. But for some who could afford it and do, perhaps that's your one indulgence.

$50 lunch bag

August 26th, 2014 at 05:19 am

Yeah okay I can't believe I get to hear these conversations. So I'm sitting at playground and we're eating lunch and one friend says to another "I love that lunch bag, I've been looking for those." I say "it's cute".

They start discussing it, it's the stainless steel lunch bag on sale from pottery barn for $47. My friend says they are on sale I should buy one. I choke on my food and say um it's a little pricey.

Now I bought my sandwich kits from Costco 3 for $14. And I got thermos on sale for $8.99. I send my kids with a lot of hot foods but still it was a nice kit.

I don't get it. I know I live in a very upper middle class area. I know these people make good money. But still I find a lot of these things they are willing to spend their money on unfathomable. A lunch bag for $50? I just bought a new backpack and lunch bag with free extra lunch bag for $12 from toys r us. It's frozen and my kiddo loves it.

I'm not sure how much my DH and I would have to earn to for me to comfortable spending that sort of money without blinking. Calling $47 lunchbox on sale a good deal.

I probably need to be independently wealthy like some of the people I know. Those who already have $3-5M to be really comfortable spending like that. But otherwise I don't think so. I'll write more about this later. Because I have more interesting stories about money at the "1% working people, not the 1% independently wealthy."

ugh teens!

August 26th, 2014 at 04:49 am

So I mentioned in a comment I think my friendship with the borrower of the DVDs is rocky (SD) it really is.

So Sunday night the teen I'm helping (E) is babysitting for SD. It's the night before the first day of school. E's mom SW hired her babysitter to drive to the house and drop E at school at 7:15 am this week. I'm doing pick ups and stuff.

On Sunday I took her grocery shopping because she asked and I was going anyway. I find out that SD is taking her to her mom's house 30 minutes away (45 from my house) to babysit until at least 11 pm. I say NO WAY. I say I am calling your mom. The instructions I had been left from SW was SD was going to drop her son off at SW's house for E to watch from 6-10 pm.

SD decides since SW is away she'll do what she wants and pick up E. SW had no idea it would be so late or leaving. But SD sends E a text saying "your mom said it was okay." I call SW and she tells me "I never said yes, I was going to chat with E and you and see". Well SD oversteps and does it deliberately because she's trying to take advantage of the situation (my perspective, but more on that later).

SW says 11 pm is way to late, she said 10 pm. She didn't say yes to going to babysit on a school night they were going to talk.

I get into it with SD over the phone whom I call because she's texting E to be home earlier by 4:45 pm so she can babysit longer. I call SD and say no to babysitting at her mom's house, no to babysitting that late, and I cannot guarantee I'll have her home by 4:45 when I just picked her up at 3:15 pm for grocery shopping since I was told 5:15 pm.

Now SD says "it's none of your business, I arranged it," and we argue about her clearing it with SW and that SD told E she cleared it with her mom until I called and checked. SW says she didn't and SD says she did.

I've had enough and I tell SW, "this is it. You leave me in charge but aren't willing to relinquish control? Then I can't help you. You need to let go." SW is very controlling and right now she's dealing with a lot with her mom's death and not herself.

At least with the teen in school I don't have to deal with these babysitting issues. I already had to step in and tell her to call me when trapped at another friend's house babysitting. Supposed to be home at 5 pm, mom never showed up. E got a call from stepdad where are you? She got dropped at 6:30 pm, fortunately her friend sleeping over was running late.

I feel as though people are taking advantage of E because her mom isn't around. I'm starting to realize that there are people out there who act nice but are very selfish, self-absorbed, narcisstic people who only care about themselves and their comfort. Why else would SD want to take E to babysit?

FWIW, SD dropped her son at 5:45 pm 1 hour after she wanted to, and picked him up at 10:45 pm, 45 minutes after the "curfew". Hmmm and she wondered why I didn't want E going to babysit? What time would she have been home?

Struggling with my budget

August 23rd, 2014 at 08:20 pm

Overall I know what I spend monthly and we stay within our "monthly limits." I get $5k/month to spend on everything like mortgage, groceries, gas, eating out, utilities, preschool, activities. That's not the problem.

I've been using Mint since about March and trying hard to reconcile all spending. I've actually been pretty good. So where I fail? Well trying to figure out my actual budget categories.

I find easy to keep a running tally of my monthly spending by looking at my CC charges throughout the month. A lot of our spending is predictable and the same. What isn't is gas for cars, travel, and groceries/eating out. The travel I can sort of guess since we do 2 big trips a year. That I can't change more than looking for the best deals.

But groceries and eating out? I was pretty sure I knew what I spent monthly but I think I'm wrong. I'm obviously under budget monthly big picture. But I can't break down my category to $400 groceries and $400 eating out because I buy clothes and home supplies(paper plates, dish soap, etc), shoes, books, etc. Stuff that isn't groceries basically gets stuck in grocery budget so I haven't been able to get under my $400 I think I spend. Instead I've been blowing the budget category.

But at the same time what I thought I spent eating out was less, but when I started tracking every penny I thought it was because I spent so much more on groceries that we ate out less. Now I'm not so sure.

Overall we're not in terrible shape anyway you cut it. And until recently I've never been a true "budget" follower. I am naturally frugal and so is my DH. We've always had the meet A, B, C saving goals and we can spend D-Z. And since we've met we've done more big picture annual budgets where we say we have to save X amount and we have Y to live on (hence the $5k).

But now I want to see our spending to project our true future budget. I want to know where it goes really. I mean I have a firm handle on a couple of categories like insurance, mortgage, cable, cell, etc. But what are we spending on prescriptions? What are we spending on dr co-pays? I need to figure this out for our flex spend this coming year. We've always maxed it out since having kids because we just have had stuff come up (this year my eye surgery and dental). But we should be done with "major" work, what's our baseline? I have no idea.

How do people track every penny? When you have clothes, food, home supplies on the same receipt? What about being reimbursed by friends?

School Lunches Are not Cheap!

August 23rd, 2014 at 06:28 am

It is omg $3.50 a day for a school lunch. Geez. That is $17.50/week! Eek. Talking with friends whose kids are starting kindergarden both thought it was cheap. But were tempted by the price because it's less than what they spend daily to pack lunch.

I freaked out that they think they spend $5/day to pack lunch for their kid. But then I pointed out what they are packing is that expensive because NO WAY IN HELL is a public school going to give kids what they are giving their kids. I'm going to guess to make the school lunch it would cost $1. They were horrified, but I'm pretty sure I could do it.

First off milk is not organic horizon boxes, probably regular milk. Second they aren't doing Annie's organic cheddar bunnies, probably no snack to save money. Third the fruit given is probably not organic be it apple, grapes, etc. Fourth, the meat in sandwiches or entrees is definitely NOT applewood farms organic deli meat or any sort of organic chicken/beef/pork. Fifth the bread is definitely not whole grain, no HFCS wheat versus plain white bread. Finally for sure they aren't giving their kid yogurt smoothies at $1.25 each everyday!

So of course lunches for kids are $5 a day when you spend $1.25 yogurt, $1 milk box, $1 cheddar bunnies. But seriously I pointed out you can't compare what you pack with what you are buying. To be paying $3.50 for what they give you is a lot! I think it can be done for $1, but no it is cheaper than what you pack.

But if you pack $5 100% organic lunches now, how can you reconcile paying $3.50 for non-organic lunches? I don't get people.

I pack lunch to save money and because what I pack I am certain is healthier and more fresh than what my kids would be served. I know I do it for less than $3.5 and with some organics like milk and fruit. People nowadays have no idea how to cook, no idea how to grocery shop, and probably never read labels.

Is school lunches cheap where you are? Do you buy or pack? FWIW my DH 95% of the time packs a lunch as do it. It's being frugal and being lazy to go out.

Update but not financial...what to do?

August 21st, 2014 at 04:38 am

So I have a friend (S) who went out of town with her younger child and left behind her 15 year old daughter (E) at home because school starts on Monday with her husband. He's her stepfather, but works a lot so her MIL is coming on Sunday to do pick ups and drop offs.

I was asked by E to drop her and her friend M off at the movies for a double date with boys tonight on Sunday. Her mom left Wednesday morning (yesterday). Her mom said yes and M had been staying over from Wednesday to Friday. I said fine.

But here's what's bothering me. E is going on this double date with boys she doesn't know. M went to camp for two weeks and met I guess one of these guys and he's bringing a friend and so M is bringing E.

But I had to pressure her into giving me the boys names. She didn't know. She doesn't know their phone numbers or parents contact info. And when I asked my friend S, she was flippant and didn't care. She literally told me "when I'm gone, you're the parent." Well if I were the parent E wouldn't be going period! But S said yes, so what can I say?

Also last night I asked S did you call M's mother and ask her if it's okay? Did you call M mother and confirm she knew you were out of town and only your husband was home? She said no she hadn't had the time. Also S said she hadn't the time before she left to find out more from E about this "date". While she wasn't thrilled what to do.

Okay I get that she's in a public place movie theater/open air mall with upscale restaurants. I'm dropping at 3 pm but they still aren't sure about the movie. I'm supposed to pick up at 8 pm. I'm still pressuring her about the time and name of the movie and where they are eating.

I don't know what to do because my own instinct is "HELL the F NO!" I never met these kids, I don't know who they are, and what is going on. This is not like she's going out with boys/girls I've know since kindergarden and I know their parents.

Yes I am going to eat dinner at the place and stalk them. I don't think I can do otherwise. My DH said if it were out kids I'd be a flat out no. We'd have to meet the kids first.

As to why S left? She had to go deal with stuff regarding her mother's death so she didn't leave willy-nilly on vacation. And I get that she's not been herself, and probably why she seems distracted, scattered, flustered. But this is not something I thought I'd be jumping into. And honestly parenting someone else's kid isn't easy. If anything it's harder because you treat them with kid gloves.

So anyone who reads this with a teen, help me please.

loaning things?

August 16th, 2014 at 08:26 pm

So I loaned a friend a few dvds. My DH mentioned today that some of the DVDs were in poor condition and scratched up. He's the control freak and didn't say anything when I loaned them. And when I loaned them to her she said the kids wouldn't touch it and they'd be returned in great condition.

So now my DH wants me to talk to her. So obviously I will tell her. But what should I say? I guess that's the end of lending her anything.