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Archive for October, 2014

Kid's Birthday Parties

October 30th, 2014 at 06:39 am

Uggh, I am trying to plan my winter baby's 5th birthday party. I never thought it would be so expensive and so much trouble. I wish I had a large home to invite people over and just have a lunch or afternoon snack. Last year I would guess I spent around $450 on the party when all was said and done.

So we have 30 kids total including 2 of my own. Yes we have 28 friends we see on a very regular basis (ie weekly). The bulk of which we've known for years. My options thus far. The two jumping places I'd do an afternoon 2-4 pm party and just snacks, cake, and juice again.

1. Jump 1 (same as last year) = $349 for 25 kids + $10/kid = $400
2. Jump 2 = $325 for 24 Kids + $12/kid = $400,
3. Bowling 1 = $8.50 per child = $225 but we need to do pizza and drinks (required by bowling alley), and based on times I'd be feeding adults and kids. So I would guess @ $10 cheese pizza and $7.50 Pitchers I'd be looking at 10 pizzas and 10 pitchers?
4. Bowling 2= $250 for bowling and cake but I think I'm capped @ 20 kids which is the real problem. I can't find kids to cut.
5. $245 Ice Skating + $25 Room Renta + $75 Skate rentals = $345 plus food, and since they are turning 5 I wonder how many would be into it? My DK has been taking skating lessons and skates solo but most haven't taken lessons and I would guess most parents can't ice skate.
6. Children's Museum - $475 for package but unsure if it's firmly capped at 25 kids.

Okay help me out with ideas. There is no way I am fitting 30 kids into my townhouse. There is no way it can be held outdoors in January. For my younger child I do a park and lunch but that's just not an option here.

What should I do?

Financial mish mash

October 24th, 2014 at 07:38 pm

I am a pretty boring investor. We just buy and hold. We don't actively invest, and I rarely look at the accounts and total them up because it'd probably give me white hairs if I did. Anyway though I guess I'll give some interesting updates.

In January we had $439k in retirement savings, as of today we have $500,444. However when I checked in mid-September (19th) we had $515,884. So it's going up but also come down.

Taxable accounts we started with $195k and are at $228k. Good savings, but more importantly it's not up as high because we've paid off a lot of debt. Starting debt was $27,800 in January 2014. Of which $11,800 was car loans 0.9%, $8k was 0% Credit Cards, and $8k in student loans at 1.9%. So as of today we owe $4900 on one car and $2330 on one 0% CC. We've paid off $20,500 of debt. It was just getting to us so we decided to start minimizing payments even though it didn't make financial sense. Accordingly our NW went up from $839k to $959k. I am hoping the year ends with our retirement solidly above $500k, taxable above $230k, and debt below $5k.

This month I also decided to start a spread sheet on tracking in depth my groceries and eating out. What I found is that I spent a lot more on eating out this month which caused my cooking budget to be super low. Our groceries currently with a week to go is at $282.05. Our eating out $282.28, which I usually don't break $300 (usually closer to $200) and our groceries have been running around $600 a month. And we are eating out at least 1 more meal for sure if not 2 this next week. Yikes!

I guess it's just that we ate out with friends more than usual. We ate out 7 times with friends so far this month and are planning on meeting up on Tuesday again. Socializing is tough on the pocket book.

I can't complain about this year. I think I may keep a running tally of my groceries and eating out which is easier in excel than mint. I also now stand in self-checkout lines at costco and bjs and track what is home stuff and what is groceries.

Miserly People

October 6th, 2014 at 09:42 am

So how do you know someone is cheap versus frugal? Well I'm going to tell you a story. You're probably going LAL why are you friends with this person? And my answer will be I'm trying to shed her but it's slow going.

So Drusilla (nickname) is dropping her two children off at another friend's house (the Commandant). Drusilla sees Tabasco (commandant's kid) and Skipper (mine) and "says why are they here? I thought the commandant was taking them away," so her two kids (Gus and Jack) could be watched by Commandant's teenage kid Big E. She brought one $5 Cheese pizza and said to Big E "don't feed Tabasco and Skipper, I want the leftovers."

Um okay can you say rude? Hello? No pizza for the babysitter? And you can't spare a piece for my kid and Commandant's kid? We've feed your kids before. It's one of those moments where I realized the cheap Drusilla reigned again.

Also when I said I was buying Drusilla's kid an outfit for the second birthday I was told not to she wanted cash. So I put the screws to her and said it was to match my DK #2. And I wanted to see since she was consigning all the other clothes the Commandant gave her from Tabasco! OMG. How could she sell the clothes that were given to her? I know this because she has NO matching outfits for her kiddo which I know she should have since I have it for Skipper and saved it.

May the shedding begin.

Edited: I said I would like to buy a gift and the mother said "give me money." Not great thank you so much, and turned around and returned it. NO, it was a blatant ask. Second, I found out after our mutual friend was asked last year when she gave a gift to return it and instead give Drusilla money. She returned the gift and didn't give anything. The commandant was a bit miffed at being told please take your gift with the gift receipt back and give cash instead.

Second, Drusilla asked Big E (babysitter and Commandant's older child) to not eat the pizza and pack up leftover. Perhaps I'm wrong but since when do people NOT feed the babysitter? Fine don't feel other people's kids. But the babysitter?

Third, there is no way it's okay to consign people's clothes they give you? But perhaps it is.

$50 Jacket

October 2nd, 2014 at 11:03 am

Okay remember the $50 lunch bag? Well I now have a conversation about the $50 North Face Fleece. A friend (Mrs A) says to me I got a great deal on the fleece my daughter is wearing from Macy's. I got it for $50! My eyes bugged out and I said "$50?" I said "I didn't spend $50 on my columbia fleece I've had for over 5 years and your kid will outgrow it in 1 season." Mrs A "but for things they are going to use I believe in buying quality."

Now before you think I'm being a bit harsh Mrs A is BROKE. Big fat BROKE. I am not kidding. I mean IRS is garnishing her bank accounts. She talks about using a weekly paycheck to pay for this credit card and that car payment so it doesn't bounce. Thankfully she rents her apartment from her mom so she can't always afford $1500/month rent and complains about it for a 4 bedroom apartment. Going rate is between $4-5k where we live!

And in case you wondered I loaned her money $20 because she had no money in her checking account to get her kids into the indoor playspace (3 kids). I felt bad they drove there and she realized she had no money.

But she shops for high end clothes, she only buys food at Whole Foods, and she drives a $75k diesel SUV Mercedes (it's the large one). I have pointed out in the past that she needs to talk to the lawyer about the garnishments, her answer is well "D my husband said he'd take care of it."

She's super lucky her parents are loaded and can bail her out (ie living for basically free and expecting an inheritance, yes she's said as much). But still she's spiraling financially out of control and another friend said you can go to jail if they are garnishing your wages. I have no idea if that's true but said friend watches Real Housewives of NJ and said that Theresa Guidace is going to jail for tax stuff. I mean who screws with the IRS?

I don't know but it's like waiting for an accident to happen. And I may never see my money again (consider it a donation) but I figure it's the nature of the beast. She's a nice person and I do feel sad when I see her.

In a weird note I realized my food budget is way off. I used to say $400/month which according to my old tracking in excel it was around $400/month. Now it's between $500-600/month which I suspected because I spend around $125-$150/week. I can't believe how expensive food is getting or my kids are eating more. Granted two kids drinking organic milk a gallon a week each is running me around $50-60/month alone! But Geez.