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Archive for March, 2017

Can't break frugality

March 30th, 2017 at 08:31 am

I thought I'd post a funny conversation between my DH and myself as we drove to see an open house.

DH - I really love this new coffee from starbucks. We should start buying it.

LAL - Um okay it's expensive. (it was a gift from a friend a bag of beans blonde).

DH - How expensive can it be? We can afford it.

LAL - Okay I'll make a note next time we get low and buy a bag.

Driving a bit further...

DH - Okay so much is the bag?

LAL - $15 for the bag.

DH - WTF. No I don't need it. A 1 lb bag cost $15? I thought maybe $7-8. Forget it costco is good.

LAL - It's fine we can afford the indulgence. You're right it's $15 in the grand scheme of things.

DH - NO way. I didn't get my money by spending foolishly. Costco is good.

LAL - well costco beans are made by starbucks.

DH - the reject beans. Maybe in 10 years.

LAL - in 10 years the bag will be $20 and you'll freak out again.

DH - well i'm not made of money you know.

Kids are sitting in the back listening for a teachable moment. DK1 "if we can't afford coffee how are we buying a house?"

LAL "we're choosing to buy a house and we can buy the coffee. But dad doesn't want to spend extra on the coffee right now. He may change his mind in the future."

DK1 "okay like me choosing to save my money to spend on a toy I really want?"

LAL "exactly."

So being raised by frugal parents (both of us) it's hard to break the mindset. I am going to guess we're raising our kids that way too.

Just a very funny conversation. I haven't decided yet to buy my DH the bag of starbucks coffee. Right now we have so many bags of Kona Coffee and couple of starbucks gifts that I'm probably okay for the rest of the year at the rate he drinks.

two sides of the coin

March 16th, 2017 at 09:08 am

I find it odd. I appear to have two different sets of friends. Both are great but ones are savers and others are spenders. The savers are two other families whose kids go to piano with our kids. They both have two DK same age as our two and all 6 kids are in 2 classes of 3. We were with them last year as well and will be with them next year too. The kids love each other.

Parents #1 quit his job last May because he didn't agree with management. They are doing great and paying for private school and have a huge safety net. The Dad is deciding what he wants to do with his life. They keep up with all activities and I know live modestly. You can tell with the cars they drive and they still travel and eat out and live comfortably. The mom has said they probably have another 1-2 years expenses.

Parents #2 the mom just quit her job over the treatment from management. She applied for her own job it turns out they have been trying to hire since January. Well she tells me that they have a year of savings comfortably without worrying. The Dad owns his own business and has been the primary caregiver of the kids while she went out and was the breadwinner. She's going to take some time and reflect on what she really wants to do. Her goal is to find a job after the summer.

I gotta say it's refreshing to hear from friends that they are secure without jobs and not worried about the future.

On the other hand since I'm doing taxes, I got a chance to look a 3 different friends tax returns for free. Just in case they missed something. They all made $160k-$200k and all have some credit card debt, minimal retirement savings, and just spending everything that comes in. Making that much and saving $5k/year for retirement seemed nuts. And not having an Emergency Fund or down payment for a home. I did suggest they try to divert 5% of income into a saving account. But they said it was impossible. Where would they get the money from?

Truth is that finances no matter what you make is a mindset. You can make a lot and spend it all. You can make a lot and save a lot. I think that part of it is being satisfied with what you make and spending it wisely. The first sets of parents I think live simply and are happy. The second sets are constantly buying things, eating out, and spending on everything. Does it make them happier? I'm not sure but I know if they lost their jobs they would not be calm and happy the way the first set of parents are. Able to walk away because the job sucks. I wonder if people realize that sometimes the savings gives you the freedom of not worrying. It's not just about the money.

good news and bad news

March 13th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Good news is DH's eyesight is stable. He still has his driver's license. Two years ago did I mention that our optometrist said he didn't pass his driver's test. He agreed to let my DH continue driving and instead let his specialist determine my DH's condition. In April 2 years ago he got tested and passed. He has blank spots in his vision and while he would fail a normal peripheral vision test he is okay enough to drive.

Does this mean he should drive? Well I drive him quite a bit. He can drive to and from the bus station. He can drive a familiar route at night but honestly he's better off not driving at night, not new areas, and nowhere with pedestrians. He hit 2 pedestrians 2 years ago where we used to live. It was another impetus for us moving. We are better off now. Right now we are looking for houses and I realized I need to tell the agent some extra criteria.

Anyway good news besides the fact that his medications are working and his vision loss has appeared to stabilize is great. The really interesting part is 2 years he gave blood. He signed a consent to participate in a clinical trial. After a grant came through the dr ran his blood and identified the mutation on a gene for rhodopsin. This dr had only guesses and they had tested in vitro (in cells) these mutations. My DH proved them correct in their identification. His test results however were done in trial but now we have to see if the insurance company will allow it to be done and covered. Cross your fingers.

Bad news? Well I found out today my cousin has stage 4 colon cancer. It's actually my mom's first cousin and she lives nearby and we've gotten to know each other well. My mom is traveling abroad so I can't tell her right now. I also don't want to call my grandmother or my aunts because I don't want to upset them. My cousin sent me message saying to go ahead and tell them. She isn't up for spreading the word to the family. I am hoping maybe my grandmother will make it up here in the next 6 months to see us once in our new house and see my cousin. She's the daughter of my grandmother's closest sister who passed years ago. My grandmother's family didn't approve of her marriage and her sister was the only one who came to the wedding and stood outside the chapel while my grandmother got married. My aunt helped her sew the gown and always talked to her and wrote letter and years later my cousin visited and stayed with my grandmother and mom. So now what? I am going to make some food and drop it off tomorrow. And wait for my mom to touch base.