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I won my small claims

January 10th, 2020 at 09:34 pm

I forgot to post this about a month ago. We ended up at small claims court with the private school my DK2 went to. She had been bullied at school and we had been constantly talked with the principal/owner and teachers. They had refused to return our money and finally in June with 2 months, the other child bite my DK2 and scratched her on the face. I pulled her out and kept her home with me asap. I couldn't let her go back. We had prepaid the tuition for a year so we "lost" out on $2500 for 2 months July and August. I had asked the boy and her be separated classrooms and they refused. I had multiple emails since december asking for solutions.

Turns out I did everything right and they breached the contract by not coming up with a reasonable solution. So they are being forced to refund us our money. We had offered many options but school refused to do any of the suggestions. I think a lot had to do with the boy being the son of one of school's teachers. Whatever.

I have to admit it was a good day. I sat there and didn't explode when the principal/owner called my child a bully, on the spectrum, problem child, unaware of social etiquette. It was horrible. I did not use the word bully at all in the court and I said there were these situation x, y, z. And I had photos and proof by both email and letter from other child apologizing for incidents. I honestly didn't hold the child/parents responsible I never talked with them. I held the school for not doing anything.

It's been almost a month and they haven't paid me. I'm not surprised. The principal/owner was so pissed she was spitting nails. I can also now after getting my money post about her losing in court on social media my review of the school. I'm just waiting.

It just came up because her month grace period to pay me is almost up. I have to admit I savor the win because it means I didn't overreact, nor did I do something completely irrational. Nor did I do anything that was helicopter parenting.

What to do with money? I think DK 1 and 2 deserve extra money saved for them.

Right now

DK1 $36k College
$20k taxable
$1k cash in bank savings accounts

Dk2 $27k college
$19k taxable
$1k cash in bank savings accounts

Gosh if I had that much saved for me when I was growing up I can't imagine how much further ahead I'd be right now. LOL.

Anyway though it isn't the $2600 but rather how much the school/owner pissed me off. She told me kids will be kids. That there is nothing that could be done. That it's expecting too much. That I'm being completely unreasonable. That I signed a contract and she never gave back money to anyone. I'd have to just suck it up. And then to later sit there and call my child names in court and talk about her being the problem. To claim she's special needs and that she had been a problem from day 1. Not true and we had progress reports scanned in showing she was a model child and good socially. To suddenly misbehaving and instigating all the incidents.

Really? My kid asked to for her jacket hood to be pulled so she fell at recess backwards? She asked to be teased? She asked to be scratched on the face? She asked for glitter to be poured on her lunch? She asked for her hand to be bitten? She asked to be pushed down on the playground? I get the little boy was 4 turning 5 and younger than her by a few months. But then he shouldn't have been in kindergarten he should still have been in Pre-K where he belonged based on the state age requirements for school.

I'm hoping this principal just pays me in the next week and I don't have to figure out how to collect my money. I'd rather not waste my time. But out of principal I will...

credit card rewards 2019

January 9th, 2020 at 07:04 pm

So I was trying to calculate all our CC rewards.

Discover $61.34 cash
Costco LAL $326.46
Costco DH $74.49
Chase Sapphire $300 Travel Cash Back
Chase Rewards $2115
Alaska $2550 (35000 * 5 + 30000 miles redeemed at a valuation of 1 cent per mile which is low. These were all redeemed at a higher cost. Plus the $500 on companion fare for card for hawaii ticket).

$5427 in rewards. It's actually higher because discover I use to get gift cards for restaurants and I regift them to people like teachers for starbucks. Hey $45 for $50 is a 5% extra cash back. I also get 2% on costco for executive membership that pays for $120 membership and then a bit more.

I normally do not redeem so much in flight miles and currently have used pretty much all our miles. We also have a bunch of bonvoy points from opening card which I need to use.

I think a more typical year is $3k in rewards. Not bad just for using a CC. Free money.

2019 spending

January 7th, 2020 at 07:25 pm

Okay so it's been bad year for spending.

I was perusing our spending. Big budget categories

$25k traveling - big was the WDW trip that was about $10k. Seriously awesome though and I got a christmas card photo out of it. This year I'm not sure we are going to spend less I'm feeling around $20k I usually predict.

$15k dog. Seriously unexpected. He had surgery for $6k, then all his visits to vet with every other week blood measurements. Then his $500/month medications. He turned 2 in May and yes he's a rescue. I'd have probably been better off with a purebred bought from a breeder. But he's our third rescue and honestly he's a GREAT dog. Last night our husband teased the kids and said our best kid is the DOG. Hahaha. But I must admit that when my kids are pissing me off the dog is sometimes the only person listening to me. He goes on walks while I just think and talk. He lies on the couch and bed with me and kids. He guards the house when my DH travels. I'll admit to being very attached again. Sigh. I did tell my DH because of his disease I bet he won't live as long as we thought. And we'll likely get one more dog.

Home - $27k mortgage interest, $11k property Taxes, $10.5k new driveway, Yard $2k, closets $500. Homes are a money pit. Next year I am thinking we are maybe doing a new shed and I'm going to work on the addition I wanted.

Groceries and Eating out $24k about $1k/month for both. I am trying to rein in eating out but the groceries well what can I say? Our eating out is about about $50-100/meal 2x/week. The real budget buster for eating out is when family/friends visit and we pick up that check. Thanksgiving and Christmas looking at it we spent over $1k during those weeks both times. Then we're spending $100-200/meal plus a week in the summer with my inlaws and two weeks in Hawaii. It runs up our eating out amounts fast.

It was a crazy year.

10 years of finances - thank you

January 3rd, 2020 at 11:26 pm

So I feel like I have grown a lot with many of the people on the board. My life has gotten significantly different and changed and I'm thrilled to have read about your lives as well. It's amazing to see people's lives and know that though we haven't meet I feel like I've been given a front row seats to important events in your lives. Anyone who reads this certainly has been given a front row seat to my life. Anyway thanks CCF. I have read about your girls since 2006ish and I cannot believe you have one ready to graduate college. It brings a tear to my eyes. Disneysteve I recall reading about the planning in his daughters baht mitzvah and now she's a young adult working. It's been quite a ride. Monkeymama had two small monkeys who are rather large now! I've read many of you getting married, moving, divorced, and joys and sadness. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Things have changed a lot for me. 10 years ago I was 8 months pregnant and eagerly awaiting the birth of my first child a girl. DK1 was born end of January but was due end of February. I was about to defend my thesis but had been mommy brained and lazy. I finished my thesis and defended in June of 2010 (yeah me!). Notice my biggest thrill this decade was becoming a mom? Anyway having a child changed my DH and I a lot. We lost 1 income and still haven't gone back to 2 full time incomes 10 years later. We added a second child in 2012, moved cross country, changed careers (both of us to entirely different fields), and didn't work or have income for an entire year! 8/2015-8/2016. OMG!!! If we had we'd likely be further ahead but we wouldn't be as happy as we are now. Something I tell people, we took a sabbatical in the the middle of our life rather than retiring a year early.

Finances 2010
LAL Roth IRA - $21,820
DH Roth IRA - $74,170
DH 401 - $100,378
Total - $196,398

Taxable Assets excluding home - $5k

DH has just finished his MBA which we cash flowed and he had NO LOANS. We spent $85k on this MBA. Our Net Worth was $201k. We took out a loan in 6/2010 to buy a subaru outback. And I think at that time we probably had $200k in home equity. We had maxed out the IRA and 401k since 2006 for $98,500 contributions and had $100k in gains.

Finances 2020
LAL IRA - $146,988 ($78k contributed)
DH IRA - $346,776 ($78k contibuted but some rolled over and paid taxes from old 401k)
DH 401k - $542,361 ($258,500 contributions from 2006)
Total - $1,036,129

Taxable accounts - ~$422k. So about $1.4m not counting home equity. So increase of $1.2M in net worth not counting home equity. Not bad for 9 years of savings and spending $100k that year for living. $60k living, $20k DH's course, and $20k for moving and expenses. It was crazy that we managed to break even 2015 and 2016 with investment income and savings from DH starting a new job.

2020 goal hit $600k in taxable accounts. I think in about 5 years we will hit $1m. I'm still on the fence with buying an investment property. Still looking.

Happy to read about everyone else! Have a wonderful 2020. I am soon celebrating DK1 10th birthday and I don't know where the time went. How can I be 40?

I certainly didn't expect my life to take these turns!

christmas gifts wrap up

December 28th, 2019 at 04:33 pm

DK got lots of small toys from my parents. They also got gifts from a few other relatives So they were good. From us? 3 stocking stuff toys each between $8-12. Pikmi pop, curlylocks, and LOL ball. Then they had the build a bear I get them every year $75/each, Lego Advent $30, and a big toy from Santa $20 (shopkins) and $20 gift from us (shopkins and calico critter) and weirdly socks and blanket. That does not include the cirque du soliel show tonight or any other activities we've done. I guess with everything I've spent $300 or so on each kid. Which is a lot considering it didn't seem like a lot of gifts. Of course it wasn't things but show and building a stupid bear was ridiculous. I did get the $75 bear for 40% off buying the gift cards from costco at $60 for $100. I forgot the mani-pedi for each $15.

Anyway I'm hoping to teach the kids appreciation. It's so hard when you have so much. When I have more time I'll write my thoughts on the kids paying their way and rant on retirement.

What did you spend on the holiday? I did spend more than that with my parents, eating out, the show, etc.

no gifts

December 17th, 2019 at 07:09 pm

So I run a Girl Scout troop and we are hosting friends and neighbors this weekend Saturday friends and Sunday Neighbors. I told my troop NO GIFTS. No Secret Santa. I didn't want to.

Then our friends and neighbors asked me the same thing and I shrieked again NO gifts. Not for me or the kids.

I recall in college my roommate and friends I looked them in the eye and said I don't want to do gifts. I have no money and I don't like it. So we ate dinner together and ENJOYED each other's company.

5 years ago we moved and the kids got a tree and we stopped going to hawaii. As of next year I think we are going back to flying to hawaii. UGH. That means gifts for the family. Right now I don't do it. I send gift cards and a card.

5 years ago I got the kids 5 gifts including a lego advent which I did again and Christmas pajamas. This year I did lego advent but no pajamas. I'm debating doing it. I got them 1 santa gift, 2 gifts from DH and stocking stuffers.

This year I picked up a blanket for DK 2 and DK1 got a book. I don't know I'm buying more.

I know I feel like a scrooge but seriously! I think my kids get a lot from my parents. I give them a couple of gifts and my siblings and BIL give them gifts UGGGHH (did I mention I send gift cards to my neices and nephews). Enough. I peaked at one of the gifts was a decorate your water bottle. Another was make your own jewelery. I don't want crap.

A friend said do me do I really have no presents under the tree? I said yes. And if anyone coming over has a gift for us I'm didn't buy them one. I am done. I don't' want to.

I started at 18 years old and I haven't changed. When I first had my kids with other friends I did the same thing. NO GIFTS.

Am I really that weird? Now it's not about the money But I honestly hate even shopping for teachers. I just shove a gift card and I make cookies or a pie.

Have you changed? This is in response to laura and her new traditions. I feel more like a scrooge but I haven't changed in 20+ years. I kind of like no gifts.

FWIW DH is going heli skiing and we are taking a ski trip over new years. We are also seeing cirque du soliel with my parents and we are doing an overnight at a fancy hotel I paid for. Plus we are going out to eat and hosting 3 christmas get together.

I don't feel like I'm cheaping out. I feel like I'm doing stuff that I enjoy rather than buy gifts. I admit that I buy what I want when I want it always. But that's not why I don't shop for Christmas. I just don't need more clothes and I already stress about the toys the kids have.

10 years in

December 13th, 2019 at 08:19 pm

So 10 years ago DH and I bought our first life insurance when we had our first child. I bought a 25 year term for both of us. $500k for me and $2m for DH. Our premiums? $243/year for $500k for me. I was 30 and DH was 32. His was $1098/year. After 10 years of payments I have paid $2430 and $10,980 for peace of mind. It sort of bites to think I have spent that much but what if something happened? Or worse? What if something happens in the next 15 years?

As it stands I don't have more on myself but I have another super cheap $2m on DH through work. It's so cheap that we buy it. Might as well. Extra insurance. I have a large mortgage now and I still am not working full time.

But seeing these numbers makes me wonder if I should consider cancelling it? For sure I'll be happy when it's done. It sort of coincides with my DK2 finishing theoretically college if she finishes in 4 years. We'll be retiring so it should be great timing. But at that time we'll have paid around $25k for DH and $5k for me.

Should we cancel it?

Girl Scout follow up

December 11th, 2019 at 11:44 pm

So I had a meeting with the council. I am still going through the motions of asking the girl to leave the troop. The answer was we have to meet next week with the parents to determine what can be done. They said there are different options.

My response? I said no. I cannot take her back. Why? Because when I had started to talking to the other parents in the troop, they said "I wouldn't bring it up but since you asked..." Their kids were having trouble with the girl. I had 5 parents tell me that. Now what? My kid probably has one of the least problems.

But for the greater good of the troop I told the council I'm still going to ask her to leave. I feel that for the girl as well I think that she needs a fresh start. I think that she needs to go somewhere that people don't have preconceived notions. That she can go in fresh and perhaps change her behavior instead of trying to correct how people perceive the girl's prior behavior.

I'm not sure and I wasn't angry and I wasn't upset. I was actually overly calm. I think the council member thought I was not firm in my stance to remove the girl from the troop. But again I am going through the procedure.

We'll what happens.

so close

December 5th, 2019 at 05:16 pm

$996,205 is our combined retirement balance. So close yet so far. UGH. Ha I guess we'll hit the magic $1 million in January. I'll do a max out Roth IRA and then we'll be over. It's been a good year. Our retirement started out at $789,426 and it's grown $200k. Yes a big chunk was savings but also a big chunk was growth.

The plan seems to be firming up that we are going to stay put until DK2 is launched and finished with college in 2034. That means 14 more years? Considering how fast these years have gone I imagine these next 14 years will pass by in a blink of an eye. After all I think I found this site 14 years ago and a lot has changed.

Does it scare me? Yes absolutely. It seems surreal. They numbers on the page are real but it doesn't seem like it should be. I always wondered how did people amass so much money. It always seemed unreal The answer? One day at a time. Honestly. Keep on trucking and suddenly at 40 life is a lot easier.

At least for us we had a lot of big bills and lower salaries earlier in our 20s and 30s that made it really hard to save and see a difference. We lived frugally like college students because of our extended college educations and minimal salary. But things began to change in 2010 and then by 2015 we had really started to ramp up earning power. And suddenly here we are almost 5 years later even more so.

I will say however right now i'm crunching our numbers and I'm still tempted to buy a bigger home. I don't know though.

girl scout problem

November 22nd, 2019 at 02:26 pm

I've been feeling super guilty but I am right now trying to remove a girl from my GS troop. She's been in the troop for 2 years and this is the start of the 3rd year. The girls are in 4th grade. A lot has happened and I was asked to recreated a timeline for the district manager so that I can properly document and remove the girl. I am desperately trying to get her removed before our next event 12/6/19 but the DM is moving very slow. Here is a timeline summary I sent them.

November 2017 to June 2018
-the Girl E was difficult at most meetings
-mostly the ADHD and very hyper and difficult and often did not listen
-lied when asked questions

June 2018 - party at my house
-girl was disrespectful and refused to clean up or listen when asked to behave
-lied about taking a toy (not proven) because she said she brought toy over, not that it was one of my personal toys from my house. We had no idea what people brought over or not but my children said she took it and I think it unusual that people bring toys over so we'll let it slide.

November 2018
-incident with 2 other girls at meeting
-girls were not listening, running out of the room
-girls got into an altercation in my car which included unbuckling seatbelts and trying to hit each other in car while I was driving
-this lead me to have talk with entire troop and put all 3 girls on probation. Everyone in troop had to sign behavior agreement. All 3 girls were required to have parents at meetings and overnight
-the mother was going through a separation at home and often couldn't stay and said she had to pick up son and counseling.
- I gave her more flexibility than the other 2 moms because of the separation. THIS was a MISTAKE

May 2019 - Camp
-E went but had a hard time following directions.
-she did not want to do kapers (chores)
-she really didn't want to listen and sulked if the other girls did not want to do what she wanted
-she talked about being a bully and was glad of it. She said it's better to be picking on someone instead of being picked on.
-we discussed how this was inappropriate but she didn't seem to care

August 30th, 2019
-renewal for joining troop and mom decided last minute to join on last possible day. I was hoping to avoid them renewing

October 2019
-at an overnight of 4 girls she struggled to get along with the girls
-didn't listen again and got upset
-did better and didn't physically lash out but was angry
-still having some trouble at meetings but was getting better

November 15/16 2019
-lied about incidents at overnight
-Before the overnight her mom very honestly told me that they were only interested in carpooling if she could screen the kids in the car with E. Because E didn't like some of the girls in the troop. Yes I did accommodate this, however I don't think this was appropriate.
-Esaid she wasn't involved in anything.
-E and another girl pushed and trapped 3rd girl in the shower and turned it on. The 3rd girl told and other girl confirmed it.
-4th girl's notebook was stolen. Again I could not prove it but two girls said they saw E with the stolen notebook which was ripped up. So I did not make any accusations because I didn't see or catch her with it.

I feel a lot of guilt because I know she and her mom are having a rough go. But at the same time I feel like she's ruining the dynamic of the troop and causing friction with multiple other girls. I feel like I keep giving her chances to the detriment to the other kids. This makes the troop rules seem lax. I can't help but feel if I remove this girl then a lot of problems might ease.

Maybe I'm overreacting, maybe I'm being too strict, or too tired. When I talked to two other troop leaders they both said if I feel that it's too much to deal with I'm a volunteer. I need to ask her to leave. I'm not paid to deal with her and the situation.

I'm not sure how this will wind up but I'll update it. If anyone wants to share how they've dealt with it.

If this were one of my kid's friends we just wouldn't see them again. Obviously it's not that simple. But I can't help but wonder in some ways isn't it the same thing? If you can't behave then people won't make playdates or want to play with you?