Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Living

Last summer we rented a three bedroom home for a week. Amenities included use of tennis courts, pool, a lake, a full kitchen, a charcoal grill and a washer and dryer. Being in a rancher with two crawling boys was a bonus. We visited a water park and two children's museums with our children ranging in age from 7 to 1.

Keeping our food costs down, we ate our breakfasts and dinners "at home". We brought our lunches if we were out. We traveled 1/2 hour away to purchase our food where we already had a gift card. Our food was paid for at the store we just had to go and pick it out.

I was thinking that to prepare for this summer I could organize all the summer items together in the basement. Items for the beach, pool, hot weather, bbq, outside toys, water cameras, suitcases, beach towels, coolers, flip flops, water shoes, etc could all be grouped together on a few shelving units. This could eliminate some last minute seek and not finds and avoid some overbuying.

Have a happy and safe summer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Parties

Do you need a kids party every year? Probably not, but what do you do instead?
Make the day special by having a play date close to the child's birthday. Go on an adventure. Make the child's favorite meal. Celebrate your child.

Our recent birthday party was themed as a kids sports party. They played duck, duck goose. Threw the ball to velcro paddles, took a lacrosse stick and a ball and tried to get the ball into the frog's mouth on a painted wooden board with a hole for the mouth, followed an obstacle course and they started out with a few exercises. Next they had pizza and drinks, pinata, and celebrated with a song and cake. The place that
hosted the party provided the pinata, pizza, birthday themed paper
products and the cake including candles.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Unexpected Hospital Bill in February

Son 2 goes for a sick visit and comes home three days later. Parent portion of the hospital stay is $850. Now the fun part, having to pay this bill after paying all the holiday bills. Options 1) pay in full 2) finance 3)payment plan with out interest or 4)payment plan with interest.

Hopefully #1 will be the only option we need to consider.
If you are close to living paycheck to paycheck; paying an unexpected bill will require gaining more funds. So first we need to look at those options.

1) Are there any snowball payments that can be suspended temporarily?
Items that don't need to be paid immediately but you are doing snowball payments to pay down a debt or debts.

2)Use less of something or do without. Any unnecessary expenses?
Think about what you are doing in the upcoming weeks. Can things be cancelled or

3)Grocery savings see and America's cheapest family website for ideas.

4)Adjust your thermostat for savings.

5)Pay bills on line to avoid cost of stamps.

6)Eat all your meals at home or bring leftovers from the night before.

7)Keep up with car maintenance. You don't want another unexpected financial problem to creep up.

8)Send in your taxes if you are getting a rebate.

9)If you are getting a rebate, look into adjusting your paycheck so that you rec. more money in your paycheck throughout the year.

10)Evaluate the things that you are paying other people to do for you. Can you do the job yourself? Plumbing, lawn care, babysitting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Here We Go Again

January always seems like crunch time. We refuse to finance on our credit cards and would probably sell some things before dealing with credit card finance charges.
The idea of switching to a cash system still has some draw backs. It is important to track the money. More important is to spend less than we make. No longer immune to the changes in the economy; everything has gone up in price. Has anything gone back down?
The real problem this year seems to be the higher price for oil heat. How can one home need $2000 worth of oil in less than two months? Last winter and summer (Dec 09 thru Aug 10) we spent $3,000. The year previous (Dec 08 thru Aug 09) we spent $2,400.00.
Our electric is on a monthly budget plan. It has rose 35%. From $200 per month to $270 per month.