My $10 Week

In case you’ve missed it, Guy and I have been working tirelessly to save as much money as possible for future baby, as well as our future apartment. This weekend we prepared to spend only $10 cash each this entire week. Here’s how we prepared!

Things We WON’T Spend Money On:

Groceries: This weekend we went shopping for food that would hold us over for at least 10 days. We tend to go grocery shopping a little too frequently, and could be better at planning meals. We purchased (with coupons!) fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, wine, and cheese as well as a few small ingredients to hold us over. We’ve also gotten frozen chicken in the fridge and leftovers from Saturday.

Outings: For entertainment this week, we’ve agreed that we’re going to stay in! We’ve gotten into taking evening walks which are really nice, and going for a walk then coming home for dinner and some TV on the couch is our favorite way to spend a night. We cook together, we use our discount Hulu account to catch up on our favorite shows (check out my post about requesting lower rates on subscriptions services here!) and we just spend time together.

Personal Entertainment: Even when we’re not having a night together, we can be frugal about spending money. We don’t usually rent movies that aren’t through services we already pay for, and as far as other sources of entertainment, we rent! Guy recently borrowed a new video game from a friend instead of buying and yesterday I went on a kindle library kick, browsing tons of great books in my library’s ebook category.

Home: While we wait for our new apartment to be ready, we’ve been trying to keep our current apartment as comfortable as possible. To keep up with tidiness, last week I restocked our place with cleaning supplies – I went to Jet, where I like to bulk order house supplies, and they were running a free samples campaign! I purchased food & toiletries I actually needed, and added home cleaning free samples that we’ll be using this coming weekend when we do some spring cleaning.

What We WILL Be Spending Money On: We each have $10, here’s how we’ll spend it!

  • McDonald’s Coffee x2 = $4.50
  • Laundry x2 = $6
  • Saturday Morning Starbucks = $4 (plus 1 free drink because it’s Guy’s birthday this weekend!)
  • Birthday Card = $1 (from the 99 Cent store!)
  • TOTAL: $15.50

The biggest reason we can make these expenses work is planning. If we hadn’t planned our meal schedule and made plans for our evenings this week, we wouldn’t be able to make this work. It’s been hard trying to avoid going out to eat (we live near some amazing restaurants) but by committing to plans like this, our savings account can grow!

What are your best saving tips? How do you avoid impulse buying?!

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I had my first pregnancy blood test done…

Hello world! You know what’s crazy? When you spend years and months planning something HUGE in your life, only to realize you might have stumbled upon it.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Last week I was feeling sick. Nauseous, tired, grumpy, and also having consistent spotting which I NEVER have between periods. I quickly realized that I had missed 4 days at the beginning of my birth control pack after a trip cross country with Guy last month. Thinking back, my previous period never really got up to the heaviness I’m used to…

Cue a small freak out, me talking to Guy, and a very long email to my lady doctor about my symptoms, asking if there was a chance I was pregnant or maybe even ovulating – which is something I haven’t done in forever (I have never had a screw up with my BC pills this bad before.) I wasn’t nervous, but just to confirm before my bottomless-mimosa-brunch that weekend, Guy and I pulled out an emergency pregnancy test – it was negative. I felt like that would be the case, but when my doctor emailed me back, she scheduled me a blood test to confirm, just in case.

Needless to say, this freaked me out a bit. There are only two things that make me sick to my stomach – slugs and IV needles. I was not looking forward to having blood drawn. But Guy and I determined we were better safe than sorry, and went to the doctor’s office.

The guy took my blood (without so much having to wait in line) and 3 hours later we had an answer – not pregnant.

Like I said – I knew it. I just needed someone to tell me it wasn’t happening. And honestly? I was relieved. We both were. There’s a reason we’re waiting for another year (almost exactly) and it’s so that we ARE ready. It’s so that no matter what, without a doubt in our minds, we’re ready for that test to be positive. It’s so that we can’t wait to get the results. It’s so that we can cry and hug and be happy when my health insurance app dings that I have a new test result and it’s a confirmed yes. A “here I come!” from our future little one.

We have talked about our future nugget so much this week after going through this test, it’s been amazing. I’m glad we’ve gone through the practice run, we know what it’s like, we know how the results should look (and I know how crappy ovulation feels, oof!) and we know that we’re waiting for all the right reasons.

It was an interesting experience, and I’m glad to have gone through that. Even the small chance of it happening made me confident that in a year, we will totally be able to do this.

Apartment Hunting – Part 4

Remember MONTHS ago when I wrote that we finally got to see our dream apartment in our current complex? And how we just had to wait out the current tenants? Well that post was in January (4 months to the day ago, actually) and they still live there.

So much of me is anxiously awaiting this move, and parts of me are relieved that it hasn’t happened yet, which is getting kind of rough emotionally. The situation, to add more detail, is that the couple living there has decided to buy a house instead of move to a new apartment. So they’re waiting on constructions of their new house to be finished, which is estimated to be June or July… but I have too many parents who work in construction to think that it could REALLY be June or July. So we’re not planning anything specific about the move just yet.

On the plus side, we are paying WAY less rent now than we will be when we move there, and Guy is still working freelance gigs.

On the down side, I have been ready to move out since FOREVER. My roommates are great, but I want Guy and I to have time alone before kiddos come, and at this point, if we move in July (laughs) we’ll be alone until Feb 2018, if our baby plan stays on track. That’s 18 months, including the 9 months of pregnancy. I love cheap rent, but I prefer spending time alone with my Guy.

I hope to have another apartment update for you soon, but who knows! Keep your fingers crossed for me, I am absolutely so ready for a new place, a new bed, a new life living alone with my favorite person (before our next favorite person comes along.)

 

23andme: Part 2

Back in February, I purchased 23andme kits for Guy and myself for Valentine’s Day. We got our kits back recently, and here are my thoughts!

I’ll start by saying that the process to order the kits and mail them in was pretty straight forward. Well explained and we got a notification when they arrived at the facility which was nice. We opted for the kits that included “carrier status” on a number of genetic diseases, too.

The kits were from 23andme.com and cost $170 each (with a Valentines Day coupon)

Our favorite things:

  • The website is really intuitive! Reading through the reports they’re nice and organized and clearly labeled.
  • Ancestory was the coolest one obviously, with maps about where our ancestors came from and some super early relatives and people from the same “haplogroups” (I share lineage with Cheddar Man! The middle school social studies student in me loves that)
  • Details on how things are genetic were cool, stuff like whether you have curly/straight/wavy hair is based on the shape of your hair follicles and things like that
  • It does make me want to have my parents/siblings do it so I can see how our genetics match up and what things came from each of my parents!

Things We Didn’t Love

  • I knew this going in, but the way they get their info is based on comparing you to other users that submitted too and their info about themselves.
  • There were a few things that were hard to interpret like “more likely to not usually feel like doing” something. They’re all written as what “level of percentage likely you are to have/be blank.” A bunch of them were close to 50% which felt like oh, okay, so who knows?

Overall in the traits section, it was about 30/20/50 with 30% definitely right (freckles, sleep movement, eye & hair color), 20% definitely not right (FH has red hair and his report said he had a 1% chance of red hair which was weird!) and the other 50% were kind of in the middle, either I wasn’t sure if I was a yes or no on somethings (IS my ring finger longer than my pointer finger? Who knows!).

It was a VERY cool thing to do, but I wish there was a little more. Or maybe a way to link 2 accounts and see what our kids might be like! We wanted to do them to think about our future, and the genetics we’ve got going on already. I would love if they added an engine that would let you make a “virtual kid” with odds based on our reports (:

PS We tested negative for all the genetic disease things (although I totally know that to get FULL results/info on that we would need to see a doctor, luckily we’re both generally healthy and are aware of our family histories)

Overall it was an interesting experience, although pretty pricey!

One Year Left

The wait is slowly ticking down. As of this month, we are just 1 single year away from trying to have a baby. 1 year away from getting married, 1 year away from starting our very own family.

The last 8 months (or longer, since technically I’ve wanted this long before we set a specific date) have been amazing and hard. It’s been busy building my and Guy’s relationship, working for raises at work, planning our new apartment venture, taking care of our stinky cat, and a hundred other things.

I have so much more I want to do in the next year. In the last 4 weeks I’ve made a lot of progress in multiple goals! Here’s just a few…

  • Put a chunk of my tax return towards paying my student loans (and it was a hefty return)
  • Lose 5 pounds (but there’s a lot more to go)
  • Gotten back into running (and bought new shoes!)
  • Had my raise approved at work (finally!)
  • Bought my first item for little one (see my last post)
  • Met the rest of Guy’s family (there was just 5 left and FINALLY I got to meet them)
  • Possibly picked a wedding venue (we’re so close to committing to the space and I can’t wait!)
  • Started taking one-a-day vitamins and fish oils (when I remember)
  • Saved $3,600+ in our baby fund (technically this is since January…)

Some of my goals still feel a million miles away (weight loss in particular) but it’s all starting to happen for us.

Staying on track is tough, but it will be so worth it. Just one year left!

Star Wars Day & Giving in a Little

Happy May the Fourth! I love that I work in a nerdy office where today is practically a holiday. Everyone dressed in their favorite Star Wars gear and we shared special today-only online deals during lunch.

I’ve been pretty good so far about not buying things for little one until we have either little one OR a little-one-specific closet. Which is hopefully soon! (Stay tuned for another apartment update…)

But today, after searching for birthday presents for Guy and perusing Star Wars sales, I found something I just couldn’t pass up. A sound book for kids called “You’ve Never Heard of the Millennium Falcon?”

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I mean LOOK AT IT. It’s perfect. I’ve never seen another one like it and it’s so different from some of the other kid-friendly movie stuff I’ve seen out there. (I wish there was a Leia button, but whatever.) I had to have it. I put it in the cart (along with a gift for Guy) and purchased! It’ll be here in 2 weeks.

And with that, I’ve officially started the onslaught of impulse buys for baby. We’re only a year out now, and it feels pretty real. I’m sure getting this in the mail will make it feel even MORE real!

Saving & Taxes! Financial Planning Update 2

It’s been 2 months since I gave a savings update, so here it is!

The current standing of our baby-specific savings account is $2,929.03. Guy is still freelancing, so he hasn’t added to that yet, but he just got a BIG freelancing job and with my recent raise AND my tax return, we’re in a good place!

In my last post I discussed loans versus savings, and how the interest rates are totally killer. I have decided that a chunk of my tax return (which was sizable) will be going to my student loans to lower those high interest burdens.

Because it’s tax season (gross) I have been talking with my coworkers about their tax situations and stuff, because this year I had basically no write offs (except student loan interest and some charity donations). One co-worker of mine had a kid last year and he was talking about getting a HUGE return for having a baby! I guess when I thought about financial family planning, I forgot that babies & dependents help lower that threshold.

I am someone who doesn’t mind paying taxes, because I want my city and community to be a good place, but I also really like the idea of having tax deductions!

What’s your tax situation like? Did you feel relief having a kid and getting a tax break? Let me know your perspective (: