September 2011

An Update On Our Finances

by mike on September 29, 2011

So, it’s been awhile since I have written a blog post.  Things have been crazy busy in our house, just like I am sure yours has been as well.  I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an update on some of the things going on with us financially.  There are times for all of us when it seems things are piling on.  We also, at times, tend to pile things onto ourselves financially as well.  We’ve had both happen over the last couple of months.

Here is a list of some of the expenses we have had come our way:

1.) Thrive 90 Fitness ($47).  This has been a great investment for us.  We have both benefited physically and it has been great for our marriage.

2.) Increase of life insurance (from $27  to $45 per month).  Mandy and I had a discussion about this a couple of months ago.  We decided to raise mine from $300,000 to $500,000.  Previously, we only had $100,000 on Mandy since she was a stay-at-home mom.  The more we thought about it, it didn’t make much since.  We both have a major commitment to our kids having their Mommy at home with them.  If something were to happen to her, it would make much more sense to replace my income (in the same way as if something happened to me) so I could quit working and stay home with the kids.  Terrible to think about: yes!  Necessary to think about: hell yes!

3.) Change in our cell phone/internet ($385 in miscellaneous fees).  I explained the whole situation here, so I won’t get into it.  Bottom line, it cost us a bunch in new equipment (for the internet) and cancellation fee for our old cell service.  In the end, it is going to be best.

4.) Change in Tivo service ($250 plus $5 per month extra).  When we changed to the internet hot spot for our internet service, it caused a problem for our Tivo service.  It was something that never even crossed our minds!  The Tivo does not work with mobile hot spots.  Plus, we have had a HD tv for a little while now, but the Tivo was not digital, so we weren’t using it to its fullest potential.  Actually, we had to have a strange set up to make it even work.  The end of the story is that we upgraded to the digital and kept our old one for a different tv.  The original reason behind having Tivo (even though we don’t even have cable) is to be able to watch shows after our kids go to bed for two reasons.  First, we don’t want watching tv to distract us from focusing on our kids (you know: “be quiet, we’re watching this show” as your five year old is asking you to read them a book.  I say that, because we found ourselves doing just that).  Second, most of what is on tv in the evening, even with just the commercials, isn’t appropriate for children to watch.  Anyway, we love having Tivo and isn’t something we just wanted to give up.

5.) Major car breakdown  ($635).  We had a major breakdown coming home from vacation when we were still hundreds of miles away from home.  Luckily, the car repairs didn’t cost us that much.  Most of the cost came from a tow truck, hotel stay, and then a train trip to go pick up the vehicle a week later.  Not something we had planned at all.

6.) Computer tune-up ($100).  A month and a half ago, our computer was running extremely slow.  Nothing is more frustrating when I do a ton of my work on the computer for it to get locked up or at least slowed down.  We decided to take it into the computer store we bought the computer from and get a “tune-up”.   I just don’t know enough about computers to do anything myself.  It was well worth the money because it really did speed things up.  Getting this post up, for example, didn’t take near as long as it would have before.

7.) New garage door ($1,100).  We haven’t been able to use our automatic garage door since about three months after moving into our house.  We moved into our house in December of 2007.  We always just pulled the little string and did it manually (by we, I mean me).  However, a few weeks ago, it stopped coming down at all.  I would pull it down and it would get stuck about halfway.  The track system and rollers were so messed up, it wouldn’t go down anymore.  After discussing it and getting a couple of bids, we decided that we had over $1,100 worth of stuff in the garage that could get stolen if we couldn’t shut the door.  We decided, then, to go ahead and replace.  I have to admit, it is really nice to be able to just push a button and up and down it goes.

Yes, all of this occurred in a two to three month period.  Luckily, we had some extra money to be able to cover this.  The problem: it prevented us from adding to our emergency fund which is what we really wanted AND need to do.  Some of it was stuff we couldn’t have seen coming, which is exactly why we have an emergency fund in place (even if it’s not as large as we would like).  Some were choices we made that we believe will long term be best for us.  I can’t think of a time where we had so much of this all at once.  The key is that we methodically went through the decision making process and didn’t do anything hastily.  And, most importantly, we didn’t go into any kind of debt for any of this.  We actually had the money to pay for everything.  That is the key!

Photo Source: Barnabus

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