adventures in the black

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby CecilyC » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:49 am

Congratulations!!! and welcome to Galaxy Jr.

Way to go on resisting the onslaught. Good for you! Thanks for your lists; it's nice to see what a minimal baby list would look like. Please keep us posted, too, about what is usefule and what isn't. And of course, how the baby is doing :lol:

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:26 am

thanks, Cecily! i have no problem bucking trends put in place by advertisers :)

at this point, baby mostly eats, sleeps, and needs diaper changes. there are not a ton of items required for these activities and anyone that says otherwise is just looking for some of your cash...

currently i have handy at all times:
boppy pillow
burp rags
blanket to keep baby warm when he's eating
blanket and pillows for me to take a quick nap if i'm tired and baby is asleep
about a dozen bodysuits
several swaddle wraps
waterproof-backed cotton change pads/sheet savers
nursing friendly clothes/nursing pads/soothing cream for me
diaper change bucket with diapers and wipes
baby resting places: sleeper/swing/floor gym
glider when he is fussy
laundry basket

i am very glad we got the jumbo laundry detergent bottle... we are using lots. and we didn't get the $$$ kind marketed for babies, we just got tide (our regular brand, yes i am brand loyal on this) without dyes or perfumes. it seems to be working fine.

we tried out cloth diapers for about a day (and subsequently had to put him back in disposables for a week after a medical procedure). i loved the experience, they are so nice. they're "fluffier" but his onesies fit over them fine, and they're far softer and incredibly more absorbent than the disposables. and they look so cheerful out there drying on the patio. i can't wait to get him back in cloth.

spouse reworked the diaper sprayer to rig it up in the shower. it ended up costing as much as the cheap crap marketed one, but it's high quality and will be easier to spray into the tub and not get water all over the bathroom.

starting to take a gander at the bills, though we have a couple small claims left to go. so far i'm seeing about another ~$500 out of pocket, so we did end up prepaying over half. not bad. we also bought tickets for an event in september to reward ourselves for making it that far :)

oh! and our end-of-month paychecks should have us looking at 75% of our down payment fund saved! i'll be thrilled to see that before we start paying for daycare.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby geoff_tewierik » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:54 pm

galactic wrote:a medical procedure

The snip?

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby fantasma » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:04 am

Congrats, so much fun and work. He's so precious. Try to get some sleep.
Be what you want to attract.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:12 am

indeed, geoff. glad he won't remember it.

thanks, fantasma, you're right on with fun + work and sleep deprivation!

well, we did better than a wash this month. i sent off payments so we are roughly 75% paid up on the medical. i am quite pleased with this progress. (our prepayments amounted to just over 50% of the total out of pocket, which helped a lot.) we also saved a little bit- not much by the usual standards but hey. i purposely set the bar low so i wouldn't stress about money this month.

i think we spent an additional 30 bucks or so on nice-to-have baby items this month. we're fully into cloth diapers, which is fantastic. it is a bit more work but they have a lot of advantages. the downside is that daycare refuses to consider them, even though they have the old traditional flat-cloth diapers in mind. however, the daycare where i work is substantially lower cost than other options and i am not about to spend several hundred a month on principle when i can just spend a couple bucks a week to keep him in part-time disposables. frustrating, but what can i do.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:42 am

pondering a move to a bigger apartment within our complex. we've been feeling greater stress due to clutter, trying to fit ourselves + baby into our tiny space. especially me, i am not one to tolerate much clutter.

spouse has done an admirable job reducing his Stuff volume (he is the packrat, i am the opposite) but even his sentimental family mementos that his mom (also a packrat) insisted we have in our direct possession are pretty numerous. ugh. we're considering renting a garage here, as storage lockers are roughly the same cost and off-site and an additional payment to send out to someone else each month. or, for an additional $130/month beyond rent + garage, we can have a larger apartment plus attached garage.

i am not sure i want to spend the extra $130. BUT, rent would still only be about 25% of our net income. and a larger apartment would be nice. and we have done well beyond expectations on our savings goals, saving ~75% of a sizable down payment fund in just over a year. it might be an issue of conscious spending and enjoying the now, and spending the next year saving the rest of our down payment instead of knocking it out in the next few months. we're not nearly ready to buy anything right now anyway.

one more week of maternity leave left- i am really glad to be able to spend a few extra weeks at home because we've been so diligent with our finances. i sent off payments for all the hospital bills on friday so that's all over and done with! :) this month will be another wash, but that's alright. it's good for me to slow down the pace now and again.

baby just outgrew his first size of clothing. we are set with his current size and the next size up, except i need to get larger swaddle wraps to keep him asleep longer. he's not old enough to sleep without swaddling. i hope my coworker whose baby is almost exactly 1 year older will want to give away more baby clothes as she's done with them!

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:23 pm

did this month's finances...

a bit more came out of savings than i had expected. not horrible. but i had a $250 conference registration (a reimbursable work expense) that i wanted to just pay off, and we did pay all of our collective medical bills this month. also, spending on the target card has gone a bit off the rails lately while spouse has been the primary shopper instead of me. going to have to nail that down next month, it's not sustainable. nothing into savings this month, either, but that was expected.

so without paying off the medical bills and the conference registration immediately, we would have had to take very little from savings. but i feel better just biting the bullet now and being back to baseline-normal next month.

bottom line is that we are back down to no debt except the strategic car loan, anyway. next month we get to figure out the new normal with child care expenses.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby Eagle » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:18 am

galactic wrote:did this month's finances...

bottom line is that we are back down to no debt except the strategic car loan, anyway. next month we get to figure out the new normal with child care expenses.

Good job on the debt! We're paying off all the medical bills this month. Congrats on the little one! :)

As far as added expenses...

Expect your grocery bills to go up as you either buy more food to nurse or buy formula.

Also diapers & wipes will be a new expense every month (unless you got cloth diapers). Amazon Mom offers 20% discount on diapers in bulk, free delivery to your door, and depending on your state no taxes. Just a thought.

Yes have plenty of detergent handy as this cost will go up as well. Slight increase in utilities if those are not included.

If you haven't gotten some already Gripe Water is really good for baby's with upset stomachs, etc.

Plan for the extra expense of the Baby's deductable.

Added: Increase in medical health coverage bill with the addition of another child. Also, something to consider is buying stain remover in bulk. Babies are messy.

Our son is about 11 weeks old now. He still uses onesies but no longer likes to be swaddled. Congrats again! ;)

Edit: To add the section in bold.
~ Eagle

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:34 pm

well, we decided to go ahead and take the bigger apartment. they gave us a better deal than advertised, which helped to sway our opinion. also, it's only down the stairs and across the walk, so it's an easy move. i think we will be happier there.

i made the monthly grocery run and came in well under budget. i'm quite pleased with this, but i suspect we're still over budget overall for the last couple of months. probably time to readjust all of the budgets now- i haven't even been into mint for ages.

daycare expenses are going to be about $50/mo more than i planned for. we were going to use my workplace daycare and buy disposable diapers (they won't consider cloth). our temporary daycare provider offered a discount to keep us. it's still a bit more than work facility + diapers + wipes but there are only 4 kids instead of dozens... this might save us headaches in the "sick kid/daycare plague" department... and we really like our current provider.

Eagle- your little one must be just a bit older than ours. congrats to you as well!

we met little dude's deductible the day he was born, so that's paid :) and we were already in the higher of the two-tier premiums for my insurance. we just pay copays for his check-ups, and the insurance has picked up 2 of those in full.

you're spot on about the groceries, i am eating a LOT. trying to grab healthy take-alongs for work, ones that have coupons associated with them!

no diaper or wipe expenses for us, just slightly increased utilities to wash the cloth. and we have yet to encounter a hint of diaper rash, so no diaper cream needed either! the stains come right out with an afternoon hanging in the sun, give that a try and see if it'll save you on the stain remover.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:46 pm

been an interesting couple of months. lots of changes.

we're in the new (nicer, bigger, a bit more $) apartment. the improved quality of life is entirely worth it. ahhhhhh. but we are still working out the monthly budget changes.

spouse was recruited away to a new job, nearer to home (less gas expense) and with a raise and on-call time (more money). but he took a week off and the pay schedule is different. we are adjusting to this as well.

spouse's car cost us a thousand bucks last month when it became unexpectedly disabled. :( 800 in parts and 200 in car rental to get him to and from work while he had it taken apart. and i have about $1000 sunk in work travel expenses that won't be reimbursed until november.

so we've got a bit of credit card balance and a disruption in income to work through, but i think we'll be on top of things next month. we've got a few thousand left to save before year's end to make our goal- i hope we can make it work!

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby Kate1 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:16 pm

Congrats to your spouse on the new job, that must be exciting. Glad you are enjoying the new space too. Lots of changes for you lately, but I expect it will slow down now.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:30 pm

thanks Kate1! things are finally hitting a more normal pace (thankfully) - i was about worn out!

so this month we're getting the savings back on track- though we had some disruption, i think we will still make the year-end goal. this will be a particularly nice goal to reach. at this rate, we can meet our down payment savings goal before our lease ends. we still don't want to buy just yet because we're still looking at some geographical uncertainty.

the last several months have seen a permanent increase in electricity and water costs due to the little one. laundry and dishes, mostly. a minor increase in gas (hot water and heat, winter's coming) as well. it's not unbearable.

we're waiting on a big reimbursement from my recent work travel. minor car project is costing us a few hundred dollars, and we have decided to bite the bullet and get a second car seat as well. daddy doing daycare pickups lets us get kiddo to bed before he becomes overtired. and that gets us to bed earlier too! yeah, so much for saving big money by skipping the infant bucket.

we're also looking at a small chest freezer so we can buy a side of beef and store breast milk longer for kiddo (in non-defrosting freezers it stores much longer). so far craigslist prices aren't that great. spouse wants to just buy a new one, so i found a 15% off coupon and we're waiting for a sale. no great hurry here.

another month, nothing super exciting i guess.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:32 am

last month of the year. we'd be making the final push, but we're all sick over here (including baby, poor kid) and have been just focusing on getting through this. lots of takeout... i am ashamed at how much we are spending on takeout, even though we're consistently WAY under our restaurant budget this year. with a minor burst of energy, i put together a big batch of food that we can cook a couple pieces at a time for dinners. this will hopefully hold us over.

we have invested a few bucks in winterizing our apartment. but we have only implemented a few of these things so far- the patio door is sealed and the outlets are gasketed and plugged. (we had to get started on child proofing anyway...) next we go for the windows- these will be a pain.

hoping to see some of our bills drop for other reasons though- our water heater died and they just installed a brand new one for us. i think our water heating costs will decrease with a new unit, if only because it's not all full of rust and gunk. our home heating is also driven by the hot water, so i expect that will drop some too. here's hoping!

we met this year's main savings goal a couple weeks early. i was so pleased to see it! to have made so much progress in just a few years is truly amazing. i have one more "nice to see" goal- this one is just to make the net worth a nice round number.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby chasingthegoodlife » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:57 pm

Get well soon, and congrats on meeting your 2012 savings goals!

I like the idea of systematically 'winterizing' your place - good for $$, good for the environment.

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Re: adventures in the black

Postby galactic » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:20 pm

thanks. the adults are better, kiddo has required a couple extra doctor visits and rx fills. poor guy. it's caused some minor fluctuations in income due to a couple days off work, but we are hanging in there.

we like to do some winterizing in all our apartments. especially if we plan on staying more than a year- but most basic apartments leak like sieves so anything we can do has a pretty rapid payoff. we'll probably be here another year or 2. we're big on not using more than needed, for the environment and for the finances.

i had to juggle the finances a little in order to make it by the end of the year, but we met the secondary goal for year's end on december 31st. let's say it's good that they won't be looking to cash my rent check until thursday or friday. :)

we begin 2013 with a minimal principal, low-interest car loan that we intended to get (to build a relationship with our credit union) and no other debt. i really only have plans to keep things going as they've re-settled now- keep up with saving for our down payment and fully funding the annual roths, tax deferred contributions to spouse's workplace retirement plan, and probably increase the down payment goal. we also need to identify our desired annual savings rate for the little one and determine how to set it up for him.

lastly, we need to set up a trust for the care of our little guy in case of the worst. i know that is going to cost some money to consult with an attorney and draw up the paperwork.

but i keep looking at these numbers and having a hard time believing how far we've come. all that education and hard work and scraping by to keep our education and other debt minimal all those years seems to be paying off in many ways.

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