Friday, June 6, 2008


Hello and thanks for stopping by!

In an effort to give my readers the best experience possible I've moved my blog. I will no longer be posting here. Please come visit me at my new home for all the latest and greatest. If you are subscribed you will still receive all the new content in your reader.

Pic by: Toni girl

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Opportunity costs of having a baby

Oh my! Who is that poor poor woman? Yup, that's me just days before the birth of my son.

Ok, now that I'm done embarrassing myself....

Jonathan over at Master Your Card recently wrote about how to get your finances in order before you have a baby. I agree with everything he said. I've also explored the cost to raise a child. But both his post and my own neglected one huge cost.
Opportunity cost.

I avoided the topic because it's impossible to calculate and it's different for everyone. But it's not something to be overlooked when thinking about getting pregnant. Here are some things so think about.

Your ability to work may be reduced. It's a lot harder to work overtime when you have a little one. Daycares often charge late fees if you don't pick your child up by a certain time. Or right now your spouse might not mind a Saturday afternoon alone while you pick up a few extra hours, but that might not be the case once junior arrives. Even if you don't work for an hourly wage, staying late to impress the boss might not be an option anymore. Do you take frequent business trips? Is your spouse ok with holding down the fort while you're gone? Make sure you discuss this situation with your partner so there are no surprises or building resentments.

You might have to stay in the area. Is the big promotion you've been working for out of state? Are you prepared to leave your support system (free daycare!) behind? Have you or your spouse always dreamed of raising your child around their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? Or worse, what if you and your partner separate? Would you be prepared to leave your child behind? I face this situation right now. If I wanted to leave the state my ex could take me to court and force me to either stay or leave my daughter with him.

Speaking of divorce. I know it's hard to imagine when you have baby dust in your eyes but what would you do? When my ex and I separated I was left with my daughter in a two bedroom apartment I could barely afford, even with child support. When I was childless getting a roommate was the obvious choice, but that was a lot more difficult with a two year old in the house. I got some very creepy responses to my ad. Do you have a savings account of your own to rely on if you find yourself as a single parent?

What if your child isn't healthy? It's horrible but it happens, not every baby is born perfect. Someone might have to stay home to care for your child's special needs. It's definitely a worst case scenario but it's still something you should discuss.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

10 tips to get your house sold

You don't want to be a seller with the housing market the way it is today. But if you have found the situation unavoidable, there are some things you can do to make your house more attractive to buyers. The more attractive your house, the quicker it will sell, and the higher the price.

1. Say good bye. You must be emotionally ready to sell your house. All of your energy has to be pointed in the right direction. You're fighting an up-hill battle here, you can't afford to have something holding you back. Start looking at your home from a buyer's point of view.

2. Get rid of your stuff. You want people to be able to see your home, not your stuff. Buyers won't be able to picture their own stuff in the house if every flat surface is already filled. Make sure you hit the closets, cabinets, the kid's rooms, the attic, the basement, and the garage. Take away anything you won't be using before you move. Furniture that is blocking a window or walking path also needs to be taken out of the home. A fully organized and decluttered home makes your home look bigger and allows buyers to see themselves living there.

3. Depersonalize. Buyers don't want to be reminded of who has been living in what will hopefully be their new house. Family photos and your porcelain rooster collection will make them think about you living in the house, not them.

4. Make repairs. Does your faucet leak? Got some cracked tiles in the bathroom? Fix them. If buyers see small repairs they can only assume that big repairs are just around the corner. Besides, you want buyers leaving your home saying "Wow, that was so nice." not "Did you see that hole in the wall?"

5. Show off your view. If you have a view, or fireplace, or some other feature that makes your house special, show it off. Think back to when you bought your home. What made you say "wow!"? Make sure you are highlighting those same features.

6. Paint. A fresh coat of paint in neutral color can really go a long way. Don't forget the outside if it needs it. I heard to paint your front door yellow. My mom swears by this tip. Yellow creates a buying emotion.

7. Stage your home. Make sure that each room has a defined purpose. If you're using your dining room as your office it's going to confuse buyers. Is it an office, or a formal dining room? Pick one and stick with it.

8. Clear the walk. Overgrown bushes and clutter are going to scare buyers away. Trim the bushes and sweep the porch while you're out there. Go ahead and rent a pressure washer if you need to. Then get some cute yellow flowers and put them on the porch.

9. Don't forget the back yard. After you've worked on your curb appeal head around back. Do you need to mow? Has the swing set seen it's last days? Use the same tactics you used inside to clear clutter and make the back yard more appealing. Maybe even a new patio set is in order.

10. Lower the price. It doesn't matter how clean and organized your house is if it's too expensive. If your Realtor suggests lowering the price, you may want to listen. These are tough times. Buyers are looking for steals, a home needs to be below market value to generate interest.

pic by: tromasbronot

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Frugal Eats: Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

This series has been so good for me because I'm always on the hunt for frugal recipes now. Monday has become Frugal Recipe Day around here. This is one that I found during my search. It's actually a few different recipes in one. I took the things I liked out of each. Some veggies that were in the other recipes that I chose not to use were cabbage, peas, lima beans, zucchini, kale, chickpeas, white kidney beans, and veggie broth rather than beef broth. So mix and match as you see fit. I'm sure there isn't a veggie that wouldn't be good.

Since this cooks for a really long time I cut up all the veggies before bed. That way I could throw it in the crock pot before I even fed the kids. At a cost of $4.25 I would think it would be a great meal to come home from after work. It's really chunky and hearty.

Minestrone Soup

  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth (33 cents)

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (1.08)

  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (25 cents)

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (25 cents)

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (25 cents)

  • 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (50 cents)

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (8 cents)

  • 16 oz red kidney beans, drained (58 cents)

  • 1/2 box spiral macaroni (or any kind you like) (63 cents)

  • 2 Tbsp. parsley flakes (10 cents)

  • 2 tsp dried basil (10 cents)

  • 1 tsp dried oregano (10 cents)

Combine all ingredients except macaroni in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low for 10-16 hours, or on high 4-6 hours. Cook macaroni according to directions and add during last 30 mins of cooking.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Online classes

I've signed up for classes for the fall semester. I'll be taking two classes: Calculus and Accounting. Sounds fun huh? The price: $454. Which is probably cheap compared to what I would be paying just about anyplace else, but it's still ridiculous.

I had looked through the catalog and picked out exactly which classes I wanted. I was going to go to school Tuesdays and Thursdays nights from 5:45 to 8:25. When I went to register and saw that they have both those classes online. I hate online classes but the thought of not having to drive to the school twice a week was impossible to pass up. It takes me about two gallons of gas to drive to school and back. So with gas at $4.00 a gallon it will cost me $16.00 a week, for 13 weeks. That's over $200! That's almost the cost of another class. And I think it's safe to assume that by the time the end of August rolls around gas is going to be more than $4.00. Who knows where it will be two months from now.

So that's the plan. The internet classes I've taken in the past have all been "at your own pace" type classes. Which I get obsessive about since I just want to get them finished. These are instructor lead, so hopefully they will be a little better. I don't know. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

pic by: NieckQ

Saturday, May 31, 2008

One more thing...

I forgot to mention the most important thing!!

I was editor's pick this week on the Carnival of Personal finance over at Canadian Dream: Free at 45! Thank you very much Tim,for highlighting my article. It was very exciting for me.


Happy Saturday! Not to much to report this week. So we'll just get straight to business...

From the PF Bloggers:
Get Rich or Die Trying wrote about how to spot an addiction to plastic. Funny cause I was just researching this same topic. Oh well....
Master Your Card discussed what to do when the collectors come calling. I know it's stressful but it's better to face your debts head on. You can't run from it.
No Debt Plan is offering financial planning help to a few readers. If that sounds like something you would be interested in head on over there.

From around the blogsphere:
Not the Jet Set taught us how to make a rain water collection bin. Unfortunately it doesn't rain in the desert enough to be able to collect very much water. But I still think it's a great idea for other places.
Rocket Finance has an interesting post about national oil. Head over and leave a comment with your feelings on the topic.
Frugal Dad talks about the most expensive $2 he ever saved. The psychology of saving money is pretty interesting.
Mrs. Micah discusses why it was better for her not to have to work during college. I've always been a believer of working during college, but she gives an interesting view point.
Paid Twice gives us 10 ways to stay in debt. If you're doing any of these things, stop right now!

Well that's it. I hope you have a great weekend. See you on Monday!