Category Archives: food

Thread on our Lower-Middle Class Family

It’s been a while. We added a new child to the family in October so I’ve haven’t had much time to blog. The following is actually a series of tweets from yesterday. I did make a few small grammatical/clarifying/organizational edits, but it’s basically a series of 15 tweets:

Looking at our income and all these tax numbers…

We are basically lower-middle class. A one income family with 3 kids.

From all the talk, one would think we are dirt poor and cannot survive. Yet we do. Pretty comfortably, I might add. Here are a few thought as to why.

  1. The only thing we owe on is our house.
    1. It’s descent size but not massive. Two kids will share a room until one of the 3 move out. *gasp* And we prefer it that way, shocking I know.
    2. We only have a house because my husband (as a single man) purchased a town home way below his means. And we lived in that “semi-inconvenient” town home until we had 2 kids and the profit of a sale would cover a house down payment.
    3. We also don’t owe on school loans because we bought nothing but needs for several years. (All extra money went to pay them all off.) Not having those helps tremendously.
    4. We drive 2007 & 2008 vehicles. No loans on those. One was bought used, with cash (other is a hold over from single days)
    5. While we use credit cards for convenience, we never carry a balance.
    6. Having little to no debt (just the house remember) frees up a lot of money every month. Less locked in payments and less waste to interest
  2. Having only one income provides opportunity for saving money
    1. I cook most of our food (healthier and cheaper). I have the time to clip coupons, find the best sales, and make meals from scratch. It’s a lot more difficult to do this when time is limited
    2. Our monthly budget for gas and clothing is lower than most. Not only do we drive less, we don’t need work clothes (helps that our one income earner also works from home)
    3. We don’t pay for any child care (except an occasional date night)
  3. Probably the most significant, we define “comfortable living” very different than most
    1. All of our needs are met (first!) Food, clothing, shelter, water, power, transportation, these items are always covered. We recognize this and are extremely grateful that our income covers the basics. Some are not as fortunate.
    2. We have such great peace of mind that the basics are covered, we get to really enjoy when there is extra to cover the fun stuff.
    3. We value getting a deal. We truly enjoy finding deals and bargains. We love shopping thrift stores. We love store brands. It doesn’t make us feel “less than” because we don’t value the pride attached to brand-name or new. The reverse is actually true. It makes us feel like we are smarter than others wasting money.
    4. We get to live our value of people & quality time over stuff. We trade money and a second income (which buys nicer stuff) for what we really want – joy, peace, love, less stress.
    5. Our idea of fun is different. We do lots of free activities with the kids. We drive for vacation and have adventures on our journey (see things you miss on a plane)
  4. For me, growing up as a preacher’s kid has impacted my world view in regards to money
    1. I trust God will provide for my needs. First and foremost, spiritual needs, but also physical needs.
    2. We (similar to my upbringing) have a wonderful community and support system. Should something terrible happen financially – we know our God provided support system would step up. And we do the same for others.
    3. Not having much money as a kid, I saw my parents work to cover needs and then some. We were loved and didn’t feel like we missed out.

In summary, our world view regarding money is very different than most.

Because of that, we can live comfortably with less. Practically speaking, we work hard to live this way. (Physically, emotionally, and intellectually)

The resulting freedom: Absolutely Worth it.

/End of Tweets

***Long time readers will know this, but I’ve blogged extensively on how we got out of debt. Starting in Jan 2012. We paid off 46K in 22 months. If you want to read about that, look for the “by the number’s” posts. To be fair, we were dual income for most of that time, pre-kids.

*PS: In the blog post editing page, I got the code to do a nice ordered alphabet list nested in an ordered numbered list. (Point 1. A, B, C, Point 2. A, B, C etc.) It’s driving me crazy that the actual post isn’t reading the code correctly but I don’t have time to fix it. Sorry. “Hashtag Three Kids” ;-p

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, car, clothes, debt, family, food, politics, writing

One Year

One year ago today, my heart stopped for 20 minutes. Isn’t that crazy?!? On average the heart stoppage time for having a pulmonary valve implant is 45 minutes. A heart can go 3-4 hours on “pause” for transplants.

I’m very thankful for my less than average stoppage time. I credit it to not having the typical brain fog that often follows open heart surgery. I’m also extremely grateful that the Creator of the universe allowed his creation to understand the human body so well as to be able to have the knowledge and skill to do heart surgery. And I’m grateful I was created at this period in time, where I could live a full, mostly healthy life.

Since One year ago:

HEALTH
My health has been great. After the initial healing time, I’ve had more energy and have been able to bounce back better from full, exhausting days or lots of time spent out in the heat.

HOME
Because of such a surprisingly easy and quick recovery, I was bored and started looking at houses. This resulted in us listing our town home to sell. Because of our location and price point, we received 7 offers in 4 days. We found a new home (that we LOVE!) that met our needs and even checked off some hard to find wants (my large kitchen!). Within 4 months of heart surgery, with the help of many family and friends, we moved.

ADDING ON
With cardiologist approval, we found out at the beginning of this year we are expecting our third child. We couldn’t be more thrilled to add to our family. And as I suppose is normal, this third pregnancy is flying by. I can’t believe we are already at 18 weeks.

FINANCES
We are very fortunate to not owe on any of the heart surgery medical bills. We have been sticking with Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and the only debt we have is on our new house. We’ve been working really hard on not buying items we really would love but just don’t have the funds for right now (like a new grill) and God has surprised us with some fun stories of perfect used items that “fell into our lap” with very minimal expense. (Like our “new to us” grill. Free from a neighbor two streets down. We just had to buy a couple of small replacement parts.)

OTHER ADVENTURES
*A week after moving in, we “crashed” the national night out block party a street over
*We participated in our new city’s Trash Bash, our little family picking up trash on 3 streets and allies near our home.
*I found an amazing facebook group dedicated to women with CHD. It’s the first time I’ve ever “met” anyone born with a similar heart condition
*We participated in the neighborhood spring fling party, winning 2 of the 5 raffle prizes (I finally have a porch swing!). The party also included the ribbon cutting for the new butterfly park so the boys each got to release a butterfly
*We completed a 16 week marriage enrichment class
*Our oldest son had eye surgery to correct his crossed eyes
*I’ve been able to read at least 1 new book each month since we moved. I love reading, but when our oldest was born, I put that hobby on the shelf.

It’s been a busy year. It’s been a fun year. It’s been a surreal year.

We are looking forward to another full, fun year, with many, many more heart healthy years to follow.

Leave a comment

Filed under baby steps, cardiology, family, friends, grilling, health, housing, marriage, moving, reading

Where are we now

WOW! Did I really go an entire month without posting!?!

In 8 years of blogging that has only happened a few times.

I guess after doing 22 “by the numbers” and not having much to report – I took a little break.

As far as our emergency fund goes, it’s about the same – 50% done.

We did have our foundation fixed which cost 3,700 so – that was money that DIDN’T make it into the emergency fund (but it also didn’t create more debt since we cash-flowed it).

Other than that November was crazy busy!

*Z had 2 doctor’s appointments and I had one.
*We went to the Bush Library Museum & the Perot Museum
*My Parents came for Thanksgiving.
*I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner
*My brother and his family moved back to Texas
*We helped them get some painting done
*I had a birthday and we had our third anniversary.

What a great (and exhausting!) month it was.

Leave a comment

Filed under baby steps, birthday, blog, emergency fund, family, food, health, holiday, marriage, thanksgiving

July by the Numbers

Z_Birth So… once again, not a lot to report. However – This is hopefully the last month that the debt snowball is on pause!

While I was laid off in April (and now plan on staying home), the self-employed one in the house has had a tremendous increase in work. Praise the Lord!

Also, baby boy was born mid month! 🙂 He’s so precious. Yep, I’m bias, but he’s a super cutie!

And if you recall from previous “by the numbers” once the hospital bills are finalized, we’ll be able to use the Crisis Fund to Pay All the Medical Bills (creating no new debt!) and throw the rest at my student loan.

I’m guessing that the total number toward debt will be a bit smaller than I would have liked or hoped (mainly due to my not working since mid April), but every little bit helps.

I was looking at my student loan this month, and just paying minimum or a few dollars over minimum since November means we’ve still made a little progress. We are now almost under 13K for the loan. To put this in perspective, this loan was around 35K when I consolidated it into a 20 year loan, in 2008. (We’ve paid off 22K in 6 years. And we plan on having it done in less than 12 months, which is ultimately 13 years ahead of schedule.)

All that to say I can’t wait to report back for “August by the Numbers.”

One thing that was a bummer for July is that we seem to have spent a lot on food. However, this is because my mom was in town and we made trips to Costco and Sams. We purchased extra, and then she made us a bunch of meals – of double or triple proportions. Now we have somewhere between 10-15 meals in the deep freeze for simple cooking. We also have a wonderful community of friends that are providing us with meals a few times a week for the next few weeks. Which means the August food bill will be low and more than make up for the larger food bill in July.

2 Comments

Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers, debt, family, food, pictures

My face is on Fire

I cooked tonight.  That is not something new – however the recipe included creating a puree of tomatoes, garlic, onions and a jalapeno.  I got jalapeno oil on my hand.

Now, 3 hours later, I keep touching my face, which then feels like it’s on fire. Guess I need to rewash the hands with a ton of soap, because my eyes are about to tear up.

On another food (and budget) note.  Friday I was not feeling the cooking a long meal (which would have been the stuffed peppers we had tonight), so we talked about ordering something cheep. (our go to is Wendy’s 99 cent menu). After a long discussion, and wise counsel from my husband, we stuck to not going to go buy food.  Remarkably, I realized I had a little bit of cooked chicken left, along with some lettuce and a few other ingredients and was able to through together (a practically work-free) Asian salad.  I’m so thankful for a wise husband, and an ability to have left over food in the fridge.

3 Comments

Filed under budget, food

oops! Penny pinching…

So… we are one month in – and 5 days into February (for the Superbowl) I messed up our food budget.

I bought what I thought was going to be cheaper pizza since I had a coupon.  It wasn’t. In part because I bought an extra medium due to wanting a little more variety than just meat pizzas, we ended up with WAY too much pizza at way too high a price.

So now we are stuck eating a lot of cold pizza – that is no longer yummy, and penny pinching for the rest of the month.  I think If we have a low grocery bill for the upcoming week, we might be back on track, and I’m still going to do everything I can to get us there, but it’s going to be tight.

You see – at the beginning of the month, I have to project out and plan around events in the month (family in town two different weekends and Valentines Day). Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t going to go hungry due to a Superbowl party slip-up, and we still have a little space for our ‘semi-fast food Valentines Day dinner’ plans, but we do have a lot less wiggle room.

So let this be a lesson to myself, I’m not a budget expert yet. 🙂  And moral of the story – just because there is a coupon or sale does not mean I should buy it – nor does it mean that gives me the freedom to buy more of the sale item.

But I am learning.  I am saying “no” to myself – I did not go out this week to McDonald’s to get a Shamrock Shake. That took a lot of will power.

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, food, shamrock shake

January by the Numbers

Here we are one month into our goal to be Debt Free by the end of 2012… how did we do? Did we make any progress? I’m happy to report, yes we did!

This month we paid off $6,740 – which was the total of our 2 smaller student loans

We also made some extra money, which comes in outside of our budgeted income – so it is helpful in applying right to debt.

$150 on Craigslist sales

$7 from Pennies for Debra

$75 from a stack of silver coins we had floating around the house (finally rolled them and made them usable)

$94 in a Cash Back savings from our Energy Company

Totaling $322 extra dollars of income.

In addition to all of that – we also (of course) paid our minimums on everything else – further chipping away at principle of what we owe.

Finally – I’m happy to report an additional, unexpected bonus to living on a budget.

The biggest change is that we are using the envelope system for food. I specifically budgeted $100 less then what we had been averaging on food because I figured if we paid attention to where our food money went – and were a little more strict in our eating out – we would be able to make this lower food-a-month goal.  I’m happy to report that including a birthday party and a birthday dinner for the hubby – we met the new food budget goal no problem!

AND to top it off – we both lost weight this month. Budgeting is good for one’s health. 🙂

Total Debt paid in January: $7,276*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

Leave a comment

Filed under by the numbers, debt, food, health, pennies for debra