Saturday, July 16, 2011

Big Money Decisions

Yep, I know it's taboo to talk about money, but 1) if you're reading this I probably know and love and trust you, and 2) people should be more comfortable with talking about money in my opinion. and this is my blog. so there.

SO, with big change comes the need/opportunity to make big decisions in life and for us this has involved some serious numbers crunching.
  • Baby is on the way==>do we need a bigger place? when?
  • Baby is on the way==>my 2 door civic is already uncomfortable for me to get in and out of. Add 25 lbs to that me and then add a baby in a car seat being fit in the back like a tetris piece every day and Tim will have a very frustrated wife who needs lots of backrubs.
  • We don't want to rent forever==>buy a house? when is the right time? how much do we want to spend/do we need?
  • Not 100% positive we want to be in LB long long term==>rent bigger now, buy later when we're 100% sure about things?
  • We HATE our neighborhood right now (crime is skyrocketing, parking's wretched, and we currently have "baby's room" set up right where the dumpster will roll through the alley in the early dawn hours and others will rummage through for cans and finds all night long==>move to awesome 2 bedroom with a yard that Tim found in Bixby Knolls by church??
Phew! Well, we've made a few of these decisions. Yes, we're moving. We find out Monday if we got the place in Bixby Knolls. It's a 4plex, not a 16 unit building. We can have a small dog, a HUGE shared back yard, go on walks in a safe and quiet neighborhood, and PARK OUR CARS!!! and if you're a friend who we invite to visit for dinner, you can park your car too!!!! oh joy, what bliss!!! :) (we currently walk up to 1 mile+ some nights because there are just TOO MANY PEOPLE downtown. and they're angry people. and we're becoming angry people back. we gotta get out.

Tim and I have decided in our marriage to split certain responsibilities up rather than share in every task. and I'm the money manager. Mostly because I'm a control freak. Which can be bad in relationships, but it's a huge advantage when I'm figuring out our budget or calling credit card companies once a month to get a lower rate and a higher line of credit, just cuz I feel like it. Or when I notice a $5 fee that is arbitrary and I march my assertive little self down to chase bank and tell them, no thank you, you can give me my $5 back, thanks so much! with a smile on my face.
I recently found myself having a brilliant idea! (a rare occurrence) and feel compelled to share it here. We accidentally overlooked a portion of Tim's new benefits package that automatically signed him up for health benefits. This is bad because I already have him on mine and with the school district it's free (for baby too! so awesome!), not so bad because Tim's payment is only $30/paycheck. BUT we can't de-enroll til November. :( So we decided, we'd go without something we don't need for the amount of time it takes to make up the difference. Netflix rule, but we don't need it. Plus they just upped their rates by $5 a month. So, back atcha Neflix, we don't need you for 7 months. We'll read books and go on walks and crochet and watch hulu for free once House and Parks and Rec start up again (waiting very impatiently). We decided to do this for every "woops" in our lives. A traffic ticket, you name it. It felt like a really smart and good decision. Kind of punishing ourselves, but also rewarding ourselves long term by staying on budget and reaching our goals on time. :)

We also stopped by the Volskwagon dealership last night. We REALLY REALLY have our eyes set on a Jetta TDI wagon. 48 miles/gal people! lots of room, comfy interior, and 4 doors for the family we're growing into! We spent 2 hours there going back and forth on options to bring our price down, bring our payments down. They tried to get us to lease. Said 0% financing was unavailable on a TDI (which it wasn't when we looked less than a yr ago) and kept telling me we could afford the $470 or $437 payment they wanted me to sign off on. Which was very frustrating for me...they don't know our goals, my student loan bills, our other financial commitments. If I want to give $2000 to charity every month then I can and that's my business. What I can "afford" is entirely up to me, and I wasn't being listened to. I was SO proud of us when we finally said, "well it looks like you've done all you can to make this work for us, but ultimately it's obvious that this car is just beyond our means. It was our ideal car, but we don't need the perfect car, there are lots of options that are thousands of dollars less that we could get better financing on. Thanks so much and have a nice night". It felt good!
On the way home we talked about finishing the last few payments on the honda and selling it by owner to get a bit more for it and...are you ready...sharing one car for a while. Tim's work schedule is 8-5 forevermore so I can totally drop him off and pick him up. We'll save $300 a month without our honda payment + what we sell it for + about $100 on car insurance until we have enough to pay almost all cash or at least a huge down payment for a new car. If we get the apartment we want, it's also less than 10 miles for Tim to ride his bike to work on a nice day. I just want to wait until summer's over so baby and I can have air conditioning through the heat!

Welp, that's all. Just wanted to pat myself on the back for making what we feel were good, wise decisions with the money God's given to us. Now onto disability benefits for maternity leave and finding a good affordable daycare for the spring time! :)

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