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Archive for May, 2013

Interesting Real Estate Activity Here

May 22nd, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Housing in our area has been trending upward. But, the past month or so it has been getting a bit crazy. For example, the Zillow value on our house has risen $13k in the last 30 days.

Today, one of our clients came in with his dog and was telling us about their up-coming move. He and his wife are retired and are moving to So. Oregon closer to some of the wife's family and downsizing their living space. They put their current home on the market and seven days later they had five offers.
$5k below asking.
Asking price.
$5k above asking.
$15k above asking.
$50k above asking.

No, not a typo, really $50k ABOVE asking price. Obviously they chose that offer. He said these buyers had been outbid on several other homes and they were determined not to lose another house!

Um, Wow!!
It's going to be an interesting summer for house values.

Catching Up

May 19th, 2013 at 05:54 pm

It has been a busy start to May. The remainder of the month should be a bit more quiet - Phew!
It has also been a more spendy-than-expected month. I am feeling frustrated with lack of progress.

Here is what I've been up to lately:

- DS had his third birthday and my in-laws visited. We did not have a party with other guests. Just take & bake pizza, cake and ice cream. I bought a few small cars and a pair of shorts as gifts for him for $16.

- "Cleo", our 1yo.German Shepherd woke me up at 2am on Wednesday, May 9th with vomiting. There was a good amount of blood in it and I didn't feel like she should wait until I went into work seven hours later. So off to the emergency hospital. $262.

Her diagnosis was gastritis (a very irritated stomach)

She is 100% fine now. She was feeling much better just a few hours later after she had anti-vomiting medication, acid reducer and gastro protectant tablets.

- DD played the National Anthem on her trumpet in our town's Junior Philharmonic group at a San Francisco Giants baseball game.
She and I had a fun outing, but spendy - $35 for parking, $70 for game tickets, $22 for food and hot chocolate.

- Last weekend my mom and dad visited. My sister was able to take Saturday off so she drove down to join all of us too. We went out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate Mother's Day, DS's birthday and my birthday. We split the tag with my parents. $120.

Mother's Day we all visited the dairy goat farm. Which was free. Smile
The weather was so beautiful and made for such a lovely drive. DH made a full breakfast for us before we left. And he made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.

- This past week has been work, work, work (for me).
Unfortunately, my DH hurt is right knee on Wednesday morning and had to take the rest of the week off. He is slowly feeling better - Thank Goodness!
I'll tell you when he came hobbling in my first thought was "OMG, how are we going to pay for treatment, bills, etc.. Our EF is pitiful."
It was NOT a feeling I want to have. It illustrated how we have to work to get more in savings.

- The kids' health coverage is in place. Yay!
We did get hit with a higher premium because they hadn't had coverage in the past 90 days. It was $28 more and I'm thinking it will be that much more every month, but not sure yet. Additional expense every month, but I am so relieved it is done and in place. Smile

- DD is graduating sixth grade at the end of the month. We are buying her a new dress with a budget of $40. We have looked at hundreds of dresses so far ...oh life was so easier when she was younger and I could pick something out. The search continues today..

Her graduation gift will be the used cell phone I purchased a few months ago. I will add it to my Ting account. That will increase my cell bill by $6/mo for the second line and another $8/mo for increased minutes and texts I figure will be used.

- Today is cleaning, laundry, gardening, and online dress shopping. Tomorrow I am getting back on track with my eating and early rising plan.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

May*Not be Good to Us

May 8th, 2013 at 05:25 am

It doesn't look like May is going to be very good to us. Darn it!
Just too many little and big things needing attention this month.

Tried Pilates for the first time last Saturday morning. OMGosh I was so sore all over for two days after. Really a *total body* workout. My friend and I each bought a five class pack from Groupon a few months back. (My second ever Groupon purchase.) It is nice to be able to go to a class like that with a friend. I don't think I'll be taking more classes afterward because of the cost, but it's been fun to try it out.

The chicks are getting bigger.
The garden is well sprouted now.
DS had his third birthday last weekend and DD made him a super cute YogiBear cake.
My family is visiting this weekend.
I also have the two cats to care for over the weekend. (Yay! Some cash!)

Let Us Eat Cake!

May 4th, 2013 at 11:49 pm

DD needed to bake a cake last night to take to her 4H cooking meeting today (they did cake decorating this morning).

I *KNOW* we have two cake pans. I couldn't find them last night to save me. I think they are still packed away. (We have a kitchen with ZERO storage, so when we moved in we did not unpack all our stuff.)

I had to run to the store at 8:30pm and buy two cake pans ($14). That was after working all day, then coming home and working on the house to get it ready for my in-laws who came this morning for a weekend visit. I was wiped out last night.

Upside? We have two nice cake pans now and we know where they are. Smile

Good Way to Compare Health Plans

May 3rd, 2013 at 01:09 am

In an earlier post I said we had met with an insurance broker about plans for our children.
Now that I learned how to use the Snip Tool I can post some screen shots of the nifty spreadsheet he gave us to compare costs. I couldn't fit all of them in (there were 66) but you'll get the idea.

For those of us who have a hard time figuring out where to start when it comes to narrowing down the choices I hope this helps - It certainly helped me.

Okay, so things to know when you look at this:
- All the numbers are doubled to account for both kids.
- It's color coded to show different companies. I didn't include the company/plan names for space reasons.
- The HSA and Tax columns are both blank because it's "child only" plans.
- Based on the best case/worst case numbers I chose four plans and investigated their specific coverage. The best thing, for me, was to remember that now with ObamaCare preventative care is covered 100% no matter what plan you have.

Best Case Scenario
Annual Premium. No other money spent.

Worst Case Scenario
Annual premium *added to* Total Out Of Pocket Limit.





I found it very interesting to see how a "full coverage/$0 deductable" policy could really cost you a whole lot more especially if you are a healthy person. You could spend as much in *Best Case* as you would in some cheaper plans *Worst Case*.

April Wrap-Up

May 1st, 2013 at 10:08 pm

April was a pretty darn good month! Smile

We Spring cleaned our yard and demolished the old shed in the backyard. 'Game of Thrones' season three started. DD got her bees. We planted our garden. Spent family time in the lovely weather. I read two fun, light-hearted books by Nora Roberts. We enjoyed a few visits from friends and family.

From April 1 to today I have lost six pounds. Smile
I had plenty of little "cheats" - ice cream, pie, cupcakes, cookies etc.. So I could've done a bit better. I feel really great about continuing on because I am happy with the results and not feeling hungry/deprived/unhappy with my meals.

There weren't any unexpected expenses *knock-on-wood* in April. And I got a raise. Big Grin

If you read me often you know food spending is a biggie at our house. April we managed to keep it just under $700. I don't remeber the exact amount because I'm at work and Quicken is at home. That was with a bunch of meat purchases too, so I am happy about that.

The "Early to Rise Challenge" got off to a good start at the begainning of the month and fizzled out toward the end. I think there were nine days when I was up an hour, or more, earlier than usual. I really did like the extra time on those mornings.

This month I just want more of the same. Big Grin

Happy May everyone!