The American Dollar
OUR FAMILY. OUR MONEY. ONE PERSONAL FINANCE BLOG.
One industrious American family's focus on a financial goal of freedom. Through worldly personal finance education, here is our story.
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Our Story: Both my wife and I are 27 years old and have gone through financial hell and back. Now we are on track to financial freedom, however we are not financial advisors or professionals, just everyday people. Share our journey from a negative networth and email us if you have questions or comments! :)



RECENT POSTS

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Home improvement recap and some family stuff


After that last post, I havent had an opportunity to write another post due to a cousin's wedding and visiting relatives on my wife's side of the family. Needless to say they are as excited as we are to be having a girl... they also want to know names! Shhhhh! We had to keep some of it a secret! Anyway that was mainly the weekend and us getting back into the groove this week.

Ok one issue I wanted to touch on: Home improvements. We have made some after being debt free except for the mortgage and having savings in the bank. First is a new cedar privacy fence around our backyard (we havent had a fence in 2 years) $3280 PAID IN CASH. Second is the wood trim on the house being replaced and repainted; Cost $835 paid for with cash. Thirdly this weekend we are getting a main bathroom sink chosen and then installed later next week. Cost: $600, which of course we havent yet but will pay for with, you guessed it, cash. With all this home stuff getting to our heads, Im beginning to think that we need to make sure we have some left over to max out our ROTH IRAs this year. My wife wants to make sure we have enough for Christmas too. I'll be posting a budget shortly to show all of our expenses, this way we will have a monthly/weekly plan for where the money is filtered.

On a side note, she decided to buy some cute little GIRL outfits and I know its a little early but she wanted to endulge herself after the recent findings :) Cost was less than $50 so it was ok!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Family MILESTONE!


Today we went to the doctor's office to find out the sex of our baby! Im excited to say that its going to be..........A GIRL!!!!!! Our baby girl! I can't believe its been a crazy 5 months wondering and wondering what kind of "gender neutral" stuff to get for the baby room and clothing, etc. But the wait is over... it was a 50/50 shot and honestly, as long as its a healthy 10 finger 10 toed kid, we could care less! The wife and I celebrated afterward with going to a wonderful lunch at a neighborhood restaurant and calling both our parents. Today has been a mixture of joy, excitement, and just a little nerve racking. Even though its our first steps towards parenthood, its still a very very new experience for us. (Its mostly excitement, though :) YEAH!!!!

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Are we minivan crazy?

In the past weeks, my wife and I have been discussing the possibility of upgrading her Toyota Corolla to a Minivan or SUV. A couple things that I thought before we even considered upgrading is 1. how much? or equal trade? 2. is it practical? Since we are having our FIRST child, i dont know if a minivan is going to be the most practical. The corolla is a great car and we love it for its gas mileage and makes sense for our age group. It does have enough room for a child seat and cargo too. My question is if we need to carry anything extra that may make it a tiny bit uncomfortable if we have 3 people in the corolla? Ive been looking at other vehicles like the Rendevoux, CR-V, and RAV-4 to balance out the minivan. Who knows, maybe I'm just going through a "phase" and it will pass, however an addition to our family is coming soon! Tuesday we find out if its a girl or a boy!! :)

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cutting those CORNERS~!


I love cutting corners on the budget. It makes sure that we maximize the dollars that are coming into the house. First thing I noticed is that we are paying too much for local cable. Our cable modem is NOT rented so we dont pay a rental fee, but we have the higher end high speed: upto 3MB download. We downgraded to the 768k speed which so far I havent really noticed, because all I do online is get email, read blogs, check news... so not too much high end downloading going on (songs downloaded now take about 2 minutes instead of 1... again unnoticable.) I going to try out Verizon for their DSL service which will save us another $10; I'll let you know how the trial goes.

Secondly the cable bill got me thinking that we dont really need all our 999 channels of television... my wife also agrees and points out that we hardly ever watch tv and she tapes her local channel soaps, so we are cutting it down to 100 regular cable channels for another $20 less! I will be returning our digital box and remote this weekend.

Finally one more cut this week, our netflix went sky high and I havent even noticed that we are being charged close to $40 a month for entertainment. Since the DVDs are for myself and almost never for my wife, we lowered it to the 3 DVDs at a time for $17.99 a month, saving us about $22/month. But I bit the one time bullet and bought a one year pass on ebay for $150 and just squashed the monthly rental, which saved us about $70 for the year additional.

Because I know we are probably going to spend a little bit on the baby, I'm trying to be a little prepared budget-wise. All our additional "luxuries" are currently being scrutinized and we learn to adjust to a lifestyle below our means (or at least think that way) Thats what its all about! We are also trying to get out and enjoy this great weather too.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Birth Order

Even though I dislike forwards, got this today and thought it was funny :)

THE BIRTH ORDER OF CHILDREN
>
> Your Clothes:
> 1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN
>confirms your pregnancy.
> 2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
> 3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
>______________________________________________________
> Preparing for the Birth:
> 1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
> 2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time,
>breathing didn't do a thing.
> 3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.
> ______________________________________________________
> The Layette:
> 1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and
>fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
> 2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard
>only the ones with the darkest stains.
> 3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?
> ______________________________________________________
> Worries:
> 1st baby: At the first sign of distress-a whimper,
> a frown-you pick up the baby.
> 2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails
> threaten to wake your firstborn.
> 3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how
> to rewind the mechanical swing.
> ____________________________________________________
> Pacifier:
> 1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor,
> you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
> 2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor,
> you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
> 3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
> ______________________________________________________
> Diapering:
> 1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour,
> whether they need it or not.
> 2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours,
> if needed.
> 3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain
>about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
> ______________________________________________________
> Activities:
> 1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics,
> Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
> 2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
> 3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket
> and the dry cleaner.
> ______________________________________________________
> Going Out:
> 1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter,
> you call home five times.
> 2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a
>number where you can be reached.
> 3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call
> only if she sees blood.
> ______________________________________________________
> At Home:
> 1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day
> just gazing at the baby.
> 2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older
>child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
> 3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day
> hiding from the children.
>
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
> 1st child: When first child swallows a coin,
> you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
> 2nd child: When second child swallows a coin,
> you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
> 3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his
>allowance!

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