Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A little bombshell has rocked our world…

Most of you have read about Hannah and her upcoming procedures…   

Well, we’ve been going on the assumption that after Hannah’s surgery, she would return to daycare.

Turns out, this is going to be a lot more work than even we originally thought.  There is a very strong possibility I will have to take 3 months off work to care for Hannah.

Now, don’t get me wrong, three months with my baby girl sounds like Heaven.  Nobody will take care of her like her momma. 

But those three months are going to be without pay.  That’s a problem when the primary breadwinner is also the primary caretaker.

AND we recently depleted our savings – thanks to selling our house (we lost a couple thousand, instead of breaking even,)  thanks to taxes (those dern taxes – yes, even I have to pay taxes!) and thanks to a vacation that we’ve already bought & paid for.  

Thanks Murphy.  This couldn’t happen last year when we were sitting on a fully funded emergency fund. 

But we're trimming....

We’ve already trimmed a lot out of the vacation.  Any more trimming and we’d be paying more than saving.

We are still going, though.

I don’t know what else to do.  Cancel the trip?  How is that fair to the other two kids that have been counting down?  Reschedule?  My little man starts Kindergarten this fall.  So that’s out.  (Dave would be so unhappy with me.)

Ugh…life sucks sometimes.  (Mom – I’m sorry.  I know you don’t like it when I use “sucks.”)

There’s just no way to plan for these moments.  And I know it will work out.  We will get through it; God always gets you through it.  And honestly, I have to step back when I start fretting and think this is so small compared to others' issues. 

But I'm a nerd.  I have to plan it on paper before I know how we're going to get through it.  And this time I don't know. 

Extreme couponing?  Probably.

Begging, bartering, & borrowing?  Yep.

Free-loading - sign me up.

Selling my soul to the democrats- oh! I mean devil - that's where I draw the line!

If we get desperate, I might even have to sell my shoes! 

I’ll let you know if I have a yard sale.

Just promise me that I can buy my shoes back one day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Held Hostage

First, I have some big news.  One of my dear friends, co-worker (and reader!) got to meet DAVE yesterday and scream her debt free scream on the radio!  I was 100% jealous but so proud of her.  She sent me a picture of her, her cutie family, & Dave. 

I was screaming with excitement from my house.  Adorable aren't they?  She's Hokie fan and saint of God.  (One and the same, right?  lol.)  I'm trying to get her to move here.  So, pardon me while I take a minute and throw a hint her way.


I'm going to meet that man one day - and not as fan but as a peer.  (I know, I dream big.)

Moving on...

Second, I have a story for you.  Totally unrelated to Dave - well, maybe kinda related to him.  Like 3rd cousin, twice removed related.

I don't believe I've ever told you guys about how I was held hostage.

Yes.  I, Sarah, was held hostage.

And I had to be rescued by the police.

Ok, ok.

I was held hostage by a car salesman and rescued by Mr. DDA.

Not nearly as salacious as it first sounded I know.

It was about 4 years ago.  I drove a car that was thisbig.  No that's not a typo.  It was tiny.  And I desperately wanted a Toyota 4Runner.  Lord have mercy, I loved those cars.

I would drive through car lots on a weekly basis.  Scour Craiglists, online sites, even ebay Auto.  I had lost my mind.

I was in NO position to buy a new vehicle.  The tiny car was only about a year and half old and about 6 feet under water.  I would have to roll over about $8000 into the new loan. 

This was 2007 BD.  (Before Dave.)

But, I went to the local lot anyhow.  On New Years Eve. 

(Side note:  If you ever have tons of cash lying around and are looking to make a deal, go on New Years Eve.  The dealers are dying to make their quotas for month end, year end, bonuses, etc.)

I took a 4Runner for a test drive and when I came back, my tiny Urkel car was gone.

The salesman said, "Oh - they had to move your car.  I'll go get it.  Sit right here in my office."

I was such an idiot.  Bells should have started going off...I know.  You never sit in a car salesman's office.

But instead of going to get my car, he began to talk about finance options.


Where's my car, dude?  (Isn't that a movie?)

Finally after giving me some payment options - that were all over $600 a month.  (REEEE-diculous, I know.  Dave's eyeballs would pop out.)  I did ask, again, where my car was.

"Oh - were checking it over for trade in value."

Say what?  I just wanted to test drive the thing.

I tried playing the whole I can't do this without my husband thing.
I tried playing I'll go check my finances.
I tried I'm not 100% sure.
I even said my father had been rushed to the hospital and I had to leave.

Nothing worked.  He never returned with my keys.  I was there for 3 hours!!!!

That was the day I decided to NEVER walk in a car salesmans office unless I knew I was buying a car.  (Only took me 26 years to figure that one out.)

Finally, Mr. DDA rescued me.  Amazing how a man showing up in uniform suddenly ended the negotiations.  (I'm going to start keeping one in my trunk.  A uniform - not a man in uniform.)

I've yet to walk in a dealership with cash.  That's one of my goals. 

Probably will happen before I meet Dave though.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The IRA Conundrum

When I say "Roth" what do you think?

If you're from my neck of the woods, you probably immediately think of the best sound on the radio - the voice of Bill Roth - the announcer of the Virginia Tech Hokies.

He has this wonderful quote that opens every VT football game, "From the blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the hills of Tennessee, the Virginia Tech Hokies are on the air!" And then you hear the Virginia Tech fight song, Tech Triumph, which, despite popular belief, it is not "Enter Sandman."  Although playing the either is sure to bring down the house in a most raucous way.  Just ask Miami.

Ok, I'm digressing.  I'm seriously missing my college football.  (Can you tell?)

No.  The Roth I'm really referring to is Roth IRA's.  In the past couple weeks, I've gotten at least 4 different questions on about IRA's. 

Roth vs. Traditional

Here's the scoop...in layman's terms.

Traditional IRA contributions are deductible (up to a certain point) in the year when you make the contribution.  Making them basically tax-free.  But when you draw on them, during retirement, they are taxed at ordinary tax rates.

Roth IRA contributions provide no deduction in the year of contribution, but the draws are tax-free when you meet the minimum requirements.

I see both sides of the coin.

Some financial planners always push traditional IRA's.  It's the general thought that you are most likely going to be in a much lower tax bracket during retirement.  Therefore, you need the deduction now, while you're in a higher bracket.

Roth IRA backers say that you should always use them because you don't know what tax rates will be in the future.  Pay the tax now so that you are guaranteed tax-free money then. 

So which do you choose?

Um...it's really up to you. You can't go wrong by saving for your future. i plan on being a millionaire when I get older so I'd rather pay my taxes in the poor rates.
Hope this helps a little.  However, if you've got some serious money to invest, you need a professional financial planner and not me.  They can run your present & future value, rate of return calculations and all those other fun things the rest of us slept through in Corporate Finance.

All this talk of football has made me want to wear a sweater and eat chili...  Of course, it doesn't help that Pandora keeps randomly playing songs from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

PS - I've only gotten one guest post.  I'm begging & pleading for help here people.  :)  Surely you have something to share.  Even you don't have time to write it yet, just let me know you're planning on it so I can stop stressing over it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Por Favor?

Two quick things tonight...


Here in the next few weeks, I'm taking a vacation...


And, in case you've been living in a hole, my baby girl is having surgery. 

Needless to say, I doubt I will be on here much.  (I know you're thinking, "What's different than now?")

I would love to take this opportunity to invite some of my readers to guest post.

It doesn't have to be financial related, but it would be good if it was.  If you're a teacher, military spouse, housewife, sole breadwinner...

I want to hear from you!

I want to hear about your successes, failures, your takes on life.  Really.  Anything is appreciated.  And if it's just your opinion on my red high heels, I'll take that too.


I ran a mile tonight. 

I've been working on losing weight since January.  I only have about 15 pounds left and it's gotten painfully slow. 

So last Thursday I added something new into my routine.


Go ahead and laugh.

I'll wait.

You're still laughing?

Ok - better now?

See, Sarah doesn't do exercise.  Ever.  And I certainly don't run.  Even in high school when I was actually considered an athlete, I don't actually remember running a mile straight. 

Don't expect me to sign up for any 5K's or half marathon's.  But I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Hope you had a blast today!

Want to know what I did today?


Well, that's not entirely true. 

After my phone strangely went ka-put last night, I went to the local Verizon who promptly told me there was nothing they could do except buy a new one - at $500.  See, apparently, even though my phone is only 8 months old, the warranty only covers the "phone" and the charging port isn't part of the phone, regardless of the fact that you can't use their phone without a working charging port.

Score:  Bad Day 1 -  Sarah 0

(But I did call the most awesome Verizon store ever, ProCom Wireless, who fixed me right up.)

Then, I took my kids to a local Law Enforcement Memorial Parade.  It rained.  But they did get to see their daddy march in the Honor Guard.  I'll call that a tie.

Score:  Bad Day 2 - Sarah 1

Then we came home for nap time.  Where my kids refused to actually sleep at the same time, much to the dismay of their mother who only had about 5/6 hours of sleep the night before.

Score:  Bad Day 3 - Sarah 1

Then we stayed home and celebrated Cinco de Mayo with homemade tortilla soup.  Exciting, right?

I know...not so much.

Why so boring?  Because moi had her screw up of the year and forgot to put a rather large check in the checkbook register.  And when the family had all this "extra" money, she bought her husband an iPad.  Yeah...not really feeling like doing the Cha-cha right now.

Score:  Bad Day 603 - Sarah 1

Oh - and on top of all this - yours truly was investigated this week by the our IA dept.  Why?  Because when their piece of trash computer refused to read the CD they gave me to do 98% of my research, I got a program from a friend that would maybe, just maybe, get it to work.  Turns out, the thumb drive he gave me had some other not-so-kosher programs on it.  (Get your mind out of the gutter - not those kind of programs.)

Score:  Bad Week 1503 - Sarah 1

Back to today...

Then since my husband worked 10-10 today, I did everything...alone...except for the three kids, four years old and under.

So, I bathed my kids.  Girls first.  Then the boy.  I turned my back for a minute and then this happened...

Fully dressed...in the bathtub.
Yep - the one with hip problems climbed in by herself.

Score?  Bad Day: 1803 - Sarah: 1

So, as you can tell, this really hasn't been a banner day for me.  But I hope you had your fill of chips, salsa, and celebration! 

But hopefully, you had a great day.