New to BFS? Please click here to get started. See you in the comments soon!

Baby Update – Around 2 Weeks to Go!!!

This post may contain affiliate links.

The last two weeks have been extremely productive when it comes to baby prep, but obviously not so much when it comes to blogging.  I think the best way I can describe this last month of pregnancy to someone who hasn’t been through it is to equate it to an old phone battery.  I am given a certain amount of energy to use before I just shut off without warning.  Then I nap for 1-3 hours, and *poof*, I’m back.  But I never know how much energy I’ll be assigned.  It’s a fun mystery every time I try to tackle a project or to-do list item.  😉 Shout Out to Liberty Healthshare Thus Far I’ve explained that we don’t have classic health insurance before, but I’m not sure if I’ve brought up Liberty Healthshare recently.  We switched over to this health sharing company in mid-2016 and they’ve been amazing so far.  $299 a month into a group pot and an annual unshared amount of $1000.  This will go up to $450 a month once our daughter arrives and $1500 up front each year.  Still way cheaper than the $750 a month that regular healthcare was rising up to when we … Read more

Baby Update – One Month to Go!!!

This post may contain affiliate links.

It’s hard to blog, or really accomplish anything, right now.  I’m in a weird limbo world where I want to get everything ready for our daughter’s arrival, but naps, Facebook, tv, and absolutely any other time waster seems way more attractive.  🙂 Baby Making Update My baby bump has inflated, we’ve finished our hospital birthing classes, we’ve done the hospital tour and pre-registered, and now it’s just weekly doctor appointments and waiting to pop while I keep swallowing acid reducers to stay sane. This little one is developing really well!  All of her measurements are coming in fine.  She’s already around 6 pounds with a month to go, which they think is perfectly healthy and not too big at the same time.  All of my tests have come back fine.  All of my baby-delivering parts are where they need to be and doing what they need to do.  So far, so good! Physically, making a mini-human hasn’t been all bad for me.   Granted, I still wouldn’t be one of those women who say, “I loved being pregnant!”, but all of my friends and family have had it worse.  The Annoying Parts I had the “morning” sickness that first trimester, but … Read more

Adventures in Baby-Making – The Third Trimester So Far

This post may contain affiliate links.

Hey all y’all!!!  As of today, I’m 33.5 weeks pregnant and our daughter is rocking and rolling!  My baby bump is obvious but I am apparently “carrying well”, so I’m looking good for someone less than 2 months from popping, haha.  She’s still expected to make her way out of me between mid-late June (June 15 is the 40 week mark but first time moms often carry longer).  Yep, Still Creepy When It’s Yours – But Creepy Cool The “Alien” style way she likes to stretch and looks to want to burst out right above my belly button is right on cue and just as creepy as it sounds.  Oddly enough, that doesn’t hurt as much as when she pushes super low and crushes my bowels or whatever other important things are down there…maybe the “Alien” writers couldn’t accurately show that level of pain and went for the easy burst out scene… Also creepy is how my body doesn’t wind down as it loses energy.  It just stops.  One minute, I’ll be chugging right along cutting a tomato for fajita toppings.  Then I just have to stop and sit down for 10 minutes like a switch was flipped in my … Read more

20 Things I Like To Do

This post may contain affiliate links.

I was reading this post at my blogging friend’s site, Surviving and Thriving, about 15 things she likes to do.  She mentions that she got the idea from a 20 things list that my other blogging buddy made over on his site, Get Rich Slowly. And sex was right up there with both of them (#1 for Donna – hubba, hubba…those puns must really work).  😉 Well, let’s see what I can come up with pretty quickly: Intimate Time with my Husband I do like sex.  But I also rate snuggling way up there.  And I enjoy the times we just tell each other about our day and make plans for the next one.  Pretty much, I’m lumping all my hubby relationship stuff together. Hang Out with Close Friends My close friends are like my counselors and adopted family combined.  I’m not sure they know how truly important they are to me.  10 years ago, I didn’t have that.  It was my husband, some acquaintances, and our families.  Now we have this amazing support network.  Board gaming and blogging are the two hobbies that truly opened up the world to my hubby and me. Family Time Our support network kicks … Read more

Our Current Monthly Nut

This post may contain affiliate links.

I haven’t kept up with a monthly budget in several years.  I do keep an eye on our credit card totals at the end of each month before paying them off in full to make sure we aren’t losing our minds.  Since our expenses are lower than our income, and we are hitting our annual savings goals, I have been pretty laid back about the specifics.   But our daughter in due in June, we’ll both be taking a few weeks off at least, and I wanted to know how much per month we actually spend. Our Monthly Spending Has Changed But Not Increased Surprisingly, it’s about the same as the last time I worked out our numbers.  Our medical premiums went down but we increased our monthly mortgage payments.  Cell phone bills have decreased by about 50% with Ting but car payments went up.  Our gasoline needs have decreased but our water rates increased, so those balanced each other out.  We no longer have housekeeping services but our property taxes increased when our values rose, and that ate the extra. Our Monthly Nut is Between $5500-$7000 In short, we still need about $5500 a month to simply cover our monthly … Read more

Property Tax Appraisals Matter

This post may contain affiliate links.

For the last few years, I’ve been getting more involved in my local community mainly through Nextdoor.com and our neighborhood’s Facebook group.  I wanted to feel more connected to the people who exist around me.  What does this really mean?  I spend WAY too much time on social media.  AND, I get to see questions that I no longer see in personal finance blogs.  It can get a little stale preaching to the choir. Getting Blind-Sided by Property Taxes For example, one of my neighbors from Nextdoor.com got walloped by her bank for a couple of extra thousand dollars because her home’s appraised value zoomed up, she escrows, and the bank didn’t take enough every month last year to cover the property tax increase.  She knew in passing that the appraised value increased but didn’t know to protest it.  She also didn’t know what that would do to her property taxes.  So now she feels blind-sided. Crystal’s Take on Official Home Appraisals and Property Taxes Here was how I replied: It looks like a few people have already summarized the process. We receive our annual property tax appraisals from in the first 3rd of the year. They can increase the … Read more

When is Enough, Enough? Stop Settling for a Mediocre Bank!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Banks just aren’t what they used to be. A generation ago, competition between banks was fierce and customer service was excellent. Today, things have changed. The Great Recession has consolidated the market and consumers have fewer choices than ever before. However, just because there are fewer options, doesn’t mean you should settle for Mr. Wrong Bank. Bad customer service Not all banks are equal. Large banks have so much of the market that customer service doesn’t need to be a priority – the bank simply exists and, if you need access to your money from a lot of different places, you’re probably a customer of a bank with a lot of branches and ATMs. Luckily, with an increasing number of virtual banks in America, you don’t need to put up with poor service just to have access to your money. Virtual banks often have partnerships with brick-and-mortar banks, allowing their customers to access their money through a large network of ATMs or via cash back opportunities at local stores. If you’re fed up with long lines and rude tellers, tell your bank you’ve had enough and move on. Too expensive Not too long ago, the mere idea of a bank … Read more