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Fit in a Fun Friday – The Zoo

One of my high school friends, Maggie, invited my husband and me to come visit about a month ago and take a tour of her job.  I know a private tour of somebody’s job doesn’t sound like that much fun…unless they work at a zoo! Yep, we got a free private tour of a zoo! It was great.  We were able to feed Jeffrey the giraffe and Babe the rhino (you can see their pictures below…well Babe’s booty and her companion’s pic).  My friend also told us the histories of each animal she knew and the funny stories that have happened along the way. They have one elephant that seems to take offense at inanimate objects…she mangled a fence without even trying.  We also met a wild turkey that refused to settle down…I swear, he thought we were really after his woman and could stay completely puffed up for hours on end.  He’s going to give himself a heart attack. The last picture is of Mukah, an orangutan that really thinks he is human… By the time we had seen the whole place, I felt like I had known those animals for years. I also remembered the ton other zoo visits I have enjoyed.  My parents enjoyed taking my … Read more

Crappy Companies and Front-Running Favorites

I read Frugal Scholar’s post, Virgin Mobile: Worst Customer Service Ever: Move Over Chico’s, and thought this would be a great time to bring up the companies I truly despise and the ones that I sincerely appreciate. Crappy Companies: Fedex – My most recent experience has convinced me to avoid them as much as possible in the future.  There will be a post about it as soon as everything is wrapped up. Comcast – Multiple awful customer service experiences regarding glitchy hardware after Time Warner was bought out by Comcast caused us to move to AT&T U-Verse. General Motors – As I posted earlier this week, I will never give Chevy my money again after the multiple problems due to poor materials on my Aveo in the last 6 months even though it has less than 42,000 miles. Chase – When we were moved over from WAMU, Chase double-charged our $900 mortgage payment and took a little more than 3 weeks to credit it back to our account.  We actually received the credit exactly 5 days before our next mortgage payment was due. Gentle Dental – Wiggled while they gave me the shot for pain (that hurt ALOT) and then kept accidentally spraying me in the face since the doctor … Read more


I covered the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post.  I’ve been using Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives. I have already covered the first four points – Spend Less Than You Earn, start an Emergency Fund, review Retirement Savings, and Debt.  The fifth point was to diversify your investments.  This means making a list of your investments and the amount invested in each one. Type of Accounts First, I’d highly suggest investing in different types of accounts.  For example, compound interest in a 401k is taxable when you start making your retirement withdrawals since you contribute pre-tax income.  The compound interest of a Roth IRA is not taxable since you contribute post-tax money.  By investing in taxable and non-taxable accounts for retirement, you can balance your withdrawals to stay in the lowest tax bracket possible in your later years. We invest in a 401k and a Roth IRA (hopefully two soon) in order to cover our retirement years along with my husband’s pension.  We also make investments in individual stocks in a Scottrade account to cover the years between our target retirement age of 52 and our “normal retirement age”. By diversifying accounts, … Read more

Our Food Budget

After reading other blogs and seeing the comments left on this post, I realize that my husband and I have a very different food budget than most others in the personal finance world.  That spurred me to come clean. Here’s where our food money has gone in 2010: 1.  Kroger’s – We spend about $125 a month for perishables like whole milk, Country Crock margarine spread, real butter, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, other fruit that is in season and cheap, Digiorno pizzas, hot dogs, Manager Special steaks, frozen Tilapia, and necessary parts of a menu that we don’t buy in bulk. 2.  Sam’s Club – We spend about $30 a month on steaks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork chops, frozen green beans, frozen corn on the cob, Honey Nut Cheerios, Nature’s Own Honey Wheat bread, and potato chips.  I usually make a Sam’s Club run once every 2 -3 months. 3.  Angel Food Ministries – Whenever we like the monthly menu for their Signature Box, we buy 1 or 2 boxes at $30 each.  Each box gives us enough food for at least 10 meals and sides for a few more. 4.  Walmart – We spend about $50 a month on cleaning supplies, hygiene products, hamburger meat, sandwich meat, … Read more

My Crappy Car

What to do with a lemon car! Is your car a lemon? Mine definitely is. This lady has a solution to her car troubles and figured out how to use the BBB and Consumer Affairs to fix her crappy car problems. I'm loving these life hacks that save the budget and make things work again.

About a month ago, I mentioned car problems.  Here’s the whole story of my crappy car so far. The Car I own a 2005 Chevy Aveo that I bought brand new for $11,200 on a 5 year loan.  I ended up paying a total of about $12,800 by the time I paid it off 2 years later.  It’s currently 5 years old and has driven about 42,000 miles.  I bought it because I needed an inexpensive car, I was young enough to think that used cars sucked, and I only needed a commuter vehicle.  This was 3 years before I figured out how to buy a car properly or how to sell a car on Craigslist. For 4 years, my Aveo did its job with only a few minor problems.  It slowly leaks about an inch of brake fluid every 4-6 months which I refill on my own now for $2 a shot.  It also wears down good tires every 2 1/2 years or 20,000 miles. I’ve stuck to the maintenance schedule in the owner manual since I first bought it, so I thought I would be okay until at least 2012. The First Situation Last November (2009), my check engine light … Read more

Happy Mother’s Day!

We spent yesterday evening with my in-laws and we’re spending today with my parents.  Hope my mom likes the two Double Knockout rose bushes I got her (that my lawn guy accidentally planted, sheesh)… Along this line of thought, do parents really appreciate homemade gifts from their kids?  Even the obviously crappy ones like the blue ash tray I made out of playdough for my mom when I was 5 even though no one in my family smokes?  LOL Hope everyone’s day goes well!