Saturday, April 28, 2012

Medical Bills

I knew they were coming, I was dreading checking the mailbox and finally after 2 weeks of procrastinating I went and got the mail. We got 7 medical bills totaling $1,006 dollars. I went ahead and moved the money from our Savings Account to our Accounts Payable and soon the money will be gone:

I'm hoping and praying that we don't get any more crazy bills like this. So far this year we've spent close to $3,000 out of pocket for hospital stay, delivery and ICU. That's not counting all the prescription medications and the pediatrician bill and copays. 

The other day I was watching MTV'S 16 and pregnant thinking, those poor kids, how do they do it? Having a baby is a lot of stress and can really set you back financially. Hopefully the show teaches other teens be careful and plan ahead.

No more bills, No more bills!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paid Off Best Buy!

As promised, the Best Buy account is back down to ZERO! I know replacing the TV was probably not a good decision but it had to be done. I can't believe I got this paid off so fast but when I put all my energy in to something, I make it happen:

I also got another $45 back in Reward Zone certificates, I accrued more points since I became a Premier member after buying the refrigerator. I need to cash those in soon since they do have expiration dates. I wish I could trade them in for gift cards since those don't expire.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Citi Balance Transfer Update

Quick update on the Citi Balance transfer, I put in the request last Friday for the money to go to our own checking account and that same night the money was credited. As you can see the money is now sitting in our accounts payable and it will be sent over to the other Citi card next week:

As I'm doing this balance transfer I'm getting all kinds of ideas in my head. In just a few hours I was able to secure thousands of dollars from Citi at 0% for one year. With the amount of credit available on this account, I could transfer $20,000 dollars and pay cash for a new car or use that money for investments. I can't believe how easy it is to get that much money sent to a checking account. Yes, there's that pesky 3% fee but getting a loan at a credit union or a bank would also have a loan origination fee and take days if not weeks.

I am very happy with Citi, they gave me my first credit card in college and my credit limit was $500 dollars. I know these offers are their way of keeping me around as a customer but I have to admit, I like the convenience of having access to a large credit line and the fact that money can be borrowed quickly if needed.  

Yes I know, don't remind me... I still have to pay this money back :((


Friday, April 20, 2012

Preemie Baby

I absolutely love the fact that we have a preemie baby. Everyone has regular babies but few people will ever experience holding a 3 pound baby. The first time I picked up my little girl she was 3 pounds, she was tiny and around 12 inches long. She arrived through a C section and came out crying  which meant her little lungs were developed enough to breath on her own.


Today she finally reached 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Her doctor said it will take her up to age 2 to reach the same height and weight of a regular toddler, which means we get more baby time! It has been a little crazy and hectic, it feels like we never sleep anymore and we lost our social life but it was all worth it.

So for those of you parents that had regular normal babies, here’s what you missed out on:

You will never sit in front of an incubator with monitors and alarms going off. After a while you learn what everything is and what the alarms do. Sure, a sudden drop of heart beat from 160 to 55 is scary but as a parent you just know everything is going to be alright.

You will never have to travel back and forth to the hospital to see your little baby. We had to drive many miles, often3 to 4 times a day, it is so hard to stay away.

You will never have the privilege of a direct line to a nurse and doctor, 24 hours a day. Yup, you can call and a nurse answers on the other end, not some stupid answering service with the usual hang up and call 911 if this is an emergency.

You will never cheer your baby gaining 1g of weight, yes grams not pounds. Keep in mind most preemie babies also lose weight the first few days in ICU.

You will never experience the temperature and feel of an incubator. Did you know that even 80 years ago most babies were still born at home with midwifes and most hospitals refused to purchase incubators because they were deemed too expensive? Believe it or not the first incubators for premature babies were built and displayed at century at fairs, amusement parks and expositions. Yes, preemies were rare and people paid money to see them develop and desperate parents did anything to see their babies make it.

You will never experience feeding tubes, IV’s, blood pressure monitors, heart monitors hooked up to your baby for weeks. Our little girl even had her IV on her head, it was not pretty but her veins were so thin that nurses had trouble finding the right place to put her IV.

And you will never experience the cost, yes we paid for the same things like the pregnancy and delivery but on top of that they hospital billed the insurance a good $250,000 dollars! Yikes, I hope we’re not responsible for 20% of that.

Alright, enough about preemies! There’s more but I don’t want to bore you with all the details. I wish I could find more positive stuff about preemies online, everything focuses on the negatives and issues and risks with care.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Citi Balance Transfer

As I said in my previous post, I have NO desire to pay down my Citi Forward card so until I can work out the vehicle situation to pay it off, I plan to transfer the balance for 12 months and enjoy 0% interest. Below is the offer on my other Citi card, this is the Thank You account I cut up a long time ago on the blog. The balance remains zero and the credit line is $23,000. Moving the balance to that card will probably also help my credit score.

Now of course you can't transfer a balance to the same creditor, it clearly says that on the terms and conditions  BUT the nice thing about Citi is they will deposit the money in your checking account and you can use it any way you want. They transfer the money the same day and it credits at midnight like a direct deposit. As soon as that money hits my account I will make a payment back to the other Citi card.

Also, as you can see there is a fee and that's how they make their money. At 3% of the balance which I'm hoping will be $6,000 when I transfer would add $180 to the balance. This is still better than adding $65 dollars every month in interest.

Now for my plan to work I NEED TO STOP USING CREDIT CARDS but I can't cut up or get rid of this card. This is the card that's there for us when we have emergencies. But this is how we get in to trouble, as most of you know we can charge $1,000 like there's no tomorrow :(


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The $50 Light Bulb

I love technology and I'm always looking for ways to improve things around the house. I've replaced most of the light bulbs in our house with LED bulbs. These bulbs are a bit more pricey but they save a lot of energy and last for years. My favorite LED bulbs are made by Phillips and their newest one, the Endura LED 10W A19 Dimmable L PRIZE Winner is simply the best! It uses 10 watts of energy but provides the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent bulb and the same color of light. The only issue with this light bulb is the price, at most online stores they go for 50 dollars:

I hope I'm not the only person in the world who would spend that much to save a few dollars on their electric bill but I did buy just one. This light bulb is in the lamp that sits between the kitchen and the breakfast table and it stay on all night. This light is set on a timer and it's the only light in the house that's on for more than 12 hours per day. 

Would you spend $50 dollars on one light bulb?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Best Buy, Baby and Citi

Quick update on the Best Buy balance, the total due now is only $500. The account should be paid off with the next April paycheck around the 20th. All other bills for April look normal and we still have some money set aside for hospital expenses. Here is the latest screen shot:

Also, wife and I decided not to get the chair at Macy's since we can't find it at the price we want. We will continue saving the gift cards and use them to offset any Macy's related expenses that may come up. We also have close to $500 saved up in gift cards for stores like Walmart, Target and Babies R Us. We can use those gift cards to get stuff like diapers and baby formula. Another great way to get baby stuff we found is to invite grandparents over and have them bring stuff we need for the baby. It worked out quite nicely last weekend, we saved well over $200 for stuff we needed for the baby. The added bonus is they always bring the baby all kinds of cute outfits.

The other issue we have is the Citi Forward card. We continue to put stuff on it so there's no  progress on that card. I've decided I don't want to pay this balance so the new plan is to wait until my vehicle is paid off, sell it and send that money to Citi. I drive a 'luxury' brand so I should be able to sell it for $8,000. The plan is to send part of that money to Citi and be done with that card and be credit card debt free again

As far as new vehicle goes, someone I know has a car that they plan to get rid off in the coming months and they promised it to me for $5,000. The car is a 2007 model with 50,000 miles. I can finance that small amount with a credit union and pay it off over 3 years. The idea is to have a set car note, no more Citi and no more credit cards, cash cash cash only. 

Have a good weekend!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 2012 Updates

Quick updates for April 2012, there's really not a lot whole lot going on right now. We have a preemie baby at home so we don't go out at all. This weekend the wife and I left the grandparents babysitting the little one and we went grocery shopping, we spent $256 dollars on food items. Gas for my car was another $54 and we also went to the movies to see Hunger Games and spent another $35 there.

We did not purchase the chair I mentioned on the previous post YET. I asked the wife, she likes the idea and thinks it would be a good home purchase but the price went up to $949. It's really something we don't need, she does have rocking chair in the nursery but she wanted something in the living room. If I see it go on sale again for $499 I will get it but that's all I'm willing to pay, I will not get it if the price is $599. If we don't get the chair we can always save the gift cards for emergencies or birthday gifts.

Best Buy HDTV balance is down to $500! I know most of you didn't like that purchase but it had to be made. I have $2,000 saved up for hospital bills and $1,000 saved for any baby emergencies. I really wanted to get that purchase out of the way and since we've been staying home it has in come very handy, we watch it every day. If nothing crazy comes up I should have this paid off in two weeks.

This weekend I also went to the Apple store to have my iPad looked at. Not sure if you can see on the image below but the screen started getting some kind of liquid damage? In less than 5 minutes the sales associate asked me if I needed any files out of the old iPad, he was going to replace it with a new one since it's still under warranty. I must say I'm very impressed with Apple, that was the fastest and easiest product replacement I've ever done. The other picture is the brand new iPad with my blog home page:

This weekend we also splurged a little. My wife watched the movie Easy A with Emma Stone and there's a scene where she's wearing black Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses:

She asked me if I could get her the same sunglasses so I went to eBay and found them brand new for $99. While browsing I also found a pair of Ray Ban Tech's for $109 so I ordered them for me. This was totally a splurge and wants purchase but every once in a while it's good to spend some money on things and have a little fun.

That's all the updates I have for now, I hope every one had a great weekend. If you find misspellings on this post please keep in mind I had a fussy baby on my lap when I wrote this!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Spending - We Need a Chair

I apologize for the TV purchase, most of you didn't like that one too much BUT rest assured and don't worry, I will have it paid off this at the end of this month. The issue now is the wife wants a new chair or recliner to hang out with the baby. I swear someone told me to get a good rocking chair to use with the baby, that it was essential for rocking and feeding. Did I listen? Of course not, and now the wife is asking me for a chair to do just that.

More spending! but hopefully this is the last big item. The plan is to get something that can go with our furniture and also serve the purpose of rocking the baby. I also want something that I can use a few years down the road so I decided to go with a leather recliner. I saw this one at Macy's for $599.00 but I remember seeing it a couple of weeks ago on sale for $499.99:

I tried it out in the store and it was very comfortable. I also read the reviews and most people seem to like it. The quality for that price is not bad so as soon as I see it for $499 I will go order it. Don't worry, I will not be adding any more debt. The reason I chose Macy's is because we have tons of gift cards from there that we haven't used. This is how much money we have saved up:

$100 Macy's Gift Card: Wife's Birthday Gift.
$75 Macy's Gift Card: I got this as a store credit when I returned Christmas gifts.
$50 Macy's Gift Card: Citi Thank You rewards, 5,000 points.
$40 Macy's Gift Card: Award I won from my previous consulting client.
$30 Macy's Gift Card: Not sure about this one... I think it was a birthday gift?
$100 cash: Miscellaneous cash we got at the hospital when baby was born.
$50 Target Visa: Baby gift.

That's all the money we have saved up. I also have a change jar that is full, usually I get $50 at Coinstar when full. I think you can get gift cards on there and avoid their fee. The rest of the money will come from our checking account and this purchase will be paid in full and with cash- NO DEBT!