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7 Tips for Getting the Best Price on Shades

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We have no shades on our windows. No curtains, either. I have been getting dressed in the hallway, where there are no windows, to protect the neighbors, and save a little dignity. We have some curtains, but I have been holding out for buying some nice cellular shades, which will save us some money on energy costs. I didn’t realize what a pain it would be to order shades. But here I am, two months after moving in, getting dressed in the hallway. Don’t take forever to learn how to get a great price, Read more […]

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6 Tools for Your Financial Safety Net

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After tumbling down the stairs with my infant in my arms, I was grateful for the financial safety nets we have installed in our lives — even if we didn’t have to use all of them. I feel pretty stupid for falling down the stairs, but as my dad always says, “that’s why they call it an accident.” I didn’t intend for it to happen, and I couldn’t have predicted or preventing it from happening. That is exactly why we should all have safety nets in place. As we take on more responsibilities in life, Read more […]

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May Financial Update: Feeling the Pinch of Home Ownership

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This past month has been wonderful emotionally and a bit stressful financially. When I walk out my door in the morning, I am assaulted by a cacophony of birds and the smell of a pine forest. It feels like I am on a camping trip and just got out of my tent in the morning. I think to myself, “time to build a camp fire.” I love our new house. I love our land. I love our community. I am very, very happy. I have a different feeling when I sit down to puzzle through our family ledger. There Read more […]

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The Cost of Outsourcing

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  We’re all busy, and I don’t know about you, but I hate cleaning. I also am not a huge fan of raking and mowing the lawn. Come to think of it, I’d prefer to hire a plumber to fix our toilet and a handy person to help install a sump pump. Yet, I resist. Although I tell myself that it’s not a lot of money, and that I could be earning money during the time that I’m not cleaning the house, I still resist the temptation. But I have never actually crunched the numbers. How much does it Read more […]

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Our New Debt Profile: What Loan Should We Pay Off First?

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As you know, we started off our professional lives with over $200,000 in student loan debt. After almost 8 years of paying those down — sometimes with minimum payments and sometimes aggressively — we are down to about $177,000. Last month, we added a $517,500 mortgage to our debt profile. Because we borrowed just under 88% of the value of our house, we have to pay PMI. PMI, or mortgage insurance, is tacked on to mortgages for more than 80% of the appraised value of the house. Once the mortgage Read more […]

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What Would You Do With a Bonus?

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Commuting home the other night, the radio gave away $1,000 to the 25th caller. When I heard the announcement, I regretted that I was driving, because there was no way I could dial and drive at the same time. I really didn’t think my chances were very high anyway, so I wasn’t about to pull over to make the call. I got home and put dinner on the table, then waited for my boys to get home. They were late. When they arrived, Mr. Stapler told me that they stopped at Five Guys for a burger Read more […]

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Pivot {A New Direction for Staples Deals}

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a Staples deal since last year. You may have noticed that I actually took on more debt instead of paying off student loans. You may have noticed that I haven’t snagged any free batteries in the entire time that this blog has been live. What?!?! Although I continue to love getting free stuff at Staples, my life has changed significantly over the past year. With an infant, a preschooler, and a new (to me) house, I haven’t had the time to stop at Read more […]

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April Financial Update: A Whole New Debt Profile

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When I pictured my first night as a homeowner, I had an image of sitting in front of our new fireplace, surrounded by moving boxes and sipping champagne. Our actual first night as homeowners was nothing like that. I spent the evening in the basement, learning how to perform maintenance on the waterproofing system. Just as the record snowfall here in the Northeast tested even the best ice dam prevention measures, the resulting thaw is testing even the most sophisticated waterproofing systems. Read more […]

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30 Things to Do After You Buy Your First Home

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Just a little update from my previous post … 30 Things To Do Before You Move In To Your First Home … Aside from unpacking a whole lotta boxes, I compiled a brief list chronicling all the things we did in the first week of home ownership. Please tell me that some of these things sound familiar to you!  30 Things To Do AFTER You Move In To Your First Home Turn the water heater down. Feel energy savvy. Install programmable thermostat. Feel uber energy savvy. And handy around the Read more […]

Two Things I Wish I’d Known About Down Payment Gifts

When it came time to buy our first house, my parents did an amazingly generous thing: They gave us a big chunk of money for our down payment. We truly appreciate the gift, and wanted to find a great way to say "thank you." Unfortunately, our mortgage company made us do the opposite. Instead of making it easy for them to be generous, I had to call my parents and ask for "just one more favor" as the bank made them jump through hoops and intruded into their personal finances. Little did I know, Read more [...]