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 [...]

30 Things To Do Before you Move In To Your First Home

Finding and negotiating a home purchase is only the beginning of the work and stress involved in buying a house. We are in the home stretch of the home-buying and moving process, and my "To Do" list was about five times longer after we found the perfect house at the right price. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. We close this week! In the event that it might be useful for other planning purposes, I am sharing my quick and dirty list of the things that have been on my plate Read more [...]
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March Financial Update: Spending Frozen!

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We continued our spending freeze in February because January’s freeze didn’t seem so difficult, and our spending was solid ice all month long! I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished. We had two big expenditures that were predicted, and other than that we had no unexpected spending, not even takeout. How did the Spending Freeze Go? The first big expense was our house deposit and associated purchase fees, to the tune of over $30,000. This huge expense motivated us to keep our spending frozen. The Read more […]

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5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Next Move

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Moving can be such a pain. I have moved over a dozen times in my lifetime. Once, I rented a moving truck that was too small. On moving day, we had an entire garage full of stuff that I didn’t even want, which we had to leave behind and clean out the next weekend. The worst part? We had moved to a different state. So, cleaning out that garage took us an entire day and wasted a ton of money on another truck rental and lots of gas. Lesson learned. Don’t get me wrong: I love to plan a move Read more […]

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Nobody’s Perfect: Thoughts on Choosing the Right Path

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In life, in parenting, in money management, in relationships, you name it: Nobody’s perfect. First, we play the hand that is dealt us. Then, our decisions don’t always lead to the result we wanted. In my 36 years on this planet, I’ve learned that the best way we can go about our one and only life is to make the best decisions we can make, with the information we have at the time. There is no one better equipped to make those decisions than yourself. It is with that outlook that Mr. Stapler Read more […]

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We Saved $110 per Month With This Easy Switch

I was late to the mobile phone world. I didn’t buy my first cell phone until 2005. I got a Verizon plan and stayed with Verizon for the next nine years. Although Mr. Stapler has been on my case to switch to a less expensive provider for years, I was too nervous that a different provider would have less coverage for reception or more dropped calls. I felt like Verizon was reliable, so why change? But when I thought about it, I realized that I only got cell phone reception in one place in our townhouse. Read more […]

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What does Improving Productivity have to do with Frogs?

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After my 2015 Goals post, where I committed to understanding and slaying my incredible ability to dilly dally, Carrie from Making Lemonade suggested that I read the book Eat That Frog: 21 Great ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. It’s the kind of book you can pick up and read in short bursts, which you may do because you will want to put it down and get to work on whatever task is hanging over you head at that moment.  The book is “focused on increasing your overall levels Read more […]

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February Financial Update: Results from our Spending Freeze

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We weren’t perfect with our spending freeze, but the exercise was valuable and did buffer the cold draft blowing our cash away. One nasty surprise for us, however, was when we found out that Mr. Stapler’s former employer screwed up our W2 forms. Although the employer paid to have an accounting firm prepare amended tax returns, we nonetheless had to pay more in taxes. I’m not going to mince words: That really sucked! The rules of my self-imposed spending freeze were that we could only buy items Read more […]

2015 Goals

I almost didn't write this post. I pretty much failed all of my 2014 goals and didn't want to even think about how to set goals that I wouldn't fail at this year. It's a wonder that I'm even trying to set goals for 2015, given the miserable failure that was my intention to achieve a few personal finance milestones. Yet, here I am -- ready to set myself up for failure again! No, no ... I won't set myself up for failure this time. And I didn't do it last time. You may remember that, in addition Read more [...]
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Will We Regret Buying a House?

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  I’m popping online for a few minutes while Baby Stapler is asleep because I have a question that has been burning through my head during the wee hours of the morning, when it’s just me and the Baby — and the Baby doesn’t have an answer for me. So, I’ve been trying to get online and ask my readers about it. For my entire adult life, I have wanted to buy a home. Yet, my life circumstances had me thinking that I would live in that area for more than three years. So, I couldn’t justify Read more […]