How Our New Addition To Our Family Will Affect Our Finances

In case you missed the hidden announcement in last year’s Thanksgiving post, we’ve welcomed our son to the world!

We’ve been eagerly anticipating his arrival and we’re definitely glad he’s here.

His arrival means some major changes for us, including our finances.

Here’s what we expect and what we’ve learned so far.

Baby Showers And Friends Are Amazing

The first thing we learned is baby showers and friends are amazing. We are super thankful for all of our friends and family that bought our son things he would need for the beginning of this life.

We got a ton of clothes and many other essentials that made the first few weeks of his life much less stressful. Financially, they also made the first few weeks of his life a lot less expensive, too.

In addition to things we actually needed, we got a lot of things that made our life much easier. For someone who has never had a baby before, there are a lot of expensive gadgets that I probably would never buy that have been able to save us a lot of time or headache.

Diaper Costs Will Add Up Fast

I really should have known this going in, but disposable diapers are expensive. Yes, we could use cloth diapers and save a lot of money in the process, but I’d much rather pay a bit more and not have to deal with that mess.

Thankfully, we have a membership to the local Sam’s Club and they run great deals on diapers pretty often. We’ll just have to learn how quickly we use them before we stock up during the next sale.

We Need Life Insurance

While my wife has a small amount of life insurance through work, I have no life insurance at all. In the past, I’ve always stated we didn’t need life insurance because if something happened to my wife or I, the other one of us would be fine financially.

Now that we’ve added a child into the mix, as well as a more expensive home, that is no longer the case. If one of us passed away, the other would struggle trying to raise our child and hold down a full time job.

We have enough money to last long enough to figure out what to do, but it would definitely be very stressful.

I’ll totally admit I don’t know much about life insurance, so this is something we’ll be researching in the near future. We definitely know we don’t want whole life insurance and will likely pull the trigger on a term life insurance policy.

The questions are how much do we get and how long of a term do we get. I’ll likely post more about this as we figure out what to do.

Need To Decide On College Savings

We also need to decide if we want to put aside money for our son’s future education and if we do, how we want to go about it. My parents helped me pay for half of my college costs and that was a huge help.

While I would want to help my son attend a reasonably priced college as well, I do not know what the future holds. Maybe he won’t want to go to college at all. After all, I don’t directly use anything I learned in college to be a personal finance blogger.

We’ll continue investing our money as we do now and if my son goes to college, we’ll see what we can do to help at the time.

Who knows, maybe we’ll be financially independent by the time he heads to college. If that’s the case, a little bit of work would surely help pay his way. Time will tell.

Things We Never Expected To Change Will Change

The four items listed above are just the super obvious financial changes we’ll have to deal with in the next 18+ years. I know there will be a lot more to deal with, but we’ll take them as they come.

For now, we’re just enjoying spending time together raising our son.

If you’d like to share some things we should be preparing for, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

Every year in December I look forward to watching the 1946 black and white movie It’s a Wonderful Life. I normally am not a fan of most old movies. However, I actually enjoy this one so much that I make an effort to find out when it is on and watch it every year.

The Story

I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t seen the movie yet but here’s a little background. The movie focuses around a family that runs a small Savings & Loan (a bank) in town and shows the struggles of a smaller business against a local tycoon. The owner runs into troubles and the local tycoon is breathing down the neck of the small Savings & Loan.

The owner considers committing suicide so the life insurance payout will help his family survive the rough times. My guess is life insurance policies were a bit different back in the 1940’s, because this wouldn’t work today. An angel arrives and shows the main character what life would be like without the owner being around. You’ll have to watch the movie to see how it all turns out but it is a great story.

That isn’t the only reason I enjoy the movie though…

A Different Time Period

It’s a Wonderful Life was filmed in the 1940’s, a time very different from today. I grew up in the age of having video game systems, personal computers and cell phones. The life they live in the movie is completely foreign to me. I try to imagine how different it would be to live life in that time period but it is so different it is hard to grasp.

Part of me thinks I’d enjoy living back in the time before computers, tablets and the technology of today. I’d actually know my neighbors and have a personal relationship with most of the businesses I dealt with. Life would be much simpler when it comes to making decision and there would be a lot less noise (visual, media etc) assaulting my senses non-stop all day long.

We live in a time when, for the right price, you can have instant gratification. Some people are smarter than others and delay or limit this possibly endless instant gratification. They choose to do this to put themselves in a better position down the road while still living a decent life in the present. I feel like back in the 1940’s people probably appreciated the things and experiences they had much more than a lot of people do today.

Money only existed in cash, coins and checks. You’d definitely have to know how to write a check and credit cards wouldn’t be an option so no cash back credit cards for you.

Granted, there would be a lot of sacrifices as well. I’m sure that many of the tasks that take almost no time today would take up entire days of work. Laundry would definitely be one of those tasks. There would be no quick runs to the grocery store in your car… if I would even be rich enough to have one. There is no way you could just hop on your computer and get directions from Google Maps either! It’d be a completely different lifestyle for sure.

Some things never change though. We all still have families, friends and a lot that we should be thankful for. I hope you enjoy your day today, no matter what you’re doing.

Take a few minutes and realize how well off we all are compared to others around the world. Be thankful for what you have and have an amazing day, hopefully with your families and friends.

Have you seen It’s a Wonderful Life? Would you turn back time and live in a different time period than today? I think it’d be neat to see what it was like but after growing up with the many conveniences of modern life I’m sure there is no way I could do it!

Do You Tip For Take Out Meals?

I happened upon a YouTube video the other day where Joe Somebody asked if you tip for takeout.

I thought it’d be a great question to pose to you as well.

Joe mentions that he’s seen the little tip line show up on his credit card receipts.

He wondered if it was just because the card was run on the same machine as the servers’ checks or if it was because the cashier was really trying to get a tip for takeout.

My Experience with Tips for Take Out – Pizza Restaurant

As I’ve mentioned before, I had a very crazy first job at a pizza restaurant back in high school. I performed pretty much every job but cooking and delivering pizzas so I often dealt with credit card receipts.

At our store, the credit card receipts always printed with a tip line on them, mostly so that drivers and servers could have tips added to credit card bills. I wasn’t aware of any setting to turn it off on take out orders, so all of our take out receipts had the tip line, too.

Personally, I never expected to get a tip for takeout because I didn’t feel it was required. I wasn’t paid a server or driver wage, but I wasn’t making much more than minimum wage either. I don’t think any of my coworkers that worked carry out expected tips either.

Did I Ever Get Tipped for Carry Out Orders?

Surprisingly, yes, I did get tipped very occasionally for carry out orders! I’d say it was a very small percentage of carry out orders that would tip but it didn’t exceed 10% of all customers.

Of the people that did end up tipping me, I’d normally get a dollar or two. There was a rare occasion where I’d get 20% or more, but it was a once a month or less type of occasion.

We did learn who tipped when they came to pick up their pizzas, so we’d always try to be the cashier to ring them up. We didn’t split tips with anyone, so whoever served the customer got the tip.

Do I Personally Tip When I Carry Out?

Nope. Not gonna happen. The person who hands you your meal and rings you up has almost no involvement in the process other than handing you your meal. Why should they be tipped?

In some restaurants there may be a tip pool, but I still don’t see any reason to tip. They cooked your food and put it in a box and handed it to you. That is what you pay for when  you order carry out!

What About Fancy Restaurants Like Outback?

Joe mentions that he heard that servers have to man the take out station at some of the fancier restaurants with take out. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I still don’t feel obligated to tip.

I feel if a server is manning the take out table they should be paid at least minimum wage.

If the take out person isn’t paid minimum page, that sucks, but I’m sure they’re making plenty from their tables if they’re a good server. I’d only take maybe 30 seconds to a minute of their time anyway.

So what are your thoughts? Do you tip for take out meals? I don’t!

Quit Dreaming About Your Future – Start Your Journey Now!

I just realized that I’ve been in a bit of a rut for the last few weeks.

On the surface, I’ve felt like I’m getting a lot accomplished.

When I took a step back and looked at what I’ve completed, I realized that wasn’t the case at all.

You see, over the last few weeks I’ve done a lot of thinking, planning and dreaming about my future.

I just haven’t taken any action to move forward to that future.

You don’t have to fall into the same trap I did. Realize when you’re stuck in neutral and decide to make a game plan.

Shift in to gear to start your journey to your future today.

How I Got Stuck Dreaming

Dreaming is a wonderful thing and planning how to get to your dreams is a responsible thing to do. However, it becomes counter productive when you begin obsessively planning things out that you have absolutely no control over.

That is exactly what has happened to me.

We’re just about to finish paying off my wife’s $80,000+ of student loan debt. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to bend the numbers to pay the loans off faster.

That’s not all, we’ve been trying to figure out what our money goals are after my wife’s loans are paid off, too. We made a decision but what came next was pointless.

Instead of taking action, I kept planning in increasing levels of detail that are unrealistic to be able to forecast. Instead of acting I kept planning and dreaming and planning some more.

Dreaming And Planning Is Pointless Without Action

Unfortunately, unless I take some action, we won’t have any extra money to make our plans and dream happen. I need to get moving!

In order to get moving, I decided I needed to come up with ways to measure my progress. Here are a few ways I started taking action to complete the plan that will allow us to make our dreams a reality.

To Do Lists

To do lists aren’t fun, but they get the job done. Make a list of everything you need to complete to accomplish your dreams.

If there are some items that seem like massive steps that will take forever to complete, simply break them down into smaller sub steps. Work on checking off as many items as possible each day.

Start With The Most Draining Tasks First

We only have a finite amount of willpower each day.

If you use your willpower up early in the day on easy tasks, you’ll find that your more difficult tasks will become harder to complete because you don’t have the willpower to get them done.

Start with your most difficult tasks first in order to make the most progress towards your dreams and goals.

Make Sure Others Know Of Your Goals

Finding an accountability partner can do wonders to help you get things accomplished. Simply find someone you trust and tell them what you’re trying to accomplish and when you want to accomplish it by.

This should give you a ton of motivation so you don’t let both yourself and your accountability partner down!

Remember To Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Want to accomplish your goals faster to make your dreams your reality? Post images or reminders of your goals in your work space to keep you motivated.

Just make sure they don’t get you back into that planning and dreaming without doing phase.

What tips and tricks have you found most helpful to get you out of the dreaming phase and into the doing phase of your journey to your dreams? Let me know in the comments below so we can all be inspired by your awesomeness.

This post was originally published on March 14, 2014.

Big News! We’re Having A Baby And What It Means For Our Finances!

So, I have some huge news to share today.

Tori and I are excepting our first child to be born later this year!

We’re super excited and, at the same time, we know a huge change is coming for us.

Life Changes Thanks To Baby

Adding a child is actually one of the reasons we’re making so many changes in our life this year.

As I mentioned before, we’re selling our current house, selling our rental property and building our dream home, well the dream home that we can afford. Our real dream home would be beachfront!

We didn’t make these decisions lightly. In fact, we spent quite a bit of time making each decision.

Selling the rental was an easy decision because I worried about it too much. I didn’t want to have to deal with it without a child, so adding a child to the mix made selling it an easy decision.

Buying our dream home and selling our current house was a much larger decision. We ultimately decided that since I now work from home, we would end up needing a house with a bit more space at some point in the next few years.

Instead of waiting, we decided to move ahead to a home that was a better fit for us now while interest rates are still near historic lows.

Of course, they may be near lows for years to come, but if interest rates rose just two or three percent in the next few years housing would become much more expensive for us so we decided to go ahead and make the leap now.

Financial Changes Thanks To Baby

Adding a baby to the family has huge implications on our family finances.

We’ll have a larger house payment once our new home is built, but we already have that figured into our budget. We’ll also have to start paying more for health insurance and anything the baby needs like diapers, etc.

A couple of major financial to-dos that we have on our list is getting life insurance and writing a will. These tasks aren’t fun but they will need to get done.

Those aren’t the only changes. Adding a baby and a larger house payment means we need to reevaluate our emergency fund.

We personally keep our emergency fund filled with six months of expenses, but now with these additions our expenses will be increasing. That means our emergency fund needs to increase, too.

Thankfully, selling a few items in preparation for our move in addition to our regular income has already allowed us to increase our emergency fund to our new estimated six months worth of expenses post baby.

We may have to adjust it some more after the baby is born, but we’ve got a good chunk of the money we need to save already put away.

Waiting For The Unknowns

While we’ve known of the above changes, I’m absolutely positive there will be a ton of things that need to be done that we haven’t thought of yet. There will also be expenses we didn’t dream of.

We won’t be able to think of everything, but, luckily, we still have plenty of time to figure all of this out. Whatever we don’t figure out in advance we’ll figure out on the fly and it’ll all work out in the end.

We’re excited! I’m sure you’ll see some of the lessons we learn over the next months and years here on Money Manifesto. Hopefully they help you!