Just Call Me Even “J.” Steven.

Man, what a month of ups and downs so far… One week we save a thousand in an area, and the next we’re down a thousand! That’s life for ya, eh? Makes me even more sure I’m in the “Even Steven” category lately :) Remember that from Seinfeld? Elaine and George switch positions in life and Jerry breaks even on everything? Even when they throw $20 out the window? Haha… (he ends up finding a $20 bill in his pockets later, it’s hilarious ;)).

Anywho, thought this made for some good fodder on this lovely Friday afternoon. So here are our recent Wins and Losses so you know what I’m talking about – then it’s your turn :)

The Wins:

  • No more $1,300 hospital bill! After 9 months of going back and forth, we’ve finally got the slate wiped clean and we’re not on the hook for a stupid $1k+ just for nursery time while in the hospital, ugh…  Big ups to my wife for getting this all resolved for our family – she’s a star. And now our Baby Cost Tracker won’t shoot up a ton more too, which is nice :) Though it will a little once you bullet point #3 in the “losses” section down below, jeez…
  • Locked in a few sweet consulting gigs :) I don’t promote it much just cuz it takes up a lot of time and chunk of energy each time (I really give it my all), but I’ve been better about sticking to my $100/hour rates and not discounting them left and right like I used to. Especially since I also participate in the blog mentoring program for free too. I could totally see myself doing more of this over time as time permits – it’s fun talking about blogging/business/strategy all day long! Esp when it pays :) If you ever find yourself needing an extra eye or brain on anything later give me a shout.
  • SOCCER SEASON IS BACK! Which cost us $80 – so in a way should be in the losses – BUT it’s the best $80 we’ll spend all year so we’re quite happy with it :) $40/piece to get exercise and pretend we’re in the World Cup every Sunday? S-E-X-Y time!

The Losses:

  • We dished out $1,700 for home repairs :( Our handyman finally came back after months of disappearance so we had him knock out a ton of stuff all at once… Well, we *tried* to do it all at once, but of course it took a few weeks from start to finish cuz he’s not the most reliable. But what would have cost us $4,000 only cost us $1,700 so you can only complain so much. Just glad it’s all finally over – have I mentioned how much I hate home ownership? ;)
  • I let a $39.95 magazine subscription go through. Dumb dumb dumb… Wasn’t paying attention and got stuck w/ a high renewal rate for a magazine (Money) that would literally cost $14.95 had just canceled it and started afresh again through Amazon. Even pf bloggers make mistakes!
  • We will spend $200 or so from our recent ER scare. The baby got some scary looking dots over Easter weekend on him, and when we called the doctors they told us to go straight to the ER (!!!) thus setting off a panic :( All was a-okay in the end, thankfully – we just have to watch out for certain signs to make sure it’s nothing major – but it def. set us back a few hundred or more when we start seeing all the bills come in… On the plus side, I gave him a killer mohawk while we were waiting in between blood work ;)

I think that covers the past few weeks here? Always an adventure being a parent, I’ll tell you what… If it’s not one thing it’s another! And that includes being a parent of a house or an animal too ;) The more precious stuff we take care of, the more money and time goes right back into ’em. It’s a good thing they bring so much joy into our lives!

How have you been faring recently? Any awesome money bombs or savings your way? Nasty debts? Either way, have a great weekend over there y’all. Life has a way of working out anyways :)

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  1. Leah April 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    Hey J! You can call “Money” to cancel your subscription at $39.95 and they will refund on a pro-rated basis. Then, you can just buy a new subscription from Amazon (or some other site) after a month or so (be careful not to do this any earlier than 5 weeks or so, because they always send new subscribers old copies of the last magazine printed, which you may already have. Ugh). It may not be worth the hassle for $25 of savings, but I’d do it! It’s a moral victory if not a huge financial one :)

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Well that’s not a bad idea… Is it crazy that in a weird way I kinda *want* them to have the money so they don’t shut it down one day like other magazines? :)

  2. Money Beagle April 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    A few years ago I used some airline miles for a magazine subscription. Of course they wanted your account information, and of course they automatically renewed using that information. I was actually able to get them to cancel it and reverse the charges, so maybe it’s worth a call to politely see if you can cancel and get a refund?

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      That’s the worst really – charges that come out of nowhere!

  3. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle April 19, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Emergency trip to the vet yesterday for the dog’s ongoing ear issues. 2 prescriptions and a recommendation from the vet to have the dog eat a new kibble made from oats and kangaroo. $95 for a bag that would last about 3 weeks. I told the vet I could not afford to feed my dog kangaroo and she said that was ok and that they always take finances in to account when offering advice. They are great vets.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Kangaroo??? Come on?!

      1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle April 19, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        $95 for an 8kg bag at the vet’s office. Many dogs are now allergic to every protein that walks or swims in North America so kangaroo is the now the meat of choice for dogs with food sensitivities.

        I thought the vet was joking when she suggested it.

        1. @debtblag April 19, 2013 at 11:55 AM

          That is incredible; what is the evolutionary advantage that would make dogs develop this allergy? Unless it’s that the native animals have over the generations developed a bacteria so that feral dogs wouldn’t eat them… Totally fascinating

          1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle April 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM

            More likely we have wrecked our dogs somehow through breeding. Even though my dog is a mutt he suffers from endless ear problems.

            I am not buying kangaroo and oat kibble. We have tried other allergy foods (fish and potatoes made the dogs stink) and they did not fix his problem. The vet is not confident that a 3 month trial of kangaroo will make any difference.

            1. Paula @ Afford Anything April 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

              I ate kangaroo a couple of times when I was in Australia. Kangaroo is a very tough meat — they’re hearty animals without a lot of fat on their bodies. Kangaroo sausage is pretty good, but kangaroo steak is way too tough for my liking.

              Weirdest comment of the day, I know.

              1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 1:51 PM

                Wow this post took a turn for the crazy, haha… All fascinating stuff though!

  4. Brian April 19, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Love me a good Seinfeld reference. It still amazes me to this day how much that show holds up… but at the same time all I can’t help but think how many of their problems could have been solved if they had cell phones (the parking garage one is a prime example).

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Haha, that is true!

  5. Debt an the Girl April 19, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    It looks like you had some losses but overall good. Congrats on the consulting gigs!

  6. Christopher @ This that and the MBA April 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    All the hard work is paying off demanding $100 an hour. very impressive j. Congrats. Must feel good being able to secure your future and the future of baby j. This past week I sold one of our 3 cars, it was actually given to me by my mother. So it was pure money in the pocket and I couldn’t be happier.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Woo! Congrats!

      It’s def. cool to be able to charge $100 for a call (I say it’s one hour, but usually turns to like 1 and 1/2 cuz I’m a chatty Cathy) especially since most of my tips will result in MUCH more than $100 worth over time if they follow even a fraction of my advice. Once we got a site making $300 more every month from just 1 tweak!

      The hard part is convincing people to pony the $100 up, so I just let it be and when they come in they come in :) It’s been a fun experience so far.

  7. Jake Erickson April 19, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    That’s life isn’t it (the ups and downs)? Fortunately, my wife and I have had a good run of avoiding large costs and saving more than we budgeted, but I know that we’ll eventually hit a string of bad financial luck here soon.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Maybe you guys are on the “always winning” side of the equation! :)

  8. Rakesh April 19, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I did not that you followed soccer .The only bill that I pay extra is for cable,we pay 70$ for cable but do not watch any TV except for soccer on the weekends.Do you know of a way that I could disconnect cable but still be able to watch the games.I have tried Fox soccer online and some online sites but they are not half as good as the games on TV.Could you help me with any recommendations please.

    1. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Sorry my man, I PLAY soccer more than I do *watch* it. Usually only during huge tournaments or Olympics will I watch – much more boring to me than playing on the field myself :)

  9. Nick @ AYoungPro.com April 19, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I’ve had two ER trips recently for my daughter. First, a bout with RSV and then a split head that almost required stitches. Seeing as I’m on a High Deductible HSA health plan those are going to break my budget for the foreseeable future.

    1. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Ouch!! Poor daughter, I’m so sorry to hear that :( And poor wallet too!

  10. Shafi April 19, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    A few weeks ago, I signed up for one of the personal finance magazines and I paid only $2 for shipping and handling for one full year.

    1. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      Nice grab!

  11. Edward Antrobus April 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Well, as of this morning, I have a single car payment left. Does that count as a win now or do I have to wait 2 weeks until the final payment is due?

    In the financial losses column, I just found out this week that I need $5500 worth of dental work. For that kind of money, they had better be putting gold up in my grill!

    1. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Oh man, that’s harsh! Good thing gold is worth a lot less lately ;)

  12. stephanie April 19, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    @Rakesh, don’t know where you live and what your cable’s like but…you can always catch the games on ESPN2/ESPN en espanol (I speak multiple languages, so that doesn’t bother me. I know it does to some though). Also, if you get ANYTHING from S America (RCN from Colombia for example)…good luck! FOOTIE rules!!!!!
    @Edward A-any chance you can fund an FSA or HSA in 2014 to cover some of that expense? I need about $9K worth; my dental plan maxes at $1500 but with an FSA I can fund up to $2600/yr (right now, don’t know if that goes up next year but I’ll be looking). My dentist was willing to break the treatment up over 3 years so I could decide what I wanted to do. I WILL definitely fund that FSA to the top and max out. Pre-tax $$$ to the FSA too-I hope you have one.
    JMoney-love the Friday post! I keep reading your blog and all the posts-you all inspire me to keep going, even when it seems I’m on the “not so winning side”. Thanks J!!!!!

    1. Edward Antrobus April 20, 2013 at 12:53 AM

      Currently, our HSA is playing catch-up with past medical bills.

      But good news! I got a letter in the mail today. The previous estimate had the wrong insurance estimates. I only have numbers for the work done to the first tooth, but those are a quarter of what I was originally quoted.

    2. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Glad to hear it!! Thanks for always popping in and sharing your thoughts on the posts – really appreciate it :)

  13. Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance April 20, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    We received a set of gift certificates for spa and overnight stay in a hotel for our anniversary this weekend. I also won a pair of sandals and a bag of personal care products.

    1. J. Money April 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Nice job! If you’re a giveaway addict, be sure to check out the two sites I run at the moment: TakeOurStuff.com and TakeOurGiftCards.com.

    2. Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey April 21, 2013 at 2:21 AM

      Congratulations, Manette! That’s what you call “savings in other form”.

      Thanks for sharing your sites, J! I have never won in any raffle or giveaways. I would like to think that I do not have any luck in such contests but I would like to give it a try. Who knows, right?

      1. J. Money April 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        You gotta win sometime! :)

  14. Mike Carlson April 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Unexpected expenses do occur once in a while. And we do make mistakes in dealing with our expenses like the one you had with your magazine subscription.