My Latest Hits and Misses – Hello Kitty ed.

Had a bunch of good, and dumb, things happen to us lately, so I thought it was time for another round of Hits and Misses :) Maybe your week had some good highs and lame lows too?

Our recent HITS:

  • Got $528.81 back from health insurance! It seemed we were over-paying the entire time for pre-baby visits, so randomly in the mail this week we found a nice plump check to reimburse us for it all! A nice surprise for sure :) And it’ll lower our total baby costs now too – woohoo!
  • Got a $100 Amex gift card! Which are my ultimate faves ‘cuz I get to splurge on myself and get whatever I want with it! My reward for being so hardcore with all our daily finances, haha…
  • I bought a $200+ valued old book for only $0.07! :) Because I stumbled across a trick that may just work in other areas too: If you search for stuff you want (say, like coins or books or baseball cards/etc) in places that DON’T focus in that area, you’ll have less people bidding against you in these online auctions! And this example is a PERFECT one. I was randomly searching a stamp auction – which I had no real desire for at all – but then came across a book that I KNEW was valuable in there, but was hoping no one else had noticed. And to my surprise they didn’t! I picked it up for literally 7 cents (!!!), and it is valued anywhere from $80 to $350 depending on condition :) And this one’s a beauty (the book was the 2nd edition of “A Guide Book of United States Coins” published in 1948. The 1st edition can go for up to $1,7oo!). A MUCH better success than last month’s dealings online, that’s for sure ;)

Our recent MISSES:

  • Our microwave broke :( Either from a random power outage we had for like 2 second this week (nothing happens during during Hurricane Sandy, and then on a random sunny day it just goes out?), or from my wife forgetting to put water in a bag she was microwaving ;) Which she says could not have caused any harm, but I like to push her buttons and disagree anyways, haha… And now to apparently get me back she wants that dang Hello Kitty microwave up there! Ugh… So we’re either out $50+ or $80+ all depending on who wins that battle ;) To replace our broken one will run us over $100 from our research so no way THAT’s happening.
  • $60 was stolen out of my luggage bag… At first I thought I had just misplaced it in one of my jackets or jeans or somewhere, but then I remembered I had hid it in one of my shoes (that was in my suitcase) so that I wasn’t walking around town with too much cash on hand.  Pretty smart I had thought, but when I went back to scour my bag for it the cash was no where to be found :( The only thing I could think was that maybe a baggage handler at the airport stole it? Or a hotel maid? Either way it looks like I need a new way of hiding my money… arghh…
  • We shelled out $900 for a complete power wash and deck fixing up (a bunch of the boards were warped and falling apart). Both were severely needed, especially the power washing part (we had gotten a notice from our HOA that the moss needed to come off our house “or else”), but you still never want to shell out the money just to keep things maintained :( And while we could have done most of it ourselves, neither of us had the time or patience to do a good job with everything we’ve got going on (aka baby stuff). So we called up our trusted handyman, and he was able to knock it out no problem and even threw in a few free hole patches in our ceilings we’ve been needing from over the years. So overall it worked out well, even though we were out $900… One more thing to add to the “hating home ownership” board!

How have your finances been going lately? Anything fun and juicy happening? Or just trying to stay out of trouble? Either way, we can only do our best! Sometimes we win and other times we lose, but we keep on pushing, baby.

Hope y’all have a great weekend :)

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  1. Renee S November 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Our microwave broke, too. I really didn’t want to pay $50-80 for a new one….so I looked on Craigslist and there are a TON! I found a great one for $15. Just an idea!

  2. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom November 9, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    man looks like your down 211.19. It’s good to maintain your home to prevent an even bigger bill, but still a bummer. I’m hearing great things about Chaing Mai Thailand these days, and foreigners are allowed to own property there so you won’t have to worry about the trials of home ownership…. Microwaves are probably cheaper too :)

  3. Lance@MoneyLife&More November 9, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    My microwave actually broke a couple weeks ago. It broke 1 month after the 1 year warranty expired so I mentioned I was going to write an I hate GE post on twitter and they actually contacted me and gave me a voucher for $90 to get a new ge microwave. I wrote a whole post about it recently.

  4. Budget & the Beach November 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    That sucks your money was stolen. :( It seems that they would be practically giving microwaves away at this point. Can you maybe find a used nice one on Craigslist. Either way, kind of pain to buy a new one but it’s one of those things I could never live without.

  5. Joe @ Retire By 40 November 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Go for the Hello Kitty microwave! It looks nice. hahaha. :)
    We paid $5200 to paint our 4 plex and the free standing garage. That’s quite a bit more than I thought, but I guess it’s quite a bit bigger than an regular house.
    Maybe you dropped the $60 in your luggage somehow. It seems unlikely that the handler found the money in your shoes. Is that a common hiding spot?

  6. Jon @ November 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    That’s too bad about the microwave mostly because you might end up with the hello kitty one…interesting style! haha I Shelling out money for preventative maintenance on your house is typically a good decision but if done incorrectly it can definitely add up!

  7. Stephanie November 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I think this past week’s miss far outweighs the hits.

    We decided to spring for AppleTV and send DishNetwork packing, so after springing for an $8/month HuluPlus subscription, we’re saving ourselves about $50/month. And I recently got extra library hours, so this week’s paycheck from that job was twice as big as normal, so yay for that, because…

    The transmission in my husband’s car is on its way out. It would cost more to fix it than the car was worth, so we decided it made more sense to put that money toward a downpayment on a new-to-him car. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if we’d just put a substantial downpayment on my new-to-me car back in September. And now we have two car payments. :-(

    But because we keep a fairly significant emergency fund, we were able to keep our combined car payments at $300/month. And because we live below our means, added an unexpected $150/month payment to our budget isn’t the end of the world. So I guess that in itself is kind of a hit?

  8. Matt November 9, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    It is definitely a turn on when someone can budget their money wisely! I learned from my mother what NOT to do! I am proud to say I have never been in the negative, or had debt accumulated! Thanks ma!

  9. Money Beagle November 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    That’s a good deal of money to pay for power washing and board replacement, though I really don’t know the size of your deck. Next spring, I will have to power wash and repaint ours as it’ll have been four years since I did it last. Doing all that myself will probably cost a couple of hundred dollars at most which is worth the savings to me, especially considering we’ll be shelling out several thousand dollars for a new roof, a job that I could never dream of doing a single by myself :)

  10. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager November 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I don’t have many hits or misses, but I do really need to get motivated to start making some home improvements. Especially in the backyard and basement.

  11. Donna Freedman November 9, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Sorry about the theft. Have you tried rolling up the cash inside a pair of balled-up socks in your dirty laundry bag?
    My 6-year-old nephew would ADORE that Hello Kitty microwave. Pink is his favorite color and he has Hello Kitty sheets. I see hard times for him in middle school. Bless his heart.

  12. Melissa@LittleHouseintheValley November 9, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Woo hoo on the insurance rebate check, but too funny about the Hello Kitty microwave!

  13. J. Money November 9, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Enjoy the weekend everyone!

    @Renee S – Oh that’s true. I’m pretty shocked that never entered my brain yet! Thanks :)
    @Mandy @MoneyMasterMom – Woohoo! Meet you there? :)
    @Lance@MoneyLife&More – What? Really? That is awesome!! I’m pretty sure mine is GE too and that it’s also been around a year! What if it’s exactly 1 month after like yours?? Hmmm…. totally researching this.
    @Budget & the Beach – Astonishly we’ve lasted almost 3 whole days so far, I’m pretty impressed with ourselves! :)
    @Joe @ Retire By 40 – Oh man, but fresh paint on a house??? Make it look soooooo much better and newer! Totally worth the investment for sure, good job :) Also that it was your money and not mine, haha…
    @Jon @ – For sure, and I’m ready to be done with it.
    @Stephanie – Well that’s a much better outcome than I was initially thinking! But still sucks you have to shell out all that money around the same time :( Here’s to being smart with it all though!
    @Matt – Congrats! That’s excellent news :) If/when you ever have kids you’ll have to pass it on down for all generations to come!
    @Money Beagle – Yeah, in most circumstances it would be much better to do it yourself and save the money with that kinda stuff (powerwashing), but the time and effort involved would kill my work for a week and just not worth it in our case. Plus, I’m starting to realize it’s okay to pay for things you don’t want to do as long as you make up for it in other areas :) And have the money budgeted aside, of course. I’ve long sinced known I’m not Superman, haha…
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – No hits or misses at all? Wow… you’re much smoother than I.
    @Donna Freedman – Haha…. I remember you talking about him before :) I love your family so much.
    @Melissa@LittleHouseintheValley – We’ll see how serious she is when we go to get a new one this weekend ;)

  14. Lance @ Money Life and More November 9, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    I wrote a tweet that said I Hate GE. My grandpa was right to never buy a GE product because they always break. I didn’t even @ them and they found it, tweeted me, and set me up with their good quick customer service department. It was amazing and they gave me a $90 good will certificate toward a new ge microwave… I just hope this one doesn’t die.

  15. Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance November 11, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    The Hello Kitty microwave looks cute. But just the same, I will not suggest getting it. If you want to save some cash, you can scour Craigslist or eBay auction for used microwave. On the other hand, you can use part of the reimbursement check from your health insurance to get a new microwave.

  16. Dee Dee November 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I got a suspicious piece of snail mail from claiming that my deceased mother had $1000 in unclaimed property. For the fee of 15% they were willing to help me claim this amount as the rightful heir.

    “Hmmmm”, I thought, “if there is really unclaimed property out there it should show up on my state treasury’s webpage.” So I checked, and sure enough….there it was. I filed the necessary paperwork with the state treasurer and will soon have a $1000 check in my pocket without paying a ridiculous finders fee. I urge all readers to search for unclaimed property.

    In Wisconsin where I live, I do it here:
    You can also search nationwide by going to

    You shouldn’t have to PAY to get money back that is yours!!

  17. J. Money November 12, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Well I lucked out! No Hello Kitty microwave for us ;) We ended up just replacing the same one we had, but the updated version – mainly because we loved the color (red) and The Mrs corrected me in saying we had it for FOUR years, and not ONE, haha… oops. I’d be okay if this one broke after 4 years too :)

    Here’s the one we got if you wanna see: Emerson MW8999RD 900 Watt Microwave Oven

    On Amazon it goes for $100+, but at Target right now it’s only $65 (down from $75 originally). So it still feels like we got a good deal here. And now life resumes as normal!

    @Lance @ Money Life and More – They’ve got some killer social media watching going on – good for them! (Turns out our microwave was Emerson, not GE)
    @Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – Haha yeah, that would have been a good idea had I not used it to fill our savings back up from our latest 529 dump for Baby Money ;)
    @Dee Dee – NICE!!! Way to go!! You’re so right, though in a way they WERE the ones who told you there was $1k was waiting for you, so I don’t fault them at all for asking for a finders fee – it would have been well worth it either way :) But of course putting in the time and effort to do the research pays off too, so in the end you def. win! Congrats!

    Here’s a post I did on that “missing money” stuff too, if it helps anyone out there:

  18. Stephanie November 12, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I would like to amend my comment. Friday afternoon resulted in another financial hit: My husband got offered a full-time writing/editing gig that will increase our yearly income by nearly 20%. We can now extra-afford the two car payments, build our savings back up even faster, AND pay down off our student loans sooner, AND have a little extra spending money on top of it! Can you tell I’m doing a happy dance over here?? ;-)

  19. J. Money November 12, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    YAY!!!! That is wonderful news!!! Here, I’ll dance along with you right now ;) Hehe… go Husband!

  20. Dee Dee November 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    My unclaimed property check came today….exactly one week after I submitted my paperwork.

  21. J. Money November 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Wow, that was fast! Congrats :)