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How much does it cost to have a baby…?

LaraThe Hubby and I were putting up Christmas decorations this year when I had a very surprising thought. I was thinking of how much fun Christmas was when I was a kid, and feeling like some of the magic was missing with just the two of us putting up our tree. And then it happened.

For the first time since we got married, I had the serious thought: “What if we’re ready to have a baby?”

Eeek!

It was only a matter of time…

Of course we’ve talked about having kids ever since we got together. We both know we wanted a family, but we were giving ourselves a few years to get our house and lives in order before we seriously thought about taking such a big next step. I’ve thought now and then, “I can’t wait till we have kids!” but I’ve never really seriously considered we might be ready for it yet.

Until this week.

We might just be ready now. I mean, not like anyone is ever really “ready” (as my mom reminds me often!). Both financially and mentally, I don’t think anyone ever is 100% prepared for everything that having kids means. But I feel like we’re stable enough right now that we could realistically do it. And I kinda want to!

Emotionally, we’re both at that point where the idea of being parents doesn’t seem like some fantastic thing that’s years ahead of us. I don’t feel like we’re not even “adults” yet, so a kid is a distant possibility…I feel like now is the time. We’re in our (very early) 30’s, we have our routines down nicely and work well together as a household, and when I’ve held all the babies my friends and family have had recently, I haven’t felt terrified that I’d drop them (which I did, once!)…I’ve felt like “Hmm, I could get used to this…”

Financially, we have most of the big stuff with our house taken care of. We have some savings built up. We’re doing good with our budget and recently started putting away for retirement, and we could afford the extra monthly expenses that come with having a kid. But, being a PF blogger, I of course have to run it through my money mind…

How much does it really cost to have a kid? The hospital bill, the doctor’s visits, all the baby doodads and gizmos I don’t even know we’ll need yet…Do we have enough to cover any foreseeable emergencies? (Can you ever foresee emergencies?) What about his/her college fund? Sure, we haven’t even started trying yet (and we just graduated college ourselves not that long ago), but how on earth will we build up a whole college fund???

Maybe it’s just the worrywart in me…

Way deep down, I think we can handle it, and The Hubby does, too. I know people raise kids with much tighter budgets, and that there’s a lot more to being a good mom than making sure all the numbers line up. But like I said, I’m a PF person, and I guess I feel like, with all the things to consider, the financial part is at least one thing I can kind of “control.”

But when it really comes down to it, I’m not sure if I care that we don’t have everything 100% figured out. I think it’s time.

Help me out, readers! Am I being overly cautious? How can you “know” you’re “ready”? (Can you?)

(Again, eeek!) :)

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Sergiu Bacioiu

Give the gift of experience

Gift Giving Just Around the Corner:-)This year, The Hubby and I are trying something different for our gift giving: whenever we can, we’re going to try to give people the gift of an experience instead of just another piece of stuff that will clutter up their house.

Ever since we realize how many toys our niece and nephew get that they’ll never really appreciate, we realized that we’re the same way with adults on holidays and birthdays. We try to show how much we care about people by giving them things, when sometimes the best gift you can give is a memory or an experience they’ll always be able to treasure.

So, we’ve been trying to brainstorm some experiences we can give to the different people on our shopping lists, and so far, we’ve came up with the following:

  • A massage or spa package.
  • A mani/pedi gift certificate.
  • Tickets to a musical playing in our city.
  • Tickets to a local football or baseball game.
  • A movie and dinner gift certificate bundle.
  • Cooking lessons.
  • A wine tasting trip.
  • Cookie kits or hot cocoa kits, where you put all the ingredients into a mason jar with a cute spoon.
  • I.O.U.’s for a few nights of babysitting so new parents can have some alone time.
  • Skydiving lessons. (We have some adventurous friends!)
  • Certificates to a local photo studio so our families can finally update those family photos that show us all 10 years ago. (Good thing my family doesn’t know about this blog!) :)

Have you given (or received) a great experience before? What other suggestions would you add to the list?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Kasia

Black Friday strikes again! (Are you ready?)

Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009You may already know how I personally feel about Black Friday, but I know that lots of people are looking forward to it, and this year, for once, I kind of can’t blame them.

Maybe it’s because several members of my family are getting together as a group to go out shopping after Thanksgiving dinner, or because some friends with new babies are oohing and ahhing over all the toys and other goodies they can get at bargain prices in one stop, but the bargain hunter in me is getting a little pulled into it. (It doesn’t hurt that one of the items on The Hubby’s wish list happens to be on deep discount at a local retailer.) :)

Traditional retailers, like always, are offering some great deals…check out the Best Buy Black Friday ad for an example. (Hint, hint, Hubby: I see a few things I’d like on there!) Even online retailers, no longer content to wait till Cyber Monday, are getting in on the action…check out Amazon.com’s Black Friday Deals Week to see what I mean.

I guess the question still on my mind is: How do you make the most of what can be a crazy and stressful shopping experience?

BlackFriday.com is a great place to find all the deals in one place, and GottaDeal.com promises you the latest up to date deals and “leaked” Black Friday ads. But how do you make your master list of stores you have to hit up, and how to decide the order? The big ticket items are going to go first, so how do you shape your strategy? Have you ever scored any great deals (or had any horrible horror stories)?

Lots of questions from me, I know! But when I get curious about something, I like to learn everything I can about it, and since everyone I know who’s going this year is a newbie, I’d love to pick your brains. So…

What are your best Black Friday tips? How do you make sure you score the best deals?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Steve Rhodes

Taking time for thankfulness

Thanksgiving-table-setting_CarmenRodriguez_NaturalHealthStoreUSIt’s almost here. Thanksgiving, with all the stress of hosting a dinner and dealing with annoying relatives. Which means that Christmas and all its stress (present shopping, decorating, more annoying relatives) is right around the corner.

Breathe.

Before all the lovely (and stressful!) chaos starts up, let’s all take a moment to remember what the holidays are all about: spending time with loved ones, celebrating life and love, and appreciating what we have.

Speaking of that last one…

Start your thankfulness list now (you’ll need it!)

It can be hard to really think of what you’re thankful for when you’re sitting at a big table surrounded by annoying relatives (can you tell what’s on my mind this year!), a dinner you spent the last several hours slaving over, and thoughts of everything you’re going to have to start doing once the pumpkin pie is eaten and everyone goes home. Which I why I think we could all stand to start coming up with our thankfulness lists now.

That way, we can go into Thanksgiving (and Christmas and New Year’s) with the right frame of mind. We can see more of the good and less of the stress, which is the way it should be. When things get crazy, we’ll already have all the beautiful things in our heads, so it will be easier to deal. And maybe, just maybe, dare to be merry.

I’ll get you started…

What I’m thankful for this year

Here are the things I’m going to go into the holidays thinking of:

  • The Hubby.
  • Big Dog and Little Dog.
  • The big, loud, crazy family we’re lucky enough to have.
  • Our little house (money pit repair and all).
  • Cuddling up under warm fluffy blankets when the snow starts to fall.
  • Shiny, twinkly things.
  • Watching my little niece and nephew’s faces light up at the magic of the season us adults tend to forget too easily.
  • Big, yummy meals full of homemade stuff.
  • The ’Bee and the fact that it gets me places whenever I need it to.
  • Scarves and mittens and fun winter boots.
  • Christmas carols. The cheesier, the better!

OK, your turn!

What lovely things are you thankful for that you can keep top of mind as you head into the holiday season?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Carmen Rodriguez