Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pleasant Surprises

Spencer got braces on Thursday. Even with insurance covering most of the cost, we were resigned to the fact that 1) this was going to cost us some money, and 2) it was going to increase our debt temporarily.

Everything went smoothly, but the woman putting together the paperwork for the bill took a very long time getting it ready. She was apologetic when she finally presented it to Mike. He looked at it, and having gone over the numbers many times since they'd presented them to us at the last appointment, he noticed that something was wrong. He - politely - reminded her that we'd been told we'd be given a 10% discount for paying upfront in full.

More emphatic apologies as she rushed off to re-do it.

When she returned, she told him that ordinarily the discount was 10%, but that she was going to give him 12% because of her mistake. ! Which meant that our insurance card would cover the entire balance, and our out-of-pocket cost would be ZERO.

Happy Day!

Barring any other unforeseen emergencies, our debt should still come down for the month of September.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Blog Recommendation

Thanks to my friend Mikki for pointing this out to me!

Frugal Confessions


Every year, I seem to think about Christmas earlier and earlier. I actually don't like thinking about Christmas this early. Life is always so rush, rush, rush... why would I want to think about Christmas in September?? But alas, necessity and practically have forced me to do so.

We have a savings account for Christmas, but for various reasons it is fairly significantly smaller this year. Which means that once again we need to really plan, be creative, and scale down. And once again, while I would love to make more homemade gifts, I know that it's just not our reality right now. I keep a very tenuous balance, and I know myself well. I would dive headfirst into a dozen handmade Christmas projects, all excitement and enthusiasm.... then I would burn myself out and wind up frustrated, sad and stressed out, which totally defeats the purpose. I have one small idea that I might do, but otherwise I am buying my gifts and feeling good about it.

And in the past couple of weeks, I have made an excellent start! I found a too-good-to-pass up deal on a big present that will be shared by Everett and Tegan mostly, but is something that I suspect the older boys will play with as well. It is currently in the neighbors' garage, until we can figure out a better way to keep it safe and hidden away from curious eyes. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! Last week, I found something that I know Spencer will love. I'd started looking a few weeks ago, and was more than a little dismayed to find out that it'd been discontinued, and wasn't available anywhere. Ebay to the rescue! Someone was selling one his daughter had gotten as a gift and never opened. I was the first and only bidder, and got it for less than half of its retail price of $80!

So two big things crossed off the list, and it's only mid September.

It won't be easy to stretch our budget as far as we need to stretch it, but I know that we can do it, and I'm excited at the prospect of creating another magical Christmas morning for our kids.