The Evil Budget

We moved to San Antonio for my husband’s new job. It’s pretty much his dream job and he’s making double what he was making, salaried. Salary is great because you know exactly how much every paycheck will be, however, those weeks you work 60 hours get no overtime. We had a nice little savings built up for a cushion for the move and while my husband was not working between jobs. It was amazing how fast one goes through savings when you have none coming in and a lot having to go out. Plus, his first several paychecks were a lot less than normal for various reasons and healthcare is not cheap. The reasons go on but the point is we realized we absolutely had to get on a budget. Especially since we were about to add diapers, baby clothes and everything else a new baby will need. Looking at what was coming in vs going out, I flipped out. Do you know what a flip out looks like at 7 months pregnant? It’s 3 hours of ugly crying. The dogs were concerned. It was as bad as when I watched Homeward Bound only the movie ended but the financial issue hadn’t.

I wrote out all of our spending; groceries, prescriptions, health insurance, gas, eating out utilities etc. One thing I learned after researching is that I was spending double the amount per month on groceries I should have been spending. Cutting back to the recommended percentage of income spent on groceries a month would save us $300-$400 every month. How crazy is that? I contribute it to the pregnancy, the hunger demon and cravings but whatever, did it needed to be reined in. I also started using some apps I had used in the past to help me save and make money back such as coupons.com, Ibotta, the Walmart Savings Catcher app and Checkout51. You can also look at the stores you regularly shop at for discounts and rewards programs. We use HEB a lot and they have a lot of in store coupons for buy this get free that.

We also ate out too much. It was under $100 for the previous month and it was due to my laziness and cravings so that’s easily adjustable. We are looking into gas cards to get a discount on gas per gallon as well as help out credit. We don’t have bad credit, just not much credit.

Another simple adjustment is paying attention to electricity useage and water. I cannot be hot at night or I cannot sleep but during the day I’ll raise the thermostat to at least 74° (hey, this is Texas and the heat index today is 110°) and run the fans. I am methodical about when I run the washer, dryer and dishwasher. I know that’ll change when the baby comes but for now I have a schedule that I stick to pretty good. Plus it’s nice to know when laundry day is so we never run out of socks and underwear.

The variables that are hard to account for are vet bills and random items we may need but you just have to be prepared. I’ve also been able to switch some bills around where they are not all due out of the same paycheck. If you get overwhelmed occasionally, most companies will allow you to postpone a payment date for a designated day or even change due dates. I got our cellphone bill pushed back by 2 weeks last time, then I was able to actually change the payment due date. We also also lowered  our data package. I postponed our cable bill as well. We will cancel it when our contract is up in December since all we watch is Netflix anyway.

There’s a lot you can do to save money here and there if you are really willing to put in the time and effort. I also have to really consider if I need something or not. Do I really need Pizza Hut or is a $7 Walmart or HEB pizza just as good (it’s just as good)? Do I feel up to making pizza (I used to make it every Friday)? Do I need that shirt or bag of chips? Do I really need more meat or is there meat in the freezer I can use up? Do I need to use the gas to go there?

I also downloaded the Swagbucks app and  popquiz. You earn points towards gift cards that can be redeemed. I love me some gift cards. Use coupons and apps that save money. Use points programs (but don’t spend money just to get points. That’s not saving money). Also be mindful on coupon apps. Even if something is a great deal, it’s not money saving if you don’t need it in the first place.

Just since the beginning of the month I’ve been able to cash in a $25 Amazon gift card and pocket some savings, something I haven’t been able to do in a while. Be smart and reasonable. It’s a work in progress and will always need to be adjusted for changing lifestyles. And new family additions.

 

 

The Thing They Never Told Me.

So I have learned a few things that no one warned me about, or at the very least downplayed.

1. Hormones are no joke. They’re PMS on steroids meets Incredible Hulk.

2. The hunger demon is for real. I wake up in the middle of the night and have to eat or I cannot go back to sleep. It’s ridiculous!

3. Sometimes you don’t get blessed with luxurious locks. My hair was really wavy before getting pregnant. Now, it doesn’t want to curl or stay straight. It’s been dry, uncooperative and most annoying.

4. You’re gonna fart a lot. There’s not much more to add. It’s just gonna happen and it’s gonna smell horrible.

5. You’re gonna pee a lot. You’re going to go to the bathroom and as soon as you’ve washed your hands you’re gonna have to go again. Especially if baby starts bouncing on your bladder.

6. Along the lines of the previous one, you may go to the bathroom and pull down your pants to realize you’ve already peed a little. I had to break down and buy Poise pads. Not my finest hour but I’m pregnant and I’m not the first.

7. Your boobs may grow and grow and grow……. I’ve needed a new bra about every month and none for or are comfortable. I finally found a decent one today that may last a few weeks. It was on sale for $3 so, yay! I started out around a B and now I’m a DD and growing. I cannot wait for my milk to come in! (That was sarcastic btw).

8. Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions are not what I expected. They’re much stronger, distracting and sometimes take my breath away. I get them a LOT. It doesn’t sound like 5 an hour is very many but lemme tell ya, they are. Since I’m at risk for preterm labor I have to pay attention and time them to make sure it’s not early labor.

9. There will come a point when you can no longer see your lady parts and have to maneuver like a circus freak to “prune”. I thought I wouldn’t care but, yeah, I totally did. A mirror, a razor, a trash can and an hour later I feel like a new woman. Being summer it’s HOT already and I have found that swimming really helps the aches. Not trimming is not a great option. Just a heads up.

10. Constipation makes you feel crappy. Prevention is the best medicine. Stoole softeners, magnesium, prunes and fiber have been my friend. Talk to your doc about prevention because having to break out the Miralax may lead to not making it to the bathroom in time….

11. That “glow” may be sweat. I have been a human heater this entire pregnancy. It’s June now and we already have heat index advisories. It’s supposed to feel like 110° out so my happy hiney did my grocery shopping early and I’m staying inside. August should be so fun! (More sarcasm)

12. Sometimes it’s just plain uncomforable and you cannot even put it into words. Your back hurts, you’re crampy, nauseous, have heartburn and reflux, your contractions seem relentless and nothing on God’s green earth makes it stop.

13. Dry mouth. At night my mouth gets so dry it wakes me up. My lips have cracked, my tongue has cracked and I cannot make spit to save my life. Water wets my mouth but doesn’t end the drought.

14. The stuffy/runny nose and allergies. It’s always one or the other. Flonase, Zyrtec and Benadryl barely touch it. It definitely doesn’t do much for the dry mouth. I sleep with a roll of paper towels or toilet paper in bed with me. I sneeze (triggers BH, and peeing and just plain discomfort) and sniffle and sniff all day and night.

15. There’s no feeling in the world like feeling your baby move around inside of you and seeing her on the monitor dancing around.

Times Have Changed

It has been much longer between writings than I had originally anticipated. I was almost 15 weeks along when I wrote my last blog entry. Today I am almost 31 weeks. Things were rough for a while. I had a small bleed and was on bedrest for a brief time but I recovered. I started going to a ladies’ Bible class and plugged in with some veteran moms and some soon to be first time moms. It was beyond therapeutic.

 

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The hormones were a bit crazy. My husband lovingly referrs to them as “horrormones”. He has been so fantastic throughout everything. He has been supportive and encouraging. He has attended my birthing and breastfeeding class with me. We have a car seat class coming up. He is attending a baby shower tomorrow being thrown in our honor tomorrow. I am super excited.

After settling into a routine and patiently awaiting the hormones to balance out, my pregnancy got a lot less stressful. I started feeling movement about 18 weeks and after that I was able to breathe much better. Now she dances and flips all around in there.

My family threw us a gender reveal party in March. We shot tannerite and blew up a big pink cloud. It was awesome!

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Rainbows and Unicorn Farts

I am one day shy of 15 weeks pregnant and although I have dreamed of this opportunity my entire life I am still awaiting the the magical feelings I always presumed I would feel during pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed and we want this little person so bad, but I struggle some days. My situation is a little different than some. This is my sixth pregnancy and the furthest I’ve ever made it. We lost 2 last year, one in June at 6 weeks and one in October at only 4 1/2 weeks. I got pregnant with this little bean in November. We’d decided to take a little break since we were about to move to a new town but I guess that was the secret. I’ve pretty much walked around in a haze of shock and disbelief ever since.

I want to be excited but to be honest I’m terrified. Every day I am anxious and waiting for the other shoe to drop, expecting the worst. I’m afraid to let go of my fears as if sheltering myself from heartbreak. If I relax something will go wrong. I’m high risk due to having Lupus and a clotting disorder as well as certain antibodies that put the baby at risk for a particular hear defect. My risk for loss never really goes away due to the Lupus. I’m on blood thinners to prevent clots but they’ve aided in the development of a bleed that has me on a short bed rest.

Six weeks into the pregnancy we moved away from our support system to a new town. Being so far from friends and our support system is difficult and frightening. I feel as though I should be glowing with anticipation and excitement and all I feel is anxiety. I cry. A lot. I don’t know if it’s hormones or fear or both. It’s embarrassing when I know so many ladies who would give anything to be in my position. All I have wanted for as long as I can remember is to be pregnant and now that I am, I’m just waiting for the rainbows and unicorn farts.