Friday, February 14, 2014

I am not sure if I should be annoyed or proud.

Ever since I have gone back work, I have gone a good job there, fortunately, but my parenting as far as what J needs for school has really been lacking. I often forget things that J needs to have or do, or I read about them too late. And my heart breaks a little each time (and, for the record, I remember to put most things on a calendar; I just forget to look at it daily).

On Sunday, it dawned on my that J had her school Valentine party on Friday. I asked her if she was supposed to bring something in, as no note came home. She said she was not sure. I asked her again a day or two later, and she said they could bring in something if they wanted to. I asked J if she wanted to. She said no.

I was mostly glad about that. Partly because it is difficult for me to stop anywhere after work during the week; my evenings are mostly shot, and I have been busy at work this week and staying late  as well as working from home in the evenings. But as important to me was I just don't think kids need another pencil/eraser which won't work or more sugar crap.

Regardless, this morning, I offered to stop at the store so we could buy a bag of candy, just so she would have something to give; I hated to think she would be one of only a couple of kids who brought nothing. But she said she did not care.

When I got home this week (on time for the very first day!), I asked her how many kids brought in stuff. Her reply? Everyone. But her, of course. I felt embarrassed right away, wondering if the teacher, some students, or the parents who were there for the party noticed that and thought ill of us. But when I asked J if it bothered her that she was the only kid who brought nothing, she said no. And, you know what, I am pretty sure she meant it.

That mostly made me glad. It is refreshing that she really does not care what the others think (and least about this!) and did not think it was important to have something/be like everyone else. But then there is that part of me that thinks maybe she is too apathetic. I mean she got something from all the other kids and yet she brought nothing. That seems kind of wrong.

I think this "holiday" is so silly anyway (though, for the record, I did wear red as well as heart sticker). But I hope I am not taking the love and giving out of the whole thing...

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's all about the money, money, money!

I spent bits and pieces of the past week gathering tax papers in "anticipation" of our accountant coming to get all our crap this weekend. On Saturday, the 1st, I could not understand why one of our banks had yet to send us an interest statement for our interest checking and money market accounts, when I had thought everything had to be in our possession by the 31st. Then an awful thought occurred to me, which I was certain could not be the case: What if we had not earned enough interest last year to actually get an interest statement from the bank? Nah, I was fairly certain you needed to earn at least $10 to get a statement, and surely we had earned that.

Spoiler alert: We did not!

This may not seem a like a big deal, but since we started saving money many years ago, we had typically earned a decent amount of interest. I know the interest rates have been quite low for the past few years, but I still thought we were making some money. So I logged into my account, and saw that for 2013, we had earned $7. What?! What the what, what?!

Just to make myself feel worse, I randomly looked at my tax return from 2007. We earned almost $500 in interest among our checking, savings, and a CD. And you know the sad thing, we actually have more money in checking and savings now (we no longer have the CD), even if it is just by a few thousand, because I had bought a car that year.

As I said to the hubby, I feel like an idiot paying interest on his (used) truck. We probably pay more in interest in a month or two on that truck (I would have to do the math, and I might cry if I do, even though our interest rate was pretty low) than what we earned in savings all of last year. Already I had been paying a payment and a half each month, sometimes more, but I am now planning to increase that amount.

But the reality is that we will need a lot of that money in savings. We really, really need to replace our roof. The hubby just this weekend informed me that our driveway is falling apart, so that needs to be black-topped. And if we expect to put our house on the market in the next few years, we have to replace our 25-year-old awful, stained carpet. And who knows how much longer our dishwasher, washer and dryer, and water heater will last. We cannot pay for those things without that money.

As bad as I feel for myself, because, as I have said many times, we live a mostly frugal life, I can't help but think of the people who pay hundreds of dollars in interest in credit card debt every month. It literally makes me twitch thinking about that. I would be pissed if I were paying $25 a month in credit card debt.

If nothing else, I actually feel better about getting a tax refund, which I am assuming we will get. People like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey can say all they want that by getting a refund, the government is earning interest off your/my money. Well, I say good for them! Someone should be earning interest. As for me, if, fingers crossed, we get a decent return, a good part of it, maybe all of it, is going on the truck.

In the meantime, anyone have any recommendations for money market/savings accounts? Surely some bank somewhere has a better interest rate than the .01 I am earning...