No, We Haven’t Won The Lottery

This week has been like Christmas for us!

Last Thursday I posted pics of my family at the circus.

Tuesday I posted pictures of my BRAND NEW 2017 Toyota Sienna SE!

And by pictures, I mean alllll the pictures! LOL!

My sister said, “I can’t think of anyone else in my entire facebook friends list that managed to post 30 + pics of a new car 😆 #OnlyYou!”

#AintNoShameInMyGame

Then yesterday, I posted a pic of 4 new iPhone SE’s!

And last night, I posted pics from mine and Joe Daddy’s Date Night to Outback for steak and lobster and drinks at Ovation where we saw Get Out. 

Now, only one person mentioned something about me coming into some serious cash, and one other person at work asked Joe Daddy, “How the heck can you afford that?” when he saw our new car, but I know there have to be more people wondering:

Did they win the lottery? Did someone die? Did they get a huge income tax return???

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I can spend my husband’s hard earned (or randomly won) money however I damn well please! But there’s one thing I’ve learned about sharing things like this on social media: You can let people make assumptions, or you can just tell them the truth. Sometimes, I let people make assumptions, but I find that there’s more to gain in being transparent.

So to answer those questions: No. NO. And unfortunately, nope :(.

First of all, I don’t play the lottery, so it’d be pretty hard for me to win. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with playing. I just don’t care to waste my money on it (not that I don’t waste it on plenty else).

Secondly, I don’t have any wealthy relatives (at least none that I know of), and I barely have any extended family left that could die and leave me any money (but if you are related to me, have money, are getting ready to die, and have nowhere else to pass your wealth along, please amend your will NOW!).

And lastly, we actually OWE on our income taxes for the first time ever this year thanks to the repayment of our First Time Homebuyer’s Credit we took out in 2008 (the year before Obama gave out the ones that don’t have to be paid back) and penalties for not having insurance on the kids for 3 months (which was out of our control). We also had less taken out of our paychecks so we could have more money throughout the year, knowing we’d get a smaller return, but Joe Daddy ended up getting more 1099 commissions than ever before, which doesn’t get any taxes taken out of it. So instead of getting back $1,000 like last year, we owe $850. Since we weren’t expecting to have to pay that, Joe Daddy sold some of his junk (a couple cars, some car parts, and even his 4-wheeler) and got enough money to not only pay our tax bill, but buy himself a camper to go hunting in, and take me out on a date last night (which I helped pay for with a gift card to Outback, who just so happened to be running their $15 steak and lobster special, that I got from my friends for my birthday a couple months ago).

As for the new car, our old van was just too big for us. There’s only 7 of us. It sat 12. I used to like having the extra seating for all my nieces and nephews, but I hardly ever have all the kids in there now that they’ve started growing up and doing their own thing. I hardly ever even have my entire family in there anymore! With Ty starting school this year, I just didn’t want to be driving that big gas guzzler all over town by myself! We looked into slightly used vans, but the financing is just so much better on a brand new one, so we ended up getting a much better deal going new. My husband works for Toyota, so we got a super amazing deal on a 2017 Toyota Sienna Sports Edition, so I was able to get one with heated leather seats and some extra bells and whistles for almost $10,000 less than sticker price (including the equity we had in our old van). Our monthly payment is $100 more than before (and we’ve lengthened the time we’ll have a car payment by three years), but the gas mileage on this van is an average of 7 miles more to the gallon than my old one, so I’m hoping to save around $80 per month in gas! And luckily, our car insurance only went up $3 per month!

We’ve made some recent changes to our budget that should help as well! First, we cut off the cable. Comcast was gouging us for $250 every month up until a few months ago. We downgraded our service to just high speed internet and home phone for just $80 per month (including taxes and fees)! We bought an antenna for $22 and stream Hulu and Netflix for $18 per month on the 3 Rokus we got for $70. We absolutely love watching TV this way! I wish I would have done it much sooner! Absolutely worth the $150 we’re saving each month!

We were also fortunate enough to have a health care option other than Obamacare this year! My husband’s employer had a similar option to our old plan that is $130 cheaper than what we were paying (which was still over $100 cheaper than our options through the Marketplace this year) for even better coverage! Our copayments are the same, but our deductible is half as much!

This week marks the end of our 18 month cell phone lease through T-Mobile. 18 months ago, they were offering a 4 line unlimited family plan for only $120. We were told our new leased iPhones would only be $15 with trade-in, but our trade-ins weren’t the specific ones they wanted (which we didn’t find out until well after we gave them our phones, so we didn’t even get to try and sell them!), so we ended up having to pay $30 per month, making our bill $240 (which meant we were paying more for the phones than the service)! We were super ticked that our salesperson ripped us off, and T-Mobile did nothing to rectify it, so we decided long ago that we would not be continuing to use their service. We had Boost for years before and absolutely loved it (we only switched to get iPhones), but we wanted to stick with iPhones, so we took a look at Sprint (since it’s the same network Boost uses, which worked better than T-Mobile, IMO). They had a pretty good deal on the new iPhone SE’s ($450, which is $300 cheaper than the price of the iPhone 6’s we leased) and 4 lines (unlimited) for $90 for the first year! Unfortunately, that price would go up to $160 during the 2nd year. Out of curiosity, we checked out what Boost had to offer. They had the same iPhone SE’s for $230! And their unlimited family plan for 4 people is only $95 (if you are a new customer and sign up for Autopay, which I always do anyway)! It was $704 cheaper per year to go with Boost over Sprint! If you haven’t heard of the iPhone SE, check it out here! We went with the 64 g. You can get the 16 g for $50 less ($180), but we’ve had 16 g for the past 18 months and that was the only thing I didn’t like about my old iPhone, I couldn’t keep all the apps on there that I wanted. With this new plan, we’ll be saving $107 per month (if you include the cost of the phone; $145 if you don’t)!

Unfortunately, my husband’s Civic died late last year so we just purchased him a new car as well. He got a super good deal on a 2017 Toyota Prius 2. That second car payment pretty much eats up a lot of the savings I mentioned above, but add the $80 per month we save in gas with the Prius, the $16 per month we save in not needing roadside assistance (since it came with both of the new cars), and $100 per year we are saving in not renewing our Amazon Prime membership, and we are still saving over $100 per month! I’ll take anything I can get though! Plus, now we have two new cars that get way better gas mileage, better TV watching options, and better cell phones and service for less money!

I know money is one of those subjects people don’t like to talk about. I used to be one! My husband and I just had to take out a ginormous personal loan (we’re talking a monthly payment larger than our mortgage!) to pay off our mountain of credit card debt a few months ago. It was not a good feeling seeing how much our thoughtless spending is going to cost us in the long run, but talking about my weaknesses and getting advice from people who have successfully pulled themselves out of debt is what has helped me stopped using the credit cards (for 5 months now! Wahoo!), start sticking to my budget, and having regular conversations with my family about the things we need verse want and whether or not we can actually afford certain things, like the circus, which was definitely a want, but we just couldn’t pass up the chance to take our kids to the last presentation of the Greatest Show on Earth! Some things are worth spending money you should be putting elsewhere (like paying down the debt)! We still have a ways to go before we can celebrate a debt-free victory (5 years unless we can pay it off sooner), but we are finally moving in the right direction, so I am celebrating that!

And maybe by being transparent with you on where I’ve failed and succeeded will help you reach your financial goals as well! Or at least maybe you can read about my struggles and know that you either aren’t alone or you’re doing a much better job than me! LOL!

 

Phoenix 2-001