3 Ways We’re Streamlining And Saving On Christmas

The Christmas season is fully upon us.  We have finished our decorating and are getting ready for all the shopping, family gatherings, and seasonal activities.  A big part of Christmas has become gift giving.  This is true for us, especially with younger children.  Although we have our Christmas gift fully funded, we came up with some ideas to save us time and money.  Here are thee ways that we’re streamlining and saving on Christmas this year.

Saving Time And Money On A Gift Exchange

On my wife’s side, there are six adults that exchange gifts.  Traditionally, we had a budget and list for both of my in-laws, plus my sister-in-law, as well as her boyfriend.  That was four people to buy for.  This year, we all agreed to a system where we drew names and each person will buy for one other person out of the four people not in our household.  This means that between my wife and I, we’ll only have two people to shop for instead of four.  This is also less gifts to wrap.  We also put a cap on the budget, which will save us around $50 versus the budget we had previously in place to cover all four people.

Read more3 Ways We’re Streamlining And Saving On Christmas

Save Money on Volvo Parts, Maintenance, Repairs and Upgrades

All Volvo enthusiasts know how expensive it can be to keep your car up to date.  This is necessary even with their reputation for durability. From general repairs to performance upgrades, making your Volvo look and ride like you want can break the bank if you’re not careful. Whatever your situation, make sure you make responsible decisions about your car.

Keep Up with Scheduled Maintenance

Many car owners make the mistake of neglecting their vehicle maintenance schedules.  They think minor work can be completed whenever. But skipping items like oil changes and tire rotations is bad for your car. The longer you wait, the more expensive the repairs will become.  Check your manual for the maintenance schedule.  Make sure to keep up accordingly.

Read moreSave Money on Volvo Parts, Maintenance, Repairs and Upgrades

10 Important Money Concepts For Kids & Where Ours Stand

Our children are growing right before our eyes.  At ages 7 (my son)  and 5 (my daughter), they are learning more and understanding how the world works and how they fit in.  It is important to my wife and I to teach them good money habits and knowledge.  It seemed like a good time to see where our kids stand.  Here are 10 important money concepts for kids, and where ours stand.

Knowing What Money Is

Both of our kids now recognize money, both paper and coins.  They both know how to recognize American money, and understand that money is represented differently in different places.

Read more10 Important Money Concepts For Kids & Where Ours Stand

Now Looks Like A Good Time To Consider A Mortgage Refinance

In 2011,  we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage that had a 3.375% interest rate and I thought we were set.  At the time, that offered us near the best rate that had ever been available, and it put us to a point where the payoff date would be right before our son would start college.  I would be the ripe old age of 52, which seemed like a great number to be potentially mortgage fre.  Yet here we are, about to consider a mortgage refinance.

So what changed that is making us consider another refinance?  There are a few factors.

Rates Are Even Lower

We have great credit, so I think that we could easily qualify for the lowest rates on a 15-year loan, which would put us at 2.75%.  A half-percentage point definitely would offer some advantages over the life of the loan.

Read moreNow Looks Like A Good Time To Consider A Mortgage Refinance

5 Reasons To Explain How Trump Won The Election

Donald Trump just pulled off what many people thought was impossible.  He has been elected President of the United States.  I’m not going to get into the politics, because honestly, I’m sure anybody with Facebook has seen enough of that.  Let’s look at some of the key things that defined how Trump won the election.

Trump Took Advantage of Washington Backlash

Read more5 Reasons To Explain How Trump Won The Election

Health Updates To Finish Out 2016

It seems like the end of the year always brings health to the forefront.  Maybe because we have to sign up for insurance for next year.  It could be because we want to get ourselves ready for a healthier version to start off next year.  Perhaps it’s because we know that we have put off stuff we need to do.   Or, in our case, a combination of pretty much all of those.  Here are a few health updates in our household.

Health Update 1: Flu Shots

We all got our flu shots within a couple of days.  My employer gives them to us for free right on site (I work for a hospital system), so it just took about 15 minutes of waiting in line and I was done.  My wife got hers at Target, and took our kids after school, and all were covered 100% by our health insurance.  Hopefully we stay flu free for the season!

Read moreHealth Updates To Finish Out 2016

Why Don’t Timers Keep Good Time?

Timers are built into different devices that serve a variety of purposes.  You’d think that they would all have one thing in common, right?  Keeping accurate time.  After all, it’s right there in the name!

But, while this may be true for many devices, it doesn’t seem so in our house.

Four Timers, Three Fails

While we have many things that keep time, we have four timers in our house where keeping accurate time is pretty important.

  • Lamp Timers (x2) – We have one each in our living room and our family room, which of course turn lights on and off at designated times.  They’re two completely different brands of timer.
  • Thermostat – Our programmable thermostat adjusts the temperature at various points of the day, keeping us comfortable and saving us money.
  • Lawn Sprinklers – They’re currently turned off until spring, but our sprinklers water the grass overnight to keep the yard looking good throughout summer.

Read moreWhy Don’t Timers Keep Good Time?

Thinking Of Switching Roadside Assistance Carriers

Having roadside assistance is important to us.  Though it’s been years since we’ve actually used it, the fact that we tow a couple of thousand miles per year makes it something we want to have.  Plus, I know that the minute I cancelled, we’d have something happen!

One mainstay I’ve had in my ‘adult’ life is that I’ve carried AAA for roadside assistance.  I actually have been covered since I got my license, which happens to be 25 years.  So, you’d think I’d want to celebrate by sticking around, but I think it’s actually time for a change.

Our Current Roadside Assistance Coverage Through AAA

AAA offers three levels of coverage.  We had a hybrid between two options.  I was covered under the mid-tier option which covered not only towing and services for regular driving, but also for our RV.  It also allowed both to be towed for 100 miles before additional charges kicked in.  My wife was covered under their basic plan which covered basic towing up to five miles.  Because she drives in the Metro Detroit area, and I do all the RV driving, this worked great.  And, we signed up with a discount on the family option.

Read moreThinking Of Switching Roadside Assistance Carriers