Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Not Crying Over Spilled Milk

Well, to say August has been a rough month for me (as far as work is concerned) would be a true statement.  I closed one deal (a small one).   In the last week I had 3 deals fall apart (two of them today).  This morning I met a client at a house that was recently listed and moments before we got there (for a scheduled appointment mind you) the seller signed an offer.

So what's a girl to do?  Hop in the pool with my daughter and relax.  After all, it wasn't anything I did.  And what can I change about the situation at this point?  All I can do now is try to help them find a new house to try to buy. But first, a little down time with the family before my life gets hectic again.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Budgeting while paid by 100% commission can be very hard.  Not knowing how much you will bring in each months is difficult, but there are ways that I've found to help.  First is to make a point to save money during those months when the income is high.  Second is to break down expenses into those that are optional (movies, eating out, etc) and those that are required (mortgage, gas - in my line of business, car insurance, cell phone - again because of my line of business, groceries etc).

Then when the money is tight I reduce the optional items as low as possible.  Does that mean we don't eat out at all?  No.  Do we not allow our kids to participate in field trips?  Yes.  We are firm believers that God will provide, but we are also supposed to be good stewards so we try to be responsible and picky in where we spend our money.

I also try to look at the required expenses.  I try to make sure I'm doing my best to save money on things like groceries (I coupon), gas (I use gas buddy and know certain areas that have lower gas prices) and restaurants (I use coupons when I can).

Then there are the expenses that are less flexible: mortgage, health and or life insurance if you are lucky enough to have them, and utilities, which of course can vary from month to month but are usually pretty consistent.

One of the things I like to do every once in a while is to look at everything to see if I can lower any of those recurring bills.  Considering I just bought my house a little over a year ago (at a lower interest rate than is now available, there's not much I can do for my mortgage except for my homeowner's insurance.  I live in Florida in an area near the Gulf of Mexico so there aren't many companies that insure in my area.  That means there isn't much competition so I don't really have options with that one.

A few months ago I found out that I could save money by letting my cell phone provider know my employer.  Unfortunately, it would have required a new 2-year contract and I'm just not willing to stick with my carrier beyond my current contract which is up in November (not that I'm counting down or anything).  Can't wait till November to change carriers and get my discount with the new provider  :-)

As a Realtor, I get notices in the mail frequently letting me know that as a Realtor I am eligible for discounts through various providers.  In fact, I called around two or three months ago looking into my health insurance options based on one of those mailings and I didn't find anything better than what I have already.

So when I got something in the mail a month about saving money on my car insurance, I didn't think it would do any good, but I set it aside anyway.  I found the paper again this weekend and made the call.  I was able to save over $300 and my coverages are better!  Whoop, whoop!

So what's the lesson for you?  Once a year do your due diligence and make a few phone calls.  Call around and price out your homeowners or renters policy, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone plan, etc.  You never know how much you could save.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Almost 3 months ago my daughter turned 7.  I didn't post a blog article about it because we decided to postpone her party and I wanted to blog about that.

You see, she wanted a pool party and I could not in good conscious have other kids come over and turn to little icicle in our pool.  So we decided to have her party shortly after we returned from Virginia in late June.  Not only would that mean the pool would be warmer, but her Grandma and Grandpa would be here for the party as well.

Ever since she watched the movie Rio she has been obsessed with parrots.  In fact, she would love to have one as a pet.  Her Dad and I however are less than thrilled to bring a loud bird that could outlive us into our house.  So, instead we settled on exotic birds as the the theme of her birthday party.

I was able to find some decorations and plates that had various exotic birds on them (at the dollar store - yay!). 

And in addition to lots of swimming the kids got to play pin the tail feather on the bird (which I didn't seem to get a picture of).

Of course there was a cake that was decorated with a parrot on it.  Can I just say how thankful I am that Grandma brought her cake decorating supplies with her from Virginia.  Made it so much easier to do.

My inspiration

End product (almost) - doesn't include edging and her name
And as a party favor we gave away small bird houses and paint for the kids to take home to paint.  They were also my back up plan in case it rained  ;-)

You can see the birdhouses on the table.

Needless to say, she was a very happy girl who thoroughly enjoyed playing with her friends.  I wonder what animal will be the focus of the theme next year.  Any guesses?