Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bountiful Baskets.......Good Deal or Not??

We first started participating in the Bountiful Basket foodco-op about a month ago.  What isBountiful Basket? Essentially it is an organization that provides fresh produceeach Saturday to its participants.  Thecatch is that you don’t get to choose what produce will be in your basket comeSaturday.  Generally it’s all good stuff.  Every once in a while you will get a randompiece of exotic fruit or some giant potato looking thing, but most of the timeit’s just the same stuff you would end up buying at the grocery store.  It is kind of nice that they don’t tell youwhat you’re getting, it gives you a variety of produce throughout the month andkeeps your meals interesting, although we do have A TON of celery in our fridgeright now from the past two weeks.

We pay $15 a week to participate.  At first I was skeptical, but after the firstweek and seeing how full our basket was, I became a little more excited aboutthe money we might be saving.  Each weekwe got our basket and I was consistently impressed, but I was still curious toknow the dollar value of our savings.
So this week I decided to compare what we got in our basketwith the prices of the same produce found at Walmart.

Here are my findings based on what we received this week.....

Not too bad! I think the savings of 36% definitely overshadows the downside of having uncertainty in what your basket will contain. 

Visit to begin participating.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crap.......diapers are expensive!

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since this precious little girl entered our lives!

It's been an amazing month and she has brought so much joy into our lives.  Also, she has brought a lot of dirty diapers.  I had always heard that diapers were expensive, but wow...I was not prepared.  Neither for the price of the diapers or the shear quantity that would be needed.

Being the tight wad that I am, I set out to determine which brand was best.  My first study was on strictly price and these are the average, per diapers costs that I found.

per diaper cost
Based on this graph, I was convinced that we needed to just purchase the generic Walmart or Target brands. Based on her using 7 diapers a day (seems like a lot, but we found it pretty normal so far), we would save $18.90 that month by going with the cheap brands in comparison to a Huggies.

So we bought a pack of the cheap kind and consequently realized there was definitely another criteria to be considered when purchasing diapers: quality.

You get what you pay for and when dealing with poop, it's just not worth going cheap!

We decided to go with Pampers and have found them to be very reliable and we are definitely willing to give up the extra money.  If you're willing to do a little extra legwork, you can generally find bulk pampers online for a pretty good deal, around .18 cents a diaper.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life Insurance.....Term or Whole Life??

I'm a few weeks behind in my plans to have life insurance by the time our baby was born, but it's a lengthy process and I wanted to do enough research to help me make a sound decision.  My debate was whether to purchase a term life policy or a whole life policy.

Here's some definitions:

Term Life: A policy that covers the insured for a specific dollar amount in the event the insured dies during the "term".  The term is generally 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.

Whole or Permanent Life: A policy that covers the entire lifespan of the insured.  This policy also combines the death benefit amount with a savings/investment vehicle that builds value over the life of the policy that the insured can potentially withdraw from.

Working for an insurance salesman gave me great insights into this industry and helped me in my decision.  Originally I was convinced that I wanted a whole life policy.  My reasoning being that I didn't want to feel like my dollars spent on life insurance were just being thrown away if I didn't die in the "term".  With a whole life policy, I felt that my premiums were going towards a cash value that I could use in the future.  What I didn't realize until I got some policy quotes, was that whole life is generally 8 to 10 times more expensive on a yearly basis.

Insure to Insure & Invest to Invest

I had heard this before, but it was now starting to make more sense.  My purpose for buying life insurance is to mitigate the risk of leaving my family with nothing if I happen to pass away, not have a high cost investment vehicle.  I am willing to give up some of my money now, to not have that huge expense given to my family.  Even though a whole life policy would grow it's cash value, studies have found that if you take the difference between what you would spend on a whole life policy and a term life, and invest that amount into a common investment vehicle, your returns will be much higher in the long run.

So I'm buying a 30 year term policy and I feel much more confident in this decision now, so just cross your fingers that I don't croak between now and when the policy is in force.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is Your Savings Account Doing Anything For You?

Have you taken the time to look at your latest statement from your local bank where your preciously saved dollars are held?  A couple months ago, I received this statement in the mail and noticed that the APY on my savings account was being decreased at US Bank.  Take a look.....

This made me question whether I was getting the most out of my money, so I set out to compare rates at other banks.

I found this cool tool provided by my trusty companion Google.  It's called Google Advisor.  Its purpose is to compare rates on multiple different financial products including mortgages, CD's and normal savings accounts.

What did I find out? I was being totally taken by US BANK! I could get almost 1% on my savings by just switching to another bank.  What difference would this make over the course of a year? Well.....had I left all my savings in that account for another year I would have earned just $3 in interest, compared to what I'm on track to earn now.......$42!  I opened a new account with an online bank and got into a rate of .85%.

It was definitely worth the 20 minutes of my day.  Who wouldn't want $40 extra bucks this easily?

Here's the bank I use now and I highly recommend them, I've had a great experience and earned some extra cash!

Banking, Checking, Savings, ING, orange savings
Click the icon to learn more!