I’ve been using H&R block software for the last 3 years. I used the downloadable software which allows me to e-file 5 federal returns. I used the software to file ours (1), my 3 siblings (3) and my parents (1). I used the premium version which cost $54.95 at Amazon.
What is a Backdoor Roth IRA?
According to Mootley Fool, “A backdoor Roth IRA is a retirement savings strategy whereby you make a contribution to a traditional IRA, which anyone is allowed to do, and then immediately convert the account to a Roth IRA.”
In layman’s term, a backdoor Roth IRA is a way to contribute to Roth IRA if you are above the income threshold that the IRS allows. You can find the threshold on IRS website.
Ideally, your traditional IRA balance is 0 before contributing to backdoor Roth IRA. You can do this by rolling your traditional IRA balance to your 401k, before doing this conversion.
For this scenario, Taxpayer (TP) has 0 dollar balance in traditional IRA. This is done by moving the balance to the TP’s current 401k. In January 3, 2022, TP contributed $6,000 to a traditional IRA. In January 5, 2022, TP convert the traditional IRA to Roth IRA. By December 30, 2022, TP has 0 balance in traditional IRA.
TP receives the following IRS document from the brokerage account:
Form 5498 IRA Contribution for Traditional IRA
Form 1099-R: Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit Sharing Plans
Form 5498 IRA Contribution for Roth IRA
Add all your income from W2s and other incomes.
Add the IRA contribution. You will see this under the Federal Section –> Adjustment Tab
This will trigger the software to create a form 8606, Non Deductible IRAs and it will look like this:
Add the 1099-R. This is the distribution made from Traditional IRA because you converted the contribution to Roth IRA.
You now have conversion documented in Form 8606, step 2 and it will like below:
Congrats! You now completed the form 8606 for 2022 tax year.
Our family started tent camping, Summer of 2021. At that time, MBP was 4 and AHP was 17 months. Just like the rest of the world, I was eager to start traveling, but still cautious. Adults in the household were vaccinated at the time, but our kids were not. Camping was a great option, being outdoors 100% of the time.
Camping with kids is very different from camping without kids. Actually camping with a toddler and a preschooler is entirely different itself. After two years of camping we are still learning and accumulating gears that works best for us. This year was better than last year, mainly because we started with nothing.
Our First Year Camping
I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I booked our first camping trip. I’m pretty sure I saw a lot of pictures of the beach or the mountains, with kids as young as mine and thought, hey we could do it too. I read some articles about camping with kids and decided that a State Park with flushed toilet and running water is the best way to start. Plus points if there is a playground. I then remember that I really enjoyed Lake Chelan the last time I went. It didn’t matter that I went there sans kids and stayed in a 2 bedroom air-conditioned airbnb condo. I found an availability for two nights at Lake Chelan State Park and felt that I won a lottery. Apparently, this state park is booked way in advance and it is hard to get a reservation during the summer. I told my husband my plan after booking the site. There were some questions about the location, but ultimately he tagged along.
Once we have our reservation, I decided to rent our gear. I’m not entirely sure if we will like camping, so I went to Arrive Outdoor and reserved everything I thought I would need. It included a top of the line tent that sleeps 6, 3 sleeping pads, 1 men’s sleeping bag, 4 headlamps, a lantern, a power bank, a grill kit, Jetboil basecamp stove and pan and an MSR Alpine 4 pot set. The total cost for 2 nights was $178, but I have a great discount code and I only have to pay $87. Score!! The problem is that the gear never arrived on time. Instead of arriving the day before we leave, it arrived on the day we were leaving. Arrive Outdoor was nice enough to refund me the money.
Since I was tracking the rental order, I knew that the gear will not arrive on time. So how did we do this? Well, we purchased the “necessary” gear from Costco and Walmart. I bought a 6 person Core Block Out tent from Costco and purchased Campstove, Twin Air Mattress and Propane from Walmart. We brought our pack and play. I have a sleeping bag and my husband’s old Air Mattress and some really thin sheets which we used as blankets. For cooking, we borrowed a cooler from my parents and used our pots and pans at home. Our sleeping set up had some issues. First, the old air mattress didn’t inflate, so my husband and I were basically on the ground. The sheets didn’t work as a blanket, and it got cold at night, so we are sharing one sleeping bag. Our cooking set up was fine and we didn’t starve.
Despite some initial problems, we enjoyed the trip and followed it with 4 more camping trips for 6 nights in total.
Our Second Year Camping
After the camping season in 2021, I kept an eye on some camping gears on facebook marketplace and sales at REI. So far our total cost is $583.98. There are some items that are not necessary. There are some items that are optional and very specific to our family.
We purchased a Core 6 Person Block Out Tent from Costco. It was originally priced for $99.99. After we got back camping, it was on sale for $69.99. Costco refunded me the difference. I was actually really glad that I purchased this tent. It works for us because we are a good weather camper. This is not a 3 season tent, it is basically just a summer tent. The only good thing about it is that it is block out – and for us that is enough benefit that we are still using it. AHP still naps and it is easier for him to nap in this tent. He napped more last year and once this year. At night, we can go to bed at 8PM even when the sun is out and the kids can sleep until 7AM without the sun waking them up at 5 or 6AM.
Now, that is the only benefit of this tent. As I said, this is not a 3 season tent. We had a rainy day this year, and there were puddles inside the tent. I was diligent and made sure there were towels in the corner. This tent also doesn’t have a good ventilation. If the rainfly is on, expect to have condensation in your tent. If the rainfly is not on and you have a dog, there will still be condensation even if you open all the “windows”. I figure out that I can open the roof window and door window once the kids are in bed and it’s already dark to get more airflow. I will usually wake up when the sun is out and at that time, I’ll close it again to keep the tent “dark”. Once, AHP woke up at 6AM before I was able to close the windows and he insisted that it is day time. Also, one of the pole broke this year and I have to purchase a replacement. The pole is only $10, but there is a flat shipping rate of $7 so bought 2, for a total of $27.
Anyway, if you like dark, do not have a dog and will only camp during the summer, then buy this tent.
Sleeping Pad and Sleeping Bags
I know that we will need a sleep system that will work for me. I already have a hard time sleeping in a hotel, so I know that I will have a hard time sleeping in a tent without a bed. I’m also a side sleeper so I need a sleeping pad that will feel like an actual bed. It took trying out some sleeping pads. First we bought 3 Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pads. Costco was selling it for $69.99 and the sales guy was able to convince us to buy it. Well, it’s better than sleeping on the ground, but it was loud. I was not comfortable. Then I found 2 Large Therm-a-rest Luxury Sleeping Pad in Facebook Market Place. The seller was selling it for $30 each. I bought 2 for $50. It was advertised as used and have some stains, but was always stored correctly. I purchased it the day before our camping trip. Once I got home, I tested it and made sure it inflated. I wiped it and did some sniff test and we were good to go. The cost of this pad, if I buy new is $189.95 each. Yup I got it for a bargain. We were now using 2 Klymits and 2 Therm-a-Rest and I was more comfortable. Fast forward to June 2022 and one of my neighbor posted 2 Therm-a-Rest XXL MondoKing mattress. It was not the latest edition, but she was only selling it for $75 each. I offered to pay $100 for both and she accepted. The new version of this mattress sells for $259.95 each. It will cost just as much as a real mattress if I buy this new. So , I got another bargain. I tested it at home and realize that one of the mattress have a tear. I searched the internet and was able to repair it using the Permanent Home Repair Kit from Therm-a-Rest. I ordered it on Amazon for $16.36. I used an existing gift card, received from my sister, so my cost is $0. My husband and MBP now uses the MondoKing. AHP uses the LuxuryMat and I sleep between MBP and AHP so I used both the MondoKing and Luxury Mat. What happened to our Klymit’s mattress? Well, I kept the receipt and returned it to Costco just under a year after we purchased it. Thank you, Costco!
Sleeping bags are also necessary for us. We live and camp here in the Pacific Northwest and it gets cold at night. I have a Northface Cat Meows Sleeping Bag. I got this back in 2010 when I went backpacking and can’t recall the price. I also bought MBP a Teton toddler sleeping bag from my neighborhood page for $5. MBP used it last year and outgrown it. AHP is now using the Teton and we bought MBP a REI Co-op Kindercone 25 Sleeping Bag. It was on sale for $48.49 and currently listed at $69.95. I bought it with a gift card I got from my birthday 3 years ago and paid $26.38 for the remaining balance. For my husband, we got him a CORE Sleeping Bag from Costco for $27.99.
For cooking, we kept it very basic. The Coleman Classic Propane Gas Camping Stove is still working for us. We got it from Walmart for $43.88. It is still being sold from Walmart at $48. We still uses our pots and pans and silverware from our kitchen. I try to minimize the time washing the dishes. We uses disposable as much as we can. Sometimes, we book a campsite that has an outdoor kitchen. My husband uses this and most of our food are grilled.
For lights, we bought 3 headlamps for $14.99 and 3 lanterns for $12.99 from Costco. I also purchased camping chairs for $20.58, tarp for $14.99 and an air mattress for $16.97 from Walmart. We uses the tarp as a footprint for our tent. We rarely use our camping chairs because with kids, we are really rarely in our campsite. The air mattress was used once for our first camping trip. Sadly, Walmart do not have a good return policy and the air mattress is just in our garage. I also got a solar charger for our phones from Amazon during Prime Day for $39.99.
Other Other Gears
Our “new to us” car came with a hitch and a bike carrier. We haven’t had a chance to use the bike carrier, but we decided to purchase a Cargo Rack. We drive a 2010 Toyota Prius. Storage is ok when our dog doesn’t come with us, but there were several camping trips where she joined us and we needed a way to store our gear. Since our car already have a hitch, it is cheaper to buy a cargo rack than a rooftop box. It is also better for fuel efficiency and we didn’t notice any difference on our gas consumption when using the cargo carrier. We purchased a Curt Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier for $117.99. We used partial points and paid $103.19. We also bought a cargo bag for the carrier for $43.41
Tips on Getting Your Gear on a Budget
Try Rental or Borrow Things
Even though renting didn’t worked for us, I still recommend going this route if you are a beginner, or starting from scratch. This will give you an idea of items that are a must have for you vs items that are just good to have. For us, we don’t use the camp chairs much, so there’s no point of buying a good one. I used (or at least tried) to used Arrive Outdoor, but I also used REI in the past when I was just starting backpacking many many years ago. When renting, look for discount codes. My first rental only cost $87. On our second camping trip, my parents and my sister came with us. We lent my sister our 2 person tent (that we got as a wedding present) and my parents borrowed my brother’s 3 person tent.
There are also some non-profit organization that lends gear. In Washington State, the Washington Trail Association (WTA) have a lending library. The Mountaineers also lends gear for a fee.
Don’t forget your local buy nothing group or local neighborhood page. You can ask your neighbor to borrow some of the gear, and folks usually lend it. Just make sure to take care of the items you borrowed and return it on time.
Get Used Gear
Things will inevitably get dirty when you are camping, so there’s really no need to buy items that are new. Also, a lot of people try camping and will either realize that they don’t like it or they like it so much that they are upgrading their gears. This is how I found our sleeping pads. I highly doubt that the MondoKing Pad got a lot of used. It was so clean when I got it. The previous owner of the LuxuryMat is upgrading their gear.
Speaking of used gear, don’t be afraid to buy a gear that has some flaw. Most items can be repaired and reputable brands will even repair it for you for a small fee. I opted to repair my MondoKing by myself, but I could have also send it to Therm-a-Rest and they will repair the pad for a fee. I know that Nemo will also repair your gear for a fee.
I used my neighborhood FB page quite a bit, but I still see items on Craigslist.
Don’t but more than what you need
If you will only camp during the summer, there is no need to buy a 4 season tent. Really, there is no need to buy a tent that will cost over $500. REI is my go to store for outdoor things, but buying a $500 tent will not make sense if you will only camp once or twice during the summer. Same with sleeping bags or really any gear. Costco usually sells tents and camping gear during the camping season and most of their items are good enough. This is where we got our lantern and headlamps. Bonus point is that Costco have a really good return policy!
Shop on Sale or Outlet Store and don’t forget to use coupons/ coupon code
If you can’t find used gear and really need to get something new, wait to shop on sales. REI has a big memorial day sale or usually have member only sale. This is where I got MBP’s sleeping bag. I bought some items on steepandcheap.com. I subscribed to the site and won $200 gift card. I didn’t buy any camping gear, but I bought an Altra running shoes.
We have already camped 18 nights for 2 years and have put the gears to test. We may add more items like a Thermacell for mosquito repellant or a Camping Grill, but so far we are pretty happy with our gear. The more you packed in, the more you will need to pack out, so I try to minimize our gears as much as I can.
Per my calculation the total cost of our gear if I bought everything new is $1,464.4. We paid $583.93 and saved $880.47, by buying items pre-loved, buying from Costco and waiting for discounts.
Nick's Sleeping Bag
Adam Sleeping Bag
Thermarest LuxuryMap Sleeping Bag
Max Sleeping Bag
Hitch Cargo Rack
Thermarest MondoKing Sleeping Bag (x2)
Thermarest Camping Mattress Repair Kit
Tent Pole Replacement
Thanks for reading! What’s your must have’s camping gear?
Are you looking to sell your wedding dress that are taking up a valuable retail space in your closet? Perhaps you want to see your dress shine again and use by another bride.
First, I want to mention that I bought a used wedding gown and paid more than 70 percent off the original price. I bought my gown for $436 including shipping. I then sold it for $270. I spent $15.69 to ship it and $30 to list it at preownedwedding dress. These are the 8 steps I used to sell my wedding dress online for more than 50% of what I paid for.
Step 1: Know your size the day of your wedding.
This is an important detail because you will use it when you list the gown. Measure yourself and take note of it before you go on a honeymoon so it’s handy.
I listed mine as:
Step 2: Ask your photographer to take a photo of the gown by itself.
A professional image can add value to the actual price of the gown. Your photographer should be there during your prep and can take some photos before you put on your gown. Take some photo with yourself as well. Seeing it on a person can give buyers ideas or fit.
Include a stock photo of the gown, in addition to your own pictures. I started with the stock photo and then added my own.
Here are the pictures that I included in the listing
Step 3: Clean your gown, either professionally or yourself.
I personally put my wedding gown on a washer. You have to know the type of fabric of the gown. Majority of wedding gowns can handle a normal washer. Honestly, really, it can, unless the gown is silk.
For those that are scared, have it professionally dry clean. If you dry clean it, keep the receipt and make sure that you have it enclosed in a box.
Step 4: List it as soon as possible.
I mean really, after your wedding. Ok, maybe after you get back from your honeymoon. This can be hard for some. Who doesn’t want to look at their wedding gowns and be reminded of their special day? But if you wait, you might find yourself staring at it in your closet 5 years later and the value of the gown DO NOT appreciate. You also have to look at the trends. Styles change and not a lot of brides wants a “vintage” gown.
Step 5: List as much information as you can.
This include the gown size, the street size you typically wear, your measurements when you wore the gown as noted on Step #1 and the location of the wedding. An outdoor wedding typically means the gown is dirtier. Include the designer, fabric and the style of the gown.
I initially price my gown for $400. I searched through the site and it has a comparable price. I waited for about 6 months and I still don’t have any leads.
I slash the price to $270 and I got 5 inquiries the same day. I sold the gown within a week. Be realistic on your price. Research other gowns similar to yours on the site and price it competitively.
Step 7: Considering Paying to Promote the gown.
I paid an additional $5 to promote the gown on preowned wedding dress. It’s totally worth it because I received 5 leads in a week and sold my gown during the same week.
Step 8: Respond to All Inquiries Timely
Consider yourself in your customer’s position. They are buying a dress that they will use on their most important day, unseen. They are also trying to save by buying a used wedding gown. Respond to their inquiries timely and be open to best offers.
Where to sell your wedding dress?
I personally listed my wedding dress at preownedweddingdress.com and ebay.com, but you can choose a different sites. Keep in mind that these sites have fees and / or commission once the dress is sold.
Nearly Newlywed: $25 listing fee and 40% commission for hassle-free selling
I also see wedding dresses for sale at Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and OfferUp. You can sell your dress locally and can give your customer a chance to “try” it on if you are willing. You can save some money on shipping and fees if you sell your dress locally.
Selling your wedding dress is great way to help other brides save money on their wedding budget. It gives your dress a chance to be love again and free up your closet space. This is a win-win situation for both buyer and seller.
Are you getting married? Where are you getting your wedding dress?
Note: This post contains affiliate link for Xfinity Mobile. This means that I may receive commissions if you purchase through my link at no cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don’t personally uses.
It has been more than a year since my husband and I switched our cell phone provider from T-Mobile to Xfinity Mobile. I posted my first review here after 4 months of usage, where we saved $345.53. This is my review of Xfinity Mobile, after more than a year of use. I can say that Xfinity Mobile is still a great choice for us. Our monthly bill for two lines ranged from $11.93 – $39.16 per month. We saved a total of $967.88 since we switched to Xfinity Mobile
What can we do with $967.88? Well, here are some ideas for fun.
We can buy 2 Iphone SE for $399 each. If you are still paying for your phone, you can pay for your iPhone outright. My husband and I both own our phones.
2 Plane tickets to the midwest or 1 plane ticket to Europe or Asia once this pandemic is over
Tickets to Disneyland, again once this pandemic is over
Annual Family Membership to our local zoo, again once this pandemic is over.
Or if we are being responsible
We can use that money to pay for one time expenses, like insurance or property taxes.
$967.88 cover the cost of MBP’s preschool tuition.
Donate it to MBP’s coop or our local foodbank
Or if we want to save more
Just for fun we can add this to our portfolio and buy 2 TSLA stocks for $418.32 or 8 AAPL stocks for $120.96
If we want to be boring and safe, we would buy 5 stocks of VTI for $173.5
This savings is not one time savings. It is an ongoing savings. I was using T-Mobile from 2012 – 2019. That is 7 years of spending more on a bill that could be $900 less. Granted, Xfinity Mobile launched in 2017. So for 2 years, I was paying $900 more every year for my phone bill. That is $1800. I knew about this program, but I was just lazy and thought that it is not worth my time. But guess what, my laziness could have caused me thousands because I would have stayed with T-mobile for another 7 years. Folks that is $6,775.16!! Believe me, reviewing your cell phone bill is worth your time.
T-Mobile vs Verizon vs Xfinity Mobile Cost
Xfinity Mobile Cost
Total Savings from Verizon: $960.52
Total Savings from T-Mobile: $767.88
One Time Promotion Deal: $200
If you are not convince yet, here are some comparison of the current cost from T-Mobile and Verizon. Previously, we were using T-Mobile pay as you go plan. This plan gave us unlimited data, unlimited text and 100 minutes. We were fairly happy with them, until we moved out of Seattle. T-Mobile didn’t give good coverage in our neighborhood. Verizon owns a new tower in our neighborhood and has been recommended by our neighbors, but they are pricey. Verizon’s cheapest plan for the amount of data we used cost $80/month for 2 lines. This is advertise and most likely do not include taxes and fees. As you can see from above, we rarely go over 1GB/month for 2 lines. The lockdown didn’t changed our usage either. Before the lockdown, we used Xfinity Hotspot whenever we go out. At home, we were always just on wifi.
What is Xfinity Mobile?
Xfinity Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) operated through Verizon Networks. What is MVNO?
Per Wikipedia “A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. A MVNO enters into a business agreement with a mobile network operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently.“
So this means that if you are an Xfinity Mobile customer, you are using the Verizon infrastructure.
Xfinity Mobile Coverage
We are lucky here because Xfinity Mobile has a great coverage because it uses Verizon Infrastructure. Verizon tops the Mobile Coverage competition from reviews.org covering 70% wireless 4G coverage, followed by AT&T with 68% 4G coverage and T-Mobile with 62% coverage.
In addition, there are also hotspots that boost this coverage up. We used this hotspot many times. In the mall parking lot, while waiting for the mall to open, I was on hotspot. Clinic visit during my pregnancy, I was on hotspot. Shopping at Costco, I was on hotspot.
Personally, I never had any issues with coverage.
Will YOU Save Money From Xfinity Mobile?
Probably. You need to know the amount of data your family uses every month. You can easily see your data usage from your previous cell phone bill. If your usage is under 2GB, you can save a lot of money from Xfinity Mobile. If you are using more than 3G, the Xfinity Unlimited Plan might be the right option for you.
You can also audit your data usage on your phone and select the apps that can use cellular data. Safari and Google Maps are the only maps that I opt in for cellular data usage. This means that I cannot check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if I’m not on wifi or Xfinity Hotspot.
If you have Xfinity Internet and are working from home due to the pandemic, this is the best time to switch. Your phone should be automatically connected to your home wifi and uses that majority of the time. Your data usage should be coming from your wifi.
What do you need?
You need to be an Xfinity Customer
I’ve been an Xfinity Customer since 2009. I don’t have a choice. Xfinity is the only decent internet provider in our area. Fortunately, I never paid more than $60/month for Internet. I just call every year and they give me their best rate for Internet. Currently, I’m paying $45/month with download speed up to 100 Mbps. It takes 30 minutes per year, and I never got turned down!
You need to be out of contract from your current provider
I was on a prepaid plan, so I never had an issue with this. I know that some plans have a 24 month contract period, especially if you buy your phone from the provider. Check your contract if you can get out of it early without a penalty.
You need to own a phone that is compatible with Xfinity Mobile
Your device needs to be compatible with Xfinity mobile if you are bringing your own device. Currently Xfinity accepts iPhone, Pixel and Galaxy phone. They run some promotions so be sure to check it. When we signed up, we received $200 Visa Gift Card by switching and bringing our own device. Additionally, you need an unlock phone. You can unlock your by calling your provider. You can also purchase your phone in Xfinity Mobile if you are in the hunt of a new phone.
Moving to Xfinity Mobile
I went in person to an Xfinity Mobile store during lunch time. It was quick and easy. The associates did everything for me. He ported my number to Xfinity. For my husband, we ordered the SIM card and called T-Mobile, then Xfinity Mobile. It was easy.
What’s the catch?
I cannot see any disadvantage of switching to Xfnity Mobile. I tried to look hard but it really works well for our family. In fact, I should have switch to Xfinity Mobile even pre-retirement since we are always on wifi even in the office. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at our data usage and was attracted to “Unlimited data” plan. I will refer you to some Reddit discussions since I cannot personally find and cons. According to Reddit thread, Xfinity Mobile customers get deprioritzed over Verizon customers. Also, if you are on Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Plan, you get throttles at 600Kbps from the start. G.E Miller from 20somethingfinance.com also published his review of Xfinity Mobile.
Do you use Xfinity Mobile? What are your thoughts?
Picking items for our wedding registry was one of the most stressful part of our wedding plan. It is weird, I know because registering for wedding gifts should be fun, easy, stress free and can be done in the comfort of your home.
My husband and I already live together before we got married. We bought a house a year before getting married, and prior to that, we were already living in a 2 bedroom condo. He already owned his own condo, furnished with everything that we practically need, when he moved in with me. At that point, we have 2 of everything. My husband paid for someone to take some of his furniture to junk. It is ridiculous.
Since we have everything we need, we only registered for 23 items. We registered at Amazon because I don’t like going to brick and mortar stores. We used the wedding as an opportunity to replaced items we have or get items that we will never buy ourselves.
Here are the 9 practical gifts that we use ALL THE TIME
The links below are affiliate only for those items that I recommend and actually uses.
We didn’t register for a china. Instead, we (I mostly) decided to replace my old sets of plates. I liked the old plates, but it was thick, heavy and takes a lot of space. I’m a big fan of Corelle, but I want something more than just white. When I saw these pieces, I registered for 3 of the 16 piece set, which will give us 12 pieces of each. For some reason our gifter gave us 4, so now we have 16 of each. We donated our old set. We uses our Corelle every single day!
This is another food related item. I brought my own lunch majority of the days before we retired. I have exactly 5 sets of pyrex bowl that I uses. We also started cooking a lot more when MBP was born. This became very handy for left overs. The small containers can hold cut up fruits/ berries or crackers for MBP.
These are great bowls, especially for the price. We thought about getting one ourselves but since we’re running out of ideas to add to our register, we just registered for it. We used it for mixing, or serving chips, fruit salads and sometimes a toy for MBP.
OXO Good Grips Utensil Set, 3-Piece, OXO Good Grips Wooden Spoon Set, 3-Piece, OXO Good Grips Wooden Corner Spoon & Scraper
We used this opportunity to get some wooden utensils for cooking. We used it almost daily. It’s not exactly the best quality, but it serves our needs.
I love these pans. I then added more pieces to this. It bakes evenly and doesn’t stick.
Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe Option, Chrome
We have 2 coffee maker, one for decaf (me) and one for a very strong coffee (my husband). My husband uses this one. I prefer Carafe than single pods since we only brew once in the morning and drink it through out the day.
Here are the items that we used occasionally
Home Essentials & Beyond Del Sol Glass Beverage Drink Dispenser With Knobbed Lid, Chalkboard On Chain, On Metal Stand and Raised Easy Flow Spigot, 1.5 Gallon for Picnics Parties Bbq
We probably used this twice? We rarely host parties at home. If we do, we usually buy individually packed drinks.
GoSports Cornhole PRO Regulation Size Bean Bag Toss Game Set – Foldable (American Flag, LED, Black, Red & Blue Designs)
I never thought that we will receive this. My husband want it for fun. We did have fun with it and used it for MBP’s 1st and 2nd birthday and some 4th of July party. Sadly, a kid jump on it and broke one piece. It’s just being stored now in the garage, broken.
Hamilton Beach 1.7L Stainless Steel Electric Kettle 40893
We finally upgraded to electric kettle. I use it occasionally when I want some tea. This is probably not the best quality, but it heats water and gets the job done.
KitchenAid KFP0722CU 7-Cup Food Processor with Exact Slice System – Contour Silver
My husband mainly uses this. It is good to have when you have to cook for a party. I prefer cutting with knives if it’s just one or 2 pieces since it’s a pain to clean this.
We used this once, but it’s a pain to clean it after use, especially if you’re cleaning nasty things. I’m pretty sure we “forgot” to clean it and I’m not even sure if it made the move.
Great Northern Popcorn Original Stainless Steel Stove Top 6-1/2-Quart Popcorn Popper
I don’t know why I register for this. I don’t even like popcorn. Suffice to say, it’s never been used.
Weanas Professional Backpacking Tent 2 3 4 Person 3 Season Weatherproof Double Layer Large Space Aluminum Rod for Outdoor Family Camping Hunting Hiking Adventure Travel
Who am I kidding? I’m not really a “rough it out camping” type of gal. I like day hikes and being able to shower and sleep on my own bed after (or at least a cabin with a bed). This one haven’t been used.
How about you? What are the wedding gifts that you uses all the time?
It’s the holidays and you are searching for that elusive books that your toddler/niece/nephew or any other kid will love. Books that you are hoping that they don’t already own because you want to be a pretty cool caregiver.
Here are the top 5 books that MBP loves. We discovered these from the library. He loves it so much that we started giving it out as gifts for our friend’s kids. It was a hit.
5 books for your toddler
Go Go Go Stop! – The picture books thought my toddler the meaning of green, red and yellow.
2. My Friend Robot – Sing along song that also teaches the concept of Simple Machines.
3. Roadwork – This is a fun picture book with all the trucks and a story on how to build a road.
4. If I Built A Car – I myself enjoy this picture book. It is very imaginative for your little inventor.
5. Whose Truck – Your toddler will learn the function of trucks that they see on the road.
Most of MBP’s clothes and toys are either used or free. There are very active Buy Nothing Groups in Seattle where we got MBP’s crib, chairs, clothes, bottles and tons of toys. I supplement his stuff by buying other items on consignment, which typically happens twice a year.
When we moved this May, I joined the local Buy Nothing Group, but it doesn’t have much activity. There are also more people asking for things and I feel bad taking it from them, knowing very well that I can buy it. My favorite consignment store was also in Seattle that was put together by Seattle Parents of Multiples. I don’t have multiples, but I find that most of their items are barely used, and prices are low. Parents probably stop having kids after having two, or three and want to get rid of the items quickly. Unfortunately I’m now an hour away but was able to find one close enough and I was able to last Friday while MBP was in school.
Buying in Consignment is NOT the cheapest route, but the most convenient for me, while still buying used items that my kid will only use for the next 6 months.
I don’t expect to get super great deal at consignment. Sometimes the prices can be consistent with new items that are on sale. I pay for the convenience of having one room filled with most of the items that my kid will need for the next 6 months. It’s typically seasonal as well. Most consignment happens twice a year, one in fall for the fall and winter season and one in spring for the spring and summer season.
How I buy at consignment store
I make a list of items that I know my son will need, from clothings to feeding to bathing. During the fall season, I keep an eye out for winter wear which cost quite a bit when bought new. I’m still fairly new to this, so there are some items that I bought that I probably don’t need or could get cheaper if needed.
I saved about 82% of all items I bought or about $432.17.
My husband and I switched to Xfinity mobile a month before our early retirement. We were fairly happy with our old plan in T-mobile, but we don’t get coverage in the new house. Verizon have a new cell tower in the area and have great coverage.
Pre Early Retirement Cell Plan
I’ve been a T-mobile customer since 2012. My plan was the cheapest plan. T-mobile actually stopped advertising it. I was on a prepaid plan. I received, unlimited data, unlimited text and 100 minutes per month. I was paying 33.98 per month, tax inclusive. My husband moved in with me in 2014, he switched from Verizon to this same plan. HIs bill went down from $60+ to $33.98. At that time, T-mobile only sell this plan through Walmart. They don’t advertise it. I can’t even find this plan on their website. So since 2014, we were paying $67.96/month for our cell plan.
We found out about Xfinity Mobile as recommended by our neighborhood page group. Everyone says good things about it, which surprised me — because you know it is Comcast. I’ve been a Comcast customer because I don’t have a choice – it’s the only provider that gives decent speed in our area. I’m only paying for internet. We don’t have a cable and our phone is through Google which is a one time cost. I don’t want to bundle another product with Xfinity, so I had my doubts.
Xfinity Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) operated through Verizon Networks. Verizon have a better coverage than T-mobile, according to review.org. This is already an upgrade for us. Customers are also automatically connected through Xfinity Hotspots. Their plan is only available if you are an existing Xfinity Customers.
Xfinity mobile plans allows us to share data and pay only for the data we used. 1GB starts at $12 per month. We are retired, so we are not planning to use much data. We use wifi most of the time or use Xfinity Mobile Hotspots. We were using 2GB pre-retirement. This slowly went down to 1.5 GB to less than 1 after retirement. Our bill ranged from $40 – $19. Our last bill came in at $18.24 including fees for 2 lines, using .77 GB of data. We can save 49.72/month if we really want to cap our usage to 1GB. Even if we go on the high end of 2GB, we are still saving money compared to our previous bill.
Xfinity Mobile were offering customers $100 prepaid debit card if you bring in your iPhone. My iPhone is unlocked and it was a breeze to bring in the phone. My husband’s phone is an Android phone, owned by his former employer. We either have to get a phone through Xfinity if he wants to keep his Android or get an iPhone. My sister has an old iPhone with crack screen. She gave it to us for free and it cost $97.99 to get it repaired. We unlocked the phone and port my husbands number to Xfinity. We also received another $100 prepaid debit card as part of the offer.
We have saved 345.53 for 4 months of usage, including the offer that we were able to avail. I’ve been pretty happy with the service and pleasantly surprised with the coverage, especially the hotspots.
# GB used
One Time Deal: $200
Total Savings: $345.53
Surprisingly, I recommend Xfinity Mobile, if you are looking to lower your cost and do not need much data.
We have been using cloth diapers just a little over 2 years. I wrote an article about how we spent $230 to purchase 63 used BumGenius cloth diapers, saving us about $1300 if we bought it new. With my analysis below, we saved over $500 in 2 years by using these cloth diapers for MBP.
Hybrid Cloth Diapering
We don’t use cloth diaper exclusively. When MBP turned 18 months, we started using disposables at night. My goal is to go back to using cloth diapers at night, but it is just easier to use disposables. We also uses disposable diaper when we’re on vacation and whenever we have to go out for more than 2.5 hours. It is more convenient to pack disposable diapers. I spent $130 on disposable diapers so far. During the first month, I received a $100 credit from Amazon by using their baby registry. You can only used this for diaper related item. I got the newborn and size 1 diaper and 9 packs of baby wipes for free
We washes cloth diapers every 3 days. We uses 47 BumGenius pockets diapers. Our laundry typically have 24 cloth diapers coming out of the wash. We wash twice, one on lite with no detergent and one on extra heavy with detergent, both on cold. We uses Tide Original HE Powder to wash the cloth diapers. The inserts are dried using the dryer and the shells are line dry. All our appliances are also electric. Our bill went up by about $5 – $7 per month. I used $7 increase in utilities for this assumption. In theory, this increase is not just for the cloth diapers. We also wash more just by the fact that we added an additional person in the family who uses clothes.
We also used cloth diaper wipes. I made these wipes out of a 10 year old queen fitted sheets and 3 pillow cases. The sheets are 100% cotton but has been beaten up over the number of years used. It cost me about $5 for the thread.
We uses coconut oil instead of cream. Sometimes, when MBP has a rash we also uses Desitin. The Desitin is free from the NICU, when MBP was discharged. We still have these up to now. I didn’t include this in the calculation.
Disposables Comparison Factor
I used the Costco diaper and wipes for this analysis. I used these because this is where we get our diapers. Using this calculation, there will be excess diaper. In my opinion this is realistic in our situation, because we err on the side of changing more often. We will keep this excess for kiddo #2 or give it away
On Year 1, we changed MBP’s diaper 7 times on average. A LOT more on the first 6 months until he was sleeping through the night. He was only on size 1 for the first 3 months and we upped a size to size 2 up until 10 months and we upped to size 3.
# of changes
(# of changes / ct)
Size 1 (192 ct), up to 14 lbs
Size 2 (174 ct) (12-18 lbs)
Size 3 (198 ct) (16 - 28 lbs)
Diaper wipes (900 wipes)
On Year 2, we changed MBP’s diaper 6 times. We changed his cloth diaper every 2.5 – 3 hours during the day and triple the liner or put him on disposable at night.
# of changes
(# of changes / ct)
Size 3 (198 ct) (16 - 28 lbs)
Size 4 (180 ct) (22-37 lbs)
Diaper wipes (900 wipes)
Using the factors I mentioned above, we saved $504.74 by using cloth diapers. We could save more if we use cloth diapers exclusively. These cloth diapers are still holding up well and ready for kiddo #2.
Disposable Diaper (costco price)
Cloth diaper sprayer
Diaper liner refill
Diaper liner refill
Other reason to choose cloth diapers
The cost is just one of the reason we choose to use cloth diaper. Disposable diaper sits in the landfill for 500 years. We are lessening our carbon footprint by using cloth diaper.
We have used cloth diapers for 2 years now. MBP was discharged from the NICU by end of August, but we didn’t start him on cloth diapers until September. I waited until he is big enough to use a one size cloth diaper so we don’t have to buy a new born cloth diaper.
What is a cloth diaper?
Cloth diaper is just what it say, a “cloth” diaper. I remember when my little sister was born, she used a flat cotton cloth and we will use safety pins to secure it to her. We then used another water repellant shell, which is called a PUL to keep the liquid in. This was the only cloth diaper that I knew existed back then.
I was overwhelmed when I started researching about cloth diapers before MBP was born. There are so many types and brands to choose from. The cost can be significant, depending on the type you choose.
One Size Pocket Diapers
I tried 2 kinds and 3 different brands of cloth diaper. I tried 2 brands of one size pocket diapers – BumGenius and Fuzzibunz. I also bought Clotheez prefold diaper which is the traditonal flat cloth but the middle section is a more absorbent layer. You need to use an outer shell for these type of cloth diaper. Just a couple of days into it, I knew that we will stick with the pockets. My husband prefer the Bumgenius over Fuzzibunz. He also prefer the velcro vs snaps because it is easier to fit to the baby.
I got my cloth diapers in 3 ways:
Free from our local Facebook Cloth Diapering Group
Used also from Facebook Marketplace
Green Mountain Diapers for the fitted cloth diaper
Getting Cloth Diapers for Free
Cloth diaper is very popular in Seattle. There is a dedicated facebook group where you can buy and sell used cloth diapers. You can also ask any questions to members related to cloth diapers. I’ve seen range of questions from cleaning cloth diapers, traveling with cloth diapers, rashes and fit. I was lucky and received 20 Bum Genius 3.0 from this group. The cloth diapers was used for 18 months by one kid. The elastics needed some repair when I received it. Luckily it wasn’t hard to replace. I also received 2 Planet Dry wet / dry bags.
You can also check out your local Buy Nothing Group. I received 12 Fuzzi bunz cloth diaper. It didn’t have an insert but the PUL is still in great shape. Just like the Bum Genius, I have to replace the elastics for these diapers.
You can also go to The Cloth Option, which is a non-profit organization that provides cloth diaper to those that needs assistance.
Getting Cloth Diapers Used
I bought mine from 2 sellers in our local FB marketplace. I bought 27 Bumgenius 4.0 for $150. The lady who sold it to me used it for 6 months. She lives in an apartment with shared laundry and it became difficult for her to wash it. These are in great condition and I didn’t have to change any elastics. I also bought 16 Bumgenius 1.0 for $40. It was used by one kid 6 years ago and was just stored in her closet. I didn’t end up using it because I have more than enough to rotate in the stash.
The total cost of my “new to me” cloth diapers is $190. Which cost about $4.5 per diaper.
Getting Cloth Diapers New
Cloth Diapers can be expensive. An individual BumGenius is priced at $21.95. You can get a discount if you buy in a bundle at $20.55 per diaper. I bought a dozen of Cloth-eez Prefold Diapers for $33.95. I used this as an insert for the Fuzzibunz when we were still trying to determine between Bumgenius and Fuzzibunz based on the free cloth diapers we received. We ended up liking Bum Genius. I sold this same diaper on eBay for $26.
Total Cost of getting the diapers free and used: $229.78
$197.95 for the 63 cloth diapers
$31.83 for the elastics, cleaning supplies and shipping fee
Total Cost of getting the diapers new at current price of $20.55: $1294.65