(Previous years: 2011, 2012)
Baby M came home from the hospital after 134 days! I went on a 6-month unpaid maternity leave that wound up being permanent. I examined the reasons why things might always be just a bit more expensive than we think and I made three New Year's Resolutions.
Peanut and I started a college fund for Baby M. I tallied up the costs above and beyond the price of some things, and also learned how to look for ways to reduce those costs to nothing. My assumptions about WIC were challenged. I realized I was still being paid for a job I had quit, and returned the money (and will have to watch my taxes to make sure I'm not taxed on it!). We spent a night in the hospital with Baby M to have a brain and spine MRI, and I realized how much I had grown as a mother in just one month.
I participated in Women's Money Week. Not paying attention at the register got me a drink I didn't enjoy, and taught me a lesson about the expected and actual perceived value of a treat. I realized that Baby M was never going to breastfeed, and started coming to terms with the fact that a feeding tube was in her future.
I realized that probably no one ever feels like they've "got it", even if other people think they do. I looked in my closets and realized how many of my belongings were not serving me. I compared our lives in New York and Minneapolis.
I rejoiced in a "just enough" attitude towards finances (and pretty much everything else). I also rejoiced in imperfection, when it scored me a dutch oven at almost 75% off. Baby M was diagnosed with failure to thrive and admitted to the hospital for a few days to have a temporary feeding tube placed.
A huge freak storm hit Minneapolis and caused our basement to flood, ruining the carpet and drywall. We were without power for three days and lost all our perishable food, although Peanut managed to save the freezer full of breast milk by running it off a car battery for a few hours at a time. This happened right as I had two different groups of family members visiting and a few days before Baby M had surgery. June was a really sucky month.
I officially became unemployed when I notified my job that Baby M's health did not allow me to return to work. I fretted about the money we were spending due to the flooding and the surgery. I tried to find some small frugal wins. I wrote the guide I wish I'd had before our basement flooded: Part I, Part II, Part III.
WE PAID OFF OUR STUDENT LOANS!!!!! This means we became debt-free except for the house. I said no to "engaging with brands". I considered how debt is like slavery. I goofed trying to save money, and wound up spending more than if I hadn't tried.
Baby M turned 1! Peanut and I played general contractor as we repaired the basement walls ourselves, and I debated what to do about our broken dryer. (I don't think I ever posted an update - somehow my sister fixed it while she was visiting. I think she banged on it with her fist. No kidding.)
I shamed Congress for the government shut-down. We got ready for a Minnesota winter (and not a moment too soon!). I tallied up some more frugal wins. I confessed to paying for cat grooming. Baby M was both an astronaut and a dragon for Halloween (I couldn't decide, so she changed costumes halfway through the night!).
I considered the future of health insurance, where Peanut's employer might cancel coverage and we would have to buy it directly. (It hasn't happened yet, not sure it's still on the table, but I feel ready for it if it is.) In honor of World Prematurity Day, I urged pregnant women and those close to them to learn the signs of premature labor.
Our furnace went out during a stretch of sub-zero temperatures, and we had it replaced. I worked on saving little bits of money on regular bills. The news gave me fits, first misrepresenting data to say that vitamins are killing you and your budget, and then the hew and cry about Target's no-big-deal-to-me data breach. We snuggled in at home for a germ-free low-key Christmas - maybe next year Baby M can participate in big family gatherings but we are still playing it safe this year.
How was your 2013?