Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What type of crib?

A few months ago I spent a lot of time looking at cribs. I wanted to have an idea of what was out there, so that when we do get pregnant I can watch for sales on the cribs I like. During my searching I came across articles about why type of cribs are out there and which ones are safe and perhaps not so safe. On the Consumer Reports website they indicate that there have been recent recalls on cribs with drop-sides (article written November 2008) which raises concerns about the safety of those types of cribs. Then today I read in the Wall Street Journal about the same thing. I had already decided I would steer away from drop-side cribs, plus they are usually such a pain to put up or down, I probably would never use it. I'm sure there are lots of drop-side cribs that are perfectly safe, but for me, I'm going to avoid them until some new regulations are things are in place.
I'm still not sure what crib I want. I thought I wanted a convertible crib, but the full sized cribs convert into a full sized bed; I don't think my kid will need a full sized bed, a twin will work just fine, and what if our rooms wont fit a full sized bed? Of course with convertible cribs going to adult sized beds requires a conversion kit, which can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars, so is it even worth it at that point? I do like the idea of converting it into a toddler bed and a day bed. The starting price difference between a convertible crib and a standard crib are not that great, so perhaps it's worth the flexibility, maybe only all I need is a 3-in-1 instead of 4-in-1....
I entertained the idea of a mini crib, they are so cute and they convert into a twin size bed, but there are a lot of reviewers that say their baby grows out of the crib very quickly and I'd like to keep our kids in a crib as long as possible. I still haven't settled on what I want yet, all I know is I don't want to have to spend a lot of money, but I do want something that looks good.
Overall, the biggest concern will be safety. We all want the best for our children and sleeping somewhere safe is a priority.

Here are just a few cribs I like:
DaVinci - Annabelle Mini Crib 2-in-one

DaVinci - Emily 4-in-one

DaVinci Mercer Crib

I haven't made a decision yet, and probably by the time we are ready to buy something there will be many more designs to choose from.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Marriage and Debt

As Joe and I are preparing for parenthood we have the goal of being out of debt before getting pregnant.
For about a year now we have been focusing on paying as much as we can (or are comfortable with) toward our debt snowball (a Dave Ramsey term). We also made a goal to no longer use our credit cards, for anything! This was the greatest accelerator, we pay cash for everything, our trip to Disney World, plane tickets home, gas, groceries, movies, eating out, etc. It takes planning, but it's a must. These goals have sometimes been hard to stick to, but we are in the final months of lame credit card debt! We also have the goal to pay off my car this year, which will relieve another monthly payment when we get down to one income. We still have the leased Jetta, but that's a whole other saga!

I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal, which gives some great advice about discussing debt and financial matters with your spouse. I think it's obvious that good communication is a must in a marriage, but some people may not think about needing good communication about finances.
Joe and I haven't always had great communication about finances. In the beginning of our marriage I handled all of the bills and we didn't talk much about where our money was going. Ever since we've come together on the goal of getting out of debt, talking about money is no problem. We are now more conscious of how our spending affects our goals.
The one section of the article that I don't entirely agree with is the topic of good and bad debt. Ideally we should all strive for no debt in our lives. But a mortgage is something I would consider to be "good" debt. Here are the author's phrases for good and bad debt: "In effect, good debt improves your life permanently." "In effect, bad debt only improves your lifestyle temporarily." I think the distinction of improving your life permanently and improving your lifestyle temporarily is great. Plenty of people use debt to improve their lifestyle not realizing that they are hampering and possibly ruining their life. The weight of debt is a detrimental, debt causes stress and anxiety. Debt makes living life difficult, basic expenses can become a burden when all of your money goes towards debt payments.

I also enjoy Dave Ramsey's philosophies - baby steps. Listening to Dave on the radio while I was driving to/from work really spurred our desire to get out of debt. His philosophy is so simple and straight forward, it's nothing new, perhaps just a new way of hearing and understanding it all. Joe and I both come from a religious background and our religion preaches these same principles; living within your means, staying out of debt, and saving for emergencies. It simple makes sense to not have debt. It's really the only way you can grow wealth as well.

I hope to say in a few shortly months that we are debt free (other than the house and the car lease)! It will be an exciting moment for us.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Some of our plans

As most people might know, Joe and I have been married almost 5 years. Some might think this is a long time to be married before starting a family, but I always knew I wanted to wait a few years before having kids; I wanted some time to just be us. I also thought we would know when the time was right to start having a family. Lots of people say that the time will never be right and that you should just do it, but I don't entirely agree with that. I think that planning is an integral part of starting a family. It's a big commitment because once you start there's no going back!

We starting thinking seriously about starting a family last year (2008). We decided that we wanted to try to get pregnant some time in 2009 and that meant we would need to make a plan and hopefully meet most of our goals before we become pregnant.

Here are few things on our goals list:
  • Get out of debt (a good goal at any time in life)
  • Have 3-6 months expenses in savings (or more!)
  • Budget! Learn to live on one income.
  • Buy as many baby items as we can while I'm still working.
  • Get the house organized.

We hope to have as many of our goals completed by the summer time. If we are lucky enough to get them all completed, especially our financial goals, then we'll be able to focus on just baby stuff once I'm pregnant.

I think something that is really great is that Joe and I are on the same page. We came up with the plan together and we can discuss these things without fighting. It's also great that Joe is an active participant in planning for our family, although I get considerably more excited about cribs and car seats.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Step one: Deciding it's time

Growing up I thought I would have kids by now. Obviously I didn't know then what I know now. And obviously, I don't have any kids yet. However, we are on our way . . . at least on our way to planning for them.
Joe and I decided it would be fun to write about our thoughts on becoming parents and what our plans are and might be. In our almost-five-years of marriage we haven't really talked seriously of having kids until this past year (2008). We finally decided it's time to start planning for a family. It's sort of an odd concept, "time to start planning," as if we are counting down to a date of when we'll get pregnant. Although we do have a preference of a date, we know we don't have a lot of control over when it will actually happen, so why not start planning now? And there is a lot of planning to do, details to work out, decisions to make, and tons of things to buy!
Here we'll write about some of our choices, and steps we are taking to prepare ourselves for a baby. Because once we are pregnant, there's no going back; family life is on!
We are excited to share our journey and hope that it might be slightly informative and maybe entertaining.