7.29.2015

Growing a Human: Week 37


When you last heard from me, I was at 33 weeks and feeling pretty good!

Well that's over.

At 35 weeks on the dot, the wheels fell off this pregnancy train, and it was like my body woke up and realized, “Hey, you’re pregnant.” It was literally the day my week switched over to 35. I was just tired. So tired.

My blood pressure was elevated at my 35-week doctor’s appointment, and my hands and feet swelled up and have stayed that way. Goodbye, wedding rings. 

I'm actually less upset about taking off my wedding rings than I am about my toe ring! That thing never comes off. I'm mean for real. I wore it while running my marathons, for crying out loud. But I digress.

I can’t complain too much about how I've been feeling because honestly I haven’t had a lot of the pregnancy symptoms I’ve heard so much about. No heartburn, no acid reflux, no leg cramps, no more rib pain now that she’s moved down a bit. 

But overall I just feel pregnant. Large and in charge. Have I said tired? I’ve been having Braxton Hicks since about week 22, but in the last week or so there have definitely been more of them. Nothing regular enough to cause me to grab the hospital bag, but they are more frequent for sure. 

Jordan is officially on Baby Watch. He says every time I call him now, he’s going to think I’m in labor. He’s requested that I text “not urgent” before I call him just to be safe, which I’m not going to do but I think it’s pretty funny.
At my 37-week appointment, I got my first cervical check! 

IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER. Oh my gosh. Seriously, people said it wasn't going to be fun, and I'm sure for everyone it's different, but for me it was majorly uncomfortable. I'm dilated to a 1, in case anyone wants to know. You're welcome, internet strangers.

Now for a quick rundown of those stats everyone puts on their bump updates.

Due Date: August 19

However, she has been measuring about a week early this entire pregnancy (and actually at my last two appointments she's measured 2 weeks big). That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Jordan is convinced she’s coming August 11 or earlier. We’ll see! I’m not even going to guess and get my hopes up that I don’t have to waddle around for longer than I have to. I just want her to come when she wants to come, and I don’t want to have to induce. But man, if she could come next week so I could avoid another cervical check, that would really be great.

Name: Still not telling! And I still haven’t decided if I’ll share on the blog. I will say that both middle and first names have family significance.

Weight Gain: As of today, I am plus 28.5, sitting at 164.5 pounds!

Sleep: I am thankful to have the sleeping abilities of a rock. Not that rocks sleep, but you know what I mean. Once I’m out, I’m out. However, I still wake up multiple times to pee during the night, and it’s harder to get comfortable initially once I lie down. I’ve also started having some really weird and vivid dreams. Not necessarily baby-related dreams but just super weird dreams.

Movement: She’s out of room in there, and so body parts are protruding from my stomach at any given moment. It’s awesome and also freaks me out a little bit. But it’s nice to know she’s still in there and doing okay!

Belly Button: It's fully out, and Jordan thinks it's hilarious and likes to poke at it, and I get mad. Actually, we probably shouldn't talk about it.

Feeling: I’ve been praying nonstop for peace, and honestly I do feel less anxious for the most part. Plus, the more uncomfortable I get, the more I just want her to come out! 

I want my body back. I want to not waddle. I want to be able to hug Jordan without a basketball in the middle of us. I want to pee at normal intervals. Is that really too much to ask?

I do not feel at all like this pregnancy has flown by. I feel like it has gone at a normal speed, and it has felt like 9 months for sure. It’s comforting to know that at this point, she’s basically almost fully cooked. If she came today, she’d be just fine. We’re so excited to meet this little person who’s been growing inside me!

Want more Baby Bum? 
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7.27.2015

Four Budget-Friendly Tips for Using a Credit Card (without going into debt)

4 budget-friendly tips for using a credit card

I know I've had a resurgence of budgeting posts lately, but after four years, I had started taking our budget for granted. Now that we're needing to buy a bunch of stuff for the house and baby, I freak out about how we're going to afford things on nearly a daily basis. Okay that was a lie. I freak out about it on a daily basis.
 
However, I have to remind myself that if nothing else, I am really grateful for the foundation we've laid and the budget we have in place that will (in theory) help us continue to track spending and keep us from going into debt.

Today I want to talk about credit cards and share what we do. When it comes to the idea of using credit cards, there seem to be two extremes. I’m totally overgeneralizing here, but just go with me.
  1. People who grew up hearing that credit cards were the devil and a pathway straight to debt hell. These people have never used a credit card, never owned a credit card, and most likely paid cash for everything.
  2. People who use credit cards to buy any and everything, even if they can’t afford it. These people have credit card bills ranking in the thousands, possibly on multiple cards. They do not keep track of their spending and in general do not think of credit card money as real money.
Then there is a third camp that falls somewhere in the middle of no credit at all and credit card bills for years to come. Jordan and I fall in this category. We budget and believe in a debt-free lifestyle, but we also have a credit card that we use daily on nearly all of our purchases. Credit cards don’t have to be a bad thing!

Personally, I see way more benefit to having a credit card than not having one if (and admittedly this is a large if) you can be disciplined about it. I’m not going to give you a list of reasons why you should get a credit card. Google that if you want to know. It’s been written.

In this post, I just want to quickly share with you four tips that will help you to use a credit card wisely while getting the most out of it.

Tip #1: Have one credit card that gives you rewards points or cashback and put all your purchases on it.

I know there are airline mileage cards and Kohl’s cards and such, but having too many cards can get really overwhelming. Plus, who wants to get that many bills? The bonus to having only one credit card is that you are getting the most for your rewards points. Choose a card that gives you a percentage of cash back for every purchase (most cards offer something, whether it’s 1%, 2%, etc.) and rack that cash up! 

We have Discover, and really like it.* We get 1% cash back on every single purchase, and there are rotating categories throughout the year where we get 5% back. This summer is home improvement stores! Holler.

Our Discover money also works on Amazon, so when we check out, we have the option to use our cashback money to buy our item $1 for $1, which makes it completely free! If you don’t have a credit card, you’re missing out on the opportunity to get points or cash for purchases you’re making anyway. Trust me: that 1% doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up.

*Note: this is not a sponsored post; I’m just telling you what card we use. HOWEVER, if you are not a current Discover card member and want to be one, let me know! I can send you a referral link, and we both get $50 cashback bonus!

Tip #2: Continue to log receipts and keep a budget worksheet as normal.

I think the biggest reason people get into trouble with credit cards is because they don’t see their spending as real money. If all you do is slide a card or punch in a number, you don’t see the cash exchange hands and thus don’t feel like you’re actually spending money. It can be easy to rack up your credit card statement and get blindsided at the end of the month with a giant bill if you aren’t paying attention.

The key to using a credit card is to pay attention. 

If you never stop logging receipts on your budgeting worksheet, you will never be able to forget that you are in fact spending actual money. Don’t look at your bank account and think, “Gosh, I have a lot of money in there. I can spend more!” 

Look at your account as if the purchases you put on your credit card have already been debited.

Tip #3: Don’t buy anything you can’t afford.

This one is obvious but seriously, just don’t buy something if you don’t have the money for it. Just because your credit card has a $3,000 limit does not mean you have $3,000! Save as usual, and when you have enough money in your account, go buy the item!

Now, obviously we’re not talking about giant emergencies that do sometimes happen in real life. Dave Ramsey tells you to keep $1,000 in cash handy for an emergency, which is a good tip, but sometimes a real emergency is more than that. So we’re not talking about that, okay? We’re talking about wants vs. needs. If you only have $500, don’t max out your credit card buying a $3,000 lawn mower. Again, pretend the money in your account is being debited every time you use your credit card.

Tip #4: Pay off your credit card bill in full every month.

Again, sometimes this is not possible (read: actual giant emergencies). But Jordan and I have been using our credit card for over four years and have paid our statement in full every single month. When you do this, you are sticking it to the credit card companies that make billions in interest payments from customers! 

By paying off our statement, we get our cash back from purchases we would have made anyway, and we make money off our credit card company. We’re pretty sure Discover hates us, and I’m okay with it.

So there you go! 

Just a few simple tips for wisely having and using a credit card. Like I said, we love Dave Ramsey’s steps and living a debt-free life (other than a mortgage), but we do not think having a credit card is a bad thing! You can actually use it to your advantage and make a few dollars along the way. Stick it to The Man!

Bonus Tip #5: Pay bills with your credit card.

This last tip is just for fun… pay bills with your credit card! A lot of companies want a bank draft, so not all companies will let you do this, but if you can, get on it! Remember that cash back I talked about? Those rewards points? The more bills you are able to pay using your credit card, the more you can pay yourself back with those rewards. You’re welcome.

Questions? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email!

Do you have a credit card? Do you have any other tips to add for using them wisely and getting the most out of your rewards? What credit card have you found that offers the best rewards?


*For more budgeting posts, click here.*

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