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January 31, 2011


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Vacations will probably be the top spending area for me this year. I also suspect I will get an iPad at some point.

Vacations--our hobby and our vice. We budget a lot for this and try to take 3-5 trips a year.

Fence--our cedar privacy fence is 15 years old. It'll last, but how much longer?

Dishwasher--I hate our dishwasher. It's broken twice and is now out of warranty. I have to clean out the guts of it 1-2 times a month and it still doesn't get our dishes clean. Yes, we've changed soaps, pre-rinsed everything. 1 out of 5 loads will get sparkly clean. The rest are icky.

We will be preparing for the first kids in college. Researching all different aspects and taking time to make him feel comfortable before he get there. A mini vacation to show him around, have him help select necessities for dorm life and talking about the start of a 4 year journey.

Everything else is peanuts to this.

Trip to Europe (Berlin and Prague)in April, and Michigan in July or August.

We have grand plans for our backyard, but will likely have to spread them over several years. Namely, we want to convert the entire thing to xeriscape in order to avoid enormous summertime water bills, expand our patio and dress it up somehow, and build a privacy fence, pergola and fire pit. Of those, the privacy fence is priority #1, so hopefully we'll make that happen in the spring.

There are a million things we'd LIKE to do or buy for our house (which we've been in for one year), including a rug for the living room, new drapes for the master bedroom and maybe the living room, artwork, convert a closet into built-ins, and more.

Right now though, the thing I'm most itching to buy is a treadmill. Shopping for a good deal on a used one that gets great reviews as we speak.

On the off chance the forecast is correct, you may change your mind about the snowblower on Wednesday morning.

Our list includes:

1. New flooring/carpet in the bedrooms and stairs of our home. We have been saving up for that, so now we need to finalize our exact plans.

2. 10 year anniversary trip. Ditto on the saving up in advance for it.

There really isn't anything else. Our focus has been and continues to be increasing our savings and investments. At this point, our wants and needs are fairly small and we are pretty much set for the next several years (I hope).

My list:

1. Landscaping: just a tree, to keep my neighbors from looking straight in my kitchen window. But it's gotta be a big tree to get close to blocking their upper story, runs around $350 & the nursery transports and installs it.

2. Buy nice curtains & rods for the family room: 2 huge windows and a sliding glass door. Expecting it to cost around $500 but should help with the heating costs.

3. Paint walls of living room & dining room. Walls are 2 stories high--I'm going to have to hire someone.

4. I'd love to go to Paris in the summer.....!

I'm in the market for a new snow blower and trying to research it. Out of curiosity, what makes your snow blower "big and unwieldy?" I know you live in MI, did you choose a big one because you get mountains of snow? My driveway is about 50ft long and I never shovel the whole thing, though I'm sure the garbageman would prefer to have more options than the tiny path I make for him. Any suggestions would be great. My back has had enough and I still have two more months of Winter.

We are replacing the bed room windows. They should be installed in March.
Getting a new dishwasher is a relatively inexpensive way to improve the kitchen.
I'd like to buy a bookshelf system. The Denon DM38S Micro AM/FM, CD, USB Input looks good to me.

1) A trip to Spain: 3 weeks with my husband's parents and brother, visiting family in Spain & France. It's a belated anniversary present to my in-laws, as they celebrated their 30th when we were on shaky financial footing. Fortunately, this trip has already been bought and paid for with cash (well, credit to earn the points and then paid with cash the very next day).

2) Infant car seat: I'm expecting my second child and our firstborn used a hand-me-down infant seat. It worked fine but toward the end we started noticing stress in the plastic so we recycled it and will shop for a new one.

3) A new stove: A wish list item of mine. The previous owners left their stove when we bought the house. It seemed like a blessing until we realized the old owner loved to deep fry and hated to clean. I've tried everything I can think of, including hiring a professional to use industrial strength products... I still can't get the black sludge off. It's purely cosmetic, but I cook every day so I can't get away from this pet peeve. If we find extra money in the budget, I'd love to use it here.

We head up to Northern Michigan summer. However, we live in southeast Michigan, so it probably isn't early as exciting for us. Love where you are headed though.

I need to replace our driveway, which will be a large expense as our driveway holds 6 cars.

Headed to Florida in April, then NYC/Outer Banks in summer.

Tons of sports camps for the kids.

Can I have your unwieldy snowblower???

24mm Nikon 1.4 Prime Lens for my photography business.

We got windows last year to take advantage of the tax credit.

New couch/furniture for the studio space.

Trip to Asia -- experiences > things.

Actually this year we're debating renovations in the living room (take out a wall put down hardwood) or possibly stretch ourselves and buy a vacation/rental property (aka Cottage). I'm not convinced about the cottage but it would force us to be much more conscious with our money.

Possible 1 vacation depending on the first major spend (not sure where yet).

Finally my close friend is getting married so that will be a major spend (though not really a purchase)

Landscape - We did most of the work last year, but will add a couple more trees and do the landscape lighting this year.

Vacation - Disney trip already planned.

Lights - We will probably change out the lights in the foyer, dining room, breakfast area and the master bath.

Garage cabinets - I just started to look at options, but this is something I would like to get done in the spring.

dcs --

I still have it for now. We'll see what happens tonight. ;-)

indio --

It's so large that I can't "muscle" it around when I need to. Sure, it has forward and reverse drives, but it's just too slow/immobile/etc. for our drive.

You and I both missed the tax credit for insulation (the more generous one expired in 2010), but I think it's worth doing anyway.

Off to Honduras for some diving/jungle lodge and ruin visiting to get out of this crazy winter snow. Hopefully group trip to Santa Fe in the spring for a long weekend. Then maybe Tuscany in the summer. Yay travel! And probably an iPad.

My shopping wish list is to go to Jamaica, and South Beach.

These are places I love to visit. However I might use the money for these trips and pay off my bills. Then in 2012 I can go on a Mediterranean cruse. :-)

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