Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snapfish 35% off

When it comes to gifts, I like either very practical (such as socks!) or meaningful gifts. This year, I decided to give custom-designed calendars for my sister's family and my mom. It was quite a bit of work to collect a few pictures from each month of the past year, but it turned out to be the most meaningful & practical gift. Getting 35% discount for the order made it even sweeter!

Go to Snapfish and use coupon code MERRY1201 to get 35% off of your total order.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Time is Money

In my pre-baby years, I used to work two jobs: full-time audiologist during the day and part-time ESL instructor during the evening. I thought I was crazy busy then. However, now that I've become a full-time mom, I find mothering an infant is much more work than working two jobs!

When Elisha takes a nap, literally every second counts for me, because I never know how long is her nap going to be. She can wake up in five minutes or in a few hours. As soon as she falls asleep, my mind starts spinning, going through the mental list of a dozen things-to-do.

Most of the things are related to housework. However, some of the things on the list are directly or indirectly related to saving/earning money: disputing over service charge on a bank account, searching for used baby items on craigslist, listing items on craigslist to sell, filing healthcare claims, searching for a more affordable health insurance plan, logging in daily spendings, updating bankbooks, etc. As I struggle not to be negligent of these responsibilities, I often have to remind myself that 'TIME IS MONEY'.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Free Samples from Walmart

Don't forget this week's free stuff from Walmart. I just ordered amples of a new Crest toothpaste, and Garnier moisture cream & shampoo. Click HERE to snag yours.


Food Storage Chef Online, a company which sells high quality gourmet food storage products, is currently offering up a FREE sample. Well, they don't specify what kind of sample it is, but I requested mine anyways. Click HERE to request yours.

(Thanks, it's hip to save!)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Money = World's Greatest Stress Agent?

An interesting survey result caught my eyes the other day. Reader's Digest conducted a survey asking people from 16 different countries one simple question: What stresses you the most? Most of the 150 participants chose money as the number one reason for stress.

So, what are you stressed about?

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33, NIV)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Potty Training Kit from Pampers

Now that I have become a mom, I am always in search for baby products on sale or for free. Today I found out this free potty training kit. Hurry and get yours today. Thanks it's hip to save!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Shoes under Lifetime Warranty

If you bought high quality shoes (mostly of well-known brands) in Korea, they come with lifetime warranty. However, the perk comes with a very high price tag. A pair of nice shoes costs usually twice or sometimes three times more than what they cost in US.

Since my feet are very small (US size 4.5), most of my shoes are bought in Korea where it's much easier to find small-sized shoes. Of course I feel bad that I have to spend so much money for shoes. So, to get the most for the money spent, I make sure to take a good care of them, and that's where that lifetime warranty comes in handy. A lot of my shoes are over 10 years old, but they are still in great shape, because whenever I get the chance, I take them to the store and have them repaired and polished. My mom jokes that if everyone in Korea were like me, all the shoes stores would have to close their business.

This past weekend, CJ got a new pair of very nice dress shoes. My mom, who is the master 'deal finder' informed me that men's high quality dress shoes are on sale for $50 at a major department store. So, CJ went shoes-shopping with my mom and found a great deal: a pair of Guy Laroche shoes which goes normally $300! They were only $50, and, in addition, the lifetime warranty came along as well. What a steal!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Free sample of Pampers UnderJams

My daughter is still too small for this, so this free sample of Pampers UnderJams will most likely go to my niece. Click HERE and get yours!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saving One Income, Living On the Other Income

This is one of the challenges we took to our heart during Willow Creek's Good Sense workshop. CJ and I have briefly talked about this topic when we were engaged, but at that time, CJ didn't seem to think it's possible to live on one income. His such response was pretty understandable, because, at that time, after paying for his tuition, he did not have much spendable or savable income left.

Despite CJ's doubt and not-so-enthusiastic response, we have been working toward the goal ever since we got married two and a half years ago. During the first 12 months, we weren't able to save as much as we wanted because of CJ's tuition for his MBA program. However, we put into a savings account as much as we could even during that time. When CJ finished his schooling, we increased the monthly savings with a goal amount of money which we want to reach in one year. We kept pushing the limits, and before we realized, we were saving and investing almost one whole income.

Now that I am staying home with our baby daughter, I am very grateful that CJ and I have been well-trained to live on one income, that we can live contently with only one income. Actually, even now living with only one income, we are still saving quite a portion of it!

Consider saving as a game, a game with yourself. See how far you can stretch and save. It is often said that when it rains, it pours. How about building a safety net while you enjoy the saving same?


I am back!

Ta-da(h)! Baby girl Elisha Bae Lee was born on June 4, 2010, and after three months of rigorous Korean style postpartum care, I am back to my blog. Five days at the hospital, three and a half weeks at a postpartum care center, and two months at home under my mom's supervision - that's how I spent the past three months. If you are not familiar with Korean style postpartum care, it simply consists of eating gallons of seaweed soup, lots of sweating, no cold food, drink or shower, and lots of sleep. I know it sounds pretty barbaric, but I didn't take a shower or brush my teeth for 8 days! Postpartum care center is like a retreat center for new moms and babies.

One good thing about living in Korea is that health care costs much less than the USA, and also it's much easier to see a doctor in Korea. With CJ's new job, we are paying about $5,000 a year for BCBS health insuracne plan for our family of three. So far, this year, we spent about $6,000 for health and dental care and BCBS reimbursed most of it. Oh, another good thing about Korean health care system is that their billing system is SOOOO much simpler and easier to deciper than the one in USA. Well, I will save discussing about different health care systems for a later posting.

Anyways, I am glad to be back!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

God on Our Side - Matthew 25:12

Morning sickness continues during this last month of pregnancy. I had to go into ER again last weekend due to non-stop coughing. Whew....I'm almost there and soon there will be no more barfing!

These past few months, I have been writing about what happened to C.J. and myself during the past 8 months, especially in financial area. Now I would like to share what we learned: AM I A GOOD MANAGER?

Again, we realized that Matthew 25:12 is so true; that God gives to those who handle His resources responsibly and faithfully. If you were the master, who would you entrust with your finance, someone who has a track record of being wise and responsible with money or someone who does not know where his money is being spent.

Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! (Matthew 25:12, NLT)

Having experienced how God has met all our needs during the past tough, very tough 9 months, C.J. and I are at peace about us becoming a one-income family as we welcome a baby into our family.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

God on Our Side - Door Opened, Door Closed

On 2009 Thanksgiving weekend, big news arrived in C.J.'s e-mail inbox. The e-mail was containing a job offer from the Department of Defense (DoD) to work in Korea for three years. Initially, we thought it was a spam mail, but after confirming over the phone with the actual HR person who sent the e-mail, it wasn't a joke any more.

C.J. had been applying for DoD jobs since early 2008, and this job he was offered was one of the many positions he had applied for in May 2008. We were excited, but I wasn't sure if the timing was right, because at that time, I was on bed rest due to severe case of morning sickness and was not sure if my body could handle the trans-pacific move. However, as it was something that we had been asking, seeking, and knocking for a long time, we decided to accept the offer.

Then, about a month later, we found out that C.J.'s then-current job would not be available from February 2010! At that time, C.J. had been working as a contractor for the City of Chicago for three yeras. However, obviously the City of Chicago union filed a complaint two years ago asserting that the work C.J. had been doing should be given to a union member, not to an outside contractor like C.J., and the union won the job. Of course, C.J. did not know this was happening all those years, so when he heard the news, it was a shock not only to him, but also to his company.

Whew....what could have happened if C.J. did not get the job offer from DoD? What could have happened if we decided not to accept the offer? Insurance, mortgage, baby....How would we have handled all the expenses?

Realizing how perfect the timing was, C.J. and I could not stop praising God. I still remember telling CJ how overwhelmed I was by His work.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

God on Our Side - Maternity Coverage

It was October of last year that God started stirring waves in our quiet lives in Chicagoland. After noticing some unsettling symptoms, we found out I was pregnant. It was amazing news! However, soon we realized we didn't have maternity coverage. Out of negligence, we were still carrying the same health insurance we had as singles and didn't purchase maternity coverage. I started having severe morning sickness which left me debilitated. However, without maternity coverage, I didn't dare to see a doctor. That was mid October.

In two weeks, C.J.'s company started accepting renewal/new applications for employee health insurance. Until then, it was our understanding that in the state of Illinois, it takes one year of waiting period for the maternity coverage to become available after enrollment. However, we found out that BCBSIL's policy changed in October 2009 to waive the waiting period for new applicants!

We enrolled for the new insurance which became effective on November 1, 2009. I saw a OB/GYN doctor on November 3, and was admitted to ER on the same day and then hospitalized for the next three days for malnutrition and dehydration. The bill for the ER visit and hospital stay came about $80,000, but most of it was covered by the new insurance and we paid only $90.

Looking back at the three weeks gives me goose bumps all over. What could have happened if we didn't have the insurance? What could have happened if BCBSIL still required the one-year waiting period for maternity coverage to become available? We could have either damaged my and baby's health or ruined our finance. God's timing couldn't have been more perfect. I may sound obnoxious, but I do see God's hands diligently working for us in BCBSIL's policy change that happened in October 2009.


It's Been a Long Time!

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for having disappeared for the past 5 months. God has been doing amazing things in our lives in such a speed, so I haven't been able to make time for anything other than taking care of our basic daily needs. It's been a crazy 5-month, but C.J. and I witnessed 'God on our side' in every step we took. For the next few postings, I plan on writing about how we experienced God's faithfulness during that period, especially in financial area. I hope our testimony will encourage you in your journey toward financial freedom.