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Archive for July, 2014

getting on the same page

July 31st, 2014 at 07:35 pm

I don't know if my DH are on the same page for "early" retirement. We certainly are more in line with spending, budgets, lifestyle. Although we aren't 100% in lock step but what couple is? I'd say he's naturally very frugal (bordering on cheap) but I'm not a naturally spend person period.

Example I got my Dyson he still thinks it's nuts to buy a vacuum cleaner for $300 versus he thought my budget would be $150. Now does the vacuum make my life easier? yes! My house does feel cleaner. So I say it's worth it.

Anyway my DH recently had me borrow book on tape "four hour work week." I was surprised. When I've brought up living frugally, moving somewhere cheaper, buying a house cash he's freaked out. The idea of retiring with sooner because we live simpler I think he's coming around. My DH was mustachian before it became a "word".

But reading Mr Money Mustache retired with $800k in 2006 with one kid, meant the reality set in. I think he's thinking about it, wondering if we could do it. Expenses without our mortgage is very much "mustachian". So where do we need to be in five years? What if we could move buy a home cash with our equity and then live on what we've saved? We'd right now be close to Mr MM. But a few extra years with our extra kid or two?

I hope this is a turning point where my DH starts to believe we can do this. That don't need to work forever. It also helps I recently made a friend whose a single mother, who retired from private equity and supports herself royally. And she herself has said by living "simply" ie $100k/year she can still manage by watching her spending. She eats out, pays for preschool, etc. Life is about choices.

I hate verizon

July 30th, 2014 at 09:00 pm

I hate verizon. We have verizon FIOS for internet and cable. I have cable because it costs us $5 more to have cable than not.

But my cable remote broke and I called verizon and was told it would cost me $15 or $20 depending on the model to replace it. I said "are you effing kidding me?" The guy said nope, company policy. I said "I am paying for cable and you don't want me to have a working remote? Seriously? The remote for cable isn't included?" Guy says "company policy. I'll put it in customer service, but apparently everyone complains about this asinine charge!"

So perhaps now I can convince my DH to let me switch. I haven't been allowed to switch cable or internet companies because he prefers FIOS internet. I am not on a contract because he won't sign one. He doesn't like me switching every year for a "deal" because he doesn't like them drilling holes in our walls to put the cable wires through. So we've had FIOS at a ridiculous price because I can't switch.

I pay for internet $79.99/month and bundled with cable $84.99. Yes I can't get them cheaper because I won't sign a contract. Hopefully this issue with the remote, I'll just cancel and start up. No contract, no problem. Return box and router and off we go. Now if I can convince my DH to live without internet for like a week or two even better.

Perhaps then I can get Verizon to give me a deal so I don't have to drill more holes. I still despise them. But I have yet to meet someone who likes their cable company. I laugh when I watch the video of the granny going postal in comcast and smashing everything with a wrench. That's exactly how I feel.

Stupid tax

July 28th, 2014 at 05:15 am

So everyone does stupid things but you just have to accept it right? I did a very stupid thing and I have to suck it up. Ugh.

So this weekend my cell phone got stolen. We share a verizon family plan so I'm locked into a contract for another 18 months. So I'm using my DH's old Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I don't care, actually I honestly didn't want to upgrade in the first place. But my DH feels guilty so I just get whatever phone he wants in duplicate.

How'd it get stolen? I wasn't paying enough attention while we were eating in a very busy food court and left it on the table and when I looked for it, it was gone. Sigh. Totally my fault and responsibility.

Before anyone asks why a contract I actually priced out ting and was told by their generator we were in that 5% of people who it didn't make sense to get Ting. I downloaded all my bills. Same with the other carriers. Apparently having a family plan and using it a lot (we don't do a home phone and my BIL doesn't either), and we text and use a lot of minutes. But for now I'm okay. But I do feel frustrated at my own stupidity. And this is probably why I hate having a new phone. I know I can be irresponsible. And why my DH always buys me technology that sometimes I feel bad having. Ugh.

Now I have to figure out besides using the old phone what I can do to make up for it.

Condo living exhaustion

July 21st, 2014 at 06:32 pm

So I am pretty exhausted as I write this. This is probably yet another straw about why tying your yoke to others is exhausting.

I wasn't blogging when this happened but in January of this year we had a pipe burst in our neighbors and flood their unit and the unit below. They were on vacation and had left the heat on but the pilot light went out apparently on the gas insert fireplace. They had left on the central furnace but it wasn't enough.

My DH was the only person home and not only turned off the water, but he shop-vac the water, drained, cleaned, called and paid the plumber and fan drying guys. He truly works just as hard as I do on our place (in case I sound like I'm complaining, we both break out backs).

Anyway because of this water damage loss our master condo policy was not renewed and is ending August 10th. I've been in contact with our current agent and calling multiple agents regarding getting new insurance. Based on condo docs we need to get something in place and it can't be crap. And I've been looking into our state insurance if all else fails.

Besides that I've been calling the people who installed our fence to come out and repair the gate that broke off. And I've dealt with the tree removal people and gas lines. I'm just tired. My DH does the bill pay and manages the books. I manage everything associated with the maintenance.

But it's exhausting. I got an email 3 months the gate broke off. No suggesting they take care of it. Rather "deal" with it tone.

I am just done. Whoever said condo living is easier hasn't live like this.

shopping deals

July 18th, 2014 at 11:04 am

So I bought a Britax Frontier 90 from Kohl's. They are having a sale where if you use their CC you get 30% off with BEACH30, plus it can stack with the BRITAX30 coupon so the carseat I bought which is running $269 on amazon I got for $223. $329 original - $30 Britax coupon code - 30% off = $210 + tax = $223. Plus I earned $40 Kohl's cash and going through shop discover an extra 5% cash back.

I've been waiting for a triple dip deal like this. And the carseat is a necessity, not a want. My DK1 has outgrown her convertible seats and this is the harnassed booster.

Anyway I'm toying with convincing my DH to allow me to buy the Dyson vacuum. We also need to buy him a new rechargable toothbrush.

But I can get the dyson I have been eyeing for $320 out of pocket and I can possibly get 5% shopdiscover. It's on sale for $499 @ kohl's - $15 off - 30% BEACH30 - $40 Kohl's cash and we're looking at $320!

I made also posted I was up to $275 from surveys and sales I think I can perhaps come up with a "credit" to take advantage of this deal.

a great weekend

July 13th, 2014 at 06:57 pm

I have a lot to be thankful for and I'll try to post pictures but gotta find the camera. We went camping for the first time with the kids and it was great. A bit hardcore for me and honestly I think my DH overstretched a bit but we survived and I'm proud/surprised.

We had to semi-backpack in stuff, used a wagon, and didn't take a stroller. Carrying an almost 2 year old who fell asleep while we walked to the campsite was not fun. As my DH dragged/carried everything and I semi chased our 4 year old. We did have running water but we had to carry out trash and brought everything. But getting away was lovely and the scenery was awesome. Same thing happened the second day since we didn't have the stroller, the toddler fell asleep and I ended up hiking carrying her. I ended up stopping and sitting with 25 lb dead weight. Lesson learned. Although we did get mad props from other campers for going with two very young children. Note to self, camping with kids is a lot harder than when you are younger!

But it was a lovely weekend. Kids had fun. Now my DH wants to do a kayaking trip with the kids. Park one car 30 miles down river and kayak/camp. I'm not sure what to do. Advice peeps please. We love kayaking and do it a lot with the kids, but I am hesitating because I wonder if again something we didn't think about with a 2 year old will make the trip bad.

FWIW, my DH doesn't think we're at all outdoorsy type people. He grew up backpacking and camping a lot more than we're doing to the kids. He used to be part of an annual winter all guy camping trip, where they dig out an igloo and sleep in -40C or something stupid. I don't know why they did/do it. And he biked across eastern canada in his college days with a friend. Or backpacking for a week. So him pushing us is not surprising, me going along with it is.

I grew up camping only at the beach. My idea of camping is a pickup truck with bedding, lots of food, bonfire, and friends. I had camped once before I met my DH if you call getting drunk in the desert "camping". And I will admit to being terrified of bears and wild animals.

So suggestions for camping or easy trips might help me as well. I have to dig up pictures.

My mom laughed at me

July 13th, 2014 at 06:39 pm

My mom laughed at me. Yep that's right I said to my mom we plan on "retiring" at 55 or at least being financially independent. She laughed and said no way is that possible. She said that people can't accomplish that anymore. Even with pensions mostly for government or public workers they have handcuffed many to retiring at 62 or 65. How did I expect to retire at 55?

My response? By saving money. She said what about medical? What about college? What about having enough? You can't save enough to retire, you have to wait until medicare and social security.

And yet my mom retired at 55. But she herself will tell you it's because she worked for the state during the golden ages. She retired with 70% of her salary, free medical for her and my dad for life, reimbursement of their medicare premiums (she's not old enough yet), pension is COLA, and two paid for homes. She also had $70k in a Roth IRA and $220k in a 457b. She didn't really save until in her 40s/50s and even then she invested in a money market in her 457.

She mostly knows other state workers and most can't retire until SS kicks in because they can't live on what they make. They weren't in the old generous plan of 2%/per years of service, while she contributed only 7.5% during her working years. She out spent her pension contributions within 5 years (I calculated for her that she'd use up her "contributions" within 5 years) and is now living off the state the rest of her life. They offered her a cash out of her contributions like $200k and a lower monthly payment. She took the maximum monthly payment instead.

That should be another 30 years (i'm not kidding my grandma is still alive and well at 86 and my great grandmother was 101 and her dads side we'll lets just say her aunts are in their 90s). My grandfather only passed at 77 because he was a 1-2 pack a day smoker who died of COPD. Otherwise both sides average age is 90+. As for me? Should be the same with genetics.

So to my mom she's confounded how anyone can retire without a pension. Her sisters who don't have pensions have always talked about retiring when they die. Everyone she's worked with has only retired at 62 or later with the pension and medical. EVERYONE always talks about how lucky she was to be on the "old" program and retire at 55.

So she truthfully said "how do people retire without a pension?" It was dumbfounding that people could actually save money themselves. That being completely self-reliant and having the expectation you'd do it without a pension seemed insane.

But more than money, my mom asked me what we would do? That my dad is still working at 83. That she would still be working if not for an eye problem (macular hole). And still desires to go back to work. Actually my parents have enough money to have retired years ago but believe it virtuous to work. That without work life would be pointless.

I don't know how to answer that. I don't know how I come from such hard working stock and don't desire to work as long as possible. Or to not worry about long term care? I don't have an answer.

Do you think you'll retire before 65? When? What are you planning on doing?

Making Choices

July 7th, 2014 at 05:59 am

We visited with some friends this weekend at their new house! Huge, perfect, lovely. They got the lifestyle they wanted! It's 2400 sq ft house with 4/2.5 ba, attached 2 car garage, and unfinished basement, all for the rock bottom price of $650K! Amazing deal. So what's the catch?

Well they commute a solid hour without traffic and if they had to work rush hours it'd be closer to 1.5-2 hours. They live about 45 minutes from me without traffic. So it's not an easy commute and they admit that. But it's the lifestyle they wanted and they got the house they wanted at a price they could afford. We talked about it, they work close to where my DH works. And the truth is with 2 kids and a stepchild they make huge commuting sacrifices and even seeing her stepson less (he lives in the city with his mom and prefers to stay weekends to hang out with friends). But they now have a bedroom for each kid and space they didn't have before.

So my DH and I were in lust. Yeah as we looked at the brand new construction we sighed. Very cute. We agreed the sq ft and use of space was perfect. I'd change only a couple things, full bath on first floor instead of half bath, and open floor plan instead of dining room and nix the office. But size wise the house felt super large and there was tons of closet space and storage. Honestly it was more than adequate for us we both agreed.

So now I know that 2400 sq ft is more than we'd need, I suspected around 2000 depending on layout but most people I know with new construction have 4000+ sq ft, and yes it's over $1.7M. So I couldn't accurately gauge what a smaller new house would feel like.

I'm so happy my friend got the house of her dreams and the life she wants. She got everything she wanted and it is worth celebrating. I hope I get to that point as well where everything falls into place. They even managed to sell their other two homes without losing their shirts! CHEERING!!! They had been carrying one of them and shelling out $500/month because the rent didn't cover the mortgage and they were about $75k underwater. They did it! Consolidated and got something perfect they wanted. The success for them is great.

But life is about choices. And my friend said they consciously decided to live far from friends and work because they liked the quirky nature of the town they bought in, the house and lot was rural and private, and the lifestyle on the weekends of being in nature. No they are not retiring early or anytime even close to soon and this commute will be happening I would guess another 15 years. But if they decide it's too hard they can always change their minds. BUT they seems super happy with the house so I doubt it! I applaud their brave decision to go do something different.

I kind think that's the best case. If you want to change your life you do it. Life's about choices. And when it's not working you change it. And if it's still working you change it again. The only pitfall? You have to live with the choices you make.

The plan part IV

July 6th, 2014 at 05:38 pm

Another reader pulled out the negative comments on the MMM post and many did say get on the same page. But at the same time more than few also said happiness needs to be felt by everyone.

So I decided to address a few things. I know that I will be happier living by family and friends. I know that I will be happier not sitting on a plane 12+ hours. I am not unhappy with the kids but I know I can be happier.

Second, the 3rd kid we are still wrestling with it. I showed him the post and he had to admit we can afford the third child and he needs to stop using finances as a defense. He isn't sure anymore. He was sure last year and I wasn't ready. He doesn't want another now, we've hit the sweet spot, and I am ready. It will be a conversation we keep having. We haven't done anything drastic so I figure we're in limbo. I don't know when we'll know if we are done, but that's something I can concede without feeling unhappy. IF he's really done then we're done. I've always said "a no outweighs the yes". But at the same time we haven't done the permanent change to prevent kids. So I think we're on the fence. Perhaps I'm wrong, but he's always agreed we'd do the snip when we were done. And we haven't done it or planned on it. I would really like a 3rd child but if he doesn't have it in him, it's okay. And perhaps he may change his mind in another 12 months but I'll be the no again. We had always been ambivalent on the number of kids we'd have. We said we'll see how it goes and when it felt right we'd stop.

Third, when I did the case study we had talked about moving but hadn't examined what it would take to move without jobs. That case study was a wake up call about whether we even could retire early. That was never in our "agenda" we just assumed we'd work until at least 55. Now the reality is it's possible and we both think so.

And if we had an update on the case study? The most interesting aspect I think is that my DH didn't get his promotion in March. He is pretty unhappy with his job and wonders if it's meant to be. He doesn't know if he'll get a promotion in March 2015, and feels he deserves one. If we weren't in the process of moving, but decided we'd stay he'd right now be looking to jump ship to another company.

He likes what he does. However he feels it took him 5 years for his first promotion and that was a very long time. It's now been 4 years and due to the length of the first promotion, he's definitely on the "high" end of where he should be. On the pay scale of his pay grade two more years and he'd be "maxed" out on his scale which makes him unhappy. This we calculated about 2 weeks ago.

I haven't influenced these comments, yes I'm not thrilled, but I certainly didn't say his job was bad. He's disappointed with his career trajectory and wonders if he needs to switch. And that more than many other things has given him a huge push to agree we should move.

So the question rose why stay where we live if he isn't happy in his job? What is holding us here? Nothing. Would he be happy if he had a promotion? Yes. But it didn't happen. If it doesn't happen next year, I think that's his reasoning behind moving next June 2015. I believe he'll be so disappointed that it'll be hard to endure working at his job.

Also in the past 4 years he's had reorganization 4 times and this time he doesn't like his direct supervisor. He doesn't feel they have the same vision. He certainly didn't feel that way in 2012 with a different boss. He was happier. Now he's not. They had another reorg, and he wasn't reassigned and not thrilled with the fact he expected to be.

So like everything in life, things change like the wind. He loves what he does. But he's not exactly thrilled with the situation he's in now. He used to love it more, and perhaps he could again. But if we were in a different circumstance he wouldn't be staying with his company.

So all signs point to exiting where we live. Right now I am about to contact another realtor because we had a realtor contact us about selling our place. They want us to come up with a number and I don't want to "lowball or be unrealistic" about what I could get. This would be hard selling and renting, but at the same time we'd be locking in equity and gaining flexibility.

And I think we need to stockpile cash like MM said. I don't know how long until we find jobs if we are unemployed when we move. That makes me nervous.

the financials

July 4th, 2014 at 11:15 am

So I just checked today and our retirement savings accounts passed $500k, yeah goal!

Retirement - $505,286.
Taxable Investment - $160,881
DD1 College - $12,118
DD2 College - $6,758
Cash - $64,540
Checking - $5k, one month float

I've been contemplating that we keep increasing our cash position and I think our "emergency fund" is becoming a little excessive. But at the same time we are planning on moving in 2 years and we don't know what cash we'll need. Plus if a job came up we've been worried we'll be forced to sell and bring cash to table or something. If we did get a job and had to relocate the cash would be useful in relocating. Perhaps my DH and I should discuss investing half? Thoughts?

Second I sold my baby walker for $20. So far my money towards Dyson is $120. I am doing swagbucks, but I won't use my CC rewards for buying the vacuum. I feel those are more cash back. Hoping to sell a bouncer, boppy pillows, diaper bag, and cloth diapers. I still am keeping a lot of stuff but trying to streamline it down.

And tonight dinner? Homemade smoked pulled pork, coleslaw, potato salad, and corn all home made. Yum.




the plan part III

July 4th, 2014 at 11:05 am

I've talked about LBYM not being easy and it's not. And I've said that we've put certain things on hold because it makes financial sense. What I haven't discussed is the why.

So in 23 months we'll be shaking the dust from our boots of where we live and moving without jobs. If we had a job offer we'd move sooner. It would decrease the uncertainty and make moving palatable.

But why? To buy a house? To gain a king size bed? Nope.

The real underlying reason that Another Reader (yes I'm calling you out) is to be closer to our friends and family. Another Reader are you 3k and 6k miles away from family and friends? Are you not withing driving distance of any family? Have you ever had a child and knocked on a neighbors door at 1 am to watch older child and made it to the hospital with 20 minutes to spare? Have you ever take a cab to the hospital with a sick child so one parent can stay at home with the other in the middle of the night? Have you ever panicked and realized that if anything happened to you, the soonest a family member could get to you is 12 hours maybe?

We live at least 1 connection flight away from either sets of parents. My step-siblings are flights 4 hour flights away, my BIL is 5-6 hours cross country flights away. Grandparents at least 24 hours. That's dropping everything and hopping on the next flight.

I am not selfish, I am talking about the reality of being alone. Of being a SAHM and sick and calling my DH to come home because I'm vomiting and unable to walk my dog and am too dizzy to walk. I worry about my two kids and because I'm sick I can't ASK another mom friend to put herself and her kids at risk of being sick. And YES they've said no they don't want to catch what I or my kids have had.

I've experienced living with family, my BIL lived with us for 4 months during a period of job hunting. It was great to have help and family around. I've got family and friends up and down the West Coast and so does my DH. We'd be a flight away from his parents and mine. Actually my in-laws just visited before the 4th and they said it would be easier if we lived on a direct flight from where they lived, said wistfully not accusing or demanding. Say what you will but I would love to be closer to them and that is the driving desire to move.

The house, bed, etc is all material things that will occur when we move forward with our lives. If we choose to stay put we would buy those things and get a more permanent home. But we've decided that's not the plan. And it's possible we're moving to the SF Bay area even more expensive than where we are, and will be stuck with a townhouse or a more expensive mortgage.

But at the same time we'll have help from our families with our kids. We would have less worries about something happening to us. Our children would know their grandparents intimately and extended family; and if the price is living in an even more expensive COLA so be it. We'll make it work and make sacrifices. I'm NOT willing to make those same sacrifices to live where I LIVE now. There aren't the same benefits to living in a HCOLA for a job. For family? Yes. Just for a job?

I've had a case study on MMM. The advice was MOVE. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/02/23/reader-case-study-going-west-for-early-retirement/

Ideally we'd like to live in Seattle or Portland. My DH's top two choices. I'd prefer San Diego or SF, but finances play a role and that bumps those lower. He missed the seasons when we lived in San Diego. I don't care for seasons but I like the cost of living in Seattle and Portland.

This move might be tough for us financially but I truly believe it'll pay dividends in the long term. My DH agreed to it without a JOB, because he knows companies are fickle. He was laid off from his job where we are 3 months after we moved from San Diego to the East Coast. So companies suck and have no loyalty.

But we decided jointly in April 2014 that we were really going to buckle down and start to save to move. We were going to try and cut expenses more and take the risk. My DH was willing to go June 2015, but I decided that we could afford to sacrifice and endure our situation for 2 years to buffer our financial position.

The few things I want and am saving for, I'm starting to think as little rewards as I wait to settle down permanently. As I wait for the opportunity for us to put down roots and really settle.

But we're ready for life's curveballs. We decided if DH ever lost his job again we'd sell our house and be off in a bloody minute.

So the plan? List house in Spring 2016. Sell it no matter what. Move with job to west coast or move without and hope for the best. Job prospect 1 is post-doc for me. Prospect 2 i am hoping to become an enrolled agent and do taxes as a career change. Prospect 3 for DH take an entry level business position. Prospect 4 take any job.

Fearful? Yes. Trying to accomplish goal? Definitely. Perhaps it is selfish to move. But at the same time nearly 10 years ago we agreed we'd live out west by our families. We decided this move was temporary or we'd have ended our relationship. It was a very deliberate decision and one that we did not take lightly.

And Snafu point about leaving a job you like. What job do you love forever? I have only pointed out the truth to DH. We are stay put for him to like his job for "now"? He's already this year dissatisfied without a promotion. He feels he's been put over. His reason for moving next year? If he doesn't get a promotion he'll be very unhappy. If he's unhappy then he should look for a job where we live? Or should we just move and take the risk? My opinion? Leave. We aren't staying for anything other than him liking his job. And what happens if he doesn't like his next job? We stayed for what?

LBYM Part II

July 1st, 2014 at 07:15 pm

I don't mind living below my means, but it's not easy. This is to reiterate to those who are getting out of debt and think afterwards it will be. It's not. I like my life, I don't like where I live.

So I am unhappy. I am unhappy but trying to change the situation. First, when we moved into our townhouse my DH made a deal with me that if we suffered with our old furniture when we moved (back to the west coast) and bought a SFH, we'd buy all the furniture we wanted. He said it doesn't make sense to buy stuff that may not fit or won't be worth shipping in 6 years. Well it's been 9 years and it's hard to still see our same stuff. And yes I've been setting aside money for new stuff. I have $15k saved so far. Delayed gratification for sure. So what do I want?

1. King Size Bed (won't fit up 3rd story staircase, thank you 1880s victorian and no window big enough to shove it through). Our neighbors had to put their king bed on the second floor and suck up a queen to make the hairpoint closed turn on our staircases to the master which was a converted attic.

2. Dining Table - I'll be honest I don't think we could fit a bigger one in our house, so I shouldn't complain.

3. Couch - At least the kids will be older and it won't get as dirty and we may not have dogs at that point.

4. Dressers for us and the kids - ikea used stuff or hand me downs. Kids are also in plastic bins since their closets don't fit real hangers. The closets are too shallow. Maybe even bedroom sets

5. Headboard - for us at least.

6. TV - move our single HDMI tv to our bedroom and get a new family tv. We bought ours when we moved in 2005 and are waiting until we move again.

7. New Grill - DH replaced parts on ours but is also waiting to dump our when we move (he's practicing delayed gratification too). I'm going to get him a grill and tandoori oven he's dreamed about when we move. And install a gas line to his grill ($1k well worth it).

These are a few of the things I've on my list of items to get when we know how big our next house will be. It could all be moot depending on where we live.

So what else am I waiting for? Well to buy a SFH. To see the size and layout. Stuff I want?

1. 3 bd/2ba - I want a master bath or space to install one if it's only 3/1.5ba. Older capes make it impossible.
2. garage attached if possible, detached is okay.
3. patio/deck where we can sit and have a grill. Current deck adequate to have grill and smoker but not much space else. I think it's 5x5.
4. yard - potential to be fenced, more than 5000 sq ft, preferably above 10000 sq ft and no more than 1 acre.
5. basement - potential to be playspace for kids, or family room for kids.
6. Under $1M.

That's it. Move in ready would be awesome but some work is fine. I'd like to be able to make it energy efficient, but as long as it's 1960s and newer i'll be satisfied. I know the wiring will work, there will be insulation, and we won't have to deal old homes. I HATE charm now. I don't even care what style is it, just as long as it's 2000 sq ft and in good shape.

So things on my list I want now but am "earning" with extra money, and have considered buying. FWIW, my DH never says no. Actually he tells me all the time if I want something buy it. I usually don't shop and spend so if I want something I probably have looked at deals and considered it a long time.

1. Dyson DC59 $549, used to be on my when we move list, but I'm tired of vacuuming and sweeping so much and not being satisfied with our really old vacuum.
2. Wustof knives - debating buying set or each piece at a time, opinions? I have a great set of calphalon cookware that I use DAILY. Best investment ever. I want the same out of my knives. Any other brands to check out?
3. Le Crueset Dutch Oven - borrowed my neighbors a few times this year. Considering Staub as well.
4. Slow cooker - got mine in 2000 for $10 black friday. I have a really small one and need a bigger one. Is the all clad worth it?
5. Cookie sheets - can't decide between sheets and mat.

So I have a couple of things I can get now and earn. But the majority of stuff it just makes sense to wait. But it is hard to feel like life is "on hold." And you are waiting for it to happen and start.