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Archive for August, 2015

Moving Expenses

August 31st, 2015 at 12:41 am

Okay so moving is costly. There are a lot of strange and unexpected expenses. You can easily predict movers, storage, boxes, hiring help, time off etc. You can even guess maybe replacing furniture.

But my weird expenses is the replacement of stuff that I used up or didn't move. Stuff like condiments like Ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing. Knowing we were going to move we had not been stockpiling since last summer and was using up our pantry stockpile.

Also we used up our toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies before moving and gave away all half empty stuff. These are all things that needed to be replaced and I didn't have much time to stockpile since we need some of it sooner rather than later.

We did buy once piece of used furniture so far a TV Stand for $20. We also might sell an old desk so that negates buying furniture. We are trying to minimize buying and selling anything because we plan on moving and buying within a 1-2 years.

I will say that moving into our place makes me realize all the little things I want in our permanent place we buy. Little layout issues I never thought about in a condo. I will also admit a 3 bd 1800 sq ft house is a lot smaller in some ways than I thought. We're definitely wanting more space, something we'd probably never desire if we hadn't moved.

another vaccuum

August 20th, 2015 at 09:02 pm

Still love my dyson cordless. But we moved into a house full of carpet. Ugh. Oh well it's a rental. But I'm not sure our cordless will do the whole house. So I'm considering $200 dyson DC 41 from Amazon or $210 canister DC 39 from overstock. Both are refurbished vacuums.

I hesitate to buy a canister but a lot of people swear by them. They say they are easier to use on stairs.

Do people have canister or upright vacuums? Which do you prefer and why?

Oh Happy Day!

August 8th, 2015 at 01:20 am

A friend of mine was approved to adopt a little boy! Oh happy day! She already had a little girl same age as my oldest (hence we meet in class together) and now she is getting a little boy who turned 1 on my younger's birthday. HAHA.

It is truly an auspicious birthday and a blessed day. What a lovely birthday present for him and what a great day for her. Anyway today she was told she's going to pick him up on Tuesday.

OMG!!!! So exciting for her. She's a single mom now with two kids and had pretty much given up getting a second child. Blessed are they all!!! My thoughts and prayers are with them and what am amazing thing to happen.

The rental equation

August 7th, 2015 at 04:00 am

Will we be saving money by moving? Can we compare apples to oranges? Have we saved? I think unequivocally yes. We just rented a single family house for $2400/month.

The house next to our rental sold on July 31st 2015 for $571k for a 4/2.5 bath in much nicer condition. Our rental was bought October 14, 2014 (less than a year for $445k). We bought our townhouse in 2005 for $575k so we are in the right price range without moving up cost. We also are moving up in size and amenities.

For people who are into real estate based on pure numbers not including maintenance costs over the years we averaged 2.8% appreciation over 10 years. I enjoyed not moving and having stability. But honestly we did better investing in the stock market.

Also for our rental I think our utility bills will be lower I suspect because the house is 2005 built versus 1880s. We were averaging $250/month balanced bill for heat/natural gas and $250/month electric all year. Our heating bills if we had not paid balanced billing was on the worst months $700-800/month. We also paid approximately $150/month per unit in our association for water and sewer. According to the property manager we should pay around $100/month water, $100/month electric/heat, and $30/trash.

Of course we won't have a tax break, nor will we be "saving" money by paying down equity. So that may negate the savings in utilities.

But I think since we've moved to a new area and are uncertain about it renting makes sense financially so we don't leap into a house and make a mistake. What if we don't like the commute? What if we don't like the schools or community? Yes renting is paying someone else's mortgage but you are also buying yourself the flexibility to research the real estate market. You are buying the flexibility to make a mistake on location without losing your shirt and moving.

So yes with two kids and in our 30s we are renting. A lot of our friends and colleagues have said why? Don't waste money. You are going to hate it. But honestly it makes sense.

Renting is a luxury because often times it's cheaper to buy. But renting buys you flexibility. You are buying opportunity (job, school, life changes). And truthfully you are buying not having the headache of repairing anything. I am honestly a little apprehensive at living in someone else's home. But then I think "oh well if anything breaks, it's THEIR problem". And if anything happens they fix it. I can't wait. I've done enough home repair in 3 months to last 3 years.

The purpose of money

August 5th, 2015 at 06:02 pm

I am vacationing in Hawaii with my kids and relaxing and enjoying doing nothing. The road trip was awesome and fun and amazing. But it was tiring, exhausting, and stressful in it's own way. The last week of apartment hunting and learning our way around a new city was exciting but hard with two small children. Worrying about making the right decision but knowing it's a rental.

Also I'll admit it's a bit of a hard pill to suck knowing we are "renting". Easy to say and hard to do. Realizing that we hadn't rented in over decade. It's not just the money but answering to someone else!

Anyway though as I'm in Hawaii I'm enjoying my family and my mom keeps saying "oh I'm spending so much money with everyone visiting". You LAL, your brother, his family, etc. She says I'm retired on a fixed income. I point out her income with my dad's make them ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. And my parents still "contribute" to a backdoor roth at 84 and 62 years old! They draw on pensions, IRAs, SS, and investments, and make $200k/year and my mom is worrying about money.

They own two homes free and clear and she's worried about not having enough. She says the bills seem more than her monthly money coming in and she doesn't want to touch a penny of investments. I want to smack her. I want her to SPEND the money on herself and do whatever the HELL she wants. I keep telling her to spend, spend, spend. Enjoy it. Bathe in it. I don't know go on every wild and crazy trip or buy a Tesla or something ridiculous. But the idea of her spending her money I think she's going to die with it.

Yeah okay readers I know perhaps that's her pleasure but I don't want to inherit that much money. I would rather have had some cool story about my mom sky diving at 85 because she's spending her money.

I have a lot of my mom's financial personality I can't help it. My DH has his parents and they are the same way. We were raised to it and it's hard for us not to be this way. But my DH is pushing me along the route to stop worrying about money. He's talked about us not having income for a year. He's talked about us not saving anymore for retirement as aggressively. That perhaps it's time for us to cutback and relax the purse strings.

I'm starting to believe him. I think the purpose of money is to enjoy your life. Whether it be working or not. My DH pointed out in a recent conversation that we've saved and I've planned as though we are stopping work in 10 years. That he'll sit around and "retire" early like Mr Money Mustache. The truth? He doesn't want to. He doesn't want to stop working at 45 or even now. He likes to work and wants to keep doing it. Being able to say FU to a company is great, and he likes having that freedom. But he isn't ready to stop working.

So I guess I have to relax and start to stop worrying if we have enough. I have to stop and smell the roses. I think we'll have enough even scaling back by age 55. Beside if I don't I might miss a moment.

I am trying to convince my mom to not miss a moment either. Here is my perfect moment recently.



It really was great trip.

Hotel Spending on our roadtrip

August 4th, 2015 at 07:22 pm

So we had basically a month without our mortgage. Not including utilities and insurance and other stuff we were going to be spending $2500 on just the mortgage and property taxes. So I figured if we spent around there or less we'd come out ahead.

Our total hotel/camping spending came out to $1832.70 for 27 days and that included two mistakes and a huge overspend the night before we left. I also did not deduct my $50 gift card from choice hotels for two nights stay.

First off I'd like to say camping is a super cheap vacation. We spent 9 days camping for a total of $268.33. That includes paying $27.13 for a campsite one night we didn't use. So we should have spent $241.20 on average $30/night. We spent 18 days in hotels for $1654.81 averaging $87/night.

However with the hotels we made two mistakes one in Niagara Falls leaving early and paying $44 for a night we didn't stay. Second the night before we left we were staying by the airport. Unfortunately the Rodeway Inn I booked only had smoking rooms which were unacceptable and which I was refunded our money. But we had to scramble literally in the Rodeway Inn's parking lot for another place to stay on a Friday night before Saturday flights. I ended up staying at a ridiculous DoubleTree Hotel for $159.20. We had made a conscious decision to leave the car at our new place and wanted to stay within shuttle distance of the airport since our flights were at 8 am.

But overall we did well for the month. I was hoping to stay under $1500 but $1800 for the month was a great deal. That leaves me with I budgeted $1500 for food for the month eating out and stuff.

I am going to guess we may have gone over $1500 for experiences and food. I was trying to stay under $100/day but we'll see. Traveling and buying as you go makes food very expensive. Somewhat like trying to sell a home and move, you are eating from the pantry but also not shopping in bulk or sales. Instead trying to cobble together meals and buy stuff to compliment what you have rather than truly meal plan.

So our budget has been pretty blown these past few months. I shudder at trying to run the numbers.

Vacation Now or Later

August 4th, 2015 at 06:16 pm

Interesting question whether a person should vacation now before retirement or later after retirement. Should a person be fiscally responsible earlier in life or relax a bit and travel and spend money earlier?

We did the more prudent thing in our 20s and traveled less than if we had been spendy. With our time and income we could have easily have traveled more. But we didn't. We were financially prudent. I sort of regret it.

But doing so allowed us to do other things like stay at home, travel now, move, etc. So it was a conscious trade off. 10 years of being "frugal" and responsible for this next year of being "indulgent".

But do I regret not traveling? Yes and No. I think I once read that when you are young you have time and no money, but as you get older you have money and no time. I find that to be incredibly true.

We have the money now to travel or relax and but with kids the time is way to precious and there is less of it. Our trips now are kid oriented instead of what we would do. My big trip I wish we had done was Macchu Picchu and Galapago. But who knows.

Do you think travel when young or travel after retirement? I will say we did travel quite a bit still just not as much as we could have. We did both domestic and international travel.

Our Rental Hunt

August 3rd, 2015 at 11:30 pm

We arrived on Sunday into the city and start hunting for apartment/houses. Before we arrived I had started calling/emailing property managers, listing agents on Thursday and Friday attempting to set up appointments to see places.

On Sunday we saw five places. I had contacted one property manager and asked to see 4 places she had with her company windermere and was told she was unable to show me the places and would get back to me. She also said some places did not take dogs and she didn't want to bother contacting the owners though it said in the ad "pets on case by case basis". Basic she was a lazy property manager and "too busy" to deal with issues.

So out of the four houses I was interested in from Thursday it took me a week to finally see on the next Thursday. Also it took a realtor from another company to show us the house with a lockbox. The house was $2200/month for a 3 bd/2.5 ba in the exact neighborhood we rented in. By the time that happened we had found a different house also 3/2.5ba for $2400/month.

On thursday with two applications pending we went with the more expensive home. My DH and I both liked it better. But more importantly we found the property manager a great guy honest and quick to deal with.

I'll be honest I hesitated a lot for $200/month but then decided to suck it up. Well turns out good thing I did. I read the Yelp reviews for windermere property management and they had horrible reviews about people suing to get back deposits and contracts falling. I ended up writing a negative review as well because it was a horrible experience.

Perhaps the house we rented isn't worth $200 more a month, but then again. If we lose our entire deposit when we move out because the rental company is dishonest and fraudulent then it'd be the same. Besides my gut tells me our property manager will fix things and be honest with us and return calls. I had a bad feeling about renting from a property management company that had such negative reviews.

Experiences? Or landlords? Do you ever fire big companies? Or is it the individual manager? I wish I could tell the owner of the house we considered the horrible service they were getting. That the house was sitting vacant an extra two weeks because the people they hired were incompetent and lazy.

Trip thoughts

August 3rd, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Lots has happened and I'm still really busy. Right now we are still on "vacation" but there is a lot to accomplish. I can't believe we did it. We traveled cross country with the kids and left everything we knew behind including a job and money. The house sold smoothly and we are in a new phase of life.

But I have to say our trip was amazing and spectacular. It was a once in a lifetime experience and something I don't know we'll ever have the opportunity to do again. I hope I can get these photos uploaded. This has been a struggle so I apologize for the non sequential order of photos.

I want to say we unfortunately missed glacier national park because of a forest fire. But we did other great things. I also have to say my perfect photo came at Bighorn National Forest (for everyone in Wyoming you live in BEAUTIFUL place). But I loved the Grand Tetons probably the most.

And once we crossed into Washington as we drove through the Rockies my DH said he felt he'd come home. He missed seeing his Rockies and felt happier. I can't explain the feeling of belonging. You can't tell me the Pacific NW has bad weather because I embrace it. It just fit us. I can't explain this feeling.

Sounds nuts but quite a few relatives live in the area and have told me they love it. They miss Hawaii but at the same time it feels like home. And I know exactly what they are saying. I felt it. I stepped into a place where I belonged. And my DH just kept pointing out stuff he'd done as a child in the area. I think we're home for better or worse. This is it for us.

Badlands national park

Badlands National Park with Car

Bighorn National Forest

Bison herd Custer State Park

Bison by our car

Corn Palace Mitchell

Coeur d'Alene

Crazy Horse Memorial

Bighorn National Forest Lake we camped at. I cried when I saw this. I actually have a picture of the family standing there in awe. It was a perfect moment. I'll consider uploading maybe later.

Grand Tetons

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mount Rushmore

Mackinac Island (Cool no vehicles)

Fort Mackinac

Soo Locks

Gouda!!!

Picture Rocks Lakefront Amazing

Old Faithful

Crystal Cave

I'll summarize what our costs were when I figure it out. I will also discuss our situation for food and arriving.