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Reality on a spreadsheet- time to reset

September 2nd, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I am feeling a little better today. I have been taking OTC meds for allergies and am actually asthma free today! That doesn't happen often- so I am going to stick with the allergy meds and see if it continues to help.

Last night, I decided to put all of our discretionary spending for the last two months on a spreadsheet. WOW.

The categories were food, eating out, gas and miscellaneous spending. If I was scoring us on each category we would get a B, F, B and D in those categories for how close we stuck to the budget. But I showed it to the hub, who actually is not too interested in how the finances are budgeted and I think he got it.

So, I am not sure what method we will use to keep us better on track, but the goal is to come in much closer to the budget in the future.

I know some of the spending was for the new trailer and stocking it. I know I was less focused on staying on track because of everything that was going on with the relationship issues. Its just time to hit the reset button and start again.

DD3 has another friend who needs a place to live, so we are going to carpet the third bedroom in the big house and she and her 2yo daughter are going to rent it. This will bring the rental income to $725mo for that house. It is still well under the payment of $1300 mo, but it is $725 more than we were getting and as part of the deal, the girls will feed and care for the hubs two outside dogs and pet sit for my dog and cat when we go on vacations or when I need to work away from home. The hubs wood business is on this property, as well as the little house we are living in, so it still makes sense to keep it.

We will be out of town this week with my job, then, next Sunday, the hub flies back to Alaska for the rest of the month. I am going to challenge myself to see how frugally I can live while he is gone. The 13-15th I am going to Portland with my girls, but aside from that, I should be able to keep expenses down to a minimum. Hmmm...I see a personal challenge headed my way. Big Grin

Today was the day!

July 25th, 2013 at 03:08 am

100,094.39!

As promised, have a seat and enjoy a slice of cake and some champagne! My 401k hit my first milestone today! Woot!

It took 6 years to get here...hopefully the next milestone will arrive a little quicker!



The hub heads back to Alaska tomorrow. I feel like we made progress on working through the issues.

Waiting for the next milestone!

July 17th, 2013 at 03:01 am

I feel like I am watching a pot, waiting for it to boil. My 401k has beenthisclose for a few months hovering just under 100K. Today, $98500. CMON!!!

I want to celebrate the benchmark already! When it happens we will celebrate with cyber cake and champagne!

But alas...I am waiting...waiting...eagerly waiting.

My new title and raise have taken effect...or is it affect...I never know.

Anyways, its official and I am so proud to have achieved a position I never thought Id achieve. I am now a VP. Smile

We removed the old carpet from the country house and oh my goodness, the odor went with the carpet. THANK GOODNESS. With each small change I am more optimistic about the house.

R has been home for a week. We have had some really tough conversations...REALLY TOUGH. For now, we will work on making it work.

The goal of being debt free except for the mortgage is on track for the end of the year. If nothing else, this year has been a successful one for debt repayment.

Once debt is paid..the goal will become retirement saving and house payoff.

All else is good.



Strawberry Pie tonight!

June 4th, 2013 at 12:18 am

Pull up a chair and have a slice of birthday pie with me...I am 52 years old today!

DD3 landed on the Slope this afternoon for her summer job. She is such a great daughter- she had one of her friends deliver a fresh strawberry pie out here today. HOW SWEET! My mom used to make sure I had one every year on my birthday..and since she has been gone, DD3 makes sure to get mom one. Smile (Even when she is thousands of miles away in Alaska!!) I am so blessed!

I am wrapping up a busy four day weekend. The hub and I spent most of it working on the big house and squeezing in some RnR.

Yesterday I decided to really deep clean the bathroom in the big house. There is just something yucky about scrubbing (someone else's) grime that has been accumulating for probably a year. Uh, beyond YUCK actually. But, I used several pairs of gloves and LOTS of those mechanic-strength blue paper towels. It took almost two hours, but when I was done the bathroom was completely disinfected and it sparkled. Today I stopped by the dollar store and bought a new shower curtain liner. We will need to move electrical switches and outlets and hang a new mirror, but otherwise, now that it is cleaned, I dont think we need to redo anything major. I had budgeted $3000 for the bathroom, but I think it will end up costing under $500 for electrical and drywall repairs and new mirrors.

Let me take a step back and talk a little about the home repair budget. When we first decided to move back to the country, I made a list of all the things I thought I needed. The budget was a minimum of $40,000 but could have easily gone way above that amount.

Thankfully, the semi-frugal part of my brain (and my desire to retire eventually) has kicked into gear and I have re-examined wants vs needs vs goals.

Because the one of the load bearing walls in the living room is not sealed well, and therefore neither weather or pest resistent- plus the brick work on the fireplace (same wall) is crumbling...AND the wood stove is too small for the house and doesnt heat properly, repairing this wall is a NEED. The estimated cost for this wall, plus new brick work and a new wood stove =$12,000-15,000. This is our first and main priority.

New kitchen cupboards would be really nice...but they are not a need, they are a want. As are updated appliances. However, the budget jury is still out on whether or not this will make the budget cut.

New flooring is a need, since what is currently in the house has been damaged by pets...and given the state of that bathroom, for my peace of mind, new flooring is a must for me.

New paint falls into the need category, in my opinion. Patch jobs, half painted walls, kids allowed to use markers, have all factored into this. I will probably hire my sons mother in law (who owns a painting company) to do the painting. having someone else paint, is a want. I could paint on my own, but the house will need to be painted in July or August. The heat and the fumes dont sound AT ALL fun to an asthmatic-menopausal gramma. Big Grin

Laundry was all washed and line dried. I have missed my clothesline. I love the smell of line dried sheets!

We went to lunch today with SIL who just started six months of chemo. He has been through round one and has lost some weight. It was good to visit with him. He has such an amazing outlook.

The hub is going to bbq some steaks and corn on the cob tonight- which will be followed up by the pie!

And tomorrow, its back to work.

Tri-tip for dinner tonight

June 2nd, 2013 at 05:19 am

The hub was up early this morning to work on a log truck for a friend. The friend will bring the hub a truck load of logs as payment, which we will cut and process for firewood this winter for the country house, and to sell. The hub has regular customers each year of about 15-20 cords.

The hubs nephew moved about 70% of his stuff out today. We will start working on cleaning the house out tomorrow. The carpet in the two small bedrooms does not appear to be too bad. I may try a good cleaning on those to see if they are salvagable. One of the rooms will become the grandkids play/sleepover room.

The other bedroom will be a craft room for me.

This afternoon we needed to run to town. A couple of weeks ago, I had bought a tri-tip dinner from a door-to-door sale for our local high school cheerleaders. $25 for a bbqd tri tip, salad, bread and cookies What a deal! Today, we picked it up and then stopped by the city house to pick up our broom and kitchen trash can- two things we forgot to grab. DD1 is working diligently to get unpacked and settled, but they have a ways to go.

On our way back out to the little house, we stopped and bought some agave nector for my tea, wet dog food, coffee creamers and milk.

Our grandson asked to come and stay the night. He is NINE already. So he came over this afternoon and played hard. He is sound asleep.

The hub is really enjoying the TV- I am in the bedroom with no tv and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Busy, spendy day!

June 1st, 2013 at 04:46 am

Today was a vacation day.

The hub made an appointment (and paid!) for a side by side massage for us! What a treat! A foot soak and neck wrap, followed by an hour of stop-it-some-more massage, followed by a sauna and shower..uh, yessss!

Then, I had to get my driver's license renewed ($40). The DMV always takes so long- but an hour and a half later, we were done with that chore. While we were there, we got the paperwork ($4)to dispose of an old vehicle that no longer runs- I cant find the title, so this is the alternate option. The hub will be selling it for scrap.

Then, we went to lunch and enjoyed a lunch of mexican food.

Today was also payday for both the hub and I. Because it was the third payday this month, my paycheck had a little over $100 extra because the extra deductions dont come out when there are three paydays in a month. That extra was easily gobbled up when we went to Costco this afternoon and bought a memory foam topper for our bed. We are sleeping on a smaller bed, that is not the quality of our king sized bed, so we are hoping this topper will help. We also got a tri-tip, dog food, and some food for the week and supplies. We spent $270. (OUCH) When does this simple living plan start equating to spending LESS? Honestly, I think we are done getting everything we needed for the little house, with the exception of fixing the AC.

Tonight the hub is working on his friends log truck up near the hubs wood yard- it is so nice to be out here and not in town. While they are working, I have been reading one of the books I checked out from the library. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. It is interesting. I can relate with the author, who lost her mother and then struggled with dealing with her grief. I am enjoying the read...and having the TV off while the hub is occupied outside. Big Grin

Tomorrow should be a stay at home, no spend day, which I am really looking forward to.

Settling in

May 30th, 2013 at 07:50 pm

The hub and I are finally all moved in to the little house. Although, we still have some work to do since our perceptions of what would fit in 390 sq ft vs the reality means we need to continue to downsize before everything that will stay, fits.

Our first (real, moved-in) night, Sunday, we had my sons two little ones (5 and 3) with us, as well as DD3, our lab and my very jumpy-from-the-move cat. Having one queen bed and two recliners made for a night of little sleep-(except for the two kiddos and the dog who conked out and slept just fine)

I did learn that a king sized top sheet, adjusted correctly in the new bedroom, about 3 ft over the bed, will reach all four walls and, when secured, comes out looking like a giant tent when laying in the bed. The grandkids loved it.

On Monday, the hub bbq'd and we invited his nephew over. The nephew has been living in the big house, but is moving out this weekend. After he moves, the next phase of this master plan begins. We plan to rip out carpets and most of the flooring, remodel a wall and fireplace, repaint the entire inside and out, and lay new flooring. If there is money left in the budget, there are other repairs on the wish list, but for now, that is our scaled down plan.

Before the hub leaves for Alaska, I am going to learn how to mow, weed eat, and take care of things on my own so that I am self sufficient while he is gone. It has been comforting knowing his nephew was nearby if something came up. After he moves, and the hub leaves, my nearest support is 30 minutes away. Guess its time to get reaquainted with all the neighbors..

Yesterday, the internet and TV were hooked up. The hub definately missed watching his programs. Me, I missed the quiet last night. And the internet is intermittent at best as they hooked it in the big house, which is about 200 ft from the little house so the signal isnt real strong. But, it is something.

My cat has settled down and is actually enjoying being a country bumpkin. He has already caught his first mouse and is doing a good job of claiming his outdoor play space and hunting territory among the three dogs. He plays hard and sleeps well. As it should be.

I am enjoying the book on CD that I checked out from the library. It is a murder mystery and makes the drive to and from work fly by.

I am taking tomorrow and Monday off. After all the moving, kiddos, work, etc. I am really ready to enjoy the peace and quiet for a few days.

Checking in

May 29th, 2013 at 03:55 am

We are all moved in to the little house. All 390 sq ft. We don't have Internet until tomorrow so I'm writing this on my phone. This is a journey I want to blog about but will wait for a more convenient way to do so!

Being back in the country is wonderful. It is so peaceful. I'm also enjoying being unplugged. I checked out some books from the lib and actually have time to read. I also checked out a book on CDs and its making the 25 min drive go by faster.

Hope to blog more tomorrow night!

Last night in the City House tonight

May 22nd, 2013 at 11:38 pm

My son's kiddos are in town for a few days. I am going to have them sleepover tonight. Which means I will be staying in the city house tonight.

Several reasons..the first is that the heat is not working at the little house. When I got up this morning it was 52 degrees inside. That is too cold for my California grandbabies who arent acclimated to that. I also have to be at work early in the morning, so DD3 will be at the city house with us to take over when I leave. And finally, it is going to rain- which means the kids would be cooped up in a tiny place- with not many toys..SO, for all of the above, tonight we will be back at the big house.

I talked with a contractor today about the repairs on the big house, and he is going to meet the hub and I there on Saturday. Hopefully he can let us know if our plans meet or collide with our budget. I have adjusted my expectations on the big house repairs. There are a few things that HAVE to be done. There are lots of things I would LIKE to have done. I just have to remember the difference and balance Needs/Wants and retirement goals.

First nights in the little house

May 22nd, 2013 at 12:45 am

5-19-13
I spent my first night in the little house last night. Within 30 minutes of getting there, I logged my first kill- a big black hairy spider that was hiding under something. THank goodness he didnt run and hide. Then, at bedtime, I saw a smaller one dangling on a web in the bedroom. He met his demise as well.

Nites in country: 1
Logged Kills: 2

The little house came together SO cute. I am tempted to live there when the hub is in Alaska. Easier to clean..and much less expensive to heat and cool. I also felt very safe- not sure if I can say the same in the big house...Its big and old and settles a lot at night. I am a chicken. We shall see- I have months before that is even an option.

In any case, I plan to spray for spiders.

I dont have satellite or internet out there. I would like to get internet, the hub really wants TV- right now it is kinda like an unplugged retreat, so I will hold off on both until the hub gets here this weekend and make appts for both next week.

5-21-13
Not having internet makes it hard to stay up on a blog. I had to stop by the city house tonight to toss a load of laundry in the dryer so I am using the few minutes here to post a quick update.

I bought an electric skillet ($20) and rice maker ($13)for the little house yesterday. The stove works on propane and I havent got that set up yet, so I am improvising with electric appiances until I do.

Last night just after I got home from work, the house was 79 degrees- I cant wait until the air is fixed...but tonight, it is only 52 outside, so I am sure the house will be COLD tonight. I brought my tiny little space heater from my office at work home to at least heat the bathroom in the morning.

I was enjoying the view last night from my patio and just across the street, I see four deer - hanging out enjoying some grass. Those are the things I love about being out in the country. The drive is going to take getting used to. Its about 30 minutes each way. But along the way I pass over a river, through pear orchards, farms with cows, horses, goats, etc and finally get out to where the country house is.

Living in the small house so far is wonderful. I am enjoying being unplugged from TV, computers, etc.

The hub gets home in two nights.

Updates:

GS(4) with the broken arm is doing good. Having a cast is now a novelty for him and he loves the special attention. The adults are all finally slowing down on having flashbacks of the event.

SIL starts 6 months of chemo tomorrow. He is outwardly brave, but inwardly scared. I pray he beats this!

The situation with Z has had no change.

Life is good. Time to unplug for the night!

Gs (4) broke his arm today

May 19th, 2013 at 04:46 am

Today was the start of all the moving. Unfortunately, it got cut short when my 4 year old grandson took a tumble and broke both bones in his arm. Ive never seen a limb with a break like this, and hope to never see it again. My poor little gs- in his four year old mind, thought his hand died, because it wasnt moving anymore as they were rushing him to the hospital- after 7 hours in ER, his arm was set and is now in a temporary cast and he is on his way to being ok. His fingers move just fine, so he is less traumatized tonight. Most importantly, he is out of pain.

Before the accident, we moved the fridge, couch and bed into the little house, which is all the big stuff. Now I can move in officially and pack everything else. If tomorrow goes as planned, I will start staying out there tomorrow or Monday night.

What a stressful day. Thank goodness our little guy is better tonight.

Little house AC, still dont know how much it will cost

May 16th, 2013 at 03:13 am

The bid on the AC on the small house came back much higher than I guessed. I thought $200-ish, the bid, $3000...however, there was a miscommunication on what was needed. We dont need a new AC unit installed- we just need the current unit to be serviced and the duct work reattached. Not sure how that big of a communication gap occurred, but hopefully we will get it straightened out tomorrow. If not, the hub said he will deal with it when he gets home.

I stopped by the small house tonight and vacuumed the carpets and cleaned the linoleum floors. The house is now ready for the carpet cleaning.

I thought I would share some pics.

Here is the city house that I am moving out of:


Here is the little house that I am moving in to:

Here is a veiw of the living room looking in from the front porch. I love all the windows.

This view is looking at the kitchen/dining area. I was standing in the living room- down that small hallway is a small bathroom, and at the back of the house, the bedroom.


Here is the bedroom- the drawers need the drawer sliding hardware replaced, which my SIL is going to do for me.



And here is a view of the country house from the little house:


The rustic little house is a club house the hub made for our oldest grandson years ago...If you look closely, you can see little birdhouses along the wire fence up on the poles..My dad set those up - they loved watching the birds nesting in them.

One of the last things I will do to the country house is have it repainted a color that will blend more with the country. I always wanted a blue house, which I obviously got...but I am ready to change the color to something more subtle.



Long, wonderful day

May 15th, 2013 at 12:30 am

Today was a long, 10 hour work day. But the trainings went great and I came home to this view, so I am not about to complain!



In addition, I had a wonderful (free to me) lunch with a co-worker. We ate at a lovely little place, ocean view- the food was awesome, AND we shared a lavender creme brulee for desert! (How YUMMY does that sound? it was amazing!)

One more day of training this week and I am done with the bulk of it- I will just have to come back for a make-up training day for those who missed it...and then I get to start training our other 200 staff members back at home.

On Monday, my team will increase by one employee. This will help SO MUCH with the workload. I have needed this help since December, and have juggled for months. It is so nice to know relief is just 3 work days away. If all goes as planned, we will get one more employee in July. However, this employee will come with a full plate of responsibilities, when we rearrange the reporting structure- but the transition on Monday is primarily much needed help for my position. (yay!!) Now when I am out of the office, like last week and this week, there will be someone in the office to take care of things in my absence- this person will also permanently take some of the things Ive been taking care of. Her help will allow me to focus on the strategic things Im responsible for, which will be SO nice to finally get time to do.

The AC repair guy looked at the little house today and said he can do the work. He is going to call me tomorrow with a price. I have no idea what to expect, but anticipate $200-ish? We will see how well I estimate the unknown tomorrow. Big Grin

This is my last 5 day work week for a while. Starting next week, I will work 3-4 days a week for the next 4 weeks- which will be very helpful with the upcoming move.

Tonight, I plan to enjoy my last night here. I have another LONG day tomorrow- 3 trainings, followed by a 2 1/2 hour drive home. But right now, a glass of wine and an amazing view is all I plan to think about. Ciao!



Back at the Coast, enjoying the free stay and view!

May 14th, 2013 at 01:34 am

I am back over on the coast tonight and will be conducting training the next two days. It is absolutely gorgeous over here.

My job pays for meals while we are on trips, but I am a cheap date this trip. I opted to just stop by the store and pick up a couple of grilled chicken breasts from the deli, some veggies and a small cheese, which will be dinner tonight and tomorrow night. I also picked up bagels, cream cheese and oj for 8 staff in the morning. Total bill was $25.

Today I scheduled the AC service and duct-work repair for the small place. Holy cow. I had no idea NO ONE does this kind of work. I started with the bigger shops, who sent me to the smaller shops, who sent me to this guy....Anyway. He sounded nice and said he may or may not be able to help me depending on how the AC unit was installed. I will know after he takes a look tomorrow. I hope it is the kind he fixes, otherwise a big monkey wrench just got thrown into the plan. And hopefully, he wont charge an exorbitant amount..but at this point, Im kinda at his mercy.

A friends husband owns a carpet cleaning business and he is going to clean the carpets on Friday. Once all this is done and the SIL helps with a few handyman type repairs on Sat am, the little house will be move in ready.

I put the word out that I needed moving boxes and a co-worker offered me theirs- they just moved. NICE. I have PLENTY of boxes now.

So far, the moving expenses have been fairly small. We have spent about $600 on the little place for plumbing and repairs. We have spent about $500 for equipment to clear the property of old shrubs, blackberry bushes, etc...and for dump hauls.

The big expenses will come when the nephew moves out of the big house and we start working there. I have been browsing lots of websites for ideas. Since the house is 50 years old it needs not only repair work, but a few renovations. I am compiling all the ideas so that the hub and I can determine what will make the final cut...then, see budget-wise what makes the final-final cut.



Happy Mother's Day friends!

May 12th, 2013 at 04:30 pm

Z spent the night last night, so I woke up to his sweet smile this morning. Such an amazing way to start the day.

Happy Mother's day to all the mom's here. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and love!!

I have massaged the budget over and over to come up with the money for the household repairs on the big house so that I dont have to tap into my 401k. I have had to cut WAY back on debt and savings repayments, but between now and the end of the year, I am able to come up with $40k. That includes about $9k of an interest free loan that need to be repaid by next May.

I have a long list of repairs that need to be done, and we will have to make the $40k budget work. We need to replace a load bearing wall, remodel the kitchen and an upstairs bath, replace all flooring and paint inside and out.

My DIL's monther owns a painting business, and her SO does flooring installation for a living- so I will be contracting with them for those projects.

The hub will do all the demo work...

And I think I have found someone who does the remodel work.

I just need someone for that load bearing wall. Right now, it consists of floor to almost ceiling windows on half the wall and a very old, crumbling brick fireplace on the other. Here is a picture of what I would like the end result to look like:



Lots to do..now that I have a number, I just need to put the puzzle pieces together to make it work. I anticipate the kitchen being the most expensive- lots of homework to do!

High Tea for Mother's Day

May 12th, 2013 at 04:01 am

Today was a busy one.

This morning I worked out at the little place washing cupboards and walls. I found evidence that mice had been there..so I cleaned and disinfected everything. All signs of critters are gone- so I can keep an eye on it to see if there is new activity. All part of country living, but I intend to make it REALLY difficult and uninviting for critters to want to share space with me.

I need to schedule someone to come this week to service the air conditioning unit and to reconnect a few of the ducts. Unfortunately, park models arent always built to last. The drawers in the bedroom were installed very poorly and they will also need to be repaired. However, this fix should be inexpensive and pretty easy.

Next weekend I will shampoo carpets and start moving in. I am actually getting excited to move into the little place and try simple, minimal living for a while.

Today my daughters and I went to High Tea for Mother's Day at my friends tea shop. It was fabulous and we had such a nice time. Here is our food, right after it was delivered to our table:



It was as yummy as it looks and was followed by a wonderful dessert and all the tea we desired!

Tomorrow we are having a taco bar dinner for Mother's Day here at the city house. My last big family gathering before moving back to the country.

A couple of updates:

On SIL- He is healing from surgery, but learned he will need a port and will be on chemo for six months. The type of cancer he had has a 30% chance of recurrence. His attitude is amazing and he is determine to fight and win this battle. Every day I am more proud of the young man that he is.

On Z - Bio mom has broken ties with her mom and is now living in a home that has previously been found unfit for Z. So, the permanency process is back to square one. Bio mom will need to be monitored in this new home and a home study will need to be conducted to determine if it is now acceptable. This process take 2-3 months. Z is now almost 2 1/2, has been with DD2 for 2 years and has not seen Bio mom in almost 18 months. No other family members have followed through with phone visitations in over 4 months.

Plumbing is DONE.

May 5th, 2013 at 04:22 am

I spent today working out at the little place that I will be moving into and getting all of the plumbing work done on both the little and big houses on the country property. The little place, a park model RV is cleaning up cute as a button. It will be so cozy at just under 400 sq ft. I intend to keep it purposefully minimal there.

The plumbing repairs took all day. About 9 hours with two people working pretty much straight through. The repairs included putting in new piping for the sink, dishwasher and washing machine in the big house, PLUS repairing the toilet and hooking up a sink in the downstairs 1/2 bath. AND at the small house, repairing all the pipes that cracked because the house did not get winterized, (note to self- NEVER let this happen again) adding a shut off valve up at the small house so we dont have to run a half an acre away to turn it off when there is a problem, replacing the heating element in the hot water heater and cleaning out lines that have become narrow with mineral buildup (theres a name for it, but it eludes my tired brain tonight)

I feel I got a great deal for all of this - $500. Money well spent to know that there is new plumbing, hooked up and declogged and working at both places- since I will be there alone 50% of the time, at least, knowing things will work is huge for me.

Check mark.

My feet hurt, Im a little sunburned, and Im tired, but things are coming along.

Tomorrow, I am taking a mid day break to FINALLY get my hair cut- its been a year, it needs it...and I am going to have it colored while I am there. Im tired of my unintended gray highlights and my hair is desperately dry..I am afraid to get around open flames. So it is time.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am taking the kids uncle (my exes brother- ditched the ex, but stayed in touch with J all these years)..to dinner. He was the plumbers helper today and refuses to take anything for helping. He is retired and enjoys helping- and wrote out a to-do list of things to help with while I am at the coast for work this next week. I really, really appreciate his help- he is a retired contractor/plumber and knows his stuff.

It was fun spending the day back out at the property. There was a great breeze this afternoon and the dogs (our 3, J's, and the nephews- all labs) had a blast playing all day.

I had to run to the (little) store out there a couple of times for misc hardware- they are celebrating 30 years of being in business and had a picture up of the little original 'corner market' building..which was there when we first bought the country house about 18 years ago. They have really expanded over the years - for a small independent, local store, the prices are fair. They have even added a small mexican food diner, a real estate office and added on a hardware and farming supply section.

It is starting to feel like home again out there. Although there are months of work left to do on the big house. One bite at a time.

Life is good!

The hub got a raise!

May 3rd, 2013 at 05:34 am

The hub found out when he got back to work today that he got a $2 an hour raise! Thats over $200 per week for him!! Nice!

That will help SO much with all the repairs we have to pay for on the country house!

I love unexpected surprises!

Planning

May 2nd, 2013 at 08:51 pm

The hub made it back safely to Alaska last night. He will be gone for 3 weeks. Since he was home the past two, there is no paycheck for his job this week. I get paid though. My pay is salary, so no OT surprises tomorrow.

I have created a few lists to help with the upcoming changes at home.
Must Haves
Wanna Haves

The Must Have list includes:

Repairing the living room wall
*New flooring throughout
unclog kitch/laundry room plumbing
*remodel upstairs bath
*repair downstairs bath
*replace broken window
*replace missing screens (argh!)
*paint entire inside
paint or reside external walls
*replace wood stove
*replace stairway bannister


* due to renter and dog's distruction and son's 'repair' jobs...

Wanna Haves:

Remodel kitchen
enlarge tiny master into master suite

It all depends on costs...which I am sure are going to eat up our budget very quickly.

My brother in law (from my ex) reminded me that he is a retired plumber with all tools and offered to take a stab at the plumbing issues. (yay)

I have found three contractors that specialize in remodeling- and will be getting bids in June.

The good news is that once this is done, we can put either or both homes on the market if we want, which is peace of mind for long term goals. I just need a good budget and the fortitude to stick with it.

The moving meeting

May 1st, 2013 at 05:17 am

The hub and I met with DD1 and her hub tonight to work out details for the moves. It will take planning and juggling, but I think we have a good plan. We will be moved out of the city house by Jun 3. The kids will start paying rent on the city house on Jul 1, which gives them a month break to pay transfers and deposits on utilities.

The kids are relieved to have a nice home to move into. There is much to do, but I DO feel it is a good decision. I just hope our fix it budget is sufficient to get everything done.

The hub leaves tomorrow, back to Alaska. I will have lots to stay busy with the next 3 weeks while he is gone.

The extra income will help pay the expenses of fixing up the country house and paying down debt. We are taking a huge step towards our bhag of being debt free except for mortgage, and retiring plans!

Dead battery and yes, its back to the country for me!

April 30th, 2013 at 03:51 am

The battery on my car went kaput today. The hub is charging it tonight to see if that works. If not, he will replace it before he heads back to Alaska on Wednesday.

The wheels are in motion to move back to the country. DD1 and her hub are excited to move here, the hubs nephew actually already had a place lined up so this works perfectly for him and I have a few weeks to get my moms little place ready to move into.

Then, we will gut the country house and fix the MUST FIX items and decide what wish list items will make the cut.

Between now and ALL of that...I have to pack and figure out where all this stuff will go for the next few months.

Let the fun begin!

I think...I am moving.

April 29th, 2013 at 12:30 am

Life is funny sometimes.

A few weeks ago, DD1's landlord decided to move back into the house DD1 is renting. Rentals are very hard to find here right now. The landlord gave DD1 two months to find somewhere to move, but they are having zero luck. DD1's family includes her hub, GD (7), GS (4) and grandpa...who DD1 cares for, a fish tank and two dogs. I told her the chickens can't come...my city neighbors would grumble.

This weekend, the hub and I spent the whole weekend cleaning up the property (2 acres) at the country house. And it has made me miss country living. I also am tired of paying two house payments.

The hubs newphew has been staying in the country house, but I am frustrated by how run down everything looks.

So....

The hub and I have decided to make some changes.

Our plan is that I will move into my parents little park model RV that sits on the country house property.

DD1 and her family are going to rent my city home. This will help them, and will pay most of the mortgage while still giving us a tax break next year.

The nephew will have until July 1 to move. At which point we will start on repairing the inside of the country house-

If I end up regretting the move, I only have to make it one year. Next year DD1 is planning to buy a house, and at that point I can move back to the city or sell the city house. In either case, either house will be ready to sell.

The next two months will be super busy-

I am moving out of a 1600 sq ft 3 bedroom, 2 bath house...into about 400 square foot one bedroom, 1 bath. Needless to say, I will have to find a place to store stuff until the big house (1800 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 1 and a half bath) is ready to move into.

Tonight, I am sunburned, my muscles ache and my arms feel like jello. I wrestled with blackberry bushes most of the afternoon, but ultimately, I won. Big Grin

DD1 is excited to have a possible solution to where they will live.

My head is spinning from such a fast turn of events.

Work on the country house- got sooo much done!

April 28th, 2013 at 01:51 am

We worked at the country house all day today. The hub rented an escavator to tear out blackberry bushes, move big-heavy stuff and to load the dump trailer quicker. After seeing how much we got done, it was money will spent.

I didnt get after pics yet, but I will tomorrow.

Being out there all day helped me realize how much I miss country living. I miss my clothes line and the open space. The house has 'settled' and there is some structural damage to two walls, so we will have to have a contractor take a look at it to see how much it will cost to repair.

In addition, we will need to paint inside and out, put new flooring in, update the kitchen, repair the repairs my son did or had done as they are not holding up.

ugh.

However, if I am only paying one house payment, there should be some extra money to do all of this.

And when we are done, the house value will hopefully increase, the hub will be back into the house he loves with his wood yard, and we will have lots of room for the kids, grandkids and future generations to visit and play.

The hub spent $600 on the escavator for three days. It cost $160 for two large dump runs. All of the bio-mass trips were no charge except gas to get there.

We have been stashing $500 a month aside for repairs on this home, so everything was covered so far with that fund. I will have to increase the monthly amount though, to cover upcoming expenses. I will have to play with the budget to determine how to best do that.




The city house vs the country house

April 25th, 2013 at 04:26 am

have been following housing values on Zillow, and both houses are climbing fairly steadily- which is reflective of what I am also hearing in the local market. If the city house continues on its current trajectory, I should be able to put it on the market within 3-6 months.

The country house value is also climbing. Fortunately, it is in the black already, since we have owned it so long. It just needs some TLC to return to its former glory. The hub and I will be spending this weekend at the house starting that process.

It is encouraging to see housing turning around. I would love to be able to eventually sale the city house without taking a loss...but time will tell.

Getting the financial house in order...one house at a time

April 22nd, 2013 at 04:46 am

The hub and I are discussing the possiblity of selling the city house in order to get the flywheel turning a little faster on our long term financial goals.

We went to the country house today, which I have not been to in over a year. I was sadly surprised at the condition of the house. It is not being cared for and it will take some expensive repairs to get it to a condition I will feel comfortable living with. Pets and carpets definately do not mix when pet owners arent being responsible. All of the carpets, and possibly the sub-flooring will have to come up. And the list goes downhill from there.

But for long term goals, it is something we have to tackle head on. The current renter is the hubs nephew. To his credit, he has taken care of the hubs 2 dogs for him (the dogs live in a 60 X 60 pen outside- the pet that has destroyed the carpets is the nephews lab). He pays $350 per month, which is often less than the electric bill- so we will offer him the trailer my parents lived in for free to care for the animals...and then empty and gut the house and start fresh witht he repairs. Once we have a good amount completed, we will put the city house on the market.

Thats our plan for now. First of course, we need to set some timelines and goals and a budget. DD2 stopped by with her kids while we were out there and it brought back REALLY good memories of the little ones having two acres to run around on. They were having a blast.

Nothing is set in stone yet. We are still just decidiong what is the right thing to do. I am ready to concede that one house payment is more realistic for our goals.

The amount of work to pull this off seems overwhelming today. But that is why I will break it down to step by step goals and timelines. And determine a budget that aligns with the goal.

Stay tuned. I am sure this is the first twist to a very wind-ey goal.

:D

March 28th, 2013 at 02:44 am

ZERO. CC#3 is finally at the magic number!

Now to work on the final debts. I was going to rebuild savings, but it stll does not make sense. The last unsecured debt I have is a visa at my job that is 100% accessible if there is an emergency...so I will apply all extra money there, until it is also PIF. Granted, putting everything towards this debt can give me a false negative (Christmas club $, vacation $, freedom acct $, etc..and the balance will vacillate accordingly...but every dollar saved there, means less interest charged to me in the long run.) It just means I have to TRACK every penny in and out of this account so that I stay on track.

While I am paying down this debt, normal payments will go towards the car...Speaking of the car, it will be about 8-10 days before I have it back and drive-able. Not having my car is no fun. The good news is that the bill to fix it will be under $200, which is well below what is in the car repair account, thank goodness!

CC#3 decision

March 22nd, 2013 at 07:45 pm

I have been pondering cc#3 a LOT lately.

Why am I slowly paying off that debt, when I could pay it off with savings and then rebuild savings.

If I pay the cc off now, I will still have about $5k in the emergency fund, and I will have the savings repaid by year end by paying savings back with the payment schedule I had planned for paying the credit card.

So, I did it. The payment is all set for Tuesday.

Now, not to hyperventilate too much. Big Grin

Taxes update

March 15th, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I picked up the taxes from our accountant yesterday. I will need to pay $6700 for 2012 taxes by tax day..and also pay $1630 in quarterly taxes for the rest of the year. *choke*..I plan to pay quarterlies in April and June and then sit down with the accountant again and see what we will really owe for the remainder of the year to pay accordingly.

CC#3 on my sidebar is still going to be paid in full by the end of the year, whether or not I have to pull from ING to do it. AND I will make a dent in the 2014 debt payoffs by the end of the year.

How?

I cancelled the cruise and eliminated the big vacation line from the budget altogether. Until debt is paid off, we wont take one. (I left the small vacation budget that provides a means of a long weekend getaway here and there...)

I reduced our allowance budget by 25%. I eliminated all but a small deposit to savings each month, since we have our emergency fund already. I shaved from just about every line item possible to come up with the $530 per month needed to pay the extra quarterly taxes. And, I am continuing the original snowball payment amount on the debt.

Thankfully, our original budget had wiggle room in it and it wasnt too financially painful. I am so grateful that we did. AND...I am extremely happy that I used all the added income last month to pay down debt BEFORE learning about the taxes. Otherwise, I am afraid I would have used this as a convenient excuse to use the money for taxes.

So...there is the plan.

I am so glad it is Friday. Tonight is date night and it is Z's turn. I am very much looking forward to one on one time with him. Gramma needs to enjoy him while I can...

Financial Planner appointment

March 14th, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I had my appointment this morning with the financial counselor. He is also a trusted co-worker, so I have full confidence in his review and evaluation.

The short version is that I explained our debt and repayment plan, he looked at the social security, 401k and pension statements and used his fancy program to come up with a plan.

Of course, life doesnt always go as planned on paper- but he had really good news. He said that if we keep doing what we are doing (he felt we live fairly frugally for our income- yay!) that my goal of retiring at 60 is very much possible. AND he said that, again if all goes as planned, the hub could retire by 60-62 if he wanted to!!! Hurray! We have to stay focused and frugal...but he was very encouraging that it can work.

He was conservative in projections- did not include any equity growth in the homes. Although at 60, we will need to rent the home in town for either close to the payment, or sell it. Which hopefully by then should not be a problem.

He suggested considering upping our 401k contributions to lower our taxable income this year..AND then after debt is paid off, opening and contributing to Roth IRAs.

He did recommend looking into a good disability insurance plan for the hub.

Anyway... THAT is good news!!

Blogoversary - 7 Years!

March 11th, 2013 at 06:59 pm

Woot! Happy Blogoversary to me! Big Grin



Here are today's stats:

•Date Started: Mar 11, 2006
•Entries: 1,213
•Comments: 5,039
•Total Visits: 3,066,095

I want to appreciate all of the fellow bloggers here who have provided friendship, support, an occasional and much needed knock on the noggin, and lots of financial advice! Each of you have made this an amazingly interesting and fun 7 years!

I had to make a big girl decision today. Because of the tax situation and what we now owe to the state...I cancelled the cruise. There was a part of me that cried NOOOOOOO....but the realistic part won. It makes no sense to pull from savings to pay this debt AND still take an extravagant vacation. I will pay the taxes, budget for future year taxes, continue on the debt trajectory, and then save for a vacation. This is so much more in line with my BHAG of retiring at 60, if not sooner.

Because it was far enough out, there were no penalties for cancelling the cruise, but I will end up paying $75 on my airline ticket. I dont think there is a fee on the hubs since he is a MVP with Alaska Air.

Day one back at work is as insanely busy as I had envisioned, so this is my very short lunch break...just taking a little time out to woot with my SA friends! Thanks for making this financial journey so much more enjoyable!


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