Lots of updates:
1) Portland vacation totals came in at $5,023 which is $977 under budget We had a great time! Our youngest daughter has already started planning for next year's vacation which she is determined will be overseas somewhere. I have to start saving my pennies!
2) A couple of weeks ago, our oldest daughter went tubing on the lake with her friends. Long story short, she ended up with a dislocated hip of all things! The medics had to air lift her to the nearest trauma hospital. We had quite a scare but everything turned out as best as possible. She is fine now with no broken bones/tendons or any permanent damage. I was warned by the hospital that the bills will be hefty though... will update you guys as I get those.
3) I had to make our first college payment the other day and it hurt! Between tuition and room/board, we had to shell out about $12K for the Fall semester. Ouch.
Lots of updates:
So, I started into reselling as a side hustle on Jan 1 to save money for our daughter's upcoming college expenses (she starts college in August) Here are my 6 month totals.
Jan 1 - June 30, 2017
Total Gross Sales = $18,697
Total Costs/Expenses = $8,256
Total Net Profit (before taxes) = $10,441
I'm setting aside 25% ($2,610) in my mind to cover income taxes. I have no idea if this is anywhere near accurate as I've never done this before but figured it was a safe estimate... so my grand net total after estimated taxes is $7,831 for the first 6 months of my reselling part-time business.
Now, let me just say that this took a lot of time and effort to earn this money. It wasn't easy but I enjoyed it and I am quite happy with the results. From my research, the 4th quarter is always the most profitable with holiday sales thrown in the mix, so I'm looking forward to what the next 6 months will bring.
Our DD's estimated college expenses for one year is $25K which includes room/board as she'll be living on campus. If I can keep this up and earn about $15-$20K a year reselling, the rest can be made up with our regular savings (I put aside $500 from our regular income each month).
My goal is that our children will leave college with no debt whatsoever and that is why I am hustling hard
So, we decided to venture out west this summer and visit Portland, Oregon. If anyone has any suggestions, tips, or advice about the area, please let me know! Our family of 4 (no little kids) would love to explore the area and maybe even take a drive to Seattle while we are out there. We'll be there the last 2 weeks of July
flights and hotel = $3,000
rental car = $500
food, park tickets, and incidentals = $2,500
Total = $6,000
So, my daughter won a sweepstakes in 2016 valued at $5000. She turned 17 in 2016. She had no other income (no job or interest).
Does she need to file a tax return for that $5000?
We closed on the sale of our rental house today... finally!
For those not familiar with the situation, we purchased this house in 2006 and then tried to sell it in 2010 for the next two years. We finally decided to rent it out and found renters. These same renters stayed for over 4 years and they ended up buying the house from us today. We couldn't have asked for better renters or for a better outcome so we feel very fortunate and blessed. I am so looking forward to not having this mortgage on our books any longer
P.S. We left the closing table with a $25k check but we did take a loss on the house overall. DH and I are so okay with the loss. The feeling of not having to worry about it any longer is priceless.
Looking back to 2016:
Jan- Refinanced mortgage to a 15 year fixed and paid off remaining car loan balance of $17,210 to be debt free again except for the mortgage; DH had a medical scare
Feb- Had to pay the big and unexpected $1,145 hospital bill from last month
Mar- Joined gym which started $50 monthly bill; got into a multi-car accident over Spring Break; found out DD won a national $5k prom package contest!
Apr- Started vegan (vegetarian for the rest of the family) lifestyle; DH has to start getting a very *expensive* rabies treatment for trying to rescue our cat from a feral cat's death grip
May- major Prom festivities
June- kids wanted Spotify subscription and I caved... oh, well.
July- DH purchased a scooter for $1,500
Aug- DH sold the scooter he had just purchased last month... thank goodness!
Sept- first "manual" payment made for home insurance since we refinanced without an escrow account for the first time ever
Oct- spent lots of money for college applications and other senior student expenses; DH purchases a "new" car for $8,100 cash; our renters inform us of their interest in purchasing our home!
Nov- ramped up online selling activity big time with ebay, poshmark, mercari, etc
Dec- holiday craziness with an 18th year old birthday thrown in the mix that led to an impromptu trip to NYC to celebrate 2016
..... now onward and upwards to 2017 .....
-I've opened up an official eBay store on Jan 1 with plans on making lots of part-time moola!
-Our rental property will be sold (crossing fingers)
-Our oldest will graduate high school and start college... yikes!
-Our youngest will get her driver's license... yikes, again!
I look forward to a great 2017 and hope for much financial success for all of us!!
Any suggestions on a warm destination for a family of 4 on a budget for the week after Christmas? We live on the east coast... not opposed to flying somewhere. Help!
I purchased a $149 name brand, new with tags, ladies poncho sweater thing from Salvation Army a few months ago for $5. I listed it on eBay with a buy it now price of $100 and had several people offer me best offers on it but they were much too low and the interested buyers didn't want to accept my counter offers. I held out because I knew I had a lot of interest on it.
It sold last night for full asking price! After product and shipping costs and eBay fees, I made a $73.64 profit! Woo hoo! I can get used to making money while I sleep
1. It's FRIDAY. Enough said.
2. My oldest daughter turns 18 today. How can that be?!!
3. We have officially entered into a purchase contract with our renters for the house they've been renting these past 4.5 years! We agreed to a $255k price. I sure hope their financing goes through fine and we can close in January! We purchased the house in 2006 for $288k so yes, we are selling at a loss but that's OK. We'll pocket about $25k after the mortgage is paid off and most importantly, we will finally be done with that house so cross your fingers for us!
4. Our youngest daughter just finished with drivers ed yesterday and can now go get her permit. I'm cool with that. Haha.
5. I've been tracking my online sales accounts in detail since Nov 6. As of today, Dec. 2, my net PROFIT made is $725.94. This is after all fees, shipping costs, and product costs. I can get used to an extra $700 a month and hope this amount can be sustained. I plan to make this much more consistent into 2017.
I went to a charity auction last night and purchased a brand new with tags, Dooney & Bourke matching wallet and handbag set for just $55. Got home and I broke the set apart and listed the handbag and wallet separately on eBay.
Within an hour, the handbag sold for $215! If I say the $55 cost was on the handbag alone, after fees and shipping, my net profit is $117.49! Once I sell the wallet too, my net profit on this one $55 purchase will be even greater.
Anyway, I've been on and off ebay since 2000 but just ramped up my ebay activity over the last week and trying to make some money with that platform. I've made quite a few sales but nothing like this one in such a short time frame so I had to share
Anyone out there that can help?
We had purchased a home back in Aug 2006 for $288,000.
We lived in it until Aug 2012 when we started renting it out (we purchased a different home to live in and could not sell this one at all so renting was the only option).
The same family has been renting the house since Aug 2012 and now are ready to purchase it.
We haven't figured up the final number but I'm going to start with offering it at $250,000 and we'll probably end up selling it for a bit less than that but ultimately, we are definitely selling the house for a loss when compared to our purchase price of $288,000.
We have filed the property as a rental property each year on our taxes, claiming the rental income and all expenses including depreciation, etc.
The renters are flexible about WHEN to purchase the house whether it be in the next couple of months or later. Their rental agreement actually ends July 31, 2017 and so this next August 2017 will mark a complete 5 years that the house has been an official rental property. Since we will be selling at a loss, does it matter if we wait until after Aug 2017 to sell the house to them at all? I thought there was a 5 year minimum rule of some sort regarding the sale of rental property but I can't remember what that rule is.
Does anyone know if it matters to hold rental property for a minimum of 5 years if we are selling the property at a loss?
-- Our renters want to meet sometime soon to discuss possibly purchasing the house! Let's cross our fingers...they've rented the house since Aug 2012 and have been great renters but we would love to sell it to them instead.
-- I am to get a one-time $400 bonus this month. Woo Hoo! I wish it were more but I'll take it and will put it into our savings.
-- Hubby is itching to purchase a "new" car. He currently drives a very beat-up 1998 truck. We've agreed to stay in the $5k-$8k range if possible and will pay cash for it.
-- Just a quick financial snapshot of where we are right now.
*House mortgage = $273,486 (15 yr fixed @ 3.375%)
*Rental mortgage = $228,018 (ARM @ 4.75%)
*Retirement accounts = $106,778 (not including pension accounts)
*Mutual Fund savings = $9,585
*Bank account savings = $16,703
*Main house is worth about $450k
*Rental house is worth about $275k
*Our 3 cars are worth about $30k total
Definitely not where I want to be in regards to cash, but we are in a much better place right now than ever before. Slow and steady wins the race, right? We've made so many mistakes and have learned a lot so I'm not downgrading where we are right now. Our cash balance may not be as high as some of yours, but it's moving in the right direction for us.
So, my last post was about how I loaned $400 to a co-worker. She had said she would pay me the following week but didn't. Then, she said she would pay me on payday, which she didn't. All of these "promises to pay" were with the other co-worker she borrowed from... I never really spoke to her directly myself.
So, after 6 weeks of nonpayment, my DH got a little antsy and asked me to confront her. I figured to be less confrontational, I would send her a text saying that I needed the money back for xyz (which were all true) and that it would be appreciated if she could pay me soon. A couple of hours after I sent that text, she pays me back! So, apparently, I just had to ask to get my money back was all. Oh well. I'm just glad that's over with.
So, 3 weeks ago, a co-worker comes to me saying that another co-worker is in desperate need of $800 to pay a bill by 5:00 that day (it was like 4:00 at this point). This co-worker in need is well liked, super friendly to all, and has never asked for any hand out or anything before. I truly thought maybe something was really wrong. So, this co-worker and I agreed to give the one in need $400 each. The co-worker in need was super thankful and headed off to the bank to cash our checks to do whatever with the $800 before 5:00.
Fast forward to today. Payday was yesterday and I thought for sure that I would see my $400 paid back to me. But, nope. So, I asked the other co-worker that also lent $400 the status of her payback and she hadn't been paid either. I finally asked if she knew the reason that the $800 was needed in such a rushed time... I thought maybe it was to pay the power bill or to pay rent or something like that. Come to find out that the reason this co-worker needed $800 was to buy her teenage son a car! She found a killer deal and didn't have enough money to pay for the car that day and the seller had given her until 5:00 or else they were going to the next person interested. I was livid! That is no emergency whatsoever!
Anyway, co-worker in need has promised to pay us back next week. From what magical funds, I don't know? We only get paid once a month which was yesterday so if she doesn't have the money now, where is she going to get it next week? But, I have no issues with lending her this money and I don't doubt that she'll pay us back, as she really is the type of person that keeps to their word.... however, now that I know the reason behind the "emergency" makes me a bit upset at myself for not asking what it was for to begin with (I just didn't want to pry at the time).
People, if you don't have enough cash to buy a car for your son, then don't go crying to co-workers... am I right?
Read this to catch up on part 1 ---->
Ok, friends. Last we left you, I was just graduating college at 21 years of age and ready to tackle the world. I got promoted immediately to manager at the restaurant I had been waitressing at throughout college. I was quite excited to now be making $18,000 a year. But that didn't last long because of another opportunity that popped up 2 weeks later. I received my first "real" job offer at Wachovia Bank. I started working as a Banker for them in January saying good-bye to my restaurant days.
On the personal front, I had been dating my boyfriend for 6 years by this point. Once I graduated that December, he proposed and we planned for a June wedding. So, again, life was good. We actually went ahead and purchased our first house together that January even. Looking back now, we were so naive in our purchase... basically bought the very first house we looked at but we were so happy and proud.
Financially speaking, here is our current picture 6 months after I graduated from college:
New home owners
No college loan debts
We both had good stable jobs at the time.
--My salary as a loan officer was $28k and my DH's salary as a teacher was $22k. So, we were making $50k as a couple which was not too shabby for a couple of 20-something year olds fresh out of school starting our lives together.
Then 9 months after we married, we found out we were pregnant. A surprise? For sure. But, we were happy and looking forward to our baby coming along.
We were living the dream in middle class America.
All was perfect... for a little while.
To be continued
Some meals lately...
Vegan bagels with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds. My favorite right now!
Simple penne pasta with spinach and marinara sauce. The family really liked this one.
Can't go wrong with fresh fruit!
Asian noodles with a variety of veggies... Simple!
These ingredients went into the making of Spring Rolls!
So, we had a yard sale on Saturday like many of you did, it looks like
We spent all day Friday pulling things out of closets, organizing, and pricing. Our sale ran on Saturday from 8am - 1pm.
We made $760!
Most items were really marked as $0.25, $0.50, or $1. Our most expensive item that we sold was just $25! So, yeah, we had a ton of stuff.
We received a lot of feedback from our customers throughout the day so I thought I would share the info as to how we had a successful yard sale.
1) We advertised on local facebook selling pages and on craigslist.
2) We put up very simple directional signs the evening before.
3) Location is key. We live in a great area to hold yard sales (great neighborhood, easy road access, lots of parking, etc).
4) We priced everything! Nothing was less than a quarter. Prices were easily visible on each item.
5) We priced everything at yard sale prices! Very important here... I even mentioned this in the ads that I placed because NO ONE wants to pay mall prices at a yard sale.
6) Know the goal of having the yard sale in the first place. Ours was to get rid of stuff in the house... not to make a ton of money for a summer vacation or anything like that. Because our goal was to get rid of stuff, we priced things low and accepted even lower offers... and because of #5 above, we had very little negotiations that we had to do on pricing. 90% of our customers paid the price we asked without any hesitation.
7) Our stuff was clean! Not dusty, not broken, not haphazardly thrown in boxes for customers to dig through. We displayed things on tables not on the ground.
8) Many, many of our customers told us how we had the best yard sale they had been to in years.
Hope that helps, guys. We really didn't have a figure in mind so when we counted at the end and had exactly $760 in our hands, we were ecstatic! This is only the second yard sale we've had and honestly, we didn't have anything but knick knacks at this one (the first one was 4 years ago where we netted $1200 because we had lots of furniture). It's amazing how a lot of quarter items can add up
So, I started being a vegan on April 8, 2016. Figured I would share some of my meals every once in a while for those interested.
This meal was prepared after a long 12 hours at work yesterday. I was tempted to just eat a bowl of cereal but then thought about all the random veggies in the fridge. Started chopping things up and voila. Stir fry mushrooms, broccoli, and onions over a bed of white rice. It was so delicious.
In a previous post, I had mentioned that we had been rear-ended while we were on Spring Break vacation. We finally got our car back from the shop after all this time. When we picked up the car, our body shop guy suggested that we file a diminished value claim with the other party's insurance company. We had never heard of this before but apparently, since the damage of the car was so severe, we should be able to recoup some of the value lost due to the accident. The car is just a year old and pre-accident value would be guestimating at around $26k. The cost of the repairs was almost $13k which is nearly half the value. Since the accident was such a high dollar amount, we'll have to disclose it if we want to sell it in the future... which means that we couldn't get $26k for it right now like we should've been able to prior to the accident. A diminished value claim would provide us money for the difference in values.
I've emailed the other insurance adjuster about this 2 days ago and have gotten zilch response... Has anyone else gone through this kind of claim before?
So, a month ago, I posted a "teaser" in announcing that our oldest DD entered into a national contest and was the winner! Here is what she won:
1) $1,000 gift card to Macy's
2) Professional hair and makeup for her and her girlfriends
3) Professional photography session with free pictures, etc
4) Catering for a pre-prom party for all her friends
5) Limo ride all night for all her friends
Her prom was a blast and everything went so well that day.
So, I just gave away a dining table with 4 chairs to a coworker... and I feel good about it.
Life isn't just about making money at every turn. Sometimes you have to give back to the universe. My coworker is a secretary making about $25k a year. She supports herself and her elderly mother. They just rented a trailer and are moving in this weekend. I asked if she might need anything and to my surprise, she needs everything. Apparently, the small apartment they were living in had no furniture to speak of at all. Besides the beds, that was about all they had.
How could I not have realized this about a coworker? I knew she has tons of medical issues (we've had to call 911 before when she had a seizure at work)... but you know what, she's never complained. She's always positive and friendly and is always here for others.
But back to the table... my mother had found this table set at Goodwill and paid $35 for it. She bought it to resale on Craigslist. We had listed it for $50 but no bites... so I just said to my coworker that it was now hers. I will pay my mom the $50 for it. My coworker offered to pay for it but honestly, how can I take money from someone that has so little to begin with? I am always searching for ways to earn more snowflakes-- I sell on ebay and other online platforms all the freakin' time but sometimes giving is just better than receiving.
So, yes, I am feeling grateful for all that we have. DH and I have great paying jobs, we have nice things, we have good health.
I'm not posting this to brag or anything but to remind ourselves that sometimes it is good to just give out of kindness to others without expecting anything back in return.
I am in the mood to just "talk" a bit so go ahead and ignore this blog post if you just would rather... it won't hurt my feelings, lol
My family came to the US when I was four years old with nothing but the clothing on our backs and a bag of immigration paperwork and that was it. My parents worked hard, really hard to get us established in this country. My mom worked nonstop in manufacturing plants. As each plant would close and move their operations overseas, she would find another factory job and start over. My dad worked in a restaurant as a cook. However, my childhood was not a bad one at all. No drugs or alcohol involved. No domestic violence. Just a simple childhood with my 3 siblings.
We definitely fit the bill of the typical low-income needy family. We were on food stamps and got free school lunches, etc. We are talking hand me downs, accepting gifts from others, and making do with the bare minimum. Whether it was clothing, household needs, or whatever, our family either made stuff or got things from church members or donations.
We were a 6 member family living strictly on a very small blue collar income and my parents did not make any excuses. They did not keep up with the Jones's. They did not succumb to the kids' desires to keep up with the coolest clothes or gadgets. We just had no money. They accepted "charity" up to the point when we didn't need to any longer.
Reality IS hard and to cloud it up with falseness is never a good thing. My parents understood this. We couldn't afford luxury cars or brand name clothing. My mom hand sewn and made all my t-shirts until I was in middle school for goodness sakes. But you know what? I had clothes on my back. I was fed. We had a home (rented). We had our own car (purchased a really old one). We had all the basics covered and MY PARENTS DID NOT USE DEBT AT ALL.
So, fast forward to college... My parents took out a very small $1500 federal loan that I had to pay off upon graduation to teach me how to deal with my first taste of financial responsibility. They paid for my entire tuition while I had to pay for my living expenses. So, yes, I waitressed my tail off while in school... and I did pay off that student loan right after graduation, had no debt, and had about $5,000 in savings. Not too bad for a kid right out of college. I got my degree in Business and Financial Management and thought I had all the best money sense in the world.... but I was wrong.
To be continued
So, the total from the feral cat bite that DH was the unfortunate recipient of back in March has been tallied up....
Before insurance, the total cost is $10,892!!
After insurance, our cost is $1,133 but we were able to file on our supplemental disability insurance as well and got back $220 on that policy so NET effect is $913 OOP.
$913 is nothing to sneeze at but dang, how is it that getting simple vaccination shots should cost over $10,000 to begin with?!
Go watch Cowspiracy... today! Let's honor our beautiful planet by becoming more aware of how we are literally killing her each and every day
So, Murphy left our house and we finally got some great news.... my oldest daughter entered into a national magazine's giveaway/sweepstakes last month and she was chosen as the winner!! It a package value worth about $5k. I won't say what it is just yet as it won't come to fruition for another month but once we get it all, I'll let you guys know. Let's just say that any teenage girl would be tickled to have won this...
In other news, my DH bought us fitbits (he sold some stuff to purchase them so they didn't hit our budget because I told him we didn't need them). I am actually quite happy with this little gadget. I am a tracker by nature so keeping up with my activity levels all day has been great. We've gone to the gym very regularly, I'm pleased to report, so our new $50/month has been definitely worth it.
For the past 2 weeks, DH and I have decided to go vegan. We have never eaten a ton of meat but dairy/cheese products have always been in our diet. We decided to go all vegan and plant based and so far so good. It's actually been pretty easy. Our kids have asked us to allow them to try vegetarianism instead and we are happy to let them try that instead (they love cheese pizza haha). Anyway, we are attending a local vegan potluck meetup today and looking forward to meeting other like-minded folks. I know it's not for everyone but we have been enjoying this journey so far.
1. DH tried to rescue our cat from a fight with a stray and the feral cat took a big bite on his hand. Had to go to ER for tetanus shot, antibiotics, and rabies vaccination. We do have insurance but will expect some medical bills from this.
2. We got rear-ended while on our Spring Break vacation. The hit pushed our car into the car in front of us so our once new 2015 Honda has severe damage on both ends. Yes, we won't be out of money since the other driver is at fault, but my poor car...
3. Super strong wind storm the other night caused a power outage... after the power came back on, we noticed that our furnace now doesn't work. Our trampoline was basically folded in half and our backyard grill was thrown around like a twig.
All in the span of about 2 weeks. I think we are done with Murphy since he's hit us 3 times. Can someone come take him away now?
A big perk of DH and I working within our school system is that we get time off that coincides with our kids' school schedules. Our Spring Break is next week and I cannot wait! I have been in the thick of budget season and need some decompression time. We haven't made any plans to go anywhere though. We want to go somewhere but just can't decide on what to do. Sometimes being spontaneous is just what we end up being and it all works out
In a previous post, I had mentioned we would be joining a gym. Well, we did but on a different program than what I thought. So, the cost is $50/month for both DH and I to go to any handful of gyms in the area. We've been doing great so far and really enjoy getting out there and working out. DH has lost about 10 lbs just by cutting out sodas and working out. I've lost nothing but am feeling pretty good... I think I haven't lost any weight because I'm gaining muscle mass (I would've described myself as fluffy). Toning up is high on my priority list so I think I'm heading in the right direction.
On the financial front, we've operated on a very exact budget since Jan. 3 months in, I can say that it has been a game changer. I know some folks don't care for keeping up with every little detail but I would recommend it for everyone at least just once... a very eye-opening and realistic look. I love being able to know exactly where we stand with our budget each and every day.
Our goals lately are to save as much money as possible toward 2 things: 1) We have a kid going to college next year. 2) We have another kid driving next year. Both are big expenses and I just hope that we will be prepared enough.
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