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WE SOLD THE HOUSE!

February 21st, 2017 at 10:02 am

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 Smile

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.

Some random financial updates

October 6th, 2016 at 01:15 pm

-- 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.

Debts
*House mortgage = $273,486 (15 yr fixed @ 3.375%)
*Rental mortgage = $228,018 (ARM @ 4.75%)

Cash
*Retirement accounts = $106,778 (not including pension accounts)
*Mutual Fund savings = $9,585
*Bank account savings = $16,703

Other Assets
*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.

My big yard sale total....

June 21st, 2016 at 07:43 am

So, we had a yard sale on Saturday like many of you did, it looks like Smile

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 Smile

Spring Break... so needed!

March 23rd, 2016 at 07:12 am

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 Smile

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.



Payday! February 2016 Budget Prep

January 29th, 2016 at 06:37 am

I could not wait for today! It's so much fun to play around with our budget and to plug in actual numbers when we get paid. Since both DH and I get paid at the end of each month, today's paychecks have now funded our Feb budget.

Because our refinance in Jan caused us not to have a mortgage payment due in Feb, we are able to push that payment into our savings account this month Smile

I still have a buffer of $1200 that I need to find a "home" for. I like to keep a buffer for those unknown but expected expenses that will pop up during the month. For Feb, this will be for some medical bills that should be arriving anytime now (DH spent a week in the hospital in Jan). I have no idea how much of the $1200 will be needed for this or if I might need even more so we'll see. But, this works for now because I do mess with our budget everyday... always entering in adjustments and actual numbers. I guess it's just fun for me lol.

Hope everyone had a great fiscally fit January. I know we did in our household... I am looking forward to February 2016!

January 2016 - Awesome month!!

January 26th, 2016 at 06:47 am

Hey, guys. So, I've done a ton of work on the financial front this month.

Since Christmas, I have been on a minimalist kick. I've cleaned out drawers, cupboards, closets, and more. Bags and bags and more bags of clutter have been donated to Goodwill. No more frivolous shopping in this household.

And, I've also cleaned up our finances at the same time Smile In Dave Ramsey style......... WE ARE DEBT FREE except for the mortgage! The only debt we had was our car loan but I finally decided to pay that sucker off with our savings. We also refinanced our mortgage from an ARM to a 15 year fixed in January! The goal for us now is to save, save, save. We need to build back up our savings and to set aside funds for the upcoming college expenses (our oldest will be starting college in 2017).

So, January 2016 has been a busy month but a very fulfilling month. I have worked hard to rid our home of any clutter (physically and fiscally) and it feels awesome.

Wells Fargo stock

October 28th, 2015 at 08:52 am

So, years and years ago, I worked for Wachovia Bank (which is now Wells Fargo). I forgot that I had bought a couple of shares at the time...

I just checked my account and I have a whopping 2.356 shares of Wells Fargo common stock! Woo Hoo! At the current market value of $54.61 / share, that means I have $128.66 Smile

So, what should I do with this newly discovered information? Should I just leave my measly 2 shares alone or should I cash it in?

Any stock people out there to help a girl out?

Documenting random thoughts today

September 22nd, 2015 at 09:31 am

Thinking ahead to some big expenses forthcoming:

DD #1 will be going off to college in 2 years
DD #2 will be getting her drivers license in 2 years

Ugh.

Renters are still in our house and have asked to stay there through 2016. They really need to just buy the darn place Smile

Financially, we are staying steady but I would love to push ahead somehow. I need to inherit some money from an unknown relative somewhere haha.

I have been selling a lot of clothing/accessories on instagram, poshmark, and mercari... haven't put too many things on ebay because the other platforms seem much easier.

Wish we would finish up renovating our house. But on the other hand, don't really have the extra funds to do so. Oh well.

Been walking on the treadmill daily for at least an hour at usually 3mph. Hoping to get rid of 15 lbs but doubt that will happen anytime soon.

So, lots of randomness around here lately.

Small sales add up

May 25th, 2015 at 11:28 am

On Saturday, I stopped by a local church yard sale. They had a "fill a bag for $5" sale. I was able to fit 15 pieces in the bag so that made each item just $0.33. I also purchased a $2 pair of shoes... so spent a grand total of $7.

In the bag of clothing, I got:

1) NWT J. Crew cardigan sweater
2) NWT Talbots top
3) NWT sweater (can't remember the brand right now)
4) J. Crew pencil skirt
5) J. Crew cardigan
6) Ann Taylor pencil skirt
7) Loft top
8) Gap top
9) 7 other miscellaneous skirts and tops that I can't remember the details about...

The shoes were too big for my daughter so I posted them online for sale and they sold for $15 (profit of $13)! I'm keeping the majority of the clothing but do have the NWT items up for sale right now...

So, $15 made less $7 spent equals a pretty sweet deal.

Also, we are participating in our local consignment sale again and we have already sold $332 worth of items (my cut of the sales is already $199.20 so far!)




That $500 check is good!

May 1st, 2015 at 11:34 am

So, my last post was about a $500 insurance check that I received (which I thought was in error). I did ask my insurance agent about it because it just didn't feel right to cash the check if I knew it was a mistake.

She just called me back after talking with the actual claims people and said for me to keep it! I am still not sure why they sent it to me but my agent was told that they had a supervisor in the claims department review it and she had approved it... so, yippee! I will put it into my ST savings for now.

Final consignment sales total

March 17th, 2015 at 01:29 pm

The final total from our local consignment sale is a whopping $370.20! These funds will go into our ST savings account for now... not too shabby for stuff that was laying around the house.

$11,743.17 is such a pretty number

March 16th, 2015 at 11:45 am

This is the balance in our short term savings account right now. I know many of you have lots more than that but this is an accomplishment for us. I realize that this number may fluctuate as we need to use it for short term expenses (like annual car insurance bills, etc) but I am enjoying just looking at it today and my goal is to keep adding to it as much as possible.

It's been over a year!

March 9th, 2015 at 06:37 am

So, I'm finally back. I didn't realize that my last entry was over a year ago but it's time to get focused again on our finances. I won't go into detail as to what our goings on have been this past year but instead put down our thoughts and goals for the present:

1) Savings:
We currently save $1200 from our paychecks each month. $250 has been going into ROTH accounts. $150 has been going into a long-term (LT)savings account. $800 has been set aside for short-term (ST) savings each month.

We currently have just $2,500 in our LT savings (a mutual fund account)

We currently have $7,600 in our ST account and I have $3,000 in cash at home that I have been socking away anytime we get extra cash. I will be depositing that $3,000 into our ST account today so our balance will now be $10,600. There have been times where we need to tap into this account for annual bills like life insurance and such so this balance will fluctuate but that's what it is for.


2) Debt:
Our debt load currently looks like this-
Mortgage loan 1 balance $238,515 (renting this one out)
Mortgage loan 2 balance $287,955 (our home)
Car loan 1 balance $13,168 1.95% (purchased Jan 2014)
Car loan 2 balance $21,645 3.59% (purchased Jan 2015)
Yes, I know these are scary numbers.
No unsecured debt.

My conundrum is whether or not to stop putting away any or all of the $150 LT and $800 ST and instead divert those funds into paying off one our car loans. We have been paying more than the minimum each month but adding more to one of them would snowball it quickly. What do you all think?

An overdue update

April 23rd, 2013 at 02:00 pm

--- I was "offered" a job in a county 2 hours away for about $30k more than what I am making now. I wasn't looking or applying anywhere but the person there is retiring and recommended me as her replacement. After weighing out everything, I declined the offer. Believe me, I was very humbled to be considered but we have just too much going on here so the timing just isn't right.

--- Renters have renewed for another year so at least we don't have to worry about that house for a while longer. I think we lucked out quite a bit with this as there are so many horror stories about bad renters. This is a nice little family and they love our house so they have taken very good care of it. {{Too bad their rent payment is $360 short of paying our mortgage that we have on it, but it's better than nothing}}

--- Work has been complete chaos these past few months. Our superintendent was bought out of his contract to a tune of nearly $200k and we are now without a boss for who knows how long.

--- Slowly still making progress at the "short sale" house. We love living there but geez, it's taking a long time to fix it up. With the nicer weather these days, we have done much work outside amping up the landscaping. Plus side is that we get a nice workout while we are at it. Smile

--- Drove by an apt complex last Sat and sitting right by the dumpster was something that caught my eye. I pulled over and tried to piece it together... turns out to be a toddler bed in the shape of a Volkswagen Beetle and it was in great condition. My parents are going to yard sale it off for around $30. Oh, and there was also a stepper machine that was just sitting there... in great shape too. Probably will sell that for around $20. Woo hoo for dumpster diving!

--- Upcoming local consignment sale next month that I will participate in. This is held twice a year and is a good way to clean out our closets without holding a yard sale. So, I've been looking for just about anything that can go toward that sale. The only bad thing is that they charge 40% of the sale --- yikes, but again, better than nothing. This is a huge deal where I live and tons of people shop this thing so it really is a good way to get rid of stuff.

--- Family is on a spending hiatus starting today. Besides stuff we need to get to keep our home improvements running along, we are not allowed to buy any "fun" stuff like clothes or dvds. I hope we can last a while because we are running low on cash as it is!

--- Family beach trip coming up in July so I am also starting an exercise plan tonight (Jillian Michaels, here I come). Wish me luck.

Filed our taxes

February 6th, 2012 at 07:16 am

I think this is the earliest I've ever done our taxes before... I was a bity antsy as to how we would look since we had purchased the short sale house last Sept... I knew we'd get money back (I try to break even each year) so anyway, I did the paperwork and e-filed on Sat morning. Looks like we'll be getting back over $3200 between federal and state refunds this year. All that money will be put back into the short sale house so we definitely will be putting it to good use. On Sunday, we have officially started with the family room now. DH started the nasty job of scraping off the old popcorn ceiling. This is a big room so it will take another few days (a few hours each night after work) before all the scraping is done. I know I still owe you guys after pics of the bathroom but I think I have one more project up my sleeve for that area before the big reveal. Stay tuned. Smile

CVS trip

November 30th, 2011 at 11:58 am

I think I did pretty well today at CVS. My sister's baby shower is next week and so I bought a ton of diapers for her since I had coupons expiring today. I also bought some Tide HE detergent that I needed to get for our new front loaders.

7 jumbo packs of Pampers @ $9.50 each
6 Tide liquid detergents @ $5.94 each
Total value = $102.14

Less manufacturer coupons = $18.00
Less CVS Extra Bucks I had = $2.00
Less $10 gift card wyb $30 promotion = $30.00
Less Greentag Extra Bucks I earned = $1.00
Less Free pack of diapers wyb 6 = $9.50
Total coupons/promotions = $60.50

Total without tax = $41.64

And, just because I'm a nerd, I calculated my per unit cost... my Pampers to Tide ratio is 65/35 so that means that each pack of Pampers was just $3.87 each and each Tide detergent was just $2.42.

I think that's a pretty darn good haul for stuff I needed anyway.

Awesome Yard Sale Total

August 9th, 2011 at 01:34 pm

I helped my mom do a yard sale at her company's annual yard sale event this past Sat. Let me tell ya, my mother can sell anything to anyone!! Together we made $582! She gave me $382 and she kept $200. I put $100 in each of the kid's accounts and put the rest in our savings account. Love it when we make money like that.

In other news, we are still waiting for the fully executed contract on that short sale. The realtors on both side are very positive that things are going to go through just fine. We are just waiting for the seller's bank to sign off on everything and then we'll schedule the inspection, etc... DH and I can't wait to get our hands on that house!

A new month, A clean start!

March 1st, 2011 at 11:02 am

Spring fever must be hitting me right now. I am in the mood to clean out my house and straighten up my life. For the past week, I've organized my closets, cabinets, and junk drawers. I have found a whole year's supply of contacts that I now remembered ordering and stashing so that I didn't have to go back to the eye doctor for another year. I totally forgot about these and I was going to place an order within the next month or so! I found 2 full size brand new containers of DH's favorite hair gel. I've donated bags of stuff to Goodwill. I've thrown away so much clutter that has literally just sat in our house for the past 5 years. It feels great! I highly recommend everyone to find a drawer or closet and get at it! I did an area each night for a week and it was painless.

A 2011 financial goal was to reach the $20,000 mark in our E-fund. I deposited a $100 credit card reward check today bringing the balance up to.... drum roll.... $20,049.28!!!!!!!! Now, let's cross our fingers that we won't see any kind of emergencies for a while so that I can enjoy seeing that awesome number. Wahoo!!!

Other random updates:
I gave my sister a blank check for her birthday payable to her power company. She's the one that is in a huge financial mess. The bill was for $210.55. I asked her how much of the bill was for late fees and penalties and she didn't even know the answer to that... it's quite sad. But, oh well, it's nice to be able to help her when I can (I only give her money for holidays instead of buying her nonsense so as to not try to enable her family's bad money habits). She did tell me that she went and applied for food stamps and other family aid which is about time in my opinion.

My co-worker is making great progress on her financial situation. She made it through Christmas without having to charge a dime. There are still a few debts that she has left to pay off but I see her getting to the finish line within the next year or two.

Updating savings amounts for 2011

January 11th, 2011 at 10:29 am

We had been saving $1,000 per month into savings (short-term, mid-term, and retirement). I just got online to all our accounts and increased everything to $1,500 per month. I think we can do more but let's see how this feels for a few months.

We also are going to start paying extra on our mortgage... just to round it up from $1,652 to $1,700 each month which is just $48 so no biggie. We used to pay a few hundred extra per month when we first got the mortgage but then scaled back to the regular monthly payment amount when we were trying to sell our house. Now that it looks like we'll be here for a while, I figured we'd start paying a little extra just because.

Some things I look forward to in 2011:

1. Reaching the $20,000 mark in our e-fund.
2. Would love to be 100-105 lbs! Before you think that is outrageous, please be aware that I am very petite and this would be normal (but on the lean side) for someone like me. I have thus far cut out soda (except for one can twice a week -- long story) which is going to help tremendously. I am trying to fit in some exercise too... so far, so good.
3. Cook at home more/eating out less. This has been working out pretty well thus far.

What a great June!

June 30th, 2010 at 06:01 am

Well, it's June 30 which means payday for DH and me (we get paid at the end of each month). We currently put away $970 into various savings (Roths, mutual funds, etc) automatically for our paychecks and have done so since Jan when I got my last raise. Since we paid off all our non-mortgage debt last month, we are also going to add another $525 into savings this month (amount varies to our needs each month). Also, I get a "bonus" twice a year, in June and Nov. So, the net of my June "bonus" is $1,115. That is going into savings as well. In June, we also received the remaining balance in our medical flexible spending account of $276 and got reimbursed for some travel expenses in the amount of $653. With the extra $400 in yard sale proceeds from a few weeks ago, the amount that went into savings for the month of June is.....

yard sale = $400
travel reimbursement = $653
flexible spending reimbursement = $276
bonus pay = $1,115
regular monthly savings = $970

Total = $3,414!!

Our goal right now is to re-build our emergency fund to at least $20k (we took a portion of this fund to pay off that last credit card) The balance with June's contributions is now $6,281. We don't count our Roth accounts or our mutual fund balances into our e-fund balances so it's good to know that those are there in the event of a MAJOR emergency (those have healthy balances)...

Now, July will be a different story as all we are expecting are just our normal paychecks. The "extra" money in June sure was fun to play with though!

Yard Sale Totals!!!

June 14th, 2010 at 04:55 am

Sat morning, I had a yard sale with my mom at her house. We pooled together our stuff as well as all the money collected to be split at the end. We "opened" at 7:00am and had to shut down abruptly at 11:30am because it started raining. For 4.5 hours of work, guess how much we made??? A whopping $559.50! That's nearly $125 per hour! My mom gave me $400 and she kept the $159. We still had so much stuff left that if it hadn't been for the rain, we probably would've made $200 more. We are planning to sell the rest of the stuff in another yard sale on July 3. My mom is the ultimate salesman... she could sell sand to a guy living in the desert! Smile

Some financial postings & getting naked

March 3rd, 2010 at 09:02 am

1. Received our federal tax refund of $963 today in our account! Geez, that was fast!

2. DH got another $434 transferred to our savings account from his sales of 'A'. That makes the total now $7,434 in that account (goal use of the money is still undetermined right now).

3. Our contract with the flat-fee realtor expired March 1. The renewal fee with her was supposed to be $200 for another 6 months but she surprised us by offering to renew the listing for free --- we took her up on it, of course!!

********
I have to say that life is pretty good right now. Financially, we are in a fairly strong position (for us) and I am very grateful for what we have. Sure, we can definitely do things to save more money toward this or that... we all can and should. However, we all know that life just gets in the way and what we should do is not necessarily what gets done. So, all in all, for our little family, I can't complain too much from a financial standpoint.

I've decided to get naked with all of you and post exactly what we have (and don't have) for the first time:

Debt -
Mortgage $268,000
Credit Card (@0%) $21,000
Total Debt = $289,000

Savings (NON-retirement) -
Mutual Funds $10,000
Emergency Fund $13,000
Short-term Savings Fund $1,500
Savings Fund (DH's sales) $7,400
Total Savings = $31,900

We so need to increase our savings and have done so steadily over the last couple of years. We currently have $970 taken out automatically each month from our checking to our savings accounts which is a huge increase over just a few years ago. This equates to about 15% of our NET monthly income so I guess that's about right? I would love to increase it to $1200 sometime this year but can only do so if DH and I get raises this July... chances are unlikely as our state's budget crisis continues but we'll see.

Can't wait until tomorrow!

February 25th, 2010 at 07:08 am

Ahh, Friday, February 26. The last working day of the month = payday for both DH and I. Yes, I look forward to the last day of each month just for this reason... however, this one is special. In our state, we get bonus pay starting at the 10 year anniversary month of when we started with state government. Feb 2010 is my 10 year anniversary month! Therefore, I will be receiving a net of $929 after taxes in bonus pay tomorrow. Also, tomorrow, my employer is giving me a check for $601 in travel reimbursements. That makes an additional $1,530 that I will be receiving on top of my paycheck tomorrow --- I love getting money!

Filed our taxes

February 24th, 2010 at 07:24 am

Sent in the e-file last night to get our refund of:

Federal $963
State $923
TOTAL $1,886

We try not to get a hefty refund (or owe) too much each year, but I wasn't sure how to calculate the effect of the Making Work Pay credit so we adjusted DH's exemptions up to 0 for half the year (just playing it safe)... guess we withheld a bit too much after all. Oh, well... still not too bad. DH's sister's family is one of those that WANTS to get a huge refund each year - we're talking in excess of $8k or so. That's just plain ridiculous!

Just for fun, I pulled out prior years' returns to see how this one compares:

2008 refund $2,348
2007 refund $1,415
2006 refund $1,564
2005 owed $299
2004 refund $492

I finally got my raise - and other money ramblings.

February 22nd, 2008 at 12:35 pm

The board approved my raise last week. That puts another $5K into our kiddy each year. This will put our household income into the 6 digits for the first time so that's exciting. Also, in July, DH is expected to get a 10% raise and I should get another 5% or so. Things are going quite well for us salary-wise. Smile

We have one auto loan through our credit union. Since interest rates keep going down, we "refinanced" the loan at a lower 0.5% with them... it is so easy and convenient with our credit union. All it takes is one little email to them requesting the refinance and voila. They don't pull another credit report and you don't have to fill out any other paperwork. I love it. It's the easiest thing to do and they have such low rates to begin with that it's a win-win for us anyway you look at it.

I just requested another $100 check from our credit card rewards program. That makes for $200 already this year alone that we will get from that.

In the mail today, I received my ebates check for $10+ which is from my online shopping at Christmas time. Love getting back money, don't you?

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday and I went to the credit union to put $100 in her checking account. She's a SAHM with two kids under 2 years old! Her DH works a lot of overtime to try to keep them afloat but they barely make the household utility bills. Collectors are constantly calling them but if they don't have the cash, they just don't ... so when I can, I give my sis a little here and there to help them out. $100 will buy a lot of diapers for them. I called her to tell her so that she could expect to see it in her account and she was so grateful. She started to cry and it humbled me. I hate that she lives over 2 hours away sometimes.