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Archive for June, 2010

Negotiating on item off craigslist?

June 30th, 2010 at 02:27 pm

DH sold some more of his "A" stuff and has $1400 to do with as he pleases. He wants to use this money to buy a 2009 Honda Ruckus (basically it is a moped) that he's found on craigslist. The guy is asking $1700 for it which is right around the book value for it. DH is going to meet up with him tomorrow to see the bike and if he likes it, I told him to offer the guy $1400 cash as a firm offer since that's how much he's got. DH thinks that is not enough, that $1500 would be more reasonable and then they might settle in the middle at $1600. DH has never been a good negotiator so I'm afraid that he'll sway from a firm $1400 price (if he really likes the bike). I mean, it's not like we don't have the extra $200 for this but... you know how our budget conscious frugal minds work here on SA! Smile At $1400, that is like a discount of 18% off the asking price... anyone have this kind of luck negotiating a deal before with a purchase off of craigslist?

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!

115 lbs

June 29th, 2010 at 04:45 am

I am weighing in at 115 lbs this morning... the least I've weighed since having children 11 years ago! However, this means I have 7-9 lbs left to lose to reach my target weight of 106-108 lbs and I just have 23 days to do it... guess it won't be happening unless I step into high gear and exercise like a crazy woman each day until then. {{Insert Big Sigh}}

Let's see what determination can do these next 23 days!

Real Estate Decisions

June 21st, 2010 at 03:01 pm

1. We decided not to move forward with the lot purchase idea. We just couldn't justify paying anywhere near the $99k they are asking for just a 0.5 acre lot. Even if they took $60k for it, my mother told me that it was still way too much to pay for such a small piece of land. We'll keep an eye on it and see what kind of activity actually happens on it though.

2. We are moving closer toward buying a small fixer-upper though as a rental (then a flip once the market really picks up). We have decided to focus on the neighboring county which has much lower property values and finding a house listed between $80-$100k. We have lined up with our realtor to look at 5 houses on Sat that fit this criteria so we'll see.

So, anyway, these are the decisions we've made today... who knows what we'll decide on tomorrow though {{wink}}. Aahh, the joys of real estate.

3. We have another scheduled showing tomorrow. So, in 3 weeks, that will make 5 showings. Activity is definitely picking up but now it's just a matter of someone making an offer on our house! C'mon, people! Whatcha waiting for? Smile

Adventures in real estate continues: land

June 17th, 2010 at 11:31 am

I'm continually searching for something to invest in and I've got my eyes on a piece of property. My main criteria is that it's got to be flat and accessible (we live in the mountains). I've run across a listing that has been on the market for nearly a year now. It's smack dab in the middle of town and is flat as a pancake. We would build a nice but not extravagant house on it for us to grow old in... Smile

Only problem is that the price is outrageous... they are asking $99k for this 0.53 acre lot!

Looking straight at the lot from the road (the lot is basically all the high grass that you see)

Looking at the lot with the neighboring house on the left (for your frame of reference of how the lot lays flat when the tall grass is mowed)

The house is in a neighborhood so I don't have to worry about major traffic issues and as you can see, it's super flat. There are also no trees to remove or any grading that has to be done.

The kicker is that a development company bought this lot back in 2007 for exactly $100k. I don't want to pay anymore than $60k for it but I know they'll just laugh at me. Sigh.

Added: I found a picture of the lot with the grass mowed down.

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

UGH - they didn't even show up!

June 5th, 2010 at 05:52 am

Ok, our scheduled second showing came and went. DH got home and saw that no one had been in the house. All the lights were on and nothing was touched. He was so upset because of all the effort we put into this showing. I emailed our realtor to see if she had heard anything about why the other realtor and her clients didn't bother to come like they were supposed to. Heard nothing all night. This this morning, I checked my email and see a feedback form from the other realtor. Apparently, the clients were supposed to look at 2 houses yesterday, ours and another, both second showings. After they saw the other one for their second time, they decided to go ahead and put in an offer on that one! The deciding factor was that it was in town and ours is not (ours is just 4 miles outside of town). Geez --- another opportunity to sell is gone and now we are back to square one. At this point, it feels as if we'll never sell this house! UGH! How frustrating!

The house has never looked better!

June 4th, 2010 at 06:36 am

Stuff we did for the showing today (second visit for this family)-

Outside: I bought 3 hanging baskets to put around the front covered porch. I bought a new plant to put in the flower garden (there was an empty spot there where I had to remove a dead plant)... 3 bags of mulch later, the flower garden looks great! DH weedeated the entire yard and some of our neighbor's too. He then spent about an hour cleaning up the gravel coming onto our driveway from our neighbor's driveway - weird situation here where we share a main driveway which is paved but the neighbor's didn't want to pave their part of the driveway going to their house so there's always gravel traveling down the shared main driveway. The neighbors just don't take care of their yard like we do so we have to do it a lot of the time.

Inside: All the rooms are tidy and clean. No clutter anywhere. I bought some fresh cut flowers to put in the kitchen. I set out some individually packaged snacks, candy, and water on the dining table with a printed note saying "Thank you for considering this great house as YOUR next HOME! Please enjoy the refreshments." I cleaned all the bathrooms, no clothes in the washer or dryer, no dishes in the dishwasher, and most of the cabinets have been straightened up nicely.

Now, we just have to wait until 2:00 when the showing is scheduled. I really, really, really want this to be a success with an offer attached to it! Pretty please with a cherry on top!

A second showing

June 3rd, 2010 at 06:29 am

We have a second showing scheduled for tomorrow! Cross your fingers for us that these folks love every square inch of the house and want to put in an offer after looking at it again. Smile

Back story on this family. They are from out of town. The husband is starting this fall with our local university and so that is why they are moving into the area. Our house has all 3 bedrooms on the second story and they liked having them all together since they have one small child and another on the way (instead of the more popular master on the main level floor plan). They also indicated after they saw the house the first time that they liked our finished open basement area since it provided them an extra family room space. When they came through town the last time, they looked at 14 houses and picked their top 3 (one of which was ours), so we made the first cut and that is why they are coming back to look at ours again.

I'm so excited for the possibility of how this may turn out. I'm going to buy some fresh flowers for the porch and for the inside of the house today. DH mowed the yard 2 days ago which is awesome since we've had rain the past couple of days and today as well. With a thorough cleaning tonight, we should be good to go. Can you guys think of anything else I could do to make our house stand out tomorrow?

2 lbs lost in 10 days

June 1st, 2010 at 09:22 am

Wow, at this rate, I'll be at a slim 106 lbs on my target date of July 22. Now, I realize that this may be that initial weight loss that will eventually stabilize itself out as I go along, but I'm still excited. I am trying to work out at least 30 minutes if not an hour each day and so far so good. I'm also watching my portion size.

It's amazing how it all just boils down to will power and determination. That's the way it is with me... if I 100% commit myself to doing something, it'll get done. I can't just want to do something half way--- else it'll never get done.

I just registered our family for a 5k race that is happening in a couple of weeks. It's $25 for each person, which for us means $100. Yes, this sounds like a lot but it is going towards cancer research so I think, if anything, it'll help our kids to understand that sometimes we need to give to good causes (even if it seems like a lot of money) when we can. We'll just cut back somewhere else in our budget this month.