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Archive for December, 2009

2010 Goals

December 30th, 2009 at 06:12 pm

Christmas caused me to get out of my regular blogging routine. I miss my routine. I am back now- and I am back with 2010 goals.

Now that BB has a salaried job- making goals this year was fun. I have no idea if these are achievable or optimistic- but these are my well thought out/well planned out goals for next year.

By December 31st 2010:

1. Have at least $5123.00 in 401k.

2.Save $7000.00 for eventual house renovation.

3. Get windows for the entire house reballasted, insulated and painted.

4.Save $2400.00 towards new car for BB.

5.Have $5024.00 in emergency fund.

6.Have $5000.00 saved towards purchasing another property.

7.Start horseback riding again

8.Save $13840.00 for eventual 1st rental property renovation.

9. Still be married.

10.To weigh the same that I weigh now. (unless I am pregnant- which is NOT a goal!)

Tuition reimbursement...lets start naming names

December 16th, 2009 at 07:25 pm

I am currently doing research at work and recently found out that Marriott Hotels and Publix supermarkets offer tuition reimbursement for all employees.

At Publix you only need to work over 10 hrs a week!

I am passing this along because I read about posters going back to school, or kids currently attending school and want to remind everyone that this could be a money saving way to attend college. Most kids in college have a part time job- might as well do some research and get some tuition reimbursement!

I also noticed that Delta Airlines, Home Depot, UPS and some banks also offer assistance.

If anyone else knows of companies offering tuition reimbursement, post the info here. (Include the companies city/state for easy reference.) This could be a good resource for parents or college kids.

Healed myself. No Dr needed.

December 16th, 2009 at 03:36 pm

I saved myself a lot of money yesterday.

Yesterday morning I poked myself in the eye and I think I scratched the cornea. Of course my eye is teary and it's awful. I tried to drive to work an hour later and ended up turning around. The sunlight was so painful.

I called work and explained I would not be coming in for a few hrs till my eye cleared up. I fell asleep and woke up 2 hrs later and felt way better. I called work to tell them I was headed in.

Driving to work was brutal. I immediately went into my office and just sat in the dark to calm down my eye. My 2 boss's came in and immediately told me to go to the hospital. One boss started calling Dr offices to set me an appointment.

The thing is that I have not used my health insurance yet this year. I have a $750 deductible and it is set to reset in 2 weeks with the new year! BB and I mutually decided not to go to Drs this year and to wait and do everything next year. So I was trying to protest the whole hospital or Dr idea. From looking online, a scratched cornea only requires antibactirial drops to heal, and then heals on its own within a few days. The only thing a Dr would do is give me eye drops.

I convinced my boss to drive me home. My vet tech friend brought me some antibacterial eyes drops and I slept on and off all day, then all last night.

I woke up today HEALED! I am at work, and aside from the fact that I am VERY head shy about anything coming near my right eye- I am healthy. Phew! Saved myself a big Dr bill.

Spent money and learned something about myself

December 11th, 2009 at 04:10 pm

BB and I were invited to a fundraiser for the arts a few months ago. It was a free party to attend in a museum- and the party was intended to gain memberships to an arts society.

Membership prices get a person a yearly pass to the museum, and an automatic invitation to attend the 3-4 fundraising events that are held throughout the year.

BB and I attended the party out of curiosity. While there, we were provided plenty of free alcohal and mingled with a crowd of young professional people that we didnt know.

Due to the alcohal, I got a bit swept up in the idea of becoming a member and paid the $100 dollar a yr membership fee for BB and myself. I didnt quite understand what I was paying entrance into- but several friendly people told me they had been members for years and so I figured it probably was a good deal and I just wasnt in the frame of mind to completely comprehend the benefits.

I think BB and I kind of liked the idea of "supporting the arts" and mingling with "high society" and we got swept up in those types of ideas.

The next day I really looked at this membership and no longer thought it was such a great thing for us. We were buying an invitation to the future parties but would have to pay to attend. The really big end of the summer party is over $200 to attend and you must wear a gown or tux! :!

I dont think BB and I actually have much "high society" blood in us because we dont think this is for us. For one night I wanted it to be for us, I thought this was us. Now I realize it's not a good fit. If we want to support the arts (which we do)- there are cheaper and more direct ways to do it that are a better match for us.

So lesson learned- I guess I kind of wasted some money trying on a persona that just doesnt fit. But at least BB and I are a little closer to knowing who we are, and who we are as a couple.

I was thinking about all this today because I wanted to go to the museum tonight with a reletive visiting from out of town. But the museum closes at 5pm and I work till 5pm. phooey.

real estate in my backyard

December 10th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

So during a slow period at work today I happened to check out to look at houses for sale in my city. Wouldnt you know I ran across the listing for 1 of the townhouses located directly behind me.

These are a set of 3 buildings- each divided in half to create a side by side townhouse. They were built to look craftsman, and finished being built in 2008.

Only 1 unit sold for around $330k- the rest didnt sell and are vacant. The builder went into foreclosure and not much activity has happened with them.

The unit I came across is listed for $178k. It has granite countertops/slate tiling/2400 sq ft/3 bd/2.5 bath and a garage.

It's a good deal. I know BB and I were interested in buying a rental property recently but ultimately didnt because of a cash shortgage. We have been saving to fix that- and have almost 3k saved. Not enough to buy a property but we are on our way.

My mind goes to it because it is such a good deal. But I dont think it would collect enough rent to cover the mortgage/insurance/taxes due to location. Mostly college kids or low income people rent around here and I dont think neither population has the means to cover inflated rent due to jacuzzi tubs and granite counters.

Of course BB and I could move into it and rent out our unit. It is located directly behind us. But leave the house?! I think it would take more than slate and modern conviences to get me out of my house. But in fantasy world I sure would love to have a garage, an upstaires balcony, a dishwasher! and to spread out in 2400 sq ft.

Oh that would be nice. But not nice enough. I love my house. I need to forget this townhouse- it is a great deal for someone else to buy.

Evaluating my 2009 goals

December 9th, 2009 at 02:40 pm

Well, 2009 is about finished for me too. I am thinking ahead to 2010 now.

I guess it is time to look at old goals- see how I measured up, then think about some new ones.

Well, 2009 goals:

1)Save ALL eBay income in 2009
-Nope. Didnt happen. Too many good deals to be found on ebay. I did manage to make alot more on ebay than I spent though.

2)Get a full time job
-YES! This started in June.

3)Begin saving rental income for eventual rental renovation.
-YES! I started this in July and have the money direct deposited into a savings account that I dont touch. I want to save up $30k for the CA reno and think I will need to continue saving through 2011 to meet my goal.

4)Buy a house with 20% down
-YES! I accomplished this! My favorite goal to achieve!

5)Build a $4k Emergency Fund
-Nope. I got to just over half that amount. I plan to revise and work on it some more next year. (The good news is that I didnt need to touch the emergency fund in 2009.)

6)Save 10k towards a back deck, backyard landscaping, and kitchen redo.
-Hahaha, Not even close. I saved up just over 10% of my goal. Another thing to achieve next year.

7)Save $2k toward new car for hubby.
-Nope. We saved nothing for a new BB car. It's on the agenda for next year.

8) Pay $50 month extra on the mortgage.
-Yes! We paid an extra $107 a month.

Looks like I accomplished 50% of my goals. I can live with that.

And then down below are my 2008 goals for 2010. I'll continue to have them in my list of goals- but I have some more I want to add.

On a side note: I noticed I "repeated" a 2008 goal. In 2009 I rescued ANOTHER dog and paid in full for him. No regrets!

Long term goals *start by 2010*
[ ]Live on one income/bank the other income
[ ]Start an IRA for Baseball boy
[ ] have 1 NSD a week

January 2013

December 8th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

This is the date we can break ground on our BIG house renovation and turn our starter home into our forever home.

BB has a secure job, and once you are in a coaching position- you are in- unless you really mess up. So I feel comfortable budgeting our income for the next few years based on his current income.

Based on BB's salary, mine and our other sources of income- I think we can save $48,800 by Jan 2013 (I saved $1200 in 2009).

We have not gotten formal estimates on prices but feel that $50k will get us about what we want to do.

We want to:
Enlarge our kitchen from the galley it is currently, back into the room next door where it was located when it was originally built.

Put a staircase inside connecting the upper and lower floors to return it back to a SFH rather than the duplex it is now.

Turn the top floor galley kitchen into a laundry room, and use the adjoining guest room to turn into a master closet/bath.

Repair the upstairs plaster walls.

It may come out to more than $50k but if it does we can see about using other resources to cover the difference. We dont want top of the line- middle of the line cabinets/appliances is what we have in mind.

The part that I wonder about is over improving for the neighborhood. We live in a low income area. Our next door neighbor purchased and remodeled his house during the height of the market and has $318k invested in the house. His house is the nicest in the neighborhood and maybe worth $250k. His finishes are about where we want to get our house when we do our renovation.

If this is indeed our forever house- then it shouldnt matter if we overimprove...right? Especially if we pay for the improvements in cash?

I guess I wonder which way the neighborhood is going. 3 yrs ago the city invested several million dollars into rehabbing our neighborhood. The town said its historical significance and it being an eyesore qualified it for huge grants. The area was resored beautifully. The victorian and craftsman houses belonging to families got fresh facelifts, and many people purchased rehabbed houses in the belief that the value would increase. The houses are all worth a lot more than the outlying houses that did not get fixed up- but the people in the fixed up houses are letting their houses deteriorate again.

Everyone in the area owns their house outright from generations where the house has been inherited, but that does not mean the residents have enough money to do the repairs needed. If a house goes up for sale in the area- it sells for a good price- but houses here dont go up for sale very often because the residents dont to want to leave the block that they grew up. Only 1 house in the area went up for sale over the year I have lived here. So it is not very often that a person/family moves into these houses with incomes that qualify them for loans on these houses and the subsequent idea that they have the financial ability to maintain the house.

I guess I have another 2 years to mull it over.

My poor accounting skills amaze even me

December 7th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

So I have been tracking my expenses for well over a year and just now discovered a mathematical error I have been recording every.single.month.

The good news is the error works in my favor. I save more money every month than I have been recording.

I track my daily expenses, and at the end of the month I get my list of daily expenditures, catagorize them into the general- fuel, fast food, clothes, ect catagories. Then I take out my checkbook and add in all checks I have written to the mortgage, utilities, CC...

Just this weekend I realized: If I buy a pair of $50 shoes on Dec 1st and pay for it on my CC- I am recording it as a Dec 1st $50 shoe purchase. Then when the CC bill comes at the end of the month I pay the $50 CC bill. And I track that I paid $50 to the CC company.

I have been recording two $50 purchases instead of one!

Every month for A YEAR I have been doing this. I went back and recalculated my December spending and rather than being in the red $837.00 as I previously thought I was- I actually was in the black an extra $13.00!

When I realized my mistake this weekend I pointed it out to BB who said : "Yeah I always knew something was screwy with your math because we have been living like misers and every month you moan and complain that we are overspending. I know we are living off only your income Gamecock, but you make pretty good money for how frugally we live."

I am actually embarressed that I have come to feel so capable and proud of my money saving efforts- and this basic law of accounting escaped me for a year. I have been so humbled.

BIG news for BB!!

December 3rd, 2009 at 12:40 pm

BB is the now an MLB minor league pitching coach! Last night he got his dream job!

Thanks everyone for their kind thoughts, this news totally made our year. I know he will be great at this job, and I know that his future is a bit more "set" from now on.

BB and I are both proud as peacocks. Last night he just kept repeating it over and over. He is amazed that someone had so much faith and respect for him to award him such a prestigious job. I am proud because his pitching coach in the minors had 12 years of big league playing experience. BB has none!

So onto bigger and better. Life in MLB as a player was like a rollercoaster with it's highs and lows. The "your only as good as your last performance" organizational attitude, the constant threat of being released, the constant being released/traded and relocating for a new team, the injuries, and the $1200 a month paychecks are all behind us now!!

Once he signs his contract (hopefully today), BB will have 1 years job security. He will have a solid entry level paycheck, and no one can take that away from him!

So onto a new adventure to see what life is like in the MLB from a coaches perspective. BB is about to get a whole new education I bet.

BB is SO close!

December 1st, 2009 at 03:20 pm

Keep BB in everyones thoughts- he is 1 of 3 finalists for an MLB pitching coach job! He will know what the organization decides on Friday.