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3rd times the charm

October 23rd, 2019 at 03:35 pm

So the house went back on the market on 10/11 and we ended up with one really low ball offer which we countered up and then a second one a day later so we could call for highest and best which resulted in a purchase agreement. We expect the close date first week in December. It's not as good as the first one and frankly, I forget the amount of the second one. I just really hope this one goes through. I'm going to be holding my breath until it's finalized. I really do want to get back to a place where we don't worry too much.

We have just a couple of things left in the house and the garage to empty, perhaps 3-4 loads.

I'm really looking forward to a month of just one house so we have an idea of what our normal expenses will be. I tend to take the income subtract all the fixed expenses and then the rest gets put back to savings.

My spouse is heading to Indiana for a week to lay eyes on her brother. I'll be on my own which is rare but it will be good.

We're also still in the game, we have not turned on our heat yet. We're in the same state as CeeJay!

And we're back

October 11th, 2019 at 09:18 am

UGH, bummer with the loss of posts. I lost all of our trials and tribulations on getting ready to move. We moved in our new place and our old place is back on the market. To recap: first buyer signed agreement, "inspected it" and we discovered a little bit of mold and repair that needed to be done. Apparently, the first buyer didn't actually have a real inspector go through it. She canceled after the mold but we cleaned it up and put it back on the market. Second offer, inspection and a couple of repairs. We were about 18 days from the sale and the second buyer canceled. ARGH!! We do get to keep the earnest money and it's back on the market but in the midwest, we're past the busy season. We need this to go in the next couple of months. We have a bridge loan that is interest only but we have bills on both houses now. I'd really like to get this off our plates. We need to put the money back in our emergency funds and figure out what our monthly expenses will now be. Part of why I always had a healthy emergency fund was so that I could help in any trouble with my son and my spouse is concerned about her brother who just ran into some life altering health issues. Feel like we're just holding our breath. Good thoughts are welcomed.

Glad to see this back up, I would miss you all.

Townhouse sold

June 4th, 2018 at 02:12 pm

We sold the townhouse, after closing costs we received a check for over 108k which is pretty good since I bought it for 35k in 2012. I used a chunk to pay off the mortgage on the house we're now living in and will use some to buy my sisters out of the family cabin(they both want to sell). I've got it currently in Ally bank because that online savings account has the best interest annual interest rate at 1.6%. Anyone know any better rate to keep it liquid in? The rest will be used to do some things around the house. I feel pretty good about it. I'm now completely debt free at age 48.

Our family is a single income family right now and our plan is to begin the process for foster care licensing.

While I don't care to live where I do because it's so conservative and rural, the house is paid for and if we lived closer to the metro area, we'd have a higher housing expense. We will plan to live in our current location for at least two years to avoid capital gains. It's been hard to return to where I lived because of the isolation I feel. We just returned from a nice two week road trip to see some of the National Parks. Roosevelt, Estes Park, Arches, Canyonlands and hiked Bear Butte. It has me dreaming about purchasing some kind of campervan or simply a van for future road trips. We spent more on hotels than I'd like because camping wasn't has comfortable as it has been when we were younger.

I've also been dreaming of living abroad for a few years....but I'm not sure what country I would want to live in that is affordable. I guess I feel like I'm trying to position myself for future.


September 25th, 2017 at 02:26 pm

Partner and I got married almost 3 weeks ago. My gift to her was our honeymoon and we decided to head to FL for a short cruise (neither one of us has been on one before)and a few nights at an expensive South Miami Beach ocean front balcony room. Except, I'm guessing you know what happened a few weeks ago. Hurricane Irma had other plans. I'm grateful that I had travel insurance(third party tripinsurance.com) which was nice security for me but it turned out that because of the hurricane everything was reimbursed or replaced. The only think I'm waiting for is the cruise to reimburse like they said...within three weeks which is some time this week. The airline indicated on their website that they would change flights up to a 300 round trip without additional charges except that would only take us to Orlando and I was a bit worried about that so we called them. Using the automatic call back instead of waiting on hold, they finally called us back within 45 minutes of our wedding and we decided to go to Phoenix and rent a car to head to Sedona. It was a lovely time and nice enough to replace our beach honeymoon.

As far as our wedding, we held it in a mansion library and it was small, just 20 family and friends(my son and his GF flew back from WA for it). We left for our honeymoon the very next day and was back to enjoy a picnic reception. It was exactly the way we wanted it. I found a eyelet lace dress at a thrift store for $20 and scarf to match at a super discount and it was good. We haven't totaled what we spent but I don't think it was more than $2000 for everything. Our goal is to live lightly so that we can have more adventures.

I'm still hoping to have my house paid off by 8/2019 but the current renter has put in her notice. I'm thinking of switching management companies. RW waited a week to respond to my questions about what to do with the tenant who is leaving...that's really slow but they sure figure out a way to be really responsive about working with me to put someone new in, I think I was contacted by two people to do that. I also haven't heard back yet about the "random" inspection.

I'm still reading even when I rarely post.

It's the little things

January 10th, 2017 at 02:08 pm

So I've added Ibotta and more recently checkout51 to my phone. What other little things do you do to help save money?

My biggest money maker this year was my refund from the costco credit card. Bigger than I've ever had from am express.

It's been a while

January 10th, 2017 at 02:02 pm

New year brings thoughts of all sorts of re-inventing one's life, new opportunities and etc. I've continued to read everyone even if I haven't posted. I'm a lurker for sure! Here's my catch up...

In July, my partner and I moved in together. The townhouse is paid off and the space is small but we've made it work. I only wish that I had a two car garage not a single. Had we been a bit quicker in going through our stuff, I was hoping to be able to keep my truck(which was originally my father's) in the garage in the winter but we still have too many boxes to go through. This state has a terrible winter.

She's an artist and needed private studio space so she got the small bedroom and it's her dressing room. The large bedroom is my office and dressing room + our den/guest room/library. Our bedroom is a very nice murphy bed in the living room.

Our housing expenses are less than $200 a month each.

I still have my house in another town which I'm renting out (third year with the same renters) and am paying at least double for each mortgage payment. I hope it have it paid off by August 2019 assuming there isn't any major expenses for me.

My son is expected to graduate from college after this semester and I've agreed to match his student loan payment each month. It's amazing to me that I could call the Department of Education's loan servicing folks and get his outstanding balance and etc on his loan. I was lucky enough to have my undergrad degree paid for by my grandparents and I'd like to see if I can help my son have as little student loans as possible.

Also if anyone remembers my last post, I did complete my sabbatical. Travel study to NZ some on my own to AUS. I also finished a second Masters. Graduated in May. In 2016 I also traveled to WA, FL, GA, MS for various different fun events.

I'm struggling trying to figure out what's next in my future. I'm so accustomed to being goal driven and at this point, I don't have anything I have to do. I can coast mostly.

Next week I'm going to meet with my financial planner, rate of return was good(10% I think) and I want to look further our...retirement, perhaps traveling in an RV.

It's so strange to be at this place in my life.

change of routine

August 17th, 2015 at 06:58 am

I'm coming back from a irregular summer with lots of fun and a little bit of work. I'm going to be working for this week and then I'm off of work. I'm going to be on sabbatical until late next spring, financially this means I'll be earning 80% of my wage.

This summer was wild, I had lots of fun and travels. It was wonderful and it was easy to go with the flow because I knew it was "the summer". Typically, fall comes and school starts and I have to slow down.

This fall is different, I'm going to be setting my own schedule and dictating my own list of things to do. I've got a lot on my schedule including going to the gym regularly, eating fresh and healthy food and working on some of my personal self improvement issues. I will also hopefully be finishing a 2nd degree which will also include study abroad. The plan is New Zealand for a month, 2 weeks through the school program and the rest on my own. Anyone have any connections to New Zealand? Tips and suggestions?

My biggest financial leap

July 31st, 2015 at 10:08 pm

I'm curious to know what your biggest financial leap may have been...

Here's my story:

I was 2/3rds the way through grad school, I didn't like the Executive Director at my current position and I was working full time + part time + part time grad school and was a single parent. It was a ragged schedule and it would take me another 2 1/2 years to complete my degree at my current pace but if I quit my job and went full time school, I could complete it in 6 months. I examined my budget, explored health insurance options for myself (child covered by other parent) and put together a plan. I shared this with the people in my life who I really trusted and valued their opinion. I asked them to review my plan and tell me why I shouldn't do it. No one had any objections and even offered me a loan if I needed it. So while it was scary, it was a very calculated risk.

It was very scary for me because I was a single parent who was responsible for my child and had a mortgage to pay. What if I couldn't find another job? What if there was a major medical problem? What if there was a major repair on the house? What if I finished my education but couldn't find a job in my field? Financial security has always represented choices for me. If I'm financial secure, then I can decided which jobs I will take or quit(like leaving the job where I didn't like the director).

It worked out perfect, better than I ever expected.

What financial leaps have you taken? Did they work out? Did you learn something new?

Learning to manage money

July 25th, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I grew up in a family where we didn't value stuff. It was more about valuing experiences and people more than keeping up with the Jones. Both of my parents were social workers and thinking of others was important but so was living the life we have chosen versus trying to be boastful or prideful. It would seem that our family was religious based on our judeo christian values but religion didn't come into our family until later(another story and only includes some of my family).

My parents gave us allowance and I often spent it as soon as I got it as a child, usually on sweets. My parents (or maybe my father specifically) really believed in children developing their own autonomy so as children we were able to make a lot of our own decisions. My mother didn't work until we were all in middle school so she kept expenses down by doing more (home cooked meals, gardening and etc) instead of buying more. When she went back to work, all the family pitched in for housework because her extra paycheck would allow us more luxuries. I don't know how they did it because I saw my late father's Social Security Statement for his income and it was never above 40k. This was very surprising.

I started my first job(waitressing) when I was about 16 and used tips for spending money and banked all my paychecks. I usually always had some money in a savings account. I lived at home until I finished my 2 year degree. Within 6 months of completing my 4 year degree, I was pregnant and married. We lived in low income housing for a couple of years and then with the help of my family, purchased a home. When my son was born, I expected to go back to work but when he showed up, I fell so absolutely in love with him, I couldn't. Daycare would effectively zero out my wages so it was more worthwhile to me, to learn to live on one income. Thankfully, Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette helped me through those lean years. It also helped that I could delay gratification very well. I learned how to stretch money based on watching my family but also being motivated(public library is your friend for research!) to stay home with my son when he was a baby.

Speaking of Amy Dacyczyn, I just came across this blog post about one of her now adult daughters about growing up her family. It's very interesting to see her perspective then and now. http://thefrugalshrink.blogspot.com/2013/05/dacyczyn-interviews-jamie-part-1.html

I do think I was very lucky to have already been ok with a lower cost lifestyle based on what I grew up with. We went camping, to the library and to free events at museums or in the parks with our picnic lunches instead of hotel vacations, cable tv, restaurant dining and the like.

How did you learn to manage your money?

Education with no (little debt)

July 21st, 2015 at 08:03 am

Thanks for the warm welcome from you all!

I saw a couple of questions about my education so I thought I'd do a post and answer them.

I was very fortunate that my maternal grandmother had an annuity that she received when her husband died that she was not aware of. She gave this to my mother (who was an only child) and it was invested when we were children (back when it was double digit interest for savings :-) ) This allowed my sisters (2) and I about $15k each for our education.

We all spent it differently. My older sister spent it within a couple of years at a private college. My younger sister spent it at a public state university with a little bit more help because it took her a little longer and the cost increased over time.

I attended a community college before I graduated high school through the PSEO (post secondary education options program). This can provide students up to 2 years of college education before a student graduates high school and it's all paid for! I completed the remaining credits at the community college to complete my associates degree which transferred whole to the state public university. I really love community colleges in the state where I live, they are cheaper, smaller class sizes and most of the faculty do really care about teaching (versus research like some universities). I ran out of my money just as I completed my undergrad degree. :-)

Almost 10 years later as a single parent working in a call center, I realized there was no way I could do that the rest of my life! They had tuition reimbursement and because I already had a 4 year degree, I had to pursue a graduate degree. Looking at my strengths (I'm very resourceful) and anticipated job openings (which were WRONG) I decided to pursue Library and Information Science. For my tuition reimbursement (90%!!) I focused on the Information Science aspects so that this would be covered. It was for two classes until my entire department was laid off. We were given 60 day notice and a nice severance package. I was able to find another job before my end date and pocketed the severance which was 3 weeks of pay for each year of service. They rounded me up! 15 weeks of pay into the bank! The job I found started the very next day after I ended my call center job and they also covered one of my classes at 50% (tuition reimbursement is your friend!~).

I'm going to post what the last 6 months of my degree was like another time if you're interested.

The challenge like Laura might know is that despite previous reports of so many older librarians retiring, technology and budgets have limited the number of jobs available. My state especially in the metro area is very competitive for jobs. After graduation, I worked a number of part time and temporary positions while searching for the elusive full time with benefits. I was willing to take just about anything and it still took me 3 1/2 years to find that permanent position. Thankfully, as a single parent I was lucky enough to keep working in my field. At one point, I was driving in two different directions an hour each way depending on the day of the week for up to three different jobs at a time.

I do confess that I did take a small student loan for my last semester of library school because I didn't want to drain my bank account while I wasn't working. I'll share more about that later.

I've been employed at my current position for 7 years and this fall I will be taking a sabbatical to finish my second masters degree in Educational Leadership. I'm able to take classes in the same educational system with free tuition, I just need to pay for books and fees. I always believe that you should take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. It also will bring me up to the highest level of education (credits counted not actual degrees, I don't have a PhD) in my position so my salary goes up to the highest column.

First post

July 16th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I've lurked here and read for years and now I think I'm finally going to start my own blog. I don't even remember how or when I started following these blogs. I live in the same state as Cee Jay, read CB in the City before she moved back and as a fellow librarian, read Laura before she got her job as a librarian.

A little about me: I'm an empty nested, single parent who's figuring out what the next part of life is like. My son is still in the process of launching, he's expecting to finish his undergrad degree next spring. Coincidentally, I will also be finishing my second master's degree then, perhaps we'll have a joint celebration.

I've been very fortunate to have learned to be pretty frugal and lived that way most of my life. I'm not sure how it happened (mostly through my parents' examples I'm sure) but I'm grateful. As a result of the values I grew up with, I am about to finish my second master's degree without student loans. Another value I grew up with was to work in a field of interest where we impact the world versus just to make money. Fortunately I've also been blessed with high standards and tenacity (one might call it stubbornness) so I can get things done. I have no debt and thanks to my father's tragic death (small inheritance and lawsuit), I'm a lot more flexible with money than I once was. With this blog, I'm looking forward to connecting with you all instead of just lurking.