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Archive for May, 2010

Paying for big house projects: I'm rationalizing

May 14th, 2010 at 05:17 pm

Well, I had to bite the bullet and take some money out of savings. We're still doing well on our 2010 savings goal, but this will slow progress a bit.

I decided to just go for it and take out about $2400 for our new backyard patio. It was either that, or wait three or four months until we could pay for it out of cash flow. By then it will be fall and we will have missed out on another summer with a nice big backyard patio. And, I wouldn't have a safe, car-free and worry-free place for my 2 year old to ride his tricycle. After some thought, we just decided it was worth getting it done now.

We're just tired of waiting. We have lived here 4 years and spent the first three doing all the unfun but necessary things to the house. New roof, new furnace, new windows, etc. to the tune of about $30,000 (total). We're finally getting to the more tangible, quality of life things on the list.

$2400 out of savings for a patio we can enjoy that we will buy eventually seemed like a reasonable move.

We are also buying the boys a wooden swing set this weekend. I have shopped around for MONTHS!! There are so many combinations and levels of quality that it is overwhelming. I was not going to pay $1000 or more, but I didn't want a $300 one that wouldn't last, either.

I finally decided on the Hawk's Nest model from Home Depot. It will cost a little less than $600 when all is said and done. I am going to pick up the slide and kit tonight (about $500 total), and we are borrowing a friend's truck to get the lumber next week. (About $80 for lumber) On Sat. the 22, we're having a swing set raising party, and some people are coming over to help us do the structural beam parts.

The patio and the swingset are the last of the big projects for the year. Okay, one left: $850 to redo our electrical box, but that's no fun!

And, I do still have to lay some landscape fabric, put out a ton of mulch, and maybe buy some landscape stones, but I can easily do all of that as we have extra money. These, individually won't cost so much that they qualify as a big project.

Once the patio and swing set are in we will have pretty much blown our $10,000 home improvement budget for the year. The kitchen cost $6200, $2680 for the patio, and about $600 for the swing set. That's about $9500. Add in the new electrical box and we'll be just over the limit for the year. Oh well, it could be worse! We could be way over budget!

Yard Sale: to have or not to have one

May 13th, 2010 at 06:51 pm

I'm debating having a yard sale again this year. I have a lot of things I'd like to get rid of, and I could donate them, but it would be nice to have a little bit of money for them.

I had a yard sale last year and it tanked. Wasn't worth the time and the energy. But, I also didn't have it during the community yard sale weekend, so I missed out on all the free advertising and the critical mass of neighborhood sales.

I'm debating have a yard sale for one day this year, DURING the community yard sale, just to see if I can unload some things. I have a ton of baby stuff, a patio table and chairs, and a lot of odds and ends. I guess I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to price and put out everything. Everything that doesn't sell would be donated. I want every thing out of the house!

Considering preschool/summer camp

May 6th, 2010 at 04:46 am

Bean is a little older than 2 now. He's incredibly active and energetic. It's a challenge to keep up with him and to keep him entertained every day. Hubby and I are now considering two-day a week/summer camp then preschool at our local community center. They have a good program. It's $220 a month for preschool and $86 a week for summer camp. (Same thing, just more $ in summer, plus swim lessons on the agenda).

I'm considering it seriously because I feel like I'm not able to give him all the things he needs at home with me. He loves other kids and there are none around us. He needs constant running, jumping and playing, and I can't do more than an hour or so at the park due to his 5 month old brother, and my exhaustion. And I'm so stretched to my limits and tired, I'm not always good at coming up with ideas for activities or crafts or ABCs or anything.

A couple of days a week of art,music, playing, swimming, and learning with other kids might be just what he needs.

Any thoughts?

$1600 for new patio?

May 4th, 2010 at 04:06 am

I got my first bid for the new 25 ft by 13 ft concrete patio extension we want to add to the back yard. It came in at $1600 to $2000. I think this is good, although I don't know. I've never had concrete work done before! I had budgeted $2000 to $3000 for the project, so who knows, it could be the first thing I've done this year that costs less than the estimate.

The patio is an extension of an existing patio, and will give us much more usable space in our backyard. We'll still have plenty of trees, grass and wild areas as well. It'll just be really nice to have more places to sit and a place for bean to safely ride his tricycle back and forth!