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Archive for June, 2010

Square 1, here I come

June 24th, 2010 at 08:37 pm

Hubby informed me last night that we are giving $5,000 to his best friend, who needs help to save his house. I get why he wants to do it. They've been friends since age 14, this guy has no family he can turn to, and he is always helping other people out. That said, he's been in way over his head with this house since he bought it. He alwasy had some weird loan situation working and thought he could refinance his way out of a mess. We all know times have changed. His house is in San Francisco, he's put 110k into a renovation.

He needs the money to pay $3800 in property taxes and $1200 to finish off the last little projects. He plans to either sell it or refinance in the next 90 days, assuming it's all done. He says he'll pay us back then.(I'm doubtful. He's assuming he's able to refinance, or that he can make money if he sells it. Both are dubious)

I know it took a lot for him to even ask us. hubby says we should make pay back a non issue. Basically, it's a gift. So, the money has been wired.

I'm not happy about this. That money was our downpayment for a new car, which we need desperately. We have no safe, reliable car to transport our kids.

Plus, we always end up bailing out friends and family who manage their money poorly or with the idea that somehow it will magically all work out okay some day. We are fairly conservative. Saving, no debt, etc. Trying to build up funds to hedge against the unexpected. In reality, that's just made us the people that magically DO make things okay for the people who didn't plan. Ergo, we aren't getting ahead.

This will knock me back 5,000 more on my savings goal for the year, so basically, I'm right back where I was Jan. 1, after 6 months of scrimping. I scrimp. What can't everyone else?

I'm getting really tired of being the bank.

Online yard sale challenge

June 24th, 2010 at 01:57 pm

I've decided to have an online yard sale this year. I have a list of about 20 items that I am selling on Craigslist, etsy, as well as a lot of small items I plan to donate or freecycle. This is part of my serious decluttering kick. De-clutter til it hurts!

so far, I've sold two items and made $35. I have realized already people will pay more for something on craigslist than they would pay for the same item at an actual yard sale. I have sold another item today for $10, and they plan to pick up today.

All of the money is going to the $20 challenge and to the tiki bar fund, which has been on life support since I cleared it out to pay off my student loan last year (a decision I do not regret, as I no longer have a payment and interest on savings has bottomed out at 1 percent).

Last year, I had a yard sale that failed miserably. We sold a lot, but didn't make a lot of money, and it was a lot of work. We did get rid of a lot of things, but not enough to make it worth it again.

Online yard sale, and peddling backwards

June 7th, 2010 at 01:10 am

Well, hubby donated a bunch of the items I had set aside for the yard sale. I don't really have enough left to make it a real attention-getting stop-the-car and get out sale now, so I have resorted to plan B. I am donating the little items, and I am putting the rest on craigslist.

I did one sale to test the waters and walked away with $20 for one headboard. Not bad! I made my second sale today-- $15 for my son's portable baby swing. I think I like the online thing. It's slow, but you get more for each item individually than you would at a real yard sale.

And, of course, the house is finally getting cleared out, albeit slowly.

***

In other news, we are completely peddling backwards on our saving account. We had a lot of expenses this month: our new patio, the swing set for the boys, and a weekend trip to New Orleans (without kids) that hubby and I really needed. Oh, and the property tax bill is due. So, we took about $3000 out of savings to cover all of it. It makes me sick to do that, but it seems to go that way. We're great at saving, but when we spend, we do it all at once and end up pulling out of the savings account.

That said, I am enjoying my new patio. I'm sitting there now, drinking tea. Love it. And, the boys and all of their toddler friends L-O-V-E love the swing set. It's been a baby party here at least once a week, and that makes me really happy. Good for the beans, and good for us parents to have adults to talk to.

***
Now that we have spent basically all of our home improvement budget for the year, we've decided that the rest of the year is dedicated to decluttering, organizing, and simplifying. We realize that less stuff will make us happier. We are always tripping over something and we can never ever find what we are looking for. Never. It's very frustrating.

I know we have a lot of mess because we have two kids under two, but still. It's infuriating to never be able to fins a screwdriver or a AA battery when you need one, and with two kids following you, it's even more frustrating not to be able to do things efficiently.

Part of our declutter strategy is the online yard sale and donating. I want to declutter until it hurts. If it isn't useful or really meaningful, it's out. More stuff does not make you happier.

I want life to function smoothly, and for that to happen we need to have less stuff to sort through and everything that is left has to have a place.

Do you know I've lived in this house 4 years and we don't have a dedicated place for the vacuum? How sad is that. It just kind of lives in the last room it was used in, and it's always in the way.

After we get rid of more things, I am going to research some closet/ organization ideas so we can finally find a home for our vacuum and all of our sports/ski equipment. I feel like the disorganization is out of hand.

When it was just the two of us, we could skate by, but now that we have kids, we have to control the chaos. I don't want them to grow up never being able to find anything!