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Archive for June, 2015

Vintage splurge and random updates

June 16th, 2015 at 07:02 pm

I finally got the photos of the 1960s table and chairs I splurged on to upload, so it's posted below. $500 well spent!

In other news, I got my last freelance check and I sent all of it to the IRA, so that's $390 closer to my goal.

The newspaper I work for was just sold to a huge media company. (It came out of nowhere). Of course, the new company has a reputation for gutting the papers they buy, so everyone is scared to death.

It seems a blessing that I let my weekly freelance gig go right before this happened, because I would not have wanted to deal with an extra layer of complication on top of the already ridiculous workload and tiny paycheck. I'm happy I'm not counting on that money, and that I did not commit to expensive summer childcare. Phew.

Still, I do write for other publications now owned by the new company, and now I'm wondering how this sale will impact the little bit of income I have left. Ugh.

This Friday is mortgage payment day. I always look forward to seeing the balance drop. Looks like we'll get below $31,000!

Garden, yard sale, so much has happened!

June 10th, 2015 at 03:52 pm

So much has happened since my last post. I'm just now getting caught up.

1. Yard sale!
First, I read that new organizing book, "The life-changing magic of tidying up." I didn't find it that compelling of a read, but reading it did make me want to clean up and clear out-- as in, significantly. I spent a week going through every closet, drawer, cabinet, bucket, etc, then we had a yard sale.

We actually made $200 and sold a bunch of stuff. The kids also made $40 selling old toys and $15 selling hot dogs and choco chip cookies. My friends came over and hung out with me, and we had fun. It was a success! At the end, I dropped everything at the goodwill--two full carloads, and I still have to make one or two more trips for odds and ends. Now I just have to put the house back together!

2. Gardens!

The garden is going gangbusters. Okay, at least the weeds and the lettuce are! We harvested at least 6 large gallon-plastic bag sizes of lettuce, 9 quarts of strawberries, and two heads of broccoli. (which is weird. We didn't get broccoli until July last year).

I'm mostly growing weeds at this point, though. My mom was gracious enough to work the weedwacker between the garden paths while I forked out this particularly voracious weed that seems to be taking over some of my beds. I don't know what it is. It's very spiky and has a root like a carrot, and some seeds must have blown in from somewhere last year because I'm up to my eyeballs in them and they are terrible!

So, I forked those out by the roots, everywhere they would hold still.

3. Friends/ Hurricane Katrina
We visited out of town friends over Memorial Day. They have major financial problems, and when we were off on our own (me with the other mom, DH with the fellow), they lamented about their issues to each of us. It's tough.

We're all from New Orleans. Their condo flooded during Katrina. The condo paid a contractor to fix it. Contractor left with the insurance money, after doing no work. short story: Disaster. Anyway, they had to take out a HELOC to do the hurricane repairs. Then, five years ago, they moved up north for work. They can't sell the condo. Even when renting it, they were losing $500 a month on it. They tried a short sale, no one bought it. Tried a loan modification, but the bank wouldn't do it. Now, they're letting it go into foreclosure. It's a heartbreak.

I straight out asked them if they would finally be in better financial shape once that condo is gone, and they said no. It shocked me. Hubby is convinced they'd need to make 30 percent more just to make ends meet. They already make about $140k a year.

The wife is in tears. The hub spends money. Lots of money. Toys, collectibles, DVDs, video games, iPhones, iPads, he has to have it all. He's been like that forever, the entire 15 plus years I've known him. They just don't see where they can cut. Of course, I walk in and can think immediately where they could cut: all the prepacked junk food, sodas, gatorades, ipad data plans, cable TV, etc. But they just "can't live without it."

Plus, they have CC debt. Things they've been paying on for more than a decade. I can't imagine still paying off things I bought 10 years ago. !

Ugh. I just don't think they have the motivation to cut where they need to to right their financial ship. So, The wife asked me for my advice, but I'm not sure I could give any they'd want to take.

4. Our life
In our life, things are trucking along financially. Last week, one of my vintage dreams came true. I FINALLY found the 1960s tulip table and chair set I've dreamed of for my dining room, and have been searching for at estate sales for years. And it was $500, about a third of what I expected to spend on it.

It was on craigslist, and the lady still had it, so I decided to go for it. Now that it's here, I don't regret it. I'm so happy. But I admit I did feel really bad spending the money. It's working out, though.

I've also started writing down every penny we spend each week. I was feeling a little out of control, like I just didn't know where the money was going, and this is helping. Hopefully in a month or two I'll have a better idea of if and where we can cut or rejigger things because we're spending too much.

And, as per your request, here is the table. The chairs are pulled away because I'm cleaning everything!