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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:44 pm 

Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 am
Posts: 132
That's a tough situation.

Is it possible to rent or even rent it out as a vacation home (AirBnB & VRBO)?


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:22 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
Renting is a possibility if we can't sell. On to further house news...

J hasn't been working much and we've taken a few mid-week fishing trips. Of course, living in the high country, we discovered the closest lakes (20 min drive up the mountain behind the house)... are *still* frozen. I'm not into ice fishing, so that was a bust! Rivers are unfishable too right now, so we did more sightseeing than actual line wetting.

With extra days, we've also taken care of a few to-do items on the house list. Yesterday J decided to tackle regrouting the master bathtub. I figured he'd just remove the old and squirt in the new. Lots of banging. I go look and he has been trying to remove the rails for the sliding doors. You won't be shocked to hear that he cracked the tub while attempting this. Cue to me quietly leaving the room to go suck my thumb and rock a little. Then! Later in the evening I realize the small puddle on the bathroom floor that I keep blaming the cat for... keeps reappearing. The light bulb comes on that the darn cat cannot puke that often. It's water seeping up from the floor through our ugly peel and stick tiles. Back to the closet I go for more therapeutic thumb sucking.

I'm still waiting for a plumber to call me back.

Now, I've hated this bathroom from the moment we moved in. It's one of those things where you walk through and vow to fix and replace. First though, I wanted to pay off the CC's, the vehicle loans, and save up and EF and then some for home improvement - be financially responsible. So a few years pass with me thinking every day: I hate this ugly old shower, the icky doors, the way too large vanity in the teeny skinny bathroom, the dirt-brown cheap 'tile' floor, etc.

Now. Now though. Now I have to bite the bullet and call a plumber. Probably tear up my ugly floor, certainly tear out my ugly shower. Unexpected renovation at a really inopportune time. Ack! The second most dreaded downside to home ownership! I'm trying to buck up and look to the positives: I have an EF to tap, and I may at the end of this get to walk into a bathroom I don't hate, it may help us sell the house. But I am bummed. I've been holding steady on our finances and occasionally even moving forward, and this will most definitely be a step back. I don't like stepping back!!


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
Leak is fixed at what I considered to be a reasonable plumber rate! Happiness is a dry floor. Of course we need to read up a little on DIY drywall repair since we now have a hole in our bedroom wall... But I told J we were sucking up and fitting this repair into our monthly budget, and we are. Tub situation still needs to be addressed, so I'm going to try to sell some furniture this week to offset the expense.

For my own geeky amusement, I've been keeping track of my grocery receipts to see where we are spending the most. I always have trouble following others food budget categories since I just lump all food and household in one category, so I broke it out. I did do some stocking up on meat and oddball stuff at the beginning of the month, so I'll have to keep at this for awhile to get a good average, but my biggest food category was *fruits and veggies*. Not meat, which I read is the thing to cut back on to save money and stretch meals. Veggies. :o Full disclosure though - the next biggest category was snacks. We don't even eat that many snacks - or so I thought!

I may need to rethink whether I really *need* the yummy expensive red bell pepper instead of the green one. If nothing else, it helps me be more conscious of our spending habits. And our eating habits, lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:25 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:16 am
Posts: 26
Do not sacrifice healthy eating to pinch a few pennies. Stick with the fresh fruits and vegetables. Money is useless if you have poor health.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:37 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
That was a tongue in cheek comment. I'm quite happy to have veggies be my biggest grocery category and now that summer is finally here - it'll be even more. Yay summer! Can't wait for the farm markets to get going. :D

J will be a little sad about the impending snack crackdown though.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:57 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
If it makes you feel any better, we also spend a lot on groceries. One month I broke down how much we spent in various categories. Below are the percentage amounts. I even made a cool pie chart.
Fruits and veggies were our largest grocery expenses as well. While produce was #1, beer/wine was #2 :oops
We keep saying we are going to switch to the cheaper beer but don't get around to it.

produce 23
beer/wine 16
staple 12
milk dairy 11.5
meat 9.1
nonfood 5
cereal 3.8
canned 3.6
snack 3.2
coffee tea 3
dessert 2.8
water/soda 2.3
bread 2


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5402
Wende wrote:
Of course we need to read up a little on DIY drywall repair since we now have a hole in our bedroom wall...


Drywall repair is extremely cheap and easy!


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5402
partgypsy1 wrote:
If it makes you feel any better, we also spend a lot on groceries. One month I broke down how much we spent in various categories. Below are the percentage amounts. I even made a cool pie chart.
Fruits and veggies were our largest grocery expenses as well. While produce was #1, beer/wine was #2 :oops
We keep saying we are going to switch to the cheaper beer but don't get around to it.

produce 23
beer/wine 16
staple 12
milk dairy 11.5
meat 9.1
nonfood 5
cereal 3.8
canned 3.6
snack 3.2
coffee tea 3
dessert 2.8
water/soda 2.3
bread 2


Geez, only 16% on beer and wine? That's way too little!


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
At least you got the bathroom floor fixed, and yes, drywall isn't too bad. Get that spackle, shove it in the hole, get that gauze stuff and cover the hole. Then spackle all around it. The key is sanding. If you don't do a good job sanding, you're going to have a noticeable lump in your wall when you paint over it, so use a fine grit when you think it's almost even, and sand some more. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:13 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
I didn't include beverages in my grocery budget - I tuck that into my 'other' category in my budget, aka entertainment + random stuff we buy. I suspect that booze exceeds vegetables... another area I'm trying to cut. Ha! Nice to know I have company.

Thanks for the drywall encouragement. Fear of new household projects usually turns into 'Geez, why did I get so worked up over that?'. Although sometimes the project goes south and I'm left with 'Drat, I knew I should have called a professional'.

I *did* sell a bedroom set this week to start off my "new tub fund". A little sad and guilty to see it go since it was a family heirloom. Even if I didn't really care for it. Sorry Grandma. Guests are relegated to the floor now.

Unfortunately, this has left us with no dresser, since J sold our other one a few months ago. Part of our tub fund may go to finding a new dresser - let the bargain hunting begin!! Or maybe we'll get used to using a plastic tote for a dresser. I feel like I'm reverting back to my college years, lol. In fact, now that I think about it - I have a few leftover milk crates out in the shed. I used those for a dresser/bookcase for years. Anyone else?


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:20 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
June update:
Focus on Positives - I was able to replace what I borrowed from our emergency fund, and the EF is back to where it should be, I was able to pay the plumber and make up the deficit within my budget by scrimping a bit on food/gas/entertainment, and I put $300 in savings for bath remodel by selling stuff.

And on a personal note, some of my family lives in AZ and their house was spared from the fires. Homes less than a mile away weren't. They got to go back home after a week of evacuations. So, so sad to see many of my favorite old stomping grounds damaged (by all 3 AZ/NM fires), but very thankful my family and friends are safe.

Work hours were down for J in June, and unfortunately that trend looks to continue in July. And our medical bills crept up again this month and will next month too. I'm getting that sinking feeling we'll never catch up again on those pesky things... July would also be when some annual/semiannual vehicle expenses are due. So the challenge will be to really, really keep to budget this month, no cheatsies.

And J volunteered to try to sell the Harley this month. :shock: I am so listing it today along with some other furniture and stuff. Wish me luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Glad your family is safe, Wende.
I'm also glad you're selling the bike. A sad, unridden motorcycle is worst than a sad man. :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:32 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Well I get your situation, sounds like my husband and I though I am the primary breadwinner. My husband doesn't spend alot of money, but has this, don't worry, everything will work out attitude. He would prefer to work/earn less to have more personal time than vice versa. As he likes to say "I don't have a 5 year plan."

Realize that you ARE going through a stressful time because of job insecurity. So be kind to yourself and your husband during this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:11 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
Quote:
but has this, don't worry, everything will work out attitude. He would prefer to work/earn less to have more personal time than vice versa. As he likes to say "I don't have a 5 year plan."


You have nailed my husband. Or something like that :lol:

However, I am still plugging away at the 'work hard now to enjoy life more later' idea.

One of the conversations we had last week was about retirement and social security. I got a note from my insurance company reminding me that we won't be getting that helpful letter from the SSA anymore giving you a head's up on what dollar amount you can expect. This prompted the usual rant from J: I'm done working at 62. It doesn't pay to keep working until you're 70 to net a few extra bucks per month, and I want to *DO* stuff before I die.

I promptly trotted out the info that part of cutting back and getting your living expenses down is to be living within your means when you retire and your income (in theory) takes a dive. If J retires at 62, he might bring in $1000. So we need to get to a point where our expenses in 13 short years are $2000/month if that's all we rely on. Not easy. Sadly, these years where I thought we'd be plumping up the retirement funds... well, not currently happening.

So I was able to make the point that his golden years could have two different scenarios. One - he keeps pretending it will all magically work out and he'll be sitting in our single-wide twiddling his thumbs every day because we have no extra cash to *DO* things. Two - he works with me to cut expenses, save like the dickens and maybe even work longer... and he can get out of the house and travel or whatever he would like to do. Sadly, J had a perfect example to look back on. His father spent his retirement years in scenario one.

At any rate, it gave me a concrete example to prompt a realistic discussion about finance with my husband. Unfortunately I haven't made a dent yet with the idea that working a few more years could bring that monthly $ up enough to have a much better cushion in the monthly budget. We usually end these discussions with me throwing up my hands and wishing I had a crystal ball. It's hard to wrap your head around planning for *possibilities* when we really have no freaking idea what the next 15 years will look like.

July update: Good - We kept within budget. Not so good - no luck selling the Harley and J is back to waffling on getting rid of his beloved bike. Also not good - J is fairly certain he will get laid off from his job next month. Aside from the obvious financial hit, I don't think I can handle both of us being home every day. :lol: The man will need to go fishing a lot - I needs me some time to myself to keep my sanity!!

Luckily we still have a good EF cushion and still have room to tweak the budget. We can still live just fine right now. J makes a big sad face at the thought of tightening the belt even more, but we are very, very lucky and blessed comparatively.

Here's hoping August brings some positives!! Or at the very least, no more negatives...


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of J vs. W
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:55 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:46 am
Posts: 27
August was a long hot boring month around here. Although that's how August goes most years anyway, so I suppose overall it was... normal. Financially it went as predicted. We did ok at staying in budget. And J will continue to have health insurance for awhile. Unfortunately those are the only positives I can come up with.

The budget. Truthfully the only way we stayed on budget each week is because we saved a bunch on gas by not going anywhere and J not working. That made up for food/entertainment, which I still struggle with. I am getting better at 'food' but the other needs work. And we are about to get serious about 'other' because we just won't have the funds to fudge anymore.

J did get laid off from work this month. His boss didn't say he wanted to lay him off, but he had sold J's work truck and they were using J as a relief driver. Maybe one or two days a week. Maybe. And his supervisors would wonder out loud how the guys getting no hours were getting by... So J had a chat with the boss and essentially laid himself off. And since it's been just a little over a year since the last layoff, J's weekly unemployment benefit is much less than I expected. Ouch. The one good thing here is that his boss offered to keep him on the company insurance at no cost to us, and J will still be available as a relief driver in return. We cannot afford to pay my insurance though, so I will be dropped.

I looked into individual insurance and found one I think we can sort of afford. I've had individual insurance before with the same company, so I know what to expect. But - If they approve me, it will include those dastardly exclusion riders, and the conditions they exclude are the ones I need medication for. Expensive medication for really simple, easy to treat conditions. If I take these common medications for my mild conditions, I never need to be treated for anything serious and expensive. But I won't be able to afford the prescriptions on our current budget. No, no there is no generic equivalent - yet. (hurry up 2012!) Oh, the conundrum that is health insurance. I'm thinking lots of less polite things right now.

For the record, J thinks I shouldn't get any health insurance because of this, and because it's another bill. In his eyes, I will be paying just as much out of pocket plus the premiums. What are the chances something bad will happen?? Um, you tell me Mr. kidney stone and tried to cut my finger off this year. What could happen? Note that the insurance premium will cost less than the Harley payment does each month. Just sayin'.

So, I've stocked up on prescriptions under the old plan. I've stocked up on basic pantry items. We are working on projects around the house so I can list it to sell. And we are searching, searching for jobs for both of us now. I feel like a freaking poster child for the current economic crisis. And I don't like it.


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