On And on the Eighth Offer, We Got a House

@CMD+click I used to work for a commercial real estate broker who got into house flipping with her husband back in 2006/2007 because the commercial deals were drying up. She formed an LLC with her husband and son and took out a line of credit at her business bank. I think they used their own homes as collateral but I’m not sure. They were able to come in as cash buyers since they could just write a check on the line of credit and made very small payments while they worked on the properties and then repaid a portion of the line when they sold a property. At one point they were up to about half a dozen townhouses in the same development and a few condos across town. When the market crashed they weren’t able to sell all the properties and had to rent them out. I think they came pretty close to losing their house. Last I heard they were back in the flipping business.

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

Friday I decided to pick up Five Guys for dinner ($13.29 + $3 cash for the tip jar) and I bought tickets to take my niece to see Cinderella when it is in town next month ($164.65). Saturday I did not drop off my laundry since there was no parking at the laundromat, it’s in the car so I will take it after work. I did get gas ($23.82), groceries ($55.69, I picked up some frozen stuff that was on sale to try and cut down on unplanned eating out), a card for Dad ($6.49), a haircut ($17 with tip), and picked up a chicken sandwich for lunch ($4.74). I met my cousin and her friends at the trampoline park ($19.50 for two hours of jump time) and then we all went out to dinner ($11.67 for dinner and $6.92 for a second soup to go). I stopped at another grocery store on the way home to get cake mix and frosting since my regular store doesn’t have coconut pecan frosting ($14.28). The girl scouts weren’t at the grocery store so I will have to get cookies later. Sunday I made cakes, German chocolate for Dad and strawberry for me and my niece, I don’t like coconut and she doesn’t like chocolate. I picked up a gift card from AutoZone for Dad to use on his car restoration ($50) and spent the rest of the day at my parents. I spent $4.50 at the ice cream truck since my sister didn’t have any cash. We watched part of the game, I think dad watched it all but I left to take Grandma home after halftime. Total spent: $395.55 Total estimated: $180 or less. I would have just made it if I hadn’t gotten the theater tickets or the gift card but I don’t regret either of those.

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 11:39 am 0

On Friday Estimate

Tonight I am planning to stay in and enjoy the rain. Tomorrow I am running a bunch of errands - I need to get gas ($25), take in the laundry I didn’t do last week ($15), pick up some groceries ($25) and Girl Scout cookies ($40? How much do the cookies cost this year?), get my hair cut ($20), and get a card for my dad’s birthday($5) - and then I am going to an indoor trampoline park for my cousin’s birthday, about $20 for two hours of jumping time, and probably to dinner after, $15-$30 depending on where we go. Sunday I am baking a cake and going over to my parents’ house for Dad’s birthday. Dad never told me what he wanted so his gift is an IOU for something he needs for his car restoration project. Total should be $180 or less

Posted on January 30, 2015 at 12:14 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

Friday I picked up lunch ($16.57)but didn’t make it the pet store. Fortunately they had enough kibble left for dinner and breakfast on Saturday. Saturday I spent about three hours setting up Grandma’s computer and Kindle and trying to install her printer. We eventually gave up on the printer and went out for a late lunch. I had planned to pay but Grandma insisted. Every few months she gets frustrated that no one will let her pay for things anymore. I picked up the dog food and a jug of kitty litter ($55.81) on the way home but skipped the grocery store. Sunday I slept in and went to the grocery store later than I had planned. I stopped for lunch at Chipotle ($11.97) on the way and then spent $126.46 at Trader Joes. About $25 of that was wine and ingredients for tonight and the rest was the result of being out of everything and not making a list. To make up for it I am going to bring lunch to work this week. I didn’t take in my laundry and I hardly did anything around the house. I need to work out a better system of motivating myself to do things. Total estimated: Somewhere between $150 and $185 and a lot of cleaning time Total spent: $210.81 with almost no cleaning time

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm 0

On Friday Estimate

I need to pick up something for lunch and a bag of dog food today on my break - $50 for the dog food, $15 for lunch and leftovers for dinner. Tomorrow I need to go to the grocery store, I never did make it this week and am out of everything now. I also need to get ingredients for a tapas dish for a dinner party I am going to on Monday. I have no idea what I am making but will estimate $75 for my groceries and the ingredients. If my grandma is feeling better I will stop by and finish setting up her computer and Kindle, I might try to take her out to lunch but she’s been sick all week so I don’t know if she’ll be up to it. $30 if we go to lunch, otherwise I will just get a coffee for $5. The rest of Saturday and Sunday I need to spend putting my house back together. I keep telling myself I am going to get it done each weekend and then I don’t finish it. Everything has been in disarray since before the holiday’s (the worst time to start completely reorganizing a house) and I can’t deal with it anymore. I will drop off my laundry so that’s one thing I don’t have to deal with. Probably $10-15. Total: Somewhere between $150 and $185 and a lot of cleaning time.

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 11:56 am 0

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

I moved in with my Grandma for a year and a half when I was 18 since she lived close to the state university I was attending. I was informed that this was going to happen when my mom saw me looking over the dorm options. Mom gave Grandma some money for that each month, I don’t know how much but it was more an excuse to get Grandma to accept some money rather than helping me out. My dad took a small loan from his boss to buy me a ten-year old car and a used computer for school. The boss went out of business about six months later and forgave the loan. So thanks, Dad and Bob! I left school extremely depressed and moved to an apartment by myself in a crappy complex across town. It was walking distance from my job. I lived there for a year and then moved back to my parents’ house and lived there rent free for the next 8 years while I worked an assortment of low paying jobs and attended community college off and on. I paid for my own groceries and most of the household supplies and did all the housekeeping. At the time my dad was on the road a lot as a cross-country truck driver so it was mostly me and Mom. Nothing about this situation helped with the depression. When I was 25 I got a full-time admin job through a friend of my mom’s and started saving money to move out and buy a better car. When I was 28 I moved into the apartment I still live in. My mom paid the pet deposits, I had a cat and two dogs but one of the dogs was my dad’s and the other she adopted from a co-worker of hers because she felt sorry for them. She doesn’t actually like animals and told me to take them with me when I moved out. She also gave me some money each month towards pet expenses until Dad lost his job about six months later. In the two years before I moved out she spent a couple thousand on vet bills for the dog we got from her co-worker. Now I am at the same company in a non-admin position I occasionally give my dad money. Usually he asks if he can borrow $20 or order something for him when he doesn’t want to argue with my mom about taking money out of the bank. He always says he’ll pay me back and then doesn’t. It’s probably about $150 a year so I don’t worry about it. A little more than two years ago I changed my cell plan to a family plan and added both my parents and my Grandma. Mom pays about half of it. My mom has a lot of control issues that are mitigated by not living with her. Dad would love it if I moved back in. It’s weird but it takes a lot for me to ask my mom for financial help even now. A couple of years ago my credit card put a freeze on my account while I was traveling for work and I couldn’t check into my hotel. I sat in the courtyard for about 20 minutes wondering if it was worth sleeping in my rental car for a night before I called and asked my mom to loan my $100 for one night until I got paid so I could check in because a part of me feels like any sort of weakness, especially about money, is going to be held up as an example of my failure. Dad’s on a VA disability pension and Social Security now. Mom still works and makes about half what I do. Dad probably isn’t going to make it until she retires. Their house is paid off and I think she will stay there for a few years past retirement and then sell it and move to a retirement community. She always says that she isn’t going to avoid asking me and my sister for help like her mother does and her grandmother did and I don’t have a problem helping out financially but we are never going to live under the same roof again. Wow, that was long. Money and family issues are fun!

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 6:53 pm 3

On Monday Check-in

Friday night went as planned. Dinner for Grandma’s birthday and my cousin gave me $40 towards the Kindle I ordered back in November. Grandma wasn’t up to me coming over to set up the Kindle or going out to lunch so I stayed in all weekend. I watched Jurassic Park 3 and did a couple sinkfulls of hand washing. I also cleaned out my overstuffed hall closet and learned I have a tendency to not throw away the plastic tp wrapper when I buy a new pack. Netflix and Emily Books both charged my credit card ($8.65 & $13.99) – I didn’t estimate those since they are part of my regular budget and I forgot they were coming out this weekend. I also ordered an apothecary jar and a hall/mail organizer from West Elm for $69.85 total. I hadn’t planned for that either but it comes out of the house budget. I almost spent all the house money on a pair of bookcases with a drawer in the bottom but eventually convinced myself that I didn’t need them. I didn’t make it to the grocery store so that will happen this week sometime. Total spent: $92.49 but not on anything I estimated Total estimated: $105

Posted on January 19, 2015 at 11:46 am 0

On Friday Estimate

Tonight I am going to a family dinner for my grandma's birthday. I already got a card and a present so no cost tonight. My cousin might give me some cash towards the Kindle my sister and I got Grandma. Tomorrow I think I am going to the farmer's market ($25) but am not sure. I need to get regular groceries ($50) and might take my Grandma out to lunch depending on what she has planned ($30). Sunday I need to work on some stuff around the house and get new pillows at Target. No cost to me since I have a gift card from Christmas. Total: $105 if I go to lunch.

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 11:33 am 0

On How To Make Your 30s Work For You, Money-Wise

@MrDean Vanguard is a very good idea here. They also offer low cost muni bond mutual funds with short maturities and low expenses that are a good place to park short-term cash. Also, if you have a brokerage account like Schwab or Fidelity you can purchase CDs through the secondary market, often at a higher rate than what the bank is offering because you might be buying the last year or two of a longer term CD that someone is selling. And if you need to money unexpectedly you can sell it through the same market.

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

I didn’t estimate on Friday but I had a low-cost and reasonably productive weekend. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to but I am beginning to accept that I can’t finish my to-do list in one weekend without exhausting myself. Friday I was at work almost an hour later than I planned to be finishing up a report for my boss’s meeting this morning that now he thinks he doesn’t need. I picked up dinner on the way home ($5 for greasy goodness at Del Taco) and watch a week of The Daily Show I had DVR’d. Saturday I met my parents at a new farmers market down the street from my house. It was small but it was their first weekend. I hope it grows since it is close enough I could ride my bike if I got around to putting air in the tires. I spent $30 on produce, baked goods, kettle corn, and fancy dog treats. Then I went home and read and napped for the rest of the day. Sunday I stayed in and worked on organizing my office/storage room. I used the 45/15 system from unfuck your habitat and it worked pretty well even though I had trouble keeping the breaks to just 15 minutes. I started watching Pretty Little Liars while I was working since the episodes are about 45 minutes long and I thought it would be interesting without sucking me in so I forgot what I was doing. That had mixed results and I may just rewatch a sitcom or listen to music while I am working. I also ordered a copy of the Price of Salt from Amazon. It would have been $20 but I had points to redeem so it was free. And iTunes charged me $1.40 for a song I downloaded on Wednesday. Total $36.40

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 11:36 am 0