Cash is up.
Debt is up.
Investments are up.
Home value estimate is down.
I lent J $320 in cash while we are straightening out his banking situation. J started a new job a few weeks ago. It is a temporary full-time plus overtime job with UPS. He is making a good wage and is working long days in the bay area, so commuting as well. (UPS provides a shuttle bus at no charge to the temporary employees). He had to quit his 20 hour per week part-time job, but has kept his 20 hour per month part-time job. He will make more in 3 months at UPS than he would have made in a year at the part-time job he quit. So even if it takes him a little time to find his next job, he will be ahead.
Last summer, I went with him to my credit union to open a checking account for him. He did not order paper checks but was supposed to receive a debit card. He never has. (I never followed up with him to make sure he had it). All this time, he has been going to the credit union in person to deposit his paychecks and withdraw cash. Well, now that he is leaving the house by 4:30am and returning home about 10:30pm Monday through Friday, he cannot make it to the credit union during banking hours. They do not have any weekend hours.
Last week, he had 3 paychecks, one each from his 3 jobs. He asked me to deposit them for him (the credit union is very close to my office) and to see if they would allow me to cash one for him. I was sure they would not and told him so, but said I would ask. Then I asked why he doesn't just use an ATM to get some cash, and that is when I learned he has never received a card. Well, when I took his paychecks in, I asked how he can get a debit card. As usual, they were very unhelpful and insisted he will have to come in person and order another one. No, he cannot call. No, they cannot give the form to me to give to him. No, they cannot use the form he already signed when he opened his account. This is the thing about this credit union. The customer service is lacking. They do offer free checking accounts but so do a lot of other institutions, they pay no interest, and they never seem to have any convenient solutions when you need something.
So anyhow, I texted this info to J and then I suggested he needs an online bank checking account. There are so many of them out there now. I am helping him get that set up. Once he receives his debit card from his new online bank, he will repay the $320 he borrowed. It will probably be another week or two.
Cash is up.
I signed the contracts for my new roof and rain gutters. They will charge my MasterCard for my deposit of $950. It will be several months before the work actually begins.
I took a 10.5k draw on my Heloc, and was able to fix the rate at 4.24% for 3 years. The required minimum payments barely cover the interest. However, I believe I can pay the balance in full before the 3 years is up.
I'm home from Tahoe. We had perfect, beautiful weather. And I have 10 new pokemon! I have 122 now; I am really getting there. Not that you care, but now you know.
I have received a second estimate now. It was $9450 for the roof with no insulation, an additional $1300 including insulation. Also, $900 for new rain gutters.
The first estimate was $9500 including insulation; $1000 for new rain gutters.
Since my house was built, there is a new minimum standard for insulation in the attic. If you replace the roof, you must meet the new standard. The second roofer says there is an exception you can meet by choosing a light color shingle. That is why he quotes both with and without insulation.
A friend told me that since I am going from a wood shake roof to an asphalt shingle roof, I can expect my new roof to absorb more heat. In his opinion, it is a mistake to pass on the additional insulation.
So, I guess the first estimate was fair and this is just what it costs. It has been a lot of work getting these two estimates; I wouldn't mind getting a third but that requires getting a third roofer to return my calls.
SB said I should check with Costco. They do offer a lot of home improvement services. But I checked, they do not offer roofing.
I think I am going to hire the first company. The cost will be 10.5k. I will borrow that from my Heloc. Then I will attempt to cash flow the other work I want to have done this summer. Mainly concrete and tree removal, the rest I am fairly certain I can do myself, with a little help from SB. Once that is done and paid for, I can turn my efforts to paying down the Heloc.
At this point, I have put calls in to several more roofers. One just called back! I spoke with him at length, and he has promised to come by Monday, then email me a bid.
I am leaving Sunday for a week in Tahoe. I plan to read, color in my new adult coloring book with my new colored pencils and fine-tipped markers, cross-stitch, and just generally chilaxe. My kids are staying home; couldn't talk any of them into it.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $14.28. My new balance is $163,650.00.
Chips to date: $2,111.76
Interest savings this month: $7.90
Interest savings to date: $206.96
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,485.24, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
Yesterday I was blessed with an actual visit from an actual roofer, which ended with him handing me an actual estimate. I don't even know how to act now.
Unfortunately, the estimate is 9.5k, which is quite a bit more than the online estimator tool I used had calcuated. I don't know if it is a fair price or not. For an extra 1k, they will also install all new rain gutters.
I have contacted a third roofing company via e-mail. So we will see if they get back to me or not.
Yesterday while at my mother's, my little mutt Buster Brown chewed through a board in her fence and escaped. We looked for him, then called the police (my mother lives in a small town). The police officer had in fact received a call about my little Buster wandering freely in the neighborhood, had picked him up, and had taken him to the animal shelter. The animal shelter is closed until tomorrow. So Buster has been enjoying a vacation at the animal shelter. The PO assured me he had personally shown Buster into his cage, that he had a cushion to lie on, food, and water. I will have to pay for his board. Yay.
My niece's foster baby is in the hospital. I do not know the details. She has texted me a few times but her focus is not on keeping me informed. I do know he was taken by helicopter to UCSF children's hospital. I know he is receiving the best care possible and hope he will be enjoying good health soon.
I signed the documents for my HELOC from Wells Fargo today. The line is 30k. There were no closing costs. The annual fee is waived since I have a PMA checking account. The interest rate is variable. Currently, it is 6.75%. It can never be higher than 13.75%. There are several ways I can draw funds. The simplest is to log on and transfer from the HELOC to my checking (or savings, or Visa, or IRA I suppose).
The roofing company I contacted on Sept 7th promised to come out the next week to give me an estimate. Never heard from them. I e-mailed again on October 12th to see if they still plan to come out. To date, no response at all to my follow-up e-mail. So I have contacted a different roofing company. A man is supposed to be coming out Saturday to give me an estimate on a new roof and new rain gutters too. I guess if he shows up it will be a productive day.
This past weekend, I spent Saturday with my mom and attended the memorial service for my friend's uncle. Sunday I spent with my niece and her foster baby. We went for pedicures and did some shopping. That baby could not have been any better. I just love holding him and smelling his sweet baby smell.
SB needs to make some decisions regarding his acreage up in the mountains. We have been brainstorming ideas to get some income from the property. This will be good whether he decides to hang onto it or sell. If he does decide to sell, he will need to reinvest into some other commerical property. These aren't my decisions to make, still I am trying to help him make the best decisions possible.
Last Saturday, I went to a party thrown by my DFS3G (dear friend since 3rd grade) in honor of her parents' 50 year wedding anniversary, plus her father's 80th birthday. The party was held on their property (country people). They hired a band, had it catered, the whole 9 yards. Friends and family coming from all over were expected.
Just a few hours before guests were to arrive, the brother of my friend's mother, went to the barn to get a bale of hay. He did not return for what seemed like a long time, so friend's father went looking for him. He found him lying in the barn, dead. They assume it was a heart attack, but that is not certain at this point. The birthday/anniversary party turned into a wake of sorts. It was a sad day.
On Sunday, SB and I went to see the movie "The Accountant". I thought it was a very good movie. I haven't enjoyed a movie that much in quite a long time.
On Tuesday evening, SB, J, J's girlfriend A, and I met my niece and her husband for dinner. The restaurant is a favorite of niece's as they offer a buffet on Tuesday evenings with crab and shrimp. This is the couple who are doing foster care and wanting to adopt. They had a 2 month old baby with them they had just "received" on Saturday. (Is that what you call it when you bring home a new foster baby?) He is not eligible for adoption and they know that. He is so precious. I certainly enjoyed holding and smelling him.
After dinner, J and A told SB and I that they plan to get married in about a year. Wow. I had suspected this might be coming. J is still working 2 part-time jobs. A recently resigned her job at Home Depot to have a few weeks off before leaving for boot camp. She has enlisted in the Navy.
Last night SB and I met a girlfriend for dinner and a movie. We saw "Girl on the Train". It was almost as good as the book, which I read last year.
Also last night SB surprised me with concert tickets he bought only yesterday. The concert is tonight in Sacramento. Jimmy Buffett, who I have wanted to see forever.
So I have been busy and spending some money.
Well, I got home Sunday from the cruise. SB and I had a great time, and we caught some new Pokemon. It was nice to have time to re-connect as a couple with no other distractions.
The service for my cousin was very nice. He taught math at both a high school and community college in San Diego. The service was on his college campus and was attended by hundreds of colleagues and students. His mother especially was comforted that he had been so well liked, loved, and respected by those who knew him. Still, it is sad to say goodbye to someone so young. My cousin was not married but left behind a partner of 10 years. I had never met the partner before; he is a very nice man and is just devastated.
Seeing family I had not seen in many years was nice. Of course, this sort of thing makes you contemplate your own mortality. It is sobering to realize how many years it has been since you have seen cousin so-and-so; how quickly your life goes by.
This trip was a bit pricey. A group of my family were staying in a Marriott Suites hotel, so I stayed there too. I usually opt for more economical lodging, but I wanted to be where my family was. SB paid for the cruise, but the additional 3 nights of lodging is all on me. That is only right since it was my family and my desire to attend the service.
So my little CurveBall Fund at WF will be taking a hit. Otherwise, I would have to carry credit card debt and that does not appeal. I am not certain I will have 5k earmarked for a new roof this spring. I could maybe put it off another year, but I don't really want to do that. I am still not even certain 5k will do it. I used an online estimator tool which said my roof should cost 4k - 6k. More than a month ago, a local roofing company said they would be coming by to measure and then email me an estimate. I am still waiting for that. I emailed them again today.
I have applied for a HELOC at Wells Fargo. We will see what they say. I'm not certain I will need to borrow, but it doesn't cost anything to have the HELOC open and ready to go.
Well, I am off to my second job. This is my third night, and I may or may not need one more to finish up. The week I work at my second job in the evenings is always a long week.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $15.40. My new balance is $163,975.00.
Chips to date: $2,097.48
Interest savings this month: $7.82
Interest savings to date: $199.06
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,464.64, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
SB and I are leaving for our cruise today. We will drive to Bakersfield, spend the night, then drive to Long Beach in the morning. Our ship sails tomorrow afternoon.
When we return on Thursday, we are heading to San Diego and will stay until Sunday morning, then drive home.
The son of my first cousin passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday morning. He lived in San Diego and that is where his funeral will be a week from today.
He was getting ready for work and collapsed, never regaining consciousness. The coroner determined he died of a heart attack. He had just turned 40 in August. He exercised regularly and ate healthy; he was not the least bit overweight. He did not smoke or take any recreational drugs. He did not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or any symptoms whatsoever.
I am looking forward to the cruise and to seeing extended family. But my heart just breaks for my cousin and her husband.
Last weekend my family enjoyed a nice 3 day trip to Lake Tahoe (I took a vacation day). A client generously gave me the use of his vacation property as a "thank you". There were 7 of us: my daughter, my son-in-law, my son, my mother, my nephew, my SnugglyBumps, and myself. We had such a nice time, we are kicking around the idea of renting it for a week in November.
SB has a half-brother who was a dealer at Harrah's in Tahoe the last time SB spoke with him (about 15 years ago). One evening we all (except J, who is 20) went to the casinos and SB set off for Harrah's to see if the half-brother is still working there. It turned out, he is. AND, their father (whom SB had lost touch with more than 20 years ago) is living with him. In Tahoe.
On Sunday before we left, we went to the brother's house. SB saw his father, met his niece and grand-nephew for the first time. They were all very nice, and the father was very happy to see SB. The family resemblance is strong. I was so glad SB had the chance to re-connect with these relatives. I hope he sees more of them.
SB has booked us a cruise during the first week of October. If you count the days we embark and disembark, it is a 5 day cruise. Really just 3 full days and 4 nights. It will be just the two of us, so hopefully a bit romantic. I am taking 5 vacation days that week.
I am going to take a week off in either November or December, whether we go to Tahoe or not. Probably November.
There is talk of using my brother's time share at Christmas.
We have been taking day trips to San Francisco...to catch pokemon. Lol, it sounds so silly, but it really has been a great deal of fun. I am up to 102 unique pokemon now. And I do not even know how many miles I have walked, just to catch them.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month Wells Fargo Home Rewards Visa paid an additional $25.00 and I paid an additional $16.52. My new balance is $164,300.00.
Chips to date: $2,082.08
Interest savings this month: $7.73
Interest savings to date: $191.24
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,431.49, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
Income - one additional day's pay
Savings - fell short of my goal
Utilities - paid J's cell bill twice
Groceries - so close
Gasoline - buying gas for just me now; J is buying his own
Everything Else - This month I spent $340 at the dentist. A visit each for J and I, plus I had two cavities so I got two fillings. I paid the GP another $100 for J's office visit. His medical card was expired, even though he is still covered. I will submit a claim for partial reimbursement.
Well, I have earned $105.04 in credit card rewards from Ally. Choices to redeem are a deposit to my Ally account (with a 10% bonus) or a statement credit. I chose the statement credit, then afterwards received a message that I will receive the credit in 1 to 2 billing cycles. I should have taken the deposit, but I haven't had any money in Ally in a long time and I am not able to log on without calling them first, so I thought the statement credit would be simpler. I should have endured calling them and collected my extra $10.51.
So, I have to pay them $252 for my electric bill, then wait a month or two, and then...what? Pay my electric bill again I suppose, or maybe a medical bill.
SB and I have been kicking around the idea of taking a short cruise in the early fall. There are some 4 day cruises (they don't count the day you disembark, so 4 nights and 3 full days) which can be had for $334 per person, including port taxes. That would be a nice, although too short, break from everything. SB would be paying, so he has the final say.
I want to go Pokemon hunting in San Francisco, perhaps this coming weekend. I hear Golden Gate Park and Fisherman's Wharf offer prime Pokemon collection opportunities. I have just been having a ball with this Pokemon Go; it's amusing and a great incentive to get out and walk.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $17.72. My new balance is $164,650.00.
Chips to date: $2,040.56
Interest savings this month: $7.56
Interest savings to date: $183.51
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,355.41, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
I have to say, I think it is going very well using cash for groceries, gas, and my personal allowance. Categorizing my credit card transactions is a snap, even if I am using more than one rewards card.
I had a 10 work-day paycheck, so that left my income a little light. I also enjoyed a raise in July, so that helped.
I expect to go a little over on the mortgage, because I round up to enjoy having an even balance.
As I noted earlier, savings was anemic in July.
Did great on utilities. I am expecting my natural gas bill to drop soon, maybe one more month of paying $68. I currently have a credit balance. I am on balanced bill pay, so I have to keep paying $68 until they recalculate.
Have been doing great on groceries, which is all thanks to SB. He takes the time to visit different stores on his way home from work. He will stop at a grocery outlet and see what they have for cheap, then cook meals around that. He does an awesome job. He does most of the cooking, too. I really can't complain.
Everything else this month included my new phone (184.43), a trip to the dentist for J (85.00) as well as miscellaneous household. The phone was just a want, but everything else was necessary.
And now for the exciting news...J has started another part-time job! He is keeping his first one. This one will give him about 25 hours per week. He is very happy about the job. He will earn enough money to start saving for some things he wants as well as take over more of his own expenses. I'm so glad for him. MrsM180 helped him get his foot in the door. I always enjoy catching one of my kids being nice to the other.
And I won't lie, I'm excited about the positive impact to my own budget. I want to reach my goals.
Bill Fixers was able to reduce my internet bill by $13.96 per month. Not much, but something. I have to pay them half of it, so I am ahead $6.98 per month.
In other budget news, I cancelled my gym membership. A payment was due in July, and that is that. So, there is another $19.99 per month ahead.
I have added dvd service to my Netflix, and will probably keep that for a few months. Our list of movies we wanted to see which are disc only grew to the point it made sense to restart that service. I got the first month free, but afterwards will pay $12 per month.
So as you know, I recently switched to cash only for groceries, gas, and personal spending. Since I had previously used rewards cards for those things, in July I had to pay some of June's charges, plus pay as I go for July. (For budgeting purposes, I count spending when I make a charge, not when I pay it.) As it turns out, I am also parting with the cash for two electric bill payments in July*, which is further impeding my cash flow. It is a temporary bottleneck and will ease next month. However, July's savings account deposits are very anemic.
* My electric company bills me around the 5th or so, and I need to pay by the 20th or so. Usually, I use my Citi DoubleCash MasterCard to pay the electric company. The Citi billing cycle cuts off around the 6th of the month, so I typically charge the electric bill on the 10th. When I get paid on the 15th, I pay the charges which appear on Citi's statement from the 6th. In practice, I don't part with the cash for June's electric bill until July 15th. Which I have just done.
In the pursuit of credit card rewards, I have recently applied for and received the new Ally Visa. The sign-up offer is to spend $500 in the first 3 months and receive a $100 bonus. Since my electric bill is $252 per month, I decided to use it twice to pay my electric bill, thus I don't need to bother with it further. So, I used it this past July 10 to pay July's electric bill. And then the statement cycle closed, and I need to pay by August 12th. A bit inconvenient as that's 3 days before payday. So, I just paid it tonight. That $252 is coming out of my planned savings account transfer.
I will use the Ally card for August's electric bill and pay that in August too.
In September, I will go back to using Citi DoubleCash and won't need to pay that statement charge until October, thus picking up a bit of extra cash flow to throw into savings.
So there you have it. Other than that, just plugging along as usual here at Chez Petunia.
OK, I want Pokemon Go. There, I said it. I think it sounds super fun. Sort of like the game Zoo on Facebook, only you get a little exercise.
The app is free, but, it won't run on 4.3 or older. My Samsung Galaxy S3 is completely updated and 4.3. Some websites say you CAN get it to 4.4, but it requires rooting. SB says I should get someone I really trust to do that because if I do it wrong, it is buh-bye phone. I am not all that tech savvy.
So, do I really want to spend money on a new phone? No, not especially.
Tonight as I was leaving my part-time job, I walked out onto the sidewalk. A group of 4 young men, early 20s, wearing basketball shorts, t-shirts, and athletic shoes were just walking past. They all 4 had their phones out. I said "Are you playing Pokemon Go?" They reacted. Some smiled, some laughed, and one said "We are supposed to be playing basketball right now. But, this is more fun!" and we all shared a laugh.
MrsM180 is playing it. She showed me her Pokemon. She has given them all clever names and some of them are very cute. She was just the right age to be enthralled with all things Pokemon back in the 90s, so Go is highly nostalgic for her.
What to do, what to do.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $18.84. My new balance is $164,975.00.
Chips to date: $2,022.84
Interest savings this month: $7.47
Interest savings to date: $175.95
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,322.91, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
This month is a bit different in that I have credit card charges for gasoline and groceries, plus I withdrew cash at the end of the month for 2 weeks of gasoline and groceries.
Withdrawing cash for my personal allowance is not new, but I did decide to increase it beyond what I had originally budgeted.
Well, I made it through expense-topia! Last month’s big expenses are all paid, as well as my 6 month auto insurance premium. CurveBall has sure taken a beating. I didn’t “save” anything this month, opting instead to withdraw from savings as little as possible. Onward and upward.
It has gotten to be a little stressful to track all of my credit card purchases. With one Visa, I have “authorized user” cards for every member of my household. J will charge his gas, trips to the grocery store, and other small items with permission (such as his recent purchase of two new shirts and a pair of pants). SB will use the card for trips to the grocery store. He is in charge of splitting the grocery bill fairly, which he certainly does, I have no complaints there. Mr and Mrs M180 seldom use the card at all, I just want them to have it in case of an emergency. Any time they do use it, they repay me promptly. And then there are the cards I use, which changes from month to month as I try to maximize rewards. It just gets to be a bit much! So I have decided to experiment with using cash for groceries, gas, and personal spending. I will continue to use rewards cards for utilities, medical co pays, and insurance. Years ago, when my ex-husband and I shared one account, we used cash only for groceries, gas, and personal allowances and it really made things simple. I would like to have a little more simple in my life.
In rewards cards bonus news, I have recently applied and been approved for the new Ally rewards card. The sign-up offer is to spend $500 in 3 months and earn a $100 bonus. All I need to do is use it to pay my electric bill twice, and the reward will be mine.
Life has been so busy of late with extended family in town, a surprise 70th birthday party out of town for my cousin’s husband, and SB and I planning to head to my brother’s house for the July 4th weekend. But it is the best sort of busy.
I am planning to replace my roof, get some cement poured in my yards, and improve my back patio. I tentatively think my roof will cost approximately 5k, the cement 2k, and the patio 1k. I am going to try to cash flow all of this by next summer. While I am working on setting this aside in CurveBall, I will continue to add to E fund with the goal of eventually reaching 15k.
May was brutal for extra expenses around here. Since I use rewards cards as much as possible, I won't have to fork over the money until June. I skipped budgeted savings and instead sent every penny possible to credit cards, in effect prepaying June's bills. I shouldn't need to touch GS Savings (emergency fund) at all, but WF savings (curveball fund) will be hit hard.
Rent - BF pitched in an extra $200 to help with the new hot water heater.
Groceries - An amazing coincidence.
Utilities - J's cell phone carrier (Republic Wireless) charged me on the 1st and 31st, so an extra $29.95.
Everything Else - Car repairs came in at $1266.82, new hot water heater totaled $847.81, car registration for J was $115.00, new puppy expenses paid by me were $104.82. May was also a big graduation and birthday month in my extended family, so another $133.76 was spent there. Medical co-pays were $64.08.
I'm almost afraid to put it in words, but I am hoping June holds no unexpected expenses.
My mortgage payment has posted. This month I paid an additional $19.96. My new balance is $165,300.00.
Chips to date: $2,004.00
Interest savings this month: $7.37
Interest savings to date: $168.48
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $4,287.95, provided I own this house until July 1, 2042. Which I probably won't.
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