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Archive for April, 2017

My cousins new house

April 23rd, 2017 at 10:48 pm

My cousin and his wife bought a new house a few months ago and we were invited for Easter dinner and to see their new place. The house is BIG. It's 3300 square feet with an additional 900 square foot, fully finished basement that is a separate apartment with 2 bedrooms. Their 28 year old son currently lives in that level, rent free but that's another story.

The house is beautiful. Very high end finishes, open concept kitchen, dining, family room, large deck, and 2 car garage. I am still drooling over the master bathroom, 2 sinks, separate tub and large walk in shower with a bench and lot's of storage.

They paid $510,000. The property taxes were listed at just over $5k per year. I know they did not put 20% down because his wife was complaining about having to pay PMI. My cousin is 60 years old and his wife is 56. He works as a truck driver for a large soft drink company. She does not work outside the home, no young kids at home.

I just wonder how they are affording such an expensive home, and I worry about them in retirement. I don't know their full financial picture, but I do talk to his wife quite frequently and I just don't get the sense that they are well prepared for retirement.

I do admit feeling some pangs of envy at the finishes, but not at the thought of that monthly mortgage payment, or utility bill, or cleaning it!

In the end, I feel satisfied with my paid off condo and being able to sleep at night without such large financial burdens.

My new dentist is frugal!

April 12th, 2017 at 10:55 pm

I went for my dentist appointment today, fully expecting to have to shell out a pretty penny for a new crown. I decided to try a new dental practice that is right down the street in my new neighborhood. The dentist took a look at my old crown, which has to be at least 13 years old (maybe older) and said it still looked in good shape and he didn't see any reason to have to replace it with a new one. Music to my ears! They took an x-ray, cleaned up the crown and tooth area and reattached it with no problem. As he was working on me he commented that he hates waste, and has a hobby of fixing and refurbishing old furniture, broken jewelry etc. And then he said, "and don't even get me started on food waste". I think I found my forever dentist! I only paid $30 out of pocket instead of much more for a new crown.

The dental practice is in the same shopping center complex as my new hair salon, my grocery store, my bank, a UPS store and a 7-11 with a gas station. So convenient, just a 2 minute drive from my condo. What I expected to be an expensive, painful day turned out to be just the opposite!

Bought a bed/lost a crown

April 10th, 2017 at 08:51 pm

First's spring break week! The college is closed until 4/18. Happy dance! The first thing on my to do list for this week was to buy a bed for the spare bedroom. My mom is coming to visit in May for about 6 weeks so I needed to buy a bed. After lots of shopping around I settled on a full size mattress with a low profile boxspring and frame. I needed something that wouldn't sit too high up to make it easy for mom to get in and out. With taxes and delivery charge the grand total was $644.18. It was in stock and is being delivered and set up tomorrow. I can cash flow this so it went on the credit card for the reward points and I'll pay it off in full in May when I get the bill. I'll still need to get a mattress pad, a set of sheets and 1 more pillow. I already have a spare blanket and quilt I can use.

Over the past weekend a very old crown on my back tooth came off. I stopped in at the dentist this morning and arranged an appointment for Wednesday. It looks like my insurance will pay for 60% of a new crown so it was estimated my out of pocket would be around $250. Not too bad, but still an unexpected expense. Crowns are crazy expensive!

March Spending

April 1st, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Fixed Expenses:
Condo Fee: 185.00
Verizon bundle: 173.52
Cell Phone: 65.28
HVAC and hot water heater maintenance: 27.95 (see note on this below, new monthly expense)
Pocket $: 20.00

Utilities: 87.94
Gasoline: 43.79
Groceries: 172.27
AAA yearly renewal: 74.00 (once a year expense)
Tax Prep and retirement review: 90.00 (once a year)
Dining out: 17.24

Total spending: 956.99

Some notes: I decided to purchase a monthly maintenance agreement that covers furnace, central air and hot water heater.
I also renewed my AAA membership. My car is a 2009, and I did use the roadside service last year when I needed a tow. I like the peace of mind for these two expenses.

I have a dear friend who is a CPA and financial planner. She prepares my taxes each year and twice a year reviews my retirement accounts. She would do this for free but I insist on paying her something. This year I got a tax refund of just under $1100 that I wasn't expecting because she was able to itemize. Worth every penny that I pay her.

Food: I also spent $22.32 at Walmart for food but used a swagbucks GC for this so did not include it in above total. I still feel like I am spending too much on food, even though it's down from previous months.

Have a great rest of your weekend!