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Archive for March, 2008

Thrifty Ray splurged. I splurge, too. Do you?

March 30th, 2008 at 06:03 pm

Thrifty Ray got me thinking about what I splurge on. She recently got a great haircut and color and it made her feel really good. We all supported her and said being frugal means we save for the things we want.

I am a naturally frugal person. I spend very little money in general and look for ways to save money on the things I must buy.

However, this doesn't mean I don't spend money. I do! I get two 30 minute massages a week at work($50/week) and have now hired a personal trainer ($70/week). I also splurge on art. I buy art almost every time I travel - my walls are now a story of the travels I have taken. I also do save and spend a fair amount on travel.

I think it's important to know what you want and to save for it. Ima & her DH spend their money on cars. What do you spend your hard earned money on?

Do you tell friends & family about your blog?

March 26th, 2008 at 07:10 pm

I haven't told anyone that I've started this blog. I like my anonimity and if my B/F or friends or family were reading it, I think I'd feel less...I don't know...less able to express myself. My B/F might be horrified that I shared all that stuff about his kids and the party and the mess. You know what I mean?

Am I alone in this? I'm curious, do you share your blog with your friends and family?

I think I'm starting to feel guilty or something and need to know if I'm alone on this one.

First Step at Co-mingling Money with My B/F

March 24th, 2008 at 07:13 pm

Iím going to take a break from the King Party saga and talk about a fun story. 

B/F and I have been dating 5 years. He has, as many of you now know, two teenage sons. Our plan is to move in together once the youngest graduates from high school in two years. Although we are not talking about marriage, (we have both been married before) we do talk about being in a lifetime committed relationship.

Anyway, we recently took the first step at a joint money venture. Hereís how it happened:

About two months ago, we had a Craigslist weekend. We bought motorcycle chaps for $50 (they go for $200+ at the store new), and lacrosse equipment for youngest son for $130 (all the equipment would have cost us $800 at the store). We were very pleased with our clever purchases.

So, I started thinkingÖ.Ēwhat can we sell on Craigslist?Ē And, I started looking around his house. I found an outdoor fire pit that heís had for probably 10 years and has never used it in the 5 years I have been with him. I looked it up online and found that they sell for $190 new. I created an account on Craigslist (took all of 60 seconds) and posted the item for $30. It was gone within 24 hours. Gone from our house, and 30 Bucks in our pockets. I was thinking: ďYahooo! This is fun! What else can we sell??Ē B/F warned me to quit looking so covetously at his household goods! LOL!

Now then, what to do with the $30? It was money for his property, but I initiated and managed the process and deal. Is it his, or is it mine? The answer, of course, is that itís OURS. So, I suggested that he and I open a joint MM account, deposit the $30 and fund it out of our bi-weekly paychecks. We talked some more and agreed on $100 each per paycheck to be automatically deposited. This will net us a nice savings account in a year from now of $5,200+.

We talked about what the account would be used for, and the logical first answer was ďvacation fund.Ē But, my frugal brain was saying ďif we donít touch it for two years, it will be $12k+ (with additional special deposits and interest) and THAT is now starting to sound like REAL money! Money we could use on our first home together.

Even though my B/F makes about double what I do in income, I am insisting that this account MUST be equal. If he puts in $100, I put in $100. I donít know why, but this point is very important to me on our first financial co-mingling.

So, kinda fun, eh? Can you dream about what to do with $5,200 or $12,000?? I can dream about saving and saving and saving and saving.

Cha-Ching! 7

Oh The Damage We are Finding after The Party Of The Century

March 22nd, 2008 at 12:19 pm

So, my B/F (aka Dad) came home last night after being gone for 3 weeks on business. The 18 y/o son (aka King Party) and the 15 y/o son (aka Prince Party) met us at the house. We had quite the talk with both of them.

Apparently, they had been cleaning all day and thought they did a good job. What they didn't know was that using furniture oil on the hardwood floors would make a bad situation worse. The floors are a MESS! They have to be cleaned again and waxed and buffed. Gah!

Things are turning up missing or broken every time we turn around. Small things like glassware, to big things like my cashmere blanket (it was a gift from my B/F this past Christmas - something I asked for. It is quite expensive, and the boys have no idea yet how upset I am), The carpet has burn holes and the whole carpet needs to be replaced. My robe is gone, the sprinkler heads are broken (cars drove over them), the pub table top had something very sticky on it and the boys scrubbed it until it was ruined, the coffee table, ditto. Both need to be refinished. Ummm, what else? Oh, hole in the wall where someone put a fist into it, a chair and ottoman needs to be recovered as there are burn holes in them, all the fabric covered furniture needs to be cleaned as they apparently had a baby oil wrestling match and then the kids sat on the furniture with oil all over themselves! (Sounds like a fun party, eh?)

Today, the B/F and I are off to price carpeting.

Stay tuned, I'm sure there's more to this story!

Glad To Have My B/F home :-) 7

I chose to spend a bunch of money on myself!

March 20th, 2008 at 07:24 pm

B/F comes home tomorrow. Yay! He has been gone for THREE WEEKS! Thatís way too long. It will be good to hand over the house repair, cleaning, and kid issues to him!

Anyway, I want to tell you about my decision to spend a hefty amount of money on myself. You should know that I rarely buy anything for myself other than dining out (B/F and I eat lunch out together every day). I am, by no means, a shopper. I buy clothes when I HAVE to. I hate to spend money on clothes. And, when I buy clothes, I buy simple, not trendy stuff. Iím a very simple girl.

So, spending $70/week, ($280/month) for the next undetermined number of weeks/months is a pretty big deal for me. I decided to invest in my health, and have signed up with a personal trainer. She spends 1 hour, 2x/week helping me exercise. We do it from her home studio which is terrific. I donít have to go to a public gym, I can talk with her about my body issues, and she really listens. I think this is going to be a really, really good investment.

I am 5í10Ē and am the heaviest I have ever been. I am 160 lbs, and very soft/weak. I have never been a regular exerciser (bummer, that!) and now that Iím 43 y/o, things are really shifting and sticking like they never have before. I have always been lucky to be naturally thin without having to exercise or diet. Boy, those days are LONG GONE! The difference really came promptly at 40. Itís funny that they tell you this will happen. I never thought it would happen to me, though. Ha! Stupid! It definitely happened.

Wish me luck on getting healthy, strong, and energized. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I quit smoking 6 months ago, and so, working out is the next big deal for my health.

Health Hopeful 7

Follow up to the B/F's Son's Party...

March 18th, 2008 at 09:19 pm

The b/f is still traveling for business, so I have to deal with the damage his son did to the house during his party. Tonight, I met with my b/f's son and his ex-wife to assess the damage. This is the FIRST time I have been in a position of authority with my b/f's children and only the second time I've talked with his ex. The first time I talked with the ex was on Sunday when I discovered the damage.

Anyhoo, mom and son came to the house to meet me at 7:30 tonight. We walked through the house and I had the son take notes of the damage and the approximate cost to repair. He admitted to causing most of it, but said his little brother (15 y/o) is responsible for some of it. Gag!

All told, I suggested the damage was approx. $3,500. He was floored.

I also told him that his father and I would be talking at great length with him (and his younger brother) about what a potentially litigious situation he put his father in. I also told him that now that he's 18, the world will look at him differently and he is now an ADULT!!

Interesting night. I wish my b/f was here to handle this stuff!

More to come, folks.

Teenagers. A Party. Destruction to tune of $3k +!!

March 17th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

My boyfriend is traveling on business right now. He called me and asked me to check on the house on Sunday. [My boyfriend has his house, and I have mine. When he travels, I stay at my house.]

I went to the house on Sunday evening and opened the door and screamed. There was trash [beer cans, 12 pack containers, posters, candy wrappers, etc., etc.] all over the entry way. I walked to the dining room next and all the furniture had been removed. All the pictures were off the walls. The rug had been removed. The beautiful cherry wood floors were stained with I don't know what. Next, I went to the living room, the furniture had been removed and other furniture put in there. There was a foul odor - turns out to be cigars left in a cup of beer. The carpet was burned. Then the kitchen. Oh, God. Heaps and piles of beer cans, liquor bottles, etc.

People, the list goes on and on. I was crying as I walked through what is a beautiful home which was now destroyed.

It turns out, the 18 year old threw a party while his dad was out of town. The word spread quickly through the high school and over 100 kids showed up.

What kills me is how they trashed the house. And, that my b/f's son left it this way. He apparently thought he'd be able to clean it up before his father got back home. He did not expect me to show up and find out what happened.

Gahhhh! Kids! It will require professional cleaning, replacement of the carpet in the living room, re-upholstering of some furniture, and more. Probably $3k+ worth of damage.

The teenager will pay for it. He said he would and he will be able to [he has a lot of money saved], but he has no idea just how expensive it is going to be.

As I said in an earlier post, I don't have children of my own, but I'm getting my "kid-fix" through my boyfriend's children.

"It's All About Me..."

March 16th, 2008 at 08:44 am

Thank you all for the warm welcome. Iím so happy to be a part of this family. Today, Fern posted a request for an SA get together. I think that sounds like a hoot! Weíd have to do it frugally Ė I think we should all stay at Imaís house! LOL!

Hereís a little bit more about me Ė and, as the baby, ďitís all about me,Ē right?? I have no credit card debt, drive an 18 y/o car (a Nissan 300ZX which I LOVE), have no debt except for a honking huge mortgage. And, the mortgage kinda freaks me out.

I bought my first home, a condo, three years ago. Yes, I bought in the peak of the market. One day, Iíll take photos of the condo to show you what $530k buys you in coastal Northern California. But for now, Iíll describe it to you. It isnít much, folks. Itís a two bedroom, two bath, 1100 sf place built in 1980. The complex has 25 units, no pool, no visitor parking, no nuthiní. Itís in the ďbadĒ part of town to boot. Although, I donít consider the neighborhood bad at all, itís just the unincorporated section of town, and has a lot of old homes mixed in with a bunch of condos. Itís actually quite unique and I like it. Itís one mile from the beach, so itís not close, but not too far either. A ďshort walk to the beach Ė for a LabradorĒ is how Iíd describe it. 

Anyway, I only had 5% to put down ($26,500) and have paid an additional $10k over the last 3 years. I got into a 5/1 interest only ARM at 5%. I have two more years left on the ARM, so I am constantly wondering what the heck to do. Should I refi now? I actually donít think Iíll qualify as I understand banks want you to have 20% equity and since the value has dropped since I bought (my neighbor just sold her condo for $499k after being on the market for 9 months) I have about 1%!! Crap!

I think I should sit tight and keep paying extra on the principle for a while. I have two more years and the 5% rate is really quite good. But, I do worry. Worry. Worry.

After finding you all and reading your blogs, I started an online MM savings account. I chose GMAC. I now have $3,000 in that account. My goal for that account is to save up 6 months of EF. I figure that would need to be $25,000 at a minimum.

I contribute 10% to my companyís 401(k) and had reached the $100k milestone a few months back. Then the market tanked and it went below $100k and then I quit looking at it. I donít want to know.

I also contribute 10% to an employee stock purchase program. It comes due every six months and I use that money to pay my property taxes twice a year. Want to know another fun fact? My property taxes are $6,600 a year. Oh, joy!

Okay, I think thatís much of my financial picture. Iíll share more about my frugality in another post.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Hello Queen Ima and All The Others!

March 15th, 2008 at 05:31 pm

Hello to all my SA friends. You did not know you were my friends, but I did! I have been lurking for several months and decided to jump in and introduce myself to you.

As my bio states, I am a 43 y/o single female (BTW, are you ďsingleĒ when you are in a committed relationship, but not married to the guy?) living in Northern California. I do not have children Ė I just never got that ďthingĒ that others get that makes them want to have babies. Now that Iím 43, I guess it isnít going to happen. My wonderful boyfriend of 5 years has two teenage sons, so I get my kid-fix through them. 

I chose Seven of Seven as my title as it is my birth order in my family Ė I am the youngest of seven kids born to a career Army Solider and a SAHM. I had a terrific childhood! I never knew, until I was an adult, what a financial thin line we lived on. I had everything I needed as far as I can remember. My mother made clothes, and also shopped at thrift shops. I learned at an early age how to pick out good quality (look at the fabric and the stitching, buy good brands) at Goodwill stores. As a young adult, I moved to California from the Midwest and bought all my work clothes (suits mostly) from thrift shops. I looked great, and paid very little for my wardrobe.

Anyway, I will tell you more about myself over the next few days. I donít want to make my first entry too long, or you might not want to come back!

Iím glad to be here and look forward to sharing my goals, trials and tribulations along the way.