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This & That

July 10th, 2013 at 06:35 am

**I was called about a $80 focus group yesterday, but was ruled out because I didn't have a child under the age of 8. This was on my child's 8th birthday. BAH!

**Home repairs are going okay:

---Dh believes he may have fixed the water leak in our freezer. (Just a tube that froze over or got clogged - so poured hot water into it). Will see...

---He called out a plumber who came up with same diagnosis as my dad. We have "really hard water" but it sounds like our parents have harder water. If our faucet lasted 50% longer than theirs.

The cost looks to be about 50% of what my dad quoted to replace - more in line what I expected. {Is this why my dad never hires any help? He thinks it cost way more than it really does? We also have the egde of lower cost of living}.

I don't particularly see the point to get anything really high quality if it will only last a decade with the hard water. Will do a little research and probably just pick up something identical to what we have (is a really nice sink faucet - very functional - I just don't see the point to pay for something like stainless steel, when it comes in a cheaper material).

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**Had a very small shindig on Saturday, for younger child's birthday.

Grocery store finds:

Got two "take and bake" pizzas for $15. These are generally our favorite pizzas. In fact, the kids raved about it. (We don't serve that cheap pizza crap at our house, and the 8-year-old crowd even noticed this).

I decided to check out their ice cream cakes. With a birthday coupon, it was only $15 for a fairly large cake. We got through half of it as of today. Technically we can keep the other half for older child's birthday?

As I said before, these are just coming out of grocery budget. I'd pretty much say that our "birthday spending" was $0.

I wouldn't feel too sorry for him (that we spent so little and did not buy him an actual gift). He was spoiled by many others. I believe he pulled in about $100 from 4 relatives. Plus numerous other gifts and treats.

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**I read some interesting articles on real estate this weekend.

Apparently, the younger generation is looking for more practical home layouts and so home builders are trying to oblige. You can't help but wonder if the pendulum is starting to swing in a more "financially sensible" direction.

Speaking of real estate... Real estate was completely on fire in spring, but nothing is listed for sale in our neighborhood this summer. I can not even imagine what this means for housing prices. (I keep reading that supply is short. & this time it's not the banks controlling the supply, at least not as much). We live in a highly sought neighborhood so I can only imagine the bidding war on the next house that goes up for sale. In the meantime, I am not getting a strong sense of where prices are at the moment. (The last time that *no houses* were listed for sale, was, never?).

I also saw an optimistic article that said first time home buyers were being careful and conservative. & so that maybe this will bode well for long-term housing prices.

I am personally skeptical. It kind of read that people are being more careful than they were in the bubble, but not by a lot. Which kind of reads to me like "more people are starting to save more than average," which is a pretty LOW bar to surpass.

What I see with my own eyes is lots of 0-down loans and very bubble-like activity.

I was disturbed to read that so many people were being "so conservative" but buying VERY expensive homes and buying "10% less than they qualified for." So, this is the bar for conservative? 10% less than they qualified for? Considering low interest rates right now, that just tells me people are still WAY "payment" focused (versus "big picture/total cost" focused).

Using traditional lending standards (not 2005 standards when we could have easily borrowed 20 times our income) and using today's interest rates, by all accounts we spent 40% - 50% less than the mortgage loan we qualified for (considering cost of home when we bought and what it would cost today; considering our income now and then). We had a really unique situation, so that was for a really nice home. We certainly could have gone a heck of a lot more conservative. I admit interest rates and monthly payments were considered, but with our low cost move and feeling like we could very easily afford some VERY nice digs, it helped us to set a price limit to narrow things down. So we did that more than anything. I admit our commitment to find a mortgage we could cover with only one income played a large part in only buying about 50% of what we could afford. Maybe that is the long and the short of it. But I can also very confidently say we weren't so freaking "payment" focused. Our plan was initially to only have a $150k-ish mortgage. I suppose we liked the idea of a VERY LOW mortgage balance, more than anything else.

I am skeptical, but will see.

5 Responses to “This & That”

  1. Miz Pat Says:

    You know what my goal is on paying a mortgage? That it be about the same as a rental payment. My mortgage costs me $789 a month. It makes moving out sound nuts.

    I was told I could "afford" $1200 to $1500 for a mortgage. Thanks but no thanks.

    You always make me think outside the box. Thanks for your posting.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    Sheesh...your child was 8 and they were that picky?

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    @rob - Actually, it was surprising, because they often fudge or are desperate to find participants. If they called the day before I would have pointed out he'd be 8 at time of focus group, just because I am uber honest. But I am guessing most the screeners wouldn't have cared. It's enough of a grey area that I wouldn't really care if they fudged. Close enough... Though there is no way in heck I would have lied about his age at the focus group. So maybe it was for the best. I don't need to lie to make a few bucks, and certainly not the example I would set for my child.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    @miz pat - Ooooh, I take that as an uber compliment. (I love getting people to think outside the box)!

    The rental comparison was odd for us in such a high cost region. The first condo we bought (at 8%+ interest) was $1500/month, but rented for over twice that. !! I know there was property taxes and HOA dues and yadda yadda, but we got enough of a tax break to offset the rest. {Lord knows we would have never rented an apartment so expensive! It was nothing special}. $1500/month might have bought us an okay studio apartment, otherwise (okay, meaning not in some really terrible neighborhood).

    I will never get over that our current mortgage payment is under $1,000 per month.

  5. debtfreeme Says:

    I am with Pat. I want a mortgage payment to be close to rental payment as well. That is why I am saving a down payment and very picky about where, how much, and the interest rate.

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