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Archive for July, 2008

The Money's Flowing in Today!!

July 3rd, 2008 at 08:17 pm

Old projector - SOLD!

Old receiver - SOLD!

Dh had the gall to ask me if I could apply the receiver sales to his allowance. I had subtracted $200 for the new receiver - he wanted to add $40 for the sale of the old receiver.

I don't think so!

I said, "Dude, you took THREE years to sell your projector and you got half as much as you told me you would."

(Though I am frankly impressed he got that much, with the 3 years delay).

HE says, "I am talking about the receiver."

I said, "I know. & I am talking about how you owe me $500 from 2005. The year I let you spend $1500 on a NEW projector because you swore you could get $500 from the old one."


Anyway, he didn't argue after that.

But hallelujah I have waited a long time for this day. Big Grin

Sold the projector for $250, they picked it up today.

HE was about to head to the bank, to deposit it, lest I get more agitated about it. BUT he had an e-mail re: the receiver. He had posted it high not expecting much.

But he got an offer for $40. He called and they wanted to meet at a public place - which was where he was heading to.

So he deposited the $250 in the bank to replenish the chunk of change he had taken for Wii purchases.

HE now has $40 to replenish our wallets.

& our house is a little less cluttered.



Anyway, since I have a few smaller ebay items to post tomorrow, this does well to replenish the $400 or so he took for "seed money."

So we called it even.

I clarified he has 2 Wiis and that is his seed money now.

I am so excited I didn't have to touch savings for "seed money."

I think he is going to focus more on smaller purchases like games. HE made out so well on ebay.

IT's a catch-22. The Wiis are far more profitable, but harder to sell on ebay (shipping, etc.). & a much larger investment is needed for each one.

So I think his good ebay game experience means he will be perusing garage sales more and picking up games. I think it is a lot more work for little dollars.

But every little bit helps at this point. & it is less risky than sinking bigger cash amounts into these Wiis.

I still think it's a balance where he tends to hoarde his profits and buy his crap, and he keeps giving lip service to our ROTHs, but so far our ROTHs have not seen a dime.

Something to keep an eye on I guess. I'm watching him. LOL.

I also have a couple of strollers up on Craigslist that I just can not believe have not sold! There's some IRA money right there. I Feel jinxed. LOL. (I did not even list them high at all - they usually seem to sell rather easily. so just not what I expected).

I am happy to always seem to have enough money rolling in when I need a little extra. To cover bills and such. But I feel like I never have "extra for the ROTHs." So that is the jinxed part. I got like $200 of stuff on Craigslist, and with today's sales, this would all be gravy. Come on, sell for the ROTHS! Big Grin

ETA: Dh got 3 offers on one Wii (he is listing them one at a time to avoid confusion). IT was certainly his day. Which is good since he has all the high dollar items to sell. Phew.

It's not gone yet, but after a week of no bites, this is much more promising. I think he lowered the price $20. What a difference $20 can make sometimes.


July 3rd, 2008 at 01:57 pm

***I have a new addiction. It's Rummikub! Dh picked up a Rummikub boxed game set at a garage sale a couple of weeks back. I hadn't played it, but BM is enjoying it. I played with them over the weekend and now I am hooked.

***Reminds me, my sis sent the kids some cash for their birthdays. Never has before, but she did just finish college recently and all that, so they are ecstatic to go spend some of it at a garage sale this weekend. Maybe tomorrow. Great gift!

***Monkey Munch! We tried this recipe and it was so YUMMY!!!

Tastes like crunchy peanut butter cups...

Text is and Link is

***We still have eons of stuff on Craigslist with no bites. Will re-list after the holidays pass. I did go through and lower a few. I have had a few offers, but when I say "okay," no replies. That part is getting old.

Anyway, with the slowness of that and the kids' birthday next weekend, will probably not do any de-cluttering this weekend. I need to plan a menu and hit the dollar store for paper plates, etc. and party favors. I wanted to come up with awesome ideas for party favors, but I am afraid we have run out of time. Dollar store run will do. No one has RSVPed, but whatevah! I guess kind of what I Was waiting for...

We don't have a theme, I am not sure if we will.

We'll make our own ice cream cake and cupcakes.

But yeah, outward appearances will be theme of our cleaning this week. Then back to the de-cluttering...

*** Foreclosure down the street. The good ones are biting the dust! Was a large Indian family and we would see them at the park ALL the time, when generally no one else goes. We enjoyed them. BM was convinced for a long time that one of the older members of the family with a long white beard was santa claus (though that was where the similarities ended - LOL). Dh saw them moving out a few weeks back and I saw a "for sale" sign today. Obvious conclusion is foreclosure though I guess I had other hopes.

I zillowed it today on the whim - I did remember they were a high buyer. Everyone who paid $600k+ has foreclosed. Every single last one. I remember them buying in the $500k range (since most of our neighbors are still the originals - new development - I remember easily the "crazy people who paid $500k+ to live here." LOL).

So anyway, I don't see anything online, but did see they paid $495k. At best the house could fetch $400k, but more likely $350k. I think the writing is on the wall there.

I do admit they could have been renters. Just, who knows.

They will be missed...

***In regards to private school, I find it fascinating all my broke friends are dead set on private school for their kids (as so many of BM's friends start K in the fall).

All my well off friends are content with public school.

I just find that fascinating.

Particularly since our neighborhood lacks a school (I could go on all day on school board politics and land deals. Though their excuse that the "land is too expensive" is no more, now that I think about it...)

It's a rather upscale neighborhood so I expected the rest of the neighbors to be happy with private school. We were at a loss.

Instead they banded together and made their own PUBLIC school.

It does come somewhat to education. The well educated demand their right to public education where I have a lot of uneducated friends who had intended to go the public school route but gave up quickly when it was difficult.

But that's just one half. The other half of the uneducated simply believe that private school is better. The more educated realize there are a lot of opportunities and great public schools here. & that strength of school is measured by much more than test scores. I feel blessed to live in a community that realizes all this and fought for a very wonderful public school.

I really thought it could have easily gone the other way (everyone else going to private school and us struggling with an alternative). So now as I watch all my broke friends fight there way in to pay for such expensive educations, a bell rings off in my mind. IT's like, the broke stay broker, the rich get richer kind of thing...

***Made a killing on ebay yesterday. Woohoo! Dh listed a few items expecting $80 (to cover costs and he still had some more to sell from the $80 purchase).

Today I deposited $130 in my checking account!

We'll have some shipping fees and ebay fees, but I think we did well. Particularly since he only expected $80.

Crossing my fingers his projector finally goes today (someone interested but strung him along all week). That will go a long way to seed money. He kind of owes that to our IRA, but if he sells it and gives me the cash, my checking balance will be $0 (as opposed to -$300). & I will let him keep his two Wiis for seed money. Maybe it will motivate him. They saturated the market this week, much more than past weeks. So hopefully he'll have more luck later in the month.

***My last tidbit is about the locals. I just will never identify. Having come from somewhere where a starter home has always been $600+ (in my memory anyway). I just don't find much to complain about here.

It seems this week in particular there has been a lot of "you are poor if you make less than six figures." "It is impossible to make it." Young families struggle so much."

We moved here so we could live twice as well on half as much. As such, there is little struggle here. Though I don't necessarily put much fault on the locals for whining or feeling like it's hard. I know the difference is 99% perspective.

Anyway, I guess with the economy more I find myself in this situation more. Someone sitting across from me (usually a client) and looking at the pictures of my kids and assuming we have a monster mortgage and need 2 incomes to get by.

"See - you need 2 incomes and are probably struggling. Your mortgage must be $2k+ monthly."


I just stare at them blankly.


I don't need 2 incomes.

Our mortgage is nowhere near $2k.

I am sure that is the normal story here, but I say, "Oh we moved here from the Bay Area. Talk about expensive! We find it quite simple here. My spouse hasn't worked in years."

Then they keep going on and on and on.

"YEah, but the price and groceries and gas these days!"

ME - "Nothing compared to our health insurance. Now that is something I can go on about."

But since most of my clients, and most of the people here, work for the government, they don't *get* that either. They have awesome benefits. So then they just stare at me blankly. LOL.

I don't know, just bizarro.

I guess I find it fascinating the assumptions made since I am a rather young working mom. The assumption is we are in debt up to our eyeballs, or else I would be home, I guess. I think I would get that just for being young. All these young, stupid people taking on $400k mortgages. But the mom thing doesn't help.

I know they mean well but I am always rather insulted. Hell if I would take on a $400k mortgage. That is precisely why we moved here - to avoid that.

I don't know why people forget you could buy a HOUSE here for $100k in 1999. I mean, come on. A fair amount of us young folk should have been able to buy quite low. But then again, even most of those people owe 3 times as much since they cashed out their equity.

& hell if I am going to complain about my income either. IT's nowhere near six figures, but it is a-plenty! IT certainly stretches MUCH farther than the six figures we did make in San Jose.

Ugh, I live in the midst of insanity.

Oh yeah, the last and final angle is always "these insane income taxes."

If you add up the income taxes I paid in the last 5 years, ROTH conversions aside, I don't think it would add up to $10k. But I did prepare tax returns for a time, briefly before the Bush tax cuts. For people like us taxes have gotten insanely low. They have historically always been worse. So no, I won't complain about that either.

Guess I am just no fun! Big Grin

We're in Drought - You are required to WASTE water...

July 2nd, 2008 at 06:59 pm

You might think this is another rant about our HOA.

No, now it's the CITY!

I am from San Jose which was in drought for most of the 20 years I lived there.

Likewise, people are very conservative with water there, and the city rewards you for low water usage. We never paid much of any water bills when we lived there. We owned a condo and I rented a fairly large home, with roommates, for many years. The biggest water bill I ever paid was like $10.

We water the lawns sparingly (Which is fine in the mild weather - they don't need much water usually). We bathe every other day. We of course jumped on water saving appliances. In restaurants they never serve you water unless you ask. Etc., etc.

So we moved to Sacramento in 2001.

I think one of the few things that has shocked me here is the whole water thing.

For one, we started getting $100 water/sewer bills. These were FLAT RATE bills. There were no meters.

It struck me as very odd.

How do you go from $10 to $100??? The average household uses that much water???


Likewise, our neighbors seemed pleased enough to uphold their emerald green lawns, even in the 100-degree heat.

I just thought our HOA was crazy, and ranted about this a few days ago. We keep getting notices not to let fertilizer run off our SLOPED lawns into the gutter and lake.

Not to protect the wildlife or anything, but because of the unsightly algae!!!

So the more notices I get about fertilizer and algae, the more I think, "You have got to be kidding me."

"If you could live with a slightly brown lawn in the summer, maybe it wouldn't be an issue!"

I have little idea how to meet all the HOA demands without a magic wand.

& with the new metered water (mandated to be put in by 2010 or something - we jumped on it last year because it lowered our bills on average $15/month). We had been talking about re-landscaping our backyard and just getting rid of the lawn. IT's just a water waster. At the rest of the landscaping (which we put in) is thoughtful - not a lot of water hungry trees, plants or flowers.

I am afraid we have little choice in the front yard, but to waster water.

Anyway, so there was a very interesting article - front page - paper today.

Sacramento couple who let lawn die to save water face $746 fine

Text is and Link is

What I gathered from the story is that desert landscaping is not even allowed in the city (what in the hell?).

I thought our HOA was bad - I didn't realize the city was even worse.

Just, WOW!

I never realized there was a double whammy there.

I think Sacramento has to wake up and realize it doesn't make a lot of sense for it to stay green in the summer. IF they want green green green in the fall or winter, that's fine because then we have rain. But yeah, I hope this is a wake up call for the city.

I am starting to wonder if drought is normal here too, just no one ever really cared.

Challenge moolah

July 2nd, 2008 at 01:45 pm

2008 $20 challenge:

$2,530.00 - 6/1

$ 800.00 - IRS stimulus to Mid-term savings
100.00 - ROTH Contributions - July
82.00 - June Interest
$3,512.00 - Balance 7/1

Net Worth 6/30

July 1st, 2008 at 02:42 pm

Well net worth is up $2226 for the quarter and up $4362 for the year.

Kind of pathetic!

My goal is $25k-$30k for the year - so a long way to go.

At least our retirement is up for the year - have contributed more than we have lost in the market. (Totals up approximately $1500 for the year).

Cash is up about $1k.

Regular mortgage payments are IT. $2k off the mortgage, and that accounts for most of our net worth progress.


I can't help but gloat since so many people told me years ago it was stupid to pay down our mortgage and not just get ARMs. "You pay so little principal in the beginning - it's just stupid."

We've paid off on average $3k/year, or about $18k to this point. I guess $18k is no small beans to me.

Plus after 6 years in this house we are getting to the point where we will pay off $4k this year, and this amount is growing rather rapidly.

(ETA: the assessed value of our home is $316k - more than what we paid - and I just saw the final sales price on our neighboring foreclosure. $300k for a house half the size. & it sold FAST. Not bad... I am very pleased...)

Anyway, we paid $10k off our first home in less than 2 years, and put $70k down on this house, on top of that. So yeah, I am happy to be well on the way to mortgage-free in our 40s.

I guess also, putting so much down, means we pay more than pennies on the principal. I'll give you that. Wink But we rather put more down on the front end, and lock in an awesome rate for "life."

But yeah, I know one of these people owned a home in Sac and a home in Nevada - both with ARMs and no money down. I remember she seemed to have no clue when home values tanked here, and haven't heard from her lately. I can only imagine the whole ARM thing isn't working out so well.

I got other people who poo-pooed my lifestyle who are losing their homes.

Talk about bizarro.

Anyway, when we had first had kids we cut back a lot, and we never much lived up to our higher incomes when we both worked. I think we have a much higher life style now, on 75% of the income, honestly. Though I do admit our take-home pay is getting pretty close to where it was before kids. (Tax breaks!)

But in the past we gave up a lot of "stuff" to be home with our kids.

I never really thought it was that much. Having moved somewhere so much cheaper we have been able to have a fair amount of luxury. Sure we drove old cars and rarely ate out, but I am not sure you could call us deprived with our nice home, toys and overall financial peace.

But these days we have so much more than I imagined we would with wee little ones. We have a gardener and the kids both were able to go to preschool for a time. Dh and I have started instituting date nights and we have even been eating out once in a while.

All that and we have resumed payments to our IRAs (stopped for a time so we could be home with the kids).

I wouldn't do anything differently and am very happy with the luxury we can afford a few years in.

We've always been good at prioritizing our wants/needs and all that financially. But I think since joining pfadvice we had to step back and re-prioritize. So I am happy with the results. I feel like we are both saving more and enjoying our money more.

So I got all these people around here calling me deprived as they sink with their houses. What the heck? I guess I am deprived because I care about a budget. BEcause we say no to certain things (mostly thing we don't care about).

It's times like these that the frugalites shine.

I was thinking about it because I was looking through some old pictures. It is insane what our kids have been able to do, particularly with the help of grandparents. They have already been to Florida and Hawaii and Yosemite and it's funny because I think I let those people get to me. I was perusing old photos and I Was absolutely floored with all we have done with our kids the last 3 years. Regardless of grandparents' help, we still did plenty without them. I am so used to hearing we are so boring and deprived, I guess at some point you sort of believe it on some level. LOL.

Hey, all that FUN and I can still afford my mortgage, imagine that.

Some part of me was thinking because we don't stay in luxury hotels and go to Disneyland every month that there is some deprivation there.

I now just realize I live near a lot of absurd people. Wink Who have been clearly been living well beyond their means, even with 2 incomes. Egads.

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