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Archive for January, 2016

Planning big purchases, family visiting

January 28th, 2016 at 02:39 pm

I am finally starting to feel better. I missed work both Monday and Tuesday but I would say now I am 75% of the way better. It looks like I am going to be taking 10 hours without pay this pay period and that is making me nervous about upcoming expense.

Big things-

Plane tickets to see my family. I have a couple of ideas about how to handle this. Option 1: Use my miles to pay for kids ticket, pay $800ish for the partner's and my tickets and then get miles on our accounts for flying (not nearly as many as it takes to pay for kid) Savings of +/- $300.

Option 2: Wait for Southwest miles to go on sale again and purchase enough to get all three of us there. Savings: +/- $300.

Option 3: Try to redeem swagbucks for $25 gift once a month from January to March or April. Use the $75-$100 ...towards tickets? Towards miles? Combine with trying to buy giftcards at a discount? (Best I've seen is a 7% discount, but that is better than nothing)

Option 4: Credit card churn. Still debating this one.

Option 5: Put it on the credit card and scrimp to pay it off. Not impossible, but not my favorite.

Other things-

I will need a new cell phone soon and I want a nice smartphone. I don't *need* one, but I want it. I have been looking at prices of phones and even though it would be nice to have the brand new flashy iphone, I just can't justify spending that many hundreds of dollars on a phone. So I set my budget to $200 which I think can get me a good condition iphone 5 something. I am hoping to make it until April before I need to replace my current phone but it is getting janky.

When I finally quit the public library (who knows when that will be) I want to get a membership to the local rec center. It will cost $352 for the three of us for a 6 month membership. If the kid isn't interested then it is $300. My partner and I can take yoga classes together in the evening and I plan to go on Saturday mornings. I also plan to start running again in the mornings but that has got to wait until I am working more reasonable hours.

I would also like to buy a robe. A cotton one. That I can wear right after a shower. I have been stealing my partner's robe and while I got away with it because I was sick I don't think he will be interested in sharing much longer Wink That shouldn't be too expensive and I should be able to get it soon. I just haven't been going to stores lately.

This week my partner's mom, sister and nieces and nephew are coming to visit-maybe. Partner's mom is taking care of her mom (Granny) and Granny's husband (Uncle Grandpa-after her husband passed away, Granny married his brother) so she has to make sure someone will come up to be there with them. Sister's car is on the fritz so she might be able to make the drive. I probably won't know if they're actually coming until...they show up or don't. Then the next weekend partner's dad and his wife are coming for the second weekend of the play.

I am excited for all this family time but nervous about food. Sister and the kids are super easy going but I know that I am not a good gauge at what kids eat. Mom is...less easy going. She visited a couple of months ago. It was the first time she had visit N in our town since he moved here...13 years ago. She only lives 2 hours away. The whole time she was on her phone and wasn't interested in us or our lives. We tried to show her a good time but she didn't make it easy. She is a good person, I am not trying to complain, I just think she is really uncomfortable outside her element and I don't really know how to help her with that.

That was a lot of rambling. I am just trying to watch my expenses so I am prepared for all the bills and can quit the part time job as soon as I can without sacrificing savings or debt repayment. Wish me luck!

Quarter 1 goals

January 25th, 2016 at 03:49 pm

I wrote an entry a couple of weeks ago but somehow it got eaten.

These are my quarter 1 goals:

1. Save $750
2. Owe $800 or less on the roof
3. Get my credit score up to 700.

January 1st
$0 saved
$4,414.43 owed for the roof
681 credit score

January 25th
$301.14 saved
$3,981.43 owed on the roof
684 credit score.

I am not sure if I will make my savings goals but I am going to try. I got notice of what my real paychecks from the university will be. Unfortunately it is about $50 less each paycheck than I was expected.

Adding to that downer is that I have been sick for the past week. I have missed 3 days of work at the University (24 hours) but only have 10 hours of sick leave. I missed 3 days at the public library but I have an absurd amount of sick leave so I am not concerned there. I finally went to urgent care this morning because I am just getting worse but there was no real diagnosis. I might have a sinus infection so I was given antibiotics and they also gave me codeine cough syrup so I can sleep at night. It is so annoying, I feel miserable and I hate missing this much work-forget about the lesser paycheck.

Luckily I am under budget- being sick means not going out and not really having an appetite. We over shopped last weekend so this weekend we just needed some basics. Friday and Saturday my partner's mom, his sister and her 3 kids are visiting. I am super excited and hope that we can think of some kid friendly meals with stuff that we already have.

Raising Rent advice

January 5th, 2016 at 10:08 am

I have a rental property in a different state. My current tenants have been there since September 2011. They had a year lease and now it is month to month (not something I would do again, though this has worked out fine.) They are great tenants, have really improved the house and never have given me any trouble. I want them to live there forever (unrealistic).

I have never raised the rent on the house. Right now it is $1500. Zillow says the going rent rate for the house is $1750, with the range being between $1600 and $1900. The fair market value for rent is $1649. I need to start raising the rent so I don't get into trouble with taxes. I am already making a killing on the rent (no mortgage on the house) but it needs to go up.

I want to raise the rent but not so much that they would consider moving. Should I start with $25 or $30/month and then in 9 month to a year raise it another $25-30? That would put me closer to the going rate of rent. Would an increase of $50/month be enough to make them start looking around?

I know that eventually they will move and if the house was even within driving distance (it's not-about 2000 miles away) I would just risk it. But it will be such a hassle to re-rent it out, even with help from family.

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated!