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Owning Up...

December 27th, 2013 at 11:06 am

I have not posted since I was last promoted at work. We have been super busy with new endeavors! My wife and I launched a coffee review web site, and it took off like we couldn't have imagined. This was borne out of our strong desire and drive to be doing anything and everything in the coffee industry and community. It is our goal to open a roaster and shop.

As such, I have begun roasting coffee at home in a small popcorn popper. You'd be surprised by how awesome these little things can be!

With these new endeavors, however, have come new expenses! We have actually been somewhat irresponsible, and have even lost track at a couple of points. It is partially due to the fact that we have changed up our methods, and partially due to not restraining as much as we should. Some of the new methods have proven to not work with us. So we are currently using a combination of old things that worked before, and new ones. Namely, using a spreadsheet to lay-out our budget, while using YNAB to track spending.

Also new... We are buying our first home! We should be closing no later than this Thursday! How exciting! With utilities, fuel for commuting, and our mortgage payment and insurance, our living expenses will still be lower than renting this apartment.

You should be able to notice some changes to the sidebar. Here are some explanations...

Student Loan: Almost paid-off. Will continue making payments, as it is the lowest % rate.
Visa: Used for home inspection.
Amazon Store Card: Used to purchase yoga gear. Will have to make payments on this.
BillMeLater: Used to purchase espresso machine and refrigerator, washer and dryer for the new home. Will pay down as much as possible with tax returns (~$3,900), and make payments thereafter. (OUCH!) BML's interest rate is 29.99%. That is painful!

All this said, I don't have too many regrets. We could have gone slightly cheaper on the espresso machine (~$200). The appliances for the house, however, were the cheapest new machines you could find. Home Depot had an awesome Cyber Monday sale going on that ended up making the appliances we wanted (great ratings, 5 year warranties, etc.) more than $400 cheaper than rebuilt ones from Sears Outlet. We actually saved $950 off retail prices on them.

It will be tight for a bit, but it's nothing we can't handle. Certainly don't want to do it again, however. Especially since we need to look into getting a second vehicle.

All-in-all, it has been a crazy awesome year! I am looking at receiving a fair chunk of a raise this February. The maximum is 3%. However, only three other people at work (of the 15) are due to get raises, so they are talking about giving me 6%. They have to get it approved, of course, but I have faith in their abilities to go to bat for me.

Until next time, all!

5 Responses to “Owning Up...”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I missed this post when you originally posted. Sounds like are going well! Keep up the great work...and get rid of than insane interest rate FAST. Chase Slate has 0% for 15 months and $0 balance transfer if you don't get the tax return soon or it is less than you expect.

  2. buckybadger Says:

    Congratulations! How much were you able to save up to put down on the new house?

    And what does this final raise bring you up to?

    It is a shame, though, that you were previously thinking about going down to zero cars and now you're considering getting a second one. I wish that we could get by on one car...

  3. Frgal Says:

    @creditcardfree - Unfortunately, BillMeLater is not transferable to cards or credit lines. Nor can you "buy it off". There is, however, a slight workaround. SquareUp, an app used for retail purchases typically, can be used. See this article. There is a 2.75% fee, but much better than 29.99%, eh? Wink

    Thanks so much for the idea!

    @buckybadger - We put down a total of $3,775 (including closing).

    The raise should bring me up to $15.10/hr. Not bad for working in only the second position from bottom. Wink I typically end up netting my wage after bonuses and commission are accounted for. I currently net $200 more than what I budget for (because I budget for my hourly x 160 hrs - 16%).

    Yes, it really is a shame! Where we are moving, however, is much more bicycle friendly! The reason we would need another vehicle is for the dance classes our daughter will be going to (relatives paying for that), and it is across town (about 8 miles), and bus schedules don't meet up with the schedule.

    I am looking into getting a classic Beetle. Easy to work on, cheap parts, and I know someone willing to mentor me.

    ---

    I forgot to mention in this post... We calculated it out, and I netted almost exactly what my gross would be without bonuses and commissions. Unfortunately, we also spent all of the difference. So, we actually ended the year only with what we have to close on the house. I suppose it's not that bad, but it also means back to pinching pennies for a few months.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Glad you have a work around on the debt. I'm sure you will get back on track once you are settled in. Moving can be pricey and it's tempting to want to improve things in your new home. I've done it three times, so speaking from some experience.

  5. BuckyBadger Says:

    I agree - make sure you don't let spending get out of hand with the new house. The fact that you didn't put anything down on the home and needed a card with a 30% interest rate to buy appliances is a little worrysome. You could easily be hit with a $10,000 repair on a house with no warning - it's why most people recommend having a solid emergency fund set up before purchasing the house.

    Try to get out from under PMI as soon as you can by paying down 20% on your home and consifer places like goodwill and craigslist for appliances and things for the new house. You may have gotten the cheapest new ones, but you didn't need to get new ones. It's pretty hard to crawl out from under debt at 30%.

    And dance lessons, even if they are free, certainly aren't worth it if it means buying and maintaining a second car. I'd see if the relatives could pay for something closer to come or something that meshes with a bus schedule.

    Good luck and be careful!

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