Monthly Archives: November 2012

Buying appliances on craigslist

Before I begin, have you noticed that I post much more frequently now? That is because I received a new phone through work and it gets reception even underground on the el, which accounts for the majority of my commute! Thanks technology!

As I have stated yesterday, I plan on us using the coin laundry for the next few months., checking on Costco website I can buy a new set with delivery and haul away for under$1000. I did troll craigslist and found a few still with warranty but the items that cost less than Costco all had expired warranty. While most item I am okay with no warranty, I am not sure if I feel okay with used appliances.

Have you ever purchased a used appliance with no warranty? If so, what was your experience? would you recommend it?

And hemorrhaging money begins

I received a bad news from my home warranty company on the washer. Although the repair company had noted “gasket broken” on the receipt, it is actually a plastic tub that is not covered by the warranty that is the issue.

This means I have spent $100 and juggled my work schedule for nothing. The plastic tub is apparently very expensive and, with the washer and dryer being older than I am, I think I should just bite the bullet and buy a new set.  Yes, I said “a new set”. This is because my current washer and dryer are those single unit things where the dryer is up at the top. I have taken a quick gander online and to replace with a similar unit it will be around $1299 + tax + installation. Buying two separate front-load units will be around $1600.

I will be behaved, though. Instead of just sinking the money now, we will use the washer and dryer on the floor that takes coins (exact amount, I am not sure). Who knows, maybe we will even decide that we don’t need a washer and dryer in the unit.  But most likely, this will just buy me more time and keep my eye out for a really good sale.

And this is how the money pit hemorrhaging begins…

Money pit?

When we purchased the house, due to the age of appliances, we made sure to include home warranty into our demand to the seller. And boy are we glad. Since August we have called to have our dishwasher, shower, and furnace fixed.

Although the warranty covers bulk of the fees, I have to pay $ 100 per visit.  Last Sunday our washer was leaking into the floor beneath or unit. Luckily there is no real damage other than wet walls. Aside from the $100 out of pocket there is the hassle of coordinating time with the repair co, etc. and, just my luck, the shower is acting up again. I am hoping that it will be fixed for free since this might be due to the last fix.

All of this long venting is to say, I am already tired of things breaking on us. I have been paying $100 each month on these repairs and I am tired of it. I know appliances aren’t designed to last forever but seriously how are things causing issues once a month? And how did the previous owner live with these issues with no warranty?

Did I buy a money pit without realizing it?

Waiting vs instant gratification

One thing I hate about moving is that furnitures never quite work out the same in the new space. With each move I am always forced to say goodbye to some pieces that no longer work and purchase new ones to fill the void. The last move to my condo was no different. I went from a 700sq ft space with balcony to 1150sq ft with no outdoor space. The island in the kitchen I had used as a dining area no longer exists and I have been forced to use the uncomfortable patio furniture as my dining set and toss the bar stools. Along with the true “remodeling” tasks we are also slowly giving the space a peraonality through furniture.

I am a typical Type A personality, which meant I had to hold myself back from going out and spending thousands of dollars to furnish and decorate. I strictly said that I do not want to purchase big items until 2013.

A month shy of that deadline, I purchased two pieces yesterday. I actually had been looking for a month now but finally found the item I want for the right price so i pulled the trigger. I was anle to purchase a 6 drawer dresser and a 3 drawer with a hutch for $200 total. Sure, it needs to be refinished but compared to $600 for a finished 6 drawer dresser only, it is worth the extra work. This purchase was the typical case when waiting was worth the $ saved.

As I continue to work on furnishing my place, I am constantly reminding myself that it is just a waiting game. Being in a large city like chicago, eventually what you are looking for will show up on craigslist for the right price. I can’t redo my house in an instant so take my time and accumulate pieces one by one.

Waiting game < $$$ paid for instant gratification.

Perspective: Does Money Really Matter?

I received a shocking news today. A good friend of mine, who is all of 36 years old, has passed away. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was extremely healthy, eating well and working out constantly. He wasn’t supposed to die this soon.

Events like this make me ponder, why am I working so hard to save money? I make a great salary, have no debt other than student loans and mortgage, and I have no dependents. There is enough life insurance on me that if something were to happen, my husband will be fine. He will have to continue working at his job but he doesn’t have to worry about medical bills I might have incurred or covering the mortgage on his own. So why am I going “gazelle intense” when I probably don’t need to?

We talk theoretically about how we are preparing for the worst. We are saving up for the rainy day. But what if that rainy day is a sudden death? I also had read another blog where the husband ended up passing away before he was 30 due to an aggressive cancer that killed him in less than a year. He said he didn’t save for retirement, etc. because he lived in the now.

If I were on my death bed now, I think I would be regretful of the trips not taken, the fights we had over things like cleaning the house where we could have just hired someone instead, working so hard instead of doing things that I love, skipping making memories to save a few hundred dollars more in my bank account.

As much as I wish I could tell you that from this moment forth, I will stop trying to save money and just live. I wish I could tell you that this means I will fight with S less and go on more vacations together. But, to be honest, I am not sure what all this means. I am angry that my friend is taken away from the world too early and I am extremely sad. I am full of regret as he was on top of the list of people to call on Thanksgiving. Only had I called him over the weekend instead, I would have gotten a chance to speak with him. I am just days too late. This post is all just emotions talking. I may be silent over the next few days.. please take care of yourself and tell those around you that you love them.

Getting My Investing Education On

In my previous post, I mentioned that S and my timeline for us having kids and wanting to move to Milwaukee is in about three years. I am hoping that between now and then, we can pay off all debt except for mortgage and also for me to come up with an alternate source of income so that I can be a stay at home parent. I also mentioned that I have been interested in stock investing.

I am an average investor when it comes to stocks. My ROTH IRA has some dividend and blue chip stocks, with some mutual funds in international growth funds. I like the level of control you get by owning stocks rather than mutual funds through stop-loss, but that’s as far as I know. I have heard a lot about Options, but I do not understand how it works nor have I tried Options. Based on my very preliminary review, it seems like Options is the most common way a stock trader is able to make money and minimize risks.

With that, I have decided that now is the time to start getting educated on Options. I have signed up for an online course through a local community college for $99 that will be 2x a week for the next 6 weeks. I am hoping to learn the basics of it through this course, then continue on to more complex programs.

Unfortunate thing about investing is that this isn’t something that we were taught in school (at least, I wasn’t) and there’s a lot of companies that seem to exist to just take advantage of folks who want to learn but don’t know where to start. I hope to outline my plan of attack here as well as what I discover of those investing programs that are out there.

If you have any suggestions on options programs, books, etc. please share. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Love,

C

An interesting ride

Today marks the beginning of my fourth week at the new job. It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least.

The whole thing started on my first day, when the manager who hired me told me that he had both a good news and a bad news, and it was the same news. Not good. It turns out that after the offer was made and I had accepted, he received a great opportunity at another company. He wasn’t looking to leave so I can’t blame him for this poor timing, but nonetheless it’s not ideal. Luckily he works very closely with another Sr Manager within the department, so I have been reporting up to him, instead. 

Then the next two-three weeks were spent with me just adjusting to being at a normal company again. There was a lot of residual effects of my last company I had to eliminate, a lot more than I had anticipated. I was afraid to volunteer to assist others because before that was frowned upon. I was afraid to leave work at 5, even though I had come in at 7:30 and I was seriously sitting there twiddling my thumbs because there was nothing more I could do and my old boss was big on “being available” even if it meant we were secretly watching Netflix. 

During these two weeks, S and I traveled to Milwaukee. I had only driven through before and this was S’s first time in twenty years of visiting. We both fell in love with the city. People were so much nicer, the city was cleaner, we loved little neighborhoods in the downtown area, and the cost of living is so much cheaper. We are seriously considering moving there once we are done renovating the condo and can rent it out in three years. Luckily for S, he can actually take the Amtrak to his new job fairly easily from Milwaukee. Unluckily for me, there is no way I could commute to my new job from Milwaukee. 

While we’ve been talking about how in three years I will need to start looking for a new position in Milwaukee, my company announce an exit from some major metropolitan areas. This also means the layoffs that come with exiting the territory. I am safe at the corporate headquarters but this is not the news you want to hear during your first three weeks at the company. The industry we are in is heavily competitive so it has given me that push to accept that I will be with this company only as long as we continue to reside in the Chicago area.

Wow, that all sounded negative. I should say, I love being in-house instead of being a consultant. All of my coworkers seem very nice and, although I haven’t shown it yet, it seems like we have the same sarcastic sense of humor and we take good natured jabs at each other (like, how I am OCD and my binder is organized perfectly). I love the independence of this position. I am really looking forward to picking up leadership skills, which has been neglected by my previous occupations. I am trying to look at the big picture on how this is still a great opportunity for me.

But at the same time, I need to get myself ready in three years. Funny enough, three years is what we talked about as to when we will try to have kids. Since that will coincide, I am hoping that I can have something ready that will allow me to work from home. I have been interested in the stock market for awhile now and maybe this is the time for me to start learning more about options, etc. It also means any debt outside of mortgage, we need to have paid off in three years.

Sorry for such a brain-dump of an entry. I hope all of my readers are doing well!

C

Update

Hello readers,

Sorry for being MIA. This is my third week on the job so I have been busy doing the commute (1 hr each), working, then by the time I get home I barely have enough energy to have dinner then go home. It has been a big adjustment to work at such a large company again and there has been some announcements, etc that has made it quite exciting few weeks here. I do hope that I will be able to return to a regular blogging schedule (not that I ever really had one) soon once I feel settled at this position.

I hope everyone is doing well!

C