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Lots of Miscellaneous Stuff (Long)

August 22nd, 2007 at 04:08 pm

Haven't done a real blog entry for awhile because so much has been going on ... I've been busy and unable to organize my thoughts well ... I decided to do just one big long entry that covers a whole lot of things ... Sorry.

1. Business Closing / Moving Countdown: One-and-a-half weeks to go until I shut down my business. I've been saying many good-byes. I am glad they are spread out and not all coming at once; it's easier to take emotionally, absorbing just one or two good-byes per day. Five-and-a-half weeks until we leave for Austin. Got a free map of the USA from AAA and plotted our route on it, then hung it on the wall above my desk. It's exciting to look at it, knowing the date our new adventure begins is getting closer and closer.

2. No, I really don't have 4 weeks to prep for the move: I'll be travelling out of town for one week (going to Austin to choose an apartment, attending my alma matter's Reunion weekend, and going to my Mom's to help out with some things). I'll also have wrap-up work on my business, and my DH needs some help with his business. Also, my family is coming up for our final weekend here which of course is wonderful but takes up time. So, I estimate that gives me 2 weeks (broken up a bit here and there) to prep for the move. Should be plenty of time as long as I draw up a good plan/calendar, stick to it, and get enough help from DH. [Thank goodness I have the book "29 Days to a Smooth Move" ... It is the best resource for moves!]

3. Farewell Party: Reservation has been made; Guest list is 28; Invitations get mailed on Monday; final budget is $500. A nice restaurant near us does a very nice and reasonably-priced buffet once a month, and I chose to do our party on that day. I will pre-order some decent but moderately-priced wines and have them out on the table. Of course, people will be free to order other drinks, but knowing the wonderful group we are inviting (not a wine snob or big spender in the bunch), they will be perfectly happy with my selections. My goal is to put on an event that is both a really enjoyable event for our beloved guests and a wonderful send off for DH and I, but that doesn't break the bank. Given the plans made so far, I think all criteria will be met.

4. Ebay Sales: Still plodding along. Some things selling for more than expected, some for less, some not at all. Will be glad when it's done.

5. $20 Garden Challenge: Still enjoying plenty of fresh herbs and microgreens. It's been quite cool here, and I'm starting to wonder whether I'll actually see a tomato before the move! There have been lots of blossoms and some have dropped, but not one piece of fruit yet.

6. DC & NYC Trip: Booked my plane ticket and accomodations! I'll be travelling a total of 9 days ~ I'm so excited!!! I decided on a budget of $2,000. Yes, it's a lot of money, and yes, it will be worth every penny. I am renting a studio condo with a kitchen in downtown DC. I'll be flying from Austin to DC, and between DC and NYC I'll take the bus. [ThreeBeanSalad kindly suggested the Chinatown Bus, but I was able to find an even cheaper fare on Greyhound thanks to a fare sale, plus the scheduling with Greyhound is much better.] My younger sister & brother will be joining me in DC. They have both always wanted to go, and decided that since I was going already they may as well tag along. I'm super happy they will be coming. I'm not going to let them pitch in on the accomodations, but told them they could stay with me (my treat) in exchange for them feeding me one meal per day each. My sister will get groceries and cook dinner for me (say ... I'll have my own personal chef for a couple days ... outstanding!) and my brother will treat me to lunch while we are out sightseeing. My older sister is not going to join us because ...

7. Older Sister is Taking Baby Steps Towards Financial Security: Awhile back I wrote on the forums about how my sister's financial life was a wreck. She had to have her cat euthanized and did not have the money to pay for it. Frown
Well, since then she has made some progress but it has definitely been a "2 steps forward and 1 step back kind of thing." A big breakthrough was when she thought about joining us in DC but decided that she really should not because her priority is building up her EF. Oh yea! While it would have been great to have her with us, I really respect that she seems to be getting her priorities straight.

8. Caught Another Checkout Pricing Mistake: I know this entry so far has had a lot to do with big spending, but as I have said before I believe in focusing on the big AND small things. The other day at Office Depot when I was buying envelopes to mail the party invitations, the price rang up at $7.29 even tho' the posted price was $5.99. I had them cancel the sale and went over to customer service. They were very nice, walked over to the posted sign with me, admitted that the sign was wrong (apparently the price had increased but they hadn't changed the sign), and honored the posted sign. They also took the sign down and changed it, so I was the last person to get the envelopes at that price. [Yikes - I thought $5.99 for 50 envelopes was a huge amount of money. But I decided not to waste time & money driving to another store.] I couldn't begin to count how many times I have caught mistakes like that; I am always courteous, but never shy about letting the cashier know about the error, and I have never had a store fail to honor the posted price. Always check the prices!

9. "Subprime Mortgage Meltdown in the News": I agree with those who say, come on, what is the news?!? A few years ago when DH & I started reading about the types of mortgages people were taking out we couldn't get over how insane it was. That was years ago. Frankly, we were surprised it all didn't happen sooner; we were expecting it about a year earlier. I'm glad we sold our house when we did, and I know that this will not make me popular with people who are facing difficulties with their ARMs, but we may end up in a pretty good bargaining position when we buy our next house because we will be paying cash while other potential buyers will be facing the credit crunch. We'll either be able to get a deep discount from someone who needs to sell fast and has a shortage of potential buyers, or we may end up buying a foreclosure.
BTW, when we bought our last house we made sure that we could not only easily handle the mortgage payments, but that I could easily handle them on my own if (God forbid) something happened to my DH. My income is less than my husband's, and we thought it prudent to make sure the lesser income alone (mine) could easily support the house payments, so that I would never be in a position where I felt pressured to sell the house in a hurry. And we did refinance our mortgage once, but we refinanced for a LESSER amount and we went from a 30-yr fixed to a 15-yr fixed at a much lower rate. Never had a HELOC or a 2nd mortgage or a piggyback loan. Eventually, we paid off our mortgage early. Goodness, no one could imagine why we were being so conservative. They thought we were being downright silly. But I am here to tell you that you should never be afraid to go against the crowd, swim upstream, dance to a different drummer, etc, etc... Conventional wisdom isn't always so wise.

10. "The Jonses" Foreclosure House: I sent an Email to the bank that now owns the foreclosed house in our neighborhood letting them know we might be interested in buying it, but a real estate agent friend told me not to expect to be able to get a great deal on it, so I'm not holding my breath.

11. Feels Like Fall: I've covered a lot of ground in this post, some of it a bit heavy and/or preachy. I'll end on something light. It's been cool here, really starting to feel like fall. I have been thinking about changing my blog's color scheme to more fallish (instead of springish) colors ... But that may have to wait a bit, as I have bigger projects to tackle ...

If you actually read all of this long and rambling post, bless you!

5 Responses to “Lots of Miscellaneous Stuff (Long)”

  1. Amber Says:

    I hope everything works out for you in Austin, did you not want to continue with the business there? If I am not mistaken isn't most of it completed via internet?

    Enjoy your DC & NYC trip I have never been to NY but DC and I enjoyed it

    So many companies are laying off due to these subprime loans and the trouble with the adjustable mortages has not started yet, it is scary

  2. scfr Says:

    Thanks for reading the long post, Amber!

    It's actually my husband's business that can be done from anywhere (he works from home, tho' he does travel a bit).

    For my current business, I have to be physically present, which is why I have to close my business down. I could start up the same type of business in Austin, but I haven't decided yet if I want to do that or if I want to try something new. I'm going to take a couple months off to figure out what I want to do, explore business opportunities in our new area (I may start another business of my own), get familiar with the real estate market in the area (and start hunting for that bargain house), and take that big trip to DC/NYC. My DH & I budgeted for me to be off work for a few months back when we decided to do the relocation.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Sounds like you have been busy. good luck on your upcoming move!

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I am with you on the subprime thing. It was less about affording a house payment and more on affording it on the lesser income. Of course dh's earning potential has probably decreased and mine has skrocketed, but the mortgage remains the same. We both could easily afford it on our income alone - phew. I was always scratching my head when they sell the life insurance with "of course the first thing you would do is pay off the mortgage if your spouse passed away." Um, why???? I guess that's why, when so many people depend on both incomes.

    I can't believe your move is coming up so fast! You must be getting excited (or nervous, or all of the above...)

  5. Amber Says:

    Good luck on what ever you decide

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