Tuesday, March 25, 2008

All done cleaning the old house!!!

Today I FINALLY completed everything at the old house. I had everything loaded up to go home and was just vacuuming our old front room, and had tears in my eyes. I love my house...technically it is still ours as we have not closed yet, but that will happen soon. But, it is nice to be DONE!!! I dont have to go back there anymore at all. I am so happy about that, it's just so draining to have to go there over and over to clean or do this and that. I am glad to get on with the next chapter of our life. And for me that means finishing my unpacking. I honestly didn't know we had this much stuff. I am so behind on everything.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The shirt from eBay



It came today. I love it, it looks so stinkin cute. The 4 was definitely a good choice. Ah, i can't believe she is two already. Can't she stay little forever?
sorry bloggers...i had to take out the picture due to my husband's request




More Renting VS Buying

just another link i found through random searches on the topic. Click on the title.

And one more:

http://www.dinkytown.com/java/MortgageRentvsBuy.html mortgage calculator to determine the difference between rent/mortgage payments

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Renting VS Buying

I have had a hard time dealing with selling our home. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when we bought it. 2000 sq feet, 1.5 acres in a cul-de-sac, 400sq ft master bed with full bathroom, 4 bedrooms, wood blinds, double garage, jenn air stove, wood burning stove, french doors, custom OAK kitchen. The list goes on. Great house. And now b/c of the economy we have to sell it, we just can't afford it anymore and it breaks my heart. I fought tooth and nail not to leave, and we really really tried to keep it. But unfortunately we just can't keep up with the mortgage...not with a 6 person family on one income. Granted, mh hubby has a great paying job, but during the winter the miles really slow down and the pay just isn't that much. So we decided to sell, and lucky us, we had a buyer ONE WEEK after it was on the market.

Then began the process of finding a home to rent. The place we are currently in was the first home I looked at. It is not as big as our old house, and it is not as nice compared to our "palace". It is a mobile home that needs some cosmetic work on the outside. But it is $800 cheaper a month than our mortgage payment.
These are the benefits it has, compared to our old home:
*HUGE round jacuzzi tub in the master bath, two sinks in master bath
*Dishwasher
*It stays warmer than the other house
*Entrance ways are not carpet, yaay!!!
*Full enclosed fenced yard with privacy fencing
*Not part of the house, but kids take the bus to and from school, so no more driving!
*Vaulted ceilings
*Brand new deck and back porch
*Well water, so that saves $50 a month for water bills
*Allows us to save money, rather than pay someone's salary at the mortgage company

So yes, renting for us now is better. We can save up money and in a few years buy again when we have substantial downpayment. I researched some links on buying and selling and this is what I found:

Rent rather than own. This will probably spark a huge debate, as it always does. The thing is, just don’t assume that buying is the better investment. If you calculate the interest you pay on a mortgage, the cost of insurance and maintenance, buying is often much more costly than renting … and if you rent, save money, and then invest the difference, you can actually end up well ahead in the long run. Now, it’s not a given, so do a comparison, factoring in all expenses.
This is a guest-post from Tim Ellis, author of Seattle Bubble, a blog and forum dedicated to discussing real estate market conditions in the Seattle area.
“If you rent, you’re throwing away your money.”“Owning your own home is a forced savings plan.”“Home ownership is an excellent path to build wealth.”
You’ve probably heard statements like these plenty of times. On television, radio, the internet, and in casual conversation. Such sentiments are common in any discussion that involves home-buying and personal finances. It’s common knowledge that buying a home is a better financial move than renting. After all, you’re building equity instead of throwing away your money, right? Well, maybe not quite… Rather than assuming the “common knowledge” on this subject is accurate, let’s take a look for ourselves at some of the financial differences between renting and home-buying.
A Real-World ExampleFor the purpose of comparing renting to owning in this article, I’ll be using real-world data gathered from my area (northeast of Seattle). Although most first-time buyers tend to move from renting an apartment to buying a larger, stand-alone house, as much as I can I will compare apples to apples.
For rent, I located a 3-bed, 2.5-bath, 1,840 sqft house with an attached 2-car garage, on 0.2 acres. Monthly price: $1,495.
For purchase I found a 3-bed, 2.5-bath, 1,850 sqft house with an attached 2-car garage, on 0.22 acres. Price: $424,950.
The two homes are located within two miles of each other in similar neighborhoods, and neither is located on a busy road. We’ll assume that our hypothetical homebuyer is a married couple with $85,000 in the bank to make a 20% down payment. To calculate mortgage payments we will use a recent 30-year fixed interest rate of 6.25%.
Let’s look at how the monthly costs break down (approximately) for our hypothetical potential first-time homebuyer:

Renting
Buying
Rent/ Mortgage:

$1,495
$2,093
Insurance:
$20 $163

Property Tax:
-
0 $407
Tax Savings*:
-
($327)
Maintenance:
-
0 $357
Total:
$1,515 $2690

*: (less standard deduction)
Right off the bat, you see that simply trading straight across from renting to owning results in a 78% more expensive monthly bill. That’s not exactly chump change. With even a slight upgrade from renting to buying (which most first-time buyers are prone to do), you can easily see how the total monthly costs would be more than double.
“If you rent, you’re throwing away your money.”Common knowledge says that despite today’s large premium, buying a home is a “good investment”. Hey, at least you’re not “throwing away” your money, right? True, the renter in our scenario spends $1,515 every month that they will never see again. I wouldn’t exactly say it has been “thrown away” any more than money spent on any other good or service is “thrown away,” but granted, there is zero financial return on that money.
However, when you take a look at the breakdown of the homebuyer’s monthly expenses, a large amount is money that will never return, either. Insurance, property tax (less tax savings), and maintenance, add up to $517 every month that is being “thrown away.” Even worse is the amount spent on mortgage interest. Consider how much of a mortgage payment is applied toward loan interest throughout the life of a 30-year fixed loan:
Years
% toward interest
0-5
~80%
6-10
~70%
11-15
~60%
16-20
~50%
21-25
~35%
26-30
~10%
In the first five years, approximately 80% of the mortgage payment goes toward interest. That’s an additional $1,674, for a total of $2,191 being “thrown away” every single month by the homebuyer for the first five years. Ouch! In fact, not until the homebuyer has been paying down the mortgage for over 20 years will the amount they are “throwing away” be less than the renter.
“Owning your own home is a forced savings plan.”As you can see above, if home buying is like a savings plan, it’s probably the worst savings plan on Earth. Would you voluntarily sign up for a savings plan where well over half of the money you deposit in the first 20 years simply vanishes, and from which you can only withdraw money by relocating and paying a 6-9% fee (not on the amount you have “saved” mind you, but on the total sale price of the home)? Of course not. That doesn’t sound anything like a savings plan.
If our potential homebuyer has that $85,000 saved up for a down payment and deposits it along with just half of the monthly savings over buying ($578 per month) into an account at 8% interest, the balance will be nearly $300,000 in just 10 years. That’s a liquid investment, that can be used for whatever you want, no relocation required. Buying a home is not a savings plan. Actually saving money every month is a savings plan.
“Home ownership is an excellent path to build wealth.”If your goal is to build wealth, you will be much better off investing your money in the stock market than buying a home. While both stocks and housing are cyclical markets, long-term historic trends show that housing appreciates at a rate barely above inflation, while stocks tend to return an inflation-adjusted 7-10%. In our hypothetical scenario, a renter who invested in the stock market with the $85,000 down payment plus the monthly difference between the $1,515 rent and the $2,690 home-buying costs would be over $500,000 better off after 30 years than the homebuyer, assuming 4% average appreciation.
An important thing to consider is that home prices in the United States are just now beginning to correct from an enormous unprecedented run-up in recent years. Despite what those in the business of selling real estate may insist, the correction in housing is still in the early stages. Four percent is most likely overly optimistic for most areas in the next 5-10 years. The only thing we know for sure is that double-digit gains are gone and won’t be coming back any time soon.
Also keep in mind — I mentioned it above but it bears repeating — in order to cash in on any “wealth” you build through your home you will need to sell that home and move. No, “extracting equity” does not count, since that simply results in a larger debt. Debt is not equal to Wealth.
ConclusionFor most people buying a home will result in their largest monthly bill (by far), and because they believe that it will bring them wealth or that they are “throwing away their money” if they rent, they often take on a much larger home debt than a prudent budget would allow. It is a real shame when people are driven to get into the housing market because of misplaced notions of imagined financial benefits. Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, and for some (particularly those that live away from the coasts) the numbers may actually work out in favor of buying.

So, we can admit that we did make a mistake buying our home, we got in over our heads. And now we are taking a step back, to "recover" and get oursevles in a better situation financially.

And something else...the man asked me yesterday what I would like for my birthday. I told him a sewing machine. I really want to learn how to make the girls some cute dresses, and buying custom stuff on eBay, is to damn expensive!!! So let's hope that the sewing machine doesn't turn into another dust magnet. I really do want to learn though, some stuff is so cute.

here is another link that just cracked me up

http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/index.php/2007/01/17/seriously-thrifty-22-outrageous-ways-to-save-part-2/

Nothing much happening



Well, here they are in all their glory! They smell great, and look so pretty.
Nothing much has happened in the last couple days, so I didn't feel the need to write. The first day of spring started of sunny and bright, and now it's raining! Typical of northwest Washington...
My cleaning plan? HAH. That went down the crapper fast. I have only looked at fly lady once since i posted about it. I need to get off my ass and do some work. I rented Enchanted from Netflix, so I will focus on the laundry while Eva and I are watching that. Tomorrow I have to run a few errands,but I guess that will be an unpacking day too. And next tuesday *should* be the last day I have to go to Shelton to work on the house.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flowers in my Window


Last night while at Safeway with the kids, I treated myself to some Daffodils. My vase is too big, so I put them in a large clear glass beer stein of Barry's. They are on my windowsil, and look so pretty! They are just starting to bloom. I haven't bought myself flowers in, well, forever! Not since I lived in Germany. Flowers over there were so cheap! I could get a gorgeous boquet for 5 DM, which was about 2.5 american.
It is hard to get a good shot because it is darker inside than outside. But they still look pretty!
Today I went to Shelton and loaded up the van. I still have stuff left there! One more load to go I think, and we should be done. This is ridiculous, all this crap left over. I just wish I could toss it all and just be done with it. So my plan to start organizing and cleaning will have to start tomorrow morning, as I can't put away and organize the girls' room while Aili is sleeping this afternoon. Maybe I can do something else this afternoon...if I am motivated enough.
Since we just moved, we got a new phone #. And now I am getting tons of telemarketer calls too. Today was one telling me I won a diamond quartz watch...if I just bought a magazine subscription. No thank you! I signed up immediately for the national do not call list.
And my happy post for the day: I just won this on eBay for my youngest for the fall. It's a size 4, so it might be a bit big, but once november rolls around, it should fit her quite well.
I dont know any HTML ;o)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unpacking and Organizing

Usually when Barry leaves, I get in a funk and don't want to do anything but be lazy. I did that this past weekend. But now I have to get the house in order...there is so much to unpack and organize. This morning Aili and I have to go out for a WIC appointment, and then this afternoon I have to get some groceries, like milk and stuff for the kids' easter baskets. But my goal for today is to unpack the rest of the clothes and hang them/put in dressers. The girls' room is the worst...and hardly any of their stuff has been unpacked. All in all, i have to finish the master bedroom/bathroom, living room, computer room, kitchen, Marshall's clothes, the girls' room and clothes and the utility room. The kitchen and my bathroom only have a few things left to unpack, but the rest is pretty bad. *sigh* So I am going to add a list of stuff I need to do and then hopefully figure out how to use it. lol

I also decided to join flylady again. I have done this in the past with great success. I also need to find my flylady book...i think that it is in a box with my cookbooks. I think. I don't know where else it could be. Since i don't know how to add a link into my text, i will add it to the right with my other links.

Time to start the day...

edited to add: i put the link in, and I also added the link for Organized Home.com. I have the site owners book, it is called Houseworks, and is by Cynthia Townley Ewer. I know her through a website that I moderated for her, she is such an awesome lady. I was a big member of her sister site, organizedchristmas.com, before the message boards shut down this past Xmas.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Damn Leprechaun Trap







here it is...



I took a shoe box and covered it in foil. Then i filled two little foil baking pans, star shaped, with lucky charms and pennies. The leprechaun climbs up the popsicle stick ladder, follows the pennies and falls into the hole. LOL the sign says "yummy snacks/gold down here". The bubble wrap is to cushion his fall. LMAO. And yes, I did almost all this myself. Eva glued the sticks and some of the pennies on. The top is supposed to go on top of the bottom, and once the leprechaun is "trapped", the top can be taken off to release him. Of course this is completely fictional and done only for show, for a kindergarten class. LOL We hope he enjoys his lucky charms snacks.
and yet another...I have to make lunch.
Since we are saving so much money by renting, I am FINALLY getting a gym membership. I am so excited to finally be on the track to getting thin again. I've just gained too much weight in the last few years, due to stress, my 3d pregnancy (4th baby), and whatnot. So hopefully in a few weeks I will have my membership and I can start. It will be at the YMCA, and only about 5 minutes away from home. Plus they have child care! yep, I have to pay for it, but it is so worth it to me. We're saving money from our daughter not going to pre-k anymore, so I am using that money for my childcare at the Y. I dont like to share my weight/size, but I have a substantial amount to lose. I'll update when i get the membership and actually start going...my goal is to go 4 days a week.
just a quick post. Can someone tell me why teachers give big projects to kindergarten and first grade students? gimme a break. Ok, my k ids started a new school this past week and all three have a HUGE project due. Kid #3's is tomorrow, and the twins' on the 24th. Kid #3 has to build a leprechaun trap...meaning, it's my job. That just pisses me off. A LOT. The twins have to build a ROBOT!!! WTH!!! I don't mind so much about the twins because they have more time, but a stinkin leprechaun trap? we just moved in, i don't know where half of anything is, and the teacher expects this wonderful leprechaun trap? uggggghhhh. So I get to spend my afternoon building one. And I am not looking forward to it.

Sunday Morning

Well, here I am on sunday morning as the kids watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel. I dont know how often I will post, but i like this a lot better than a journal. I don't really have a set plan on what i want to write...i just ramble.

Today my fence is being built/started. 6ft cedar privacy fencing. I will be so thankful when it is completed because then I can let the dog out. The poor thing is so miserable, yesterday he ran off when one of the kids left the door open. He hates being cooped inside. Every time he saw me coming for him, he ran off again. But he his back now. We should be getting a shed too, and I can't wait for that...i have too many boxes sitting around here that don't need to be in the house! Did I mention I hate unpacking? i am still in my pajamas at almost 9:30am. Tomorrow I have to go back to Shelton to finish up the house...i need to vacuum and get the last few things out. I also have to do a run to the dump. It is amazing how much crap you accumulate over 2.5 years in one place! Stuff you didn't even know existed. I think we're closing the end of this week or early next. It is bitter sweet...yes, we're getting rid of this huge albatross, but we're renting. At least though the other place doesn't feel like home anymore.

Larina mentioned she likes making chicken stock. I like making chicken soup from scratch. Each batch turns out differently, and i like to change things up once in awhile. It's a big hit here. I always do it after I roast a chicken, and just boil the snot out of it to get the meat off the bones. lol. Another hit here is tator tot casserole..easy and it cooks right in the crock pot!

Fry up a pound of hamburger with a chopped onion,
once this is done cooking, place in the bottom
of the crock pot.

On top of the hamburger, layer a can or two of cream
of chicken soup, and spread it out as much as possible.

On top of the cream of chicken soup (or mushroom, whatever
you want), spread out the contents of a can of corn (drained).

Then on top of the corn, sprinkle tator tots till you have a nice
thick layer. I find that about a pound and a half works well.
Cook on high for about 2 hours or so, or until the tator tots get
nice and crispy around the edge of the crock pot.

And you're done! We had that for dinner last night.

Nothing Since Sept 06

Hard to believe I haven't posted since then!!! I guess being without a computer does not help. But now I have a computer and the internet...finally. It is 1am, and i should have been showered and in bed already. I hate that I do this to myself all the time,and then I get so tired because I don't get enough sleep. ugh.

So we sold our house. We just couldn't afford the mortgage anymore because of the rising rates. 2000 a month is TOO much!!!! I hate that we had to sell because i loved our house, but financially it is better for us. Our rent now is only 1000, plus our electric and phone bill. We have no water bill b/c we are on a well, oh...and we have the garbage. We are saving 1000 a month just by moving!!! Before we were never able to save, and now we can at least. Our plan is to buy again in 3-5 years once we have a substantial downpayment. I think we can manage that. However, it might not be in WA. Homes here are so expensive! Moving out to the mid-west is an option for us. We'll see what happens.