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Moderator aka AmyBob
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I’ve been thinking that dh and I need a financial goal. There are three major areas of our home that need major repairs: two unusable fireplaces due to damage in the chimney that not only render the fireplaces unusable, but also lets cold air down into the house in the winter; a large, floor to ceiling front window in the living room that is not well-sealed, broken in some places, ugly, and lets in breezes and water; and a master bathroom that has a mold problem that I am convinced is getting us sick frequently, is hideous to look at, and that doesn’t even really function properly.

We made a conscious decision not to touch our stocks or our 401k or 403b because we want a secure future, however, these are not cosmetic house repairs. They will improve the value of our home and make us a lot happier and will help reduce the bills in other areas, heating and cooling primarily. So, we need an alternate plan because the bathroom, window and chimney still need to get done.

So, I proposed to dh that we start with a plan to save $10,000 by June 2009. We have a special bank account that we’ve been using for my tuition, and we’ll continue to do this. After just paying my fall tuition, we are down to $200 in that account. Also, this year, we’ll have $7,000 of tuition bills coming in that we won’t be reimbursed for so, we need to realize that it’s really more like trying to save $17,000, since approximately $7,000 will come out of that account for grad school and won’t be reimbursed.

I think we can do it. I know I’ve written before how we are living paycheck to paycheck. However, a few things happened recently that will help our situation:

1. I get a small raise in September. Not much, just a few bucks on each paycheck as I move along the salary guide, but it’s something.
2. Dh has always contributed the maximum to his 401k, however, he just got notice that he was about to max out for the year (you are only allowed to contribute a certain amount per year and he is going to hit that limit if he continues to contribute 21%, but by lowering to 20%, he’ll be fine) so we reduced to 20% and it’s a few more bucks in his paycheck as well.
3. Dh will get his merit raise in March…toward the end of our goal, but still.
4. We switched ds#2 to ds#1’s daycare because he’s finally old enough to go (2 and ½) and not only was it less money to begin with, but we also get a 10% discount on his tuition because we now have 2 children there.

We need to seriously start looking at things to sell on eBay and SecondSpin. This isn’t where we are going to make mega bucks, but every little bit helps. We have cd’s that we NEVER listen to that we can sell, because we can just download the songs we like to our iPods. I’m sure there are some knick-knacks around that can go, even though we aren’t really knick-knack people. My piano money will all go in there. Tax returns, etc will go in there. We can even put a portion of birthday/Christmas money that comes in this year in there (not all of it, because we deserve nice treats for ourselves as well). We can transfer some money from our main checking accounts in there if we keep our other bills as low as possible.

Here’s what I think we do well:
•We have a shared commitment to this goal
•We’ve taught our children good money management skills and they don’t have the “gimmes”
•Utilize the library for dvd’s and kids books
•Pack all lunches from home
•Cook homecooked meals and not eat out (on our dime)
•Teach piano for extra income
•Freecycle to get things that we need (like J’s fabric scraps…it’s a great hobby and we’ve made it free)
•Sew ripped clothing to make it last longer

Here are things we can improve on: (feel free to add)
•Find cheaper/homemade healthy snacks for lunchboxes and home
•Reducing our grocery bills (means we may need to get more creative with our meals…we can hack it…smaller meals means smaller waistlines, too)
•Hang dry all of our laundry (just need that outside line)

I’m thinking in terms of mini-goals to help us achieve the grand goal of $10,000 in the bank.

Goal #1
$200 per month AT LEAST goes into that special account. Obviously, we’ll put more in, but we must put in at least $200 a month
Goal #2
Keep our Amex under $750 per month, which includes our groceries, which brings us to:
Goal #3
Groceries under $350 per month. Diapers, paper products, and all other items included. Just need to get creative.

I am tired of sitting around and not taking action on the house. If we aren’t going to use the money we already have to fix it up, and we aren’t going to borrow, then we need to set aside other money for it and this is the best plan that I have.

For accountability purposes, I’m going to keep adding to this thread for our progress and will put a place in my signature to show the monetary progress as well.

We leave for vacation on Saturday and won’t be back until August 16th, so that is the date that we will begin. I’m home for 2 weeks prior to school starting again, and so I will use that time to begin with scouring the house for things to sell to get us kick-started.

Wish us luck!!!
 

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It sounds as if you have a good plan going there! Congratulations on the raises and the extra funds coming in.

Have a great vacation!
 

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It's a good plan. Question - do you have estimates on the repairs yet?

Cause estimates are free, and will tell you what you need to save. Just add 30%. Cause I don't see those things necessarily adding up to 10k-but I could be way off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep, we have estimates and all three jobs will actually cost more than $10,000. The bathroom is $8,000 (and that's the lowest estimate we got) because it has to be completely gutted...the mold is into the walls. The chimney is around $5,000 (lowest estimate) and the window is $5,300. So, the $10,000 will hopefully cover the chimney and the window and then we'll know we can do it and so we'll do it all over again for the bathroom next year. Although, in 2009-2010 school year, we have an extra advantage as ds#1 will go to kindergarten, freeing up an extra $1000 a month.
 

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Wow. The chimney didn't surprise me - the window did.

Yeowch
 

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have you unplugged everything electrical to reduce phantom load? when i did this, at FV suggestion, my elec bill went down by 100 dollars.
 

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Sounds like a good plan!

Debbie
 

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Have you had more than one estimate done? That seems excessive for the window (unless there is something structural that needs to be done, too).

You can totally do this!!! I think it's easier to have a goal to work towards.

Good luck, Amy :) :)
 

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It sounds like a good plan to me. I almost would choose getting rid of the mold first if you think it is making you sick. It will definitely make a family sick if it is in the house. Best of luck and can't wait to read your upcoming posts on this.

Monner
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maybe I should clarify about the window...

As I said, it is currently floor to ceiling. It's 10 or 11 feet across and about 8 or 9 feet high. We are taking that out and then building up the wall a bit because we aren't interested in a floor-ceiling window again. So, in addition to the removal and purchasing and installation of a new window, we are also having the wall built up a few feet and then the new window will probably only be about 5 feet high, but we have to pay for the new wall and new shingles (can't think of what they are called...shakers?) for the outside of the house to cover the new wall.
 

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Wow that is one expensive window!! Could you go with several smaller windows to add up to the size. It might be cheaper than one huge custom window. Just a thought.

In the bathroom can you guys do the demo yourself? This could shave off a little from the cost.

As for the chimmneys I would go with the professional on those it could be too dangerous to try anything on your own.

Good luck with your saving! Also have fun on your vacation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We are...here's the e-mail that he sent us. To be clear, it was the cheapest estimate and he's a friend of ours and dh is going to help him to bring down labor costs. (My memory of $5,000 was a little high...it's $4,300 approximately...still, with the stuff that always gets thrown in, it would probably come out to $5,000 in the end...better to aim high and be prepared.)

I have a figure for the work to remove the existing front window and replace with a new 4-gang mulled Andersen window. It would be four (4) TW2642 double hung windows white exterior clad; 6 over 6 grills; full screens. I would need to cut up the old flooring; subfloor; and cut back the floor joists. Build new wall to proper height and frame sides of existing wall to accommodate the new opening. The exterior would then be blended in with new primed cedar shingles and new soffit plywood. Shutters would be removed and discarded. New ones to be purchased by you guys and I could install them. we might want to wait on the shutters until the siding is painted. Patch the interior sheetrock; tape and spackle ready for paint; install new 2 ¼” clam shell casing with a new Andersen stool. Price is $4,380.00.
 

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Maybe I should clarify about the window...

As I said, it is currently floor to ceiling. It's 10 or 11 feet across and about 8 or 9 feet high. We are taking that out and then building up the wall a bit because we aren't interested in a floor-ceiling window again. So, in addition to the removal and purchasing and installation of a new window, we are also having the wall built up a few feet and then the new window will probably only be about 5 feet high, but we have to pay for the new wall and new shingles (can't think of what they are called...shakers?) for the outside of the house to cover the new wall.
That will definitely bump up the cost. That is a huge window.
 

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I think you will about to do it!! You have a goal and a polan set in place, and both partners are committed. Good luck, I know you can do it!!
 

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wow...child care for one is $1,000 per month!!!! Holy crap. Really? did I read that right?!?!?!

OK, staying on task. Sounds like you have a wonderful plan. I am looking forward to reading your progress because I know you can do it!

Have fun on vacation.
 

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I'm wishing you luck with your plan..

BUT I "wouldn't" wait to get the mold problem taken care of..mold can cause so many different stages of sickness from what I have heard....I wouldn't risk my families health..I would charge it to my credit card if I didn't have the nessasary funds to get it taken care of! ...JMHO...
 
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