News on our pig in a poke

Hi all. A few weeks ago I admitted my lunacy to you all when I told you that dh and I were looking into a big old Victorian home that we saw listed as for sale over the internet. (We are Americans living overseas but the house is in Texas, a mile from my parents). Since then, we’ve had my folks go through the house and also had an inspector go through the house (both gave us the thumbs up), and the price has dropped once.

Well, we underbid even that and the owners have accepted our offer, so now we are closing on August 11th by proxy. The exciting thing is, we’ve saved enough money to buy this house outright, so we feel like we are set for our retirement in a couple of years. Until then, all we can do is visit it, unfortunately, pay to have the grass mowed, and plan all the major interior work that will need to be done when we get there. (The reason the house was so cheap was that it needs a LOT of interior work.) But I’m so grateful that we’ve lived frugally for the past several years and amassed enough money to be able to just jump on this great deal when we saw it.

It’s made all those years of driving old beaters well worthwhile. One interesting sidelight is that the realtor gave us the name of a man whose boyhood home this house was. The man is in his 70s. I hope to invite him over at some point and have him tell us all about the way the house used to be. I love the idea of honoring an old house by making it livable again.

Well, that’s my news. Thanks for letting me share. I’ll leave you with one piece of advice – be careful browsing on the internet.

It could change your life! Lise

The first thing I did

The first thing I did was build up an emergency fund. Just makes me feel a little more secure. I decided on an EF of $2,000 but everyone is different.

Since it’s just me and I don’t make much I decided to make my EF one month’s salary, but that’s just me. Not that you asked my opinion, but I would consider putting all extra money into the EF (paying only minimums on your cards) until you have built up to an amt you feel comfy with ($500, $1,000?) and then start putting all extra on the cards. Although paying them off is important, I think having the peace of mind that there is a little there incase something goes wrong with your toilets again is impt too!

Just work through his “baby steps”

1) Get a $1,000 dollar emergency fund.

2) Tackle all debt except the house. Get it all paid off.

3) Get a 3-6 month living expense emergency fund built up.

4) Discontinue retirement savings until steps 1-3 are accomplished.

5) Max out retirement savings.

6) Pay off the house.

7) Fund college for kids.

8) Invest like crazy! Build wealth! Get Rich!

who is still on baby step #1?

Working on an Emergency Fund

OK, you all have finally convinced me…..It has been awhile since I read David Ramsey’s Financial Peace (I should go check it out from the library again to refresh my memory). I have been trying to put every extra penny I could to repaying credit card debt. But I think I need to change my tactics.

It doesn’t do me much good to have the CC debt come down and then when I have an emergency (like I just did with two toilets that needed a plumber), then I have to charge again on the card.

I have a little bit going into House Maintenance each month, but it just never seems to keep ahead. So…..I am going to drop some of my CC extra payment each month and put that $200 into an Emergency Fund.

I’m still paying extra on the principal, I just won’t pay as much on it each month…..

Whew, just writing this to you helps me feel better about doing it. And slowly and surely, that CC debt will payoff sometime soon, I hope.

One of the best gifts you can give your niece

One of the best gifts you can give your niece and nephew is teaching them some of the household skills; basic cleaning, laundry(sorting, temperatures, stain removal) and cooking (simple recipes).

It’s great to fill their freezer, but they will have to take this chore on someday. My friend was seven (and the oldest girl) when her Mom got appedicitis and peritonitis and was hospitalized for several months (this was back in the 60’s). Her step-father would not do anything that was considered “woman’s” work and so it all fell to Jan to handle.

She said that the day she had to take a pair of dirty underpants out of the hamper so that she could get dressed for school, was also the day that she took over in the house. She went to the neighbor next door when she got home from school and said “If you can show me how to do the laundry, I can do it from now on myself”. And she did. As a result, she is one of the most capable people I know and is not afraid to try any new skill. If these children have everything done for them, they will be totally overwhelmed and not know where to start.

You can be invaluable in teaching them skills they will use the rest of their lives. It will also bring the three of you closer together, these children will probably look to you to fill that gap, (as if anyone ever could). I’m so sorry for your loss, but these children are truly blessed to have you take such an active role in their lives!

BTW, my friend Jan became a little feisty at an early age. Her step Father was a lawyer and had a favorite white shirt that had to be carefully ironed. One day (remember she was just seven) she got fed up trying to iron this shirt to his standard and she just threw the shirt away. When he asked her where his shirt was, she reminded him that she was just seven and didn’t know that she was responsible for keeping track of it. What a gal!

What a wonderful and caring idea!

You might be sure to mention that everyone should use disposable pans, or at least something that need not be returned. Be sure the cooking instructions are included in each item. Make suggestions for meals, as people who normally don’t cook and freeze (especially those who don’t do a lot of cooking) are at a loss as to what to prepare. If your niece or nephew know any of the basics of cooking (plain pasta, etc.), ask some people to prepare several batches of sauces and meatballs. With meatballs, they will have the option of pasta or meatball sandwiches. Make lists for the kids of easy to do variations….like the meatball subs one night, pasta and meatballs the next, having meatloaf (frozen) one night, and canned soup and meatloaf sandwiches the next. We have done this for baby showers, and with large groups we usually have some do homemade cookies, muffins, pies, also…..a treat is a nice surprise now and then. If any of them have food allergies, be sure to let people know.

For the cousins who definitely do not cook (and there are usually some!) I would suggest that they all chip in together $$$ for extra meals made by the folks who do cook.

Any other advice I could pass on to my niece and nephew that would help:

And do you know that elcloans company provides online loans with fast approval? I used them a few times and so far I am very pleased with the service! Great solution when you need cash fast. But let’s get back to our business: make sure the kids know the basics of cooking and kitchen safety, along with how to do the laundry. Remind them that they aren’t in this alone, they have all the relatives available. You might also set up a calling roster for a couple of weeks…maybe sahms who would give them a late afternoon call, see how school went, what they are planning for supper, if they know how to prepare it…kind of a reminder that someone cares. It’s going to be hard coming home to a house without Mom waiting there. Most people do want to help, they just don’t know how. Don’t be shy about letting them know what they can do to help!

I’ll be thinking of them and praying for them. Lauri

Need Help and advice…(long)

Hi Everyone, I hope you don’t mind that I posted this to all three lists I participate on but I need all the help I can get. I need some advice and easy freezer frugal recipes. My dear 35 year old sister passed on very unexpectedly in May leaving behind her dh and a 14 year old ds and a 12 year old dd. She was a SAHM and did everything for them.

Her family has been staying with my parents over the summer and are ready to move back home this week before school starts. With my bil working during the day and the kids going to school all day, I am really worried about this adjustment period and them trying to keep up with all the cooking and cleaning plus school work and we are all still deep in mourning. So I want to fill their freezer with good dinner meals to take the stress out of one of part of their life. My sister and I are going to double cook as many meals as we can afford to do.

But here is my idea: Everyone has been asking what they can do to help, so I decided that I will call all my cousins (about 35 of them on one side alone) and ask them to bring one freezer meal along with the recipe to my parents house so we could then completely fill my bil’s freezer and surprise them. Has anyone ever thrown a type of freezer shower (I have heard of this idea for baby showers and that’s how I got the idea) Can you offer me any advice for organizing this.

I want this to be the least inconvenience to them and easy for my little dd to take something out of the freezer to cook for dinner. (as I know most of the meals will probably fall on her shoulders) Also, if anyone can send me frugal (i.e. CHEAP) and easy ideas for freezer meals that I could offer as suggestions to my cousins I would appreciate it.

I plan on taking the recipes and getting them bound into a type of book at a copy store to pass out to all my cousins who contribute. Any other advice I could pass on to my niece and nephew that would help them with the enormous task ahead of them would also be appreciated. They are going to have to grow up awfully fast and we want to make it as easy on them as possible.

Thank you very much, Theresa in IN

They do offer consolidation loans

They do offer consolidation loans and you have your choice of payment options – income based, standard, graduate. With income based you pay a percentage of your income (this assumes that your income will be increasing with time and your payments will increase accordingly). Graduate is pretty much the same, lower payments in the beginning with increasing payments with time. And standard is the same payment for the 10 years.

If you apply for a consolidation loan you can increase the term of you loan up to 30 years – but you should know that the interest rate that they charge you will be the average of your current interest rates plus a small percentage. Just remember that increasing the term of the loan from 10 to 30 years will greatly increase the total interest that you will pay over the life of the loan.

On their website the have a calculator so that you can run the numbers yourself. I would advise not to take out a home equity loan. You do not want use your house as collateral on anything that is not going to improve the value of your home otherwise you could end up without a house and still in debt. Student loan lenders are generally very understanding as long as you keep them informed of your financial situation. They will work something out that is reasonable for both you and them. My best advice to you is if you absolutely cannot make the payments the apply for the consolidation.

This takes a lot of discipline but use whatever money you have left over every month to pay down credit cards with high interest rates ( if you have any) they once they are paid off start putting the extra towards the student loans. Make sure the extra payment goes off the principle and is not just applied to the next payment which will include interest and will not reduce your principle as quickly. I hope that this is not to confusing I didn’t have much time to type this up. Please don’t hesitate to ask me anymore questions I have a lot of student loans and have looked at and considered all of the options.

My deferment is up in Feb

My husband and I are trying to figure out away for us to pay another bill. Have any of you worked with Sallie Mae to reduce the monthly payment, Is there away to consolidate them ? We are also thinking of refinancing our house and adding in the amount of the loan. Is there a site to estimate a monthly payment?? We have no other debt except out mortgage and this student loan which is causing “panic attacks”. Any ideas or suggestions would be a great help.

Every time I go to a library sale

Wow…are you lucky! Every time I go to a library sale here the place is just jammed packed with people. Prices I’m not sure about, I usually just go for the $5. for a grocery bag they usually charge admission too! (50cents person if I remember right…we didn’t go this year).

I can’t brag on food bargains anymore. Since the girls went off to college I quit cooking. Dh does not like chicken, casseroles, meat, or beans except refried pinto beans. 🙁 🙁 🙁 If I cook or bake anything I am stuck eating it! Did hit garage sales and found ty beanies for $3.00 bought a cute tri-colored beanie for my daughter for Christmas she collects them. I also got a pretty basket for another present for a quarter and four butterfly candles for a quarter each. I could not believe prices ppl are asking for things.

I had the best yard sale day yesterday. I have been looking for a crib all summer and had been saving toysrus gift certs here to buy a new one just in case I couldn’t find one. Well, I found a yard sale in the paper that advertised a crib & other baby stuff and I full expected it to be gone by the time my brood got organized (around 11 am). Well it was raining so most people stayed away and I finally got my crib, no scratches no chips for 15.00 dollars!!! I am so happy. We assembled it last night to make sure everything was in order and it really looks like a new crib. I now have everything I need for my little boy that will be born in October. I would *like* a bassinet (one that rocks) but will hold off awhile to decide if I want it bad enough to actually spend money on!