Pre-parenting: A Craiglist win

We just paid what felt like an awful lot of money for a used crib. It was the one that PiC liked best from all the research that he did, so I had to hop online, find out what it would have cost new, and how much we would have saved for a new but less fancy crib.

Assumptions: if we bought all of this new, we’d be paying tax, but probably not shipping because paying for shipping is against my online shopping rules (unless it’s drastically cheaper even with shipping).

If we’d gone the IKEA route, we’d probably have bought the more expensive version with the drawers underneath because I’m a fan of underbed storage, and spent: basic crib, $200; mattress, $60-100; and add in a few sheet sets at say, $6-10 each.
Approx. total with tax: $330-375

The retail costs for the crib that we chose were: crib (without all the convertible options) $799; mattress, $199; 4 sets of fitted cotton sheets, $39/each; 1 set of waterproof sheets, $49; 1 bed skirt, $49?; 1 bumper (I couldn’t find the bumper that we actually got but it’s much nicer than the ones I could find online so I assume same price or more), $149+.
Total with tax: ~ $1500

I didn’t do a used-Ikea comparison because while their stuff is fine new, I don’t think it tends to hold up well after one or two cycles of kids so I wouldn’t have gone that route.

There were a few reasons that I ended up liking this crib best, over an IKEA semi-equivalent: it’s a bit smaller than the standard crib sizes which is better in our cramped living quarters; it’s really easy to move around so that means less claustrophobia AND less frustration for me. That alone is worth a bit of money. And down the line, there is some decent resale value to be had with this nicer model, even used.

What we paid: $500.

That’s no insignificant amount of money, but I’m now comfortable with paying a little over $100 more for a piece of solid furniture that fits best in our space.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterCare to share?

Just a little (link) love: Kangaroo+dog edition

LinkLive

CAREER + MONEY THINGS

Funny how, when blogs are usually my first resource, I didn’t spend that much time reading up on the experiences of real estate bloggers. This set of guidelines from Paula of Afford Anything were really nicely straightforward and easy to understand. I didn’t follow at least one of them but maybe for the next one!

Fast Company interviews Tristan Walker: The Visible Man

Fast Company: “Just Being Who We Are Is Extremely Risky”: An Honest Discussion On Race In Silicon Valley

FUN THINGS

I ran across this link Neil Gaiman shared ages ago: free stories!

When you need a puppy rolling off things.

Big Dogs are lapdogs too.

LEGO Minifig: Every Cord is Awesome

INTERESTING THINGS

For Pregnant Marathoners, Two Endurance Tests
I’m hugely impressed by these marathoners.

Crying is one part of coping.

Teaching small children about respecting others

Warren Ellis: Greenwich Mean Time

Phil Plait on the death by one thousand cuts aka sexism in science (and a hell of a lot of other places).

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterCare to share?

Net Worth & Money News: November 2014

DollarSign

Change from October: 1.67% increase

Change from January: (367.80% total); 1.05% decrease

On Money

I’m working away at Swagbucks to earn Amazon money for household, Little Bean, and dog things we need. Feel free to join using my referral link if you like!

***

We’ve nearly recouped the investment losses from last month. See, nothing to worry about.

***

Chatting with J.Money about his Craigslist challenge, I realized we’d been doing pretty darn well at it ourselves. (We = PiC, but I get to claim…. writer/banker credit?) I proudly present The Craigslist Sales Tracker!

This changed to Our Sales Tallies and then again to Our Side Money Tracker. Like anything with money, it keeps evolving. Check out our progress page in the top navigation bar there.

***

Venturing into I-Bonds: I have been what you might call “a lazy git” at maximizing certain investing avenues. Jonathan’s regular update reminded me that I’d always intended to start buying I-Bonds and with CDs paying so little in the “basically-cash” investment vehicles category, now was a decent time to get in there.

Buying right before the end of October means that if I keep the I-Bond over a year, which I plan to, it’ll earn 1.94%.

I maxed out my contribution limit and am waiting to see what the new rate in November will be. If it’s a decent rate, I’ll max out PiC’s contribution limit.

***

Investing is where my head’s been lately. I know it’s all slow and steady wins the game but I’m a bit twitchy.  Reminders that we have quite a few irons in the fire and it will be ok:

I-Bonds – one bond to have and to hold til a better almost-cash vehicle comes along.
CDs - a strange CD ladder: one will CD mature next year, four will mature in 2016, and the last one matures in 2019. Never let me build an actual ladder for you.
Real Estate – one property with a trickle of cash flow.
Stock Portfolio – tiny, but growing.
Retirement accounts – his and hers, medium-sized.

***

We all knew this was coming but with the increase in property value? Yep. Increased property taxes. To the tune of $700. OUCH.

By the way, not that I’m complaining, but it’s a little weird that the actual Payment Is Delinquent date is more than a month after the due date, isn’t it?

***

We’re looking down the barrel of nearly $1500 in increased medical insurance costs for 2015.

***

Mr and Mrs PoP asked an interesting question about how comfortable you’d be sharing your income. I’m not totally sure that anyone’s actually interested in reading these Net Worth posts but I’m still on the fence about declaring actual numbers. Seems like it’d be more useful (to me) but I’m not sure. Pros? Actual milestones!

Cons? We’re not poor anymore, not the way I used to be, so it makes me wonder (like Abby did a couple months ago) whether I’d be alienating people by sharing our actual numbers and progress. Your thoughts?

***

On Life

We celebrate three years of marriage this year. I don’t think that I’d ever anticipated coming around to the notion of having kids or being this content with our family life. We’re not about excitement and big thrills, we’re happiest spending quiet time together and getting things done. And on occasion, a bit of fancy food to commemorate how far we’ve come.

Cake

We’re lucky and grateful to have met and, over time, become good fits for each other. I don’t think it was anything as arcane as “meeting the one” so much as learning how to mesh our lives.  Sure we started out as a couple that really clicked but that doesn’t make a life. We worked hard at making our differences work for instead of against us, and making each other’s needs a priority. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort.

 

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterCare to share?

Big steps, little steps & the Side Money Tracker!

A five minute geeky money chat with J.Money inspired this post. Most of the time, I just take our savings as a routine thing and forget that creative stuff to bring money back in that’s not just job-centered is fun.

Yes, I’m still all about the big wins in money:

  • Increasing salary (then increasing it again).
  • Building a solid professional reputation that helps catapults you from one serious promotion to another.
  • Slashing costs for things like cell phones, cable, internet.

Over 15 years, spanning retail to professional office work, busting my butt on those bullet points resulted in killing off a huge pile of debt and then making savings happen. This is Excellent.

But I absolutely do not scoff at the little money. I’ll take a minute to:

  • Ask for a discount.
  • At checkout for items that are imperfect.
  • Get a refund on a late fee or whatever fee.

That stuff adds up quickly over time if you ignore it which is antithetical to my policy of My Money is My Money. Note: Fees are no longer the absolute devil BUT if I’m going to pay one, it’ll be for something of value like a travel rewards credit card that makes rewards redemption easy and is stellar at handling disputes.

While we are somewhat conscientious about not buying crap we don’t need, over time, you find that “need” was really a “want” or that people gifted you things they thought were needs but were really “eh?” etc.

And so Crap Accumulates. In getting rid of it, mostly I’m happy to donate the little things but we have a lot of bigger things this round, and so PiC took on the job of Craigslisting. Craigslist is where he lives on the internet.

So add to the list, for entertainment’s sake:

  • Earning via programs like Swagbucks and CC rewards.
  • Craigslisting!

Y’all, that man has been on a ROLL unloading the stuff we unearthed during The Purge (still ongoing).  He does all the work, brings me the cash and I log it in Mint. And now I’ll log it here!

We didn’t set anything like J. Money’s Craigslist Rule (List 1 item for sale on Craiglist every week) since this is more of an EVERYTHING MUST GO approach.

Benefit #1 is the cash coming in, of course.
Benefit #2 is the space it’s clearing up.
Benefit #3 is the demonstration the cost of buying things (new) that you don’t actually need. Resale is not what you’d generally call competitive. Though, probably just to needle me, PiC decided to call it “renting” goods. *scowl*

After setting this page up, I was inspired to add a couple tables of my own.

For those, on a much smaller level, I’m recouping some change by selling little things and earning non-taxable gift card rewards as part of my daily routine.  As much as buying discounted gift cards saves some cash for important things, so does earning gift cards outright for those piddling household things that add up. As much as the masochistic part of me likes to wander through say, Target, and gawk at things I really don’t need, we’re all better off if I spend that time doing something else.

 

 

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterCare to share?