Thursday. Ipads!

Today is the only day this week I do not have any appointments.  By default, it’s a good day for that reason alone.  I’m cooling down after a particular irritating appointment yesterday.  Once I collect my thoughts, and calm down, I plan to post about our “affordable” health insurance.  That’s probably the one topic these days that can truly set me off!

Anyway, I wanted to drop in and thank everyone for their comments and advice to my previous post.  I greatly appreciate it!!  I’ll address more of those issues another time.  Trying to keep this post more upbeat.  😉

So, I bought an Apple Ipad2 and Ipad Air.  Ridiculous, right?  We’re broke!  Why are we spending money on expensive Apple products?  We’ve been trying to find a cheap tablet for DS2.  Something to load movies on for entertainment during long car rides and even longer waiting room waits before appointments.  His S.PT.O therapists have also suggested a few apps for him to work with.  I figured the Amazon Fire would be our best bet, until yesterday.

I spent $75.  Total.  (Using the cash from the chairs I sold for $150!)  The local school district has decided to transition away from Apple products and move on to Chromebooks.  Now they’re liquidating all their student issued Ipads!!!  $25 for the Ipad2 and $50 for the Ipad Air.  People were filling boxes with tablets.  I was just trying to find ones with good charging ports, no damage, and that would turn on so I could make sure the screen was good.  Obviously this would have been a great chance to stock up for resale.  Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to buy 20 Ipads even at such great prices.

The only reason I bought one of each, instead of just one, was because I had no idea which would be best.   I’m not familiar with tablets.  Not particularly fond of them myself, I type too much, and I find typing on them too frustrating for me.

I tried to do a google search for “Ipad2 vs Ipad Air” but had no cell service in the building.  I arrived just before closing time and the cops were rushing us into the checkout line.  I knew selling the one we didn’t use would be easy.  I posted about the sale and now have friends and family begging to let them know if I’ll sell one!  DH wants to go back in the morning and try to get a few with his extra funds, since he wasn’t with me today.  (I doubt he will, no worries.)

The Ipad2 seem to be selling for around $110 used, Ipad Air fetching between $250 and $400 used.  I had NO idea the Air went for so much.  A couple of teen boys behind me in line had 40 Ipads.  I jokingly asked “so what are you two doing with those?”  I can appreciate the entrepreneurship!  Good for them!

What’s the catch?  A few things.

  • As-is.  No returns.  No refunds.
  • No chargers included.
  • Cash or check only.
  • Some dings on corners, noticeable wear on many.
  • Stickiness on the back from where they removed school labels.
  • Ipad2’s are laser etched with the school district information.

Everything was sold as-is.  No returns, no refunds, period.  (Even when a lady dropped hers as she left, right outside the door – smashed it!!  Poor lady!)   I made sure to check over all the ports and turn on both of the ones I picked out very carefully.  Chargers were not included.   I can get a charger for the Ipad2 for $4.99 shipped on Amazon, and the Ipad Air has the same charging port as my cellphone, and I already have an extra on hand.  I had cash, no issue there.  The ones I chose look great.  Oh, and they included a rubber case for free – although it’s a bit gross, so I’m replacing that with an $11 kid friendly one from Amazon.

The pros far outweighed the cons for me.  I’m excited to have more enjoyable (tolerable! quiet?!) car rides to our next appointments!!!  (He’s a car ride screamer!)   Normally I’d just hand the kid my phone, but I need it for the GPS (Waze) since I’m traveling by myself to new locations.

Just had to share my little win for this week.  🙂

Posted in Family, Savings | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Jobs and Children

I mentioned in my goals update that I am still actively job hunting.  I was.  I think I may have to pause it for awhile.  One of the “in-process” applications has finally updated to “closed” – I assume I was not selected.  A bit of a letdown, as it was a position I was very interested in.

There are two problems that continuously pop up when I’m searching for jobs:

Money.  I need to make a semi-decent wage to cover childcare ($600-$1200 per month) and have enough leftover to bring home.  Wages alone have been depressingly low.  I’m not sure what employers are thinking these days.  They have a list of expected knowledge, experience, demand degrees, then offer $9 an hour.  What an insult.

Flexibility.  The other problem I have is scheduling.  DH is still working nights.  I need to be able to take DS1 to school during the school year.  I’ve only applied for part-time positions.  But the primary reason for part-time is DS2.  At his recent check up, he received nine referrals to specialists.  I hate the label “special needs”, but technically that’s what he falls into.  We’re trying to get the bottom of a potential genetic muscular disorder, and thanks to insurance, we have to jump through hoops to get help.  All these referrals mean lots of appointments and all of them are over an hour away.  I’ll have entire days dedicated to appointments.  So it’s not always something I could do on a lunch hour.

Obviously my kids come first.  But we could desperately use the income.  I’ve joined a few Facebook groups for stay/work at home moms.  Every time someone asks about work ideas, people take it as a chance to blab about their “direct sales” opportunity – aka multi-level marketing – aka pyramid scheme.  I hate that crap!  No, I don’t want to sell Beach Body, or Plexus, or body wraps, or Jamberry, or Tupperware, or Mary Kay, or essential oils.  No! No! No!!!

I could easily get a part-time gig making $7 an hour, but then I’d be negative each week after daycare.  Not worth it.  It’s a dilemma though, that’s for sure.

In the meantime I’m focusing on our house.  Decluttering, setting items aside for a yard sale, posting larger items locally (and dealing with crazies!!!)  I’m considering participating in a children’s consignment sale this fall as well.  I’m still holding out hope that Amazon opens up additional training appointments.

No point to this post, other than frustration I suppose.  I’m trying hard and sometimes my hardest isn’t good enough.  Keep on keepin’ on though!!  Time to drive an hour and a half to a physical and occupational therapy appointment, wish us luck!

Posted in Debt, Extra Income, Family, Goals, Home, Work | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2017 Goals Check In

We’re now half way through 2017 already.   Time for a 2017 goals progress check in.

1.  Sell 3 vehicles.  Buy 1 reliable vehicle for DH.  75% Completed

  • We sold two cars, and still have one more to go.  This is the vehicle with the inexplicable lien that we were waiting on the title for.  Good news is we finally received the title!  Hopefully we can get that cleaned up and sold soon.   And avoid another crap buyer situation!
  • We also managed to purchase DH a reliable, newer vehicle.  Details here.  Not debt free, but a necessary exception for the time being.  Happy with this progress.

2. Sell rental house.  Fail.

3.  Pay off all credit card debt.  Nope.  Womp womp.

  • Trying.  So.  Hard.  Doubtful for 2017.  😦  In fact, due to the damages at the rental property, I foresee us having to go further into debt to get it market-ready, again.

4.  Use rewards credit card(s) towards bills.  50/50 Pass.

  • Kind of.  I actively use our rewards card to pay all utility bills for our home and the rental property.  I also use it for groceries, cellphone bill, and internet bill.  I made about $250 in cash back for the first quarter.

5.  Increase emergency fund from $15,000 to $17,500+.  Not yet.

  • Not quite there yet.  Our savings took a hit with recent rental property repairs.  I’m still hoping we can get to $17,500, but it isn’t looking so good right now.

6.  Host a garage sale.  Participate in consignment sale.  Minimize belongings.  Nope.

  • Not yet, but we’ve been slowly sorting and moving things to the garage in hopes of having a yard sale within a couple of months.

7.  Vacation.  PASS!!!

  • Road trip – DONE!  Need to write up a recap with some pictures.  Being home 24/7 with the kids makes updating difficult.  By the time they’re in bed, I’m wiped out!

8.  Keep job hunting.  Meh.

  • Ongoing.  I have applied for 3 jobs.  Accepted for one (Amazon), but no further training has opened up.  The other 2 still show my applications as ‘processing’.

9.  Monthly meal plan – save more on food.  Doing well.

  •  I’ve stuck with my Wal-Mart Grocery Pick-Up service.  It keeps my bill so much lower, because I’m not throwing random junk in my cart while roaming the store!  Best thing we’ve ever done.  If I have coupons or there are Ibotta rebates for items we use, I will go into a store, but stick strictly to those items.

10. Misc: Adjust direct deposit. Wills. Diversify stock. SAHM Retirement.  Ha.

  • Nope.  I haven’t even had time to look into these!

11. House goals: organize, declutter, and clean.  Eh?

  • This pretty much goes hand in hand with goal #6 of having a yard sale.  We’re slowly working our way through clutter.  I’ve been good about keeping the house clean.  I’ll give myself a pat on that back for that.

I’m not where I was hoping we would be.  Beginning of the year I was focused and ready to attack our debt.  Then life kept throwing curveballs and I can only handle so many being thrown my way at once.  Ultimately the rental property has been a time, money, and energy suck.  It’s the major piece of our journey that is preventing us from attaining many of these goals.  When I get down in the dumps, my focus takes a dive, and that doesn’t help our finances either.

We’ll work through it!  We always do.  I sold 4 chairs that came with my Craigslist find dining set for $150 last night.  I was pretty happy about that!  Every penny counts.

Posted in Debt, Goals | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Rental House Update – Money Pit!

As soon as my post published about insurance covering all the water heater flood damage, were we hit with more bad news.

First, my insurance adjuster is a liar.  Basically insurance isn’t covering every thing.  In fact, they’re barely covering anything at all.  The $1,000 I had already paid out for repairs was not included, and therefore I have to be out another $1,000 for my deductible.  That’s $2,000!!!  The insurance estimate was just over $5,000, so $4,000 after deductible.  About $3,600 of that is for the water mitigation service, leaving me with $400 to replace flooring in three rooms, drywall, paint, baseboards, etc.  NOT HAPPY!!!

I immediately appealed these decisions.  The adjuster lied so much, nothing he said was covered actually was.  In response to my appeal he kept referring to my contractor.

“I met you and your contractor at the property on June xx, and we all discussed the damages and course of action for repairs.”

What?  I don’t have a contractor?  I was by myself!

“As for the flooring, have your contractor provide samples of like-flooring and take pictures from above and below the stairs.”

Again, what contractor?  What the hell is he talking about?  There are six more emails and two voicemails in which he refers to my contractor and how they discussed details of repairs.  I thought he was confused and have corrected him four times.  He is still referring to how he met my contractor and I at the property.  LIES!!

Anyway, that issue is still being dealt with.  They sneakily cut my check AFTER I appealed.  I guess they’re hoping I’m stupid enough to deposit the check and screw myself over.  Not happening.

After that nonsense went down, my relative that is renting the house send me a text:

“I think something awful is happening.”

Every time they flushed the toilets, it would back up into the tubs.  At first they said they think the septic is full.  That would be a long shot, as we had that pumped out in 2016 right before we moved.  It was determined to be a clog.

DH went over there and snaked the toilet for hours.  He managed to clear out wads and wads of paper towels and what appear to be Clorox cleaning wipes?!  Still wouldn’t flush or drain.  Based on the clog evidence we told relative this was a user issue, not a house issue, and therefore their responsibility.

(DH spent his entire Father’s Day trying to get this fixed!!!!)

Two days later a plumber makes it out and sure enough, huge clog caused by paper towels and “cloth-like material”.  Unbelievable.  Instead of accepting responsibility for their roommates screw ups, relative tries to pin it on us:

“Well the plumber said the clog was black grease and that it had been building up for years and years.”

Ha!  Lies!!  The entire septic system is brand new (3 years) and all plumbing was replaced and cleaned in 2016.  Black grease from what?  For years?  Impossible.  We advised relative to charge the roommates for the bill and left it at that.

Sorry, but I am not being held responsible for a $600 bill for people being idiots and flushing stuff they shouldn’t.  Especially after I’m out $2,000+ to deal with the flood their stupid asses somehow didn’t notice for over a week.

I am done.  So done!!!  There is less than $1,000 left in our checking account and I feel sick to my stomach about it.  No debt progress this month.  😦

I always had an interest in rental properties as passive income.  Unfortunately I will never, ever rent a property ever again.  Nothing but a money pit and careless people who can’t respect others properties.

Also, rent was due the 10th.  I haven’t seen a dime yet.  Sigh.

Posted in Rental Property | Tagged | 4 Comments

Rental House ‘Flood’ Claim – Approved!

This week has been non-stop.  I’ve been single handedly dealing with the kids, several appointments, and the rental house saga.  Not to mention I still have to prep for DS2’s birthday party this weekend!

I do have good news to report though!  My insurance company is covering the damage at my old house (currently rented out by a family member.)  My insurance adjuster came out the other morning to assess the damage and insisted I have a water mitigation company come out.  The adjuster originally estimated my “substantial claim” to be around $7,000, but after pulling my receipts, I’m expecting it to be higher than that.

I am so thankful that the water mitigation company is billing my insurance company directly, because there was no way we could afford that up front.  Their estimate was $2500-$3100 for their services!  They ended up tearing up all the flooring the same day, setting up fans, a dehumidifier, and doing moisture tests every day for 3-5 days.  Meaning I’m having to drive 45 minutes (one way) to meet them out there every day this week.  I did have to pay the water heater installer out of pocket for parts and plumbing.

My deductible is $1,000. Out of pocket I have paid for the following:

  • $600 – Water Heater + Install (billed to cc)
  • $40 – Expansion Tank(billed to cc)
  • $25 – Hooks Ups for Water Heater (billed to cc)
  • $125 – Shut Off Valve (during install)(billed to cc)
  • $350 – Plumbing (during install – pipes were 1/2″, code requires 3/4″) (cash)
  • Total Spent: $1,140.00

I’ve more than met my deductible.  My insurance adjuster is also putting in to have all our flooring replaced.  The house is a split-level set up.  There are three stairs doing to the lower level, which flooded, but the floor is continuous from the main level.  Therefore, they are planning to cover a complete replacement, even though the main floor is perfectly fine.  Since this particular flooring is no longer available, they have to cover the full replacement, since it’s an open, continuous area.  I pulled my receipts from our remodel in 2014, and flooring came to $5,338!

Adjuster is also estimating for steps to be stained to match, new drywall, trim, new carpet in the bedroom, the water heater, parts, install, mitigation, home deodorizing (due to mildew smell), and a few other things I have forgotten.  I’m still awaiting his official email.  Oh, tile.  We may have to completely replace the tile in the laundry/utility room and bathroom, as it has a high moisture rating.  I’m hoping that’s not the case, and the mitigation company can dry it all out.  Unfortunately the other flooring could not be save, as it had completely buckled/warped.

I admit I am shocked at what they are taking into consideration for this claim.  And to think I wasn’t even going to bother filing!  Obviously between flooring replacement and the water mitigation, it will be well above $7,000.

I’ll put this money in a separate account until my renter moves out.  Aiming for February 2018.  I replaced the water heater immediately, of course, but I am not putting down new flooring for them to ruin.  Proven carelessness, plus six dogs, and four cats – NO, just no.  Have I mentioned I was not aware of most of these animals??  I also took pictures to document all the damage from animals!!  That’s a whole other problem though.

This experience has taught me that I never, ever want to be a landlord again!  I am dreading having to spend thousands – again – just to get it listed in the spring!  Kudos to you landlords, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Posted in Debt, Rental Property | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Welcome Home…

We’re renting our old house to a family member.  Huge mistake, for so many reasons, but this one takes the cake.  Family member told us a couple days ago that they “thought” they heard dripping water under the kitchen sink.  They were here at the time, and we said to call us when they got home if it was still dripping.  Not a word.

Last night we get a text asking to come check out a potential leak in the floor.  We asked where and if there was any visible water:  “no, I just hear a drip every now and then”. We were busy and asked if we could come tomorrow: “no big deal, whenever you can make it out this week.”

I decided we should stop by after our errands last night and I am so glad we did.  I cannot put into words how angry I am.  The sink isn’t leaking.  The floor isn’t leaking.  The damn water heater is leaking, and not just a tiny leak, and certainly not a new development.  It was sitting in 3″ of water.

IMG_8019This has obviously been going on for awhile.  ALL the flooring on the lower floor is buckled and completely destroyed.  This is brand new flooring we installed before moving!!  Completely ruined.  The second I saw the floor (see pic?) I knew it was buckled, you cannot miss it.  BUT!  When you STEP ON IT…water comes gushing out!  HOW DO YOU NOT NOTICE THIS?  Or the water all over the floor in the laundry room?  I mean REALLY!!!!  How stupid can you be?  “Not a big deal”…….!!!!

We ran to Lowe’s last night and dropped $600 on a new water heater and install.  I’m not replacing that damn floor until the family member moves the hell out.  I’m assuming there’s enough damage to make it worthwhile to file a homeowner’s insurance claim.  The flooring alone is $2,000+ in materials, not including the labor costs.

Welcome home!  Our bad luck streak continues lol.

 

Posted in Rental Property | Tagged | 4 Comments

Road Trip Completed!

I survived our “vacation” and now I could use a vacation to make up for that “vacation”.  I painfully underestimated the difficulty my nearly two year old would bring.  We made the best of it, had a great time, very little sleep, and lots of screaming, but it was a fun-ish five days.  Also, we fell in love with the state of Tennessee!  I didn’t think it’d be much different from where we live, but it sure is!

I haven’t organized my receipts into my spreadsheet yet, but I’m pretty sure we stayed on budget, since I have nearly $200 left in my purse.

Now we’re home and getting back into our normal routine.  I’m happy we came home a couple of days before DH goes back to work.  Always good to have some time to decompress.  I can already feel his tension in going back to work.

I’ll recap our trip, the budget, our potential plans, and more in the coming weeks.  Summer weather has arrived and we’ve been storm-free for two whole days!  That means lots of pool time.  (It’s fun and wears out the kids!)

Posted in Family, Travel, Vacation | Tagged , , | 5 Comments