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Archive for August, 2012

Update

August 26th, 2012 at 02:47 pm

This will be an attempt to add pictures.







I do hope you can see my new place (almost)! I have to say, the pictures don't do it justice. It is a very cute condo!

I had a few hair-raising days when the loan processor first called and asked to see a bank balance higher than I was expecting. In a tizzy, I called my lender, and we agreed together that I would be happier with a lower down payment. Since I had offered an aggressively high down payment, I am still in good shape. The new plan raises my monthly mortgage by about $100. Since it is ridiculously low already, that's not a problem for me.

Now I think everything is on track.

I spent this weekend doing some packing -- books, decorative items, etc. I used up all my boxes, so I'm done till I can get more.

I'm still planning on going to a wedding in Florida next weekend, but it is right in the area where Isaac (is that the right name?) will hit. I think he will be done by the time I fly on Friday, but I am hoping he is overrated.

Frugal things: the other day I was thinking to myself on my drive to work, I'm wearing a top I bought secondhand at least ten years ago. And I still like it! And it still looks good. Then I drove by what looked like spilled onions on the curb in front of a row of restaurants. Well, I wasn't so frugal that I stopped and picked them up -- there was too much traffic.

But yesterday, I was walking to the dumpster and saw a bunch of fresh grapes on the ground. I walked past them, but on the way back, I thought, what the heck, they wash! And they were clearly very fresh and just dropped. So I picked them up and washed them thoroughly and put some of them into a chicken salad, which I ate. And I'm feelin' fine, so I will use the rest of them in a chicken-grape skillet dish I like to make.

I've been using my Amazon credits -- a wedding gift for next week, and two baby shower gifts. I sure am enjoying "free" shopping.

Oh, and yesterday I walked to the supermarket to fill a prescription (with my Flex card) and I found .12 on the way. So, exercise, no gas usage, no spending, and a little tip!

Update

August 19th, 2012 at 05:49 am

The contract was signed, the loan is in the works. Every time I turn around someone else is asking for money. I thought I had enough for fees, but I realize now I was naive. I've bought two houses in the past, but I don't remember fees of this volume and this amount. Of course, the first time, my husband handled most of it, and the second time, it was an FHA loan, which is different. Still, I'm nervous.

I'm also nervous because my down payment is in cyberspace. The money doesn't show up now either in my bank or in my retirement fund #2, where I'm taking it from. Yes, I've checked on it, and I am assured that everything is okay, but soon the loan officers will be looking at my accounts and I want them to see the money!

I went for the home inspection yesterday, and the inspector had a lot to say about the building -- it was built in 1920, so it doesn't meet many of the standards of modern building. Things that can't really be changed, like the height of the rails on the stairways, and such. But people buy there all the time, so I don't think those issues will stop me. The unit itself did pretty well, except for some screens that need replacing. He pointed out that the glass in the kitchen cabinets is not tempered glass, and that the swinging door might pinch fingers. Duh! I guess I can appreciate that he was thorough.

Maybe next time I'll post pictures. I'm a little too stressed right now to learn something new.

Verbal agreement

August 15th, 2012 at 10:53 am

The seller verbally agreed to sell the condo for $111,000. The contract is now being finalized. Pending loan approval, the condo is mine!

I tried to post pictures, but clearly I don't know how to do it. Any advice? (Hint -- I am very technically-challenged).

The inspection is already set for Saturday morning. I am planning to put down $50,000, which will make my mortgage payment under $300. Assessment fees are $339 monthly, and taxes are around $3600 annually (but my realtor says I can get that reduced because of my age. I'll have to look into that).

Since I can't give you pictures, I'll tell you that it is a one-bedroom one-bathroom unit with hardwood floors throughout, except for tile in the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, white country cupboards with glass, and a darling booth. The doorways are all arched. There is a roomy dining room with a built-in corner cupboard. Windows on east and west. Two big storage closets. All the wall colors are soft and pretty. It is move-in ready! And it is just one block over from where my grandchildren live. Sweet!

The minute I walked in there, I felt it was already mine. It is that good a fit. Even my daughter-in-law kept saying, "It looks just like you!"

So now I am alternately joyful and terrified!

In other news, I bought two bras last night at Kohl's. They were 40% off and I had a 15% off coupon so I saved more than 50%.

And a found a quarter!


I found my condo

August 12th, 2012 at 05:17 pm

Now I just have to buy it!

On Friday night I looked at two, and both were good, but one was ... perfect!

I liked everything about it -- location, price, decor, layout. Only two drawbacks -- it's on the second floor and there is no in-unit washer/dryer. Both I can live with.

I put a call into my lender and left a message; hopefully he will get the ball rolling on Monday.

I've also started the process of transferring the down payment from my retirement fund #2 to my credit union. That will take 5 business days.

In other news, I celebrated my birthday on Saturday. My kids took me out to a hibachi restaurant and for a helicopter ride -- both awesome! -- and gave me some books.

I spent $44 on gas and $7 on fruit. I was able to use coupons totaling $5 on the fruit, so that was a good deal. I also gave my son $15 toward school supplies for his son. Not much, but it will help a little.

Today I stayed home and rested. I cooked off some mushrooms and green pepper to use this week. I also got down on my hands and knees and cleaned the floors in the bathroom and kitchen -- sorely needed! And did some vacuuming and dusting.

I put more books on half.com.

AND I found .04 this weekend!

Dinner in the City

August 9th, 2012 at 07:04 am

Last night three friends and I went downtown for a dinner at the upscale restaurant where my son works. Two of us decided to take the train and the bus to get there. What an adventure that turned out to be! We listened to the wrong advice about where to catch the bus, and ended up missing three buses before we walked to a different stop got on the right one. Then we got off too early and had a long walk. Catching the bus back to the train station after dinner went much better, but while on the train, we got to talking and missed our stop! We got off in the suburb where my friend lives, which didn't really help since her car was parked at work, two suburbs back, but she called a friend to pick us up. Here's the really weird part. While we were waiting, she glanced over at an adjacent parking lot and her daughter was just parking there! Mother and daughter had just come together at the same place and time totally by coincidence! So her daughter took us back to our cars and her friend was off the hook.

The dinner was amazing! My son served us complimentary appetizers and desserts (my birthday is coming up is the reason)and gave us his employee discount! I also had a gift card to throw into the mix, so we ended up with very lavish meals for a small price. My own share was $14 and that included my share of a generous tip. The meal was cheaper than the transportation to get there, which, between the train and the bus, was $14.50.

Next month the same group will get together at a Cuban restaurant.

I also made plans to have dinner with a former boss at a local chop house on the 21st. I have a voucher for that -- $25 off of a $50 purchase -- so we can each get a meal for only $12.50. Or a little more, if we order more expansively.

I'm not even going to try to get in under $300 this month, but I've done it for three months in a row, I think, so the purpose of the experiment has been served. I know I can do it if I have to.

On Friday night I'm going to look at two more condos, and on Saturday (my birthday) my son is going to take me up in his helicopter. I'm not crazy about flying, but I am pretty sure it will be amazing!

Spending to save

August 8th, 2012 at 09:41 am

Yesterday I got into a bit of spending to save. I try to keep from doing that, but sometimes I can't stop myself!

I got an email from Deals Magazine with a code worth $5.00 on their account. So I captured it, and looked for something to spend $5.00 on. I chose a Lowe's voucher, $5 for $10 worth of merchandise, thinking, oh, aren't I smart! Well, the $5 I had in my account did not apply to "this special deal." I couldn't figure out how to back out, so I went ahead and processed the deal. I have not yet received the voucher, either.

Then I got an email from AmazonLocal selling an $8 voucher to a local gourmet hamburger restaurant which will purchase $16 worth of food. I went for that, because the place is right down the street, and I can use it when my kids come over. However, I have to use it before December, and I have to REMEMBER to use it. I DID get my voucher for that.

I've got to stop reading my email.

I noticed my brakes were a bit shaky on my trip, so I have to get that checked out. The local Toyota dealer is offering 20% off for work done on Wednesdays, if it's a result of their free 21-point inspection. I'm thinking of doing that next Wednesday. Today I'm booked -- dinner downtown. That will be pricey. My friends and I are planning to take a train and bus to get there, thus avoiding the traffic and valet parking costs. Not sure if it will really be cheaper that way, but everyone is up for the adventure.

A few money-related things

August 7th, 2012 at 07:20 am

I have been informed that I will get a 1% raise in January. Guess it's better than nothing! I think it will give me about $450 more a year.

I forgot to mention that I found .22 on my trip.

I will have to do more grocery shopping this month to take advantage of dollars-off coupons I earned with my buys last Sunday. The promos said, for example, "$$$ off on your next grocery trip if you buy three..." However, the expiration date on the coupon turned out to be quite short. Not sure it was worth it.

I defrosted the salmon and made salmon patties last night, adding mayo, a torn-up slice of health bread, and an egg. Fried it in butter and served it with a dollop of Taco Bell Ranchero sauce, and it was delicious!

Tonight I'm going to make an apple-bacon burger and fry up the rest of the ground beef.

I had my last physical therapy session today. Now I just have to keep doing the exercises. It's possible I will have to have more therapy after the surgery, and the insurance company will only allow so many physical therapy sessions within a calendar year, so I thought I'd better be conservative on this side of the surgery.

One of my co-workers came to me yesterday to ask about the financial capacity of a man she met on Match.com. (As a development researcher, I have access to wealth-assessment tools -- very limited, I might add). As a favor, I did a quick look-up and gave her good news, and then she confided that he was really too old for her, and then she added, "I have plenty of rich guys my own age chasing me." I'm only telling you this so I can roll my eyes.

She IS way too young for this guy, but obviously he was asking to see younger women. He's older than I am, but I have no doubt he would consider me way beyond the pale. What is it with men? I don't consider men half my age to be good mates, and I don't think most women do. Methinks men are not looking at the whole person, wink wink.

Home again!

August 6th, 2012 at 10:21 am

I'm home from Minneapolis. I took the day off from the computer yesterday and spent the day doing laundry, etc. but now I'm back!

It was a wonderful conference, and meeting Ceejay was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. She's just as nice in person as she is on the blog. I recommend SA meetups for everyone!

This morning I did some reckoning up. Total cost of the conference trip was $888, but I should get $643 back, as the College agreed to pay for the hotel. I'm kind of nervous because I didn't get that in writing, but I turned in my travel report this morning, and I think they should be impressed that I paid my own travel and food expenses.

Since I got home, I spent $249! Wonder if a $300 challenge this month will even be viable. I spent $147 on groceries, $40 on pet supplies, $10 on medicine, $4 for a drip pan, $8 for a lamp (to replace a broken one), and $40 for donations. I also bought a little $6 gift for my grandson, but since it is a future birthday gift, it comes out of my gift fund and not the $300 challenge.

I'm going out to eat with friends on Thursday at the restaurant where my son works. It is a high-end seafood, steak, prime rib restaurant, so it won't be cheap. But it will be fun. It will probably take the last of the $51 I have left. So I just don't think the challenge will fly this month.

However, I'm not going to use that as an excuse to spend freely. I'm just going to see how close I can come.

My head is whirling!

August 2nd, 2012 at 07:01 pm

I've only been to two sessions so far, but they were both information-rich. And each session was 90 minutes long, which is a bit beyond my attention span. But I'm trying to let it all sink in because I really need help on my job, and this conference is what will help me.

But on to money matters...

First of all -- free internet access because I belong to Hilton's HHonor Club. Yea!

And I won $1 at a vendor's booth. Got a free breakfast and lunch today and free Sun Chips and hummus at the Farmer's Market.

And, I found two pennies.

But I'm spending. I stopped for gas twice on the trip and spent $61. I also stopped for breakfast and lunch. I spent $8 at the Stockholm Inn in Rockford, Illinois. I got my Swedish pancakes and sausage. For lunch I stopped at Culver's and got a double cheeseburger for $6. The cheeseburger made me too full to stop at Nordske Nook for pie, so I guess that was a good thing.

Last night there was a welcome reception with hors d'oeuvres, so I made that my dinner. I even got a free glass of wine.

Tonight I went out to dinner with other attendees from my state. We went to a restaurant called The News Room, and I had coconut shrimp for $22. Quite a big serving, and very good.

And tomorrow I'm going out to lunch with Ceejay, as she already told you! I can hardly wait!