:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: garage sale

Facing The Harsh Reality (Re-Do!)

by

Edited: HUGE thanks to those of you who reached out after my last post completely disappeared! It seems silly because its such a trivial thing compared to real-world issues, but I was SO BUMMED when I thought the post was gone! I really appreciate those of you who took screen shots, typed up word docs, and provided links so I could re-access this content! I’m sorry I can’t re-publish the previous comments, but at least the content was saved! THANK YOU! <3

This was a tough one for me to write and to post. I’m about to let you take a peep into our current financial situation. It’s not pretty. I appreciate constructive feedback, but go easy on me!

I’ve already talked about a dozen times about how our finances got out-of-control over the summer months. Everything was fine through April-ish. But then a perfect storm hit that we did not weather very well. First, my final paycheck from my part-time job was in April (even though I worked into May, my contract was written with 4 lump sum payments and the final one was paid out in April). Just like that, we were down $3,000/month (that’s how much my part-time job paid. Note – I had to leave my part-time job because I got a big raise at my full-time job and had to sign a non-compete).

Hubs’ income from his company had been dwindling for months as he was back in school full-time and only had one crew working for him. He continued to pay for all his business (and personal) expenses, but when his licenses and insurances all came up for renewal the best option for us was to call it quits. By mid-June, he was out of money and all his expenses (that he’d previously budgeted and paid for separately out of his business income) needed to be included in the regular household budget. We lost his income and added a few line-items to the “expenses” portion of our budget (specifics in a future blog post).

Our income had plummeted overnight.

We’d grown accustomed to an income of over $10,000/month! And then, just like that, we were down to an income of only about $3,000/month (my take-home pay from my full-time job). We basically kept on spending like it was business as usual. My raise would go into effect mid-August. I thought that if we could just hold out until September (my first full month at my new rate of pay), that we’d be golden! I was expecting to have a huge bump in my take-home pay. I was hired at $55k and when my raise went into effect I’d be at a $95k salary (in 2 years’ time!). I thought my take-home would be over $5,000/month – somewhere in the $5-6k range (note: I have a lot of automatic payroll deductions – see more here).

What I did NOT expect was that my first paycheck with my raise (for 2 weeks of work) would only be $2269. We’re talking under $4500/month. Nearly a thousand per month under what I’d been anticipating, and less than half of what we’d grown accustomed to bringing home.

I spent a lot of time in August (after that first paycheck) looking at our budget trying to make sense of it and see how I could make it work. From an objective perspective, I know $4500/month is a lot of money. Many families get by with half that amount! When I first started blogging, our household income was only $4,000/month so we’d done it before! And that was when our babies were in diapers still! Surely we could do it again!

But the numbers just didn’t work. Our lifestyle had become inflated. Our budget was bloated. We’d picked up a lot of monthly payments that didn’t used to exist (more on that in a future post). And no matter how I tried to look at it, our expenses exceeded our income.

 

And so, we continued to live on credit cards.

The blog was just purchased by its new owner at that time. I didn’t know if I’d even be blogging anymore. So, I gave up. Without the public accountability and with our financial situation seeming so bleak, I didn’t think it could be done. I didn’t see a way to win.

Fast forward to today. Last month (September) was the first month that we were able to balance our budget since April. For four months (May – August), we were in the negative every month and supplementing our lack of income by relying on credit.

We’re still not in a good place.

Although we didn’t go into the red last month, it was just barely by the skin of our teeth! I had to implement that surprise No Spend Week the last week of the month. And, oh yeah, September was a 3-paycheck month!!! How will we do it with a normal (2-paycheck) month? How can we get by on our current income?

I did change my payroll deductions so I have a slightly higher take-home pay. Instead of $2269, my paychecks are now $2440. Among other things, we also have a huge tax debt we owe. I could adjust my withholdings to get a little more back per check but am purposely not doing so until the tax debt has been paid in full. It’s going to be awhile.

Bottom line, we need to get a budget in which we are somehow living on $4880/month. At this point, our expenses exceed that amount. Heck, our debt obligations alone are over a third of that! It’s kind of scary stuff still.

We’re committed to cutting back in many places. Hubs finishes his personal training course this month and will hopefully be able to land a part-time job. And we’ll supplement in the mean-time by selling everything we can to try to earn some side-cash and STOP increasing our debt by living on credit. Gulp!

More concrete budget details to come.


Peeking in to say Hello!

by

After a whirlwind trip to Utah (one full day up; one full day back; only 2 days there), I’m back in Tucson and back at work.

I am eternally grateful that all of these issues are popping up during summer when I have a pretty flexible schedule. Even so, it’s been tough to keep up with work, as I missed 3 days the first week of June (for my grandmother’s funeral), had one solid week back at work, then missed another 3 days last week for my Dad’s house clear out. This week is also a short week, as my Mom flies in on Thursday to help celebrate the girls’ 4th birthday with us this weekend. I’m still treading water, but just barely.

Also, hubs just received word this morning that his grandfather has passed away (if you read this post, you know that this was expected as his grandfather has been on hospice and not doing well). Fortunately (if you can even call these things “fortunate”???), his grandfather specifically requested to be cremated and have no funeral. His only wish was to have his ashes spread on his family land out in Luling, Texas. My husband plans to go back to Texas to be with his mom at that time, but it will be awhile. Basically, my mother-in-law is in the process of buying a home right now (her closing date is set on July 15), and she wants to wait until she’s closed on the house to spread the ashes because she wants my husband to do some flooring work in her new house (remember, hubs is a flooring contractor), and it just makes his life easier to make one trip (for the ashes AND floors at same time) rather than having to make multiple/separate trips. It’s a bit unconventional, but mom-in-law was an only child so there’s no one opposing the plan and it’s what works best for her so I guess that will be happening in about a month. We haven’t decided yet for sure, but I believe the girls and I will stay in Tucson at that time (of course, the family makes a plea for us to go back any chance we get, but – well, work. Like, that thing that pays our bills and keeps a roof over our heads. So, yeah.)

The passing of hubs’ grandfather does have a (very) small monetary benefit to us. He wrote in his will that each of the grandchildren should receive $1,000 from his estate. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

For those who asked about the estate sale, let me give a super quick update.

Basically, it went “okay.” I was so terrified of a potentially huge turnout that I didn’t advertise widely. I only put it on a single Facebook yard sale site (with 3500 members) and advertised it as being Thursday night and Friday morning. I was able to have a friend babysit the girls on Thursday night, but it was for naught, as only 4 people came that evening. On Friday I was able to convince a cousin to come help us in exchange for some free goods (being that EVERYTHING that didn’t sell was literally going to be thrown away or donated anyway). All day Friday was pretty steady (from 7am-9pm), but it was never crazy. As the day wore on I kept posting reductions in prices on items, etc. By the end of the day we’d barely made $600. To be fair, a lot of the big/pricey items had been moved when my Dad moved, but this low number also reflects the fact that we were practically giving items away (again – we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side, so we couldn’t be choosy or hold out for better offers).

That being said, by 4pm on Friday we were still overwhelmed with the amount of items still laying around. We ended up calling a local company (Everything Goez) and paid them $500 to clear all the remaining property items. So in the end we had made just a teeny tiny profit of about $100. Next-to-nothing.

That being said, the #1 objective of our trip to Utah was to clear out the property. When I got there and realized how much remained, I was worried about what would happen. My sister and I were on the phone a lot and talking about additional trips, etc. I didn’t feel good about that (plus don’t have time for extra trips and more time off work), so in the end I thought this was the best possible solution. My siblings aren’t thrilled with the lack of money made at the estate sale, but I think we all realize that the alternative would have been even more costly (again, given the time off work, additional travel expenses, and longer time that this house is sitting vacant and costing us money). So in the end, paying to have the place cleared was the right move for us. I went with one goal (= clear out property), and I accomplished that goal (albeit, only by paying people to help us).

The house, garage, and yard are all now completely empty and ready for a professional cleaning and to be placed on the market. I met with a property management company while in town and got some pretty bad news about rental prices. I’ve since then called to get another quote (actually 3 in total), and it looks like we might not be able to make as much from renting as we’d originally thought. That means (fingers crossed), I may be able to talk the siblings into just selling the property, as I’ve wanted from the beginning. There’s not a lot of equity in the property, but enough that we wouldn’t lose any money. Plus, I literally had 3 separate groups of people offer to buy the house while they were going through and looking at items to purchase. One family (across-the-street neighbors) offered to pay cash with a quick close. We have a sibling conference call planned this week so we’ll see what happens (for newer readers, my brother & sister are both proponents of keeping it as a rental. I’m the only one in favor of selling, but I respect the majority vote so there are no hard feelings one way or another. I just don’t want to deal with this out-of-state property anymore).

So that’s about it. I have to apologize for my lack of numbers posts lately. I’ve still had it in the back of my mind that I need to do a budget update from last month (May), but by the time I have a chance to write it we’ll likely be ready for a June budget update. With all the balls I’m juggling I just have to do what I can and that may mean a missed numbers post here or there.

That being said, June should be a good month for us. My full-time job paycheck is higher because I have fewer deductions (I work at a university where most are on 9-month contracts, so during the Spring semester the deductions are higher to account for summer months. But since I’m actually working over the summer, too, I get my full without those deductions since they were essentially “pre-paid”). My part-time job paycheck is higher, too (since I only get paid in 2 lump sums:  June and July. Though that means I get no paycheck at all in May or August).

I’ve really got to get our emergency fund back up after raiding it last month (which I mention here), coupled with the fact that we were hoping to buy a house soon! For those wondering, we haven’t even started looking yet! With all the health crises and emergencies we’ve been experiencing, we’ve talked about the possibility of pushing our house hunt back into the Fall (we’d always planned to start hunting this summer). We could start in late summer, though, so that’s a possibility too. We’ve got to save more for our downpayment and need to get a bit beefier safety net (in terms of the EF). So that’s what’s going on with that. I’m still searching Zillow all the time and grabbing flyers from desirable areas whenever I see them – just for reference (and for fun). But no official looking yet. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you soon!

 


My First Estate Sale – HELP ME!!!

by

Hi guys!

I gotta pop in for a super quick post today because stuff is crazy right now!

My family (hubs, me, and the 4-year-old twins) drove up to Utah on Wednesday. We usually split the 12-hour drive into 2 days but pushed through and did the whole thing in one day.

The purpose of our trip was to finish clearing out my Dad’s house. I came here in November when my Dad officially moved, but he’d used a POD and a lot of stuff got left behind. My brother came back with my Dad again a couple months ago and, from all reports, the house was nearly ready to go. There were still a few boxes of paperwork and miscellaneous odds and ends. The big things were that there are still 2 vehicles here. Those were my marching orders.

SOOOOoooooo imagine my surprise when I get here and it seems like the house is still fully furnished. I mean…kitchen still has everything in it, there’s a full bedroom set,  lots of household and holiday decorations, multiple televisions, accent tables, garage is still fully stuffed, and on and on and on.

Guess how many days we’d planned to be here! Two. Yep. The plan was to get here Wednesday night (as we did), get a dumpster, and throw the remaining stuff out, then head back to Tucson early on Saturday (another 1-day trip).

But the overwhelming amount of items coupled with the fact that there are still so many items of VALUE meant that I couldn’t just throw stuff in the dumpster (which I’d called and had placed at the residence before getting to town). The only solution I could see was to have an estate sale.

Here’s the deal. I’ve never done an estate sale before. And I’ve now been warned by 2 separate people that these things can be brutal – people fighting each other for items, shoulder-to-shoulder people bustling throughout the house, etc. Just chaos. And remember….we’ve only got 2 adults to manage the situation (plus 2 toddlers to still watch and take care of!!!) Gulp!

To try to help things a bit, I decided to split the sale into 2 days. We’re prepping things today by separating items (we’ll take some things with us to Tucson so there’s a “not for sale” pile), shredding old documents with identifying information, and generally trying to organize things and sort through to see what’s here. I’ll also be taking care of some business things today (meeting with property management company, etc.). Then the first “preview sale” will be tonight from 5-8:30pm. The remaining items will be sold on Friday from 7am-gone. I posted to a local Facebook garage sale site, stating that all items are first come, first served and there are NO HOLDS!

I’m hoping that (1) the fact that the estate sale is being held on weekdays and (2) the fact that we’re splitting it into two days will help in reducing the craziness since we’ll likely have fewer people than we would on a Saturday. By Friday afternoon, everything will turn to FREE (with associated posting on the local Facebook site) and we’ll start trashing any remaining items in the dumpster.

Other tips or ideas? Are we absolutely insane for attempting to do this ourselves while we still have kids here? I’m really nervous about things getting wild! If they do, the plan is for me to stand at the front door (with kids playing in front yard), and hubs to be inside doing the negotiating about item prices. I’ll be paid on the way out (standing at the door ensures no one just walks away with items without paying).

I’ve literally NEVER done this before and this shiz is getting down TONIGHT so I could really use any helpful ideas or tips that you might have! Help meeeee!!!!

Thank you!


Purging in Full Effect

by

We are just over a month away from moving.  It’s time to purge.

TVs…listed on our local ‘garage sale’ sites.

Books…sorted and boxed for storage, give away or sale at homeschool sale in May.

Computers…restored to factory settings and listed for sale.

And the list goes on.

I don’t know what is coming for us…but it’s been amazing to me how easy it’s been this time around to purge so much of the stuff that we felt was so important to us just a year and a half ago when we went through our first purge to go from 1800 square feet to 900 square feet.  Now as we go from 900 square feet to what about 300…it’s okay and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Financially speaking I am about $1500 behind on bills.  I’m hoping this purge will bring me closer to having a $0 late status by the first week of May, my first month with no rent or utility bills.


Barter Win – Homeschool Tuition

by

Sorry, I was MIA last week.  I woke up last Wednesday just simply overwhelmed at the amount of work I/we still had to get done and facing working both jobs plus approximately 3 hours in the car with kid chauffeuring duties.  I made an executive decision and called in to my part time job and then got all the kids up super early and got down to business.  That day turned the corner for me in terms of this move and now I’m in a much better place mentally!  There is definitely something to be said for “mental health” days, that’s for sure.

So moving past that I wanted to tell about a recent financial win.  As I have mentioned I barter for almost all of my kids activities.  But one thing I’ve never been able to to barter for was our homeschool co op tuition, and this year with four kids going it was over $2000.  Ugh!  This is the first year that I’ve had all four homeschooling year round so the first time for this large of a bill.  Not to mention the older two are taking more advanced, thus more expensive courses.

Typically my little one’s dad comes up with at least 1/2 of theirs, but this year he is in a transition phase and is short on money.  He did help but nearly so much as he normally does.  (Note: We do not have a formal financial arrangement of any kind.  I tell him when the kids need things and if he can, and most of the time he can, he helps out.  I have no complaints at all about his contribution and while it is not viewed as the traditional child support arrangement it works for us and takes the financial stress out of an already stressful relationship.)

So I was facing a really large bill at an already stressful time.  (This tuition is lumped into the monthly line item of my budget of Kid’s Activities in case you were wondering.)  Ok, so what to do.  Well, as you know, we are minimizing like no body’s business over here.  Our garage sale was an overwhelming success and I have been advertising on Facebook and Craigslist, etc.  So my win…

One of the teachers who teaches three of my children year long just so happened to need a couple of pieces of furniture that I had…and voila, like that a barter deal was worked out, my furniture for a full years tuition for 3 children, 1 class each…SCORE!  For those who want numbers this equates to about $600 in tuition.  SCORE!


Our Trash May be Someone’s Treasure!

by

Won’t have a ton of posts today, this past week we have been working crazily to continue the purge.  The deadline is Friday morning when our garage sale opens!

I never considered myself a hoarder until last night when we started getting to the last nooks and crannies of places in the house.  OMG…I have not 1, not 2, not 3, but 7 sets of oil pastels.  And no, I am not an art teacher nor trained as an artist and we rarely use those types of art supplies in school  Why in the world do I have 7 almost never touched sets.  And that’s just one of the many things like that!

I was telling someone that if I received tax deductions on the WEIGHT of what I donate, I would be rolling in it, wouldn’t need to pay taxes for decades probably.  And despite all the donating, trashing and garage stuffed with things for the sale, our house is still full.  Just shows me how much more I have to go and truly how much “stuff” we have.  I’ve really enjoyed the blogs people have recommended regarding the minimalist lifestyle.  My daughter and I are going to try the Project333 route with our clothing.

So just a brief money update…want guess how much we’ve made thus far with selling stuff?  Okay, I won’t make you wait.

$735

And that’s without the garage sale monies that we will hopefully earn this weekend.  Woohoo!  Just a reminder, these monies are being split between debt pay off and savings for replacement items that will happen once we find a new permanent living space, estimated at a year plus down the road.

I am so grateful for the all the garage sale hints.  Just by starting the advertising with pictures this week on our local Craigslist, Facebook groups and my personal page, we’ve got people picking things up tonight and shopping early tomorrow evening as we set up.  I am so excited for this stuff to be gone as we move closer to this new phase of our lives….T-Minus 3 weeks to move day.


Garage Sale Time

by

With my job, part time job, school starting, part time foster kids and getting ready to move…not to mention regularly scheduled kids’ activities our lives are humming right along.  And before I know it we will be packing up a truck to move just a few miles away.

That being said, I’ve scheduled our IT’s DONE DAY otherwise known as Garage Sale day.  My goal with this is to inspire us to continue working through things a steady if not rushed pace.  We are making every other day trips to local thrift stores to drop things off, the garage is full of things listed for sale or being held for the garage sale and our home is getting more organized by the day.  I’m loving it!

So my IT’s DONE DAY is to be the final day of our purge.  By that time, we should have gone through every room, every cupboard, every box, every closet and divided things into four groups…1) goes to the apartment, 2) goes to the trash, 3) goes to donation (and is in the back of the car) and finally 4) for the garage sale.    At the end of IT’s DONE DAY, we will have had our garage sale, and had a donation truck come pick up everything that did not sale.  The only items remaining in our home will be 1) the things going to the apartment and 2) the appliances that we need to continue to use until we move ie: refrigerator, washer, dryer, lawn equipment.

I’m pretty proud of my plan…here’s the schedule for the remainder of these two weeks (I’m typing this up on Sunday so I’ll have already gotten through some of this:)

Sunday/Monday*Kitchen
TuesdayGymnast' Room including closet
WednesdayPrincess' Room
ThursdayCoat, Game and Linen Closets
Friday*/Saturday/SundayMy Room
MondayPrincess' Closet
TuesdayBathrooms and Misc
WednesdayGarage
ThursdayWalk thru house, check all cabinets, closets and cupboards
FridayGet ready for sale tomorrow!

*The asterisks represent a goal to get to the thrift store that day for donations.  Because I have so much else going on, it’s important I put these on my calendar so I make sure they happen, otherwise our car will be full of donations and nowhere to sit!

I have to admit I HATE garage sales, I never feel like they are worth the effort.  And when I mean hate, I mean, like on my top 10 things I do not want to do.  But I am hoping since we have so much furniture that must go we can actually see some benefits from this one.  I know this has been written about before, but if you have any hints for easy garage set up or making your garage sale a success I’ll take it!  The little ones have already started working on their sigh for a lemonade stand and the twins are setting their stuff aside that they think they can make some money off of…this is a family affair!


Pages:123