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Posts tagged with: college teaching

I am Finally One of Those People

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As you all know, I have been working diligently to pay off the smaller of my two student loans. And guys, I am so, so close. I can almost taste it. As I’ve been reviewing my finances and planning for the end of the year and even into 2021, I am so proud of myself.

Back in May, my smaller student loan balance was $14,129. By the end of 2020, despite the toilet paper storage, the crazy of COVID, kids moving in and out, working being slow and then crazy and so on, I will have paid off $14K+ in 8 months. I feel like I should be on one of the ads…woman pays off blah, blah, blah. You know what I’m saying.

I mean, seriously, if I keep this up, which I am working hard to be able too, I could be debt free in 2 to 2 1/2 years. Before Gymnast graduates, while Princess is still in school.

2021 Budget & Beyond

And I’ve got even bigger goals…my 5 year plan is really starting to come together. All of your feedback has really helped me focus.

I have begun working on my 2021 budget AND 5 year plan. I loved T’Pol’s feedback on the 5 year plan post about having specific goals for each year and putting them in your budget. I’m doing that.

And I appreciated how Angie brought up health, not so much as a financial goal, but because of the financial implications especially long term. This is a big one for me. I hadn’t thought to incorporate it in my planning, but the advice is spot on.

Stable Housing

My landlord was out this week to fix a few things and he made it clear that he doesn’t want me to go anywhere. We are good tenants if I do say so myself, and he also reiterated that he would like me to buy the house. Buying a house is NOT on my agenda right now. I am too wishy washy on where I want to be long term. But it was reassuring to know that he is not trying to sell the house out from under us. It is really great to have such a responsive and flexible landlord (by flexible, I mean, he lets us pretty much do what we want – paint, plant, etc. It has really allowed us to make this house a home.)

I look forward to celebrating with you about my student loan pay off but more than that, I am ecstatic what seeing the possibilities could be with my 5 years plan and budget.

We leave today for Texas. This will be my last visit with my parents until May, 2021 when we anticipate my Texas family coming to Georgia to celebrate Princess and Beauty graduating from high school. We have packed all their Christmas presents to go with us and that is a big weight off. With all that’s gone on this year, being able to celebrate the holidays together is very special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service?

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DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service

We’re still taming our overgrown yard. Honestly, I really like it. I find the time spent mowing and trimming and planting to be really therapeutic and satisfying. My parents always had us work in the yard together, so it just seems normal to spend time mowing and raking each week. We are DIY lawn care people, not pay for a lawn service people.

My husband does the fertilizing and edging, and I cut the lawn and manage the garden. The kids and I weed, and we all rake.

Raking and Raking

However, we’ve raked so. many. friggin’ leaves these past few weeks. When the lawn is dry, I can use the mower to mulch them. But it’s been pouring rain, so whenever there is a break in the rain or just a light drizzle I run out to rake. I try to time it with virtual school breaks and off-work hours. It’s tricky. The wet leaves are heavy, and my hands are calloused, blistered, and dyed orange from the wet leaves. It looks like I got a bad spray tan.

DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service

I wish this picture did the orange-ness justice

But I get to listen to podcasts and be outside. The kids help off and on, and frankly I treasure the few moments of solitude when they wander off. My muscles are sore, but I really do enjoy it. Plus, I know the leaves are almost (!) done falling and I’ll be done for a year.

All that doesn’t mean I don’t notice when my neighbor’s lawn service teams pull up. Big, strong guys hop out with industrial-strength leaf blowers strapped to their backs. They pile up the leaves (even the soaking wet ones!) crazy quick. Then they fill bags and bins with leaves, and drive away, leaving these yards looking neat and trimmed. All while I’m still out there raking and raking and raking…

So while I’ve been out there for hours and hours, I’ve started to think, “Is it worth it to pay for a lawn service??”

The Cost of Paying the Pros

I started researching how much it costs. According to HomeAdvisor, the average national cost for basic lawn care is $135 a month (or about $33 a week), and for leaf blowing $30 per hour. It’s more if you have them come twice a week, and everything else is extra: towing away leaves, weeding, fertilizing, and more.

I bet this past week alone I’ve done 7 hours of raking, trimming, and bagging. I’ve spent $8 on several big paper leaf bags from Lowes that we fill and drop off to our city for free.

So is a lawn service worth it? It depends.

  • PROS: Saves you time, saves you from injury, uses higher quality tools, and involves expertise and experience.
  • CONS: Costly each month, takes away your chance to exercise and be outside, and means you’re not always in charge of how the job is done.

Will We Stick with DIY?

Are we going to pay for a lawn service? Nope. People in this much debt just can’t justify hiring pros. We’re physically able to do the work, and it’s not worth it to me to budget for it right now.

Am I actively looking for a $30 leaf blower on Facebook Marketplace? Yep. And I’ll still notice every time a big, industrial leaf blower interrupts a Zoom call, and I’ll marvel at just how fast those teams can get the work done.

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