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Archive for June, 2009

At a crossroads with our house

June 30th, 2009 at 10:11 am



I've been a bit antsy over making a decision about what we're going to do with the house over the next few years and what our 5 year plan is. As I've mentioned before on here, I bought this house in 2003, before I met my husband and when I worked about 5 minutes away, it made perfect sense and it's in a very nice, safe area of town along the Rocky Mountain foothills.

A lot of things have changed in the following 5 years. I went from being single and fabulous with roommates, to meeting my husband and getting married and from having a cushy local job to now both of us working in a nearby university town, 45 minutes away. We're also not near our family who live in another large town 1.5 hours south of Denver. So currently we're comfortable but neither close to work nor to family, and not in a place where we would want to raise a family long term, hence all the speculating about what we should do.

While our home is nice, roomy and a great couple's home, it doesn't meet our main requirements for when we start a family hopefully in the next couple of years:

*being closer to family
*being near a park so the kids don't have to play in the street like all the neighbor kids do
*more backyard privacy, currently we on a low-maintenance, but very small lot, and can hear our neighbors sneeze because we're so close, and have no place for a garden.
*a larger kitchen with more counterspace


I also have a dream of downsizing to a smaller home, putting the sizable equity we have in our house now (approx. 70K) towards the smaller mortgage and paying it off in 5-10 years. It that case it makes sense to plan to sell the house soon and start saving money. To throw a wrench into that plan is the fact that this house would make a good rental over the next 5-10 years too.

*It is near major roads and close to I70. You can be isolated in the mountains in 10 minutes, or downtown in less than 30.
*it is very close to a large Federal Center compound employing approx. 8000 people
*a huge new hospital is currently being built approx 3 miles away which will employ close to 2000 people
*a lightrail station is slated to be built and operational by 2012 within a 5 minute drive of the home, allowing people to commute into downtown and tech center of Denver with ease.
*current rental prices for comprables (via craigslist) would cover our 30yr 5.5 mortgage payments.


I am definitely not in a bad position, the homes in our neighborhood are selling within a few weeks and for almost full asking price, and the home would also make a good rental should we decide to go that route. I think I need to research more on what renting and being a landlord would entail, from other posts on here it sounds like no walk in the park and we would have to prepare to do it over long term, since the house will get trashed and will be harder to sell. While we have no plans to move out of state, I'm not sure we're cut out to be landlords. Decisions, decisions!

Starting up the ROTH, again.

June 29th, 2009 at 12:43 pm



When I got laid off last October, the economy was bombing and I stopped my ROTH contributions. I've been gainfully employed for 5 months now and I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't picked them up. My thinking was that with the market the way it was it made more sense to invest in things that will have more tangible return on investment, like topping off our emergency fund and making some good headway on our goals savings account, and completing our badly needed master bath remodel.

While I am still very reluctant to do so, I do have faith that the economy will start to come back up in the next few years, and obviously missing out on the growth would be missing out on the whole point of investing. We're mostly a target date fund kinda family when it comes to retirement investments so I am going to re-start contributing to the Vanguard 2040 once again and try not to obsessively watch it month to month like I tend to do.

Cancelled TV today

June 26th, 2009 at 10:43 am



And I feel so much better already! I've had an exhausting couple of months, and have gotten into the rotten habit of plopping onto the couch when I got home and numbing out in front of the tube for the evening, consequently feeling pretty worthless. I'll even admit to eating takeout for dinner off our coffee table, a new personal low.

There are really just a few shows we watch most of which we get online. We own the dish and the TiVo box, so local channels are still available and free, and we still have Netflix for movies, so I'm weaning myself off it slowly. But it had to be done, and the cost savings is a nice bonus.

Now I just hope that I don't substitute browsing time for my previous TV watching time. Better stock up on some books and get a home to-do list to chip away at.

iPhone mania and a free lunch

June 25th, 2009 at 10:01 am



I would not be overestimating when I say that about 80% of the people on my floor purchased or upgraded to the new iPhones last week. I've put up with weeks of nerd talk about all their great features and how they will change everyone's lives.

Now everyone is busy playing and showing off their new toys. Coworkers are whipping them out in meetings, videotaping semi-funny stuff and sending it to each other, using the Star Wars lightsaber app to run around the cubefarm swinging them around.

No, I don't have one, and no I don't want one! I don't want to pay $200 bucks for it (assuming a contract) plus $100/month(data + text + voice).

Ofcourse new toys are fun, and cool, but cmon! I work with mostly guys in their 30s with lots and lots of toys: $1K+ bikes, 42" flatscreens, new iPhones, and all the top notch gear their little heart desires. They are also making payments, on the toys, on their cars, on their apartments, and most have no savings.

To each his own: we all have our own goals and reasons for doing things that we think will make us happy in the long run. I wish, however, that I had some more like-minded friends at work that I could talk to.

On another note, we had a company picnic yesterday and the weather was gorgeous. I skipped my packed lunch and went out to socialize and get some sunshine.

I'm surprised how a catering company can change a couple grand to feed a couple hundred people shredded meat, canned baked beans, velveta cheese with frozen corn in it, and some chips. Why do people oooh and ahhh over this stuff just cause they get a free lunch? With a little imagination they could have had a local/organic, delicious spread for everyone that would have been gourmet! But I'm just ranting, a free lunch is a free lunch I guess..

$1109 spent on gas commuting to work

June 24th, 2009 at 03:13 pm



This math is very depressing, so is my commute: 32mi each way. At least it's to a job I like..

2.50($/gal) * 1/30 (gal/mi) * 64 (mi) = $5.33

4 (days a week ) * 52 (weeks/ year) = $1109

pros:
the boss is cool and lets me work from home one day a week
my favorite job I've had so far
the scenery is quite beautiful since I don't have to drive through town

cons:
extremely expensive
exhausting, by Friday I'm dreaming of selling our house
wear and tear on my car

There is noone to carpool with and a bus pass would cost around 500 and take twice as long to get there. I just get bummed out thinking about it.

Trying not to pay attention to appraisals

June 23rd, 2009 at 02:38 pm



I logged in to mint today to update all my transactions and low and behold our house value dropped to 211K. I almost had a panic attack until I remembered a house 2 doors down and smaller than ours sold for 250K a week ago.
Whew!