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Unexpected Car Repair

July 13th, 2009 at 09:27 am

There we were, all packed and ready to drive to the airport for our Portland vacation. We loaded up the car, grabbed all the snacks and water, locked up the house and..... DH's car wouldn't start. It made a weird clicking sound, and nothing. He tried it a few more times, and still nothing. At this point he was starting to get sweat on his brow, we were already running late for the airport!

Thank God for our second car! We quickly shuffled everything into my car which was sitting in the garage, she started up like a champ (should hope so, she's a 2008) and off we went. Not the best way to start a vacation, worrying about how much that surprise is going to cost you when you get back.

I was convinced it was the starter, but DH tinkered with it and decided the battery just bit the dust, brought on by the strong storms we've been having and the car sitting out overnight. That and I think I've let it drain completely a few years back by leaving the dome light on for the weekend. Off to Walmarts he went, and luckily a new one was only 70 bucks, and we get 10 of it back when we bring in the old one. It was a snap to put it in, and she started up like a champ. Whew!

Considering this is a 92 Honda civic, and the first and only car I've owned throughout highschool and college and my 20s, we should consider ourselves lucky. Aside from regular maintenance: replacing break pads, filters, alignment, etc she has had no major problems since we got her. And now my husband uses her as a very gas efficient commuter car. That's probably the reason we own nothing but Hondas, and neither do my parents, they've served us too well! Smile

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!

Trying not to pay attention to appraisals

June 23rd, 2009 at 02:38 pm

I logged in to
Text is mint and Link is http://www.mint.com
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.

Prepaid cell phones - Do you use them?

January 21st, 2009 at 03:39 pm

Text is Pre-paid cellphones aren't just for loosers anymore and Link is http://consumerist.com/5125412/pre+paid-cellphones-arent-just-for-losers-anymore
Pre-paid cellphones aren't just for loosers anymore

Hmmm, 80minutes for $10 a month? If I wasn't on a family plan I might consider it, especially if I could keep my number. There are also plans that only kick in on the days you actually use your phone.

Does anyone use this? And if so is it working? The comments on the article seem to say that many people do.

Cutting back on home insurance

November 21st, 2008 at 01:46 pm

I received my home owners insurance bill today. $818 Ugh. As always American Family bumps up all my values by $5000, just because they can even though the amount of my mortgage goes down. Every year I have to call and have them bump the numbers back down and even still I've seen the premium somehow climb up from around $550 in just a matter of few years.

Since you're always advised not to file any small claims for the risk of driving premiums even higher, I just want a barebones policy with a high deductible that covers the big-item essentials.

Doing a little research looks like both Allstate and Western Mutual can offer similar policies as AmFam without all the extras for around $400. I can't believe I didn't shop around sooner!