Thursday, September 27, 2012

three financial things thursday

1. I sold my road bike this week, finally.  
I was a pretty sad when it rolled away, but we're trying to make good financial decisions as we rebuild what has been lost this year, and this was definitely a good one to make.  I would rather be out of debt than have two bicycles.  Check.

2. Along those lines, I'm going to leap pretty severely off-topic here and let everyone know that I am also selling my Lawson Classical french horn.  I've had it posted with a dealer for about two years now, but it hasn't moved so I'm trying to spread the word a bit (click here for the listing).  For those of you in the music world, it's a nickel bronze horn with a clear and dark low register and a brilliant high Bb.  I really do hate to use the blog for things like this, but I've decided to announce it along with the promise that when I do sell it, I'm going to donate a significant amount of money to each of the charities we decided on earlier this summer: Lost Dog and GRREAT.  Hopefully that news will calm all the angry little hearts that are disgusted at my shameful attempts to continue to make good decisions for my family.  It hurts my heart to sell my horn, but it hasn't been played in years and that chapter of my life has closed.  If it pisses you off that I'm using the blog for this, just go ahead and click away, I won't mind.  If you're a musician and wouldn't mind spreading the word, I would deeply appreciate it.  Here's a picture of me being blonde and chunky and playing the horn for you to giggle at.
3. Since 2009, we've rented out two - and sometimes three - rooms in our house to roommates.  When I was in graduate school, it helped make up some of the costs and we had some good people live here with us so it's almost never been a burden.  When I finished graduate school, the poet went straight in, and then when he finished and the two great guys that lived here moved on, we decided to just live here by ourselves.  That was this past....March?  I was able to spend about five weeks walking around naked before I lost my job.  We immediately turned the search back on and have rented the two rooms again.  But recently we've started to wonder in a serious fashion if we could move into a smaller place with a smaller mortgage that is just for us.  

The biggest problem with all of this is that when I bought the house, it was a foreclosure and I didn't pay much for it (although it was a giant effing hassle of paperwork), and then we refinanced this past winter to drop our interest rate from 5% to 3.67%.  The reason that is a problem (my diamond shoes!  they are so tight!) is because we would have to move at least 25 miles in any direction to find a home that was smaller (small townhouse is what we would look for, need a backyard for the booboos) without our mortgage being twice as high.  My mind is continuously blown about the state of housing in the metro DC area, and I'm not sure how I lucked into my big falling-down foreclosure, but our small mortgage + having roommates is making it impossible to find a less expensive situation.  We've also considered selling and renting, but rental prices in my neighborhood are significantly higher than our mortgage.  So we're stuck, which isn't the end of the world for right now.  Anyhow, that's not really relevant to anything, but I needed a third financial thing for Thursday and it's what has been on my mind lately.  

What financial things have been on your mind lately?  Sorry for the off-topic post, complaining about running is back on tap for tomorrow.

29 comments:

  1. Off topic is fine! Smart move on the bike, although I know how hard it can be to part with one! I think you are doing the right thing staying right where you are. It will pay off big time in the long run.

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  2. Wait... so how are you going to toot your own horn now??? I suppose that is what the blog is for right? haha

    Sounds like you are making some smart financial decisions. From my vantage point 1000 miles away, I'd say keep the house. But then again, every time I hear about the price of houses in places like DC/Cali/etc., my jaw hits the floor.

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  3. The picture of you blonde is making me giggle. Thanks for that.
    I live just about 25 miles from the city and understand your housing dilemma. I love where I live though. We ended up having a friend move in with us this year and it's been great so far.
    From what you've posted about your house in the past, it looks like a pretty sweet deal. Your backyard is awesome!

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  4. Sorry about the departure of your road bike, sounds like its for a good cause though. Still sad. I had no idea you played the French Horn!! Mark's uncle plays the French horn, I will send him the listing because maybe he know someone who is looking. I still think your house is awesome, especially the backyard!! Don't move far away, you guys are too young for suburbia!!!

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  5. 1. Sorry to hear about the bike. I'm jealous of whoever bought it. Someday I'll have a real bike.

    2. I emailed a couple of contacts I have with local musicians. Since two are cellists and the other plays the harp, I have no idea what kind of connections they might have, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask them.

    3. I hear you on the house thing. We are stuck in our house unless we move a long way out. It's frustrating some times. Now that you are employed again, can you tighten your belts and afford to stay in the house?

    My big issue right now is my car payment. I'm paying it off as fast as I can because I hate having it. Once that's gone, my income becomes savings again and I.can't.wait.

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  6. House issues....ugh...we bought our house at the height of the market and are stuck for a very very very long times...and now deciding whether to spend money on a new roof - I feel like everytime you recover from one financial payment (last year was air/heating system went) you have another...life sucks but at least we have a pair of running shoes and a bike to escape it for a couple hours....

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  7. Can you rent out your current house to more people (to cover that mortgage and then some, hopefully) and also move to a smaller place? If you're making a little bit of money off of your current place by using it as a rental, it might make a second house a little easier to afford. We did that and it's worked quite wonderfully so far. Boston-area housing is also super expensive (and rents are really high) so it was easier than trying to sell our house. We'll sell that rental property eventually, when the timing is better to do so.

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  8. I was looking back at all of the races I did last year and realized how I can't do that many this year b/c I have no roommate. Man a roommate saves you some damn money! I need a roommate. Or a man. One of the two. lol!

    I think you and your brood should just move to Florida. It's much, much cheaper. Oh and there's the ocean! Oh and me! And Lloyd! And the ocean?

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    1. I'm in the same boat - I need a man! haha But I like my space too much to share - and I finally got away from living with my ex and I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of living alone.

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  9. You are making such good choices and like I constantly tell you, I love how real and honest you are on your blog. You aren't like oh...gave away my bike and horn no big deal. I know it must have been rough.

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  10. I both bought and sold my Conn 8ds here: http://www.hornsociety.org/

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  11. You're making good choices cause you're a smart cookie! No need to apologize to anyone for that!

    I totally hear ya...I'm trying to figure out the whole grad-school-again thing and how that will work financially, will I be able to work, will I stay here or have to move and then worry about housing...it goes on and on.

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  12. I have been meaning to comment for a while about your blog. It is so great. Who cares about the haters! Best of luck selling the horn!

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  13. Sad to see you sell such a beautiful instrument! I hope it goes to a buyer who will love it. The DC housing market is nuts. I see what you mean about not needing all the space, but if you have a low mortgage and great rate, and it's working, why move?

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  14. Have you checked out the schools? I bet one of those kiddies in band practice might be interested.

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  15. Hah! I'm in the same boat. I could sell my 3 bedroom with parking in Dupont, but would then pay MORE for less space with no parking in Arlington or Dupont.

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  16. People really get mad when you try to sell stuff on YOUR blog? OMG. People really need to get a life.

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  17. I'm on a bit of a selling binge myself right now, but I can't sell my violin, even though I haven't really played it in years. Being financially responsible is not easy, or particularly fun. But it's so worth it in the end.

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  18. Housing in Hawaii is absolutely ridiculous. I'm pretty sure we'll still be in this 2 bedroom condo when we retire b/c affording a house here is completely out of the question... even if I did sell one of my three bikes. ;)

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  19. I am selling ALL THE THINGS. My bed, lotsa other furniture, my dishes, my MTB...my road bike might be next to go. I never ride it anymore and it's still pretty new...for me right now it's less about the finances and more about clearing put and starting fresh. With less.

    Good luck selling the horn and housing is cheap in Dallas!!!

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  20. Phhhbbbt, reaffirmation letters. That's when you want to get student loans to go back to school, but unbeknownst to you years ago your undergraduate school gave you too much in subsidized student loans, so now you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get the new school / lender to give you more loans. Pain in the ass and heading deeper in debt, but necessary (and the final outcome will be a net positive! new career, higher pay... works for me.)

    You used to play french horn? That's really cool. Dorky, but cool. :)

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  21. Well I just took a trip to Maui that I totally couldn't afford, but I've been planning on sending myself since I finished grad school in 09 so I finally just did it. Running my 10th half marathon and having just an amazing vacation was awesome, but now my credit cards are stretched.

    I'm currently going through a short sale to get away from my ex so my credit is shot. I just really need to find a way to reign in my spending and regain control. My mom was an amazing role model - but unfortunately not on the financial end.

    But you have inspired me - I have a hybrid bike sitting in my garage that I considered selling (its a gift from said ex and it's too big for me, plus I replaced it with another unneccesary expense - my first road bike earlier this summer) and I just did the little write up and will be taking pictures tonight so I can post it on Craigslist. Time to get it out of there and get a little bit of cash in the process.

    I also have my mom's wedding rings from her marriage to my dad which I've looked at selling for the gold before - I think I'll take them this weekend and do just that. I'll keep the diamonds in case I ever get around to designing a piece of jewelry around them.

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  22. I'm totally living in an overpriced apartment, and I need to get out! Throwing my money away!

    And, I used to play the french horn too! Unfortunately, I'm not in the market for one:(

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  23. Way to go!

    It's not easy to make the decisions that you are making and/or attempting to make!

    Since moving from NoVA in July, our rent dropped about $400/month and we sold a car. (There was NO way we were moving 2 cars cross country..) We did this because of my hub being in grad school out here.

    At the end of the summer, my salary ended. I have been taking faith in your finding a job, as for a while, it was insane. (No job + ego + pregnancy hormones= not so fun mix for anyone!) Tomorrow I have a second interview for a job that I am really, really, really excited about! (There are 3 slots open and the benefits and perks are huge in addition to the way cool job that pays 60% of a teacher's salary in NoVa.)

    Perhaps this will help to provide a bit of hope..and also share a "thanks." Those ugly August days of emotions were often answered in my head by, "well, if Katie can find a job, so an you. Now hush up and believe!"

    Best wishes to you!

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  24. Good for you! I am so close to being debt-free for the first time in years, and it is an amazing feeling. On the house front, do consider your commute when making decisions, I live in a big city with bad traffic, and being 20 minutes from work instead of an hour is life-altering. I actually had time to work out once I moved closer to my job.

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  25. Just took one of my cats to the vet for the third time in 5 days - Sunday was an emergency visit. Nothing like your dog but adding up. And work has been stressful.........wishing I would win the lottery and could retire. But first I need to play it!
    Why would anyone care if you put your horn for sale on YOUR blog? Don't you get to make up the rules of what goes on it?

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  26. Email me a blurb and I'll send it to the FCPS Band Directors and the GM teachers.

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  27. And keep your house :) You'll never get another yard of that size for what you pay, and you can't beat being able to walk to Tar-JAY.

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