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Owning Vs. Renting – Not Just About the Numbers

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Any of y’all on Nextdoor.com?  It’s a community forum just for your neighborhood and the ones around it.  I do Nextdoor like most people do Facebook.  Anyway, someone there brought up the rising monthly rental costs this past week, and I started to feel that tingle all personal finance geeks get when money starts getting discussed publicly. “THERE BE MY PEOPLE!!!” I ran some numbers to help put things in some sort of perspective.  Here’s what I got for the average 3 bed, 2 bath homes around us (outskirts of Houston, Texas) that sell for $150,000-$180,000… A $150,000 Mortgage Example A $150k mortgage at 4% for 30 years is about $715 a month.  Then you have an approximate 3% rate for property taxes on $150k ($135k if you have the homestead exemption, but that goes away as a landlord), so that’s $4500 a year or about $375 a month. Then there’s the $1200-$2400 a year home owner’s insurance policy, the $600 flood policy for non-homesteaded homes, HOA dues that range from $0-$3000 a year, and then the maintenance and repair costs for everything. That boils down to:  $1300 a month + HOA dues + Upkeep and Repairs Owning Vs Renting All in all, if you are renting a … Read more

Chicken Fajita Romaine Boats Recipe – Cheap, Yummy, and Healthy!

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“STEP AWAY FROM THE DONUTS,” shouted my inner voice last week. So I’ve started tracking what I eat again, which means that I have tough choices to make on what goes into my mouth (hehehehe, yeah, I hear it…).  Anyway, with calorie or carb tracking, subbing a flour tortilla for romaine lettuce can save an otherwise crappy diet day. Ingredients for the Chicken Fajitas Marinade Part: 3 pounds Chicken Breasts – $6 1 Large Onion – $1 2 Bell Peppers – $1 currently 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil – $Negligible 3 Tablespoons of Lime Juice – $0.50 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder and/or 2-3 cloves of minced garlic – $Negligible 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin – $Negligible 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder – $Negligible 2 Teaspoons Paprika – $Negligible 1 ½ teaspoons Black Pepper – $Negligible 1-2 teaspoons Salt – $Negligible IF YOU WANT A SPICY KICK: ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped ½ Jalapeno, seeded and minced Chicken Fajitas Cooking Instructions: 1.  Either slice your chicken breasts into strips or throw them into a plastic bag or something you don’t mind whacking with a meat tenderizer until they are thinner. 2.  Slice up the onion and green bell peppers. 3.  Combine … Read more

Why I Don’t Think TV is the Enemy

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I’ve seen and read dozens of posts in the last few years about the time suck that is television.  To summarize, everyone should cut cable at the very least and/or stop watching tv altogether if they really want to accomplish anything in life. Cutting Cable WILL Save You Money Yes, cutting cable can save you thousands of dollars.  We’ve done it.  It’s was a great feeling to bank that extra $75 a month. BUT, we also reconnected to cable less than a year later because the savings wasn’t worth it to our friends/roommates at the time.  I also was frustrated by the hassle of tracking down which other places I could find my favorite shows.  Len wanted to be able to watch nationwide live sports easily (and legally).  We don’t do the pirated streaming thing – he’s a rules-driven sports official and I am a goody two-shoes myself on most things.  And the antenna was only getting him a few games a week.  The legal options – connecting my laptop to our tv, using the slightly glitchy Chromecast, finding old episodes on Netflix, or watching commercials on Hulu – worked okay but it was always a process instead of lazy fun.  We missed our DVR. As a household, we are the definition … Read more

The Most Advanced Short Term Loans in the United States

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Are you in need of fast cash to pay for emergency expenses? There is nothing better than to apply for an online short-term loan in the UK because it is flexible, secure and makes money available for use within 10 minutes! All you need is a working bank account and proof of UK residency, and you’re all to go. The money is being provided by private lenders; the names of which you can find on the website. These lenders are ready to do business because they will be receiving back not just the amount they lent but also the interest. So, it’s a win-win situation for both the lenders and the borrowers. In the UK, you need to find lenders that are FCA-authorised to lend money. This step has been made easy by credit brokers that are working to provide a platform for both the lenders and the borrowers to join hands. However, there can be many types of advanced short-term loans available, and you would be required to choose the one that best suits your current financial standing and other circumstances including your credit and employment history and your monthly salary. To compare different types of short-term loans, you … Read more

My Easy 401k to SEP IRA Rollover – Stop Procrastinating!

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I worked for the Reynolds and Reynolds company (formerly Universal Computer Systems) from June 2005 through July 2011.  In those years, I always contributed the minimum necessary to receive the maximum company match – 6%.  I also ended up working there for 6 years, so I was fully vested.  But after I left, since I couldn’t simply transfer the 401k balance to our Roth IRA’s, I just shifted it all to the back burners of my mind. Handling My 401k to SEP IRA Rollover Fast forward to 2015.  My hubby and I finally opened a SEP IRA to fund with as much pre-tax self-employment income as allowed.  I knew I could move my stagnant 401k into that SEP IRA but didn’t want to put in the effort to find out exactly what I needed to do.  Then 2016 was consumed by life and loss.  By the beginning of this year, I realized I couldn’t keep putting life decisions off until everything was rainbows and sunshine since that isn’t how real life works.  Adulting…ugh.  😉 I carved out a few hours of a day a few weeks ago and called the company that holds our SEP IRA and asked what I … Read more

Quality Counts…and My Boba Addiction

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Do you love Boba shops?  I’m talking about the places you go to order tea or fruit smoothies finished off with tapioca pearls or bursting balls of fruit juice.  Until this week, I would have said boba is boba no matter the location.  And I would have been wrong. My Boba Transformation I stopped at a cute hole-in-the-wall place, Q Boba Tea, this past Tuesday on my way home from a pet sitting job 15 minutes from my house.  I ordered my usual go-to, a strawberry smoothie with tapioca balls.  It was the best one I ever drank.  This place only uses real fruit and other ingredients, so I was treated to actual strawberries being blended into submission instead of strawberry powder.  And the tapioca must be made in the store, because it was amazing.  Soft outside with chewy centers.  The smoothie itself was creamy and light.  I finished the whole thing way too quickly and wanted another on as soon as I parked at home.  But I waited.  I waited all of Tuesday night and most of Wednesday.  I knew I had the same pet sitting job close by Q Boba at 7pm and I would be drinking down another sugar high with tapioca 35 minutes later.  … Read more

Miscarriage #2 is a Wrap…and a Rough Income Report for May 2017

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I actually sent those words – “Miscarriage #2 is a wrap!” – as a text to my mom and then a couple of my friends yesterday.  I know it might come off as glib, but sometimes glib seems right to me.  Miscarriage Synopsis My blood test Tuesday came back as HCG 0, which means my body is back to its starting position.  My tube didn’t explode, so no surgery!  Yay!  I’m no longer bleeding or cramping, so double yay!  All emotions still come way easier and faster than normal for me, so that’s slightly VERY annoying.  Stupid emotions.  Screw emotions. Moving onto happier things… Pet Sitting for the Win! Pet sitting has been truly helpful.  I thought that forcing myself to do some jobs would make me resent the work, but animals really are the best company when you feel like poop.  Between our cats and all the clients’ pets, I was generally surrounded by furry hugs most of every day.  Picking up poop and scooping cat litter is not more fun when you are grieving or angry, but it’s not less fun either…it’s like a constant that makes everything feel a little normal.  When you are going through life’s … Read more