If the title didn’t make you smile, you’ve never had Sea Monkeys. They bring up so many fun memories from my childhood that I thought I’d remind you too. For those of you that haven’t heard of Sea Monkeys, they are miniature Brine Shrimp that are suspended in their hatching process until they are introduced into the correct environment. In this case, that environment is a little plastic aquarium that has the correct packets added to it a few days in advance. Honestly, the waiting is the hardest part. Even after you successfully wait to add the “Instant Life Eggs”, you then have to wait until the little guys hatch and become visible under the magnifying bubbles on the side of the tank. I don’t know how many times my mother reminded me to have some patience. I know that tiny shrimp may not sound like fun, but the whole process makes me giddy. It’s fun to create a tiny world. It’s also interesting to watch them stutter around the tank. I can’t swear I learned anything deep from the whole process, but I really do have fond memories of my first real pets. Yes, we had a dog and … Read more
Our net worth has hit $3 million and we’re retiring this week. April Fool’s! Sorry, but I felt like I had to make at least a lame attempt…it’s tradition… To get serious, we calculate our net worth as listed below. We don’t include the value of our possessions, we round down to the nearest hundred for assets, and we round up to the nearest hundred for liabilities. Assets1. Cash – $24,5002. Stocks – $12,4003. Retirement – $34,5004. Home – $130,0005. Cars – $16,000 Liabilities1. Home – $73,3002. Car – $10,700 (We made an extra $1000 principal payment in mid-March, woot!) Total Net Worth = $133,400 Increase/Decrease = Up $5300 from last month I base the value of our home on two things: comparables selling in our neighborhood and the estimated appraisal by Chase Home Value Estimator. I will always estimate low. I base the value of our cars on Kelley Blue Book’s Private Party Value of our vehicles in “Good” condition truncated down to the nearest $1000. For example, if my car is valued at $4600, I’d calculate that as $4000. Please feel free to visit the archive to see our past net worths.
A year after my husband and I bought our 3 bedroom home, a friend needed a place to stay for a little while. Our guest bedroom was open and our friend was living in an overpriced hotel. When he offered to pay $350 and half of the utilities per month, we happily agreed to turn the spare room into a bedroom rental. Since our mortgage payments are only $740, it was a win-win for everybody. Bedroom Rental Three months later, our friend moved on. We thought we’d love having complete privacy again, but we missed the money more. After a 20 minute discussion, we decided to list our spare room as a bedroom rental on Craigslist. I knew nothing about actually renting out the room, so I looked up ideas online. I listed the room in detail with pictures of the spaces that were being rented out – room, bathroom, laundry area, and kitchen. I asked questions on the phone about pets and smoking habits. When they showed up for our scheduled meetings, they filled out their job and housing history and signed off on background checks. I’ll be honest, I knew exactly who I wanted to live with by the … Read more
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to Daniel over at Sweating the Big Stuff for inviting me to guest post! Feel free to take a look at the article, How Much Do You Need for Retirement?, to see my take on retirement needs. Thanks again Daniel!
Take a look at this Washington Post article on ID Theft and tell me it doesn’t make you a little paranoid. I wasn’t surprised that identity theft happens to 11.1 million victims a year for a total of $54 billion. I wasn’t surprised that 55% of identity theft victims will never know how it happened. I wasn’t even that surprised that 18-24 year olds were hit the hardest since they take the longest to catch on (132 days on average) and share much more about themselves online than we old folks do. I was surprised how easy it is to find out who someone is so you can steal their identity. According to this article, most people can be tracked down by simply knowing their sex, zip code, and date of birth. That’s creepy. Especially since all of you know my sex, my general location, and my general age…hmmm. I will now be skipping any Happy Birthday posts I had in mind. 🙂 Please keep yourself safe. At the very least, take a look at your accounts and credit reports on a regular basis. You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three main … Read more
When my husband and I were in college, we started a poker club. As the President, I found locations to play and organized tournaments. As the Treasurer (irony kicks booty), my husband used the dues to buy refreshments and supplies like decks of cards and poker chips. The tournaments were tons of fun and legal too since gift cards were used as prizes. That was a ton of fun. Then we graduated, everybody moved away, and poker night faded into the past. After a few years, we were able to revive the tradition. I called a few friends we knew who enjoyed Texas Hold ‘Em and set up our poker table in the dining room. We still had our own chips and cards from college (not the club sets), so getting ready was easy. We also supplied a few bags of chips and soda, so we were good to go. We played nickel poker with a max bet of a quarter and 3 raises, so our pots were limited and allowed for a lot of playing time in an evening. Everybody would buy-in for $5 and re-buy once or twice max. We usually started with Texas Hold ‘Em and moved on to … Read more
After coming across yet another blog about renting versus buying, I decided to explain how we chose to buy a house. First of all, I was extremely frustrated that our rent was increased by 5-10% at the end of every lease. We were clean, quiet, and paid early every month. I was always able to cut down on the increase, but I could never stop it completely. Secondly, having to ask permission to change absolutely everything meant we never changed anything at all. Our apartments didn’t feel like homes…they felt like temporary bases. We did everything that we do now in a house, but now I’m surrounded by the colors we picked out and art we made and that we finally allowed ourselves to buy since we felt stable. The Numbers Were in Our Favor to Buy A House Thirdly, the financial numbers worked in our favor in our area. No, it isn’t wise to buy a house that you cannot easily afford. That means that we would probably never allow ourselves to buy a house if we lived in the high cost areas along the coasts. Luckily, Houston has inexpensive homes in good locations. After looking around for a couple of … Read more