I haven’t done an update in a while, and there are several goings-on to share!
I’m not using my A/C
Or barely using it anyway. It’s been a cool May (for Arizona) with it only being 100 one day out of the entire month. This means that I’ve only had to turn on the A/C three times: twice at night when it was too stuffy in the house to sleep and once for a game night because obviously I wanted my guests to be comfortable.
Beyond that, the ceiling fan has sufficed. I’ve even exercised in 80-82 degree temps.
Whenever the temperature is low enough, I open up the front and back doors to let cooler air in, which has been helping. Once we hit June, it’ll probably be over 80 degrees by the time I wake up in the morning, but for now it’s been nice.
I have an averaged-out bill, so I haven’t seen the benefit of all this less-A/C yet, but I do have a $300+ credit at present in my account (mainly from when I refused to turn on the heat). So the next time my bill is adjusted, it should go down.
I have a new iPhone!
I’ve been planning on getting the iPhone 7 for a while now. Why two generations back? Because it’s $450 compared to $1,000 for the latest model. Didn’t require a lot of debate in my mind — especially since an iPhone 7 is still leagues ahead of my 4S.
I was going to wait until I got my tax refund and had the cash in hand, but then those insipid tariffs were decided on. I didn’t want to take the chance that Apple would raise the cost of its phones to compensate because apparently, they will raise the manufacturing costs by about 14%.
Analysts expect Apple to eat the cost, but I didn’t want to bet $63 on their being right. So I went ahead and spent the $490 (after tax) now. I used what I had already saved in the iPhone fund ($150) and took the rest out of savings. I’ll replace it when the refund gets here in a few weeks.
I’ve got to say, as much as I had a weird fondness for the tiny-4S, it’s lovely to have a bigger screen (the 7’s screen is almost the size of the 4S itself) and to be able to download any app I want.
Plus it’s speedy as hell compared to the 4S, which chugged along as best it could but… Yeah. This iPhone 7 is lightning fast by comparison.
So that’s a big treat. One that will hopefully last me a few to several years.
A reminder to always watch the sales
There’s a type of sandal that’s been oh-so-preciously named a shootie. It’s a heeled shoe with an open toe and a design cut into the shoe material. I’ve been passively wanting a pair since last season, but I only really cared enough to look this year.
And I found a great pair at Macy’s — for $79.50. To which I laughed/sighed, and moved on. But the desire for the shoes kept gnawing at me. (It didn’t help that it kept showing up on ads all over the Web. Damn you, tracking cookies!)
One day I went to Macys.com to look longingly at them and stumbled onto a flash sale. Not just any flash sale — a 65% to 75% off flash sale.
I figured there was no way that I’d be lucky enough for my pair to be included, but they were (obviously, or this post section would be utterly pointless). They were a whopping 75% off, so I got them for just over $21 after tax. You can barely get that price on shoes at Target or Payless (RIP)!
The point of this tale being a frugal reminder: If you find something you like/need that’s too pricey, watch for sales like a hawk. You never know when you’ll luck out.
From big savings to big spending.
I replaced the kitchen door because the old one was hollow and had a single-pane glass window. If anyone ever got into the back yard, it’d be an easy access point. Besides, that thing had to be letting a ton of cool air out in the summer!
I also had to replace the ceiling fan, since one of the lights stopped working (yes, I tried replacing the bulb) and no replacement light kit could be found. So a new fan had to be installed.
Then there was the biggie: I now have a new bathroom sink and a nice quartz countertop.
The sink had to go. It was pitted and rusting, and I tried hiding that with decoupage. But the rust just increased around the images.
Besides, even using a substance recommended by a Home Depot employee (and later quasi-waterproof Mod-Podge), the paper still got damp enough for the colors to run. And anyway with Tim out of the house, the Harley Quinn/Deadpool theme just wasn’t needed anymore.
The sink was a weird size (and an uncommon shape), so even if I had liked the countertop — and I didn’t — I’m not sure we could have found a replacement sink that fit the opening. It was just easier (and better) to replace the countertop as well.
We went from this:
It looks 1000% better, and I’m happy every time I go in there. Which, with the amount of water I drink (#desertlife), is fairly often. So, so worth the money.
But oh, the money!
The total repair bill was a painful $1,893.21 (but who’s counting?). Still, I need light in the living room and a secure back door. And the sink was really an eye sore. So I’m okay with the expense. Well… As okay as my frugal instincts will allow.
I have a tenant!
Apparently, I should have asked for more money because, even being blunt about the quirks (like no closet) and size (420 square feet), a $500 asking price got around 30 inquiries in about 16 hours. It probably would have been more but I took the posting down.
So I’m glad that I took your guys’ advice and upped the rent from $450. And if I ever relist it, I know to ask for $550-600. In the meantime, I’ve found someone who I think will work well.
First of all, she just seems to genuinely like the space. I want someone who will be happy here, rather than just making do. It means there’s a better chance she’ll stay long-term.
Second, she’s going to use the bedroom as an art room and treat the rest of the apartment like a studio. My bedroom and the guest house’s bedroom share a wall, so I definitely don’t mind the idea of my bedroom not abutting someone else’s.
She did warn me that she doesn’t have the best credit, but it’s due to medical bills, which I can more than sympathize with. We’ve agreed that her mom is going to cosign, and anyway with such low rent I’m not too concerned about her ability to pay.
She’s moving in on June 15th, but she already sent me the deposit. So we’re all set!
I’ll keep putting the rent money as additional principal on the mortgage. At $500, that’s already nearly a double payment thanks to my ridiculously low home loan.
If I can keep putting that plus saved savings against the house each month, I could be done with the mortgage in under six years. We’ll see if the guest house stays rented, of course, but a paid-off mortgage is a lovely thought!
Speaking of mortgages…
I’m in the last throes of the months-long process of assuming the mortgage so that Tim is no longer on the loan.
It’s been epic because they’ve required a ton of documentation. I had to print out all of my bank account statements for the last few months, which when I started the process meant both Capital One 360 and Ally accounts — not to mention that I also had to print out my business’s account statements too. Plus credit card statements. Plus tax returns (business and personal).
They even made me send in a profit/loss statement and balance statement for my business. Since I don’t use accounting software, I had to go online and find templates, then go through my records and mock up some documents.
All of this so that I could take one person’s name off a $61,000 loan. Did I mention that they said it could cost up to $3,000?
But the good news is that I sent the last of the documents (as far as I know) to underwriting last Tuesday. And the excellent news is that the assumption fee is only going to be $613.
So I’m considering this a win. Or I will when the check is cashed and I get confirmation that the loan is now in my name only.
What’s up with you guys? Any recent wins (or losses — but I hope wins)?