Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekly Money Check-Up

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our first mortgage payment!
2. Today I am thankful for times when I don't have to walk to/from work. Husband drove me in today and I will have a work car this afternoon and tomorrow morning. While I do like getting the exercise and saving money, the 35-40 minute walk can be a bit much sometimes.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was spend an evening watching season 1 of Lost with a couple girlfriends.
4. I will consider this week a success if I get our paperwork done for Husband's life/disability and finish a freelance article that is due next week.
5. This summer
has been a time of learning and growth. Having bought our first home, there's so much to figure out. Plus the total change in my lifestyle has put me under a lot of stress, but I'm slowly adapting.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quotes, estimates and expenses, oh my!

I knew buying a house would mean putting in a certain amount of time, effort and money, but wow! This is no joke!

About two weeks after we moved in, we got the first rain fall. It wasn't too heavy, but it was enough to show us one thing - our sun room leaks! Now this room is not something we were planning on using anytime soon. It's not well insulated, so it gets super hot in the summer and it will obviously get really cold in the winter. So for now we thought we'd use it for storage and then update it in the years to come. Well, this leak meant that we had to call in some roofing people to get quotes, as well as look into potentially having to fix the addition (which is where the sun room is).

First off, we called in some roofing guys...

Here's the breakdown:

Option A - a friend of a friend. He is a University professor in his regular life, but he put himself through school doing roofing and does it in the summer when he's not teaching. He quoted us $4,500.

Option B - a well-known roofing company in our city. They quoted $6,500. 

Option C - another well-known roofing company and one that a contractor who looked at the addition recommended to us. They quoted $9,500.

Thoughts on options:
  • Option C is the by far most expensive, but includes everything from changing vents to reflashing the chimney. 
  • Option C has a really good reputation. 
  • Although Option B is cheaper, I think once we started adding the "extras" that Option C automatically includes (replacing vents, etc.) the costs would be similar, so no big savings between the two.
  • Option B has an okay reputation - good, but not as good as Option C.
  • Option A includes everything that Option C includes except reflashing the chimney, and he is half the price. (Husband said reflashing the chimney is not crucial. I'm still trying to figure out what that even means!) 
  • Option A was actually the only one to go up on the roof to inspect it up close. 
So, I think we're going to go with Option A. Obviously money is a big decision factor and I like that we'll be saving several thousand dollars, but I do know that going cheaper is not always better. We definitely weighed the options here, but, this guys seems really good, knowledgeable and friendly. Obviously there could be concerns working with someone who is not with an actual company, but I think working with someone one-on-one has its benefits. He  provides a warranty on his work, the shingles have a manufacturer's warranty for 40 years, and he did our friend's roof and they were very happy.

Plus, Husband pointed out that even if his roof lasts for half as long, it was half as cheap! lol  But I think he would do a good job.

Only wrench in the situation is this: Our roof is very steep and the houses in our area are very close together, which means that when the shingles are delivered, they can't be easily brought up to the roof. This guy is older (45 years old, which isn't bad, but by roofer standards, it's getting up there), so he said he would have to make sure he can get some younger guys to help him in hauling up the shingles by hand. Hopefully he will be able to find that help no problem. He didn't seem overly concerned about that though, but it could be a potential problem.

We did email him last night to confirm that we do want to go with him and now we're just waiting to hear back from him. I'm really hoping he can do it as we would save a lot of money and that money can be put towards fixing the addition.

Welcome to home ownership!

Up next... The addition headache...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekly Money Check-Up

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our car payment.
2. Today I am thankful for the ability to dream and actually make those dreams reality. 
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was play board games with Husband.
4. I will consider this week a success if I get all the necessary quotes for the home upgrades we want to do and we make a decision.
5.  I am most looking forward to the end of the Olympics. Honestly, I don't really watch it much and it takes over my precious TV, which usually just annoys me. I do enjoy watching gymnastics and swimming somewhat. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday's This & That

I meant to publish this Thursday, but the day got away on me, so without further adieu, here is Thursday's Friday's This & That:
  • I found a $20 bill on my walk in to work on Monday morning!
  • We found out our furnace isn't as old as we thought it was and therefore, doesn't need to be replaced anytime soon.
  • Our sun room is leaking. :( We are in talks with our lawyer as this wasn't disclosed by the previous owner, so they may be liable for part of the costs to repair. Thankfully we don't use this room, but definitely something that needs to be addressed very soon.
  • I sold some textbooks on Amazon for $116.27!
  • We returned our parking pass (from our downtown apartment) and found out we had put down a $50 deposit (totally forgotten about), so we'll be getting that back!
  • Our split box spring came in finally (we had to order a split box spring as the regular one wouldn't fit up the stairs). Unfortunately, the family van we would use to transport it has gone to the lake for a while, but our good friend has offered to move it for us! Hopefully we can sleep in our own bedroom tonight instead of the guest bedroom.
  • I submitted my graduation request for the management certificate program. I will graduate with a 4.0 GPA!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our first home repair (a.k.a We meet the neighbours)

The same day that we were moving in, so to were neighbours on one side of house. While moving, we did a quick hello, but otherwise we went about our business. A week later, Husband and I were heading out to the garage to prep for our first ever garbage day (garbage has never been this exciting before!), and the neighbours were outside with some friends. They came over and introduced themselves. They have two adorable little boys and the family seems nice. A bit rough around the edges, but nice. She's off work on sick leave and he's in construction. Hmmmmm, a neighbour in construction. Convenient, no?

So we go about our business and prep our garbage cans and then go back inside. Husband goes to do the dishes (Mr. Picky Pants won't let certain things go in the dishwasher) and all of a sudden he notices water pouring out of the cabinet under the sink! Turns out our vegetable sprayer came loose, which caused the flood of water. Husband was able to identify the problem himself (I'm so proud!), but as we had just moved in, we had no tools other than a screwdriver and a hammer. My mom had already told me she would give us all her tools, but we hadn't gotten over there to pick them up yet.

So decision time - ask the neighbours, who we just met 10 minutes prior, if we could borrow pliers, or call my mom at 9 pm on a Sunday and ask her to come down with some tools? Husband volunteered to go and ask the neighbour, which I thought was ballsy, but what are neighbours for, right? Husband comes back with the pliers and the neighbour himself, who proceeds to fix the sink for us! Apparently it's very common for a vegetable sprayer to loosen a bit each time you pull it out to use and as you do this repeatedly, it finally loosens enough that it causes a leak. Now that we know this, we can be more mindful and tighten as needed. But we had planned on replacing the kitchen taps for aesthetic purposes anyway, so we may look at getting something where the sprayer comes out of the main faucet to completely avoid the problem.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, our neighbour asks us if there's anything else wrong with the house that he can look at and he proceeds to make suggestions on how we can easily fix a few things that we've noticed since moving in!

Having our own house to look after is a huge change from apartment living, so it's great to know we have someone who can help us out if need be.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekly Money Check-Up

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on
paying the credit card bill.

2. Today I am thankful for my husband. As often as I get mad at him, he does so many things for me.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was .
4. I will consider this week a success if I walk to/from work 8 out of 10 times.
5. One recipe I want to try soon is  No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars. They look and sound delicious! And with the hot weather we've been having, the no bake part really appeals to me right now!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Being a home owner

(Excuse the rambling in this post - so much to talk about in regards to the new house... I'll try to segment the topics after this!) 

Owning a house is a huge difference - I don't think I realized how much different it would be. It's one of those things where hind sight really kicks in. While I don't regret owning the house and I think this is definitely the house for us, I do wish we had planned everything a bit better. But then again, I don't think you can really, truly know what to plan for unless you go through it. 

I am very thankful for our family who have chipped in and given us items for the house. My mom, who just a few months ago went from a house to an apartment, gave us all her tools that she'll never need again, from screwdriver sets to a cordless drill to ladders. Now we're fully set for any emergencies - we have anything and everything you could possibly think of. Things that I didn't even know existed (who knew there were so many different types of saws!). My mom also said she'll buy us a closet organizer as a house warming gift (must needed as our house is old and the closets are small!). We just have to measure the master bedroom closet and go shopping. 

We also got a very nice gift card for a home decor store from my in-law's. I wanted to buy an area rug, as we now have hardwood floors (and we and the cats are used to carpet), but due to the price of rugs, I didn't think it would be possible anytime soon. But with their gift card, we were able to pick up an area rug, plus a few other things for around the house. 

Some friends also gave us gift cards for a house warming gift, so we'll be able to pick up other necessary things as they come up. 

There are a few little things that we want to do around the house, some we knew about before we moved in and some that are coming up as we live in the house. But we're trying to wait until we've been in the house for at least a month. I'd like to update the bathroom vanity (it has a pedestal sink, which I hate and wasn't really installed properly, so I want to get one with a vanity/cabinet), change the kitchen faucet (doesn't quite go with the modern decor) and paint a few rooms. Plus the inside front door is old and can be a pain to open and close and it doesn't have a lock, so I wouldn't mind changing that. We also want to get a new furnace, something that is high-efficiency, but that was built into our mortgage, so we can do that without having to worry about the cost. 

But, there's lots of time to get all this done and nothing is really a big rush. From what I hear, there's always some project or another to do once you're a home owner!

Up next... our first home repair is needed! (A.K.A. We meet the neighbours)

I'm back!

After a month of crazy changes, life is finally beginning to settle down. Here are just a few things that I did over the past four weeks:

- finished the last course in my management certificate program and submitted my graduation request! I will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA, which I am very pleased with! The grad ceremony isn't until October, but it's a great feeling to know that I'm done, with or without the paper in hand!

- had surgery. A very minor surgery, but surgery that kept me off of work for two weeks. Without going into personal details, I've had surgery for a genetic condition since I was a baby (more than a dozen surgeries in total) and this was the LAST one ever! It's kind of surreal, as I was told "this will be the last one" for a very long time, but this is it for sure now. This was actually on my baby bucket list, as I didn't want to have to go through any more surgeries once we had kids, and I most certainly couldn't do it while pregnant.

- and last, but not least - we moved! We moved out of our apartment on June 30th and into the new house on July 1st. It was actually a very easy move thanks to all our friends and family. We're settling in nicely, but it's a big adjustment. I'll post more on that later! 

For now, I'm happy to let life get back to boring. It's nice to not have to pack or study or worry about the move and I can just enjoy the house, husband, cats and life!