Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let's Do It...

As much as I tried talking myself out of it, I've decided to try Plexus. I was a huge skeptic, but a close friend of mine is having really great results. Although she's only been doing it for about 100 days, she's lost 5 inches off of her waist and like 2 pants sizes I think, and 18 lbs. She's posted a progress picture, and it's really amazing. I've also notice her weight loss when I see her weekly - it's great! She said she hasn't changed anything, and she's taking the "Triplex" which is a probiotic, the "pink drink", and BioClense. I'll be taking that and also the Block, which seems to be an effective carb blocker for heavier meals - I'll likely just take them with heavy dinners. I'm giving this 60 days, and if by then I've seen no results I'll stop. After 60 days if I'm seeing results, I may try another combo just to test it out or remove one of the items like the Block. I don't know. I think I'll start Monday.
The pink drink is NOT tasty like my friend says though - it taste like vitamins smell. I'll probably chug that each morning and get it over with if that's okay. I'm sure the taste will be something I'll have to get used to.
I wouldn't have tried this if I had not seen first hand what kind of results are possible, so I'm hoping this works. I trust her, even though I don't trust 9/10 sellers of Plexus. I'll never sell the stuff, because I still think these types of deals can ruin friendships if you deal with the wrong people or say the wrong thing. In fact, we've had it out a couple of times about this stuff, but she's also been stressed out about some other things in her life, so I understood.

I'll take measurements Sunday morning and pics.
We'll see how this goes...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Silly Things Causing Me Stress.

Light Grey
Dark Grey


Blue Grey - personal fav

Bright Green

 Oddly enough, now that most of the financial stuff is close to being done kitchen color has consumed me. We have oak cabinets and tan/speckled countertops (hard to describe). Blue/Grey looks the freshest, but Richard isn't a huge fan of the brighter colors - he says we'll get tired of them. With most of the house being very neutral, I really want some color somewhere!

Pinch Pennies.

I really do not know for sure how to make a budget. I know how to list everything that I pay every month, and when I see the amount we have to spend I think, "oh, that's plenty - we don't have to worry about money." That money disappears SO fast, and I am the worst about over spending when I think we have some extra cash. I don't spend it on myself usually, but I do encourage more going out and I may buy the more expensive items at the store. I went to Costco last night with no regard of how much money I was spending, because in my mind we had plenty of money. Well, I spent WAY too much. We'll eat it, and it won't go to waste, but did I really need some of that stuff? Probably not. I went there for soda and Draino, and I came out with 2 weeks of lunches, veggies for dinner, and some other odds and ends that were really needed. At least we will not be wasting money on eating out for the next 2 weeks for lunch, and we're good on sides as far as dinner does. Either way, it could have easily waited until later this week, and I could have looked for deals and used coupons and planned our menu around our coupons. So, oops...
We're buying a house, I have to be better!
We need money for things for our home!
I can't blow our extra cash on fancy food -_-
So what is my plan?
To stop.
I picked up a Sunday paper yesterday and clipped some coupons. Maybe they'll help me out a little bit. I'm going to pay attention to certain ones - some things I can get at Kmart which does double coupons, and Publix does double coupons up to $0.50. I got some tips from a site about "extreme" couponing, and it made some great points for beginner couponers like myself. Here is the link if you want to check it out - Coupon tips. Some suggestions I'm going to start using are:

Organize coupons in binder for easy access.
Make shopping list ahead of time.
Pick two main stores to watch for sales.
Match coupons with sales if possible.
Stockpile what I use when their at their cheapest.
Plan meals weekly around coupon finds.
Continue using iBotta for rebates on sales.
Stop paying full price when I can plan around it.
Stop impulse buying!

I think my two stores will be Publix and Kmart like I mentioned earlier. Things like laundry soap, detergent, bathroom items, and dog treats/food can easily be bought there along with some boxed food items. It's been a very long time since I've been in Kmart, so that will take some getting used to. Since we'll soon be living closer to a location I can visit more often. I joined "shop your way" rewards also, so I'll be getting Kmart exclusive coupons through that. At Publix, they have digital coupons.. I'm hoping they're different than the ones I found on printable sites. Printable coupon sites seem to have the same ones that are in the paper, so I don't really need to waste time on that right now. I like paper coupons, because I know for sure what I have and what should come off.

I certainly suggest downloading Ibotta - it's a rebate app that you can earn cash back on things you normally buy. It was GREAT during the holidays, because it had numerous "spend and earn" deals. I earned about $80 in rebates in two months. I've not used it much this month, which I regret. Look at it this way. Say you buy Tide detergent and have a $1 off coupon, and then have $1 off iBotta rebate. That's $2 off something that's about $3 or $4. If it's on sale, you've scored even bigger! AND iBotta has rewards when you redeem a certain amount of rebates that month. If that detergent purchase sent you over the edge and you received the $2 January reward, you actually got paid to buy that item. Once you really get into it, you'll find a lot of great savings and earning possibilities. I spent $40 at Walmart and got $19 back one time - that's great! The rebate money can be linked to Paypal and deposited directly in your bank account or you can purchase gift cards. I may base my shopping trip on the amount of iBotta rebates I have available in comparison to sales and coupons. Okay, add Walmart to the list of stores to watch. That's all though - I have no use for Food Lion or Food City. They are gross! I think my goal for 2016 is use my iBotta rebates to pay for at least a portion of our vacation OR make a semi-major update to our new house. Either way, I like having that money there in case something goes terribly wrong. You never know what's around the corner.

So how are you saving money in 2016? 

The Inspection.

For a house that hasn't been repaired in 6 years, and previously had a few "quick fixes", the inspector said the house is in really good shape. Most of the most important things are fine (crawl spaces, structure, ect...) We'll have a 5 year plan and a 10 year plan for the home, mostly cosmetic things like new siding will be a big one which we'll take care of some of the cosmetic rot found on some corner pieces. We will also plan on replacing the carpet, hardwood, and linoleum to something we like a bit more (something less bland) and refinish the cabinets and install granite counter tops - I think I mentioned that before. For now, I plan on updating in other ways with color and light fixtures. It's not that it's super out of date, it's just bland and things need to be spiced up. I'm not concerned; even know not everything is my taste it still looks just fine.
There are some things the seller will need to do before we close on the house, and here are the BIG things we requested.
The part circled is a covering the seller installed. It's all rotted! It will have to be torn down immediately due to safety concerns and he will also need to remove the paint from the deck and re-seal it to prevent any further rot. The actual deck is fine, it's just that overhead thing that's all rotten. We plan on installing a sun-setter at some point since that part of the house gets direct sunlight and can get very hot.

This post will have to be replaced or repaired by a qualified contractor. The previous gutter has caused some warp, and that can affect the structure.

The gas logs do not work, which was okay until the current renter mentioned that he thought he heard about a leak causing the logs not to work. I'm requesting the logs to be replaced or repaired, and we'll need something saying that the gas line has been inspected and that there are no leaks.

Those are the repairs that will need to be completed before closing March 31st, everything else we can handle, but have placed on the negotiation list. The ceiling fan doesn't work in the living room, and we'd like that fixed. There was a leak in the bathroom, that needs to be fixed before closing, but the linoleum we can repair. Other little things like paint and such we plan to fix before moving everything in, and the carpet will be cleaned when we move in as well and replaced next year more than likely. The inspector had a lot of great things to say about the house, and we're still VERY excited. I'm actually fine with the little work we'll be left with since it will be cosmetic - we want to make the place our own anyhow.
I don't think it's hit me yet...
It probably won't hit me until we get the keys! O_O
I'll be taking off a few days in April to do the work that we need.
Oh yeah... and move in!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yes, We are Still Working on It

Inspection today!
It was yesterday, but was cancelled due to ice.
The appraisal is in a week (if the inspection passes)
We'll close March 31st as long as all goes well.
I'm excited and everything seems to be going well, but I'm still stressing out. My face is broken out, I'm stress eating, and I can't sleep. Maybe it's both stress AND excitement? I can't wait to get in to the house, paint, and make it exactly what I want it to be. I want to grow with it, I want it to evolve with us, and I don't want to move again for a VERY long time! We have immediate ideas and we have long term plans for the house. We'll paint and replace appliances immediately, we want to replace the floors or replace the carpeted rooms at least in a year along with the laminate in the kitchen. We want to add a covering over the deck and re-seal the deck itself and some day make it into a sunroom/den area. I can't WAIT to get rid of our sectional couch and buy a new sofa and chair that looks a bit more clean/crisp. We also want to change the whole color of the house eventually, but understand it's pricey. I want to re-stain the cabinets and get new counter tops. All these things will be done over time. The house is move in ready, but I want to update and redesign as we go just to make the home more appealing (not that it isn't already).
The house we only "need" a few things upon closing and moving day - a stove, a fridge, a sofa, and a chair. We've budgeted for these things and are excited to go shopping. I'll be honest, if we don't get this home for some reason I'll be crushed. I LOVE this home, the neighborhood has sidewalks and quiet neighbors, it's safe, and the dogs will love the back yard! We feel like this is OUR home at this point, so send good vibes for our inspection and negotiations with any repairs that will be needed.
I've been obsessing over what to paint the kitchen, because we will have oak cabinets. I do not like oak cabinets, but until we can restain I will have to deal with it. I think a nice blue/grey would brighten things up... We'll see. I've been on Pinterest like crazy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Offer was Accepted!

Nothing is official until after appraisal, inspection, paperwork, and down payments BUT!! our offer was accepted on the house we've been working toward. The house is really similar to the houses I lusted for in a neighborhood close to where my parents live called Crooked Creek. It's not in the same subdivision, but it's in a more convenient location for us.  It's 10 minutes from everywhere! It's the perfect location right in between both of our families, and Richard is incredibly excited but we're keeping it on the down low for now. We want to get moved in, fix the place up a bit, and then show it off to his dad in Florida via Facetime. Can't WAIT for them to visit. I already have a Pinterest board made for improvements, because it looks good from the curb, but certainly needs work. Right off the bat, we're replacing the appliances - did you know a house has to have a stove before closing to pass inspection for an FHA loan? That's so silly. We went to Sears and priced appliances, and the place we went to sales dented displays - nothing wrong with them, and sometimes the dents are on the side where you wouldn't even see them. Up 60% off for some stuff, including mowers.
I guess I can share a pic of the house.
The back deck will need some refinishing, and after a good scrub the inside of the house will look a lot better. Folks have been renting it, and well... the place was a mess. The walls were filthy with greasy prints, and the carpet needs a good shampooing. That's all cosmetic though, and since we'll have a month after closing to move, we'll be taking care of those things at that point. Hopefully, we'll have some help from friends and family <3
I'll keep you updated!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Bow to Bowie (RIP)

Amongst the Gods, an enormous spirit surrounds those who share the clouds with beautiful stardust reaching beyond the heavens, sliding through the universe as color and light. A sound they've not heard since leaving this earth, a brightness they had lost at life's farewell has returned. Glory to the artist who brought us a joy! He was simply too much for this planet to contain - he belongs with the stars and life that is born from seemingly nothing. Loss is not fair, but how do you contain a beaming light? How do you contain a shooting star?
Much Love.
Rest Peacefully, Ziggy Stardust