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"Living Space" encompasses all that effects my life...Cheetahwoman7's Living Space
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Frugal or Foolish?

August 7th, 2008 at 04:01 am

Well, it looks like the transmission on my 1994 Mitsubishi Expo Wagon is about ready to bite the dust. Repair cost is about $1800 to rebuild it and have a year waranty. The car is about ready for it's timing belt change, $600 and new brakes, $400. Total in all is about $2,800.

For a car that's 14 years old, it only has 107,000 miles on the engine. Burns a tiny bit of oil, but not too bad. It's still shiny black and hasn't been in any accidents. There are the usual door dings. The interior can use a cleaning, but it's in good repair as well.

Once the repairs are made, my mechanic says that I should get another 2-3 years out of it easily. He replaced all the other belts and water pump two months ago.

Here's the frugal/foolish part. Do I spend close to $3000 to repair a car that's worth less than $2000 because of it's age or do I buy a new or new to me car to replace it? I've been looking around for another car, but most of the newer used ones in my area have more miles than mine does and seem to all cost over $12,000!!! Apparently a lot of commuters around here. Any new car that will do what I need it to do is about $18,000 out the door and that's for a basic model without frills.

My mind has been going back and forth: repair or replace? I am so torn.

Why the IRS LUVS me!!!!

July 12th, 2008 at 05:57 pm

Being a single gal with no kids or deductions is something that the IRS drools over. I'm sure they drool over single men who have no deductions as well...or is that me that drools over them??? Sorry, I digress...I have a small 2 bedroom house in a pretty nice area of my growing city. I paid off the mortgage about 5 years ago (a good thing) but am now being taxed at a really high rate because I have no deductions (a bad thing). Darn IRS won't let me use my two rescued dogs as deductions...hehehehe.

I've been really looking into the option of purchasing a second house. I figure now is the last time in my life ('cuz I'm getting old) that I will see the bottom end of a real estate cycle. What I'm wrestling with the most is if I should buy a second house and move into it or buy one that I'll rent out to someone else.

With the housing prices currently down in my city, I've been looking at several ways I might make this happen.

1) Buy a second house, move into it, then rent out my first house.

2) Buy a second house and rent it out.

3) Buy a duplex or multiple unit piece of property, move into one and rent out the others, including my current house.

4) I know there are other options I haven't thought off. Insert yours here!

The first option allows me to get a house at a lower interest rate and will give me about $1200 a month in income from my current house being rented (not taking into account vacancies). One realtor suggested that I get a loan on my first house since I already own it and pay for the second house in cash. I'm not knowledgable on how that works, but maybe one of you does?

The more I cruise around my town looking for houses, the less inclined I am to move. Seems that I did a good job 16 years ago with location, location, location. There's no way I can afford to upgrade in my own neighborhood! Other neighborhoods aren't looking too appealing in this town.

The second option means that I'll probably have a higher interest rate on the loan and a larger down payment because the purchase is considered an investment. Not sure what the income would be on the house as I havn't found one to buy yet. Would really like the rent to cover the payments...but????

The third option I'm even more confused about. I've heard things like I'll only be able to deduct 1/2 the payment/interest from my taxes if I live in one and rent out the other (duplex as an example). Someone else said it's still an investment property and I'll have to pay the higher interest rate on any loan I get.

Overall, I'm just not sure what to do. I keep researching and reading as much as I can so I have a better idea of what I should do. I have no clue if I'm cut out to be a landlord, but on the other hand, I just can't keep giving so much of my $$ to "Uncle Sam". I'd like to retire at 55, but will probably have to keep working until 62. I won't need a lot of $$ when I retire, but I don't want to have to worry about scrapping by, especially with any health care costs.

All suggestions welcomed!

Peanut Butter Dogs

October 7th, 2007 at 05:05 pm

I had to laugh at my dogs today. I've been saving two near empty Skippy Peanut Butter jars (albeit plastic ones, but jars none the less) to give as a treat to my doggies. They LUV peanut butter and the drooling started as soon as they saw the jars.

As they started in on licking the jars clean, I noticed that you could really see the logo of the Skippy brand and thought it would make a great commercial for them, so I snapped a few shots. Thank goodness they were in the thrawls of licking heaven, because normally they would have followed me into the house while I got my camera, which would have ruined the shot.

Personally, I think the blue of the label goes best against the red of my Golden Retriever....what do you think? Smile

Made $167, Spent $169!!!

September 8th, 2007 at 04:58 pm

As some of you know, my 5th graders are trying to raise funds to go to Science Camp. The class as a whole is running their own "student store" business. Last year we just sold scented pencils. This year we've expanded to include a lot of cute pens, bookmarks, pencil sharpeners, etc.

Well, our first day of sales was last Wednesday. We didn't advertise like we did last year with signs and stuff. Just haven't had time at the beginning of this year to do that. All we did was one Monday morning announcement. When we set up at lunchtime, you could not believe the excitment. There were so many kids lined up to buy that we had to keep asking them to form a line as they were almost rushing the tables!

We sold $167 worth of stuff in that one hour lunch time! You have to understand that our BIG days last year were only in the $50-60 range! The biggest seller? The glow-in-the-dark, spooky Halloween pencils with HUGE monster erasers attached. We sold 49 of those! Almost unbelievable.

Of course, I had only ordered small amounts of each thing so I could see what would sell. That night I had to place another order so that we would have inventory for this week. It all should arrive on Monday. My students just about died when I told them that I had spent all their money, plus $2...hehehehe. They were asking, "Why? We need the money to pay for Science Camp!"

It was an excellent teaching opportunity to explain supply and demand, inventory, sales-cost=profit, not to mention introducing some math word problems based on their business. I'm sure the kids will be just as thrilled when they see the new items I've ordered for their store. I know the boys inparticular will be glad to get their hands on the glow-in-the-dark Halloween pencils.

Fundraising for Science Camp

August 26th, 2007 at 08:15 pm

I have spent most of my summer trying to set up ways to finance Science Camp for my 5th grade students. The total estimated cost for ONE class is between $11,000 and $13,000, depending on the transportation. The original camp I was going with was four days/three nights long, but I found another camp that really stands out where we can go for five days/four nights at a lower cost than the first camp. Our school is in a very economically disadvantaged area where most of the parents work in agriculture which makes it very difficult for them to pay for the entire trip.

Here are the fundrasing ideas I've come up with so far (feel free to add any suggestions you might have *smile*):

-Canning- Where you place informational cans out in the community where people can drop in their change. Amount taken in so far in the last month-$100.44.

-Grant- Recieved from an Educational Foundation. Glad that I'm a halfway decent writer. Made a presentation in front of them on Tuesday. Was informed on Wednesday they were giving us $2,500. *huge smile*

-Matching Funds-Potentially offered from two other organizations to see if, now that we have one grant, they're willing to match it. Funny thing is, once one group gives you money, other groups seem to think you're more "worthy" of getting their funding. Haven't been able to get their applications yet. One I need to contact directly, the other said the application was on line. I haven't been able to get the application to download for me. Guess that means another phone call.

-Student Store- Last year my students raised about $1,100 selling scented pencils. I spent close to $500 for this year's supplies. We've now expanded to obtain different styles of pencils, pens and cute notepads. I'm hoping that my students "work it" and are willing to take things home to sell in their neighborhoods to people/children they know and not just rely on the Student Store sales.

-Parent Contributions- The estimated cost of going to Science Camp is $350 per student, including transportation. I'm sending out a letter this week requestion $100 per student or $10 per week for 10 weeks. Most parents seem to be happy with the science camp idea which is amazing to me as many of our parents culturally believe that "girls" should not be allowed to spend the night away from home until they get married!!!! SmileI'll be holding a parent meeting soon to really fill them in so their concerns won't be so great.

-Back Up Activities- Car Washes, Dog Washes, Water Sales, Employer Solicitations/Sponsorships and, hopefully, approval to have weekly Popcorn Sales. I still have to get information from Food Services to see what the government now approves for food sales at school and when we can sell it. I was under the impression that "healthy snacks" could be sold after lunch service. Now I'm being told that we can't sell until after school...well, that defeats the purpose. Students can go next door to the laundry mat and buy all sorts of candy and such after school, why would they want some air popped popcorn?

I've also been looking for ways to cut the cost of the trip. Transportation (either school bus or the district's approved charter bus service)is fully 1/4 of the total price. I can cut that almost in half if the District will let us take the train! Smile I think it would be a wonderful experience for my students as well. We've had a lot of changes in our fieldtrip regulations over the summer, so there seems to be no one person who can give me the all the information I need at the moment. I'll be tracking people down next week.

My biggest concern is that, although the Science Camp said we could do defered billing until April, 2008, the District is saying that we have to have all the money together before we go. That's a bit tough, because we're leaving in eight weeks!!!!!

So, with ALL that said, we currently have $2,600 towards the cost of the trip. If I can get the parents to pay before the trip, that's about another $3,000, or half way to our goal. Fingers crossed that:

1) the District will allow us to use the Science Camp's deferral.

2) the District will allow us to take the train and save half the cost of the transportation.

3) we get matching funds from the other two grants. Smile

Cross your fingers for us. I'll keep y'all informed of how it goes!

CJ Smile

Do You Want to Hear the Good News or the Bad?

June 12th, 2007 at 05:34 am

Well, I'll start with the bad: someone managed to figure out my password and steal my main email account....the one I used for all my E-Bay,, and PayPal accounts. Frown Luckily, I discoved it within a few hours, changed my passwords on all (and there are MANY) other accounts, closed up my PayPal bank account, put a hold on all my credit cards and credit reports, changed ALL of my bank accounts for ones with new numbers...and more. Frown

Stupidly, I had kept over 2,000 (yep, you read that right) e-mails with all of my transactions over the last few years. My BillPay account was included in there. I'm hoping my ss number wasn't still hooked into my correspondence with the University where I went for my Master's. That would be VERY bad. Frown

Funny thing was I had listed a back up email account through my main email, and was sent a notice where they said my password had been changed. The "stub" of the IP address that was attached to that showed that the password request had come from Fresno, CA. Less than 24 hours later, I received another email stating that the password had been changed again! This time from San Francisco. Three days later, another...this time from England!!!!

It's been a couple of weeks and I haven't received any more notifications. That doesn't mean it hasn't been "transfered" again, it just means they may have found the back up address and changed it so I wouldn't know what was up.

Yahoo has been absolutely NO help. They just sent out a form letter saying that they'd look into it. Then sent another form letter asking how I liked the service delivered by the first form letter. Let me just say, they haven't responded back to the second letter I sent them. Smile

I guess the good thing is that I found out about it and acted quickly. It truly freaked me out. Online banking is something that I've only recently started (as per my other blog entries and starting up PayPal just a few months ago). For now, I think I'm sticking to the old fashioned ways of delivering payments: in person and using an envelope with a stamp. I'm telling you, it's very nerve racking to have that happen. Frown

The good news? I've been in the mood to purge a lot of my "stuff". I think I'm at that time in my life where I need to "shed" the extra material possessions that seem to be weighing me down. I started the process before all this stuff happened with the stolen e-mail acocunt and have been putting it on hold the last week or so as school is taking up more and more of my time.

I have PLENTY of stuff to sell at a garage sale, but decided last night that I'll Craigslist the things that I know can bring in a few real $$ and Freecycle or donate the rest. I just need it all out of here.

Anyone ever get those feelings? You know, where you just need to be rid of something (and no, I'm not talking about anyone's significant other...hehehehe). Usually I'm the type that holds on to things, many times, for way too long. It's sort of a new feeling for me, and not a bad one at that.

Hot Stuff!!!

April 21st, 2007 at 04:05 am

Well, not me, but my compost! Smile I've never been a real gardener, and have just started getting more into it. I looked into finding a composter and happened to be given a tumbling type from Freecycle.

My first "batch", I followed the directions of the man who gave me the tumbler, but nothing ever heated up. I ended up with a blecky mess. Had to turn it out and just let time do the work.

This time I spent countless hours (well, I could have counted them, but that would have taken up another hour...hehehehe) researching the net to find out the differences between composting in a bin or pile and composting in a "tumbler". Turns out, I had the whole thing way too wet and not near enough browns.

This time I used shredded paper, coffee grounds, a few shovels full of mushroom compost (AKA horse and cow poop), and 2/3 a garbage can full of freshly clipped grass. By the next day, there was steam coming out of the tumbler and and I couldn't even stick my hand inside to touch it! I used a meat thermometer (I know, but I don't have a composting one) and the compost's temperature was up to 150 degrees!!!!! Couldn't believe it! It made me feel so proud that I finally got the right "recipe" to make this thing work.

Now it's on it's second round of heating up, as it stayed at about 115 to 125 degrees for almost a week before cooling off, but didn't break down all of the paper. I put in another 1/2 can of clipped grass and the whole process started over again. *fingers crossed* that the paper breaks down this time.

On the Princess front, I don't think that she's made much progress this week. Her leg still looks really swollen and she appears to be having more difficulty getting up after having lied down for awhile. I'll be taking her back to the vet next week so they can check her out.

I hate seeing her in pain. Frown That's the reason I decided to have the operation done, to stop the pain for her. Doubtful that I'll get the other knee done this year. Have to wait and see the healing of this one first.

Early Mornin' Surprise!!!

April 10th, 2007 at 02:36 am

Showing off her sexy shaved leg and happy her first follow up is done, Princess resides on her comfy thrown. Smile

What a treat for me this morning! Princess decided that she needed to go "outside" at 4AM!!! She has to be let outside on a leash so she doesn't some how hurt herself by running around. So, we're walking around the back 40 (back 40 feet, for those of you who were wondering), when my puppy starts freakin' out. All of a sudden, Princess bolts toward the back fence, spinning me around and almost dropping me to the ground. Surgery and all, she's one STRONG dog! I had to grab her by the collar so that she wouldn't keep putting pressure on her knee.

And what was she straining to get at less than 8 feet away on the fenceline? One of the biggest, scraggiest, ugliest Mama Possums I've ever seen. Now that's enough to freak you out, get your adrenaline going, and keep you from falling back to sleep once you get in your nice, warm, cozy house. The possum scurried away, but Princess decided that we needed to spend the next half hour looking for it.

Geez, this nursemaid stuff is killing me! hehehehehe Smile

I do have to say that Princess was so cute this morning. After walking around and NOT going, she found one of her tennis balls. She picked it up, dropped it, and picked it up again showing that she wanted to play catch. My heart just breaks for her, knowing that her spirit wants to play but that her knee isn't healed enough for her to do that.

Princess had her first follow up after the surgery today. The vet looked very surprised to see her walking on the leg already. She said that it all looked good, but that the stitches would have to stay in until the next follow up appointment.

Poor Princess was so scared about going inside that I had to physically carry her into the vet's office. (Oh my back!) I'm pretty sure she was afraid that she was going to get hurt again. Frown She'll have 4 more follow ups to get her confidence back. I feel terrible knowing that she needs a second operation. Wish there was another way so she wouldn't have to go through all this pain again.

As for me, I have to start back to work tomorrow. Feel like I haven't even had a break since I've been taking care of Princess. My sister will be taking care of here during the day while I work. That way I don't have to worry about her hurting her leg while I'm gone.

Shoot, hopfully going back to work will give me something else to blog about besides my dogs! Smile

Warning: Slightly Gory Pics

April 6th, 2007 at 02:55 am

For those who have been asking, here are a couple of pictures of Princess' leg, now 4 days after the operation. The brusing just looks terrible as it's all red like blood clotting just under the skin. Since her skin is so transparent, you can truly see where they held her or pulled back the skin to get to the bones. Frown

On the up side, the seepage is almost non-existant (great compared to how it all was for my other dog 12 years ago). She only has 9 stitches for a cut that's about 7 inches long. Some swelling, but not near as bad as it was the second day. Still, it looks a bit like a large turkey leg. Smile It all appears to be healing nicely. Princess is doing very minimal licking, so I don't have to put the E-collar on her.

As you can see from the last couple of pictures, Change is sure happy to have her sister home, even holding on to her paw to make sure she doesn't get away again. Smile

I, myself, am just about exhausted. I would make a TERRIBLE nurse, having to cater to one patient and one pain in the patooty is MORE than enough for me. In addition, the dogs wake me up every hour and a half to two hours to either go outside or rearrange their sleeping locations. Since Princess needs to be helped to stand up so she can get going, guess who has to get out of the bed to do the rump lifting portion? *smile* I'm sure once Princess is feeling better, there will be less of the need to move around to find "just the right" position or location.

I did manage to get most of my taxes done today. Looks like I'll get a bit back to help me save for Princess' second operation. Also, I went online to look up the operation and found a site that had many postings from people like me who have had the operation done on their dogs. Seems there's a BIG difference in cost depending on where you live. Surprise, huh?

One gal posted that she lived "near" Portland (OR or ME, she didn't say), but the cost for her dog was only $1200. There was no additional contact info on her. Frown Someone else had asked in a post where she had it done, but she never responded back. Could call all the vets around both those areas, but seems like a lot of work. The difference in cost is $2,300 though. If it's Portland, OR, I would fly or drive up there to get that done, as the savings are WELL worth it.

Thank you for your warm wishes to Princess. I'm sure that's one of the reasons she's doing so well. Smile

Princess is Home!

April 3rd, 2007 at 01:48 pm

Back home, all snuggled up, and enjoying her bed!

She's very groggy and not willing to put up with the "puppy's" antics, but her leg looks good. I'm amazed that they didn't cut as much as they did with my dog who had the same operation 12 years ago. It's the same surgeon too. I'm thinking that's a good thing.

Although she hasn't eaten since the day before yesterday, I have been able to get her to drink water a little at a time. I have some ground turkey thawing out and will cook that up along with some steamed rice, maybe a few veggies. Pretty sure her stomach is sensitive since not having food for a couple of days.

Actually, the "puppy" is doing amazingly well in not buggin' Princess too much. Princess bit Change on the nose when she first got home, letting Change know that she wasn't going to mess around with her. Of course, this morning she's barking at Princess trying to tell her she wants to go play. Guess her only playmate for the next few weeks will be me. Smile I'm making sure that she's getting plenty of attention, since Princess pretty much wants to be left alone so she can rest.

The hardest part for me is lifting Princess up using a folded towel around the lower end of her stomach. It's more for support once she gets walking, but dang, that's one heavy dog (73 lbs). I think I need to find a longer towel, maybe a beach towel, so I don't have to bend so much when supporting her. She did manage to get outside with assistance so she could empty her bladder. Thank goodness she's willing to try to get around!

I'll keep y'all updated on how Princess is doing, how Change is handling not having her usual playmate, and how my back is holding out! Smile Thank you for all of your well wishes.