So Much To Do Around The House

Have you ever noticed how there are times when things just seem to pile up around the house or all come due at once. Here are just a few things that are looking to be done around the Beagle household:

  • Stain the deck – With the help of my parents, I power washed it, but now I need about 72 hours of rain free time to get it done (48 before and 24 afterward). The Michigan weather has not been cooperative and may not be for a few more days.
  • Fix the sprinker head (part 2) – I noticed a sprinkler head that wasn’t getting a lot of pressure. I dug it out of the ground and noticed that it not very tightly connected. I tightened it and buried it, yet the pressure problem persists. I think there may be a problem with the line, which is a more tedious (and dirty) prospect.
  • Fix the toilet – I noticed last week that the toilet downstairs was running by itself every once in a while. After making sure that it wasn’t leaking onto the floor (which would be bad, since there are wood floors in that bathroom), I started the process to get the insides replaced. By this I mean that I started drying out the tank. I drained it and soaked up water, and now am letting things dry out. I’ve replaced the ‘guts’ of the toilets on numerous occasions, and the part that I’ve hated the most is how much water leaks out when you start taking everything apart. Hopefully I’ve minimized that this time!
  • Finish taping the ductwork – Over the winter, I started taping all the joints in the basement for the ductwork, as there is a lot of air leak when you add together, air that’s not getting to where you want it. I was able to get about 60% of it done, which was the stuff in the unfinished part of the basement. The remainder will be a bit more difficult, though, because it’s above ceiling tiles. I need to bite the bullet and get that finished up now that air conditioning season is upon us.
  • Do some painting – I want to paint the stairway to the basement and do some touch up work around the hallways, where things have gotten scuffed up over the past two years since we moved in.
  • Take stuff to the Salvation Army – There’s a growing pile of stuff in the middle of the garage that I need to donate.
  • Replace the step to the front porch – The step we have is slowly turning to gravel as it’s run it’s course. This isn’t difficult, but I need help to get the new step as well as a car that can handle it (most likely a van or SUV).

Lots going on but all part of the fun of having a house. Good things I enjoy doing things like this and knowing that I’ve helped keep our household in running order.

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2009 Financial Goals

2009 is upon us and it is that time where we start setting out goals. This is the first time I’ve ever publicly stated goals for the entire year, so I may skip around a bit. I’ll try, though to keep it organized.
Balance Sheet Goals:

  • Property – My goals here assume that we pay our normal mortgage payment, which is in our control. The thing that is out of our control is that I’m assuming that our property value remains relatively stable. Hopefully the prices in our neighborhood don’t continue double digit percentage falls this year!
  • Autos – I am assuming that the overall value of our cars goes up, but that we take on a loan. This is assuming that we sell my car, and purchase a used automobile to accommodate the baby. Neither of our cars are very ‘family friendly’ I’m looking at getting something modest and taking on a very small loan, but it’d be nice to not have to take one at all!
  • Mutual Funds – With everything going on this year, we probably will not invest in non-retirement mutual funds. We do hold some, and I’m hoping for a 10% increase in the value, which would mean that the market recovers this year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
  • Long Term Savings – We hold cash reserves for emergency fund as well as bigger expenses we expect to pay for in the next several years. I’m hoping that this remains stable (i.e. no big emergencies)
  • Retirement – I’m hoping that the value of our retirement account goes up about 30% this year. That would follow the expected 10% market recovery this year, as well as several other things. First, I’m assuming that I will become fully vested in my company match 401(k), which should happen due to the company being sold last year. Second, I’m assuming that I can contribute 8-10% of my salary and realize the full 6% company match.

If we manage all this and things work out favorably in the market, this would increase our net worth by about 20% this year. This is what I was averaging in years past until the free fall in stock and real estate in 2007 and 2008. It’d be nice to get on the ‘right path’ again.
Personal Goals:

  • Continue my quest to level out our monthly expenses
  • Make a successful adjustment from a two-income household to a one-income household as my wife will not be working following the birth of our first child
  • Don’t freak out when the expenses hit for the baby! I took my first walk through of Babies R Us this week, which was my wife’s way of easing me into it!
  • Maximize our rewards for normal spending. We have a Citi Dividends card which pays us 2% for grocery and gas purchases, and 1% for everything else. We also signed up yesterday for our bank reward program, which gives points for using our debit card. I’d like to make sure we’re maximizing our rewards as the year goes on.
  • Reduce student loan payments by 30-40%. If we can hit this number, then the higher end loan that my wife has will be mostly paid off. This would be awesome!
  • Refinance the mortgage – We are currently paying 5.875% for a 30-year mortgage. This is a good rate, but I think that rates will be below 5% before long to where a re-finance might make sense. It’d be nice to reduce our interest obligation.
  • Begin saving for major house expenses – Our house is about 10 years old. I know that we’re getting a few years away from routine tasks that cost a good deal of money. I expect a new hot water system will be needed within 3 years, a new roof within 5 years, new windows within 7, a new furnace within 10, a new deck and driveway within 12 years. I’d like to begin saving for those now rather than figure out how to pay for them as they come up.

All in all, it will be a very interesting year with a lot of changes. I will look forward to updating throughout the year as well as looking back at the end of the year to see how we did.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.