Did Condos Get Hit Harder Than Houses In The Downturn?

In 2007, I sold my condo and we bought the house of our dreams.  We wanted something that we would be able to start a family in, and the house has served us very well in that regard.

The condo I sold was my first real place, and I left it with great sadness.  Still, I knew that while it was a good bachelor pad, it wasn’t any place to start a family.

The condo was built around 1990.  I think the ‘original’ price was in the neighborhood of $70,000 or thereabouts.  It sold in the early 1990’s for around $80-85k if memory serves.

I bought it in the spring of 1999.  It was listed for $104,900 and I put a full price offer.  There was a second offer, equal to mine, but the seller chose my offer because I was not moving out of another house, therefore I didn’t have another sale in the way of closing.

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Listen To Your Wife

My wife and I are both pretty stubborn people.  If she says she’s right about something, I’ll often argue with her about it.  A couple of examples recently have shown that maybe it’s time to keep my mouth shut:

  • North Face – It seemed that for Christmas, my wife would inevitably buy me a new coat.  One year she got me a new leather coat, another year she got me a new dress coat, then a new fall coat, and one year a new winter coat.  This was 2007 or 2008.  She said I should get a North Face coat, but I resisted, scoffing at the idea that any coat should be as expensive as they were.  I promised her “These coats are way too expensive.  In a couple of years from now they’ll be like Members Only coats and nobody will be wearing them”.  A couple of years later passed, the cheaper coats I asked for (and got) having worn out (and never really keeping me cold), I had a new coat on my Christmas list.  This time I went for the North Face.  Which I should have just done back in 2008!  I love it. (UPDATE: I have had even better experiences with North Face in the months since!)
  • The pen – A while back I saw a charge on our debit card statement from Staples or some other office supply store for around $15.  I asked what it was for and my wife told me that she got herself a new pen.  I asked “OK, great, but where’s the other $14.50 of stuff?”  There wasn’t.  I was incredulous that she spent that on a pen and let her know at every opportunity that I didn’t approve.  Fast forward a few months later and I was working in the office and started using this pen.  “Wow, this pen is really awesome, where did you get it?”  You know the rest.  A few months later I got, as a gift, my very own $15 pen.  I didn’t say a single word about the price and it’s now the only pen that I use.

Men, next time your wife thinks she knows what’s best, listen.  Giving into my stubborn nature, I have found that mine knows exactly what’s best for me.  Which is just one reason I love her so much 🙂

The Afterburn Effect Applied To Personal Finance

One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld involves a plot where George puts in a furious workout which leaves him still sweating after he gets back to the office.  This leads to him being accused of stealing from his employer, as they figured he was sweating from being nervous.

In reality, this type of sweating is actually a good thing when it comes after working out.  It’s known as the afterburn effect, and basically says that after a rigorous workout, your body will still burn extra calories for several hours following a workout in addition to the calories expended during the workout itself.

I’ve actually applied this to my workouts, trying to work out harder for a slightly shorter amount of time versus a moderate workout.  After the moderate workout, your body basically wraps up, whereas after the rigorous workout, additional calories will continue to be burned.  So, even though the calorie meter might read the same, the net calories could be wildly different based on the type of workout you do.

Did you know that the afterburn effect can apply to personal finances?

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How Our Second Car Seat Will Pay For Itself

A few weeks ago, Target had their ‘Baby Sale’ where baby related items were on sale.  We had been looking into a second car seat and found one that we really liked and had pretty good ratings.

Our primary car seat is in my wife’s car along with a base for the baby carrier.  The car seat holds our 2-year old son, and the baby goes in the carrier.

Until recently, there wasn’t really a need for a car seat in my car, as my wife took the kids places most of the time and the kids were together.  On top of that, most places we went involved a stroller.  The single stroller we have barely fits in my car, and the double stroller does not fit at all.

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A Tale Of Two Customer Service Experiences

I believe that customer loyalty is something that should not be given lightly by consumers, but should be cherished by a business when it is rewarded.  A loyal customer is not only to give repeat business time and again, they will likely tell friends, family, and even complete strangers to go do business with the place that they have grown to love so much.

With this said, I thought it was worth it to share stories about two businesses which have had our loyalty for years, but with dramatically different outcomes.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…and so was this jewelry store….

While we’ve shopped at other jewelry stores, Store “J” has always been our go-to store of choice for our jewelry needs.  We don’t buy that much jewelry, but when we do, Store “J” is always given our first look and has ended up with probably 90% or more of our jewelry purchases.

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Don’t Lose Track Of Your Great Ideas

One question I often get asked about Money Beagle is how I consistently come up with ideas.  I’ve been doing this for about three and a half years now, so coming up with fresh ideas isn’t always easy.

The best tool I have for this is a simple pad of paper. When an idea occurs to me about a possible blog post, I’m usually not in a position to write it right then and there.  But, just like a dream that slips away from you a few minutes after you wake up, without taking note of it at that moment, the idea would likely be gone.

So, I do just what I said above, I jot down the idea.

This works, because otherwise what has happened in the past is that when I do have some time and motivation to write, I would sit there unable to think of a single thing to write about.

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When Getting A 20% Raise Kind Of Sucks

Just to start things right, I haven’t gotten a 20% raise recently.  The one and only time, and the focus of this story, was in 1999 I think.

But the lesson learned is still applicable today.

My first job out of college was working in a call center.  I started at a pretty low salary, but the company I was working for had a great reputation in the IT industry, and many an IT professional used them as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

After a couple of years there, I was itching for more and ready to be one of those ‘stepping stone’ stories.  I would have stayed there, but they stopped my training path and they declined my request for anything more than a 3% raise.  So it was time to jump.

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Bronchitis And A Double Ear Infection

Those were the words around our house a couple of weeks ago.  It wasn’t me that was suck, and luckily those afflictions weren’t all for one person.  They were split between two people, but unfortunately they were our kids.

Both kids got sick around the same time.  What first appeared to be the standard cold that kids pick up after play dates grew into more persistent symptoms.  Neither was sleeping good, be it for nighttime sleep or for naps, and the congestion wasn’t going away.  After the fourth day, my wife decided to take the kids to the doctor.

Little Boy Beagle had bronchitis (with a touch of pneumonia) in one lung, and Baby Girl Beagle had a double ear infection.

We go to a great pediatrician and they set them both on the recovery rather quickly.  Within days, both kids were feeling better, and I’d say that the worse has passed (with the exception being that I fear that my daughter could be prone to ear infections…just like I was as a kid).

So, now that everything has passed, I thought I’d take a look at what these illnesses cost us.

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Take Advantage of Spring to Optimize Savings

While many of us are currently focused on our taxes at the moment, often calling upon our accountant or financial adviser for the best ways to optimize our refunds, we need to remember that springtime represents more than just tax season. The warmer weather spring brings also makes it a great time for savings. A few ways in which the season can save us money for future investments include:

Mild Temps Mean No Need for the Heater

Spring is one of only two seasons in which most of us whom live in temperate climates can save money on our electric bill. Maintaining warm household temps in the winter and cooler temps in the summer can be a huge drain on our monthly budgets. Spring’s mild temps, however, allow us to open our windows instead of turning on our heaters or air conditioners which can save you big time on that heating and cooling bill.

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Why We Pay More Than We Have To For Dental Work

Nobody likes going to the dentist, right?

The way I figure, though, is that it’s a necessary part of life (if you want teeth past your 50’s), so you might as well make the most of it.

I’ve always paid more for dental work than is absolutely necessary, and I’ve never regretted it.

We have a dentist that doesn’t participate as members in any dental plan.

What does this mean?  That while insurance plans will cover their work, they do not have negotiated rates with any one insurance company.

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