Monday, October 8, 2012

Saving Money and Feeling All Manly

I told you a few months back how Sallie and I were going into survival mode until a few bills cleared up. Well, I think we've done a fine job.

For bills, we've managed to cut things down quite a bit.

  • Netflix: Went from 1 DVD to just streaming - saved $8 a month.
  • Electricity: We didn't put in a second AC window unit this year and kept the AC about 6 degrees warmer than last year. In total, we saved about $70 a month all summer even with Ameren increasing prices this year.
  • Cell Phones: We switched to Virgin mobile since they use Sprint's network anyway. Saving $70 a month.
On top of those we got aggressive and swapped some things around.
  • Paid off both our medical bills. Total a month, $200.
  • Paid off the loan we took out before Sallie went into surgery. Total per month, $260.
  • Shifted around some credit card balances to one with 0% interest. 
So total, we have 5 less payments a month and are paying about $600 less a month.

On top of that, we both have had second jobs.

Sallie's continued doing her track club newsletter which brings in a nice chunk of change once a quarter.

I've been working with my buddy Allen on gutting houses, being all manly and stuff.

I've quickly learned that I'm not one that learns from reading books or watching videos on how to do things. I need to be shown, usually just once, and once I know what I'm doing, I'm golden.

Since owning a house, I've felt inept at how little of home repair I know how to do, but I'm finding out its only because I've never had a reason to fix anything.

I've had to do a little bit of everything on these old houses. I've installed light fixtures and ceiling fans, painted, cut trim, installed flooring, ripped out carpet, and worked a little with plumbing.

I got to use a nail gun that loaded nails like clips and was hooked up to a 4 foot tall air compressor. I seriously felt muscles and chest hair grow as I shot each nail.

There was one house that a good 50 years of furniture was shoved in the basement and we had to clean out. We quickly learned this was a spider nest. Allen and I wandered the basement, one of us holding a flashlight, the other a blow torch, and we had to kill spiders like we were in Aliens or something.

We found an old 1940s style radio in the house that still sort of worked. Allen took it home to see what he could do with it.

Basically, what I'm saying is, we didn't do anything really this summer, but it was worth it. We're finally in a place where we might be able to make progress on debt for the first time in three years and we learned a few things along the way.