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Thinking Out Loud

August 30th, 2010 at 09:05 am

Here's the plan I've come up with...

I'm not sure if the condo situation is going to work. I don't want to rush into things just for the sake of moving out. The current plan is to save up cash to buy a condo within the next year. I think I can easily save $1000 a month for a year. If I can do that, that's $12,000 on top of the $14,000 I already have in savings which is $26,000 total. I'm hoping that in a year from now, I can find a condo in a surrounding city for about $20,000 with a maximum of $400 condo fee (which I think is doable). If I can get a mortgage another way and my business is doing well, even better. I just don't think I can get one on my own. So the only other option is to borrow money from someone or see if someone can cosign for me. I'm not holding my breath though.

Here's my estimated budget for when I do move out. Mind you, I budgeted high for some categories because I'm not entirely sure what my costs will be...
Mortgage/Condo Fees-400
Car Insurance-100
Necessities (HBC, cleaning, paper)-20

The total is $1200. I'd like to also contribute at least $200/month to my savings account. Obviously, more is better. However, that's the minimum amount I'd feel comfortable saving. So, the total income I'd like to have is $1400/month.

I'm going to open up a retirement account when I turn 24 and contribute $100/month to it. If I calculate things correctly, I think I'll have enough income to last until my last day on earth. Hopefully. Wink

Now, in terms of my business... I think I've finally decided what sort of items I'm going to sell. I'll be starting with ebay, then gradually adding some inventory to etsy, and then eventually starting my own website if things go well. I've done my research and I think I can easily make my $1400/month income. In fact, my lowball estimate is more like $2100/month post taxes.

In order to make $1400/month post taxes, I would have to sell 133 items on ebay. There are about 5 or so other sellers on ebay that sell the same sort of item I sell. I checked on goofbay.com and the lowest amount one of these sellers has sold in one month is 204. Mind you, this person had about 400 items listed. I'll have 1000 items listed. I've noticed that the more items you list, the more items you sell. Still, if I sold only 200 items per month, I'd be making almost double my needed income. Score!

So here's the current plan. I'm going to the other house (the one I am renting with my ex roommates) next weekend to bring my stuff to my parent's garage. I have my computer and desk there. The laptop I'm currently using is so darn slow. There is no way I could keep up with my business on this laptop so I need my other computer. I will start listing some items I have around the house as well as some things I bought a couple months ago that I planned on reselling for profit. I will need to buy a high quality printer as well as some other startup supplies in order to start my "real" business. Then I have to make some selling templates, setup my ebay store, and I have to do some research and figure out a few things before I actually get things going.

I plan on having 4 accounts, 2 checking and 2 savings. One checking will be my spending account. The other will be my business account. I will have a buffer of $500 in each of these accounts just to be safe. My savings accounts will be used to hold my estimated taxes and the other will be used to hold my savings. I signed up for a program that will calculate my profits and such as well as my estimated taxes. For those who don't know, people who are self employed must pay their taxes quarterly. This program even tells you when you should send in your tax payments. It's great! I will be using my business account to buy supplies, to pay for shipping, and to hold all profits made. At the end of every month, I will see how much profit I made. I will then take the amount of money I owe in taxes for that month and transfer it to my taxes savings account. I will also transfer $1200 (which is my bill amount) to my spending savings account and any extra money I have leftover will go to savings. If I need extra money for some reason, I will just transfer that amount from my savings to my spending checking account.

Now, I'm not naive. I have thought about what would happen if in 5 years, ebay doesn't exist anymore. Or what if in 5 years, ebay is saturated with the type of item I'm selling and I can longer make as much as I need. If that were to happen, I would need to get a "regular" job. Although I wouldn't be as happy as I would like to be, I'd have to suck it up because I would have no choice.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. Wink

Back to Work

August 27th, 2010 at 06:45 pm

I talked to my manager today. I'm going back to work at my part time job starting next week. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons. 1)As I said in my last entry, I think I'm depressed. I also think this stems from not really getting out of the house and doing anything. I have no drive when I sit at home, doing nothing. 2)Even if I only get 15 hours a week, it'll be eno


August 25th, 2010 at 01:44 pm

It's time for my monthly check in. Not much has been going on lately. I have been sort of dealing with a bit of depression lately. I just don't know what I want to do with my life. I went on vacation from August 12-22 to Massachusetts and New Hampshire to visit family for 10 days. I really want to move there. But I also know that it's more expensive. I love the community feeling of living in a small town. And I don't know if it's the depression or something else but I really want to get out of the current city I'm living in.

So I've been looking at condos for sale in Florida. There are many for $20-30,000 which I think is great. Not only would the payments be affordable, but I could also pay it off sooner than 30 years. Of course with condos you also have HOA fees which are OK with me because many condo communities have pools and activity centers and I wouldn't have to worry about taking care of the yard work.

So a couple questions. First, if anyone has had experience with condos, what are the pros and cons? I have a cousin who has lived in apartments and condos and he just has problems with noise. Anything else besides noise issues?

Also, I still work at my part time job but it's only once a week if that. I was just miserable there and I'm trying to focus on getting my ebay business growing. The problem with being self-employed is that it's nearly impossible to get a mortgage. So, I would probably have to have my parents cosign with me if I wanted a condo in the next few months. Here's my other question. When you obtain a mortgage, do they ask you for your tax returns from previous years' or do they ask for pay stubs? I ask this because I think I would have a better shot getting a mortgage if they asked for tax returns instead of pay stubs.

What can I say? I'm cheap.

July 13th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

So I was browsing a forum I visit sometimes and there was a thread dedicated to frugality. Since I'm a cheapo at heart, I wanted to jot some of these down so I can learn some things as well as share some of my own frugal tips with you all...

I rarely eat at fast food places (although my parents have been treating me to some fast food now that I live with them) but I sometimes take extra ketchup and other sauce packets home with me. I don't use a lot of mustard but it's always good to have some on hand when I make hot dogs. And it's free!

I used to have a subcription to Netflix. I did the 2 at a time unlimited deal. I believe it was around $15 a month. What I DIDN'T like is the turn around time. I would get a movie in the mail and watch it that day. Then I would put the movie in the mailbox the next morning. The mailman would collect the movie but it wouldn't be sent out until the next day. Then, once Netflix received the movie, they would send another movie to me but it would take about 2 days for me to get it. Yes, Netflix saves more money than going to an actual theater to watch a movie. HOWEVER, there are even cheaper ways to watch movies. First, there are Blockbuster and Red Box rental machines all over the city I live in. They are $1 per day per movie. Super cheap! Even better, there are sometimes codes that allow you to rent the movie for free. I like to do this when I have a bunch of friends coming over because the quality is great and it's inexpensive. However, when I'm at home and want to watch a movie by myself, I just watch them for free on my computer. There are many websites that host streaming movies for free. The quality isn't 100% but you can't beat free.

I like to keep things as cheap as possible when it comes to food. I love food but I don't like spending money on it. To me, food is what I need to live. There is no way I'm going to spend $20 on a steak when I'm perfectly content eating a $5 salad. For example, I remember one year for New Year's Eve, my parents wanted to make an excellent dinner with prime rib and lobster. Yes, it tasted good. However, it wasn't THAT great considering the prices. I notice my coworkers spending $10-15 on their breaks. And there I am, munching on a couple of granola bars, snack mix, and some cherry flavored water. Mind you, I bought all of these things on sale and I used coupons so it literally cost me a few cents for everything.

Let me give another example of eating frugally when it comes to going out to eat. Recently, I spent the day in Tampa with a few friends. It was dinner time so we went out to a popular restaurant. I ordered water and some chicken and fries. My friends ordered sodas, appetizers, and burgers. My bill came out to $8.xx including tip. Their's came out to $20. And I just want to point out that we ate at Hooters, not some amazing Italian restaurant or something like that. So they each spent roughly $12 more than I did and I was perfectly content with what I ate. I've also been to Disney a handful of times and everyone complains about the price of the food. This last time I went, I bought a box of cereal and milk for breakfast. This alone saved me quite a few dollars. Then, for lunch, we went outside of the parks to get food at the grocery store or at a cheap restaurant. The one time we did have dinner inside Disney, I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. It was around $15 and it wasn't even that good.

Chicken breasts-"Butterfly" each breast to make 2 pieces of meat.

Freeze pretty much everything-When I was still living with my roommates, I would buy an onion or sour cream and it would go bad before I could use the rest of it. Now, whenever I don't completely use a vegetable or something perishable, I just put the item in a freezer bag, label it, and it still tastes as good the next time I use it.

Anyone have some frugal tips to share?

July Update

July 13th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Starting next week, I'll be working one day a week at my parttime job. I'm planning on really getting my butt in gear with the whole ebay thing and getting my license.

I'm in a weird situation where sometimes I focus too much on trying to make xx amount of money in order to buy my own house and other times I think, it's ok if I'm only making xx amount of money. I need to enjoy life right now and eventually work my way up to getting the amount of money I need to live comfortably on my own.

I'm planning a couple of vacations. First, in the beginning of August I'm going to Orlando for a few days with some friends and my sister. Then in the middle of August, I'll be going to Massachusetts for 10 days. In September, there's a concert in Atlanta we may or may not go to. ANNNNND my parents and older sister had already booked a cruise in November and they asked me to go with them. I'm still on the fence about that one.

Soooo lot's of good things going on during the next few months. I've been spending money slightly more freely than I used to but nothing too crazy. Crossing my fingers that everything works out for me.

June Update

June 26th, 2010 at 09:14 am

I know I haven't posted in a while. Not much has been going on really. I'm still living with my parents. My hours at work are right around 22-23 a week (although next week I have 30). I know I need to find another job. I'm still doing some research on ebay selling. I think I can at least make enough on there every month so that I can still keep my part time job but not have to work too many hours. Ideally, I'd like to leave my part time job and just "work" on ebay but that might take some time.

I have a friend/coworker who is looking for a house to buy with her boyfriend. She told me that her real estate agent said that if you buy a foreclosure, you don't have to put down 20%. Not only that, but if I qualify for a mortgage with a certain bank, they will take your down payment, multiply it by 5, and give you that money to fix up the house. So if I put down $2000, they would give me $10,000 to fix the house. I just have to stay in the house for 5 years. I know another friend of mine did this exact program so I know it exists. I just don't know all of the details yet. If I qualify for this program, that would mean that I wouldn't have to spend $6000 that I was planning on spending. Woot!

I'll keep you guys updated on ebay and things like that. Within the next week I'll have a better idea of how much I can make. I really want this to work. My cousin once told me that I'm too smart to work for other people. We had briefly talked about starting our own business. One thing that he mentioned that really stuck with me is that he hates waking up in the morning on a beautiful sunny day knowing that he has to be inside a building all day, working for hardly anything. Wouldn't it be nice to make a decent amount of money and being able to wake up on those beautiful mornings and say "Instead of working, let's go to the beach today!". Sounds good, doesn't it?

It's Been a While.

May 29th, 2010 at 07:29 am

It has been a while since my last post. Quite a lot has happened since then.

First, I sold some things on ebay and made about $160 on it all.

I left the house I was renting and moved in with my parents.

My hours at my current job have dropped. A LOT.

I need a new plan. Here's what I'm thinking.

I need to get my license first (obviously). Then, I need a better job. All I need is a job where I net $300 a week which is really doable. If I can do that, I'll be able to pay all of my bills and still have some fun money leftover AS WELL AS about $100 to put into my savings account every month. I'll also be doing some selling on ebay and I think I can safely net $250 a month from that. I need to stay in my parent's house at least until November because that is when my lease ends. I plan on saving as much money as I can. Once I get a better job, I'm going to look at houses. If I can find a house in the price range that I want, I will buy it. It will probably need some work. Soooo I will be staying with my parents and using the money I saved up to fix the house while I'm living with my parents to save some money. Once everything is fixed, I will move into the house.

I think all of this is doable and I'm soooo excited! What do you guys think about my savings though? My bills (sans entertainment money) come out to $970 a month. I know you're supposed to have 6 months worth of savings in your account but I'd like to stay at right around $5000. If I don't go under that amount, I'd feel comfortable. I'm going to need some money for a down payment (I'm thinking about $5000 even though I might qualify for that program that pays the down payment for you... anyone know what I'm talking about?), maybe a couple thousand for closing costs, and a few thousand for fixing up the house as well as a few pieces of furniture I'm going to need (which will be right around $1000). I think I'll have enough to cover it all and I still won't go under the $5000 amount. Do you think putting $350 away a month into savings is too little?

What A Mess

May 19th, 2010 at 07:40 am

So yesterday I get home after running some errands. My roommate's parents are there. They want to talk. LOOOOONG story short, they can't find replacements for me and my sister so we have to continue to pay rent until November. We are beyond pissed. There was lots of yelling involved. The worst part for my roommate is that he just lost 2 friends. And he doesn't have many to begin with. My sister and I are going to look at the lease and see how long we have to pay the rent until we are charged a late fee. My roommate is in charge of the bills and my sister and I are going to pay him our share of the bills as late as we can. Give him some anxiety. That'll piss him off.

I wonder if he thinks we're going to end things on good terms. Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeves. My sister and I are going to continue to find people to replace us. Only problem is my roommate is not going to be happy with anyone we pick because he's spiteful. I'm going to continue to move out. I've packed a good majority of my things. The future roomie and I are going to fill out our applications today and hopefully turn them in with our holding and application fees tomorrow. From there, we wait to see if our application is accepted. This will take at least 5 days. I don't see why we wouldn't be accepted. After that, we rent a moving truck, pack our stuff, and leave. Can't wait to get out of this mess!


May 16th, 2010 at 09:16 am

I had soooo much fun yesterday! We got up at 6:30 and were on the road by 7:45. We met with a couple of other friends and then headed to Disney. Although I had a lot of fun, I don't think it's worth the price of the ticket. We waited in line for far too long and it was unbearably hot outside. I'm burnt on my shoulders, back, and my nose. We were at Animal Kingdom until 6ish then went back to my sister's hotel room to freshen up. From there, we went to dinner at the House of Blues. Pretty expensive if you ask me. Then we went shopping at Downtown Disney and headed back home. We got home at 12 o'clock and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Breakdown of what I spent:
$5 for gas
$84.14 for Animal Kingdom ticket
$5.32 for lunch (I got the kid's meal... keeping it cheap lol)
$13.68 for dinner

Total spent was right around $108. I budgeted $10 so I'm happy. Smile

The landlord for the house I'm currently in had to come by today to fix the stove. As I mentioned before, I'm dogsitting and dogs aren't allowed in the house. Soooo I had to take her for a walk while they fixed the stove. I've had too much sun the past couple of days lol!

I think I'm going to stick to selling some of my stuff on Craigslist. I don't know what the heck is going on with ebay lately but it's a mess! I'll sell my remaining Xboxes, my broken Blackberry, my broken PSP, my Wii, and my rock band instruments on Craigslist. I'll sell my books, movies and video games on half.com. Everything else I will donate.

I work today 3:30-9:30. I really want another job. Not another as in 2 jobs. Another as in a new position or a new job entirely. I know I'd be so much happier. My future roommate got a call back from a place she applied to. If she gets that job, we'll be moving sooner than June 1st. Can't wait!

Nothing new, really.

May 14th, 2010 at 07:16 am

Yesterday was an easy day. I didn't have to work until 5 so I just hung out around the house. Then I worked 5-9:30. Found out that my assistant store manager is leaving today. Frown Hopefully her replacement is someone nice.

Then I went with the future roomie to get a movie. We have those Blockbuster Kiosks where the movies are $1 per day. I rented one the other day and I got it for free using a code. Yay for free entertainment! We watched Paranormal Activity. Kinda weird and I actually was scared watching it. I love horror movies!

Today I work 3:30-10:30. And tomorrow I go to Disney for the day! Yay!!