My House... Worth Every Penny!

>> 8.31.2009

Things are crazy over at my house (and I mean CRAZY!) so I thought it would be a good time to remind myself that I didn't just get myself into a giant mess, but made a great investment in my dream home (well, my dream for a first home).


I promised some pictures, but with all of the changes going on right now, I can't do a full out tour. So to hold you over, here are a few of my favorite features that came with the house:


See that flooring underneath those paws? Yep, it's hardwood and we love it!

NOT MY HOUSE! But it is less than a mile down the road from my house and selling for over $600,000. That's right, I played it smart and found a steal of a deal in a really nice neighborhood. My neighborhood has a mix of condos and single family homes so I get to enjoy this beautiful section while still affording my monthly mortgage payments.

Speaking of location- check out the peaceful park I have across the street! It's the perfect place to go walk my dog in after work. There are even cute little picnic tables overlooking the hills and a sunset view!

I just can't get enough of the location at this place!
Time from my driveway to sitting in this park eating a delicious picnic dinner: 10 minutes

Hey, I told you it was crazy over here! I know this mess might make me look like a clutter maniac in need of a Clean House intervention, but this garage is seriously saving my sanity right now. I don't know what I would do without an extra place like this to store my stuff while I work on the house!!
Unlike some of the yet-to-be-shown "features" of this house, the energy efficient front load washer/ dryer makes me feel like I'm living in 2009!
A backyard oasis? Not quite yet, but with the deck and the
private green surroundings, there's a lot of potential to tap into. Plus, The Pup really enjoys herself here (she loves running to the back fence and barking at the deer).

A fireplace! I can't wait to slap a mantle on this baby. I'm thinking it might need to be painted though to fit into my style. Thoughts?
So you might have noticed that the kitchen/ bathrooms were not included on the "worth every penny" list... come back tomorrow to check out some of the "equity opportunities" (nice way of saying ugly things) that I *get* to tackle :).

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Garage Sale Guidelines and a Little Teaser

>> 8.28.2009

As crazy as things are for me at the moment (uh, remember what happened yesterday?!), I'm still planning on taking a couple of hours this weekend to check out a few garage sales. There are about 1,000,001 things I'd like to get for my home and I don't want to have to scramble at the last minute (you know, after the walls are painted and everything is put in place) and have to buy anything full price! Hopefully, I'll cross off a few items off of my list by going to sales in the next few weeks. There are handful of guidelines that I'm not shopping without:

1. Go late-
Going early will give you the best selection, but it will also give you the highest prices. Usually, the sellers will have high hopes of getting top dollar for the first couple of hours, but by 10-11 am, the sellers are practically giving things away (and sometimes at 12, everything is free!).
*This doesn't mean that you shouldn't go early, just know you're not as likely to find a solid oak dresser for $5 that way.
2. Language is key-
"Will you take xxxx for this?"
"Could you make me a deal on both of these?"
"The best I can do is xxxx. Can you take that?"
3. Travel (a little)-
Surprisingly, wealthy people enjoy putting on sales as much as anyone. Their prices won't be higher, they'll just have nicer stuff. I usually pick the neighborhoods with the style of houses that I would like to live in someday; the owners usually have similar tastes to mine.
4. Check out the advertisements-
A little research could help find the bigger sales. Craigslist and the local paper are usually the most popular places for people to post their sales. I usually have a few that I plan on going to then drive the main street of that neighborhood looking for signs from other sales.
5. Look for the signs-
A trick that usually works is to look for the nicest looking signs- the ones that are hand written with bubble letters. In my experience, these are female DIY-types who usually care about nice looking things and have them to sell.
Warning: The "nice sign" approach does not to apply to those that were printed from the computer... Once, I was tricked into driving 2 miles to a college-guy sale (gross!).

Hopefully, my trusty garage sale guidelines will serve me well this weekend (*crosses fingers for inexpensive/ modern light fixtures*). Have any great guidelines that you'd add to the list?
Oh, I promised a teaser didn't I...

This is a hint about one of the major projects that I'm taking on. Can you guess what it is?

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!!!

>> 8.27.2009

Today, a day YEARS in the making... the day I can call myself a homeowner!!!

Buying this house has been an exhausting process (to say the least) and I'm ready to move on to the next step... tearing it apart and making it mine (which will probably be even more exhausting)! I have a few projects that are already in the works and I'm excited to share how I'll save big $$$ on each. Oh, and I'll obviously start taking pictures right away to share with you all!

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Becoming a Spender... It's Hard!

>> 8.26.2009

For years, I've been contributing every extra dime I have to my house savings account. I meticulously tracked every dollar spent and lived simply in order to save what I could. The right time to buy the house has finally come and instead of embracing the excitement of the process, I'm obsessing over my shrinking bank account. I've always done a little shopping here or there, but writing each giant check is like receiving a hard punch to the gut. The money is all there and it was put away for the house in the first place, but I'm still having a hard time letting go. I'm starting to think that I had more fun saving the money than actually reaching the goal.



How do you feel when you spend from savings? Is it excitement or do you mourn the money like I do?

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A Thrifty Little Tip to Use Now

>> 8.25.2009

Don't you hate it when you're reading a completely inspirational blog post at work (like you'd ever do that…), but you're stuck at your desk and can't get started on the project?? Here's something you can get to right away:

Go find a great deal on Craigslist! In my opinion, Tuesday is the best day for Craigslist bargains. Think about it... the seller just had a garage sale on the weekend and tried to sell his or her furniture (and other items) without success. They get around to posting the pictures Sunday and Monday then by Tuesday they just want to get rid of the stuff cluttering up the garage. Who's there to swoop in and offer them money? You!

Remember, as the week goes on, the weekend garage sellers start posting their items trying to to see if they can get top dollar online. They'll be less likely to negotiate when they know that they have a chance to sell on Saturday.

Want an example of Tuesday Craigslist shopping in action? Here's the posted picture of an 119 x 92 IKEA wardrobe I got for a crazy good deal (including assembly and delivery!). I'll be sure to give the cost details once I have pictures to post of it in my new house.

What do you think is the best day/ time to shop on Craigslist? Please share any good stories if you have them!

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Layering on the Savings at Gap

>> 8.24.2009

Anyone else connect layering shirts with Gap? I also connect them with major savings! Although their outlet prices are pretty pathetic (BR is always the place to go), their in stores sales rock. This weekend, I saw the opportunity to save big... and you better believe that I did! Check out the layers of my serious savings:
Layer #1- Tax Free Weekend
Unlike you lucky people out there in places like New Hampshire and Oregon, we have sales tax here in Texas. By shopping on the annual tax free weekend, I saved a little over 8%.

Layer #2- Take 20% off Coupon
It was the golden coupon- 20% off my entire purchase (sale items included!).
Layer #3- Buy One Get One Free
Their shirts were all on sale under this promotion (also including the sale items!!).
Because I'm a thrifty shopper, I didn't go overboard by choosing shirts I wouldn't wear or didn't need (I was in the market for some solid, versatile tops).
That's right, eight tops for a grand total of $33 and change! Um, did anyone notice that "total discount" line?
Is it just me, or is fanning out new clothes one of the most exciting parts of the shopping experience :)
Have you enjoyed any sales layering lately? Any Gap fans out there?

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(single) GIRLS RULE (at buying houses)

>> 8.21.2009

I have a slight addiction to HGTV's House Hunters/ Property Virgins/ My First Home (anyone with me?). Lately, I've noticed that a lot of the home buyers on the show are single women. It turns out that this isn't just an HGTV trend, but a nation-wide thing. Check out this article from SingleMindedWomen. I was surprised by all of the interesting facts listed- did you know that single women made up 21% of home buyers in 2003?

This info makes me even more excited to say that I'll be joining the Single Woman Home Buyer Club next week (yes, I wish that was actually a club)!!
PS Girls Rule!

Anyone out there a single woman home buyer? Bonus points if you're also a first-time buyer!

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Thrifty Little Tip... Get a Go Phone

>> 8.20.2009

Wait! Before you go anywhere... I'm not talking about getting a pre-paid phone plan.


I'm just telling you to buy the phone. I learned this tip from a friend and it has saved me big bucks so far! You see, I have a habit of losing or breaking my phones (I average 4 a year). Whenever one broke, I would end up either extending my cell plan contract or getting a new phone from the AT&T store for big bucks.

Thanks to that friend, I know that I can just head over to Target, get a cheapo Go Phone (it has all the features I need), and pop my SIM card in the back. Even if my phone is lost, all I need to do is ask AT&T for another SIM card (free) and use that with the Go Phone. Not resigning the contract saves me from more trouble in the long run as well. Gotta love a good cheap and quick fix!

Have any trick for saving money with cell phones?

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When does thrifty go too far?

>> 8.19.2009


I'll admit it, I'm one of those people that sneaks candy into the movie theater. I don't even watch movies that often, but when I do, I don't want to pay $4.50 for $.50 worth of candy. It saves me money, but I know that it is wrong.

After sneaking a Twix into "The Goods" this weekend (not worth seeing), I began thinking about some of the thrifty choices that I make. What is right and wrong when it comes to thrifty spending? When should doing the right thing override the savings?

A few questionable things I've seen people do...
*having a friend go through the checkout so that a coupon can be used twice
*avoiding claiming income to save on tax
*lying about age to get student or senior discount
*running in 5k/10k road race without paying
*using an employee discount to buy things for friends

Usually, when we do these things, we come up with some reason to justify them ($9 for a movie ticket!). I feel that some of the above do cross the line, but everyone has his or her own limit. So what do you think; where do you draw the line with your thrifty spending?

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Buying the House... A big "no way!" from FHA

>> 8.18.2009

Well, the inevitable home purchasing problem has come up a mere week before my estimated closing date. I had to change loans and ended up with some missing documents in the process. I wanted to go with the FHA because of the low interest rates and downpayment requirements, but that won't be possible because the home I'm buying is technically a condo (although it is really more of a semi-detached townhouse). I'm still waiting to see how my monthly payments will work out. I guess things won't be as perfect as I thought they'd be.


In addition, I received a lovely email from my broker outlining the additional items that I need to send in:
1. BORROWER TO PROVIDE COMPLETE 2008 AND 2007 TAX RETURNS.
2. BORROWER TO EXPLAIN EMPLOYMENT GAPS.
3. BORROWER TO PROVIDE A LETTER FROM CPA OR ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION FOR FAMILY BUSINESS VERIFYING SHE HAS NO OWNERSHIP INTEREST IN THE COMPANY.
4. BORROWER MUST PROVIDE COPIES OF CANCELED CHECK(S) TO VERIFY EARNEST MONEY HAS BEEN PAID TO THE SELLER.
5. BORROWER MUST PROVIDE A WRITTEN EXPLANATION THAT STATES THE RELATIONSHIP TO THE SELLER AND THE REASON FOR THE PURCHASE.
6. BORROWER TO PROVIDE A LETTER OF EXPLANATION ON LOW EARNINGS IN 2008.

At first, I was really stressed out about all of the documents and the time frame to get them all in by, but my broker assured me that this was a very normal part of the process (maybe she shouldn't have written the email in all caps!). So now I'm just stalled out while I wait for my family's CPA to send a document proving that I do not own part of their business. The original closing date was set to be August 20 (it's obvious that won't happen). I'm just hoping things don't get caught up again from here.


What kind of delays did you have buying your home? How much was your closing date delayed?

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Check it Out!

>> 8.17.2009

Head on over to Budgets are Sexy to check out a blog carnival I'm featured on. While you're at it, might be able find out what Chuck Norris has to do with personal finance...

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Turning a Good Deal into a Great one at the Outlets

>> 8.14.2009

Aren't outlet prices good enough? Probably, but I like to stretch my dollar to the max! Here's how I got a brand new Restoration Hardware bathroom light fixture down from $139 to $24:



1. I checked the outlet mall's site offer to see what online only coupons they were offering that day. I found a few good deals including a 20% off coupon valid for an item at Restoration Hardware.

2. While on the site, I also signed up for their free online loyalty club. Because it was my birthday, I received a special flyer that could be redeemed for a $20 gift certificate (catch free!).
3. I went shopping! Restoration Hardware had a shelf full of light fixtures that I looked through. It was tricky not being able to see the fixtures in person, so I had to open a few boxes before finding the one I loved: the Spritz Double Sconce.
4. Armed with my coupon, gift certificate, and sconce I went to the cashier ready to get a great deal! Here's the breakdown:
Original retail price: $139
Outlet price (60% off): $55.60
Coupon price (20% off): $44.48
Gift certificate price (-$20): $24.48!!

Here's a picture (off of the website) of the sconce I plan on putting into my new bathroom:
Planning really helped me out in this situation! I'd love to know if there are any other ways of scoring great deals at the outlet mall. Please share! Does anyone have experience with the coupon books that they sell? I'd like to know if they are worth the $7 or so.

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Happy Birthday to Me!!

>> 8.13.2009

Yep, it's my b-day! And what, might you ask, does a thrifty girl like me choose to do on her special day? I'm excited to say that I've taken the day off of work and will be making my way to the third-largest outlet outlet mall in the world (aka Prime Outlets in San Marcos)! I'll be shopping my way through Crate & Barrel Outlet, Pottery Barn Outlet, Restoration Hardware Outlet, Williams-Sonoma OUTLET (sorry, I'm just excited), and more! It should be a great day of savings. I'll be sure to post any exceptional deals if I find them! I overdid the explanation points, but I'm sure you'll forgive me for my birthday!

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Thrifty Roommate-less Living

>> 8.12.2009

This week marked a giant step towards moving into my new home-- my roommate moved on to her new place. I guess this means I'm not getting out of living alone! I (of course) started to look at my budget and how many things would change living alone... and since I'm still on a pro/con kick from yesterday's dollar store post, I think I'll go ahead and layout the list:

Con- Um, where did all the pots go?
Yep, she had all of the good kitchen stuff- pots, pans, knives, cheese grater... I guess I'll have to invest a little bit of $$ here.

Pro- Hey, I can see the counter top!
I'm not a big toaster oven person (especially when there's an oven in the room) and that thing seriously took up 1/4 of the counter space. I love having control of the clutter!

Con- Goodbye bill splitting.
Paying that entire cable bill on my own-- eek!

Pro- Goodbye bill splitting.

Unlike a certain someone, I don't need to have the AC turned down to 65 ALL DAY LONG... I know, I'll still be paying more, but I can at least have control of the energy use in my own house!

Con- *crickets*
It's a little lonely around here. Also, I miss this little guy...

Pro- My shoes are safe!
That little guy sure did know how to make a mess. I'll probably save about $100 in shoes alone.

Con- Where's the ice cream?
Ok, so maybe I thought it magically appeared in the freezer for my enjoyment. I guess I'll be forking out the $$ for this from now on.

Pro- The cereal is where I left it?!
Hey, she had her food problems too. Buying all of the food in the house will definitely save some $$ from moochers and a few arguments about who bought the Cheerios.

Writing that list, I realized that I probably still have some resentment about a few things related to living with my roommate, but who doesn't? Overall, I know that buying the home on my own is a great step for me right now- drawbacks and all.

Live with a roommate? Have any $$ pros/ cons/ rants to add to my list?

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Thrifty Tip... Finding Deals at the Dollar Store

>> 8.11.2009

If you read the title of this post and though, "it's a dollar, everything is a deal," this post is for you! Yes, there are great deals at the dollar store, but there are also many ways that you can end up wasting your money. I've made some of those mistakes and had several shopping trips where I somehow end up walking out having spent $30 on "great deals" that I ended up chunking. Here are a few duds and deals to keep your eye out for next time...

The Dud: cheapo gift bows
These bows are: 1. dated 2. obviously inexpensive 3. a total cop-out for real gift wrapping

The Deal: simple, modern gift bag
I kicked myself when I saw this bag for $1 because I had just spent $4 on a gift bag for a bridal shower. With all of the cute choices, I'd definitely say that this is my new go-to for fun gift wrap.The Dud: I-could-just-buy-it-at-the-grocery-store-shampoo
Look out for products that cost the exact same price at the grocery store. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but we're looking for deals!
The Deal: name-brand toothpaste
Sometimes, you can get a coupon to lower the grocery store price, but this baby is at least $.30 less expensive at the dollar store.
The Dud: junky kid's toy
This is the type of thing that you don't look for when it's lost in the house. If it isn't broken or lost, it's going straight into the next garage sale for $.10. It's not a deal if you aren't going to use/ enjoy it!

The Deal: HSM puzzle

It's a popular brand and the whole family can enjoy using it together. This would be a great gift or stocking stuffer.

The Dud: poorly made fake flowers

I'm never a fan of fake flowers, but if you're going to buy them, at least try to make them look real by going for higher quality.

The Deal: themed party decor
My dollar store has a ton of these cheesy party packs. If you're going for a luau party, there's no need to get the most expensive looking pieces. For $15, you can create a fun and festive party- a great deal!


The Dud: $1/1 box of tissue
Seriously, we can do better than $1/ box!

The Deal: dish/ hand soap
A multi-purposing name brand product? Sounds like a deal to me!



Dud Hall of Fame Winner: dollar hair coloring
I don't know about you, but when I buy toxic chemicals to put on my body, I don't go for the cheapest option!


What kind of dollar store deals do you look out for? Have any funny "dud" stories to tell me?

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Thrifty Little Fix... Baking in a Too-Small Space

>> 8.10.2009

I love baking, but I am really short on counter space. Each time I bake, I have to squeeze in my flour, sugar, vanilla, etc into every nook of my counter. It ends up looking like this:

Since my new house isn't any more impressive in the counter department and a remodel definitely isn't in my near future, I had to come up with a creative solution to make the best of the kitchen space that I do (and will) have. I'm happy to report that I found an easy (and cheap!) fix at the thrift store (originally from the Container Store)...
It's a simple stackable open container. It's the perfect size for the baking ingredients that I have (I put everything out on the counter and had a rough measurement before going into the store) and fits in my pantry or in a kitchen cabinet. Compacting the supplies takes up half of the space and it moves when/ where I want it to. The legs are an added bonus because they keep the dry materials up off of the shelves in my pantry. Now, all I have to do is pull out the container and I'm ready to bake without cluttering up the entire kitchen! Oh, and the total cost for a bigger (feeling) kitchen? $2.50

What tricks do you have for making the most of your small kitchen?

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Buying the House... the nerves!

>> 8.07.2009

Up until now, I've been filled with excitement about the idea of buying my first home. I couldn't wait to go in and make changes to personalize my space. I've been blogging about it and telling all of my friends. It's practically all I can think about.

In the past few days, reality has sunk in. I will be a home owner later this month! I will have to spend more money and make a bigger commitment than I ever have in my life. What if the pipes break? What if there's a fire? What if I get sick and can't earn any more money? Did I choose the best place? Yep, the excitement has turned into nerves. I wanted this though, right?

Have you experienced first-time buyer nerves? How did you get over it?

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It's a Miracle!

>> 8.06.2009

Ok, don't get too excited. To me, this was pretty exciting. To you, it's probably old news. To the person that first did it... a miracle! What am I talking about? Well, I actually tried a thrifty trick (I was told to try a million times) for the first time and I was so happy with the results!

The trick?
old silver ring
plus a little rub with toothpaste

equals a shiny new look! (ps toothpaste is probably best left for less precious pieces)

What had I been thinking all these years not trying that trick?! This makes excited to try so many things... lemon juice to freshen the dishwasher, Alka-Seltzer to clean a vase, club soda for my carpet stains, Preparation H under the eyes (um, maybe not)... there are so many tricks that I've heard of, but haven't tried yet. I can't wait to get started!

Have you ever waited too long to try a simple trick?

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Thrifty Little Tip... Time-Expensive Gifting

>> 8.05.2009

If you're like me, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all the people in your life having weddings, babies, birthdays, graduations, and other special events in which they might be expecting a gift. It's so tough trying to make them feel supported or loved but stay on budget at the same time. What is a budget conscious person to do in these situations? Go less expensive with the physical give and more expensive with the time and effort you put into it. Your time is a valuable resource and when used creatively, the recipient will see how expensive the gift really was!


Here are some great time-expensive gift ideas to get you started:

whip it up in the kitchen
Once for a birthday party, I brought some special dog cupcakes to my Yorkie-loving friend. They were extremely time expensive, but were a big hit at her party. She even froze one so that she could keep it and show it to people later.
This gift is best done when the gifter goes overboard. Don't just surprise the special person with one meal, but have breakfast in bed followed by a packed lunch and dinner ready after work--- each day for a week.


get crafty
Weddings can get really expensive for the guests and their wedding party members! For a wedding I went to a few months ago, one bridesmaid really outdid herself with a time-expensive gift. She organized all of the bride's close friends in making a scrapbook. She gave us all paper on which we added pictures and stories about our memories with the bride then drove all over town collecting the pages. The bride really appreciated the book and honestly, when was the last time you saw a set of dishes or a toaster make someone cry?

Gifter beware... handmade gifts can easily turn into tacky "I can't even return this and I have to find some place to use it" gifts. Before giving a homemade craft, do the Etsy test: would you buy it if you saw it online? This doesn't mean that a crafty person can't give a crafty gift- just find an online tutorial with easy to follow steps.

plan an adventure
For another friend's birthday, I bought her a cute all weather hiking shirt (on sale) then I mapped a great hiking route, packed all the food/ gear we needed, and took her on a surprise day trip (we had plans for the day anyways). I had also invited a few of our friends which made the trip especially memorable and fun.



the dogs came along too!

There are countless free and fun things that you could incorporate into a day of fun. Just make sure that you're the one taking care of all the details!



go the distance
My youngest cousin recently graduated from college and I really wanted to show him my support for such a great accomplishment. Unlike many other family members, I didn't have the funds to just write out a large check so that he could go buy furniture and other things he needed for his first apartment alone. I quickly realized that it was a perfect situation for me to give him a great time-expensive gift. While everyone else in the family was able to contribute monetarily, I was able to give him a great start by taking time off of work so that I could drive with him to his new home a few hours away and help moving become a much smoother transition.


This type of gift can range from driving across the state to help a friend celebrate a bachelorette party to driving across town to pick up your husband's favorite sandwich. They won't believe that you would go so far just to show that you care.

Do you have any time-expensive gifts that you like to give?

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A First Home Bummer

>> 8.04.2009

No, this isn't a post about another annoying experience buying my first home (and yes, I still use "bummer like it's 1992). My sister is actually the one with the "bummer" on her hands.

Her situation probably created several possible ways for things to go wrong, but I never realized that the people she's buying from would actually be this awful and selfish! Basically, she will start graduate school this month in New York (state) and wanted to take advantage of the low housing prices and tax credit by buying a house to live in up there. She pulled a risky move that I always see people doing on HGTV's House Hunters and flew up to NY find a house in one weekend. Luckily, she saw the home of her dreams within her price range and made an offer that was accepted!

too cute!

If all went according to plan, she would have closed in time to be able to move in with plenty of time to get the house ready before starting school. Even if that would have worked, it wouldn't have been a simple process for my sister because it involved her driving from Texas to NY with two pets and zero furniture awaiting her at the new house. The sellers and both realtors knew about my sister's situation and agreed that July 31 would work as a closing date. Well, things didn't quite go as planned (which I've learned is to be expected when buying a home).

With just weeks before the deadline, there was no one to get ahold of! Dates were being thrown around and fingers were pointed in all directions. The bank lawyer would say that the title wasn't there yet and the seller's realtor would say that it would come in a few days. Finally, after over a week of the title supposedly on its way, my sister came to the realization that the home wasn't going to close on July 31. The worst part in her situation was that she had no clue when it would actually close and with a 3 day drive to get there, she needed information!

After calling/ emailing everyone involved several times, she finally got the answer as to why things were taking so long in the process: the buyers (whose family member was their lawyer) had purposely stalled the process so that they could stay longer while their new home underwent renovations. They knew that she was traveling from Texas and planned to be in on July 31, but created a string of lies so that they could stay as long as possible.

Luckily, the contract will expire in a couple of weeks and since the old owners do not want to lose their buyer, they planned to move out on August 12 (the last possible day for the house to close). Hopefully, everything will go smoothly for her from now on! I can't possibly see myself being so selfish as to get my lawyer to lie in order to keep the new owners out!

Have you run into any unexpected issues while buying your home?

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My $9.59 Dividend Challenge

>> 8.03.2009

Last week, I challenged myself to have fun with the whopping $9.59 I made after cashing my dividend checks. It was definitely a challenge and I think I came up with some fun ways to spend it on a Saturday.



AM- Run with friend.
Cost: $0
It was a great morning for a run. I didn't save money and the check didn't really help me out with this one, but the run did help me enjoy my next spending choice a little more...

AM- Watermelon feast!
Cost: $2.03
There's nothing better than a juicy watermelon after a summer run. I bought a pre-sliced quarter watermelon and ate the entire thing :). I like buying the pre-sliced quarters because you can tell which ones are the ripest.

AM- Garage sale treasure hunting.
Cost: $.50
I love a good garage sale. I was lucky that I didn't find too many things that I loved today, but I did walk away with some really fun/ cheap yellow napkins.

PM- Free lunch at grilled cheese restaurant!
Cost: $0
A new grilled cheese restaurant (!) called Chedd's just opened up near my house. I found a coupon for a completely free meal and met my friends for lunch. There's something about free food that makes it even more delicious...

PM- Walk to get frozen yogurt.
Cost: $3.44
This was a little expensive considering the day's budget, but I did have a free lunch... plus, I ran in the morning and could use the extra calories :).
PM- IKEA trip with dinner.
Cost: $4.32
Anyone who's been to IKEA knows that going is an event in itself. We were there for 2.5 hours! It was really a trip to find inspiration for my new house so I didn't plan on buying anything, but since I had some money left over and I was hungry, I went ahead and got a pasta dish from their cafeteria. Honestly, I think $4.32 is a great deal for pasta with veggies and a side salad.

PM- Scrabble with friends.
Cost: $0
IKEA sure took a lot of my energy and I was ready to relax! Since I was out of money, I took out my favorite board game and put in a dvd to end the night. (I won)

At the end of the day I spent a total of $10.29 (but probably much more on gas) and went a little over budget (I used change from my purse to make up the difference). It feels great knowing that I didn't put a dent in my checking account and on what's usually the most expensive day of the week!
How was your weekend?

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