Sunday, July 29, 2012

Owning a Home-Weekend at the Home Depot aka More Work

As my weekend winds down, which means me laying on the couch watching some shows online, I realize my life has been taken over by the Home Depot!  I guess it's not so bad, plus this is what we want, to have our home look nicer and do it  at a low cost by doing it ourselves.

We woke up Saturday morning with the plan of buying some doors for the house, just the major exterior doors.  I figured about $200 each  for the side exterior doors, which had an ugly color and needed new locks and the front door in between $300 and $400 for a nice wood door.  All of this would be installed by none other than D & G Construction(Donovan and Garcia or me and the wife).  So $800 worth of doors sounded a little crazy to me, so we looked over the doors and decided that they were in decent working condition, just needed some help to make them "PoP" or by my definition have them be noticed.

So we could paint the side doors and install some new door handles and they should be good to go, sounds easy, ha ha I laugh at that statement.  So after some help from the Home Depot and some brushes, paint, locks, we were in on the side doors for about $50 total.  That's a savings of about $350!  Read that again, we had working doors and we needed some paint and some locks and we have a fresh new look.  My wife gets 99% of the credit on painting and the locks.  The color next to it is what it looked like, we still plan to update the trim, but we are heading in the right direction.

My project proved to be quite harder and probably a bit more expensive, but I did get an electric sander out of the deal.  My door is an old door that needs some TLC, or whatever is greater than that.  After trying out a couple stains on the door, which should look pretty nice.  We realized that the door hates us, it took me about an hour to get the screws out of the door, to take it off the hinges.  This could be from painting of the screws about 45 years ago, maybe the screws being a little stripped, not sure, but I am sure that's sarcasm.

What did this all mean? More Home Depot visits.  Here is a list of stuff we bought to hopefully make this work.

  • Deadbolt and Handles-$50
  • 2 Cover plates(covering the 1945 handles that are know where to be found)-$15
  • Extra long door plate to close the door(I'm new to this, I'm sure it has a real name)-$12
  • Stain-$12
  • Sealant-$10
  • Sandpaper-$5
  • Drill bit for my 12 Volt drill(this didn't work out to well BTW)-$8
  • Electric Sander with Sanding paper-$56
  • I'm sure there is more but that's the bulk of it
So this is just an estimate, but about $175, which means another savings of about $225!  I'm gonna take it. 

Now I learned a lesson that apparently I did not in 6th grade Tech Ed class, thanks Mr. Larson, but if you are stripping the paint from a door, don't do it by hand or with your battery operated drill.  But I made some headway and I'm about 75% done with the sanding I want to get done.  The inside of the door frames is what the original color looks like.  Take a look, not bad.  So this is how some of my Saturday and Sunday were spent.  I'm hoping to finish up the sanding and staining by Tuesday and have this door hung and ready by the end of the week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Owning a Home-Free on Craigslist

We have large expenses with our home, anything from the kitchen appliances to putting little things in and around the house.  We have begun using Craigslist to get some of the things that we need for our home, some of it costs like the lawnmower I bought(stupid, stupid)  One thing that happened yesterday while we were looking for a queen size bed for our spare bedroom, a Craigslist post said the items were for free, one of my favorite and most cautiously optimistic words, FREE.  Is this real, is this safe, is it worth the hassle?  I suggest reading on to find out!

I immediately emailed and/or text the Free post, while simultaneously asking my wife if this was something she wanted(Happy Wife, Happy Life).  My wife the frugal, one in our relationship, said yes with the caveat of making sure that we wouldn't just throw it away.  Smart idea on her part, I was willing to take the risk, the gambler in me I suppose, plus I didn't want to take the risk of having someone else snag this deal. 

After texting and reading over the ad the bed was less than a year old and lived in a decent area of the city, both pluses.  I showed up and talked everything over and turns out he is a graduate student just finishing up school and moving out of the country for quite some time and did not want to take the time to sell everything, he really just wanted to get rid of it quickly.  His one catch was that we had to take the IKEA dresser along with the bed, sold, well it's free but yes sold!  Everything was in working order and looked in great shape.  Now we officially have a guest bed and didn't pay a dollar for it.


  • I learned from this experience is to React Quickly, this ad was posted and I responded within 15 minutes. 
  • Make sure you Research what you are getting into, I asked questions, researched the address, looked things over as much as possible online.
  • Be reasonable.  Don't expect a brand new flat screen TV if you are getting it for free, think more 1998, huge black TV about the size of a dishwasher.
Overall once again I can put this on the smart buy list, I'm sure people would say no to this, but it will be cleaned, it will always have a cover and sheets, and don't forget this is for our guest bed, not the Ritz Carlton.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Owning a Home-Buying Appliances

Finance is about saving money and making money.  !So viva la casa y la finanzas! 

Today after some research we have decided to buy our appliances for our home.  We are buying appliances for the rental Unit 1 and for our Unit 2.  We looked at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, basically all the big box stores.  We ended up going with a place closer to home and recommended by our contractor,  They have great appliance packages, we were told and researched that Frigidaire is a good brand and less expensive than the other major appliances.  The house did come with a brand new GE stove so a stove was not needed in the package.  This is the package we purchased for right around $900 not including tax.

Since we wanted an upgrade and the wife wanted something a little nicer and not to forget we will be living in the house for the foreseeable future, we went with a GE stainless steel package, shown below.  This package is right around $2300 not including tax.

So all said and done right around $3400 with tax to have all the appliances on both floors, I'm happy with that.  We will also be purchasing a Washer and Dryer in the near future but that's for another day, Labor Day to be exact.

So the results here was to do our research, ask for recommendations, and go with what we liked.  In the end I like our decision.

 Wondering how we paid for it?  Me too!  I'm just kidding.  We used our Citibank Dividend Credit Card(I hate Citibank, strong words I know), but we are only using this card since I've had it for quite some time to put all of our house expenses under one roof(funny guy over here).  We will be paying the card off fully each month, I have almost the entire amount saved up from my eBay business, the rest will be paid from savings.  I know we can get better cash back and such, but we just bought the house and to go through the hassle of applying with new addresses and researching which card is better all for a small amount of money is not worth it for me.  I will fight another battle, another day, with another financial institution.  Viva la finanzas!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Book I'm Starting to Read Today

Retirement Without Borders by Barry Golson with Thia Golson-

I'm 30 and not close to retirement, but I'm 7 years away in my mind!!!

Owning a Home-Lawnmower from Craigslist to Sears

Recently my wife and I purchased our first home together!!!! Multiple exclamation points needed for that one.

We went through and purchased a 2 flat on the NW side of Chicago, it needs some work(dont' they all), but we are involved in a 203K loan, where we are having everything fixed and included in the purchase price. While a contractor is doing the heavy lifting, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Many things cannot be done by a contractor, mowing lawns, changing locks, cleaning, etc. This becomes how our weekend was spent.

We need many things and we are a semi-frugal bunch, so not always new with the best brand name. We needed a lawnmower and so began the search on craigslist, I finally came across a cheap $25 lawnmower and despite my gut telling me to say no, the idea of a cheap lawnmower and a trusting seller got the better of me.

Fast forward to 2 days later and I am at Sears buying a new lawn mower, but all is not lost, we were able to find a Clearance Lawn Mower(returned) for a unbelievable price of around $70, so to protect our investment we purchased the 3 year warranty plan and left with a *brand new* lawn mower and 3 years of worry free mowing. So all in all $135 for a new lawn mower with warranty, I'm happy with that.

Many people say don't buy the protection plan, I tend to agree with them most of the time, but peice of mind and a questionable item that was returned and I feel we made the right decision, what do you think?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Back on Track-Past and Present

So like my life and yours, everything changes. Sometimes you write everything down and sometimes you fast forward and start over. I am going with the latter. I hope to start writing quite more often. Many things have changed. God bless all for the better in my eyes. I have a wife, new job, location, home, a little bit of everything. I want to share my and hope that I will continue this throughout as I work hard and enjoy life. Thank you for the opportunity to share.