Monday, June 30, 2014

Money Monday: The Downfall of Aereo

About 3 months ago, my husband and I were looking at our budget, and trying to find areas to cut expenses. One opportunity for savings was our satellite service. We were paying more than $110.00 each month to watch a handful of channels.

Through some friends, we heard about Aereo. That evening, we went to the site, signed up, paid $12.00 and we had streaming service. For us, it was perfect. We were able to get a few major channels that we wanted (ABC,NBC,CBS, and Fox) and did not have to pay for 80 channels that we had no interest in watching.

Plus, we were able to access Aereo on our phones, tablet, t.v., and computer. We are increasingly mobile, and we cherished the fact that we could access t.v. basically anywhere.

But, on Saturday, we received an email from Aereo noting the Supreme Court decision that made their business model illegal, and for the time being, they were shutting down operations.

Frankly, I disagree with how cable services are provided to us in America. We seem to have 2 options: buy everything or buy nothing for subscription based entertainment, irregardless if we want certain channels or not. That would be like going to the grocery store to buy grapes, but, if you want grapes, you have to buy every other type of fruit, no matter if you use it or not.

Why should I have to pay for the fishing,hunting, and golf channel if I never plan to watch them? I am not forced to buy brussel sprouts each month. I think they are disgusting and I will never eat them. Why would the government try to force me to buy something that I don't want?

In the end, the current system simply does not seem fair to consumers. It seems to benefit the big corporations. The Supreme Court made their decision, and we have to accept it.

Weigh in, what do you think? Any other former Aereo users out there?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Confessions

I hope y'all have all had a great week.

It's time for our Friday Confessions!

1.I have been wildly unproductive at work. These past 2 weeks with the World Cup on, I have been streaming it on our iPad. 2 games a day at 2 hours a piece, thats 4 hours a day that I am hardly working.

2. I broke a really expensive and very nice orchid at work. It was leaning over on my assistants desk, so I tried to redirect it to the wall, and about 3/4 of the stem broke off in my hand. I put in the pot and walked away. The plant lady came in the next week, and was ticked. She kept asking who did it, and we all played dumb.

3. I peeled off part of the wall covering in our bathroom. Whoever lived in our house before us put some really weird wall covering on our master bathroom wall. The textured using hay. (Yea, its weird to us too.) I have hated it for 2 years, and this past week, when P was out of town, I started picking at it. And now, in the middle of the wall, its picked off and looks even worse than before. 

All right, happy Friday! Fess up friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How I'm Working today.

My to do list is getting longer, but don't care.


Are y'all watching????

Monday, June 23, 2014

Money Monday: Adding An Income Suite to our home

My husband and I moved into our home nearly 2 years ago. One year, and 364 days ago, I expressed a desire to build an apartment over our garage.

Currently, we do not have an apartment over our garage. We have talked about it tirelessly. But, we have never moved on it. By our rough estimation, it would cost nearly $30,000 to build, which for us, would be a significant investment. 

The Numbers
Build Out $30,000
Rent         $     500
Payback            60 months

For the size of apartment that we would be able to build over our garage, the current market rate is around $500.00. Given that rate, it would take 5 years of rental charges to earn that investment back, 5 years before we would begin to see a profit. 

For us, right now, that is a bit too long term. Given our financial philosophy, we are unwilling to take out a loan to pay for the work, so it would be several years before we could commence with the project. If we had an extra $30,000, it would be smarter for us to pay extra on the mortgage or to apply to a recast, so that our savings would be realized now. 

In addition, we may not be in this home for another 5 years. Our goal and plan at this stage of the game is to increase savings and continue to pay a bit extra every month on our mortgage in order to cut down on the length and total interest paid over the life of the loan. Once we move, we would like to turn this home into a rental. 

As much as I want a garage apartment, realistically I know that at this time it is not a smart decision. 
That is why I am so passionate about personal finance, because it is personal. There is no right or wrong answer because we each have our own goals and plans. 

What would you do? Would you build it? Do you have a rental? What are the pro's of owning a rental? What are the con's to owning a rental?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Money Monday: The Cost of Competitive Sports

For the next few weeks, the eyes of the sporting world will be on Brazil. It's World Cup time, the biggest soccer tournament on the planet. 

Watching games this weekend reminded me so much of my childhood. In our home, we were all about sports.As a child, I started showing an affinity for soccer fairly early on, and my parents encouraged me to play at the highest level I could. But, playing at such a high level came with a really big price tag. When I was about 12, my folks realized that I had outgrown most of the teams in our small town. I was not being challenged, and I was growing bored. When I was invited to try out for a division 1 team in Houston, about 45 minutes away, my parents drove me to try out. Turns out, I was good enough to play at the higher level, and a decision was made that I would join that team, and ultimately, it would change our lives. 

From that point forward, my life and my parents lives revolved around one thing, my hobby, soccer. Practices were held 3 times a week, so my mom had to drive me 45 minutes each way to practice. Scrimmages were held on Saturday mornings, so that is another hour and a half on the road. Then, games were held on Sunday afternoons, all over Houston, and they could be held up to 2 hours away. On any given week, we were in the car for 8 or more hours just driving to soccer practice and games. 

Then, our team began to travel. We played in Washington, Florida, Colorado, as well as all over the state of Texas. That meant, more flights, more hotels, more meals, and entertainment money to spend at the tournaments. 

Thinking about my soccer career, I am eternally grateful to my parents, but sometimes, I have to wonder, how much did it cost? All the gas, meals, uniforms, and fee's, what could they have done with that money rather than spending it on me to play a game?

Estimated financials for 7 years of club soccer:
Club Fees: Around 1,000 per year  (7,000)
Uniform Fees: New Yearly uniform around 150.00 (1,050)
2 Sets of Cleats per year 100.00 (1,400)
Total: $ 9,450

By my estimation and rough math, that is nearly $10,000, and those are only the fee's I can calculate. I cannot even begin to estimate the amount of money spent on gas, hotels, food, and medical attention due to various injuries over the years. 

Was it worth the cost? If they had to do it over again, would they? Knowing what they know now, was it a smart decision?

Soccer gave me purpose. It gave me a social group. It gave me self esteem and confidence. It kept me out of trouble. I loved every moment of it, and I never once thought of the cost or time commitment. 

Luckily for us, all that work paid off and it gave me a full ride to college. Everything was paid for--tuition, housing, books, and food. I got a monthly stipend from the school for any overages from my scholarship money. That is nearly $70,000 worth of education that my family did not have to pay for. 

Given that estimation, I think it would be safe to say that my parents came out ahead, so financially, it was a smart decision. 

I would not change one thing about the way I grew up, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. In the end, it comes down to the family, the child, and their financial situation and plan. 

What would you do? Do you think club sports are worth it?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hope everyone is having a great week! Any weekend plans?

Its that time of week....Friday confessions!

1.I took my jeans off in the car at a stop light and drove home in my underwear. We had an event this week that was outdoors, and it was HOT. I was an idiot and wore blue jeans rather than shorts, and by the time I left, I was a sweaty mess and could not take it anymore. So I took off my jeans and drove home with no pants on.

2. P and I went to a bakery and bought a dozen cookies and a huge brownie, and they were all gone within 3 hours. There is no explanation needed other than they were really good.

3. When walking my dog this week, I didn't pick up poo from a yard. I was going to, but then I looked around to see if anyone was watching and darted off.

4. When walking my other dog this week, I picked up the poo in a poo bag, then left the bag in their yard. In my defense, I still had a long way to run, and I could not run with poo in my hand.

5. There is a poo bag on my porch that has been there for over a week. At least my dogs are getting some great exercise this week....right?

Fess up!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Money Monday: Time vs Money, Which is more important?

Imagine for a moment that you are having your yearly review with your boss, and she presents you with this scenario.

Employee, you are doing a great job. I am so impressed with all you have done and all you have accomplished this year. As you know, this next year is going to be even busier, and we have a lot of projects coming down the pipe, and we are running a lean staff right now, and have no plans to hire more people. 

In recoginization for all you have done, you will be able to choose one of two options. I can either give you a 5% raise, or I can give you a 5% increase in time off to use as you choose. 

What would you do?

We are all busy. We all have too much to do, and too little time to accomplish it all. For most of us, the work day is jam packed with to do lists and meetings. Our mornings are filled with workouts, emails, and preparing for the day. Our lunch hours are spent running errands and making personal calls. Our evenings are spent doing homework, making dinner, and trying to find a few moments to zone out and wind down from the day. The weekends are filled with grocery store runs, social obligations, soccer games, and catching up on chores. 

All of this begs the question: When is it time to pay someone else to do the things we no longer have time for?

In our America today, what is more important, time or money? When is it time to pay someone to do things that we can do, but no longer have the time to do them?

At what point do you hire the kid down the street to mow your lawn? Is it time to ask your neighbors cleaning lady to stop by once a week and do the laundry and clean the house for a few hours?

If you didn't have to clean, or do the yard, or cook dinner a few nights a week, what would that free you up to do? Would it allow you spend more time with your kids?  Could you sit down and write the great American novel? 

What would you do if you had more time? 

Let's say our employee above makes $60,000 a year. On average, that comes to around $30.00 per hour. The kid down the street will mow your yard for $40.00 a week. That means you will give that kid the money it took for you to earn in 1 hour and 20 minutes of your day, once a week. 

Would you do it? Is $40.00 a week worth an extra hour a week of free time? 

For me, at this point in my life, the answer is no. I always feel like I can be more efficient so that I can accomplish more. I will often look for ways to work smarter, rather than harder. I can cook, do laundry, water the grass, talk on the phone, and put up the groceries all at the same time. 

I believe  I could do something better with those dollars than spend them on a service I could do myself. 

But, there is a downside to multitasking, nothing gets my full attention. I miss key moments in conversation, the rice gets slightly overcooked, and the lawn may be a little too saturated. Am I OK with those things, yes I am, because I don't have a desire to be perfect. The desire to fit it all in is stronger. 

Tell me: What is more important to you, time or money?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday confessions

Hey y'all, it's Friday, and you knew what that means.....


1. I went running one morning and thought I saw a snake, and froze. For 2 full minutes I just stood there watching. Turns out, it was a piece of a bike chain that broke off, and not a snake. So, not sure what will happen when I do come across a real snake....

2. I lost in at Bed Bath and Beyond. Have y'all been in that store? There is too much stuff, the isles are too narrow and there are too many people. I exclaimed, quite loudly " there are too many people in here" as I was trapped behind a large group of women. They heard, they stared, and continued to block the isle.

3. I was the ultimate loser at a fancy Thai restaurant. I don't like Asian food, it's just not my thing. It took about 5 minutes of explaining to the waiter that I wanted grilled chicken, rice, and sautéed veggies, with. O sauce. He kept suggesting other things, but I kept saying no and telling him what I wanted. Keep in mind that I was at a work dinner, so it was a tad bit embarrassing.


All right, fess up!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Our smallest Garden

Y'all, the weather in my neck of the woods has been crazy this year. I don't know if its El Nino, La Nina, or Global Warming, but it has seriously been out of control.

We have had more snow and ice this year than in the pasts 10. We have had 90 degree days followed by 30 degree weeks.

We are supposedly in year 5 of a 10 year drought, but this spring, thank goodness, we have had some much needed rain.

Add to all of that a busy spring with travel, friend in town, family in town, and lots of social obligations, our garden has taken a back seat. For the past few months, we have talked about planting our garden, but it seemed that this year, the odds were stacked against us. We could never find the time to till or pull weeds and prep everything.

On Memorial Day we finally found the time to do a little something. Given how late in the season we were, we decided to keep it simple.

We planted a few tomato bushes, herbs, and some jalapenos.

Its our smallest garden ever, but this year, we will have to be ok with that. Besides, more than anything, its about being outdoors, using our hands, and getting dirty. 

In the midst of this huge city, there is something so rustic, peaceful, and meaningful about planting a garden. It forces you to slow down and be intentional with it. You can't neglect a garden, or your crops won't grow. You can't do anything to speed up the growing process, all you can do is wait, hope, and pray that nothing comes along to destroy your harvest. 

Growing a garden in many ways is healing to the body and soothing to the soul. Its a little part miracle and a little part magic.

Here's to a bountiful crop this year! 

So ready for the harvest! Any gardener's out there? What do you grow?