It started as a project in March 2012. Seven months earlier we had moved into a larger house, taking advantange of the terrible market and low interest rates, and getting a good deal on our “dream” home. Plus, we had to act. We knew we’d never qualify once the lenders saw our 2011 tax return (more below).
But the bad economy kept us from putting our old house on the market. We didn’t want to take a bath on it. So, we’re renting it in the meantime, waiting (and hoping) for the market to turn around (which it finally is, Hallelujah).
It costs a lot to get settled in a new house, though we did a pretty darn good job of keeping the expenses down.
But still – OUCH!
To make financial matters worse, we had already committed (verbally and financially) to going on a February cruise with a group of friends and our 17-yr-old daughters. Fifty plus years old, neither my husband nor I had ever been on a cruise. It was great! We went to Puerto Rico, Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Johns, and St. Maarten. It was also VERY expensive!
To top things off, the side business we’d been conducting for the past seven years (buying and selling foreclosures) was taking a nose dive. It had peaked in ’08 and was heading downhill ever since. Competition at the auctions was off the charts. I was getting outbid every week and, having been burned on a couple of properties, I was losing my affection for the whole process. The idea, after all, is to bust your butt to make money, not bust your butt to break even or lose money. Our 2011 tax return was NOT pretty. (On the plus side, our federal tax obligation was 5% (yes, 5%) what it was in 2008. Take that Obama!)
This was the biggest OUCH of all!!!
I’ve always been a metaphor person. I think of our household as a boat. And it felt as if our “ark” was hemorrhaging money and taking on water. Hating that feeling of not being in control, I embarked upon a new project to systematically streamline our expenses, one after the other. I would plug all the leaks and our boat, while still big, would sit higher in the water. It would be as trim and fit as I could make it.
Little did I know the project would become a game, an obsession almost. And I would have fun doing it.
A little more about me
My name is Marjorie. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada I moved to Denver, CO when I married my American husband, Jay, in 1986. We have three almost grown children – one just graduated from college, one is in college and one is heading to college next year.
I was a regular W-2 employee for 20 years (part time for 12 of them) before I dared to quit the “rat race”. For the past decade I’ve worn a number of hats. I’m a children’s author. I buy and sell real estate. And, now, I’m a blogger.
Note: yes, I’m a Republican. But the ways I save money will work for anyone, regardless their political bent. Some of my very best friends are liberals. 😉