Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Spending

Misc Income: 3,749.92
(Includes $3641 for tuition reimbursement, and the rest is mystery shop payments, stuff I sold on Amazon.com, and survey-type payments).


Savings
$145 earmarked for travel and gifts
$147.70 into retirement (company matches that)
(Also, eventually that entire tuition reimbursement will go right into savings! I just haven't transferred it over yet).

Spending
Cell phone $303.83 (includes monthly bill of $83, plus iPhone at $215 and a case for $7)
Clothes $45.07
Dance Expenses $10 (topping off my class card for the month)
Entertainment $39.50 (mostly putting money into my Paperbackswap account so I could send books I got rid of, also a trip to the movies)
Food—dining out $158.93
Food—groceries $100.03 (I have no idea how these categories are so low—we’ve been eating out A LOT lately. But Peanut hasn’t really been spending much more than me—we’re about even for the month. Weird.)
Gifts $39 (my sister’s birthday, Father’s day cards, card for my boss)
Household $8.24
Internet $59.95 ($25 deposit plus first month’s payment of $34.95)
Laundry $24 (Peanut, apparently I am always paying when we do laundry together. Time to pony up!)
Moving $1,479.85 (broker’s fee, which Peanut owes me half of, plus making copies of the keys, stuff from Target, gas for a friend’s car that we borrowed, etc. We still have to take some people out to dinner)
Mystery shop expenses $0.59
Rent $1,375 (sort of—I paid first month’s rent and Peanut paid the security deposit. After this, we’ll split rent in half)
Therapy $45
Travel $169.21 (plane ticket for my trip in September)
Utilities $50.94
Personal $19.00

Total spending: $3,928.14

Thanks to that tuition reimbursement payment, it appears that I’m ahead for the month, but that’s a little misleading. All in all, considering the move, this is not too bad!

Networth IQ updated as well (see sidebar). Only a $300 increase in retirement this month, little more than what I contributed plus the company match.

June Recap/July Goals

June Goals
1. Stay sane. Done, I guess. I had a week of really high intensity stress, but I’m still alive.

2. Keep trying to quit drinking soda. Pssh, whatevs.

3. Aim for more yoga and/or physical activity in general. I guess I got physical activity from moving most of my stuff three blocks in a handtruck, after carrying it down two flights of stairs. Also, I made it back to dance class twice. That was pretty good.

4. Work on getting my job to help me pay for a trip home. Fail but not my fault. The restructuring means that I am no longer remotely involved with the satellite office, so there’s no chance they’ll subsidize my trip. Oh, well—I found a good deal on a ticket this morning and bought it, and am considering not renting a car and having my mom chauffeur me around (which is normally fine except I am guaranteed to miss my flight back).

5. Move! Done! I just talked to my old landlord about returning the keys, and he asked for my new address to send the security deposit back.

6. Get an iPhone. Done! I love it.

July Goals
1. Unpack and make it feel like home! Peanut and I would like to host a book club at our apartment on July 9, which might be way too soon. If not, we’ll shoot for the 25th.

2. Keep an eye out for that security deposit. I like this landlord and I’m not expecting the same trouble I had a few years ago (when I had to get the state Attorney General involved) but all the same. I don't want to forget about it!

3. Transfer $$$ back into my savings account and reconcile all the moving costs. Anything we buy after July 1 winds up being a household cost, I think.

4. Open a joint checking account with Peanut for shared expenses. We’re looking at Chase and Capital One, since they seem to be the only ones that offer reward checking with no minimum balance or monthly fee.

5. Restructure my budget to plan for more retirement savings and, my favorite, our Sunny Beach Vacation Fund. I'll post the updated budget when I have it ready.

I also updated the Moving List.

Great timing

I'm glad I got my iPhone when I did! This is obnoxious: AT&T's new policy charges $36 fee per line for an employee discount. I'm sure that's on top of whatever activation or upgrade fee they also charge.

They put this into effect about a week after I upgraded to my iPhone. I'm not sure what it will mean for Peanut, though. He's been considering getting an iPhone as well, which we'd add to my plan. I guess when we get to that bridge, I'll just ask for it to be waived the way I asked for my upgrade fee to be waived. The worst they can say is no. The Consumerist article also says that some companies will pay this fee for you, so I could also ask my company to cover it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Decluttering stuff

Revanche asked How do you deal with old photos and albums?

Well, here's a little piece of advice. Do Not Start Scrapbooking. Seriously, just don't.

When I graduated from high school I was given a beautiful scrapbook set as a gift. I used it to scrapbook the last two years of high school and continued adding to it all the way through college--and then my friend's weddings, and my trips abroad, and my trips to New York, and and and...and I kept having to buy more paper and stickers and pens and glitter and designy things for it. And I just couldn't keep up with all the events I had to scrapbook, so I started pasting the photos onto pages without noting anything about them, and then I started keeping all the Playbills and little things I gathered that I someday wanted to get to, and then I started making lists of all the digital photos I had that I needed to print in order to keep the scrapbook going and now....

Now I have moved that box of scrapbooking materials for the third time without even opening it up. I'm five years behind with no hope of catching up, but I feel dumb not finishing because the photos are already glued to the pages. And then there will be blank pages at the end of the second scrapbook (which I had to buy when the first one filled up) so I'll feel dumb leaving it like that. So my solution is to stick the whole thing on the bottom shelf of my bookshelf and ignore it.

I don't recommend this approach. Just use photo albums where you can note the date on the back of the photo, stick it in, and forget about it.

As for what I'm going to do with the stuff I've got...I'm not sure. Most of my photos, particularly from the last three or four years, are all digital and I keep them backed up and don't feel a need to have them in a scrapbook or frame or otherwise in hard copy. When we're unpacked and settled in, I think I'm going to go through the box of stuff I've got, finish the pages that have photos glued to them, and get rid of the rest of it. I'll probably package it all up together and give it to Goodwill or something.

What do you guys do with your photos and albums?

I have a silly question

When PF bloggers do those no-buy months, what do you do when you run out of something like deodorant? Do you stock up ahead of time? If so, how is that accomplishing anything?

Or do you make an effort to stock up by playing the drug store game or otherwise creating a store you can "shop" from during that time?

Or do you consider a no-buy month a success if you don't buy anything unnecessary, and are really honest with yourself and your readers about what is considered necessary?

I've been thinking about doing this kind of challenge, but then I'll run into a situation like I did today, where I've needed a hygiene product I use regularly and if I was doing a no-buy challenge I'd be really hard-pressed to figure out what to do.

Thoughts from someone who's done one?

WE'VE MOVED!

Yay!

Two trips yesterday with a borrowed vehicle, and all of our belongings are now under one roof. Now we just have to unpack. Yippee!

What a relief. It feels like we've been dealing with this forever, although in reality, it's been just under two weeks since we signed the lease and got the keys, and it took just one week to move--and a month ago, I hadn't even started packing. We're hoping to have the apartment in decent enough shape to host our book club on July 9, but we'll see.

Moving everything I own by hand has left me feeling like I have waaaaaay too much stuff. I'm hoping to be pretty heavy-handed as I unpack, and take a lot of stuff to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. A lot of this stuff is stuff I'm just never going to get around to (the belly dance costume I started sewing--by hand--five years ago, for example) or it's stuff I don't want anymore (gifts from ex-boyfriends, books I'll never read again) or it's duplicates (pots and pans, books) or it's stuff I'm hanging on to out of guilt (stuff my mom gave me, clothes I'll never wear but spent too much on).

In addition to saving a lot of money by moving ourselves, I feel like it's given me more of a sense of perspective as to how much Stuff I have, and what it's doing to my life. This move would have been a lot less stressful if I hadn't hung on to a lot of this junk for so long. I just hope those feelings stick around long enough for me to get rid of it all!

And after a quick scroll through my blog aggregator, it looks like I'm not the only one who's been moving and decluttering!

Real posts about joining finances and how much this move actually cost us to come!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sigh

Roomates suck. And since it's not my problem that's all I am going to say about it.

As soon as you can, live alone. Saving money is not worth this kind of drama.

tired. sore. want a cookie.

Ayiyi!

(Actually, I don't know if that's how you spell that. But you know, what Ricky Ricardo says about Lucy all the time.)

So.

We rescheduled this pickup-truck furniture move from Monday night to tonight due to rain. Guess what's going on outside right now? Yeah. I guess it's still happening--nothing we own would be ruined by some sprinkles and if I have to put the bed back together again I might scream. And it's probably too late to cancel the reservation now anyway (Peanut and two of his coworkers are leaving work early to get started).

So, fingers crossed, we will be sleeping in the new apartment tonight. This has been a total pain, and I wish now that we'd forked over the $600 to hire movers. I don't know if I really mean that, but my shoulders and neck have been screaming at me with tension, and I fell while moving some stuff yesterday and banged up my shin pretty badly--in addition to a nasty looking bruise, I've got a sizable goose egg, and it actually hurts to walk. And of course, I didn't really notice it until I got to work, and I'm wearing a skirt and everyone can see it.

But I figure when we have everything in the new place and are relatively settled in, I might take a massage therapist friend up on her offer of a discounted massage for my unhappy back and shoulders. It would mean spending money, but it would still be cheaper than hiring the movers! (Actually, I have no idea how much she charges, but I would guess $75 or $50 + takeout!) I've never had a massage by someone I know, so I'm not sure how weird that would be.

And lastly, I realized last night that while renting may be as justifiable an exercise as buying a place to live (and I certainly think that's the case; while I want to own real estate some day I would also be ok with being a longtime renter), the biggest problem is flexibility. I have lived in New York for 5.5 years, and this will be my fifth apartment. Each move sucks up money for security deposits (and risks prior deposits not being returned), not to mention the money spent on actually moving (movers, buying beer for friends, paying for massages if I do it myself), the new lightbulbs, copies of keys, deposits for utilities or internet, lost mail and late bills, caulk, sink strainer, toilet seat, cleaning supplies, and whatever else is needed at the new place, meals out since your food has been tossed or is at the other apartment, decorating, extra laundry. I'll do a total accounting next month but I'm not looking forward to it. And I took this apartment thinking, well, if I hate it, we can always move in a year, but No. No, we cannot. For my sanity, we need to stay in this apartment indefinitely, like maybe as long as we continue to live in New York City.

Just so I can remember to keep them straight:
Jan 04-June 06 Apt 1 (four bedrooms, innumerable roommates)
June 06-May 07 Apt 2 (three bedrooms, two roommates, drama)
May 07-Feb 08 Apt 3 (one roommate who was previously a friend, DRAMA)
Feb 08-June 09 Apt 4 (my very own place)
June 09-FOREVER Aparment 5 (love nest)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday update

The Moving List has been updated yet again.

Our 'Hire movers' plan sort of fell apart, since the price they quoted was about double what I expected (the reason: they charge more than advertised towards the end of the month. I call BS for a number of reasons, one of which is that the 21st was only two-thirds of the way through the month!). I was sort of happy not to use those dishonest guys anyway. So we have ended up moving ourselves, via handtruck and borrowed vehicle. Most of the little stuff is moved, the big stuff will get moved tonight, and the rest of the little stuff will get moved each night over the next week.

Between running loads of stuff through the rain, we spent the weekend cleaning the new apartment: scrubbing cabinets (yay magic sponge!) and recaulking the bathtub and bathroom sink. The TV/computer system is set up (priorities, people!). The kitchen stuff has mostly been unloaded into cabinets. We're still waiting on our mailbox key, and will need to have the super fix our stove (the oven doesn't work, which is just not acceptable for pizza-making fiends like ourselves). I'll change over the electric/gas bill today, and set up the appointment for internet for this coming weekend. We've met a lot of our neighbors, who seem nice, and no one has been grumpy at us for taking up the elevator.

Today I changed my address online at all the places that allow me to do so, and filled out and mailed in forms for the two backwards places that don't. Now I'll just need to get the new address out to family and friends, but that can wait a little bit. After all, I need to play with my...

new iPhone! It's just about the neatest piece of technology I've ever seen in my life. Peanut has been enraptured as well, and I've been lucky to steal it away from him long enough to do anything with it. I still haven't ported over my old contacts or calendar, and now my Palm is packed away somewhere, I think. Oh, well.

I've been bad about updating my spreadsheet and we are basically bleeding money--going out to eat for almost every meal this weekend, buying little things here and there at the hardware store, making a giant list for a Target spree (lamps, oh man do we need lamps! And also blinds.).

Since we ended up moving so soon and without movers, I started throwing things in boxes without really paying attention to it, and I've basically got to the point where I hate everything I own. This move would have been a lot easier if I didn't have a bunch of nonsense belongings that I didn't remember having and don't particularly care to keep, but feel bad getting rid of. JD's post this morning struck home for me in a big way. As I unpack, I'm going to be pretty discriminating about what gets to stay in my new home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Moving List has been updated again, and it's starting to feel like it's really going to happen! Yay!

I got an email that my iPhone will be available for me to pick up tomorrow afternoon. Double yay!

I'm going to have a nip of champagne left over from my boss's going away party before going home. Triple yay!

When I get home I'm going to pack with a mean streak. And finish my book that's giving me bad dreams.

I guess it's not all rainbows and roses.

Yay!

EscapeBrooklyn is back...as Moneyapolis (cute!).

I stumbled on her blog earlier this year and enjoyed following her journey to leave Brooklyn and move to the calmer/cheaper/friendlier pastures of Minneapolis. She really nailed the frustrations of living in New York, and I always loved her weekend spending reports. Go add her to your regular blog rotation!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quick update

We signed the lease! And picked up the keys (at least the key to the apartment; we still need the one to the front door).

We tested the stuff in the apartment--lights, door handles, oven. It's...underwhelming really. Parts of it are in pretty crappy condition, but it's livable. We'll be going in to clean it up this weekend, and possibly even move. We'll see! I also have a midterm this weekend...ugh!

I ordered this Burt's Bees birthday grab bag to as a gift to myself for pulling through all this. I love Burt's Bees, and although that was $33 I wasn't expecting to spend, I will thoroughly enjoy everything in it.

When I went to the bank to get the broker's fee in cash today, I got pulled out of the main line by a customer service rep in a little cubicle, who then tried to upsell me on other products for ten minutes. I tried explaining to her that there was only so much money in my checking account because I was moving, and that I kept most of my money at ING because they have (had) interest rates that blow everyone else out of the water, but she was having none of it. Then she said her records indicated that I was qualified for a $20,000 home equity line of credit and I started laughing. I thanked her for her time, but told her I didn't feel comfortable opening new credit products with a bank that was prepared to offer me a line of credit based off of equity in a home I don't even own. That put an end to the conversation but left me wondering--are banks struggling to keep new customers or expanding their business? This is a major national bank which has actually been doing quite well throughout the recession, and I could see on her computer screen--it actually had that as an option for me. I'm sure we would have run into problems if I'd actually applied for it, but this is New York where most people don't own real estate anyway. That seems like a pretty big red flag, to give a HELOC to a bank customer who rarely has more than $5,000 across her accounts at your institution.

Weird.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moving Countdown: T Minus just a handful of days

We've handed over money (security deposit plus first month's rent plus a half month's rent so the lease will start from today) and are simply waiting to hear when we can go sign all the final paperwork and pick up keys. And once we do that, we can arrange with the super when we can reserve the elevator so we can schedule movers. Eeek!

Peanut and I packed up most of his stuff yesterday. It really didn't take long at all, and left me cranky about all the useless stuff that I own. I always feel so tied down by junk, but somehow I seem to keep accumulating it. I don't know what to do about that.

My current landlord found someone who wants my current apartment, which makes me a little sad. This is the first time I've ever lived alone, and who knows--it might also be the last. That little apartment gave me a lot of confidence and peace of mind, and it will be hard to leave that behind, even to move in with Peanut.

I haven't really touched on all the chaos at work--my boss will be leaving for a new job at the end of this week, and they also promoted the only other person in my department right out of it--so as of right now, it's just me and a new (unknown) new boss. I haven't heard one word of title promotion or raise despite all the new work that's about to come my way, and I think I might need to speak up to get it. Or should I wait and speak up when there's a boss in place who has the power to grant that, and I've been doing a good job for a few months?

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes

This morning, I stumbled on this post over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, about mental accounting and how smart people make big money mistakes. One particular quote stuck out at me:

"We have a tendency to value money differently depending on where it comes from. If you win $50 in the lottery – considered “found” money - you more likely to spend that on garbage than the $50 you earned on the job. If you get tax refund – you’ll run out and spend it instead of saving."

This is SO RIDICULOUSLY TRUE. I noticed last year that I tended to never have extra money in my "business" account (the checking account I use for dance job and mystery shopping expenses and income). For some reason, all the money that came in from those enterprises I viewed as "free money" and spent it rather frivolously. I put aside a percentage for taxes, but didn't actively save any portion of it, and as a result, have very little to show for it. My life isn't much different since I basically quit bringing in extra cash from dancing or mystery shopping, because my spending habits haven't really changed--if I wouldn't have paid for it with "regular" income before, I just go without it now, rather than spending that money on it.

Knowing that that's a common problem might enable me to prevent it from happening in the future, if I happened to ramp up either one of those sideline jobs again.

If you're interested in the whole book (I am!) enter to win it here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I must be psychic, because sure enough AT&T is not going to discount the iPhone data plans. And earlier today I went and ordered my iPhone from an AT&T store and got the activation fee waived, just by asking that it be waived. Cool! I'll pick my phone up on Friday after having some margaritas with the girls from work.

Did anyone else notice the transition to digital TV today? I've been waiting for this since I was in journalism school, and was pleased to prove everyone wrong--my TV DOES still work with the cable plugged in the back of it, even though I don't have cable. Cable companies push a number of broadcast signals as well as teaser channels (I get the Food Network and sometimes Spike) to get people to sign up. Anyway, I enjoyed this flow chart of the switchover.

And the biggest news of the day! Peanut and I were approved for the apartment we applied for this week, and we are going to meet with the broker tomorrow to sign the lease and hand over the money. Woo hoo! So it looks like we're actually moving, um, a week from tomorrow. Yay! I need to go start packing!

Seven Things About Me

I got tagged by Sunflowers over at The Debt Chronicles.

The Rules:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they've been tagged.
Seven Facts About Me

1. I struggled with deciding to go for an MS in publishing or an MBA. I don't regret the decision to get the MS, but I would still like to go back and get my MBA at some point. This from the girl who talked her way out of math in college because she hated it so much!

2. My favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean.

3. My favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (that's why I moved to New York) followed by The Hitchhiker's Guide series. I secretly think that the iPhone is an undercover Guide.

4. I was a vegetarian for 27 years and only within the last year started eating chicken, turkey and seafood. Despite that, I consider myself an adventurous eater and haven't found a cuisine I don't like.

5. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician when I grew up. I had over 1,000 magic tricks but wasn't very good at any of them. I still love to watch magic shows, even though I usually know how they do the tricks.

6. The older I get, the happier and cooler I am. At this rate, I will be the most amazing 90-year-old EVER.

7. One of my favorite meals is called a haystack (or maybe a taco salad, depending on where you're from). Fritos, topped with chili, topped with shredded cheddar, topped with lettuce and tomato, some salsa, some ranch dressing or sour cream...and KETCHUP. OMG, yum.

I'm tagging

Thursday, June 11, 2009

iPhone update!

I've decided to get the new iPhone 3GS, and today I changed my mind on waiting to see if AT&T lowers the data plan or not--even if they don't, it's a few bucks cheaper than what I'm paying now, so it makes less sense to wait than I thought at first.

Then I saw this, and started scheming. I think I want it ASAP, rather than waiting until the lines have died down a few weeks from now. However, I want my activation fee ($36!!!!) waived, or a free something or other (case, screen cover or something). I've been a customer of AT&T for almost 10 years at this point, and paying $36 for no reason irritates me. Last time I upgraded my phone, I got a sweet deal, but Apple won't let them discount the phone so I'm going to see what else they can do. Tomorrow when I get out of work, I'm going to duck into an AT&T store and talk to someone in person to see if they can cut me a deal.

If not, I guess I'll probably order online for delivery to my office next Friday. I don't really want to deal with the hordes of people or go wait in line in a store at 7 a.m., but packages usually get to me quickly at work. And if not, I'll get it on Monday the 22nd without having to hate humanity.

Moving Countdown: T Minus Less Than 20 Days (most likely)

Look at that! I managed to skip a day of nattering on to you guys about all my moving traumas.

Well, last night, we went out with the broker and looked at one apartment, which we were the first to see, and we applied for it. It's certainly not the nicest place we've seen (that one was gone) nor the one that made my heart go pitter-patter (that one was gone too) but it's big enough, it's cheap enough (within our original budget, even!), it's got enough windows and closets, a decent bathroom, an elevator AND laundry in the building, it's close to two grocery stores (including our favorite), close to Costco and the train, and we like the super. And we'll be paying the broker's fee, but we don't mind because this guy has done everything brokers are supposed to do and I would have felt pretty bad going with someone else at this point.

My only concern with this place is the kitchen. It has a weird old stove with a smaller than average oven (18 inches as opposed to the standard 22) but it seems like it will fit the pizza stone and all of our pans and dishes, so I will learn to deal with it.

We don't officially have it, but we were the first ones to look at it and we applied immediately, so I think our chances are good. We've asked that our lease begin on the 23rd, so we'll have a few days to measure, clean and plan, then we'll move on Saturday the 27th, giving us a few days to clean out our old apartments before the first.

Will it all go that smoothly? Probably not. But that's ok--I'm not freaking out anymore. I could happily live in this place for a year or two, at which point we'd probably be revisiting our plans to live in New York anyway. So---WHOO HOO!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Non Moving Related Post!

Well, now that the new iPhone has been released for $199, and the "old" 3G is $99, I'm a little torn. Do I want brand new and shiny for only $4 per month over the life of a contract, or do I want an extra $100 in my pocket right now? I'm really not sure. I don't have to decide right this minute anyway, since the 3GS isn't available until next week and I'm also waiting to see if AT&T will actually drop their rate plans as rumored. It's looking pretty likely that by the end of July I will have an iPhone.

I plan to start by getting in touch with someone from the business side of AT&T since I get a corporate discount, to find out whether I can get any other freebies or upgrade fees waived with one or the other. Peanut encouraged me to go with the brand new shiny 3GS since it is only $4 more over the life of the contract, but I don't know that I want to spend $200 on a phone ever again. Not that I regret it with my Palm, but geez. It's just a lot of money. And I know we're getting ready to bleed money for a few weeks on our moving expenses. (OK, not totally unrelated to moving...)

Moving Countdown: T Minus 22 Days

Last night, during the worst thunderstorm I've ever experienced in New York City, I gave myself a rather stern talking to regarding my behavior about this apartment hunt. No more temper tantrums, no more hyperventilating about needing to know right now, no more obsessing, no more freaking out. It's just an apartment hunt, and I've been through this before, and I know that we are not going to wind up homeless--I mean, if the very worst happened, we can work with my landlord to extend my time to stay in my apartment, or put my stuff in storage and crash with Peanut's current roommate, or SOMETHING. This is not life and death stuff.

(Frankly, I'm a teeny bit surprised that Peanut still wants to live with me after all this. I'm getting on my own nerves so badly, I don't know how I'm not getting on his. But he assures me I'm not. He's so wonderful, everyone go get your own Peanut right now!)

SO. New plan of action. Peanut and I are on exactly the same page about the apartments we've seen and the ones he's going to look at tonight. If he thinks any of them are worth it, we'll go back and look tomorrow night when I don't have school. If we don't have a number one choice by the end of this week, we will up our price range a little or be willing to pay a broker's fee equivalent to one month's rent. Given these concessions, we will easily be able to find a place by the end of the month.

Since I desperately need something to control, I will start methodically packing my apartment into boxes during any time that we're not looking at apartments. I will go through every single thing that I own, purge a lot of junk and make several trips to Goodwill. I will also start looking for things that I want for our new place (like a vacuum cleaner and lamps). I suspect I will probably start packing up his apartment as well, if he'll let me. And I'll start cleaning/staging my apartment so it can be shown to prospective tenants and to ensure the return of my security deposit.

And for everything else that's out of my control (my boss leaving and someone new coming in, which apartment we eventually wind up in and when that's settled, which day we'll move) I will stop worrying about it and let it be. I will refocus on the point of all this--for Peanut and I to officially combine our lives and see where this new adventure will take us.

Hopefully those of you who are vicariously hunting through me can enjoy a more stress-less apartment hunt from now on!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Okay, now that I've calmed down a little and had a bit of a cry, I feel like I can face reality a bit more.

We didn't get the apartment through no fault of ours--the tenant retracted his notice, basically, and then lined up a friend to move in when he does vacate six weeks later. The landlord seemed a little peeved about it, and showed Peanut a two bedroom that he dropped the price on for us. Then Peanut went and found a brand new apartment that he's crazy about (with a backyard and everything) that I'm not quite as fond of (due to an attached garage that we don't need and would be rented out to strangers) and we've got a couple more viewings lined up.

I'm so tired of this. I just want to know where we're going to live and not worry about losing out on places that we like. I'm trying not to get too invested in any one place again, at least not until we hand over money and sign some papers. I think tonight is a night for a glass of wine and an early bedtime.
We didn't get the apartment.

I'm crushed.

Moving Countdown: T Minus 23 Days

Ugh, I'm a huge bundle of nerves. Based on this experience, I am never going to buy a house, or look for a new job, or have a baby or anything. I keep trying to calm myself down and just can't seem to do it.

If I don't hear from landlord guy, I will call him at 6:02 p.m. Peanut is seeing two other apartments today, both of which sound nice and within our budget. I don't know why I'm freaking out about this so much. Okay, yes. Dream apartment is nice, within our budget, has no broker's fee, is only on the second floor, has lots of windows and plenty of space. But it's not the ONLY apartment that meets those requirements. It's not even the first apartment we applied for (btw, we are not going to get that first one, most likely).

SO WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Because I've dreamed about it. And I keep thinking of the future as taking place in that apartment. And I hate not knowing what's coming next. I'm going to keep trying to calm myself down for the next 33 minutes until we know for sure.

Then I'm going to dance class to try to dance away some of this tension and get back into a groove.

Oh, and in non-moving news, my boss announced today that she's leaving! Yes, this is the boss who I meant when I said I feel safe at my job as long as she's here. Yeah.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

moving countdown: t minus 24 days

update to my moving list--today I broke the news to my parents. Honestly that was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I'm totally drained now. Both of them took it much better than I expected. My dad actually said good for us and that he was happyfor me. My mom basically said she would not choose this for me but it's my life and that that's all she had to say about it. I suspect a day or two of thinking about it will have her trying to talk me out of it, so I'm prepared for that.

In the meantime, I'm trying to be nice to myself, I'm proud for following through on it, and trying not to drive myself crazy wondering if we got the dream place. We should know tomorrow.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Moving Countdown: T Minus 25 Days

Peanut and I looked at a number of apartments today but Dream Apartment is still number one in our minds. I keep trying to distract myself from wondering whether we're approved.

Tomorrow is my deadline for telling my parents. I'm not much looking forward to it, but I'll be glad when it's over.

I will have other non-moving related posts soon! I hope...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last update for today, promise!

I measured my current apartment--I've been living in 411 square feet, 72 square feet of which is a hallway too narrow to do anything other than be a boring hallway. So the total usable square footage of my current apartment is 339. Wowza.

The living room of dream apartment ALONE is 300 square feet.

We went to the broker of what's now our #2 choice, paid him for a credit check fee (refundable if someone else is approved before us and/or possibly if we hear back from Dream Apartment Guy first and tell the broker to cancel it before it goes through). He also showed us a really beautiful place that's out of our budget--$50 too high plus a broker's fee that works out to make it $150 too much per month. Pity, it was really beautiful.

We're meeting up with him again tomorrow to see a very cheap place, a fifth floor walkup with the kitchen "in the living room" which could mean a lovely open bar type space or a ghastly studio situation where a stove and fridge are randomly tossed up against some wall and you have to do dishes in the bathtub. This is New York, I'm not ruling anything out.

Afterwards, we'll see a few other places, just to keep our options open and because we're enjoying seeing the insides of all these buildings in our neighborhood. I have a pretty good feeling about the Dream Apartment, so I'm really hoping it comes through.

If not, I have faith that Peanut will find us a lovely place to live, and even if it's a hovel, I'll be living there with him so it will be great. I hope.

apartment update

We just looked at and applied for the dream apartment!! I also realized it's not just close to my favorite sushi place but like across the street from it.

I'm sure I've wanted something more at some point in my life but I can't think what it might have been. Please cross your fingers for us! We should know by Monday.

In the meantime, we are going to continue applying for the apartment from yesterday, just in case. Oh, I wish I could stop my brain from running in circles!

Moving Countdown: T Minus 26 Days

Peanut has started to have second thoughts about this apartment. We're no longer sure how much bigger it really is than my current apartment, and it's a one bedroom at the very top of our budget (we've already seen a two bedroom that was cheaper--not as nice, but certainly livable). We keep deferring to each other--he says if I want it, we'll take it (assuming the management company approves us), and I say if he wants to keep looking, I will do that as well. I wish the Dream Apartment from two days ago would call and settle this!

Who knows where we'll end up.

I've also started a list of things that we'll need to buy to move just about anywhere:
Vacuum cleaner
Blinds/curtains/curtain rods (I almost definitely won't have enough)
Paper shredder (maybe a want more than a need)
Lamps (ok, that's definitely a want)
Maybe a fire escape gate (the apartment we're waiting on doesn't have one, though I think we should ask them to install it for us)

Ugh, I hate moving. Even more than that, though, I would hate for Peanut to simply move into my tiny one bedroom (I will figure square footage this afternoon) and then us hate living together because we have no space and no privacy.

I collected a bunch of boxes at work today and will be going home early (summer fridays!) to measure, pack, and start ruthlessly throwing stuff away.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moving Countdown: T Minus 27 Days

We looked at three apartments today and...made an offer on one? That's what you call it when it's a house. In this case, it's more like we asked them to consider us. We haven't put down any money or signed any papers, but the broker will talk to the management company and run our credit reports, and let us know tomorrow.

This is not the dream apartment from yesterday, but it's good enough. The kitchen is biggish and quite new with a nice counter and cabinets, the living room is big enough, the bedroom's bigger than I was expecting. It has lots of windows (all with screens! which is unusual in NYC). It's on the top floor (of a WALKUP) so there's no noise above us, and there's a lovely garden in the courtyard. Laundry in the building. Very close to the grocery store and the train. No broker's fee (or, more accurately, the landlord is paying it since it's a walkup and harder to rent). A friend of mine lives right down the street. Cats are allowed, although I probably won't inflict that on Peanut while we live in an apartment. All in all, it's perfectly acceptable and I hope we get it.

Here's hoping. I would love to have this over and done with, and we'd be able to move in two weeks over a weekend rather than in the middle of the week to make the first. I also supposedly have someone coming to look at my apartment tonight, and will call my landlord to find out how to refer other people who are interested.

It's all coming together. Hard to believe!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wii giveaway

I have been trying to decide whether to enter this contest, and finally decided to go ahead.

Christian PF is giving away a Wii and an iPod to celebrate their two year anniversary of blogging.

I'm entering for the Wii, because I think I need Wii Fit. I've gained 15 pounds since Christmas ( don't hate me, but 10 of them went straight to my boobs. And that's just not as much fun as it seems like it would be, for me anyway.). Without regular dance classes, I feel blobby and unmotivated, and maybe that would help me be active regularly.

Check them out!

Moving Countdown: T Minus 28 Days

Peanut found THE PERFECT APARTMENT on Craigslist today, minutes after it was posted. I told him to go give lots of money to the landlord to take it down. "Don't even ask to see it!" I said. "Just ask how much he wants for a deposit!! And then go give it to him!!!!"

I'd link to the posting and video walkthrough here, but if I do that, knowing my luck we'll get it for sure and then some crazy person will come stalk me. (Hmm....)

Anyway, take my word for it. It's huge. And sunny. And new(ish). And huge. And sunny. And cheap(ish). And available when we need it, instead of immediately. And huge. And sunny. And did I mention enormous? And big. And perfect.

And I've been trying not to, but I've got my heart set on it and I will be devastated if Peanut doesn't get it tonight (I'd go along but I'm going to a show with his mom).

Send good vibes our way, please!!!

The little bookstore that could

I worked at this bookstore for a few months at the end of my "gap year", between leaving college and starting my first real job 11 months later. It had just reopened (a bookstore has been in that location for decades, but it had closed and Peter had purchased their library and reopened in the same location).

I loved that job. I shelved books, cataloged, organized, looked up reviews. I passed out wine at readings. I handsold books. I discovered new favorite authors. In fact, that store is the reason I have the job I have today--while working there, I realized for the first time that I could actually work for the publishers of all those wonderful books.

I haven't been back there in years--I moved to new neighborhoods and just don't make it back to the Upper West Side all that often. I know just how hard it was for them to make it as long as they did, and I hope somehow that they'll manage to stay open.

And I promise to go to my local neighborhood bookstore down the street the next time I need a book, instead of stopping at Barnes & Noble or ordering from Amazon.

May spending

Misc Income: 490.27
(Includes $150 of mystery shop income/reimbursement and the rest was YouData and Pinecone payments, selling my kitchen furniture and a month-late check from my dad for my birthday).

Savings
$145 earmarked for travel and gifts
$147.70 into retirement (company matches that!)

Spending
Cell phone $81.26
Clothes $85.84
Entertainment $75.24 (mostly books, also Netflix* and contradancing)
Food—dining out $289.45 (about $20 of that is tax deductible since it was at a work conference)
Food—groceries $85.25
Gifts $6
Household $6
Laundry $16 (expensive this month!)
Medical $397.30 (the remainder of my dental bill, covered by flex spending)
Mystery shop expenses $231.22
Rent $1,100
School $2,829.11 (GRRRRR)
Therapy $60
Travel $124.50 (rental car and gas)
Utilities $48.65
Personal $7

Total spending: $5442.82

STAGGER.

Of course, taking out the school bill, I spent 2613.71, which is technically more than I brought in, but nearly $400 of that was “preimbursed” by flex spending, so I actually came out under! Woo hoo!

* I was quite sure that I cancelled this last month in time to avoid being charged, but I was wrong. It’s getting cancelled this month for sure.

Networth IQ is updated (see sidebar). That arrow is pointing straight down thanks to that school bill, but my retirement accounts were up by about $1000 again, so that’s nice. I’d love to see that continue!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Moving Countdown: T Minus 29 Days

We just got back from looking at our first apartment. My current landlord showed it to us; it's the only thing they have available in our price range right now. It's okay...actually, the location is really great and the apartment itself is fine, it's bigger than we expected and the price is right. The entrance to the building seems a little rundown and not maintained as well as my current building. It's available now, so we'd have to negotiate not paying rent on my place AND this place for the month (but it's available now, so we could move whenever we wanted).

I'm really torn. New York real estate goes SO FAST. We won't have time to look at anything else until this weekend, by which time this apartment will probably be gone. What to do?

For now, we said we'd like to look at a few more places. My landlord offered me another week to take back my 30 days notice in case we want to wait another month to see what else opens up (I don't think we'll take him up on it since Peanut is sure we can find something by July 1, but it makes me want to stay with the current landlord all the more since he's so damn reasonable to deal with). This weekend we'll look at a swath of places and I guess make a more final decision on this place (or have the decision made for us if someone else takes it).

I'm trying to keep myself calm throughout this. I HATE instability.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking for advice

Hedder02's comment on a previous post gave me some food for thought!

Congrats on moving in. I want to give you the heads up that the first 90 days are going to be full of change. No matter who I talk to (including when we moved in together) it is a 3 month adjustment period. Its just hard to figure out - well, I cooked so you clean? Who does the laundry? I don't feel like vacuming but if I don't do it, then you will be mad - that sort of stuff.

Peanut and I have been basically living together since, um, our third date. I wonder how much of a shock moving in will really be--we're always together already. I know, many couples say this. But I don't mean like, oh, we see each other a lot and keep a toothbrush at each other's place. I mean we haven't spent a night apart in more than a year unless one of us was out of town. We cook every meal together, do laundry together...basically spend every spare moment together.

Of course, it's easy for me to sit here and say, oh, we won't be like everyone else. Moving in together will feel perfect and easy right from the start, and nothing will ever go wrong again. I know that things will change, and things will come up that I never suspected. So, to those of you who have lived with or are living with a significant other, what advice do you have for us? This could range from financial to personal to decorating--whatever you've got.

Moving countdown: T minus 30 days

I gave notice yesterday--sort of. I left a voicemail for my landlord, and will follow it up today with a letter. I'm really hoping that this lights a fire under him and he will start showing me properties that he owns that we can move into. We've spoken about it several times, but then I never hear of anything that fits the bill, and I think it's just because we felt like, oh, we were ok staying in my apartment until something came along. Well, we changed our minds, so hopefully he'll want to keep me as a tenant.

If not, we'll start looking for no-fee or by-owner apartments, followed by apartments with broker fees (which we will negotiate down according to what they can find us). We found a long list of possibilities in a rather quick search yesterday, so Peanut is confident that we'll find something with no problem. We'll start looking this weekend.

This move has me very stressed out. Not about moving in with him, that's the easy part. But the sudden change in thinking that I wouldn't have to worry about moving yet, coupled with my very intensive summer class and lots of stuff going on at work had me freaking out yesterday. Peanut has offered to pack and do whatever needs doing if I don't have time, so that helps.

Also, Number 8 on the moving list--Tell my parents--is no small thing. My family is traditional and very religious, and this is going to be a big problem. I don't know that my dad will really mind, but my mother will likely not speak to me for some time (months, maybe?). (They're divorced, so he won't be any help in getting her to see reason.) It's tough to get the courage to upset someone so much.

I know a lot of pf bloggers are living with SOs--did any of you face this kind of disapproval? How did you handle it?

Luckily, Peanut's family is fine with it so at least one side will still welcome us for holidays.