We’re officially Marylanders again!
I’m sitting at our new kitchen table here in dead silence, other than wild animals roaming around, haha… Here’s what we came home to the other day:
Forgot how beautiful it was here! Saw some bunnies outside this morning grazing too which scared my boys into thinking we’d only have dirt left when they were done eating ;) A reminder of what we could do in that case quickly changed their tunes though:
STICK GARDEN!!! Haha… Free entertainment at its best!
But yeah – been here for about two weeks now, and so far so good. Really excited to get the new phase of our lives going and feel like it was def. a good call. The wife’s back to her career for the first time in 6 years (she was getting a PHD), and the kids are down the street playing legos at a home daycare. I miss them already, but hey – life’s all about changes, eh?
I’d also be lying if I said I miss the pressure of supporting my entire family on one blog income too :) We’ve weathered some big storms over the years – and still not out from all of them – but our money continues to grow so hopefully this latest move will only catapult it further.
It’s not gonna suck being a DIK, that’s for sure!
Here’s a snapshot of how this affects our finances now:
- Rent: +$500/mo compared to VA
- Car: +$340/m0 as we needed to get a new (to us) car to replace dear ol’ Frankencaddy now that I’m in charge of the boys on a daily basis (miss you, buddy!!)
- Daycare: +$1,600/mo for two boys full-time. This was the cheapest by far, if you can believe it, as all other options (centers, camps, etc) ranged from $2,000 to $2,800/month (!!!). And they love their new caretaker so far and have friends again to play with (their own age – hah).
- Cost of living: +$200/mo? Not sure how to calculate this, but it’ll def. be more.
- Car insurance: +$20.14/mo
- Renters insurance: +$2.90/mo
So about $2,700 tacked onto our monthly expenses.
The good part? A new income is coming :)
- Salary for year one: +$4,400/mo (before taxes/deductions)
- Salary in year two: +$5,300/mo (gets automatically bumped up)
- Healthcare savings: +$700/mo!! No more $950 health insurance payments!!
- Retirement investments: +$400/mo? Looking forward to taking advantage of all those gov’t accounts/matches! Good to have more $$$ under the wife’s name too.
- Internet savings: +$35/mo – We were able to score a better monthly contract at our new place!
- Utility savings: +$50/mo? – Our landlord says we should be saving a decent amount with all the energy savings upgrades to the house, but time will tell…
- Other benefits: Extra life insurance, flex spending I believe, and some others we’re still sorting through
So it won’t be a windfall of extra money coming in (I’m guessing $500-$1,000 extra/month?), but every bit helps, and more importantly, the Mrs. is getting her career going again. And since it’s with the gov’t, it’s safe to say it’s more stable than online income. Though according to the interwebs, the world as we know it will crash whether Trump or Clinton wins, so maybe none of this will matter in the end? ;)
Some other things of note throughout this process…
There’s a big difference between maintaining a rental vs a house you own. In the three years we rented our house in Va, we probably spent about $500 total on maintenance. And this includes a $250 deduction in our rent deposit for scruffing up parts of their hardwood floors in my office – oops. Want to take a guess how much it cost the owners of the home in comparison? Over $15,000!!! Not only did a handful of items break down and needed fixing/replacing, but in the last year there the house started leaking and needed the entire roof to be replaced – yikes.
Again this why I love renting so much!!! Even though it’s “throwing money down the drain!” Now to be fair, I was helping them pay down their mortgage every month so it wasn’t like they exactly lost $15,000, but by and large this is the part most people forget about in their calculations of renting vs owning – the maintenance. And that doesn’t even account for the mental side of things either. Nothing wrong with whichever route you go, just please know how it affects your overall lifestyle! It’s okay to rent if that suits you the best!
We’ll never hire “per hour” movers again. For the first time in our lives we hired some burly men to come and load up a moving van with all the boxes we packed ourselves, and what was supposed to be a 6 hour deal at $700 turned into a 12 hour one at $1,300. I’ve never seen grown men move so slowly, and considering I was in there moving stuff alongside of them, you’d think it would have sped up the process pretty well. But nope. They took their sweet time, and then magically “got stuck in traffic” one hour more than it took us, even though we were 5 minutes behind them. So yay to getting it all done and having nothing broken at least, but a big boooooo for how it all came together. Next time – flat fee only and/or never allowing my friends to ever vacation again :) (I swear we weren’t like those people Jeffro dealt with during his moving nightmare!! We really did have mostly light stuff!)
Tote containers are AWESOME for moves. We picked up this trick from another friend during the last move, but pretty much we just pick up dozens of decently-sized tupperware-like bins from Target or Walmart at like $3.00 a pop, and then we just start stashing everything we can in them. Especially books. This makes both packing, and carrying/unloading, them much easier and faster. They also stack up well together making things look much more organized than they are :) However….
For being an aspiring minimalist, I still have a bunch of crap to get rid of. We probably donated over 20 boxes of stuff before the move (which alone shocked me!), but as we started loading up the truck I realized half of the stuff in our basement still hadn’t been gone through. So I set all these aside in our newer basement, and came out to be about 18 tupperwares full of stuff from previous moves, along with numerous bins labeled “memories” that we haven’t gone through in forever. So our goal is to go through one box a week until we’re all through four and a half months later. Should be do-able?
Decluttering your key chain is the best!! I don’t know why I never pay attention to it, but I literally had 9 random keys on it that I had no idea where they go to anymore. I kept saying to myself, “well maybe one day you’ll find out and need them?” but then I slapped myself and took them all off making my keychain look incredibly wimpy with only three keys left :) But what a feeling!!! When was the last time you sorted yours?
Lastly, downsizing is cozy :) We lost 600 sq feet in our move (1,700 down to 1,100), but we gained so much. We all feel closer as a family so far, and not only physically, haha, and since most things are all on one level now we get to see each other more. It’s also been a ton easier to clean and even decorate/sort things. We’ve had to get rid of some stuff already that didn’t fit, but a few easy replacements later did the trick and by and large we’ve settled in quite nicely. This bodes well for future dreams of moving into an RV/houseboat/hotel!! :)
Some pics of our eating nook and kids basement playroom…
(They love the new home too! Especially having a place all to themselves to make messes in :))
We’ll see how long we live here! Any new addition of kids or career changes could have us running back to VA in no time, haha… Which is our ultimate goal in the end.
Until then, we do our best to enjoy the change and have some family adventures together, and we always remember that life is never permanent even though it sometimes feels like it is. You never know what’s lurking around the corner – good or bad!
And hopefully you’re in the middle of some good changes yourself :)
PS: That Amazon Echo I got as a gift the other day? Killer!! Finally got it up and running to drown out the silence here, and it’s awesome to be able to play music so easily by just asking Alexa to do it. Same with checking the weather, flash news briefings, and now playing farts and kitten sounds – courtesy of my 4 y/o. We did have to lock the Amazon ordering as that little booger somehow managed to order a toy airplane in the 5 seconds I left him alone (!!!!), but it was quickly terminated by telling it to cancel it, and now I officially know he’s smarter than I give him credit for ;) Pretty wild how advanced technology is getting, though… Crazy to think what the future holds!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!