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Home > Day 6 declutter/organize results and other ramblings

Day 6 declutter/organize results and other ramblings

April 6th, 2014 at 09:56 pm

OK, I didn't make much visible progress in decluttering (in fact, my folders are temporarily more visible), but I made some progress in getting my life organized -- namely, taxes.

I couldn't remember where I'd left off in February, except that I'd e-filed AS's federal return for free and received the refund. The other three returns, which I knew we'd owe on, I'd set aside in varying degrees of completeness.

Turns out AS's taxes, I hadn't really done the state side. I'd jotted down the state taxes that TaxAct reckoned she'd owe, so I knew I could do them by hand for free and do an accuracy check based on whether my final number matched TaxAct's.

But staring at it, I knew it was at least a couple of hours of work. I went into her TaxAct profile to print the federal for reference -- and saw the enticement to have them printed and ready to file for only $14.99. Facing hours of work and knowing I'd still have my and NT's taxes ahead of me after that, I caved. I'm projecting a small surplus in my annual budget of about $200, so $14.99 doesn't seem that big a deal when I factor in how much time it'll save me. So in less than 20 minutes I had AS's taxes printed and ready to send in to MN. And I already saved up the money to pay what we owe, so I can send it off whenever I feel like it.

I also glanced through my and NT's taxes. It looks like I scribbled down all the numbers that will go in the main federal and state form, but didn't really "show my work." So that will entail completing the main forms for real plus all the supporting worksheets, double-checking my calculations while I'm at it, and printing them, writing checks and mailing them. I think one good weeknight or weekend afternoon of work will be enough for filling them out. I decided to save that for another day, as I was pretty exhausted already.

Oh, and this doesn't really fit into my monthly goal, but I got very organized preparing for tomorrow morning. AS is on a plane to the UK for 5 days as I write this, and so I'll be flying solo for three mornings in terms of getting the kids ready and getting them to daycare and me to work. (NT is taking two days off next week, so he'll be able to help me two of the mornings. He normally goes to work before anyone else wakes up.)

So tonight, in addition to laying out the girls' clothes for tomorrow (a good habit of AS's that I'm trying to keep going while she's gone), I also showered, laid out my own clothes, got breakfast and lunch together in a plastic bag which is in the fridge and ready to grab, put my makeup out in case I have time to apply it in the morning, made sure everything was in my purse and hung my purse by the front door, chose which coat I'll be wearing and put my hat and gloves in the pockets.

So tomorrow should be pretty straightforward: Get myself dressed and do basic grooming. Put makeup on if I've got time. Get the girls dressed and hair brushed. Set out the diapers for pickup. Get all three of us into coats and shoes. Grab my lunch from the fridge and my purse from the front hall.

I am feeling pretty together, which is good since we're down a parent. I tried out Car2Go, another carshare service in our area, to take AS to the airport. We signed up a while ago but hadn't tried it because their fleet is all Smartcars, which only seat two (we're a family of 5 and Hourcar's fleet of Honda Fits and Priuses accommodates us, just barely). But this was one of those rare instances where there were just two of us, so it was a good test case.

It was pretty slick. Unlike Hourcar, they don't have set locations; people can park them wherever unlimited free parking is available, and someone else can get it from there. You check their website or smartphone app to see if one is convenient to you when you're ready to go. There was one only a couple blocks away, so I went and got it.

It took an hour to get to and from the airport, and the cost was $17.50. Not bad considering taxis to the airport are at least $40 one way, and public transport would be over an hour one way! I would consider using this service in the future for sure, as a supplement to the Hourcar service. (In this case, the Hourcar cost would have been comparable, though the closest one is a longer walk away. But for one-way trips for just one or two people, where you can just leave the car and not pay for it while it's sitting there waiting to be returned to the spot, I could see it really saving money and hassle.)

So, feeling pretty good. I have hundreds of cars at my disposal, for a fraction of the annual cost (if I don't use them, my only fixed cost is $15 per month for Hourcar membership) and none of the hassle of maintenance, insurance or fillups! Big Grin

I finally got out and exercised today, after taking 2 weeks off (the longest break I've taken since before Thanksgiving). NT mapped out a 5k route for me and I jogged as much as I could, walked for short periods when I couldn't take it any more, and completed the course in 38 minutes. I'm happy with that time, and I still have 2 weeks to train before the 5k! I'm so glad most of the snow is gone; it's much more pleasant running outside than on the treadmill. Bonus: I'd lost 2 lbs. over the past 3 weeks when I weighed in.

We made a bit of progress on the UK flat reno question. NT emailed the management company to see if there was any hope of a decent renovation for the amount we'll have saved up by July 1 (8100 pounds plus 20% VAT). If he says absolutely not, then we'll have to figure out a way to get the money over there, because it sounds like (and NT confirmed on a walkthrough last May) it's getting harder to rent because of its poor condition. (I'm fairly sure he'll say we need more money, because our contact there has indicated that a solid reno would run at least 10K plus VAT, and that he himself spent 15K plus VAT on one of the units he owns in the area.) The money we would need is about $3000 U.S. (for a basic 10K plus VAT reno).

One possible route is to ask the company if they'd mind taking the remaining money out of future rentals until it was paid off. They've done this in the past when emergency repairs or replacements were needed; just stopped sending us rent money until the bill was paid. But this is a larger project and they'd probably have to stretch that over 3 or 4 months, so I'm not sure. Even if we did that, it would mean we'd have to cover 3 or 4 months of mortgage payments, since we'll be draining the UK accounts completely to pay for this. But that would be $1200-$1600 US, so half of what we'd send otherwise.

If we get the money from my dad's land deal (which I've heard nothing about for the past two weeks), sending over $3000 wouldn't be that big a deal. But if not, it would be a bit of a wrench. Already this reno is going to drain the 2/3 of our EF that's housed in UK account. The remaining $3K would either have to come out of 1) the remaining 1/3 of our EF, taking it down to just $2K, 2) the money we've raised so far for our downpayment/moving fund, or 3) the money we've saved up for our bathroom reno. In any case it would set us back a ways on our other goals. (I mean, it would even if it came out of future UK earnings, since it would set back rebuilding the EF, but it wouldn't feel as tangible.)

Anyway, when NT emailed the management guy he got an out-of-office until mid-April, so that gives us some time to think about it regardless what his answer is. If I have time once the taxes are done, I think I'll run a couple of money scenarios, of how long it would take to reach our goals if:
- We get the land deal and do send the $3K to the UK
- We don't get the land deal and send the $3K
- Both above scenarios if our take-home decreases because of career stuff
- Both above scenarios if our take-home increases because of career stuff

I'd also like to reassess when it would look like we could move to a new home (both in UK an here) if we decreased down payment to 10% (I'd always planned for 20%-30%) but didn't sell the UK flat. (The idea of keeping it appeals to me more and more.)

Depending on how it all looks, we may need to be prepared to cut out some luxuries in the worst-case scenarios in order to still meet our goals (we now desperately want a real house with a yard, whether it's in the UK or here). It'll just be good to know where we'd stand in various outcomes, so we can be mentally ready for whatever comes.

3 Responses to “Day 6 declutter/organize results and other ramblings”

  1. just a thought Says:

    I think getting everything ready for the morning definitely counts as organizing! Maybe not decluttering, though Smile

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    WTG on the weight loss, and also on doing 5k in 38 minutes. That's faster than I could do it ... Smile

  3. TashaC. Says:

    It is so interesting to read about distance property management. It comes with a unique set of headaches and its own set of relationship needs between you and the people on the ground over there.

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