Day 40~I Almost Lied

I almost lied.  I very rarely do.  It’s difficult for me, and I have a very strong conscience.  I lost sleep over the idea of lying; even started feeling ill because of it.  And the funny thing is that I didn’t even lie, and am not going to.  How silly!

You may be wondering what kind of lie I’m talking about.  What would be so serious that I would lose sleep and even feel ill about it?  I’ll tell you.

I was going to fake sick.  I know.  People do that all the time.  But, not me.  Generally, I do my best to not over-commit myself to things and people.  Lately, I’ve been running myself ragged; and am so behind on my work that I didn’t think I could handle any more.  Today, I only have 2 children I’m supposed to watch, in addition to the large pilot project I’ve taken on for a local school board.

Everything is supposed to be ready for the schools, and it’s not.  I feel as though I don’t get more than a few minutes every day or two because of the demands of moving, children, household chores, my part time home daycare, and driving.  Today, I would have to borrow a car from someone to go across town to drop off and pick up the kids; at 3 different times of the day.  All in all, with all of the driving, borrowing, and returning; it would take me about 4 hours of traveling alone!

That’s 4 hours that I could spend getting work done that I REALLY NEED to get done.  So, my lie was going to be telling the parents that I was sick today so that I didn’t have to do any additional driving or borrow a car.  I couldn’t sleep because of the uncomfortable predicament I would be putting them in of finding someone else to watch their kids.  I don’t want them to panic.

In the meantime, I’m panicking.  So, I’m not going to lie.  I’m just going to tell them the truth (even about the part where I almost lied), and then see where things go.  I’m sure there’s a way to work everything out.  And I’ll be able to get some work done this morning.  So, that’s what I’m going to do now.  : )

Until next time,

Princess PW

Day 37~Save on Gas

Ten tips to save you money on gas:

  1. Plan your errands and shopping trips.  Try to get everything done in one or two days.  Keeping an active list of what needs to be done will help make this easier.
  2. Invite people over instead of always going out to see them.
  3. Spend more time at home.  Take up a new hobby, learn some new things, play games.  Be creative!  You’ll find more and more things you’ll like to do both inside and outside of your home.
  4. Try different methods of transportation.  Walk, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, moped, scooter, bus, subway, train, etc.  Alternative modes of travel can save lots of money at the pumps.
  5. Get a more fuel efficient vehicle.
  6. If you have to travel to ‘meetings’ for work or other business; see about having phone or video conferencing instead.
  7. Stock up on food (especially when there’s a sale).  Even milk and cheese can be frozen, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store as much.
  8. Carpool.  Get together with other people and share the driving.  It saves a lot of money.
  9. Share errands with friends, family, or neighbours.  If you need some things done and they need other things done.  Maybe you can each help each other out so you don’t have to drive as far or as many places.
  10. Have your children (if you have any) picked up and dropped off for their activities, by other trustworthy parents.  You can also contribute to drive their kids some days too.

Princess PW

Day 36~Save on Groceries

There are many ways to save on groceries that don’t include the time consuming task of clipping coupons.  However; if coupon clipping is your thing, go right ahead.

In addition to coupon books and flyers, there are several online sites that offer printable grocery coupons or customer codes for discounts.  These can add up to savings fast.  I just discovered http://www.flyerland.ca : ).

What I generally do to save time and money is just a fast glance at each of the grocery flyers when they are delivered each week.  I limit my time with the flyers to only 10 minutes.  I see who has the sale that will provide me with the biggest financial impact and then shop there.  For example, if there’s an item that I regularly purchase several of, and I can get it now for >50% off, I’ll stock up.

I set a limit of only 2 stores, so I don’t run all over town.  Time is valuable.  As for my 10 minute limit with the flyers; it took practice to be able to speed-read through all of the flyers.  Now that I can, I can put them into the recycling box almost right away.  I no longer have stacks of papers around the house.

Some weeks many stores will have great specials.  And other weeks, the specials will barely be worth it.  I’ve learned that everything goes on sale at some point.  So I don’t get upset when I miss a good one.  There will be more.

This philosophy saves a lot of headaches because I don’t often overspend.  I just wait for another sale.  If there are no good sales at the time, I purchase only perishable items.  I pay attention to the price, packaging, and location the food comes from.

I have a chest freezer so I can freeze prepared meals.  Each time I make a decent dish and have leftovers, I package it up and put it in the freezer for another night.  It saves on food, time and money.  It’s also so convenient to have a home cooked meal when I’m short on time.

Sometimes when I purchase items in bulk, I split the items and cost with a friend or family member.  This only works when the item is easily split and everyone involved wants to share the item and cost.

Also when I shop, I’m aware of clever marketing techniques.  I stay on guard and vow not to fall prey to marketing tricks.  The reason grocery stores put important items like milk, bread, and eggs in the back of the store is because people run out of them often.  The stores then strategically place items where customers will purchase more than they came for.  This technique keeps customers in the store longer and sells more products.  It’s great for the stores, but not so great for the people who want to save money.

Marketing is a fine art.  I respect it, but will not fall victim to it.

Last but not least, I plan my grocery trips.  I prefer to shop on my own.  I love to spend time with my family, but shopping with them makes grocery trips much more expensive.  They throw things into the cart and I keep saying, ‘No’, ‘no’, no.  I don’t like it.  We get along better when I just bring the food home.

Money Saving Grocery Tips in a Nutshell:

  1. Clip coupons; either online or from flyers (only what you would usually buy anyway).
  2. Speed  read flyers.  Choose best specials.  Stock up on non-perishables during specials.  Buy perishables as needed.
  3. Set limits for your time: eg. Shop at 2 stores only, 10 minutes of flyer reading.
  4. Delegate some shopping to someone else instead of going to too many stores.
  5. Shop in bulk (if it’s a good price and reasonable to purchase large quantity).  Split items with friends or family (both item and cost of item).
  6. Plan your trips.  Know what you’re getting ahead of time.  Make a List!
  7. Shop alone.  Avoid people throwing things into the buggy; adding to your purchase.
  8. Shop on a full stomach.  You’re less likely to buy extra items.
  9. Don’t fall for clever marketing tricks.  You’re smarter than that.
  10. Freeze leftover meals.  It saves money, food, and time.  =D

I LOVE saving money on groceries!

Princess PW

Day 33~Proaction Beats No Action

Today I sat down and did a quick mental checklist of all of the new expenses I have since moving to a house three times the size of the one I was in.  And for a second it scared me.  Especially since I checked my bank account and I’m used to seeing an extra digit that just wasn’t there today.

I know that I wouldn’t make a move like this based on emotion; and that I had to have logic and numbers to go along with it.  So, I sat down for a few minutes and reconnected with my original plan for this home.  Then I got to work.  There’s always work involved, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  And the experience becomes better and better.

I’m talking about finding and keeping good tenants.  I’m not even fully settled in yet.  There are boxes everywhere.  Yet, I’ve already started looking for a new tenant to fill one of the bedrooms in the house.  I find I have better success with replying to people looking for accommodations, than just posting an ad myself.

So today, I responded to about 6 or 7 ads and I already have 3 people lined up to view the room.  It’s way better to be proactive than reactive.  I mean if I were to wait until the end of the month when I REALLY need the tenant, I will have less chance of finding the ideal candidate and possibly may end up with someone who causes problems, or no one at all.

One thing that I find helps a lot when recruiting good tenants, is the fact that I have taken a professional writing course.  Being able to communicate with someone I’ve never met through email; get a sense of who they are; and put forth everything I expect, could be difficult.  But, I’ve learned ways to weed people out and make each person feel good about the communication; whether I accept them or not.

I’ve even had to evict people, which is never fun to do.  And when I have had to evict people, I’ve been able to communicate with them in a way that they are respected and realize it’s in both their best interests to leave and the landlord’s.  (This comes from my property management experience).

The way I see it, is if you want to have passive income each month, you’re going to have to choose an avenue and learn the ins and outs of it.  I chose real estate to start with.  And if I’m going to own properties and rent them out to other people, I’m going to have to learn how to manage properties and people.  And to understand people, you’ve got to connect with them; know where they’re coming from and where they want to be.

Actually, it’s funny.  One of the people I had to evict was a single mom with a few young kids.  That was difficult–at first.  I talked with her a bit and after I understood her situation, I was able to help her find additional income and then she found a great place to live with her kids.  She even used me as a reference.  And since she left on good terms, and took decent care of the house, I gave her a good reference.  I did explain to her new landlord that she had only been evicted due to a financial situation, which I knew was being taken care of and that I didn’t expect that to happen again.

It’s two years later.  She’s still living in the same place, and she’s very happy there.  Generally, what I’ve noticed in life is that when you expect good things from people, they show you good things.  When you expect bad things, that’s what you will get.

This is why I said that “Proactivity beats No Activity”.  When I expect that I will find decent tenants and keep them; I usually do.  It works for me.  Try it.  Let me know what you think.

Princess PW

PS–Yesterday I said that I would share how I paid for moving and pizza.  I traded babysitting services for pizza and the moving expenses will be covered by the new tenant.  I’ll let you know when I find ‘the one’.  =D

Day 28~I Feel Like I’m Cheating!!

I’ve been working at the new place for the past few days; fixing it up and getting it ready to move into.  It’s starting to look nice, but my money is running low.  I don’t like that.  I’ve put forth some money for materials and labour to fix up the house, but will be getting fully reimbursed over the weekend.

In the meantime, it feels like I’m going against my ‘No Spending For a Year’ rules.  Technically, I’m still following the rules because I am getting a return on my investment that is more than 10%.  It’s more than 10% because I am getting my money back plus I will be able to rent part of the house easier because it will be nice and clean.

But, since I enjoyed ‘shopping’ for materials, and my bank account has less in it than before, I feel like I’m cheating.  I’m sure it will all be back to normal when I get my money back on Saturday.  And I will feel better about it then too.

My landlord gave me a seriously small budget to have the entire house painted and the carpets cleaned.  He also spent some time getting quotes.  But, everyone who gave him quotes gave him much higher estimates than they gave me (by a few hundred dollars).  I don’t know if it’s because my negotiating skills are better; if it’s because I’m from the area; or because they know that I am the tenant, and not the owner.  But, for whatever reason, I feel good about getting professional work for such good prices.

And since I’m very interested in renovation project management, I’m sure I’ll be able to pass on some referrals to these companies when I hear of anyone needing their services.  They help me out; I help them out.  It works for everyone.

I can’t believe it’s almost midnight, though.  Since it is and I have to get to work just after 5am, I am going to keep this short and fill you in on the house and money details again tomorrow!  Have a good sleep!

Princess PW

Day 25~Swallowing My Pride

I love the advice people give based on their experiences; especially when they go against their own word!  Today, I am finding myself knee deep in a situation that is most likely going to force me to go outside of my own ‘No Spending Money For a Year Game’.  When I signed the lease for the other house, I hadn’t looked at all of the factors.

I knew the bus schedule is different since we’re moving into another area; but I’ve just found out that my tenants will not be able to catch the bus and get to school on time.  I thought the buses at least had the same running schedule.  This is a BIG problem.

Now, I have to get a car before renting out the additional room which will pay for it.  However, if I do things proactively and efficiently, my finances will be very close to what they would be if I did it the other way around.  In the meantime, I just stepped back and looked at the unrealistic time schedule I put on myself.  Why do I do these things??

Three answers came to me instantly while I was typing that question.  This is my reasoning:

1. I create plans to achieve a higher quality of living for my family AND realize that pushing out of my comfort zone is necessary to achieve my goals.

2. I love the excitement and change; as well as, the personal and spiritual growth associated with the changes and learning.

3. I’m determined to grow and learn from my mistakes, so I don’t repeat them.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this situation:

  • Look at things from other people’s perspectives and run the scenarios on how they will be affected.
  • Have the details worked out BEFORE handing over the money.  I’ve already paid first and last, so I can’t back out now.
  • When things get too stressful, slow down.  Sometimes I have to slow down, adjust my energy, and do something I enjoy.  It helps me refocus on my goals, clarify my priorities, and reenergize my soul.  In turn, I become way more effective at accomplishing the tasks which will get me to where I want to be.
  • Take responsibility:  Even when things seem overwhelming, and people are upset because of a decision I’ve made, I have to be understanding, collaborative and proactive.  I have to brainstorm and find solutions that work for everyone, and then get to work putting them into action.  Admit mistakes and be receptive to others’ ideas.
  • Communication is SO important.  Everyone involved is a team.  Keep people in the loop.
  • SET REALISTIC SCHEDULES–Leave room for unexpected events (like needing to get a car).

Here are the things I’ve done so far to ensure my cash flow remains positive:

  • I’ve already posted ads on the internet for room rentals at my new place, although we’re not moved in yet.
  • I’ve created a schedule of what I need to do and when it needs to be done.
  • I’ve started recruiting help from friends and family.  I’ll host a ‘Thank You barbeque’ for them when we’re all moved in.

Here are the things I’m doing today to achieve my goals:

  • I’m running all of my financials again to see how much I can comfortably spend on a car.
  • I’m writing a short proposal that I’ll use when dealing with used car dealerships.  I like to be prepared because I’m a better negotiator when I have everything at my fingertips.  I also don’t want to be taken advantage of.
  • I’m going to find and rent a car.  So many cars sitting around; I’m sure someone will rent a decent one to me.
  • I’m patching holes in the walls at the new place and preparing them for painting.
  • I’m taking pictures of the condition of our new rental home so that I have records of how things are when we move in.
  • And if I’m not exhausted by the end of the day, I’ll be packing some more boxes.  : )

I hope you also have a super saving and productive day today!!

Princess PW

Day 24~Feeling The Pressure!

Eek! I am starting to feel the pressure of all of the changes happening in my life. A few things are on my mind, and need to be sorted out ASAP. I don’t have a lot of time left.

I need to get a car. I need to get the other house painted. I need to get furniture for the other house (living room and one bedroom). I need to find one other decent tenant to rent the other bedroom; and all by the end of the month. Not to mention the fact that I need to work my a#$ off this week for the project I’m doing for the not-for-profit group AND I have little people with me who ALWAYS get into things.  I also still need to pack the house and move in for next weekend!  WOW!

The funny part is that I’m doing all of this without spending. LOL Like I said before, I love challenges.  Sometimes, I laugh at the situations I get myself into, because I know there is always an end to the challenges.  So, I don’t stress too much.

Here are my ideas about the problems I’m facing right now and how they relate to time and/or money:

1. How to get the house painted:  The landlord has a small budget for paint, but I will have to do almost all of the painting in the 2700 square foot house.  I’m good, but not fast.  So, I need to choose the most important rooms and start with them.  They will be the living room, and two of the tenants bedrooms.

I’ll have to get someone to look after my kids while I paint; or find a way to keep them out of the paint.  It’s my youngest I’m worried about.  She still eats paint.  And the carpets in the house are almost all white, so I am paranoid about her spilling it.

I may rent a paint sprayer, and learn how to use it because an entire house is a lot to paint if I don’t have much time.

As for the costs, I’ll have to barter babysitting services with another mother so that I don’t have to pay for childcare.  I’ll watch her kids in return later.  The paint and supplies will be paid for by my landlord.

2. How to get furniture for the living room and bedroom: I haven’t gotten this one figured out yet.  I want to have a nice house that flows, and attracts and keeps tenants (because that is my main source of income).  It’s not quite yard sale time yet.  I have $25 of ‘unexpected income’ that I am allowed to spend, but $10 of that is going to go towards transportation.  That only leaves me with $15.

So, the only way I can purchase the furniture is if I find another source of income to cover it.  That’s where the additional tenant comes in.  My dilemma is that I need nice furniture asap to be able to rent to another tenant.  I have some cash on hand that I could put forth for this AS LONG AS it comes back almost right away.  But, I need to make sure I find a suitable tenant too.  I don’t want to necessarily take the first person who comes along.

I’ll be spending some time today looking at used furniture ads on Kijiji and Craigslist.  If it’s something that’s easily paintable, that’s an extra bonus.  If it already matches, and no painting is required, even better.

3. How to get a car: I drove by a few used car lots yesterday and had a crazy, but very possible idea.  I just need to talk to some car lot owners or managers.  I need a car for four months only.  They have a lot of cars just sitting in their lots.  I don’t do a lot of driving, and have a perfect driving record.  Why don’t I just ask around and see who’s interested in partnering up for a short term lease?  At least they can make a little money off of the car and still sell it in the summer.  There won’t be many kilometers put on and it will be maintained well over the four months.  Why not?  It’s worth asking.

Renting the additional room will pay for the car for the four months.  And then when I no longer need it, the money from the tenant will be added to my monthly cashflow.

Wow!  One thing I love about blogging is that it helps me sort my thoughts!  I was feeling so pressured a few minutes ago about money and rushing.  And now, I feel only rushed and less concerned about the money part.  I just created a kind of roadmap for me to follow regarding the house, car, money, and tenants.  I feel SO much better!

So, I’ll look around for furniture right now and later today, gather paints and supplies, and find childcare.

I’ll go paint the house, and move in the furniture I find so I can take pictures and post for tenants.  Then, I’ll finish packing and move the rest of the furniture.  I’ll borrow a car throughout the week to drive around and ask car lots about the possibility of a short term lease.  There are lots of cars, and lots of lots; so someone is bound to rent one to me.  And I will make sure I have a tenant before I sign onto any car deal.  : )

Time to leave for my adventure!!  Bye for now!

Princess PW

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