Author: momadmin

Well :)

That is why Sears is screwed up and what I meant in a previous post about the sales division and the repair division not communicating. They spent way more money trying to fix something than it’s worth. All our repairs for this washer were done in less than about 15 months or so … by the time you figure parts and labor, up to at least $2000. Blows my mind.


I have mentioned that we got an extended warranty for our washer, which we bought 2 years ago. I asked dh what the warranty cost at that time … He thinks it was about $300 for several years, 2-3? He then reminded me it more than paid for itself on ONE of the several service calls… when the transmission went out, just the transmission cost $900 to replace. That $900 was well more than the cost of the washer alone. I think the washer was about $500 give or take. In this instance, it has been well worth it, regardless of what Martin recommends.

We purchased an extended warranty

It covered everything except consumables (belts, tires, brakepads etc.) when we bought the Honda pilot which had 30,000 miles on it and covered up to 150,000 miles. It was $700. I didn’t want to do it, but DH made a valid point: if something happened to this vehicle, would we be more or less likely to have the $ to cover it when it happened (particularly since this is our only really road-worthy vehicle.)

At the time we weren’t even on the DR plan, so DH’s point made sense. I’m glad we did. We have had to put the warranty to use, technically speaking, we are at about breakeven, but what it bought us more than that, was peace of mind, similar to BS #1.

We also bought a warranty for our laptop computer. $50 for two years, and it covered everything. We’ve used it twice and the $50 versus having to spend $400-500 to replace the computer, or even replace the hard drive for whatever that would have cost, were well worth it.

When I bought the kids’ iPods 5 years ago at Walmart, I spent $20 each and bought an extended “warranty.” The company Walmart uses is a scam, and magically, nothing is ever covered. I wouldn’t buy an EW with Walmart unless my life depended on it. And even then, I’d think hard.

In hindsight, our warranties have cost us 5-10% of replacement costs, and covered everything. For a big ticket item, like a car, I’d probably get it. For a computer, if I had $ in BS1, and I knew I’d only use it for emergencies, maybe not. For smaller electronics, or items which could be replaced for less than $300, definitely not.

I struggled with this years ago

I saw my score decline, and as you, I have a business to run which in some ways depends upon my business associates preconceived “credit worthiness” using the FICO score. I fought with my mortgage company to keep reporting a zero balance for instance, same thing for the last car I purchased on credit, but finally the fight to keep reporting zero balances just wasn’t worth it any more and I watched the score decline. I had some casket companies who all of the sudden started requiring a deposit, which they were going to keep for me and pay interest on the deposit at the end of 36 months – when I (the business) had been working with them for 40 years. I dropped them and went with different vendors. The same thing happened when it came time to renew a vehicle insurance policy which had been in force for 16 years at the time and at times during that tenure, had over 20 cars on it. At first I appealed their decision to, in my estimation, arbitrarily raise rates not on our policy history, but on a score which might suggest that we were a risk. I won the appeal, then decided that it would probably be something which would occur again so I dropped them and moved my business to another carrier. Lot of work, but it was the principle which wouldn’t allow me to stay.

I said all of that to say that I pay more for car insurance than I probably need to but I like the idea of a company which looks at the business/person regardless of a three digit score.

Prior to “Plan” we purchased the extended warranties on two different cars for ds

Strangely enough when the cars had problems the repairs were not covered. We had a drive train warranty, and when the drive train went bad, they claimed that particular section wasn’t covered. Had it for electronics repair—not covered. Was told that the motor was covered when we purchased extended warranty—nope they found a loop hole. These were not cheap warranties either. We never bought one again. Never will. Now that we are “Plan” we just budget for repairs.

We come out way ahead, we aren’t out any more money than the actual repair—which most of the time my guys can do. We no longer finance cars/trucks, but if you do then you are paying interest on that warranty too. Far better to put the same amount of premium payment in a savings account and earn interest on it.

Now that all being said we do put them on computerized things like our wireless printer. Everyone that has been on here for a while knows how I’ve already had my printer completely replaced twice. I do pay the $15 for the extended warranty in cash because the printers tend to wear out around here about every 18 months. We do not purchase cheap printers either. Photo quality, all in one, etc. So for that $15 we get a new, better quality printer about every 18 months, which we pay another $15 for another extended warranty and repeat.

I make the decision on extended warranties for the appliances and such based on how much the item costs to replace vs how much the extended warranty is AND how likely we feel the item is to die before we have gotten x amount of use out of it. Doing this we generally only get them on the computer equipment. Most everything else, washer, dryer etc dh can repair for the cost of a part.

Um, yes, your mileage may vary a lot and figuring out when it will vary is the biggest trick around!

As I said we usually say “no” excep the washer and microwave we bought a couple of years ago when we bought our current home. The microwave is so heavy and has so much in the way of electronics, dh insisted.

The washer is an “HE” washer and also very computerized. The maintenance agreement/extended warranty had more than paid for itself. Sears has been out about 4 times fixing the washer. They could have given us a new washser for what they have spent fixing it. No joke, very literal. However, as dh tells me … the maintenance division is very separate from the sales department to the point that it’s like an invisible impenetrable wall. Apparently one does not know what is going on with the other. For our washer at least 1/2 the repairs have been after the manufacturer’s warranty ran out.

Dh said back in teh 80’s when he managed a Sears catalog store a lady bought a water distiller. It was about $100 to purchase at that time. Sears spent about $1000 … yes, $1000 fixing this thing. It is amazing Sears is still in business! LOL

However, we have a working washer and that is all I care about.

I would say that 90% of the time extended warranties are not needed and are a waste of money …. except for that once in a blue moon lemon appliance or car. Figuring out if the one you’re buying is the tricky part. It is not so easy. One might say to read reviews. However, I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews if they are very mixed. I’d be more inclined to look at them if they are on one extreme or another, like if no one was pleased with a particulur appliance model or car. Or if almost everyone was pleased with said appliance or car.

When BH was a poor college student he did the following

His girlfriend at the time said it was the most romantic evenings she’d ever had. He covered all the furniture in his dorm room with white sheets to give a continuous effect in the room. Then he put white lit candles everywhere he safely could. No other light in the room. He did a mix cd of the music they both loved and had it playing softly on a loop in the background.

For their meal he made a deluxe picnic meal, complete with a red and white table cloth, cloth napkins and nice plates. They had a rich elegant dessert with their meal. Then later went walking in the snow that was outside—of course you can’t walk in the snow, but you could walk in the moonlight.

Another time he had asked her ahead of time what her favorite dates had been in the past, then he duplicated as many of the events as possible in one night. Ask Pete his favorite memories of your dating days and then go from that in conjunction with your favorites.

That make two cc gone

The first was Lowe’s in December, but it was originally around $5,000. I’m getting into the big guys now, but if all goes according to plan and we just follow the snowball the last cc will be gone by March 2015 (it was originally over $42,000—currently at !2,500). The two mortgages will be gone by May 2016. That is just paying the snowball minimums and you KNOW I’m not going to piddle along that long. I’m thinking all gone by Dec 2014 at the latest. Dh thinks I’m dreaming, but then he thought it would take us the full time to pay off the two cc we have already paid off too.

We decided to go with BB because:

1. They are so horrible to deal with and now they are with Capital One—who I don’t even want to discuss.

2. They’ve already changed our contract TWICE( once raising the minimum we must pay to keep the “deal” and once to raise us from zero interest to the 9.9% interest) with no warning, I have been expecting it again since Capital One took over—They are some nasty folks I found out when handling dmil’s accounts. I want to kill that account before they discover what I’m doing and jump the interest rate! With national interest rates looking to rise soon the faster I get this card paid off the better off we will be.

3. 9.9% interest—we’ll save well over that $200 difference by paying it off early (around $400-$500 will be saved in fact).

4. I don’t want to have to re-arrange my snowball chart which is showing the Chase balance higher than it actually is for some reason by $428 –that will look sweet as an ‘extra’ payment when it is Chase’s turn.

5. BB only gets $110 a month before the snowball (with the snowball it will now get $425), Chase gets $214 so it is going down much faster than BB with the basic payment anyway.

6. Did I mention I HATE Best Buy? The only way I go in there is to do a mystery shop, or to collect on a warranty any more. They don’t even get my cash purchases!

So we didn’t rehome this snake, instead we hacked it to death with our gazelle hooves as we ran from the cheetahs in the pack behind the snake. Hopefully in the next few months I’ll have more to report that the even bigger snake (previously maxed out at around $17,000) has died a quick death.

Big Snake – really big snake. DEAD SNAKE!

The snake was HUGE. Most snakes we re-home because they have a purpose on this earth. But this one had no purpose whatsoever that we could see. In fact it could be deadly not only to all our dreams but to our actual lives if we weren’t careful. It slithered through the pastures of the peaceful times of our lives and the weeds of our despair. It seems like it had always been there. Just out of the reach of the weapon that would take its life. It didn’t die easily, we had to keep hacking and hacking at in. First tentatively with little blows to it, but it seemed as if it was part hydra, it kept coming back for more and growing ever so slightly every time we looked at it. But finally we struck it with one final triple whammy blow and it died!

We killed our little B.O.A. today!!! Over a year ahead of schedule per the snowball, and three years ahead of our contract with them. Our first $10,000+ original balance charge card GONE! No longer would it grow back a dollar here a dollar there in interest. No longer could it choke our financial future. It is dead and it will remain that way forever. We achieved the seemingly impossible. We killed the hydra that was Bank of America—at least the little one. The big one still lives, but even its power is fading on a monthly basis.

I realized on the 18 of May that with our budgeted payments through June we’d be within $179 of having BOA paid off by October 30, although the snowball chart was showing only two payments for that time frame and said it would be mid to late September, because we pay some out of every pay check we have come in on the pet bill there would be four payments scheduled. Couldn’t take it, had to get rid of it BEFORE October 30 and we did it! So what if I shorted our groceries a bit this month, the critters are eating fine and we have our food storage. The three of us could stand to lose a little weight (heck a lot of weight) This was an interest bearing (6.9%) account so it felt REALLY good to get rid of it so much earlier than scheduled.

Next on the hit list– the Grinch that is Best Buy!!!! If all goes according the snowball plan it will be paid off in November of 2018, but then I’ve set a goal for THIS Christmas. It’s a pretty big plan considering we owe so much on it and my monthly minimum payment including the snowball is now only $425, but that is what I am going to try to do. Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas is my plan. The BB, our other BOA, and our little Chase are all real close in balance due, hovering between $4,900 and $4,700 each (down from well over $10,000 each) and since BB is a company that were real b….errrr witches to us when we were unemployed plus they are charging 9.9% interest they are definitely going NEXT. Even though technically the Little Chase, who is charging us ZERO interest, is about $200 lower in balance.

Personally I do much better when I see cash in an envelope

Some of the sinking funds envelopes we have are for:
Roof–this is actually started WAY in advance of needing one. We put a roof on a year ago and I figured what we’d have to save if the roof lasts 20 years. Divided that by 20 years then by 12. I am saving $50/month. Realistically I believe our roof won’t last 20 years simply due to living in hurricane territory. If it’s ripped by a hurricane, we’ll have a deductible, then the rest covered by insurance. I figure anything we save will go torwards the deductible if it has to be replaced sooner than 20 years.

Car–tags, drivers licenses, maintenance, etc.
Car Insurance–We make a single payment every 6 months and this saves us a $5 monthly fee that is charged when paying monthly. Recently I figured out that our next insurance bill will cost us more and have had to amp up how much I am saving, kinda putting a squeeze on the budget. 🙁
Blow Money–dh and I each get this in cash. He gets less than me because his clothes basically come from our store, which is taken out of end of year profit. It covers clothes, personal entertainment, meals that are taken personally, not part of the family eating out, hobbies, etc.
Hair cuts/color–a haircut for each of us and a color for me. I have been getting mine at the beauty school and it saves a ton of money. All students are supervised by instructors and their work is checked before the client gets up from the chair.
Pedicure–I have issues with my toe nails that would require going to a podiatrist, or getting a professional pedi. I choose not to sit in a doctor’s office. Plus I get my nail painted! 🙂 The nail technician I go to has been doing this about 25 years, by appointment only. Not one of the walk-in places where no one speaks English!
Restaurants–we budget for eating out as a family. It’s not quite a much money as I’d like but close enough.
We have a lot more sinking funds but I think you get the idea. I am very tactile … I love to touch and feel things … it is part of my scrapbooking, coaster business, etc. so it is natural it would carry over to handling money. It makes it much more real to me to see the cash dwindling or growing in any given envelope.
I’ll quit for now but I hope that helps.

Not sure what Martin thinks

But I’ll tell you what my “car guy” husband thinks and it’s probably not necessarily what Martin would say (he sold cars for a number of years, honestly, and now works for a car manufacturer in customer care. He is upfront about what car salesmen and dealers do and do not make money on (ps…yes, there are often “shady” car salesmen, but more often than not, the dealership owner and managers are the ones making the big bucks or pushing anything dishonest…your car salesman is making diddly squat and just trying to squeak by — it’s why my husband left that aspect the business, even though he loves it)
Ok! He says:

I believe in them, so long as the plan purchased is backed by the manufacturer, and that it’s purchased at the time of sale. Otherwise, the price goes up as it’s now a used vehicle. I would especially recommend one on a used car with higher mileage. It will cost some cash, but may be worth it in the long run. Make sure you’re purchasing the level of coverage you want. Not all plans cover the same components, and some have drastic levels of coverage (not much to everything). A customer can shop around for pricing, which can be used to negotiate. Most dealers mark up the plans between 75 and 100-percent from cost + offer payday loans (easy&fast cash). It’s a huge moneymaker for most dealerships.

What I don’t suggest are the following:
-tire & wheel care
-paint and fabric protection
-LoJack (insure your vehicle)
-key care

You can try it that way and it might work for you

For us, esp my non numbers person DH, we have a bunch of small sinking funds. Our bank lets us have as many sub accounts as we want. Right now they are set up as savings accounts then we put the amount we need into our main account when we need to spend it.

We currently have

DH’s allowance (as he jokingly calls it) this is his money for his gas, his haircuts, whatever he needs, he gets 250 a month, and as long as he doesn’t blow it all he can spend the rest however he wants – lunches out, whatever.
Savings – this is used for big ticket items we need or things that pop up we didn’t expect. Like my youngest needed bike repairs recently.
Car fund – this is for any car related expenses, plate/ tab renewals, maintance, whatever
Kids clothing – clothes & shoes
Vacation – this was suppose to be a cruise in 2014 however hubby has decided to retire from the Army & get a new career so it will now be moving expenses.
Scouts – our kids don’t do sports or music so this is our major expense for them, we put aside enough to cover summer camp & monthly expenses including dues, camp outs, day outings, they do fundraising to supplement this as well.

Im sure we have more I just can’t think of them right now.
DH’s allowance is actually a debit account so he can withdrawl with a separate debit card with a credit card logo.
My blow money is taking out monthly and put in my purse as cash. Which works better for me.
My gas is taken out 2 times a month, on payday. One tank will do me each 2 week period. Even with DH sometimes taking my car.

We tried dumping it all into one account and doing a spreadsheet/ check register for tracking the money, but it was just too much extra work for us. This way is so much easier for us, esp DH. And if you borrow money from say savings if there isn’t enough in the car fund, we can track it better that it was moved.

The owning couple’s age is the main issue

He’s 90, she’s in her mid-70’s. He’s the one who keeps farming; she enjoys being on the farm but doesn’t farm per se. But at 90 years old, he can’t keep farming for too many more years. They have four kids and multiple grandkids, none of whom want to farm but all of them love having the farm in their family. I don’t know what the inheritance setup is, but I’m pretty sure that if the senior couple both passed away the family would sell.

We’ve talked to them in the past about what happens when they reach a point where they can’t or don’t want to farm anymore, and have told them of our interest in eventually buying. The most recent of those conversations was earlier this year. Let’s just say they haven’t done much constructive planning along those lines, at least not that they’ve disclosed to us. They have told us none of the family members want to continue farming if/when they retire. Because of the floodplain issues with that property (only the house/barn is above the NEW floodplain), it’s not a good candidate for development.

We’re one of three parties currently renting from them. Knowing a certain amount about the other two parties, neither of them are in a position to buy even if they wanted to. I think we have the best relationship with the family and we definitely have the longest-running relationship. But none of that matters much if we can’t get a loan at some point. I know that they’d be willing to work out a payment plan with us, but I would hardly expect their kids/grandkids to go into an arrangement like that if the older couple passed away before we had something already in writing. So yea, I feel a certain amount of pressure to “get ready” for being able to buy this property if/when it comes up. And I don’t think we have a lot of time to get our ducks in a row. Every new year, everyone in the family mutters about “this might be the last year” that they continue farming.

Now that I’m in a better mood, and thinking more constructively (as opposed to OMG)

I wanted to go back and say thanks Sharon for your post about being in business with a falling credit score. It really made a huge difference that day in terms of me getting a grip on the idea that my credit rating is falling like a rock.

Now I’ve got some followup questions:

First, I suspect my particular instance is due not only to closing several past debt accounts, but also that my current accounts are NOT listed. My tax payments aren’t listed, my accountant’s bill isn’t listed, and my feed bill (which had a high point of $6K and was paid off last year) is not listed. All of those, which were/are current and/or paid in full, would possibly make a nice difference. But how much of a difference? Should I petition those creditors to put that information on my credit report?

Secondly, I am most concerned about our tentative plans to buy that larger farm I mentioned earlier. The plan until Monday was to continue renting there for at least a few more years, as we pay off other bills and as we pay off this place. Say, in 2016, we’d offer to buy the larger farm. By then, we’d have zero consumer debt, we’d have our home paid off, and we’d be able to show a solid 10 year history of renting from them, on good terms and always paid on time and in full. If I used current numbers, here’s how it would add up:

Target Farm current appraised value: $1,000,000
Our farm, current appraised value: $350,000

Approximate Loan terms if we were going to finance conventionally:
25% down payment = $250,000 (funded by the sale of our current home/farm)
Monthly payments of roughly $10,000 (funded primarily by farm sales but it would also be our home payment, so some personal income in there too).
If we went Contract for Deed, here’s the approximate loan terms we’d want to propose:
35% down payment of $350,000 (funded by the sale of our current home/farm)
Monthly payments to the family of roughly $5000 for 3-5 years, funded by combo of farm sales + personal income)
Balloon payment to the family after that 3-5 year period, with the balance going onto a commercial property mortgage
Now, if my credit history is already on the way down the drain, and it’s not ever going to recover, then the above plan is NOT going to work. We can definitely start snowballing for the farm purchase after we pay off our current bills. But frankly, I don’t know of any family on the planet who would willingly go into a large real estate deal someone with a zero credit rating. Is there a DR-friendly way to keep my credit rating high enough, for the next 10 years or so, so that we can complete this long-term transaction? If not, are there other funding alternatives that folks can see which would make this transaction possible?
If push came to shove, I suppose we could give up our ideas on that particular property, and go buy something with the cash we’d have if we simply sold our place. But that would be starting over, at an age (mid-50’s by then) when we really need to be socking away income on an established property. I’m really rather nervous now about how best to proceed, given all the above. I know this is looking WAY down the road, but I’d love any insights or suggestions folks might have. Particularly those who are applying DR rules to their business lives, and have had to make large-scale purchases like this as part of their business. Thanks all.

Like you, we don’t finance anything any more either

Any extended warranties are paid for with cash, when the appliance/etc. is bought. With our washer, in the last couple of years Sears spent a TON more on replacing parts and on labor than we could have earned in that time frame, even in a mutual fund. I think the last extended warranty we bought (before the 2 a couple of years ago) was back in 2008—before drinking the koolaid. Smile

Like your guys, my dh is pretty handy too and has saved us tens of thousands of dollars of the (almost) 34 years we’ve been married. He has saved us on repairs for vehicles, appliances, electronics, house repairs, etc. dh has also saved us a ton on things like adding electrical outlets around the house, toilet repairs, etc.

Here’s a couple of things to try

First if you are otherwise happy with your price and service, try talking to the head manager at your service branch. You were likely talking to office staff which usually has little flexibility to make changes. If you get no where with it, as your these new policies in writing. Often there is nothing in writing and that will give you more negotiating power. You can call the company directly (the head office not your branch) and try to work something out. If you still get no where, let them know you plan to shop around. Just because you lease their tank doesn’t mean you can’t leave the company. A new company can set a tank and Amerigas can pick up their tank. As a new customer, you will likely get a good set price and fill. Of course after that initail fill the price will increase so MAKE SURE you ask what the price will be going forward.

I know that buying your own tank may not be in the cards right now, but I would make it a priority to save up to do so. Dh says you will always have more power as a customer if you own your own tank. Companies know that it’s easier for you to shop somewhere else if you own your own tank. You will almost always get a better price too.

He also suggests getting on a refil program that is like once every three months. Even if you only do a 1/2 fill each time. The more you pop up into their computer systems the more they see you as a loyal customer….again they will want to work with you more if they see that.

That is all I can think of right now, I will email you again if I think of more.