Recent Divine Discussions

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moving Fund and other stuff

My moving fund is coming along nicely. It is currently sitting at $208. Counting this week, I have about 4 weeks until my projected closing date. I'm going to go ahead and list my leather couches and dinette set for sale this weekend. That should bring in about $300. I'll list my two office desk and chairs after I close because will go pretty quickly.

My initial budget was set at $335. After some research I came up with a revised list of moving expenses:

Moving Supplies -> $50

Movers -> $75 $25 (Friends are helping. As long as they are fed they are good to go.)

Truck -> $50

Cleaning of apartment after move-out -> $25 $45 (Previous listed cost was base w/o extras)

Cleaning of new home prior to move-in -> $20 $55 (Ditto)

Delivery fee for new appliances -> $65 $0 (Ya girl got the hook up!)

Paint and tools -> $40

Repairs (the ones I will take care of) -> $50 (Spoke to a co-worker who owns a construction company and a rep at Home Depot. Parts needed to make repairs will run me a lil under $50.)

Current Total: $330

I am working on getting quotes for the repairs that will need to be handled by a professional. But from talking to my co-worker and the Home Depot rep the total should be between $250 and $300.

Random Thoughts

My agent had a guy from church, who works for ADT, come out and do an estimate on the house. The guys called me and let me know that an alarm system had already been installed at the house and I would only need to pay $99 installation to replace the Brinks alarm panel with an ADT one. Lowest monthly plan available is $34 and through him I would get a $200 rebate which would arrive 4 weeks after my install date. Not bad. I'll definitely be signing up with him.

I currently have Progress Energy for my electrical service at my apt. FPL services the house. So I will be getting back my $285 deposit back from Progress 4 weeks after I cancel my service. They have had that money for about 6 years. Wonder how much interest it had accumulated?

I'll be canceling my Vonage service this weekend and will get a basic land line for the house. I hardly use my home phone and I need a land line for the security system.

I am contemplating getting cable at the house. Contemplating......

I promised my daughter that we would get a dog once we got a house. Choosing a dog is so hard. First I wanted to get one from the pound or humane society but I don't want to end up with an abused psycho dog with problems. I have enough on my own. One of my co-workers just got herself a golden retriever from a breeder. That puppy is so cute but too damn hyper. I need an active dog but not overly hyper. One that is medium-sized and doesn't shed a lot. I wanna get a puppy but I do not want it peeing and pooping all up in my new house. HELP! If you guys have any suggestions let me know. We won't be getting a dog until this summer so I have time to do some research and figure out some things.

I pride myself on being independent and doing everything I need to do for myself and my daughter on my own but sometimes........sometimes.........I just want to hand the reins to someone else and curl up in my bed and sleep for days.

So much to do..........

So much to remember..................

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

House Update

Home Inspection - Check

Termite Inspection - Check

Appraisal - Check

All three were done yesterday afternoon between 3 and 5 pm. I also did a little work myself and took pictures of the entire house so that I could lay out my decoration plans and remember what things need replacing. I also did some measuring since the only measurement I was given by the listing agent was for the master bedroom, kitchen, and family room.

The termite inspection turned up nothing which is great. He did note a little bit of rotting going down at the bottom of the front door frame. This was also noted by the home inspector. I used a company that uses dogs to sniff out the termites. They are supposed to be 98-100% accurate. I'll pay the extra $50 for accuracy. Total cost was $130.

The guy who did the home inspection, which cost $225, said that the house was in good condition and that the roof was fairly new (about 2 years). He gave the house a pass and gave me a list of some minor repairs that would need to be taken care of:

* Correct tub faucets that were installed incorrectly. Should point downward in the off position.

* T&P (temperature and pressure) valve on water heater needs to be replaced.

* Replace small section of the front door frame (about 3 inches on each side). Wood is rotted.

* Install sweeper on front door.

* Re-grout floor tiles of the shower in the master bath.

* Repair hinge of porch door.

* Replace garage door chain which broke while we there.

The rotted frame is the worst of the list and seems to be due to a erroneously positioned sprinkler head which was spraying water directly at the bottom of the front door. And since the front door had no sweeper, it allowed enough water in to rot the wood on the door frame a bit. Now here is the list of things I want to have done to the house prior to move in:

* Change locks on all entry doors

* Install woods floors in two closets (master and 2nd bedroom)

* Paint accent walls (8 total)

* Reface cabinets in kitchen and bathrooms

* Install additional cabinets in kitchen

* Install granite counter tops in kitchen and bathrooms


* Replace laminate on counter tops with newer darker color.

I compiled all this onto an excel sheet and sent it to a few "handy men" for quotes and how much time it would take to complete each individual project. I am thinking about doing some of these on my own and just hiring someone to do the ones I won't be able to handle like the door frame or garage door chain. The frugal chic in me says to do the other stuff myself while my lazy side is saying to gone head and hire someone to do that stuff and save myself some time. They are battling ferociously but frugal chic has a slight lead. Urks me to pay for something I could have probably easily done myself. We shall see.

The appraisal guy was in and out. I don't know what he did exactly that was even worth the $395 I paid. Luckily for them it will count towards my 3.5% down payment. I know that having equity in your house is good but is it wrong of me to want the house to appraise for less than what the contract is for? I'm just saying.......

Free Food

In this economy every little bit helps:

Denny's -> Buy one get one free

Fridays -> Buy one get one free

Ruby Tuesday -> Buy one get one free

Arbys -> Free burger with purchase of a drink

Quiznos -> sign up and get a coupon for a free sub (1st million only)

*Hat Tip to Hustler

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

$8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

Here is the info on the new $8000 Home Buyer Tax Credit:

  • *The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only.
  • *The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • *The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • *The credit is available for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
  • *Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

Here is the info that I found that pertains to my situation:

Who is eligible to claim the tax credit?

First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title to the property transfers to the home owner.

Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?

The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.

How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008?

The most significant difference is that this tax credit does not have to be repaid. Because it had to be repaid, the previous "credit" was essentially an interest-free loan. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.

If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?

Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose ("elect") to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.

Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their 2008 tax return, but who have already submitted their 2008 return to the IRS, may file an amended 2008 return claiming the tax credit. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.

Check out the website for more FAQs.

Once I close on my house I will amend my 2008 taxes to claim the $8000 credit. Thinking off the top of my head, I will most likely use some of it towards paying off the remainder of my credit card debt and the rest would go towards my E-Fund.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Moving Fund

I have already started evaluating different costs that will be associated with the purchase of this home, specifically moving costs and furnishing my home.

In leu of future moving costs, I have started up a moving fund. The fund will be used to cover moving supplies, movers, truck, and delivery of my new appliances at the least. Hopefully it will also cover some of the things needed to get the house ready for move-in (ex: paint, minor repairs, cleaning).

Here is my preliminary budget:

Moving Supplies -> $50

Movers -> $75

Truck -> $50

Cleaning of apartment after move-out -> $25

Cleaning of new home prior to move-in -> $20

Delivery fee for new appliances -> $65

Paint and tools -> $50

Current Total = $335

I will be selling off my furniture and some other miscellaneous items and the money from the sales will go towards my moving fund. The same with any extra income from my blog or side hustles. I started selling off some of my furniture this weekend through craigslist and have already made $170 so far. Big items will be sold in about 3 weeks or so and they should bring in an additional $350.

Because I wont have much furniture left to move except for our beds (mattresses only) and a chaise, I decided it would be too costly to hire professional movers to just move a whole bunch of boxes. So I asked a few of the high school boys in my church if they would be free for a couple of hours on a Saturday in late March to help me move. I offered to pay them $25 a piece and they all jumped on it. I should only need at most 3 guys.

I found this cleaning service owned my single moms that only charge $25 for a small apartment. I am going to be dealing with my new home and will not have time to go back and clean my apartment. I definitely see this as money to be well spent. And I am going to hire them to clean my new home (crossing fingers) prior to me moving in. The house looks clean but a lot of people have trekked in and out and I have no clue what level of cleaning was done when the old owners moved out. to be well spent.

Currently there is no fridge or washer and dryer at the new house (common occurrence with bank-owned or foreclosed homes). There was a new stove installed but I don't like the look of it and the dishwasher is old and disgusting. I will be purchasing new appliances from the Sears Outlet in the area and have it delivered to the house a couple of days after my closing date. The delivery charge is $65 for up to 5 pieces of appliances. I went by the outlet yesterday to get a gist of what the prices will be. I'll do a post on my budget for furnishing my new house.

There are a few minor repairs that need to take place prior to move-in. The guy that is going to do my home inspection will also give me an estimate on the things that I saw. I'll look up the average cost for each one and get a ball park figure. Once I get those I'll add those estimates to my budget.

Alrighty yall. That's my budget. Let me know if I am missing anything.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Home Purchase Update

What it do folks?!

Ya girl has been busy taking her life to the next level. I put an offer on a home on the Jan 30th. And after two weeks of going back and forth with the bank, we finally came to an agreement and I signed a contract on the house yesterday afternoon.

I am super excited and have gotten into my hustle mode. I'll get into that later. First, let me tell you about this house! The house sits in a small town on the outskirts of Orlando. I actually lived in that area before for a couple years when my daughter was born and have wanted to move back ever since. All the schools are A-rated schools. I love the small town feeling and the fact that you have basically all necessities within a 5 mile radius, including a mall with all my fav stores.

It is a 4 bedroom 2 bath home running a little over 1800 square feet with ceramic tiles in the wet areas and hardwood floors in the remaining. I think the only carpeted areas are the closets. The master bedroom is HUGE with a huge bathroom that includes a garden tub and separate shower stall and a HUGE walk-in closet. There is a two car garage, covered lanai, and very nice backyard. And I remember correctly french doors lead into the bedroom that obviously served as an office. Here is a pic of my (prayerfully) future home:

Its the pic from the MLS. I'll have better and more pictures after I close (which is set for March 25th). Ok. Now for the numbers:

Initial List Price: $189,000

Final List Price: $180,000

Down Payment: $6300

Closing Cost Assistance: $8000

Closing Date: March 25th

Per the GFE, my estimated monthly mortgage payment will be $1268. That includes property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance. The rate on my GFE is 5%. The seller is provding $8000 towards closing and that will include buying down points. My estimated closing costs are $5800 (per GFE) so the remaining money will go to buying down points and a one year home warranty.

Here is how the house measures up to the requirements I set:

Price: $0 -> $190,000 CHECK

Ideal Monthly Mortgage (including taxes, PMI, HOA, & hazard): $1200 (max $1300) CHECK

Location: Surrounding Orlando Area CHECK

Bedrooms: 3+ CHECK

Bathrooms: 2+ CHECK

Square footage: 1700 s.f. + CHECK

Year Built: 2000+ CHECK

HOA: $100/month max CHECK


* A-rated school district CHECK
* Quick access to major highways CHECK
* Good daycare CHECK
* Nice neighborhood CHECK
* Shower stall CHECK
* Backyard CHECK
* Large kitchen with pantry and lots of cabinet space CHECK
* Large master bathroom CHECK
* Walk-in closet in master bedroom CHECK

Everything is falling into place. Once we get the ok from the seller we will get a home inspection and appraisal done. The home inspection will probably get done around Thursday or Friday of next week. I am actually going to go to the house today with my agent and take a look at it again. I haven't seen it in like 2 or 3 weeks. Need to refresh my memory.

I am working on getting a moving fund started and researching the start-up costs for utilities. I'll do another post later today or tomorrow on that.

Heading off to Ikea for free breakfast and to do some shopping with my bestie and fellow single moms.

Yall have an awesome Saturday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recipe - Garlic Ginger Wings

These were yummy in my tummy!!!


10 whole wings - My chicken is hormone free and free range. Bought it from my favorite lil farmers market. . $2.50

Sea Salt - I dunno. Maybe 5 pinches. Enough to lightly season.

black Pepper - Same as salt.

Pepper flakes - Same as above. You could substitute with hot sauce.

1 tbsp Oil - Use any type you like. I used coconut oil. It is really good for.

1/2 cup of wheat flour - I used organic whole wheat flour. You can use white flour. $.10

For the sauce:

3 garlic cloves - pressed

1.5 inches of ginger - pressed

1 tbsp of organic molasses
- I chose to use molasses because it has less calories and sugar. Honey is another great substitute. You could also use brown sugar. I'd keep away from that bleached stuff though.

3 tbsps of coconut oil

4 tbsps of balsamic vinegar

Optional: Soy sauce (2 tbsps)

TOTAL COST: Under $3


Clean wings. Cut wings into halves (flats and drummettes). You can cut off the tips if you want. I like them on. Season the wings with sea salt, black pepper, and the pepper flakes. Drizzle about a tbsp of coconut oil over wings and mix to make sure every wing is coated.

Put flour into gallon sized ziplock bag. Place wings into baggy, seal, and shake until all wings are evenly coated with the flour. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray down foil with cooking spray. Place wings onto foil and spray wings with cooking spray.

Place wings into oven to bake for 40 minutes.

Sauce: Place sauce pan on stove on medium high setting. Add coconut oil to pan and then add garlic and ginger. Saute for about 1 minute and then add balsamic vinegar and molasses (or whatever you decided to use). Let it simmer for a few minutes until it gets rich and creamy. Remove and place in a big bowl.

When the wings are done, place them in the bowl with the sauce. Cover the bowl with a paper plate (or lid of some sort) and shake until all the wings are coated with the sauce. Place wings on a tray and enjoy!!!

These were really really good. My daughter didn't like them because they were too spicy. Many of my substitution were primarily based on my personal choice for healthier alternatives. So go ahead and use what you want. Don't over do the molasses though. That organic stuff is PURE and very potent. Luckily in this recipe it is up against two other very strong flavors (ginger and garlic) and couldn't over power them.

Anyhoo enjoy and let me know how your version comes out if you wind up changing the recipe.