Monday, March 10, 2014

Nice and Clean

Well it finally came through!! I knew this week was going to be stressful. There was supposed to be a lot of things that had to come together in a kind of perfect harmony this week. I think it may have all actually happened, so that's pretty incredible.

Step 1 was beating the March 2nd price increase for a couple of race registrations. I did get the cash together to get all signed up on Friday! Now I'm looking forward to the Lake Logan Half iron on August 6th I've done the Oly out there twice, setting PRs both times. This is the first year that they have run a half, so I'm really looking forward to it. This year's mantra is "long and lean in 2014" so these might be the only tri's I'm running this year.

I also got signed up for the full iron at Rev3 Cedar Point! That's right, we're going to Ohio for some family fun time in the amusement park and another ironman.  Can't wait to see some of the Rev3 age group team friends up there, and get the kids on some roller coasters. I've got some other friends that live in OH now that I haven't seen in a long time, so I can't wait to see them.

Step 2 was the Umstead Trail Marathon. That was an incredibly fun day running through the woods. One of these days I've got to look up more trail racing.

Step 3 was the closing. I haven't talked about it much, but the shit house went under contract and finally closed on Wednesday. It didn't used to be the shit house, it used to be our house, then it used to be a profitable rental property. This was the first house we ever bought, and lived there from 2002 to 2005. Then we rented it out, and when these tenants left and stiffed us with a $15,000 repair bill we decided to sell. When it closed we got a small amount of profit (less than the repair cost), but SC real estate prices have been stagnant since the market crash in 08. I was still glad to have it gone, glad to no longer be a landlord, and glad to have that little bit of cash in my pocket.

Step 4 blow all the cash.  Actually, pay off the Discover card. I haven't talked about it much, but last March we started doing the Dave Ramsey baby steps. We got the $1000 emergency savings, then started doing everything else possible to pay off every other debt that we had Snowball style.

It wasn't easy at all, but in the last 12 months we have paid off over $154,000 in debts. Most of that was in mortgages, so when the Banner Elk house went into foreclosure and this shit house sold, that was the bulk of that huge dollar amount. But we still took every single penny that we could scrape together to pay off the rest. Eventually it came down to just a few grand left on the Discover card, and we knew it wouldn't get paid off until this house sold.

When it was all said and done we got rid of 3 mortgages, 3 credit cards, medical debt, house repair debts, I had a giant spreadsheet setup to track it all. It felt really good to knock off those things one by one, but it was AMAZING to get the last one knocked out. I feel like this unbearable burden has been lifted off of our family. Now we're actually able to establish a pattern of savings and the kids might actually be able to drive, or go to college. I might actually be able to save for a decent retirement now.

Step 5 buy a car. Friday we had some serious winter weather move in. It rained all day and never got above 35*. Saturday was supposed to be a makeup day for the kids to go to school, but they canceled the makeup day because of black ice on some of the roads. Saturday turned out to be 70* and sunny. So we threw the top down on my convertible and headed back to the dealership.

I was stopped at a red light

My 2003 Mitsubishi Spider leaked for only the second time in three years, but driving to the dealership on wet seats, I knew it was time to trade it in for something a little newer and fun.  We ended up with this little gem:

It's a 2005 Volvo S40. Cute car, and it feels ok being in a sedan again. There is something uncool about saying "I traded in my convertible for a Volvo", but I'm becoming OK with that. It does have a roof rack, trailer hitch, sunroof, heated seats, 2 keys with the keyless entry, and some serious comfort. And it doesn't leak. Mechanically sound, and paid for in cash. I'm glad to have a safe, smooth, reliable ride again!

And you can fit an Evil Genius in the trunk

Typically I buy cars that are 5-10 years old for $5-10k and replace them every 2 years. This convertible I held onto for a 3rd year because we were working the debt snowball. I only keep them for 2 years to save the resell value and avoid most common maintenance tasks. In the 3rd year I've had to pay for new tires, new battery, other replacement parts to the tune of about a grand, and I got about a grand less on the trade-in as well. But I would have paid more than that $2k in interest if we replaced it last year instead of paying off those debts. So I feel like it all worked out in the end.

Step 6 was a home repair project! Don't have the pics off of the camera yet, but we replaced the flooring and painted the entry room and adjoining bedroom that the kids use as a playroom. We found some bamboo flooring on clearance at Home Depot, and painted the walls a nice green. It's coming together to look really nice!

What didn't happen this week? Swim/bike/run. I did get in one crappy swim on Thursday, but for the most part this was a high stress recovery week from the marathon. I'm happy to have all of these events behind me and ready to get back onto a steady regular workout plan.


Lisa Isenberger said...

I have a different auto strategy. I buy a car intending to keep it for 10+ years. Also pay for it up front that way (lots of time to save between buying vehicles). We currently own a 20+ yr old vehicle that is on it's last legs, a 13 yr old vehicle that is doing well, a 5 yr old vehicle (this is our "new car") that is running great, and a 6 yr old vehicle that is also running great. No plans in the short term for any new vehicles!!

Lisa Isenberger said...

I should have mentioned, bought then all new except the one that is 6 yrs old, bought that when it was 3 yrs old

Tea said...

There's so much in this post that I can't comment on it all. I *do* know what a tremendous relief you are experiencing now. What a great way to head into serious training for your races.

We used to have a Volvo. It might even have been the S40. It was a fast car. Alot of fun to drive.

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Colin Morton said...

You have a lot of stuff going on. Glad you went and listed them down, so you can follow through them one step at a time. I'm happy that you and your family managed to get all of them down. Anyway, that is a beautiful car. Hopefully, it's much more comfortable to drive in, rather than the convertible. All the best! :)

Colin Morton @ SeaPort Auto