Last month (July):
Years left: 3.75
P =$1,007.01, I =$207.39, Escrow =788.73
This month (August):
Years left: 3.5
P =$1,018.90, I =$195.50, Escrow =788.73
One month’s prepayment savings: $7.90
As I hinted at last month, with DH employed, we have accumulated a lot of money in our savings account just sitting there (or, more accurately, we didn’t completely de-cumulate our savings from saving up for him leaving his job before he got a new one). Some of it is tagged for specific things, like tuition and the emergency fund… I guess that’s really it. So in addition to the amount that’s legitimately in savings, we have more than 30K that’s loosely been earmarked for home maintenance repairs.
Now, before you go and say, “30K? You should invest in stocks/pay off the mortgage with that are you crazy?” Note that we have owned this house for almost 10 years and we didn’t change a thing when we moved in. The only maintenance we’ve done has been completely reactionary: fixing leaky pipes and faucets, fixing a leaky skylight on the patio, replacing the water heaters when they died, repairing and then replacing the dishwasher when it gave up the ghost and then fixing the new one, replacing the microwave multiple times, replacing the a/c in stages as it died, replacing broken fence pieces, replacing a broken board in the deck, and a whole ton of yard work usually when the HOA sends us a nasty letter. We also touched up paint in the kitchen once. And we always seem to be replacing the innards of two of the toilets (DH thinks this may be a waterflow issue). You know, standard everything that breaks when you’re a homeowner stuff.
During that time we’ve had two kids potty train, and at least 6 cats coming and going. We have carpet in two of our bathrooms. We have aging vertical blinds. We have peeling wall paper. The paint is coming off in the kitchen. We have an electric stove. The kitchen triangle is messed up and the countertops are the cheap kind that turn yellow when you use bleach and, although we have gas hookups in the kitchen, everything is electric. The kittens have destroyed the master bath, though really the cabinets in there have water damage anyway so it’s not all their doing. There’s stains on the carpeting and drawings on the walls. And many more things I haven’t mentioned. At this point you may be thinking, “Only 30K? Are you crazy?”
So we’re obviously not going to do everything.
DH has identified as priorities replacing the bathroom carpet with something that isn’t carpet and window treatments.
Warning: the next few visuals are NOT PRETTY. Look away now…if you can.
And then there’s the tops of our window treatments. We have two sets of these lovely windows. Those half circles at the top are a pain to cover.
I’m going to save you the master bathroom pictures (aka “kitten island”) to present another day. They’re pretty stunning, but we’re doing baby steps here. And we don’t want to overwhelm you with awfulness all at once. We’re thinking of your health here.
So, our first order of business is the kids’ bathroom. We spent a few weekends looking at sheet vinyl while getting completely ignored by sales people at three different flooring stores in town. At the first store it sounded like this was going to be a $600 project and we were all, why does anybody do this themselves (as in, why save $300 at most, though DH points out that $300 is a lot for a lot of people and the work isn’t as daunting for people who know what they’re doing better than we do). But then we gave up on the local flooring places and just went to Home Depot, where the guy was incompetent, but the contractors he sent to the house weren’t. After the measurement, the estimated cost is $900. (So according to the home depot invoice, we’d actually save $500 in labor doing it ourselves. But we’re not gonna, not this time.)
DC1 picked out this tile, or, to be technically correct, ze picked out this sheet vinyl. It looks a lot nicer in the picture than it does in the sample, but having mosaic actual tile (like DC1 really wanted) is not a good idea for a children’s bathroom because it’s hard to clean and gets slippery. Vinyl tiles look better, but they only look better with bigger squares and DC1 really likes the pattern of little squares. Plus sheet vinyl, is again, much easier to clean. It’s also the least expensive option.
And they’re going to destroy our beautiful baseboards and replace them with ugly quarter-round. I think this is why people do everything in their bathrooms at once. DH thinks he can handle getting, painting, and putting in nicer baseboards so he’s going to ask them to omit the quarter-round moulding.
While they’re doing this, we’re also getting a new toilet. Not only is the current toilet kind of gross, but it has been nothing but a graveyard for new toilet innards. I swear, the thing breaks every 3 months or so. So after some research, we picked out this Toto toilet, complete with the stain guard (because DC2 is still potty training). That’s $300.
So the jack and jill bathroom flooring + toilet is going to cost something like $1500, depending on how much the fancy moulding costs. We probably should have done it years ago, but $1500 is a lot of money! Still, not as much as we thought it would cost. Sometime in the next month or so, we should no longer have carpet in the kids’ bathroom.
As for the window treatments… we’re not sure what we’re going to be doing there, so any suggestions you make now could influence what we do! There are a lot of options out there, and some of them are better than others. But that’ll probably be the topic of another post.
What are your thoughts on our home improvement plans? Any suggestions?