Sunday, March 28, 2010


This blog post isn't so much about my shinny new wood stove pipe it's more about the roof on my 108 year old home. The main roof to be exact. Hard to see from this angle but this former HUD home has been needing a new roof for over a decade now. Knew that when I bought the house. But between buying a home & a divorce & raising 4 children & rehabbing Our Old House a major roofing project was put on the back burner. Life got in the way.
Two years ago the portion of roof over the front pourch & kitchen were replaced with metal because of leaks. I choose metal because of the deep discount on my homeowners insurance (fire proof factor) and since I plan to be carried out feet first I didn't want to have to put another roof on when I was in my seventies. Cost was just under $1800.
Now it's time to do the main roof which has a 12x12 pitch. Cost has been estimated @ 9K.
My roof guy tells me that we can do a split job. Do one half this year and patch the other half.
From the ground and my next door neighbor's attic window it looks like the driveway side portion of roof that has the valleys is the most in need. Figure on 4k.

I'd like to be able to blog on how we are able to squeeze $4,000 out of our almost $29,000 combined income but well short of illegal enterprises that isn't gonna happen.
So I wanted to let all of my readers know that I am back to work. But since the goal of being gainfully employed to to pay for a new roof we will still be living like we're broke.
Except I will also be blogging about the deep urges to snag some of the "roof fund" money to score on this or that great deal.
It's like this - when your broke there is no inner conflict about buying this or that. No justification of why a purchase would be a good thing.
Yeah being broke has it's advantages.
Just wanted to be truthful.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

popo's slangin'

Another alternative method to shopping at Wally world or the mall is at Police auctions.
Call your local 5-0 & ask if they have a newsletter or website listing auction dates and requirements such as cash only.
The Buffalo Police Department's Bicycle Auction is scheduled for April 10, at their headquarters on Franklin st. Bidding starts at 9 a.m. but come early to check out the bikes.
Bikes can go for as little as a dolla to as much as a dead president.

Bring a bag that you can easily hang over your shoulder. Carry a water bottle, an old towel to spread on the ground in case there is no place to sit, & snacks.
Bring a few hand tools: adjustable pliers, Allen wrenches, needle nose pliers, and a tape measure in case your shopping for others. Don't forget the wet wipes since you know you'll be handling greasy bike chains. Note pad, something to write with so you can keep multi bid opps straight since after the first 50 bicycles one starts looking like the next.
Don't bid over your bicycle repair expertise unless you can barter for parts & repairs. It's no deal if you end up owing a repair shop what a new bike would have cost.

I hope to attend since my last baby's bike was snatched last Summer when her brother borrowed it. He left it leaning up against a friend's front porch. Daughter wasn't out any cash since it was gifted outta a dumpster a few years back.
She prefers not to be a regular on the shoe leather express now that the snowdrifts have melted.
Me, hope to score a few bikes that have baskets (new upwards of $40) to either sell or use in bartering. Children won't be caught dead with baskets on their bikes. Perhaps use some spare parts to build a bike trailer.
If your handy at repairs or have the touch for pimping out rides along with a spot to set up shop being the neighborhood bike repair shop could be a nice source of quiet $.
Be reasonable. These peeps are your neighbors.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, March 20, 2010

filling the void

I have a barter buddy who does the CVS thing to the max. She & her hubby also love my pies & home baked bread. I have empty bathroom shelves. DO the math.

8 tubes of toothpaste, 2 spools of dental floss, box of tissues for quests = 2 pies. We use tp or old fashioned hankies.

Also scored 6 packages of sanitary pads for 2 loaves of Rye bread.

She has plans to move out of my city so I am working on filling my shelves with enough toiletries for at least a year. Got toothpaste covered .

What have you bartered for lately?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Friday, March 5, 2010

Da Plan

K, here's da plan. Sorry that it has taken me so long to share it. I had planned on putting da plan out there last month but I keep forgetting a few key pieces of info that make the plan Da Plan. We still have no internet access on the homestead (estimated savings of $60 per month/air card).

So here I sit in my favorite coffee shop drinking my addiction, watching the sun come up over a church steeple, an abandoned factory, and a train trestle. Besides me in the booth is a post it note with the numbers. Ready to in part my wisdom. Bring a piece of scratch paper & something to write with. Your gonna wanna take notes.

But first here's the disclaimer - I'm not Dave Ramsey nor Suz Orman. When I glanced in the shop window on my walk over to check my appearance I also wasn't Buffet, Warren Buffet that is. What I'm saying is that Da Plan works for us. You maybe not soo much.

First Stage of Da Plan - Know the Details

  • Part A of the first stage of Da plan can be one of the hardest, in that you really have to know exactly what amount of mulah it takes to support your household. You have to know down to the last nickel the total amount $ is your bottom line. Everything. Like CIA & your Mama knowing how often you change your drawers everything.

  • Part B of the first stage of Da Plan is to know your income, your actual income. All things considered net income. Dead Presidents line up and be counted.

  • Part C is goods manufactured on the homestead, products that you either glean or barter for. Also include skills; house cleaning, doing hair, baking, computer repair. Anything & everything that can translate into maintaining your homestead. File this under Bonus/Bounty/Frosting/Gravy. Put this list aside for now.

Second Stage of Da Plan - Accumulating a Stash

  • Know your tax man intimately. Embrace your tax deductions. Plan your very life around those deductions. An example is this Federal Energy Tax Credit that has been extended for 2010. This tax credit was the final push we needed to install the wood stove, a credit of $800. Another credit blessing that we take full advantage of is charitable contributions. Besides cash, there is clothing & household items be it out of your closet or your neighbors. Yes, I curb shop for charitable donations. I also barter for them. Point is know your tax deductions and use them to the max.

  • Here's a biggy that goes against every you have ever heard about financial planning. In the section on your W2 were you claim the number of dependents consider only claiming one or two. Just enough to give you a paycheck you can survive on. Yes, I know I am giving the Federal Government an interest free loan. Honestly, I have never been able to put aside that money for any length of time. Let alone have it accumulate into a huge wad of cash. Once the Gods know there is money bad things happen. The transmission on the car breaks. The roof needs replacing (guess how we're gonna use this year's energy tax credit).

  • Take advantage of any & all tax advantages that your employer provides - IRA's & Medical savings plans . Consider collecting co-worker's empty soda cans for the deposit money. Yeah laugh laugh long & hard but we all know peeps who drink 5 Cokes a day - 25 cents - $5 a month - $60 a year. That's sixty free dollars that you didn't have to pull an extra shift for.

Third Stage of Da Plan - Decrease your living expenses.

  • Live like your broke. Broke is not poor. Although our annual income is considered poverty level we are not poor just broke. Broke is not being able to afford premium coffee. Poor is having to choose between paying for the gas to heat hot water or paying for the water. Simply put live under your means.

  • No debt. Yeah easier said than done. Currently I owe a mortgage & a home equity loan. Back in the day I also owed on a van, furniture, and a credit card. Try like your life depends on it.

Fourth Stage of Da Plan - Alternative methods of Providing

  • All the homesteady type skills that enable us NOT to buy things like food & clothing. Methods that give us a middle class way of life. Ties in with decreasing living expenses. Skills like scratch cooking, gardening, mending, penny pinching.

Here's how the plan worked out for us.

Last year our combined adjusted gross income was $28,863.00 for 4 people. I claimed 2 dependents for the 3 mos. I worked in 2009. Hubby claimed 1 until he became the sole wage earner then switched to 3. He also utilized a medical expense account to the tune of xxx. Plans are to increase that amount to xxx since we under estimated. Besides claiming the energy tax credit and the max charitable donation credit we also claim the mortgage credit. Our federal tax returned totaled $6,947.00. State was $1,991.00.

DH is taking the state return for the land fund.

The following is how I plan (best laid plans of mice & men ...) spend the federal return; mortgage payments, car insurance, car mainatnance/repair/tags, upgrade or replacement of one household item, one major home improvement, bulk food order, one homesteading item, my half of orthodonitics for a daughter. Her & I are splitting the cost.
Here's what the plan for the retrun looks like today. However since we have had this wad for over two weeks no doubt the Gods have had time to confirm the rumor so this could all change Update: $480 car repair as of last week.

12 mortgage payments @ $347 = $4164.00. Need to see if there is a planned tax reassessment comming up this year. That would affect my overall monthly payment especially once the new roof goes up.

Bulk food which includes a portion of a side of beef, our annual cheese run, staples such as flour. I have a new plan on that but that's for another post.

DH & I have been sleeping on 12 year old mattress & box spring that has long ago taken a header off city hall. Spent $895 yesterday for a custom made set. Our bed is a 100 year old cast iron which isn't exactly a standard 3/4. It was an extra $40 to make a custom fit of 46" by 75". Couldn't have gone with a double because it wouldn't have fit up the stairs. In 1902 beds were smaller with springs & a mattress that you could fold in half. This was the one big household buy.

One major home improvement was gonna be switching out the natural gas water heater with an electric tankless heater. Electric co. is handing out rebates & there is the energry tax credit. However the roof is singing a swan song. When I bought this house in 1999 I knew it would need a new roof soon. Been living on barrowed time. Estimated cost is in the neighboorhood of 9k for a metal roof. Two reasons why I decided on metal; lowers fire insurance preminums, and since our long range plan is to be carried out feet 1st I really don't want to be putting another roof on when I'm 78. This is gonna take some planning.

~~ pelenaka ~~