Same Wagon, Different Seat

This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.

I’d like to start by thanking everyone for their advice when I asked for their opinions a few weeks ago.

The easiest changes to show are:

Cell Phone – $35 – stayed the same.  I did look around, but for what I use, this is the best plan I’ve found.

Landline – $0 – gone.

Internet $25 (plus tax) – Had to commit for 2 years, but this should be sufficient for my needs.

Netflix – Dropping later this month after I’ve finished watching a series I wanted to see.

Gaming Account – Still undecided about dropping.  If I am playing, I’m not going out doing anything else that costs money, so the hourly cost of  my entertainment is low.  I’ll see how it goes after I’ve stopped Netflix.

Car & Condo Ins – $200 (down from $480).  I’ve yet to have a positive experience with a car insurance agent.  After hours on the phone, having to request that things showing on my record that shouldn’t have been there be removed, adjusting deductibles, chasing my daughter to officially change her address, I now feel this is a reasonable amount.

My Home. Although I can see the logic of selling my condo and renting somewhere, I’m not ready emotionally to take that step yet.  I would need to upgrade a few things in my home in order to get enough equity to pay off the fees for ending my mortgage early and clear my debts.  Most of the work, I’m fairly certain I can do myself.

My Plan. I am looking for a renter for my spare bedroom, as well as a part time job to bring some more income in.  In the most cost effective way I can, I will do the upgrades as I can find materials to do them over the next little while.  After I get the work done, I’ll reconsider selling.  Yes, I realize I’m intentionally not taking the fast track to FI with this non-move, but I know I have to process some things emotionally before I could sell without looking back.

These changes I’ve made (and are in the process of making) should give me some good traction so I can feel like I’m accomplishing something again.

5 thoughts on “Same Wagon, Different Seat”

  1. Way to go! You did really great on cutting those expenses for the interim. So depending how much you take in from your second job and the renter you should be a least in a decent shape on a month to month basis.

    At least now if the market drops out on your house value, and you lose the ‘cashing out the equity’ option. You should be able to pay off your debts in a reasonable amount of time.

    I’m proud of the work you did on this. Too bad I’m not closer I would take you out for another beer to celebrate.


  2. Congrats! Looks like you’ve made some good changes. Some advice if you’re seriously thinking of going down the road of renting your spare bedroom – from one who has done so for years (mostly) successfully. It is both important and worth it to do your homework first. It is a responsibility as well as an income and knowing your obligations, limitations and rights is important to keeping good tenants. Read up on rental laws and understand what you can and cannot ask/do. Check out (geared to separate units as opposed to shared space, but still lots of good advice). Check out going the route of being a homestay host (e.g. canda homestay international; student homestay services) – these arrangements have their own issues, but on the upside we’ve never not recieved a payment. When you decide to rent, remember, ALWAYS do your do diligence and check references. Evaluate the quality of references (moms and current landlords are nice people, but can have vested interests). Check google (you’d be amazed what you can find with a google search). And good luck!

  3. Nice work Sheryl! Getting a better deal for home & auto insurance is certainly going to pay off. That’s an extra $3360 in your pocket per year (about the same as getting a $5k raise at work). The savings in internet & no landline will be a nice boost too. Hopefully this can help you pay off your debt quicker!

    I would say, I wouldn’t even bother cutting Netflix or your gaming account. You probably won’t even notice the $23/month, and they both give you a very good bang for your buck. Deciding to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix instead of going to the movies once will basically pay for 2 months of Netflix.

    Finding a renter is definitely a nice stepping stone to whatever you decide to do. It’ll seriously help offset your monthly living costs.

    All in all, great job in addressing what needed to be addressed!

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