Some of my online friends from other sites have been participating in a pantry challenge in October

And, since it never hurts to get my grocery budget lower, I decided to go for it.
My average grocery spending for the year from January to June has been $515 a month.
My budget includes feeding hubby, myself, our 2 living-at-home college kids (so essentially 4 adults), and 3 very big dogs.
The grocery budget also includes all household stuff–such as cleaning products, bathroom supplies, etc.

Okay—couple things here….

One….if hubby is unemployed—can he watch the kids and save $550 a week?

Two—buy a few window units until he is back employed–and then save cash for the new house unit.

We have used window units for the past 14 years or more. We have one in each bedroom that we turn on shortly before bedtime and one in the living room that runs as needed.

Remember, it is only going to be hot another couple months….why take out cash now that you might really need later for a much bigger and non-avoidable reason.

Three– Wouldn’t you have to pay penalties and taxes on that withdrew money—again, better to wait until hubby is employed and save cash.

Just my opinion from what I read—only you know what is best for your situation,

I think you’re right to be annoyed

and to want to work out different alternatives based on numbers that work for YOU. I don’t have a lot of experience with A/C since we have the entire Pacific Ocean serving that purpose out here. But having spend time in the mid-Atlantic states a few decades ago, I remember enough of what it was like.

Two suggestions –
1) we try to think in terms of the “goldilocks solution” here – not too much, not too little, but just right. That Lennox sounds like a top-of-the-line model (and the A/C company would probably make commission on that sale, so they are motivated to get you to spend as much as possible). You might want and need A/C, but that would be the single most expensive option for you to take.

2) Home Depot and other big-box stores sell a wider range of products, from El Cheapo to High Quality, but they have a very big markup on most of their products. In other words, if you decided on X model, they would have the largest markup on that X model above and beyond the MSRP.

For all of our major appliances over the last 10 years, we’ve first chosen the general capacity we wanted, THEN chosen a model or a few models that provided that capacity, THEN shopped aggressively for that model. We have consistently found that Home Depot and the like are the most expensive sources for any given big appliance. For our water heater for example, I think we paid $500 for it from an online direct-from-manufacturer dealer, and the Home Depot list price was $899. There was that big a difference.

I can’t advise you on what model or capacity you’d need, but you should already have that from the estimates you’ve gotten. Work from those estimates to figure out how big a system you need, then start shopping online for those units or units like them. You might be amazed to see how much less expensive it would be to go that route.

I will be the first to admit I’m not math savvy


So I am curious to hear your thoughts on this situation. I live in NoVA (read: expensive!); DH is currently unemployed with his benefits having been exhausted end of June. So it’s just my income. We have two little ones in daycare to the tune of $550 a week. No other debt except mortgage and the house is currently underwater to the tune of approximately $100K if I am reading the real estate sales in my neighborhood correctly. My point being, money is somewhat tight on a month to month basis.
Okay, so that all having been said…. we have been having AC issues so decided to look into first getting the coils cleaned; that was $250 and seemed to have helped for about a day. Seriously.
DH then made an appointment with a heating / cooling company to have them come give us a consultation with the idea that we might have to bite the bullet and buy a new unit (ours is about 20+ years at this point). We decided to go ahead and get the recommended system (AC and furnace – both Lennox brand, one stage) to the tune of about $7200.
I called my investment advisor to pull $5K from my investments knowing I could cover the other ~$2500 via my savings – while not totally depleting the savings.
He told me to go to Home Depot get an American Standard (Builder grade) unit and get a one year no interest credit card to finance…
I’m like, WTF??? (excuse my acronym French)…. If I were to take a loan for a year the basic payment would be approximately $675 which I don’t have in my monthly (read, day to day living) budget! I need a one thousand dollar loan, what you know about (found at google)?
No, I didn’t take his advice and pulled the $5K but I am annoyed. Am I right to be annoyed?
I have savings for a reason and prefer to pay cash.
Well, after typing all this out I guess I know what the responses are going to be but I need some encouragement. Despite my spouse being unemployed we are still able to make small minor improvements to the house because we are essentially debt free and I want to be comfortable since I work from home.

I agree 200%

His “episode” needs to be checked out by someone who can run tests and make sure that he didn’t have, and/or isn’t about to have, some major issue. Now that Hillry mentions it, I’ve known several folks who had that “felt crappy for a short time but feel better now” situation. When they got it checked out, often (not always) they’d had something significant happen that needed followup. Hog-tie him if you need to, or call the neighbors to help, but don’t let this slide.

Looks like you might be right

I’m slowly pulling these reports from a machine that doesn’t have a good connection to the Net at the moment. But the first report, from Experian, came across with no surprises. Mtg is the only open account, no late payments. My credit card is there, current but closed, and three other accounts, all mine, all closed. Most of those accounts have closed and/or been paid off within the last year, such that the only “live” account is the mortgage. That right there might be part of my score dropping so much in the past year (if in fact it has dropped). I haven’t seen my actual credit score yet, apparently I have to pay for that? I’ll keep pulling these reports as I have the time today. As annoyed as I was, I’m glad to see there aren’t any new accounts on here that don’t make any sense.

I also double-checked our propane tank, and there’s a sticker on the tank which says it can only be filled by the company we currently use. Probably because it’s a leased tank, rather than a tank we own. We have the “right” to purchase the tank for a lot of $$$, which is why we started off leasing it 10 years ago. Sigh. So for the moment, we have to stick with this company for our propane.

I guess the bigger monster was that there was something horrible on my credit report which didn’t belong there. Now that I’ve satisfied that concern, I can live with the idea that my credit score has apparently gone down because I’m not playing the game anymore. I can live with that. We’ll just have to make adjustments to our payment plan for this particular vendor, and consider either buying the tank outright, or continuing as-is. It was time for me to order another credit report anyway.

Your score may have gone down because you aren’t charging

Credit scores are based not only on your payments, but on how much money the company makes off of you. If you are charging they make money off of the company you purchased from, then they make money off the stupid tax you pay. So when you aren’t charging, they don’t make money. When you snowball and pay off they are making less money there too. So they penalize your credit score because you are being a responsible adult rather than feeding their business.

I just tried to order propane today

for our 100gal tank that needs to be refilled about every six months. Suffice to say that our current propane company just changed a bunch of policies, which totally messes up the payment system we’ve used with them for only the last TEN years. Now they want us to either pay two weeks in advance, or undergo a credit approval process to get onto a monthly payment plan, which would STILL be paying in advance, and the credit approval is required even if it’s a direct withdrawal from a checking account. I really wanted to get on the regular monthly plan so that we can get regular deliveries instead of running out of propane (like we did this weekend, which = no hot water). So I said Ok, run the credit check. The gal said in advance that I needed a credit score of better than 575. I thought no problem, when I last checked my credit score, less than a year ago, it was over 700, and it would have only improved since then since we’re snowballing our debt, didn’t have any new debt, etc. Well, supposedly it came back too low, but she wouldn’t tell me what the score was. Excuse me? So now I need to go pull a new credit report to see if a) she was lying through her teeth so that she could justify keeping me in the “pay in advance” club, or b) if there’s something on there that doesn’t belong on there, which is the only way I can think that my credit score would be messed up so badly.

I know there are websites where we can get free credit reports once/year, but some of them offer the score and some of them don’t. DR recommends checking once/year, and I don’t remember who I used last year. Anyone have a website they like, that provides the score for all three agencies? I really want to get that score and either fix a wrong entry, or throw it back in that gal’s face and say “put me on the monthly plan or so help me I’ll sic my attorneys on your company for denying me service for false credit information.” Yea, I’m mad.