Monday, February 16, 2015

The Bag Lady mutters about money

When I started this blog in January of 2010, I was getting ready to retire and I was terrified I'd run out of money before the end of my life. A friend suggested I write about my fear in hopes of getting it out of my system.

Five years later, I'm no longer afraid. But I am still not crazy about spending money that I haven't planned on. The Bag Lady mutters from time to time. Like last week.

We'd made plans to have our Tucson park model painted, including multiple paneled walls. The unit is 25 years old and somewhat dated. When Tammy, the painter, came over to talk colors, we discussed the popcorn ceiling. She hadn't planned to paint the ceiling, but she knew of someone who could remove the popcorn and paint it. She called Gus and he came over. He said he could paint the ceiling white for $400 or remove the popcorn and redo the ceiling and paint for $1200. I sighed. That popcorn will not be a selling point when it's time to move on, however many years down the road. So I said yes. The popcorn came down today and as I sit in my recliner and look up, it seems like our ceilings are higher by a couple of feet. Tomorrow the ceiling gets repainted. Wednesday the painters come to do the rest of the place. Gus the ceiling guy needs a check tomorrow and Tammy the painter will take my credit card at the end of the week for $955.

And then there's the floor in the bathroom. The contractor says there's a leak in the pipe behind the shower and water damage in the subfloor. (We heard dripping somewhere around Christmas time but couldn't find it). The best way to fix the damage is to take out the shower/tub unit, do the repairs on the pipe and the floor, and replace the old shower/tub with a new shower unit. So we spent last Wednesday afternoon at the showroom picking out the material for our bathroom. This is a park model, remember - a trailer. We have homeowner insurance, and the adjuster came out today to check the water damage. The insurance will pay some of the $3,700 bill.

Now, we have the money to pay for all these things. But I'd rather pay for what I want - like the paint - than what we need - like a new bathroom shower. The Bag Lady's mind runs through the reduction in our savings and potential future disasters like the collapse of the stock market and the Washington State pension system and one or both of us requiring ten years of care in a nursing home. Kind of takes the fun out of looking at my no-popcorn ceiling.

My husband and I are going to the dentist in Nogales, Mexico this week. It will be our first trip down there and I am just a little bit nervous. I'll get an x-ray of a tooth that still bothers me after a root canal five years ago. The x-ray at home would be $180 but it's free in Nogales as a diagnostic tool. And the night guard for my teeth clenching will be much less than the $350 it would cost at home. Art is checking on implant procedures and prices. The savings on my dental work will pay for part of the no-popcorn ceiling. The savings on the implant might pay for the bathroom project.

The Bag Lady is good about rationalizing.

18 comments:

Meryl Baer said...

It is wonderful we live longer than previous generations, on the other hand we have to figure out how to make our resources last to support us. And as much planning as we do, there is always something needing fixing - like us!

Linda Reeder said...

I can relate to all of your worries!

joeh said...

I know just what you mean about retirement and money. It would be much easier to plan if I only knew how long I will live.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Some of these unexpected expenses can be scary, that's for sure. I will be eager to hear about your experience with the dentist in Mexico. We've seen a sizable portion of our retirement savings go into my mouth! Good luck with all of this -- and may everything turn out splendidly whatever the cost.

Terra said...

We are retired too, and I empathize with your money related thoughts. We are looking at a huge expense to have a 10 foot tall 8 feet wide ivy hedge removed and a fence it grows on replaced this month.

#1Nana said...

Yep, I'm with you on this one. I worried about money when I took the leap to retirement six years ago and I still have moments of panic, but it's my nature to be frugal. We stripped the popcorn off our ceilings ourselves when we moved in to our current house...I was young and more nimble then! We do less ourselves these days. Another adjustment to getting older.

Olga Hebert said...

If you hang on to the place long enough, popcorn ceilings just might be back in style by the time you are ready to sell. But then you would have to live with them yourself.
Today must be the day for worrying about money. I hate those unexpected things that pop up at inconvenient times. Although, in truth, I really should expect that to happen.

Madeline Kasian said...

I appreciate that you share the ups and downs of retirement,Linda.In our first year of retirement which has just passed, we completely flipped our sentiments about money: I became the worrier, Ken says "we're fine." I still get panic-y moments! But we did plan ahead and it's all going pretty smoothly, with, of course, a few unexpected expenses like the %1500 water line repair on our rental..but we talked about those things before had, as being landlords means budgeting for periodic repairs.We are getting a good income from 2 rentals ,so far so good. Much as I love the mountains, I also think it might be nice to rent a park model somewhere nice and toasty warm in February every year so I am looking at that for us.. we're not "world travelers" so much as we are nature lovers, so the good ole USA suits us pretty well, with occasional forays into Mexico.. Thanks for sharing!

Bob Lowry said...

As I type this I am looking at a large expanse of popcorn ceiling in our 1983 house. At a cost of $2,500 to remove it from three rooms I will continue to look at it until we move someplace else.

Arkansas Patti said...

Probably should but I don't look at resale value. Obviously since I painted some of my walls volcanic orange. I tend to fix what is broken only.

Mona McGinnis said...

Budgeting for the unexpected is important. I don't mind spending money if it gets the job handled. And when it comes to home repairs, one thing often leads to another once the walls come down or the floors come up. It's all a matter of choice and what we're willing to put up with and spend. My friend used to tell her son - don't let anything but money or fear stop you!

Pam said...

Linda, you're wise to follow up on that root canal that's giving you some issues. I had something similar on a 20-yr old root canal. It grew increasingly sensitive, yet x-rays at the dentist concluded nothing. Last summer, my concerns got the best of me, so my dentist referred me to an oral surgeon who had to remove it. Root canals can decompose and result in bigger problems. After a lengthy process, last week, I was fitted with a new bridge and have peace of mind. My parents used to winter near the Mexican border, and always raved about the great deals on dental care there. Good luck to you!

Tom Sightings said...

I had an implant done a cpl of years ago. It was breathtakingly expensive (like around $5000). I hope Art has a less expensive experience. But just be careful about all the x rays. Make sure they have up-to-date equipment b/c you don't want to be exposed to too much radiation.

Retired English Teacher said...

I hear you on those unplanned expenses and worry about money. I especially hear you on the dental expenses! I have been having pretty severe TMJ and went to the dentist. He said he'd fix me up with a nearly $800 dental device. Suddenly, my jaw got better. It must have been when it dropped wide open when he gave me the cost without batting an eye.

Warning: I've heard horror stories about people having dental work done in Mexico. I will be interested in hearing how it goes for you.

DJan said...

I also look forward to hearing how the dental work goes down in Mexico. There are good ones and you've had some recommendations for this one, as I remember. But all that cash outlay is one reason that Smart Guy and I rent. Although the rent can increase (and did, last month), it is still manageable for us. We could never deal with expenses like you are having right now!

Katherine Jenkins said...

I can relate to your worries too. Just finished a blog post about following my heart, even though funds are tight!

Bettye Primm said...

Thanks for keeping us informed about life's ongoing challenges, for the benefit of everyone. Anyway, your dental options are truly worth considering, though it would be best to have the dental service as near to you as possible to counter budgetary strains as well. However, the most important factor to consider is the quality of the treatment you will receive. In any case, I hope that everything is going smoothly for you. All the best!

Bettye Primm @ Back Mountain Dental

Benny Murray said...

A lot of people would say that money shouldn’t be a problem, and that it doesn’t always have to be about the money. But I personality think that it is essential, and that we should manage it properly. Anyway, it’s nice to know that you still give time focusing on your dental health. It could get a bit expensive at times, but it is all for the best. Thanks for sharing this with us, Linda. Have a great day!


Benny Murray @ Dental Care of South Jersey