Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.
Our street has 29 houses, 5 or 6 of which are rentals. For the most part, we have great renters on our block – they treat the house like it were their own. But last month, we got a new neighbor. Or I should say, new neighbors PLURAL because that is the problem. There are so many of them!
But before I tell you my first-world-problem tale of woe, let’s go back to last week’s question, where I asked you where you start? What is the first step toward financial freedom, or financial betterment?
I have a very dear friend who has been hiding her financial status for a while. She is not very good with money, and finally confessed her financial sins to me. The advice I gave her was to start with writing everything down. You can’t know where to make cuts if you don’t know where it is going in the first place. But I wanted to know what you thought, too. I wanted to make sure I was giving the right advice.
Mrs. PoP from Planting Our Pennies responded very quickly, and backed me up. “I always tell people the first step is tracking your spending. Until you know where all your money is going, it’s going to be much harder to figure out what doesn’t match up with your values and can be cut permanently and what does, but can be trimmed in the short term until you get to a better place financially.”
Reader Zaxon, Aldo from Million Dollar Ninja, Wade from Destination Financial Wisdom, Debs at DebtDebs, Emily from EvolvingPF, Even Steven, Kipp from Frankly Frugal Finance and Reader VDB all said the exact same thing. So many great financial minds can’t all be wrong.
Reader KRFP had a great suggestion, that I would put as a second step, “know what you owe”. Actually, this could be a concurrent step with tracking spending.
Find out exactly how much you owe, to whom, at what interest rate, etc. etc. etc. Write it all down. Hiding it from yourself, not being honest with how much debt there actually is doesn’t make it go away. Confronting it, knowing the exact amount, can be a huge motivator to not spend money frivolously.
Thank you all for the great suggestions. As she gets more comfortable with her situation, I am going to introduce new steps. Right now, I have told her that I am super happy to help, and won’t push at all. The first step is tracking spending, and if she is interested in any more advice, just ask. I’ll keep you posted!
Now on to this week’s question, which is sort of a question and sort of a rant.
Our old neighbor moved out. It took her 15 days, at least 12 trips to the storage locker(s) and many late nights to move out of a 4 bedroom house with a 5-car garage, both of which were packed top to bottom, side to side with stuff accumulated during her 5 years in the home. I have a touch of the hoarder in me too so I cannot judge. But wow, that was a lot of stuff.
She was still at the house, cleaning and collecting random bits of things when the new tenant pulled up. He was with his brother, and they were both in work vans, towing trailers with flooring supplies loaded up. I approached him and asked him what house he was working on. (There were two rentals that just became vacant, and I am nosy.) He replied that he was moving into that house, and pointed to the house where my old neighbor was still at.
He seemed nice. He said he and his wife were going to be moving in, his brother had a place in a different part of town, and I thought that was going to be the end of it. Turns out, he has 5 adult children, a brother and sister-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and various other people living in this same house.
You may be asking yourself, where do they all sleep? I don’t have a clue. The house has 4 bedrooms, ONE BATHROOM, and lots of garage space. Of course, that garage space is taken up with flooring supplies and Corvettes (plural) so the remaining cars are parked on the street. All 15 of them. I kid you not, they have 12 vehicles and 3 trailers up and down the street.
And did I mention the dogs? I am averse to barking dogs. I have no love for dogs in general, (I was bitten as a child by the neighbor’s “friendly” doberman) and have been inundated with barkers lately, including two that are taken for a walk down my street every day, in the spirit of training them, who have quite ferocious barking fits whenever they see a leaf, blade of grass, person, other dog, spot of pavement or rock, and also whenever they feel a breeze, smell something, hear something, etc. But I digress. My lovely new neighbors have 6 dogs living in this house, along with the 412* people. And of course, those dogs bark. Whenever they see a leaf, blade of grass, person, other dog, spot of pavement, rock or feel a breeze, smell something, hear something, a car drives by, a car doesn’t drive by. The list, literally, goes on and on.
So what’s not to love about my new neighbors? Too many people, too many cars, waaaay too many dogs, all in one house with one bathroom**. They are talking of buying the house from the landlord, who is interested in selling. Yikes! Is there anything I can do?
Update on our fun new neighbors here.
*Just a guess, but seriously, way too many people in that house.
**Mr. 1500 note: The part that fascinates me most is the 1 bathroom. How do 10+ people get along with ONE toilet. I have no idea. Perhaps I don’t want to know. When we first bought our home, we had one toilet between the 4 of us. Most of the time, it was fine, but things got a little tense on occasion.
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