Getting the Best Value for Your Maintenance Budget

As a software developer, my first instinct at work to solve an issue with a computer system was to trash it and start over with a new, better, more modern solution. Most of the time, this was the correct approach – either because the base functionality was being stretched beyond measure and required a new foundation or because the older system just wasn’t able to keep on working well, no matter how many fixes were applied.

I applied this same philosophy at home as well – on any home maintenance projects that came up. Our first home was a 50 year old ranch. It had a small master bathroom with a shower. That shower was nasty. The grout had eroded at the bottom, allowing water to get into the drywall causing rotten soft walls and allowing mildew to grow. Yuk. Without even looking for other solutions, I decided to tear out the tub surround. Once it was out, I went after the drywall in the shower. I had so much fun smashing it out that I tore out the drywall in the entire bathroom. You should have seen the look on my spouse’s face when he came home from work that day and saw the state of the bathroom!

I spent quite a bit of time and some money putting up new greenboard, tiling the shower, having a plumber install a brand new base, drywalling the rest of the walls and putting in a new floor. It looked great when I was done and I got some good experience. But, perhaps a simpler solution would have sufficed.

At times, trash and replace isn’t the right solution, either to software or to your home maintenance projects.

Now I am looking askance at our patio, which doesn’t drain properly into the yard. Once again the first thought is that we need to get someone in here with a jackhammer to tear out the concrete and relay the entire thing at a better slant. We’ve been postponing that due to the anticipated expense and consequently the wood siding is starting to get damaged from frequent exposure to standing water.

But, I understand that there may be patio and balcony solutions that could help us out. I found this article: Balcony Waterproofing: What You Need to Know Now that describes how a product called Megasealed can be used to protect against this kind of water damage.

All homes require maintenance and each of us should be prepared to spend part of our overall budget on home maintenance and repair. That said, the maintenance and repair doesn’t have to be trash and replace. It can be fix and extend as well.

Here are t least 3 things that can be done to deal with issues, or at least postpone a final solution until you have the time and resources to handle it. Continue reading

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Teach Your Kids the Power of the Time Value of Money

Grandma Rie’s Money Camp was last week – it was another week of fun, learning and activities about personal finance .

One of the activities we did this year explored the concept of the time value of money. The grandkids are 10 and 7 this year – old enough to know how to save up for something but still really too young to ‘get’ the concept of compounding growth (although the 10 year old seemed to understand at the end of this years camp!!).

A penny doubled every day for 30 days.

Before starting the activity, I asked each of them which they would rather have – a penny doubled every day for 30 days or a million dollars. Of course they wanted the million dollars. Even one of the parents wanted the million. Continue reading

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Stand Up for Independence!

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The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Continue reading

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A “Lets Pretend” Game to Help Teach Your Grade Schooler to Manage Money

I’m spending the month preparing for my 2014 Grandma Rie’s Money Camp session which will be held at the end of July this year. This year’s camp changed location to take advantage of a Federal Reserve tour, tours of my own banks as well as a great location for a busy garage sale to house their annual kid business.

The main theme is going to be all about saving. Why save, where to save (that is where the bank tours come in) and how to save. Part of the lessons will involve learning how to track their money, and introduction to the B word (budget). To demonstrate why people need to save and why folks need to plan and manage their money, we are going to try out a pretend play game I made up.

Today, I’m sharing that with you, in case you want to try it but also to see if you have any suggestions that I can incorporate to make it more interesting to my 7 and 10 year old grand-kids.

Lets get started. Continue reading

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Raising Great Adults – 4 Lessons Parents Must Teach

I’m a lucky parent. Both of our children (now adults) are healthy, independent, successful, happily married and responsible. I like to think that some of the things I did while raising them helped them reach that state. Today, I share with you my thoughts on 4 fundamental things parents should teach their children so that they grow into great adults. Continue reading

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