Archive for November, 2011

Reasons Why You Should Not Buy a Home

Epic Finances is constantly posting about Real Estate. I myself am a young home owner, but I would like to present some reasons why you should not be a homeowner. At the very least I hope to give a “could-be” new home owner a grasp of what you will incur being a home owner

All calculations are averages of both range and replacement values. All prices can vary tremendously – Adjust according to your home and costs relative to your area.

Fixed Costs for an average home:


  • Furnace
    • Most systems are rated for somewhere between 13-20 years. If you have a mid-tier furnace it can run from $2000 to $3000. [ ((2000 + 3000)/2) / ((13 + 20)/2) ] = $151.51 a year or $12.62 a month.
  • Air Conditioner
    • Most systems are rated for somewhere between 12-15 years. If you have a mid-tier air conditioner unit it costs roughly $2500 to replace. [ (2500) / ((12+15)/2) ] = $185.18 a year or $15.43 a month
  • Water Heater
    • System is rated for somewhere between 10-12 years. Cost of replacement, approximately $700. [ 700 / ((10+12)/2) ] = $63.63 a year or $5.30 a month
  • Dish-Washer
    • Rough estimate: 10 years, $350 = $35 a year or $2.91 a month
  • Washer
    • Rough Estimate: 10 years, $400 = $40 a year or $3.33 a month
  • Dryer
    • Rough Estimate: 10 years, $300 = $30 a year or $2.50 a month
  • Stove
    • Rough Estimate: 10 years, $400 = $40 a year or $3.33 a month
  • Refrigerator
    • Rough Estimate: 10 years, $800 = $80 a year or $6.66 a month
  • Windows
    • Assuming 10 windows every 20 years at a cost of $200 a window installed = $100 a year or $8.33 a month
  • Roof
    • Rough Estimate: $4000 every 20 years = $200 a year or $16.66 a month
  • Permit for all new work (vary on cost and type based on location)

Cost: $925.32 a year or $77.11 a month (again noting this will be higher or lower depending on facts and circumstances)

But this is simply the start of what you home will cost. Go to the next page

Amazon is Having a $.01 Smart Phone Sale

phoneI recently wrote about owning the “cheapest iPhone possible”, I still have it – but T-mobile is getting on my nerves. The biggest problem I have with my iPhone and T-mobile is the navigation. The maps are terrible compared to my old android phone and internet is virtually worthless. I was always happy with Sprint – so I’m heading back, since it’s the cheapest alternative of the big carriers.

Then the debate starts – which phone?

iPhone has its perks, but the galaxy S2 was looking mighty fine. I could sit here and tell you all the pro’s and con’s of the iPhone 4s and Galaxy S2, but I’ll try to give the cliff-notes:

  • iPhone 4s – Slower speed of internet on Sprint
  • iPhone 4s – Smaller Screen
  • iPhone 4s – No Extra batteries or memory cards
  • iPhone 4s – Maps are terrible
  • iPhone 4s – not as flexible as android
  • Galaxy S2 – Screen resolution is lower
  • Galaxy S2 – Not as “polished” as an iPhone

To me – it was about even. Until the pricing pushed me over.

Amazon-wireless is offering them for $.01, but it gets better. Add Mobile Hotspot for $29.99 and you get a $100 gift-card. Simply cancel the hotspot after the first month and you net $70 profit for the purchase of your phone.

+$70 Galaxy S2 vs –$199 iPhone 4s = $269 swing, easy decision. Plus I’ll sell my old iPhone for $120 – $140.

Lots of phones are only $.01 for a limited time and its not just Sprint. It’s a very slick deal.

Samsung Galaxy S II Epic Touch 4G Android Phone (Sprint)
Samsung Nexus S 4G Android Phone (Sprint)
HTC ThunderBolt 4G Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)
Motorola DROID BIONIC 4G Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

I wanted to take a minute to point out how good of a tool Microsoft Access can be for an amazon seller. I myself buy a lot of my inventory on eBay which means most of the record keeping doubles. This is how it works:

1. I bid on tons of auctions at prices that leave me a margin on the other side (selling on amazon)
2. I receive the items, test them, and place them for sale on amazon
3. I receive orders through amazon
4. I package the item with a copy of the packaging slip
5. I buy postage through amazon (which is handled through
6. I toss the packages in my mailbox or drive to the post office if my mailbox won’t suffice
7. I pray that the seller is happy and the sale is over

When it comes to record keeping though. As soon as I buy an item off eBay I go to my access database where I have a form for entry.  I feel out the first “column” under “purchase”.


After receiving the item, I go back to that entry and fill out the middle column. If the item checks out, I list the item on amazon.

When the item sells, I fill out the last column. You get the idea.

But Access is so much more powerful than just this set of functionality.

I have inventory floating around all of the item. Item’s inbound can be hard to keep track of, and when I receive one – how can I match it up with the inventory I have marked down as purchased? With Queries.

500 Reasons To Not Be a Home Owner

tree_removal500 reasons or more specifically – $500 that I am now out because of being a home owner. I had two dead trees in my back yard that had to be removed and I had a follow up trip to home depot that combined racked up $500 of my hard earned cash.

The tree removal cost: $300 – the team dropped, cut up, (but did not split) and stacked the wood. They cleaned up all of the branches and hauled everything I wanted them too. They were bonded and insured (which is what I was paying for, since I would do it myself if I could). Two and a half hours, a team of 5 guys, 2 chainsaws, a big truck, rope, and some miscellaneous gear – and they were gone along with my cash.

I recently wrote about negotiating your professional services for your home – and this was a perfect example of when it paid off for me. Initially I was approached by a tree professional who wanted to “trim up and clean my front yard” (which had 3 trees) He quoted me $600 – which is hilarious since my front yard had very little work to be done. I told him I actually had work for him in the back yard. We went out back and he quoted me $700 for the two trees and the front yard cleanup. I wasn’t buying. I told him I just need the two trees and price was a concern. He quoted me $500 – then immediately $350 saying he just needed to get his guys work. I asked him if they haul the wood away – he said yes. I asked him if it would be cheaper if he left the wood, he said he has to pay to dump the wood (which I’m not sure I believe) and that he drop and cut up the wood for $300.

I debated it, but because the two trees were near a fence and two of my neighbor’s sheds that housed some of the yard equipment – I thought “mine as well pay $300 and have it taken care of versus $500 insurance deductible and money to clean it up later when it falls.” I told him that he had to also cut several branches off the power-lines in the front yard. He agreed to cut them away from the power lines.

As for the wood they left, I plan on using the wood for my fireplace inside my home. Sadly I do not have an wood burning insert which would be effective of cutting my gas bill down, but I’m not sold on the idea of buying one. Regardless I do enjoy a good fire in the winter time.

My trip to home depot included a lot of things, but a maul to split the wood and a fire wood rack clocked in about $90 of my trip. Ouch. Hope I get a week to split all of it after the holidays!

Have to love being a home owner.

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