Saturday, January 16, 2010

Making Money from Home

Yep, ok, I'm already making money from home through my social media specialist business. But this year started off a bit rocky with our car breaking down on the way to the movie theater. So, instead of a promised "Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs", M. got to ride in a tow-truck. And please, don't think for a second that he was disappointed. He loved the whole experience - seeing our car loaded onto the truck, then climbing into the cabin and enjoying the view through the front windowshield.

But for us the whole thing wasn't amusing at all (even though we ended up getting all the repairs and the towing paid for by the car shop - another long story). The incident highlighted the fact that our little Kia Rio has 140K miles on the odometer and is unlikely to last much longer; at least not without a major overhaul. Yep, the days of quick oil changes and tire rotations are over, sigh...

And of course the timing couldn't be worse with all the cash flow issues. Plus M. has to start private ($$$) physical and occupational therapy in February, when his Early Intervention program ends.

Back in November, we applied for home loan modification. Our application is still being processed (what's taking so long, I have no idea). But in the mean time, we got a bit of a break with the lower house payments. Still, with these new expenses on the horizon, we simply had to shift into the high gear with the money-making part.

And so we decided that it's time to have our house make us some money. First and most obvious was to sell some of the stuff we didn't need on Craigslist. Surprisingly, it didn't work out all too well (must be the general state of the economy or the fact that we don't really have much valuable stuff that we don't need). I've been trying for about 2 weeks to sell our rustic pine coffee table that we have no place for now.

Anyway, selling stuff is such a temporary fix. Sooner or later we would just run out of things to sell. What were we thinking, right? No worries, we got it under control. And made one of Hubby's dreams come true in the process. He always wanted to be a landlord. Well, since we have a spare bedroom that we never use, we decided to rent it out. Ka-ching!

But did I say it was a "spare bedroom"? Define "spare". It housed all our bookcases and a work desk, but had no bed. Oh, and since we don't have a garage or a large attic, it also served as a catch-all for all sorts of junk (and even a bit of trash).

So you can imagine the kind of frenzy we were in when the day after Hubby put the "For Rent" ad on Craigslist we had several people contact us, all wanting to stop by immediately. We moved the bookcases out. We threw away the trash. We sorted all the junk into 3 piles, donated 2 piles (Junior League and our local library) and moved the 3rd pile into our bedroom.

Then Hubby went out and came back with a twin bed (from Craigslist, for $75). We all worked on putting it together (yes, including M). Then I swept the floor and we celebrated the end of the Epic Cleanup. We got it all done in 1 day (yes, that's ONE).

And so, since 2 days ago we have a renter and so far it's been working out ok. Aside from a few hundred dollars extra each month, we got some side-benefits such as:

  • getting rid of clutter (tax write-off for 2010)
  • finding a few items that we thought we lost and
  • finding some unopened stuff (like screws, LED light, etc) that we promptly returned to Home Depot and Lowe's for a total of $53!
Thinking about it - we should've done this (both cleaning up and renting the room) a long time ago. But as they say, it's better late than never.

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