I’ve Made Peace

As many of you know my sister is living with me. She moved out here in the middle of December with the goal that she’d be living with me while she went to school. The idea was that she’d live with me while she got her AA and then transferred either to my school for the remaining 2 years (since I can get her 50% reduced tuition) or somewhere of her choosing.

That plan hasn’t worked so well. Since moving to Kansas all she wants to do is move to Arizona to live with her boyfriend. He obviously wants this to happen. She wants it to happen. And now her mom is supportive of the plan. My sister has refused to make friends. She has refused to find a job here.  She does fine with her classes, but other than going to school she has intentionally made herself a recluse. Because all she wants is to be somewhere else.

I’ve decided that I yield. I can’t force someone to do the right thing, no matter how right I know it is. I can’t force someone to take a free place to live, free education, free books and be happy with it.

So I’ve decided that if going and living in Arizona is what she wants I am just going to make sure that she screws it up as little as possible. I’ll help her in the ways that I can by making sure she applies for a job, starts a savings account, and gets her admissions tests and application in to the school there correctly.

I’ve decided that as long as she’s happy and as long as she’s going to school than I’m going to be okay with it.

In essence, if this falls apart or succeeds I want her to know that it was her choice and no one else. But that if she wants to go back on that choice, I will be here for her.

I’ve decided that I will continue to help pay her tuition if she goes to school and continue to get her Chemistry books and continue to love her, but that’s as far as I’ll go. I won’t help her move. I won’t pay for gas for her to get there. I won’t do any of those things. That is her responsibility.

I have just decided that I won’t stand in her way, I’ll help her with the educational aspects. I hope that is enough for her cause I love the crap out of her and don’t think she’s making the smart decision. But this is something that she has to learn on her own. And who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong.

It is funny to think that 6 months ago she was as excited to get to Kansas as she is now to get to Arizona.

News From The Sibling

My sister has been pretty unhappy recently. Not having a car, not having a job, not knowing anyone here in Kansas (aside from me), and being so far from her BF has made her depressed. She spends a lot of time by herself in the apartment, simply because there are no other options.

I can’t say that I blame her. This was exactly the predicament I found myself in before I moved to Kansas. I had no friends, I couldn’t stand my co-workers, I just went home every night and read PF blogs and did serial “dating” of mean-nothing guys. I didn’t even have a good friend to talk to like she has with her boyfriend. My close friends I didn’t even talk to more than 1-2 times per month. Getting out of that situation was the best decision I’ve made by far.

That said, while I can understand and sympathize with situation living with me, there are very important differences.

1. When I moved to my previous location, I knew it was temporary so I intentionally didn’t reach out to people. I felt “what’s the point” since I know that in 2 years I’d have to live. Having made that decision I’ve been exceptionally clear with my sister that this was a TERRIBLE decision on my part. She’s started to reach out more, by joining a board game club on campus as well as a pre-pharmacy club.

2. I didn’t have any family. She does have me here. So she isn’t alone.

3. I didn’t have such a strong relationship with anyone else to fall back on like she has. She has her BF, her parents, and myself. All whom she can rely on daily.

4. Staying here has the added perk of her living rent free and getting free tuition. Leaving would force her to forfeit these two luxuries.

We had a long conversation today which we both needed about how she was feeling and I asked her what I could do to help.

Things she wanted from me:

  • Practice driving. I’ve been postponing this because I drive a standard and I’ve never had to teach anyone how to drive a standard. The thought scares me. So she’s only driven once she’s been here and it was in BF’s old car.
  • Sister date night. We’ve agreed that Friday night will be our night. We’ll go out, have fun, get both of us out of the apartment. This past Friday we went to a ladies craft night (which subsequently turned into a Saturday craft day). Next Friday we’re going to a game night. Other events we’re thinking of are going to the movies, laser tag, etc.
  • Roommate dinner. I also agreed that we needed a chance to just sit and talk about our weeks. So I’m going to take her to dinner once a week or make dinner together once a week together. We’re thinking about either Monday or Tuesday night.

I’ve also been encouraging her to make plans on Sundays with her friend that lives in Kansas City (the complete other side, about 30 minutes away). It is inconvenient to take her over there, but it is worth it to have my sister hang out with friends.

So that’s how things have been going. I want to help her get connected here. Plugged in. I know if she’s even moderately happy with her life here, it will make the decision to leave harder for her. Which is what I want. I want her to want to stay here because she realizes it is a good decision for her. Support from her family (my dad is moving out in April), free tuition, friends she can hang out with, us doing things together, a place to live rent free, and hopefully she’ll get a job – though she’s starting to feel very put out about actually finding one. The few places she’s applied at haven’t contacted her back or aren’t hiring. She hasn’t quite figured out that persistence is everything.

Friday Night Fun – Game Night!

Dominion: Love This Game!

Last night my sister and I went to a game night sponsored by a local church. I had heard about it a few months prior but had never been.

I was sort of expecting around 12-15 people sitting around playing games – BOY WAS I SURPRISED when
I walked in the fellowship hall and saw around 50 people around 9 different tables playing so many games it was amazing. There was probably around 100+ games total that we could play. Most I had never heard of.

We played some crazy robot game where we were trying to get to these check points, Dominion (one of my absolute favorite games, we played this 4 times), Bananagrams, and then a weird matching game (that I won twice, booyah).

There was tons of food, lots of laughs, and a great price tag: Free!

Apparently this game night happens the first Friday of every month. Both my sister and I agreed that we should make it part of our monthly ritual. It was an amazing good time and I can’t wait to go back again. =D

Learning to Live with People (again)

I do not want this pile of dishes, sister!

A little over 6 weeks ago my little sister came to live with me.

Things have been going fine aside from the whole “I want to drop out of school and move in with my boyfriend” fiasco.

You see, before she moved in I was living by myself. I lived alone for 3 years. I got used to living alone.

I knew when I saw a mess that it was mine. I could leave the clothes in the drier as long as I wanted because I knew that I would be the next who needed to use it. I could listen to whatever music I wanted, have whomever I wanted over whenever I wanted, I could make food for myself and have it just be for myself. And as lonely as that may sound, I enjoyed living alone. Nay, I loved living alone.

I knew there would be some adjustments having my sister living with me. But there are a lot of things I also didn’t think about.

For instance, I’m WAY more clean than her (btw, anyone who has ever step foot in my apartment will tell you, I’m not an exceptionally tidy person). When I make dinner, I pick up the dishes before I start eating so that when I’m nice and full I don’t have to worry about cleaning. She’ll clean up her dishes… one… two… days later. I like to clean up the kitchen counter every time I cook. I don’t think the kitchen counter has seen a wash rag moved by her hand.

Now, I ask her to pick up a little bit more, and try to do it in a non-passive aggressive way. But I know that if she’s adjusting to my levels of cleanliness, I also need to be understanding of hers and find a middle ground.

Her mom is also a major anal-retentive OCD clean person who would just do things for her if she didn’t do them, so I’m trying to avoid doing that without resorting to living in a pig sty.

I like just doing a quick pick up of my stuff before the end of the day to make sure that everything is nice when I come out the next morning. Since she’s been here Jack (the dog) has eaten her trig homework, her communications book, and started on her chemistry homework before I stopped him. I’m not sure how many of her school things he’s going to have to eat before she learns to keep her stuff in her room.

Oh, and have I mentioned that she takes absolutely no initiative of her own to take out the trash? It just sits there unless I say “Hey, um, would you mind taking that out next time you go work out? Thanks!”

But, I’d have to say that the thing that bothers me the most is that she uses my stuff. She was using my hair brush the other day. She hangs her jacket over my towel when she showers. She eats my food without asking (even though I buy her food, she hasn’t quite gotten the concept that I’m not a parent, I’m a roommate and there is a “mine” and a “yours”). It isn’t your stuff sister, so stop using it!

I’m trying really hard to not get angry about little things. I know that in the grand scheme it really isn’t a big deal if she uses my toothpaste. But it still aggrevates me because she didn’t pay for it. She didn’t pay for any of it. And somehow she expects me to think she’s “grown up” enough to live on her own?

I’m realizing more and more how important it is for teenagers to go to college –  if nothing else than to learn to respectfully live with another person. The dorm experience or a shared apartment off campus with other students is such an important part of development. Also, isn’t that why they say you should never room with your best friend when you go to college? They should amend that to include your big sister, too.

I’m trying to keep my cool and be reasonable. And our plan is to sit down monthly and discuss any issues. I also don’t want that to be just a bitch session so I need to find a way to do it that isn’t like I’m a huge stick in the mud. Any suggestions are welcome.

The Teenage Logic

After the harsh emotions I was feeling from my last post I took a few days and just sort of checked out from thinking about my sister. I let my brain mull it over in the background and surprisingly not thinking about it helped.

I had been harsh with my sister a few days prior when she asked if she could go visit her boyfriend over spring break (harsh is the wrong word – I pretty much ignored her request and told her I couldn’t think about it that moment). I apologized to her for that and we sat down and had a discussion about her moving in with her BF.

I essentially told her that if moving in with him was something that she wanted to do that I wasn’t going to stand in the way. But that I wanted to make sure that she was prepared to do so.

I told her I did feel that it was important for her to make sure that when she moves in with him, she moves in as an equal and a partner  – not as a dependent. So that if, God forbid, they break up – she’ll be able to be on her own and not feel trapped in her situation.

She agreed with a “That seems fair.”

So we talked about how she needed to get a job here so she can save money. I told her she needed a moving fund, a means of transportation, her driver’s license (she just has a permit) and she needs to make a budget of how much she’ll need to pay for everything when she moves. She’ll also need to save up enough money so that she can pay for her college there immediately when she gets there and make sure that she applies for school and transfers her credits before she leaves. She agreed with all of this.

Essentially I’ve committed to her that as long as she’s here with me I’ll help her with her education, but once she leaves she’s an adult and will have to pay for it herself.

With the stipulations I’ve put on it, that she’s agreed to and think are reasonable, I think she’ll be around through the summer and maybe the fall. In December she turns 18 so it won’t matter after that point anyway. I haven’t talked to her parents about any of this, but at this point they’ve left her in my hands to play parent and these are the decisions that her and I are making together. She can’t stay a child forever.

She finally got her birth certificate and social security card in the mail yesterday so she’s going to start turning in applications for jobs today and tomorrow.

I’m happy that she was mature enough to accept that she shouldn’t leave until she can be a financial equal with her boyfriend. That gives me a lot of confidence in her. I really hope that in the next few months she can start to understand a little about how to budget, about loans and most importantly that she should avoid credit cards. If I can teach her that much it will be a success. If she moves to Arizona and stays in school – even more of a success!

Learning From Mistakes?

I’ve mentioned my sister living with me before. She’s supposedly here to go to college for two years before she transfers to a 4-year school.

Since she’s arrived I’ve gotten the distinct feeling that the only reason she wanted to move in with me is because she thought that it would be easier for her to move in with her boyfriend.

When she moved in with me she was 4 days shy of turning 17. She’s now 17. Her boyfriend is turning 21 next month. He lives in Arizona.

She went and visited him for a week before the semester started and came back saying she wanted to drop out of school (after I had paid tuition and bought books) and move in with him. That way she could work and save money and be “more financially responsible.”

The problem is that my 17 year old sister is in WAY over her head.

(Side note: my 17 year old sister thinks she’s mature enough to move in with her BF and I’m 30 and I’ve never lived with a boy, even though I dated one for 5 years and another for 2 years. Do I just have too much expectation when it comes to living with someone or does she just have too little? Or do I have the voice of the past telling me “Most relationships end, so don’t financially entangle yourself until the relationship is fully committed”? I’m afraid that I may be out of touch on this one..)

The purpose of her living with me is to learn how much things costs. To learn to live independently with a safety net. The idea was that she would get a job, pay a minimal rent, pay for her own food, toiletries, clothes, and a portion of her education costs.

Since she’s been here we’ve been waiting for her mom to send out her work stuff (passport, social security card) – which her mom hasn’t done yet because she’s mad at my sister (for not calling her enough). This is a whole other issue that I don’t even want to deal with. I keep telling my sister to just kiss her mom’s ass until she gets what she needs from her – apparently at 17 the idea of “give it to me now” is more ingrained than “do what you need to do to get what you need.”

Every moment she spends is talking to her BF, about him. Everything else is misery and it is clear that my sister won’t be happy unless she is with him.

She is posting statuses on Facebook claiming that being here “will pass” and that soon she’ll be with “her love”.

Quite honestly, I am offering myself, my money and my house to her as a gift. She’s paid not a single red cent to me the time she’s been here. I’m so broke right now from having to buy more food it is insane. I’d love to have that extra room available for an office and craft room or to rent it out to someone who would be a decent roommate and pay their half of the bills.

If she is bound and determined to move in with him – I don’t see why the heck I shouldn’t just give her what she wants.

She wants financial responsibility, she can have it. She wants to be responsible for her rent, her food, her clothes, her transportation, her tuition, her EVERYTHING. Go for it. It has only been a little over a month that she’s been with me and quite honestly I don’t have the patience or the gumption to convince a 17 year old girl that she should stay in school and finish her two years of lower division classes before she moves in with her boyfriend, accidentally gets pregnant and spends the rest of her life as an uneducated mother. Okay – that last part is more fiction than reality – but not an unlikely scenario. Who will pay for her health care costs? Insurance? Well, if she lives with him – she will be.

I have put so much in to making sure I had an apartment that would suit both of us, planning out her classes that she’ll need for the major she wants, finding out about bus lines for her, helping her register for classes, getting her information on scholarships and financial aid. And all she wants to do is complain at me that “I’m not letting her” be with her boyfriend.

Screw it.

If she wants to live with him so be it. I’ll be around when it eventually ends.  Because it will – really – how many of us ended up with the person we dated when WE were 16/17?

Am I wrong?

If a 17 year old is bound and determined to do something – it is pretty hard to make them not want it anymore. At some point you have to let them make their own mistakes or they’ll never figure it out. At what point do you stop protecting someone from potential mistakes and let them make them so that they can learn from what they’ve done?

What I’m Not Telling You

Okay, so I have a confession. It is time for full disclosure and please, I expect you all to berate me for this one.

See, my sister is starting college today. But the deadline to pay her tuition so she could take her classes was last week. I hadn’t received any money from her mom or our dad (she’s my half sister). So I put her tuition for this semester on my credit card.

I chose an installment plan that I had to put $300 upfront (I then repayed this back with the $330 that I had remaining from my yearly savings fund). Then they charged me $700 on each of the 3rd of January, February and March.

The next semester tuition will be due in April.

I have wanted to pay (or help pay) my sister’s tuition. That was part of the impetus for me to get debt free. She just ended up going to college a half year earlier than I was anticipating and getting out of debt (because of my move) has been pushed back a year longer than I expected.

Here is the issue: she’s 17, neither of her parents have residency in Kansas, so she has a choice of either paying in state tuition (using my address) OR getting financial aide (she’ll have to use her parent’s address). Since she’s going to a community college, the in state tuition is most likely cheaper than the amount of financial aide she’ll be able to get that isn’t loan.

So until she is 18 (a year from now) we won’t be filing for financial aide.

She does however qualify for a merit based scholarship after this semester is over that if she gets would cover her entire tuition + $10 in cash for every credit hour she enrolls in. Trust me, I’ll be making sure she applies for this scholarship. I think she’ll be very competitive with it as well.

Okay, so before you think I’ve run off the deep end getting myself in to all kinds of debt, you should know that my dad was FURIOUS when he found out that I put her tuition on my credit card. (I’m sorry Dad, but you knew when her tuition was due, why didn’t YOU pay it?) Anyway, he plans on sending me $500/month to help pay for her tuition, books, living expenses, ect. This will MORE than help out if he does this and keeps up with it.

Also, the plan is that my sister will get a job soon and start saving money to help pay for her food, toiletries, books and part of her tuition starting in the summer.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know – there is also the added problem that my barely 17 year old sister wants to drop out of college and move to Arizona with her BF because she thinks that is “financially more responsible”. She doesn’t want to feel “indebted” to anyone. While I want to scream at her and say “THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE IF YOU DO THIS!!”

I have convinced her to stay until the end of the semester. Asked her to work out a budget for how much she would need to spend on rent, food, car, insurance, cell phone, etc. I may be able to use the power of “you’re not 18” to keep her here through the Fall semester. Then, I can only hope and pray the power of “they break up between now and then” or “you only have 1 more semester to finish your AA here” will keep her around until she transfers to a 4-year school. At which point if she wants to move in with her BF I can’t stop her and at least I’ll have done everything I can to make sure she has a strong educational foundation. What she does with it – well – that’s her business at that point.

Okay… so there it is… expect my debt number to go up on my sidebar. But know this is because of my sister’s tuition and I should be getting most of it back  (without interest of course).

(Also, knowing that I’m putting money on my card during this time is one of the reasons why I haven’t been 100% in to pulling my money out of my retirement to pay debt. It seems silly to stop saving for retirement to pay down a debt that is actively increasing at this time.)

College For My Sister

Today my sister went in to do her assessments and meet with the counselors and take a campus tour.

She did FANTASTIC on her assessment tests. She scored an 86% on her college algebra test (not bad for not studying) and didn’t pass the trig test (56%). Not surprising since she’s never taken a trig course, so she’ll start there with her math classes. She’ll need to get through Calc II.

Her English and Writing assessments were amazing. She got a 95% on one and a 96% on the other. She speak Engrish good. 😉 Her scores also qualify her being able to take the Honor’s level English Composition classes – which is great because she likes being in classes with other motivated/strong students. Also, it means she can take honors contracts in any of the classes she chooses (including Chemistry!)

She loved the school and is exceptionally excited and motivated to get this college process started. I think if she could begin taking classes tomorrow she would!

The main problem is that she doesn’t qualify for resident tuition this semester. I’ve only been here for 5 months and I would have to be here for 6 months to qualify. Turns out they didn’t even CHECK our residency in any way, so I could have lied and they never would have known (if we didn’t apply for financial aide, that is). Alas, now she’s stuck paying out of state tuition for this semester – which is twice as much as resident.

Oh yes, and also because she (and her mom) didn’t pay any attention to the deadlines she won’t be able to qualify for financial aid this semester either. But as soon as my dad gets residency here then we can apply for it for next semester.

To take 11 units at the non-resident tuition (the bare minimum she needs to take to be able to finish before Fall 2012 when she would transfer) will cost us $2,000.

In the summer she’ll need 11 units again, which at the resident tuition will cost $850. (Such a difference!)

She’ll then need 42 more units over the course of 3 more semesters ($3,120) to finish her degree.

So all told, just for classes, it will cost us around $6,000 to get my sister the first TWO years of her education. My goal (I don’t know if this is anyone else’s) is to get her through this period of her schooling with no student loans. Then when she transfers to a 4 year school she can pay for that with student loans. Hopefully doing well enough in her community college classes to get some decent transfer scholarships (I know she can get at least a 50% tuition scholarship at the school I teach at).

How are we going to pay for this $6,000 over the course of the next 2 years?

Well, I’m putting aside $100/month for her. This will come off of my debt payment money. I’ll still be paying OVER my minimum payment, but not as much as I could be. This comes out to $2,400 over the course of the next two years just from me.

My dad’s child support money will also pay for her tuition. So for the next year (she turned 17 today) he’ll be paying about $200/month to her. We’ve already agreed (her, her mother and I) that this money go to her tuition. That is another $2,400 this year. Total thus far: $4,800. Hopefully my dad will man up and actually pay this every month since she’ll be very dependent on it. Also, I hope he continues to contribute money to her until she graduates college. But that is between her and him after she turns 18.

Where is the rest coming from? Her mom wants to also help her. She’s giving her some money for food and books. She doesn’t have a lot of money because she’s been living off of disability and unemployment for pretty much as long as my sister has been alive. Her grandparents also want to help, but I don’t know how much, but since they’re both retired I doubt it will be more than a few hundred dollars over the course of a year. I plan on making a Smart Piggy account for her family to donate money to and see the progress. Hopefully each year we can get them to contribute $300-500 to help her pay for books.

Also, once she gets a job she’ll be paying me for rent and bills (15% of her income). Assuming that she worked 15 hours a week for minimum wage she’d get about $400/month. So I’d get $60/month for rent and bills (and $40 that would go to a savings account). I’m putting the rent/bills money right back in to her college fund. So assuming that she gets a job in February (a girl can dream!), we’d get around $1,200 to apply to her college fund.

Grand total (assuming everything works out!): $6,000.

Amazingly, exactly what we would need.

When I put it down on ‘paper’ like this it seems obtainable and reasonable. Also, the hope is that eventually she’ll be able to get some financial aide which will reduce this total significantly anyway.

Note: If I ever have kids, start saving for college immediately. Even $30/month for 18 years could pay for my sister’s first two years… no problem…

My sister: The morning after

My sister finally arrived yesterday. It has been an eventful 24 hours to say the least.

We got her to her community college and she did her orientation. The plan was to get her assessments done and registered for classes, but because it was finals week they weren’t doing assessments so we’re going back monday morning to do that. She can register after the assessments are done.

They came back to my place and unloaded all her stuff (she brought everything, even summer clothes) and I went back to work. When I came back my sister was unpacking her room and her mom was cleaning my stuff (she’s my half sister, I’m not related to her mom). She cleaned the bathroom, dusted and reorganized by entertainment stuff, my kitchen. Lemme tell you guys, I cleaned WEDNESDAY. The stuff was not dirty. But she just couldn’t stop herself. Which is annoying. I don’t like it when people clean other people’s places. But in her mind she was cleaning her daughter’s new home. Still. Annoying.

We all sat down last night and had a discussion of the rules, and we changed a few of them and amended some of them. We agreed to monthly apartment meetings where we discuss the finances of the apartment, any issues we have, grades, school work, ect. It is an anything goes meeting where the main focus is money.

The discussion went well and here are the final “rules” we laid in place for her/us. She is the “I” in these statements.

  • I agree to participate in weekly chores as assigned or chosen.
  • I agree to not partake of any alcohol, smoking or drugs until she is of the legal age (if appropriate). If I am found to have done any of these inside or outside the apartment I will be asked to leave and sent home.
  • I agree to get a part time job of at least 15 hours per week within 2 months of arriving, if not sooner. If a job is not found within 5 months with inadequate action taken to find a job, I will be asked to leave and sent home.
  • Until I get a job I will pay for my food, my portion of the apartment food fund and toiletries with the money that my mom sends me every month. After I get a job I will contribute $20/week to the apartment food fund and may pay for the other items as I wish.
  • Once getting a job each paycheck I will contribute 25% of my take home salary to paying for living expenses in the apartment up to a maximum of $375/month. The money will be used as follows:
    • 15% of my take home salary (up to a max of $225 per month) will be contributed to paying for bills (rent, electricity, water).
    • 10% of my take home salary (up to a maximum of $150 per month) will be contributed by SS4BC to an emergency fund for me. This will be given to me at SS4BC’s discretion to pay for emergencies. Emergencies include things such as emergency airfare for funerals, medical payments, etc. Emergencies will not cover vacations, entertainment, new clothes, etc. Upon turning 18 the emergency fund will be given to me to use at my discretion.
  • The remainder of my take home salary after the above mentioned “bills” are paid can be used at my discretion for entertainment, clothes, food, toiletries, vacations, etc.
  • The child support money from our dad will be used to pay for college expenses such as tuition, books, school supplies.
  • I agree to meet at least once a month for apartment financial discussions.
  • I agree to take a personal finance class at the local community college and attend Financial Peace University with my sister.
  • We both agree to not have more than 1 or 2 friends over without at least 24 hour consent of each other.
  • I agree that while living with SS4BC I will continually be working towards my college education, taking at least 12 credit hours of classes in the Fall and Spring semesters and at least 6 credit hours in the summer. If I elect to work more than 30 hours per week in the summer at my job, I can reduce the number of credit hours I take to 3.
  • I agree to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, but strive for as high of a GPA as I can.
  • I commit to studying 3 hours per week outside of class for every 1 hour of class I have. Thus, a 3 credit hour class requires 9 hours of work per week outside the classroom. 12 credit hours of classes (considered a full load) would thus require me to commit to 36 hours of study per week outside of classroom hours. The key to success in college is putting those hours of study in whether you think you need it or not.
  • I understand that it is MY responsibility to make sure that I get to class, get to work, and keep my end of the deal in this living arrangement. I understand that my failure to follow through with the above listed items is unacceptable and I will be asked to leave. By signing this I agree to these conditions and their consequences.

Some of the rules, especially the money ones, were unclear to her how they would be accomplished. It will also be at least a month it seems before she even starts looking for a job. The next step is to get her a checking account, since her mom will be sending her checks. Made difficult by the fact that neither she nor her mom know her social security number.

She also forgot to bring any form of ID aside from her high school ID, so her mom is going to mail out her passport and social security card – so she can qualify for employment.

It is really strange having another person living with me again. I knew this was coming… eventually… it is just weird that the day is finally here.

I’d love to say that this will be financially benefitial for me as having a roommate means getting rent. But it won’t be. Any money she gives me for rent I’ll be giving right back to her (plus some) to help pay tuition. Tuition alone for the first semester will be around $2,000 since I don’t yet have residency in the state. Our dad is switching his residency to Kansas so that she will qualify FOR SURE (since her residency is based on where her parents live, not where she lives, until she’s 18).

All in all, $2,000 for a semester of school isn’t bad. Especially when the cost is being split between myself, her mom, my dad, and her grandparents. That is only $500 for each of us a semester – very doable.

My hope is that I can find some sort of website where we can post her tuition (know the goal money that we need) and then have people contribute to it (like via paypal or something). Does anyone know of a site where I can do this? It would be nice to have that available to send to her family so they know exactly how much money she needs for tuition.

The other option (which we’re considering) is just reducing the number of hours she takes in the spring until my dad gets residency (would could in June if he got it in January when he’s here for a month). If she took a 3/4 load the cost would be quite a bit less for sure.

The nice thing for her is that I have access to just about any math or science book she would need for her classes. That eliminates a huge burden of cost right there!

The Bed

Warning: Not my real bed.

One of the things I’ve needed to get for a while was a bed so that my sister had something to sleep on.

The way I see it I had a few options:

1. Buy her a cheap ass bed and save me some $$$. Casting my sister into eternal suffering each night

2. Buy myself a new bed and she can inherit my 9 year old queen bed.

Can you guess which one I chose? Yup, option #2.

Yesterday BF and I went bed shopping (together, awwww…). The first store I was in I was tempted with this delicious non-spring based bed. OMG. I felt like I was laying in heaven. It was so comfortable. The right amount of firm and soft, support, ect. This bed was quality. BF and I just laid on it and even snuggled (in the store, we’re gross like that) with complete bliss. The downside? $1900. For a bed. That’s a lot of dough. I managed to talk the salesmen into 2 years 0% interest, a free bed frame, free delivery, AND a free mattress protector. Calculate it all out and I’m paying ~$80/month for two years. Yikes, that’s a lot.

We then went to the other store near my apartment. Here we found another bed. Not as wonderful and dreamy as the first, but we both agreed it was about 80-85% as comfortable as the bed at the other store. The upside? It was on sale. Regular price $1695. Sale price? $995. The bonus? $50 off coupon good only for another two days. I managed to talk the salesman into a free mattress pad, free bed frame and (you guessed it) free delivery. Because of the price point (less than $1,000) I was only able to get interest free financing for 12 months. So I’d be paying (when you include tax) $90/month for one year to pay it off.

Which did I chose? Dream bed #1 or more practical bed #2?

As much as I wanted the first bed, it was twice the price as the second, and BF and I both agreed that it wasn’t twice the comfort.

So I signed the dotted line on bed #2.

On the flip side, BF mentioned that it we ever do move in together we might consider splurging together on a bed like the first one. That made me grin. Of course, he knows good and well that I don’t plan on moving in with anyone until I’m engaged, but it was still a sweet thought.

Anyway, I’ll need to redo my budget for the next year to include a $90 bed payment every month and avoid the 29% interest that starts if I DON’T get it paid off in 12 months. Dang… that’s some good incentive there. 😉

P.S. When I applied for financing I was approved for $2,800. Dang… $2,800 on a bed? That would be the nicest bed in the entire world! And at that price point I would have no interest for 3 years… and still only $80/month. Lemme tell ya… that is kinda tempting, but I’ve already made my decision. I slept on bed  #2 last night and it was fantastically comfortable!