This is the time of year we pull together all the financial information from the prior year so we can file our tax return.
We both individually file a Schedule C (Self-employment) with our tax return even though the businesses for both of us are called “Charlie and Jo”.
Charlie is a piano player and I am a singer/manager. Charlie determines how many gigs he’s done and how much money he made. I consolidate his reckonings with my own.
We both figure out the mileage for our cars that constitutes getting to and from music engagements.
I calculate investments and expenses both for our personal finances and our business finances. In addition to filling out the multiple page tax packet our accountant sends I also make a cheat sheet summary version that’s easy for me to see how the money came and went.
The tile setters started working 2 days ago and basically laid the floors of the two bathrooms in the first day.
The master bathroom floor is basketweave Carrera marble with a medium grey dot.
I ordered plenty for the entire project because I calculated the square footage and added 10%. Since I had to buy full boxes of tile I rounded down just a little bit.
Unfortunately I had purchased the conservatory bathroom tile first and I forgot about the 10% rule. So stupid, but when I’m sitting in front of the computer ordering tile from Home Depot, what did I know?
After the tile arrived, I knew the conservatory floor tile would be close. Apparently too close since I needed to order 6 more sheets. I immediately hopped online to order a few more tiles: 5 tiles would incur a $9.45 shipping charge while 6 tiles (at $7.95 each) would be shipped for free.
The tile setters are not grouting the tile until all the tile — both floors and walls — is set. I’ve spent the whole day texting “Tee hee hee” to Charlie. He concurs.
Do building materials tickle your fancy? What does?
Notice I didn’t say “we’re on schedule”. I received an email yesterday from our tile setter:
“Hi Charlie and Jo. With all the polishing of the glass tile edges and setting tiles looks like I can drop the price down to $8000 even. I wish I could do more on the price but the work I do I pay close attention to detail. Most tile setters won’t take the time that I do on polishing the tiles and try to hide it by covering it up with grout. Let me know what you think. Let me know as soon as possible.
The original quote totaled $8240 (broken into 4 separate quotes). Charlie asked him if he could look at the job and his numbers again and sharpen his pencil. His sharpened pencil saved us $240. That’s a day’s wages at least, right?
He had already put us on his schedule for November. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know exactly when since our date is based on the finishing of his other projects.
This is the same person that put in our shower waterproofing here and here.
From that job I know he is a detail oriented craftsman.
To get everything in perspective for the bathrooms the list looks like this:
So that ought to keep us busy. I’m predicting the bathrooms won’t be finished by the end of 2015 but by the time Spring, 2016, is upon us we’ll have 2 more working bathrooms. Hoping to have the toilets up and running before Christmas.
Are you good at predicting how long projects will take? Cost?
Then came the wall tile for the shower. Both Best Tile and Conestoga had the same tile but it was 54 cents cheaper per square foot at Conestoga. (I need 140 square feet). That’s a $75 savings.
Happily, since I had a written quote, Best Tile was able to match the price of not only the field tile but also the bullnose tiles on which I saved 19 cents per tile.
Again I remind everyone to just ask for a discount. It can always be denied but in this case the salesperson seemed happy to make the adjustment since she could basically prove it was warranted by my paperwork (which I lugged into the store).
It was helpful to have photos with measurements. When the Best Tile representative and I were talking about the bullnose tiles it was easy to point to an area and describe what would be most appropriate in a certain spot, from her perspective and from mine. Her counsel really helped me decide.
I clicked onto Amazon and thought a wireless remote would work well in the bedroom for the lamps.
Our bedroom lamps are vintage and work on pull chains which are a little touchy.
Charlie’s is controlled by the switch near the door but mine is plugged into a surge protector strip on the floor. I have to lean over to turn it on and off. Not convenient when I’m ready to fall asleep. So I bought a set of 3 for $15.
While I was on Amazon I remembered that the furnace in our basement had recently been cleaned and serviced and that the technician told Charlie we should get a dehumidifier for the basement to prolong the life of the furnace.
After doing a quick check of recommendations at ConsumersReport.org (which I access through my public library card) I purchased a 50 pint Frigidaire dehumidifier for $188.
I was looking for a dehumidifier that would run continuously if a hose were run into a drain. We don’t have a drain in the cellar but there is a well with a sump pump that will serve the same purpose.
We used to have a dehumidifier in the Cottage so if this one works well we might purchase another for out there after we get it cleaned up.
Do you follow through on recommendations made by plumbers, electricians, technicians, etc?
This is the time of year at The Glade when we re-enroll for our propane delivery.
We have a choice of about 5 local companies but have been with the same one for years since changing servers means changing out tanks.
I usually pre-pay in August for the estimated amount for the ensuing year. Pre-paying insures that the price doesn’t change as the year progresses. Last year’s price per gallon was $3.829.
Last year we used 331 gallons with a pre-buy of 400. We have a credit of $266.49. Before calling to ask about this year’s price I looked up the price of propane in our area for the past year or so here. Armed with the knowledge that the price is hovering just around $3 per gallon that’s the price I was shooting for.
Charlie is our inquirer and negotiator in these situations. When he called last week the price quoted was $3.559 per gallon. He called back this week and insisted politely asked them to sharpen their pencil and see what they could do for us.
The company rep called back later in the day to say the price per gallon for a customer like us is, da-da-da dah,
$2.999. With an order of 450 gallons that saves $252. The moral of the story is to “just ask”. The worse thing that happens is that they say “no”.
And we’re ordering more this year even though we didn’t use that much last year because we’re installing a new propane water heater in the Cottage which will use more propane.