DIY Fence Build

As I mentioned in the about me page, I am a big DIY and yet I haven’t written a single post on any projects. Well that is about to change, but this won’t be a step by step guide, more of an overview.

Our new house needed an area fenced in so our dog could take care of his business. He really doesn’t need a fence, it was more to keep other animals out during his early morning and late night adventures. Otherwise he is free to roam when we are outside.

That said, I wanted to keep his fenced in area to a minimum and have it blend in with the deck and rest of the yard. As normal with anything I do, I spent hours costing out different options ranging from black chain link, to rod iron, to picket fences. The most logical conclusion I came to was a pressure treated dog eared fence.  This style was the most economical and matched the surroundings the best. Having a style picked, I need an overall design for the fence, approximately 52” high, approximately 20ft x20ft, and I wanted a double gate on one side. This would allow a riding tractor to fit in the area to mow. Simple and straight forward.

There were a couple of choices for the location of the fence, but it was relatively easy choice for me on this one. I ended up picking a location right off the back of the house and deck. This meant I only had to install 2 sides of fence, as the house and the deck would as the other 2 sides. It also meant building an extra set of stairs off of the deck into the new fenced in area and building a gate for the current set of decks stairs and blocking under the deck.  The areas in red are the stuff that needed to be built.

I planned on making 2 trips to the local building supply store, 1 for the fencing and 1 for the stairs. I ended up making 4 trips in total. I forgot the hardware to make the fence gates and a couple of other odds and ends. I need a couple of work breaks anyway.

To start, I lined up my deck and house and squared everything off with string. This would give me a starting point on where I need to dig my hole for my fence posts. I dug holes for a couple of hours one evening and early the next morning. This is not fun and would recommend renting a machine if you have any more than 8-10 holes. Soil/dirt condition make a huge difference. At the old house our soil was all sand, it was really easy to dig by hand, here in the Georgia it is all clay and hard clay at that. With the holes dug I set all corner and main posts, making sure they were square.

The next step was running stringers or supports between the fence posts. Pressure treated 2×4’s were used and cut to length. I used 2 per section, 1 near the top and 1 near the bottom. These give you a backing to mount the actual fencing against. I had already set my fence height at 52” high, so I had to cut all the fence boards to that length. Some quick math gave me the distance I needed between boards so I could use all full fence board. Away I went hanging the fencing and only had to cut 1 end board.

   

The last step for the actual fence was to build the double gate. I bought some fancy looking hinges from a local shop. I wish I had the time to do some flea market or yard sale shopping, but it didn’t work out this time. I made the gates myself and designed them to match the fence style. I was really happy with how the area came out.

    

I won’t go into much detail around the stairs, but I built a second set of stairs off the deck following the same design as the rest of the deck. They came out as expected, nothing special, just another set of steps.

I also built a gate for the existing set of stairs, this stops the dog from going into the yard. It matches the deck rail design. Lastly, I used wood lattice panel cut to size to block off under the deck. It was a perfect fit for the project. You can see both in the background of this picture.

After 3 days of work, the dog had a new area. I think this picture sums up his feelings for the new spot.

Net Worth Update #4 – July ’17

Here we are again, another month, another Net worth update. July was a really good month for us. We saw some nice increases pretty much across the board, but did have some additional expense with the new house. Our old house is on the market and hopefully it won’t take long for a buyer.

I had mention in the post about putting it all together that I had never tracked or officially calculated our net worth. I started back in April 2017 with the first Net Worth Update #1  and will continue to track and post monthly. As I mentioned, July saw a good jump net worth based on a strong month with investments, a bonus at work, and selling a couple of big ticket items for the move. I will go into the numbers in more detail below. Now, let’s get to this month’s numbers.

Net Worth Update #3 – June ’17

 

Wow, time is flying. Sorry for the late net worth monthly post. We have been so focused on moving and getting the new house up and going I have had no time to post. The next week will be hectic, but hopefully after that things will be back to normal and I can get back to a regular posting schedule.

I had mention in the post about putting it all together that I had never tracked or officially calculated our net worth. I started back in April 2017 with the first Net Worth Update #1  and will continue to track and post monthly. June saw a major drop in net worth due to purchasing the new house, but not nearly as much as I thought. I will go into the numbers in more detail below.  The drop isn’t a concern as it will jump back up as soon as our old house sells. Now, let’s get to this month’s numbers.

Dollars and cents behind the move

I have previously mentioned that we are moving. The driving force behind this was to be closer to my in-laws and along the way reduce our monthly expense. It would also be nice if we could walk away with some extra money to invest. Below is a quick break down of where I see us being in a couple of months.

Old House Numbers:

Market Value $305,000 – $310,000.

1,400 sqft, 3bed/3bath, .8 acres

Current Mortgage: $193,548

A move is coming

I have to say I am not the best writer nor the most organized with getting my thoughts on virtual paper. I am sure this post will jump around a bit and with that here we go.

I mentioned in the May Net Worth post that we had bought another house and are planning a move. We are moving from New England to the great state of Georgia. Where do I start with this one? I was born and raised in the same area of New England for my entire life and my wife has lived here for about 15 years. This is a huge change for both of us. Trading in the cold weather gear, 4 seasons, and the snow (No more snow blowing!!) for warmer weather, longer swimming season and slower pace of life.

Over the last 10 years

Net Worth Update #2 – May ’17

Here we go with the second net worth monthly post. I had mention in the post about putting it all together that I had never tracked or officially calculated our net worth. I started back in April 2017 with the first Net Worth Update #1  and will continue to track and post monthly. May was an exciting month for us as we are buying a new house and it is only 1,100 miles away. This is why I haven’t posted in the last few weeks, I have been tied up with this new house thing. I will be posting about this new adventure and be asking a lot of questions along the way. Now, let’s get to this month’s numbers.

Net Worth Report #1- Baseline

This is my first net worth monthly post. I had mention in the post about putting it all together that I had never tracked or officially calculated our net worth. Well here it is Net Worth Update #1.

Net worth progress:

Total – Retirement $368,906 Total – Installment $0
Total – Liquid $24,928 Total – Transacting $3,973
Total – Investments $232,957 Total – Revolving $0
Total – Physical $92,002 Total – Physical $226,215
Total Assets $718,793 Total Debts $230,188
Net Worth Apr ’17 $488,604
      Monthly Change Start Date
      Change Since Apr $0

There we have it, a net worth of $488,604, almost half way to our goal of $1,000,000. I am excited to continue

Taking Lunch to Work

Anyone looking for an easy way to start saving for financial independence or early retirement? My current employer has a cafeteria on site, it makes it so convenient for everyone to buy lunch, but I think this is one of the biggest wastes of money. Ever since my first “real” summer job, I have been taking my lunch to work. I could never imagine buying lunch daily, but I see people do it every day.

I have never added up how much can be saved by bring lunch to work. Let’s give it a whirl. In my 15-year career, which would equate to roughly 3,375 working days, I can say I have bought a lunch around 30 times or .9% of the time.  

Putting it all together

I have been tracking our monthly bills and expenses since 2008, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I really took a hard look at our finances. We had debit like the majority of people do.  There was a mortgage ($1800), car payment ($315), truck payment ($450), undergraduate loan ($220), and a graduate loan ($270). This was over $3,000 a month is debt alone. If you add on top the monthly bills of cable, electric, cell phones, daycare, trash pickup, water, and insurances and so on you get another $1,400-$1,700 a month in bills. We still have to account for food, gas, beer, eating out and misc spending, yet another $1,400 a month. A total of $5,800+ a month!!! Wow! And I thought we were doing well. I was paying the credit cards monthly, was saving (401K), I was living the dream, just like everyone else. I was doing exactly what the world was telling us to do. 

Backyard Chickens

I forgot to mention in my about me page that we have chickens. We have had them for about 6 years now and currently have 5 Rhode Island reds. We lost one last fall from a predator attack. This is actually our 3rd set of chickens over the years. All of them have been lost to predator attacks, but lessons have been learned from each loss. The chicken coop has been modified over the years to help eliminate the chance of any additional attacks on the chickens.  I will write more about the coop setup in the future, but today I wanted to discuss the cost of store bought eggs verse our fresh eggs. If we eliminate the “startup” cost of the chickens, which would include purchasing them and building the coop, and focus on the straight cost of buying and feeding the chickens. Our “ladies”, as we like to call them, are giving us ~4 eggs a day, 28/week, 112/month or roughly 9 dozen a month. The cost to feed the ladies on a monthly basis in $12.50, which would equate to $.11/egg. Store bought eggs cost $1.69/dozen which comes out to $.14/egg. If you want to buy cage free eggs the price jumps up to $2.99/dozen or $.25/egg. Doing some quick math this comes out to a $40/year savings over store bought or $188/year savings verse buying cage free eggs. Not a huge savings, but there is nothing like fresh eggs. Plus, we have 5 beautiful chickens that give us some entertainment as well. Feel free to pass along any egg related recipes, we are always looking for new ways to cook eggs.