Let me start by calming your fears. No, I wasn’t kidnapped by a drug lord. No, I didn’t go off-grid and join a commune. And no, I didn’t join the witness protection program and change my name to Consuela Banana Hammock. (Only fans of the show “Friends” will get that last one, and, you’re welcome.)
I’ve just been, well, busy. And, if I can be completely honest, I was a little burned out for a while. Over the last few months, I’ve been swarmed with emails and blog comments, many saying variations of “I want to buy a laundromat. Can you help me?” Or worse, those that ask questions that I’ve already discussed in a blog post somewhere. Urgh.
Some I’ve responded to, and some I haven’t. I just don’t have the time to get to all of them. And if I did, my kids would go unfed and I would start to look like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” from lack of consistent bathing. (So if you wrote and I haven’t responded, I’m sorry. Sort of.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love my readers in whatever form they come. But after a while, I began to feel like “the laundromat lady”. I was even starting to get quasi-hate mail that said “I wrote you a week ago, and you never answered me. I need answers. Are you going to respond???” As if I owe people something. So I stepped away for a while.
So What’s The Latest?
It’s the end of the year, so I figured it was time to give an update on life, finances, and laundromats. I’ll start with the first one.
Life is busy, but fairly normal. I recently took a sabbatical (possibly permanently) from all social media. It was taking up time and space that is better used elsewhere. And two months in, I don’t miss it a bit.
Our second oldest turned 18 recently, and she now has a job, and the independence that comes with having her own car. In fact, I’ve started calling her “Sasquatch”; I’m told she exists, but sightings are rare and undocumented.
And as you may remember from my last post, my husband Randy left his stressful, exhausting management job a few months ago, and retired at the age of 49. It’s great having him home (and awake past 6pm), and seeing him so relaxed and rejuvenated. He’s even started taking drum lessons, something he’s wanted to do for years.
As for me, I got a long-awaited promotion at work to Manager of Client Analytics. Woot.
With Randy retiring, it meant going down to one income (mine), but our living expenses were already less than what I make anyway, and I make pretty good money, so it hasn’t been much of a change. We do have less money for splurges than we used to, but I still wouldn’t change a thing.
As far as our progress towards financial independence goes, our savings have slowed down some. When Randy was working, he was investing his entire paycheck, so the laundromat income has now had to fill some of that savings gap. But, we’re still investing some of the profits back into the business itself. So once the laundromat remodel is completely done (we’re close!), we’ll be able to deposit more into our investment accounts.
And I still need to do a new Net Worth calculation to see where we’re at, but I’m admittedly a little nervous about the number I’m going to see. But I’ll eventually put on my big girl pants and do it.
When I last checked in, we were in escrow to buy a second laundromat, located about 20 minutes away. The seller was willing to carry the financing, and we were approved by the landlord to acquire the lease, so we thought things were fine and dandy and set to close.
But…then the landlord decided to dig into their toolbox, find a wrench, and throw it into things. They wanted to change the way the water bills were handled for the shopping center, which would have increased the expenses for the laundromat by about $600 a month (resulting in a loss of $7,200 in net income annually).
They had no plans to lower the rent to compensate for the additional water expense, and implementing the billing change was taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r, delaying the purchase of the laundromat. So after 5 months of waiting, with our cash sitting idle and uninvested, and no end in sight, we withdrew our offer.
But just a few weeks later, we found another laundromat for sale. Only 5 minutes from our house. It’s a real fixer-upper, but we negotiated the price down to the point that we could pay cash for it. (Details to come once we close escrow.) We’ve already been approved by the landlord to acquire the lease, and yesterday we wired the final funds from our investment account. We take possession on January 1st.
We have plans to completely gut the place and bring in new (or new-to-us) machines, and perform a full cosmetic overhaul. So I’m sure I’ll be sharing some dramatic before-and-after shots in the future as we remodel the place. We’ve got our work cut out for us, and it will likely take at least 6 months to a year to get it all done, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s a calculated risk, and we hope that it pays off.
Well, I better wrap this up, I’ve got a holiday party to get to and I’m sure you’ve had your fill of me by now. If I don’t pipe up again before the end of the year, have a safe, wonderful, thankful Christmas holiday and New Year. 2015 treated us very well, and I’m hoping that 2016 surpasses all of our expectations.
Until next time…