You’re reading a series that I started during the coronavirus quarantine shutdown of New York State.
I wanted to document what’s been happening in the local metropolitan New York area to provide anthropological observations during this global pandemic and what’s been going on in my life in terms of some key aspects.
You can start at the beginning of the series here.
Some background info
We live about 30 minutes outside of New York City in the suburbs.
We currently live with my parents.
We’re small business owners of an essential business.
We’re getting an apartment!
I’m glad Jasmine really pushed me to start saving $300 a week toward a downpayment for a house in the area because it allowed us to have enough money saved up to move in to an apartment.
Yes, that’s right, WE’RE MOVING INTO OUR OWN APARTMENT!
When I got my $1200 stimulus check, I moved $100 into stock, and $100 into Vanguard SP500 index mutual fund.
The remaining $1000 I put into an Ally Bank savings account labeled for downpayment on a house.
Jasmine and I reasoned that if we both put away $300/week per person, we’d be able to have a decent downpayment on a house within the next year or two.
The reason why we were looking into buying a house in the area is because it’s way cheaper to own a house than to rent.
A 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in our area might be anywhere from $1800 to $2200 a month.
But if you have enough downpayment on a home, your mortgage for 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house might be the same price.
So you get more rooms, more bath, more space, and more land, all for the same price.
The rent for the apartment we’re moving into is $1200 a month, utilities included.
That is like GOLDEN, with a view of the water.
I feel like we lucked out and found the UNICORN apartment of the metropolitan New York area.
The landlord is cool, the area is upper middle to upper class, and the waterfront is right there.
We had to pay $1200 three times.
$1200 for the first month’s rent ahead of time.
$1200 for security deposit.
$1200 for broker fee.
I googled to see if a broker’s fee is normal, and google said only if the apartment is cheap.
I suppose if apartments are more expensive in rent, the broker already makes his money from a fee from the landlord.
I luckily had $2400 saved up in my Ally bank savings account, $1000 from the stimulus check, and the rest from $300 a week savings.
I asked to see the apartment, did the tour, then asked for it right away.
Luckily I caught the broker right before he flew to Florida for 2 weeks that same day, so everything happens for a reason.
The apartment was ours in a matter of minutes.
It was on the market for almost 2 weeks by the time I got to it so I’m still curious why it was on the market for so long but I think it going vacant during coronavirus might have something to do with it.
With the whole “people not having enough money to pay for rent” going on in America.
I told Jasmine how I’m glad she pushed me to start saving for a house because if she didn’t, we would have had to sell out of some of our stocks/mutual funds in order to pay for the $3600 in upfront apartment costs.
But now, our home fund is depleted but we’re looking to start building that up again.
One step at a time 🙂
I’m just glad we didn’t have to dig into our investments, that way they can keep growing.
I made an apple card!
The application took a few minutes.
I also asked for the titanium physical card too.
It feels so magical!
I never believed in Apple Pay until I made the apple card and added it to my apple wallet.
It works really well at checkout in the grocery stores and I get instant 2% cash back if I use Apple Pay and tap the phone on the check out screen.
If I use the card number for online payments or use the card for physical payments, it’s only 1% cash back.
Overall, I did the estimation of cash back and I think I might be able to recapture about $12-24 worth of money back annually by using the apple card.
That equates to about 1-2 months of Audible for audiobooks, or 1-2 new books from Amazon, or several used books from eBay.
Either way, it’s nice to be able to get this “free” money back so I can use it to purchase things that will grow my mental capacity/human capital, etc.
We started doing Instacart!
You can use my Instacart sign-up link here.
There might be bonuses for both of us if you use my link and sign up.
Though don’t quote me on that, as details and perks might have changed since the time of this writing.
Jasmine made her instacart account months ago before COVID-19 became a thing.
She sent me an invite and I made an account a few weeks ago.
Both of us never started it and put it off for weeks.
Then we decided that if we don’t start now, we never will.
So this Tuesday, we just woke up early and started doing it.
As of this writing, we made about $300 to $400 collectively.
Not too shabby.
It beats driving Uber.
Our goal is to use the money we get from Instacart to pay for rent and the income we get from our small business to invest and save for FIRE and our future.
Because rent is $1200 a month, utilities included, we need to make about $300 a week on Instacart to make rent.
We’ve already surpassed that, I think we’re at $330 for 4 days, for being completely new at this.
I see us getting faster and faster because in the next few weeks, we should have visited most of the grocery stores in our area and know exactly where everything is.
Thus making us able to complete orders faster and faster for faster money.
We think if we aim to do Instacart every morning for 7 days a week before we go to work, and on our days off basically do Instacart all day, we could collectively be bringing in $700 a week.
Meaning about $2800 a month just via instacart.
Meaning one month’s worth of instacart would pay for two month’s worth of rent and still allow us to save money toward downpayment on a house.
We shall see how this goes.
Some fun observations on the public during this time
Now almost everyone wears masks out in public.
2 months of quarantine has changed a lot of habits for people.
Whereas before people didn’t think about masks at all, now they all think about masks.
I’m seeing a lot more masks hung up in the dashboards of cars, so people can wear them before they go into stores, and then take them off when they’re done.
A lot of non-essential stores are still closed because of the NY mandate.
I predict a lot of retail stores and commercial locations are going to be available for sale or lease in the upcoming months.
This means if we save up enough money, we should be able to snatch up some prime real estate to build a portfolio.
I want to create a botanical garden in my county.
There you have it guys!
It’s been an action-packed week.
Hopefully you were able to get some value out of it.
The point I want to get across is that patience pays off in waiting for the right deal to show up.
Also, aim for side-hustles that you enjoy, because you’ll be doing a lot of it to make money and being unhappy is no way to go about life.
We were waiting for an affordable apartment within our price range for months, almost a year before this one showed up.
But when the opportunity shows up, you also need to be prepared.
If that apartment showed up and we wanted it but we didn’t have the money, well that sucks.
But we saved away as much as could, we didn’t eat out, and we didn’t buy anything new, and we put it all towards savings and it just so happened we had enough for the apartment.
Life sometimes suck, and sometimes you’re in a less than ideal life situation way longer than you’d like, but keep working hard and working smart to create your way out.
Patience + preparation + perseverance = win