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From bad to worse...

September 18th, 2008 at 04:31 pm

So yeah, I haven't written in like a million years here. (well, since Feb. or so)

Things have gone from bad to worse. We have to start all over again. I was doing really well for a while, then I had one awful month at work (I work on commission) and needed major repair work done on my car (bye bye, emergency fund.. there's $6 in it now) and my husband STILL can't work because of his health problems.

On my crappy month at work where I made MUCH less than I'm used to, I spent nothing that wasn't a necessity, and I mean nothing. I paid cc's and loans that absolutely had to be paid or I'd see my interest rates go up to one million percent. Being that I needed the EF to fix the car (can't be without a vehicle, I need it to drive to and from jobs so I can make $$$) and that the money I made wasn't enough to cover all the bills, I wound up using cc's for gas, a meager amount of food, etc. Really, I wished there was another way and I'm sure people might think there was another way, but really, seriously, there wasn't.

So the loans, mortgage, etc., all got paid on time. Any bills I could pay I did, but there were some I didn't pay just because the $$$ was NOT there one bit and I can't pull it out of thin air. Electricity, water, phone, etc., didn't get paid which means THIS month I've been scrambling (even though I made my usual amount of $$$ and not like the month before) to now play catch up and I'm not doing a very good job. : (

I am miserable and desperate and absolutely sick of this.

I don't know how much longer....

May 24th, 2008 at 08:10 am

... I can put up with this. I hate to sound all dramatic and stuff, but I'm seriously starting to get at the end of my rope about our financial situation. We've been working hard to pay it off, yet we still owe SO MUCH that I just picture myself being 40 and having nothing because I'm still paying off debt, debt, debt. I really hate it and I've become very bitter and cranky about the whole thing. I realize it's all our fault, and although I TRY not to dwell on our STUPID we were, I still do.

I'm sick of having no money for anything and feeling like we have nothing. For example, our foster dog was left alone for 2.5 seconds and managed to tear up some towels that were in the laundry basket that was on the floor. Now we only have TWO bath towels left and no $$$ to go buy new ones. Two towels!! ARGH! My one pair of sunglasses broke. I don't feel like even taking $12 to go buy a new pair because I feel like it's not a necessity, but it's really annoying not to have them.

Our medical costs are through the roof and DH is still undiagnosed even after having a million tests run on him. Really, they have run EVERYTHING. He goes to about 8 doctors' appointments a month, give or take. 8 times $20 = $160 in co-pays, not counting co-pays for medication, but the $160 plus the $450 we pay in health insurnace = $610. PLUS whatever insurance doesn't cover on tests which varies from $25 to $75, depending. Blah.

I'm just losing all motivation because I feel like I've been doing so much to pay off debt and nothing is coming of it. It's really depressing to feel like we're never going to get out of this and I'm sick of it.

Just an update...

May 3rd, 2008 at 08:35 am

So we've been still plugging away, slowly, might I add. This is going to be a really rough month as it was slow at work.

I have to go food shopping today....uuuugggghhhh. I hate food shopping as it is, and now with what seems like everything skyrocketing, I hate it even more. Especially on a Saturday when it's busy... oh well, guess we need food.

I got a card from BJ's, a free membership trial for 60 days. I think I might head over there today because I want to check it out.. I know buying at those places can be a total ripoff and you can spend way more than you mean to, but there's some stuff it would be nice to have in bulk so I don't have to keep buying them all the time, especially since we eat the same meals like every week. So I'm going to go there with a limited amount of $$$ to see what they have.

So we haven't totally paid anything off lately, but I've noticed balances are getting smaller : ) Can't wait to pay stuff off though!! Hopefully when the stimulus check gets deposited we can pay some stuff off. My plan is to put it towards all the "little" irritating bills that I hate paying every month... the cards or loans that are now down to like $200 so that they're gone and it's one less thing to worry about paying on time, ya know?

Today is going to be spring clean the icky kitchen day. I am NOT looking forward to it one bit. Not at all. The whole fridge, under everything, clean, sanitize, etc. It should be great when it's done though!

Gotta go to the bank. UGH. I can't figure out how much money to take out of my check this week... I hate sitting down and making a weekly budget, always seems like something extra that's a necessity pops up, and then I always feel like I'm taking out too much for groceries, gas, etc. And I REALLY need new windshield wipers as mine are literally falling apart. *sigh*

www.Billshrink.com

April 18th, 2008 at 05:22 am

This is pretty nifty for anybody who has a cell phone plan! It analyzes your cell phone usage based on how many minutes/texts you tell it you use and then it tells you the best plans you can get : ) Thought it might be of interest!

How could I not have noticed this?? Grrrrr....

April 13th, 2008 at 05:56 pm

So I went to do my usual Sunday bill paying routine (I wait until Sunday... sorta seems to ruin the weekend if I do it Friday, so if I can wait, I do.) and pulled up my nifty Excel spreadsheet... I always do it on the computer, the whole "human error" thing was too much with me writing and adding and subtracting, so it was easier this way.

So I pay a bill. Look at the spreadsheet and wonder "hmm, my car payment isn't on here!" I panicked, as it would have been due like 10 days ago, and I swore up and down I paid it. Logged on to the online account banking dealie, it had cleared a while ago. I figured I must not have put it on my spreadsheet, but at $300 I thought that was very, very, odd, especially since I always double-check, even more so if it's a big thing like that! Then I look at the spreadsheet and realize that my car insurance, which I know 100% that I paid, was not on the spreadsheet as well.

So I start to panic. Did my computer shut down and reboot and not save it? How would I know what was paid?! So I start poking around and realize there's a SECOND check register spreadsheet that's the same up until mid march, except it seems as if I was sometimes using one, sometimes using another!!! ARGH! It's only by some MIRACLE that I wasn't bouncing checks left and right.

I print them out and sit down and figure out what was really paid when and fix it up. Then I look at the "balance" column and realize that it says $702.74! Having that much in the middle of the month with all the bills for the week paid?!?! That's never happened. ... I could go right ahead and pay all the rest of April's bills at this very moment!!

I figure one of two things could be going on. 1) I must look at these and figure out where a mistake was made somewhere and there's something that I forgot to transfer to the "real" spreadsheet, or I put a second deposit in by accident. 2) Being that I was mostly working this month off of the spreadsheet with the much lower numbers on it, I THOUGHT we had WAY less money than we really did and I kicked everything into super duper frugal mode so we'd scrape by with just enough to pay the bills this month, thinking there was like $200 in there (that's what the other spreadsheet showed)

So yeeeaaaahhh.... This stinks, It should be easy being that I don't use a debit card, so it's only checks and deposits, but no....

Guess I'd better go take a second look at this nonsense. >: (

must stay focused...

April 11th, 2008 at 09:55 pm

I really, really must stay focused. There's something about spring that just screams "SPENNNNNDDDD!" to me... it always has. Probably because there's so much that I'd love to do with the house. A garden. Paint. New wall hangings. New dining room table. A patio set. All this I know won't make me as happy as paying off debt, it what I tell myself. And I know it won't.

Although I have been getting a tad bitter and cranky lately about one thing. We really have cut down on so much and buy the bare minimum. One thing that's been frustrating me lately is that I haven't been buying my nice expensive and well working face wash OR makeup (the foundation stuff. I couldn't care less about what mascara or eye shadow I'm using.) I recently ran out of both around the same time about a week and a half ago. Now I am not really that vain and can go the whole day without so much as glancing in a mirror, but one thing really gets on my nerves: acne. Due to crummy face wash and crummy makeup, I am SO broken out and oily and just.... icky! I hate it! I feel like I'm 15 again : ( I just cannot justify going out and spending a bunch of cash on it right now.... even though it really is making me miserable. I've been trying some homemade remedies and facial scrubs and stuff with things made from around the house, but it's just not working. I have a feeling it's this stupid makeup that's making me do it.

Bah.

Feeling pretty good...

April 6th, 2008 at 07:53 pm

So I'm feeling pretty good right now. It was just a good weekend. Weather is getting nice.

And in the financial sense, I'm feeling pretty good too : ) we're still FAR FAR FAR from our goal, but I see little baby steps have come a long way. I was cranky the other day due to the Wamu bill coming. I paid off $3000 last month and thought my new monthly minimum would be lower than it was. It was roughly $300, now it's roughly $192 or something. But I guess $100 is a lot for it to go down. The balance is about $6,400 now, so that really is a huge dent : ) Yay!

The JC Penney card will be paid off this month. I only owe $72 for it to be paid off. Yay! One less thing to worry about.

I'm madly in love with our new foster dog. I know not everyone is a crazy dog person like we are, but this is the kind of dog that changes lives. Seriously. Seeing the abuse this dog went through (missing patches of fur that is now scar tissue due to being set on fire by the @#&$ who had him before) and seeing how happy he is now, just to be alive and be a dog... it's great. If we were more financially stable right now, I'd be a foster failure and keep this guy! I'm sure when we are ready for a second dog though, there will be another shelter dog with a bad past looking for a home (although wouldn't it be nice if there wasn't and they all had homes by then?!)

I paid a bunch of bills a few minutes ago... for the first time in a LONG time, I'm on time with everything and the next bill due isn't due until the 18th. HAPPY! Amazing to see the steps we've taken... I can FINALLY see a light at the end of this tunnel of debt!! We really do still owe a ton of $$$, but one thing at a time...

higher mortgage payment : (

March 24th, 2008 at 04:34 pm

I got a thing in the mail today.... guess our escrow account is underfunded or something... I'm going to have to call because I don't fully understand the document, but from reading it, it seems we have two options. One is pay $205.19 which covers the shortage, and our mortgage payment will still get higher, from $767.45 up to $781.50. It's only a few bucks, but that stinks! The second option is they work the extra money on top of our new higher payment which would be $798.60 which is $31.50 extra a month. >: ( I know $31.00 might not seem like a lot to most people, but who wants to have their mortgage payment go up like that every stinking month for the next year?!

So the new payments go into effect on May 1. That means I either 1) can try my hardest and save $205 by May 1st (nearly impossible right now) or 2) take the $205 out of my beloved funded $1000 EF, which since this isn't technically an "emergency" but I'd rather have the payment go up approximately $15 than $30. I can't decide what to do. Maybe our state refund check will come in by then (geeze, where the heck is it?!) and I can use it for that, but I'm not going to bank on it.

Hrmph.

I'm SO confused!

March 14th, 2008 at 05:23 pm

As the title says, I am so confused.

DH has one credit card. $300 limit. I know the last time I paid it (march) I sent in $16. I've pretty much been paying the minimum being that we have much higher interest rates on other cards.

So I wanted him to make sure the check cleared. So he called and listened to the automated system. He asked me if I paid if off because he said there was a balance owed of $8. I had been thinking of paying it off just to get rid of the annoying bill, but the $300 went to a higher interest rate. So I looked at my check register to double check that it wasn't paid off (didn't think I did, but...) so I told him that he has to speak to someone to figure out what was going on. The customer service guy said that there was an $11 check, a $5 check and a $251.31 check and ALL of them cleared on March 5th. Then I started panicking, thinking that I decided to pay it off and didn't. Logged on to the internet banking site, nope, nothing but the $16 check that I had sent cleared. I then got on the phone with the guy and he explained to me that there was only $8 owed on the account, blah, blah, blah.

I asked if there was a way he could tell me what account it was paid from, etc. He said that he'd have to transfer me to a supervisor and the supervisor could tell me where the money came from.

But I was on hold for like 15 minutes and didn't get anybody on the other line, so I figured I'd call back later when it's not using up our cell phone minutes (we don't have a landline)

So yes, I'm REALLY confused as to what is going on... Is there a magic credit card fairy!?!?

Phew.

March 8th, 2008 at 10:32 am

The tax return money came just in time! I shudder to think what we would have done this month without it.

Put $1000 in the bank for the EF. Glad that's done, nice to know it's there and gives me peace of mind. Paid my mom the $500 I owed her back, so that's taken care of. Paid off $3,000 on the waMu card, plus the $300 I would have paid on it this month, so I'm down $3,300 on that and excited to see my next statement with my new much lower monthly payment : ) Haven't figured out what I'm going to do with the rest of it, but I'll probably wind up putting it on the WaMu card too. Then when we get back the $900 state refund and the $1,200 I guess we'll get from the govt's tax stimulus dealie, that's another $2,100 off the WaMu card too. Yay!

We still have so much to pay off and so much debt, but hopefully I can sleep a lot better knowing it's not as bad as it was... just keep plugging away.

Car accident, got tax refund, figuring out what to do...

March 1st, 2008 at 08:47 am

So I'm sitting here with a spreadsheet with the refund from our federal tax return.... It was so nice logging on the the online banking and seeing all that money in there! I wish I could just hold on to it. But of course it's going towards debt.

So I transferred a little under $1,000 to the savings, so the EF is covered. Woo! Then subtracted the check for my mom, which she will be happy to get. Now I have to figure out how much goes towards the WaMu card and if I'm going to use the whole amount or use like $500 to pay off other stuff. I think I might dump it all on the WaMu card, being that it's the hardest to pay and that it will be easier to pay off a $136 balance on a store credit card just by using income and not the refund and harder to pay off thousands using income! So that's what I'll do. I should do it right now before I get any crazy ideas about the money. I've never had this much money in the bank, and with one months' time, it will be gone! All towards debt. How sad it has to be that way.

My husband was in a car accident with my jeep. Someone slammed into him (he's okay).... at least it's drivable though. So now of course I have to get it fixed because there's a lien on the vehicle, but if I had my way I would be taking the $2,000 check from the insurance company and buying a new blinker and a bumper and quarter panal from the junk yard (don't care about the color) and just slap it on there... as long as it drives, I don't care how it looks. But the check is made out to me and the bank, so it's got to be fixed through a shop. Hrmph. So I have a $500 deductible on the insurance, AND I don't have a rental car thing on my insurance. But it was 100% the other guy's fault, so I'm told I'll get that money back. But I don't know what to do about the rental car, because I don't know if I have a CC with enough room to put a rental car on for 4 days and wait for the reimbursement. Hrmph. Oh well, I'm sure it will work out.

In other news, we got a new foster dog from the shelter. Poor dog lived outside all his life with not much human contact. He's a sweetie pie, despite having no manners, no training, not the least bit housebroken, is scared of being on a leash. But I'm sure in two months or so, he's going to make a great dog for a family as there's not an ounce of aggression in him. I love fostering dogs... (the shelter pays for food and vet bills, btw) I look forward to the day when we're financially stable enough to OWN two dogs though!

Final Tax numbers are in...

February 22nd, 2008 at 05:37 pm

.... and we are getting $5,626.00 back from federal (woohoo!) and $974 back from the state. Yay! So the state refund will go towards our EF, then that's taken care of. $500 for the money I owe my mom. That leaves $5126 for credit cards. I can't exactly decide what to do. The stupid WuMu card is very high interest, but I think it's just about the same amount as some of the others, but being it's miniscule balances on the other cards, I don't notice it as much when I see the statement (like Home Depot, Target, etc.. those store credit cards I'm talking about) So now I can't decide if I should take $3000 and put it on the WaMu card and use the rest of it to pay off the store credit cards... which seems like a good idea, being that it's such a hassle to keep paying the minimum $15 or whatever payment every month... it would just be that much less to worry about, all the little ones. So what would YOU do? Even $3000 would put a dent in the WaMu card, but I can't decide...

I'm happy. I'm happy my mom will be paid back. I'm happy that I worked my butt off in February and I'm going to have good paychecks. I'm happy that this one cd and one record that I put on eBay are selling right now (few days left on the auction) and the cd is selling right now for $25.00 and the record is at $40.00. Woohoo!

I'm going to have to be verrrrrrrryy careful though. I don't want to lose my focus of paying off stuff just because things have gotten a tad easier. I'm sure it won't be a problem though. YAY!

Taxes almost done, and OMG!!

February 18th, 2008 at 05:21 pm

.....wow. First off, let me say that I thought we would be breaking even on taxes this year. I always wound up owing or breaking even, and this was the first year filing with the house and the rent we get from the house as well as I got an extra 10$ a week federal taken out (thinking it would offset the rent $$$ we are getting) and getting taxes taken out for single even though we claim married. As I don't want the gov't getting an interest-free loan compliments of yours truly, I will be adjusting it.

I got our taxes done today.... sorta. I wasn't aware that half the water bill and half the user fee was deductible, and there was some other paper for closing costs on the house that I didn't have, so I have to get all that together, get the closing thing from my attorney and go back Friday for the final numbers.

BUT as it stands NOW, our federal return is $4,900 and the state is $650. OMG!!!!! OMG! I wonder if the tax guy realized I was about the break down into tears.

What does this mean? $500 to my mom who I owe that to to get that out of the way. She hasn't asked for it, but who doesn't feel awful owing their mom money? Then to fully find the baby EF. And then whatever else we get will go towards the blasted CC bills and will make a dent. Not a HUGE dent, but a dent nonetheless. No, it will be a pretty good dent. YAY! WOOHOO! So I figure I'll line up all the bills, highest interest rate first. I believe the highest is the WaMu card which we owe about $9,000 on and the interest rate is insane, so that should pretty much cut it in half, which means the $282 monthly payment should be much less I'm going to have to look at everything. There might be a tiny card here and there I pay off also (like the JCPenney's card that I owe like $139 on)

I can't remember where I saw it, but the word was "intaxication" which is the feeling of elation when you find that you're getting a refund, then the letdown when you realized the government was getting an interest-free loan the whole year. hahaha.

: ) Good thing I'm being all responsible now. Old me would have taken that money and ran away to Disney World for a week.

In other news, our beloved foster dog we've had since December is now up for adoption. I'm SO sad to see her go and if we were in a better financial situation she'd be staying here.... we nursed her back to health and she's just great, but we can't afford to keep her, obviously. She'll be gone this week to her forever home and then we'll get a new foster dog soon...


Paying bills, finding pennies, just scraping by...

February 14th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

Wow. I just sat down and was TERRIFIED to pay the bills this week. I CAN'T BELIEVE I had enough!! Yessssss! *just* enough, but enough nonetheless.

We were walking the dogs earlier (a short quick walk as it is freezing) and I was just toodling along and saw a bunch of pennies on the ground. Dibs! I hunched down to pick them up and DH looked around as if he'd never seen me before. I had to ask "What, you're too good to pick up pennies off the ground with people watching?! NOT me!" Those are MY pennies, and I took every one I saw. It was only like 15 cents, but I'm a whole 15 cents richer. It's the principal (or is it principle? I can never remember...) of the thing. There was money, I picked it up. Yes, I realize it does sound desperate, but.... *shrug* desperate times call for desperate measures.

Didn't get the part-time job. I'll keep looking. Everyone wonders why a "professional" is looking for work....uhm, I need money! Especially since DH still can't work and we have no diagnosis. His new PCP is awesome and has set him up for EIGHT doctor's appointments/specialists in the next month. What does that mean? Unexpected co-pays at 20$ a pop. It will be that much closer to getting him healthy though AND getting back to work. Good thing I picked up those pennies!!

I found a credit card I thought was shredded. I was going to just shred it and forget about it (there's a $300 limit on it, and obviously I have a bad, bad history with CC's) but then the little voice went off in my head .... "if you have that, you can not only get rid of some of the crap in the house, you can also make some$$$ by selling it on eBay!" So in this case it's a good thing that I found it, and I know for a fact it won't get used for one thing other than paying ebay fees. I put two things up so far and tomorrow will be putting up a bunch more. Now every time I look somewhere, I think "hmm, how much could I get for this?"

Although I'm happy to have paid the bills that had to get paid, I'm thinking how much it stinks that there is literally no money to go food shopping : ( Maybe if I'm lucky I'll have enough to buy milk, at least. Thank god we don't have kids and I only have to worry about us! (well, we do have dogs, but of course they have tons of food.... hmm, it's looking pretty good right about now.)

Well, that's all. I'm going to get a TON of work done tomorrow and a TON over the weekend. Awesome.

Just a weekend wrap up

February 10th, 2008 at 04:34 pm

Ahh... Sunday. I started waiting until Sunday evening to sit down and pay bills (as long as there's none that have to be dealt with right away) because if I do it Friday when I get home from work, I'm in a rotten horrible mood all weekend long. So that's done. Through some divine power, all the bills that needed to get paid got paid. yesssssss.

My friend who is currently giving me payments towards the Mac desktop computer that I'm selling her has also decided to buy my old camera for $300. Woohoo!! She owes me $300 for the computer still, so that's $600 coming to me : ) Good, good. Nice to have money coming TO me for a change : ) I have so much crap I want to get rid of and sell on eBay, but with no credit card I can't do it. Oh well....

Went to Aldi's today for food shopping. I've done a lot of shopping at Aldi's since we moved here, or Save A Lot. I've noticed in the past few months more of the "well to do" looking type of people shopping there than there was in the past. Probably the price of gas, winter gas bills, etc. One lady obviously was new to the whole Aldi's bargain food shopping experience... "what do you mean I have to bag my own groceries?!?!" She looked appaled. Yeah, see that box of cereal that's like $1.50? That's why you have to bag your own groceries...

I applied for a part-time job at 2 places. One was a diner doing grunt work in the kitchen, and they said no, that I was too overqualified. *sigh* The other place was a store of the more....uhm.... adult persuasion. heh heh. I happen to drive by and see the sign and thought hey, why not? It's money. The clerk working there was just flipping through a book, so I thought oooh, I could do proofreading in between customers. So we'll see if that pans out. And if not, I'll just keep looking...

I also got a TON of work done this weekend. A ton, really. Normally by Tuesday when I would leave work I would have gotten this much done, and since I work 100% on commission, it's extra $$$. Yay : )


woo!

February 8th, 2008 at 10:32 am

The new hot water tank drained the EF, which made me nervous having nothing and facing a month of crap bills. By my husband sold his laptop to a friend and got $500 for it. Yay! it's going to the EF, but we will have to take $$$ out of there to get our taxes done and if we're short on cc payments (thanks, citi) then we'll have to use some for that.

So I'm noticing a pattern every month. Start of the month, I think we'll be okay. Then there's a giant setback and unexpected expense, like a hot water tank, something breaking, etc. Then I freak out about it and lose sleep, and then magically everything works out, and at the end of the month I think to myself.... "phew, we made it through another month!"

Although I'm glad things work out magically (and by magically, I mean doing whatever I can to get the money and cutting corners wherever possible) and we seem to break even, I want to get ahead, not just break even! Gah!! Ahh well, I guess not using the credit cards at all is getting us ahead a teeny bit.

And Bank of America... you should be ashamed of yourself. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/CreditCardSmarts/IsBankofAmericaBlindsidingCardholders.aspx

When it rains....

February 3rd, 2008 at 08:12 pm

Friday, got home from work. Downstairs neighbor came upstairs, knocked on our door, told me that the hot water tank leaked all over the place and he shut it off. He's Mr. Fix-It and works on stuff like that in houses for a living, then he said the dreaded words: "I took a look at it, and there's no saving it. You're going to have to get a new one."

Of course I wanted to burst into tears (but didn't, of course.) It's something that we NEED, so goodbye (ONCE AGAIN) emergency fund. A lot of the stuff around the hot water tank was old (flue pipes, or whatever) and he said we'd have to replace those. I'll admit, Saturday I was wondering to myself "I wonder how long we could go without hot water...." Well, being that that means no warm showers, no hot water to do dishes (probably the only 2 things we use hot water for as I do laundry always in cold water) I knew there was no way we could go without one.

So emergency fund is not totally gone, but mostly gone.... which makes me very VERY nervous, being that we have the Citi bill that's a million extra dollars due this month. I wasn't planning on touching a dime of the emergency fund to pay it, but if I *HAD* to use a little bit of it, I would have in order to make a CC payment on time. So needless to say, I've freaking out at how to pay the bills this month, much less other necessities like gas for the car and food.....

I swear, every month something BIG goes wrong!! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

maybe an interesting proposition, would like to hear thoughts..

January 29th, 2008 at 03:31 pm

First, I'd like to thank everybody for the helpful and motivational comments they left for me in my last blog. It really, really is great to have people offering support and ideas and motivation and such : ) You guys are awesome!

Anyway.... an interesting proposition *may* have arose, and I can't decide if it's something that we should consider or look into further. I was talking to my brother (aka Mr. I Have Done Everything Perfectly With Money Since My First Job... seriously, he's never paid a penny in interest. AND he still lives with mom and dad, pretty much rent free. He's got more cash and assets than most 60 year olds, I bet) who knows we have financial issues, but doesn't know the extent of how awful it is, as nobody but DH and I do. Anyway, I was talking about this house and although I like it and we got a good price and pretty good interest rate on it, I'd sell it in a second. He asked how much and I blurted out $90,000 (plus so that we'd get to pay no closing costs). We owe $83,000 on it still, so that seems like a pretty good price to just blurt out. He said "I'd buy it! That's a steal!" ..........I just said "really?" and we talked about it for a few minutes. It was just a casual conversation, but he got out his magical money calculator and started running the numbers of how much $$$ he'd make. I said if we did do it, the condition would be that DH and I get to live here and pay what our old rent was before we bought the house (and lived in the same apartment) which was $525 AND we'd get to keep our dog and still foster dogs from the shelter (the most rewarding thing I've ever done, BTW.) We owe a little under $83,000 on it now.

So it was just a casual conversation, BUT it might be something to consider if he's serious about it, which I think he might be after he ran the numbers. I know nothing about number crunching. I don't know if it would be a bad idea to lose the equity that we already have in the house, which admittedly isn't much. I know we'd lose the tax benefits too, which is another thing to consider. Although being that he thought $90,000 was a good price, I could probably jack it up a little bit. That would make a *HUGE* dent in the CC debt that we have (even though the thought of selling our house we've had for a year to pay off credit cards is depressing... I've never been madly in love with this house and it was more of a convenience thing at the time to purchase it) we'd still have a place to live and not have to worry about moving to a place that would let us keep the dogs (right now there's 220lbs worth of dogs laying at my feet, something I don't think landlords would take kindly to, LOL!) and we wouldn't have to pay water, garbage and homeowner's insurance, etc.

My husband is NOT keen on the idea, as selling things to family members rarely turns out good and there's all the potential for problems and such... which I see his point 100% on that. I love my brother to death and we're very close and I wouldn't want a stupid house to change 26 years of awesome brother/sister awesomeness.

I'm very interested to hear what everyone has to say about this or any research calculator thingies that you guys can point me to. And I don't know if it's anywhere here, but our CC debt combined with the back medical bills (from the days of emergencies and no insurance) we pay on is (regretfully) about $27,000. Thoughts? Pros? Cons? Am I stupid for even considering this?

O...M....G....GAH!!! I just don't know what to do anymore...

January 28th, 2008 at 02:43 pm

ARGH! I have a feeling I'll have to edit this blog post when I'm done, as I don't think swearing is allowed here. I'm seriously ready to lose it...

Remember in my last post or so I mentioned I had a dream about a horrible cc statement coming in the mail? I was telling my friend about it and she mentioned in Psychology Today that there was an article about dreams and how they might prepare you in how you will/should (I forget which) act in a situation should it arise.

So I came home and the WuMu statement was sitting there. I opened it and breathed a sigh of relief. Then I opened the Citi statement and nearly fainted. I almost couldn't comprehend what I was looking at. My minimum payment had skyrocketed from a somewhat manageable $124 to a whopping $258.44. My interest rate on the almost $7,000 cc went from around 9% to *25%* PLUS the $39.00 late fee. I somehow thought my payment was due the 21st, but it was due the 14th. I never ever made a late payment until last month, and it all started to fall apart. WTH is wrong with me??

So I just burst into tears. I'm not the type of person who cries short of someone dying, but this is just too much. We are in SO DEEP. What the hell were we thinking all those times we used credit cards so carelessly???? We probably thought we were young and had tons of time to pay them off, then we were in a bajillion dollars (might as well be) in stupid consumer debt.

So I called Citi. They wouldn't waive the late fee, but they did reinstate my 9.whatever it was interest rate it was previously, thank god. But I do have to pay the $258.44 this month, nearly impossible as I have TWO other bills to pay (medical bills: $292 and other cc is about $300) the same day. At least I have some time to plan things out and start selling anything that isn't bolted down.

So I'm just a mess. I've been working so hard to do what I can and things somehow keep getting WORSE. My husband feels if I cancel his health insurance ($450 a month) that we'll be so much better off for a while, but given his major health problems, it's not something that we can do! We already owe roughly $15,000 in medical bills from when he didn't have health insurance and had to go to the hospital, and it would just be asking for trouble. I'd sell my soul before I see him suffer without health insurance again.

I keep telling myself we got ourselves into this mess, we can get out. I'm really starting to lose hope though. Someone please tell me it will be alright...

The good and the (very) not so good...

January 25th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

ARGH! I'm ready to rip my hair out one by one.

Times are rough... as they are with a lot of people. I swore I would stop beating myself up over getting into this HUGE mess and wok my way out of it, looking to the future and all that, but I swear things keep getting worse. Argh.

I've been having dreams all week long about getting awful credit card statements in the mail. Such as the dream I had the other night that WaMu raised my interest rate to like 40% on the credit card we owe almost 10,000 on (and that instead of a raise, my boss gave me a brand-new Jeep Commander that I had to drive... for some reason I couldn't sell it. But I digress...) I'm going to be scared until that statement comes.

Although I was NOT happy today when I got the Home Depot bill to find out that 1) I did get charged the late fee for paying one day late last month out of my own stupidity and I called them and they wouldn't waive the late payment, and 2) the 0% interest ran out so I got backcharged all the crap that was 0% interest on. Argh, argh, argh, Again, my own fault, I know.

Furthermore, I got the phone bill and it was DOUBLE what it normally is. I thought my heart stopped for a second, but I decided to actually look at the bill to see what was up before I had a total meltdown. For some oddball reason, last month I wrote down in my register that I paid it when I in fact must have just spaced out and not paid it and I thought I paid it online. So I just paid what I *thought* I paid last month and will pay the rest of it when it's due in Feb.

I've been so scatterbrained. This is NOT like me. Despite our problems, I never ever paid bills late. I totally forgot about the stupid Target card (that's almost paid off) in December and now the Home Depot card (which we owe a lot more on).... so I have a system in place so that I can stay 100% organized. I'm so mad at myself though.... *insert world's smallest violin here* It kills me that BOTH times I had enough $$$ to pay the payments and just forgot

Oh yeah, I'm so busy whining I forgot the good news. I got a raise! Woohoo!! Go me! Of course I can't say exactly how much it is without launching into a detailed thing of how I get paid, but a very rough estimate is at least an extra $200 a month, and some months with the right jobs it will be much, much more. So February is looking a little less stressful, also due to me working an insane amount this month. Woohoo! So I'm happy about that.

I've just got to get my head on straight. This entry is whiny enough. Here's to a much-needed good night's sleep *crosses fingers*

weekend spending..

January 19th, 2008 at 01:46 pm

So after paying all the bills this week, I had a measly $30 left in the checking account, no food in the house and a quarter tank of gas. I knew we could scrape by with only buying bread, but the gas thing is obviously an issue. So I had to take the change jar to the Coinstar machine and cash it in so we have gas : ( It's cool, because my brother is an Amazon.com book freak (I bet he's 90% solely responsible for their success) so instead of rolling the money up myself, I take it there, get the Amazon gift certificate (since if you do that you get 100% of the money you put in and they don't take the percentage) and I give him the gift certificate and he gives me the cash. Awesome : ) It just makes me happy I don't have to roll the change, which I would if the other option was paying the fee. So we had exactly $50 in change, woohoo! So I went to Aldi's, got a little bit of food (they had SO much good stuff there, but I managed to restrain myself) and then came home where I've been working ALL day. I got a LOT of work done today. Woohoo!

I'm feeling pretty optimistic... I was getting down due to lack of money and such and carrying my change to the machine and then leaving the really nice super fancy yummy aroma supermarket to go to Aldi's, but then I was thinking how "old" me would have just whipped out a credit card and went to town and probably bought over $100 of food in a Supermarket Sweep frenzied grocery shopping spree, but "new" me didn't even consider that as an option. I don't know how many months it's been since i've put anything on a credit card, but it's been a while since the thought "I wish I had a credit card" or "I should just use the credit card" has even entered my mind. And hey, look, I'm still alive. : )

So yeah, I got a ton of work done today which means I've been sitting around all day except for the little grocery shopping I did earlier. I feel my butt actually starting to grow into one with the chair, which means I'd better get up soon! Being that we're broke as hell, and we have no cable, and the library is closed, AND it's way too freezing out to take the dogs for a long walk, that means I'll spend the next hour (or two) with my new "hobby" which is winter cleaning. Yeah, exciting! But we have a lot of cleaning supplies so I don't have to buy anything, and it's sooooooo nice to have a clean house. It's just something to do that doesn't involve shelling out cash OR sitting after I've been sitting all day. I'm such a dork.

oh yeah, my friend has a spreadsheet program that I can run on my mac, so it's going to be nice that I'll finally be able to get more organized, as long as I don't rip my hair out trying learn how to do it!

just an update...

January 17th, 2008 at 06:16 pm

I'm scared to get my check tomorrow, go to the bank and come home and pay bills! I laid awake in bed worrying about it last night... freaking out. I hope it works. I hope there's enough money to pay the bills. Food shopping is probably out this week, but we have bread and milk and PB&J, so......

I'm watching TV as I type (cable is cancelled tomorrow.) this girl just spent about $700 on two items at some store. Gah! Then she said "I feel really guilty, but what should I save the money for? It's not like I'm buying a house or car or something.) I'm sure even if my parents were that filthy rich, they wouldn't have let me grown up like that.

I'm going on a really, really good job tomorrow. My boss called me and asked me if I wanted to take it. Duh! I guess I just look desperate now. *rolls eyes* Anyway, it's going to be an all day job. which means roughly $575 (unless I do get a raise, that is, which I STILL don't know about.) They want the job expedited though, so I'll get paid +90% of whatever the total of the bill is. I get paid on commission by the page, so it's hard figure out how much $$$ it will be, but whatever the total is it will be that PLUS 90%. Woo! It means working all weekend and the beginning of next week like crazy, but I've been doing that anyway. Yay! So that will be GREAT for next month. Too bad it doesn't help me this week though. : /

Argh... what a weekend.

January 13th, 2008 at 11:34 am

Not only do I feel like I somehow totally wasted time this weekend, I feel like I wasted gas, money, etc. ARGH! I hate this feeling more than anything and amy trying to get done as much as possible today.

Friday we saw our friend broke down on the side of the road with his wife and baby (we had to go check on someone's house who was out of town and lives about 20 mins away) and like anyone else would do, we stopped. We had the dogs with us in the car so we had to go to the person's house we were watching, since it was closest, then drop the dogs off, then go BACK and get our friends and go to THEIR house, and then go pick up the dogs. They did give us a teeny bit of gas money though, thank god.

I got a car starter for x-mas and the appointment to put it in was paid for by the person who gave it to me. I don't really NEED a car starter and have gone all this time in winters without one, but with the price of gas I feel like it's a waste. The person who gave it to me was really, really excited about it. I figured I would get it installed and in the rare instances I HAVE to use it (like waking up and finding freezing rain has iced all the doors shut, things like that). So the place we had to go to is a little bit far away, half hour. Fine. Drove there in two cars, drove home, drove back, drove home. TWO cars both times (there was nothing around this place it was installed and it was going to take 3-4 hours to install, so it's not like there was anywhere for me to walk to and hang out while it was getting installed.) At least it's done though.

So yeah, I feel like that took up forever. Had to buy dog food as we were running out and a lot of places aren't open Sunday. Fine. Go to the place we usually do, they're out of the food that we have to buy as it's the ONLY kind that doesn't give our dog horrible poo, as he has allergies. Argh. Drive MORE to go another place to see if they have it, which they did, for $5 more a bag. Gah. I had no choice as we had no food left, so I grudgingly bought it, drove all the way home again.

Bah! So yeah, now I have to get gas *again* which I'm not happy about. Normally I don't drive anywhere on the weekends except to go food shopping (which is really close and I have to do today...) and I can start off the work week with almost a full tank, but not this week.... maybe I can make what I have left last me until Friday *crosses fingers*

And I STILL haven't found about about my raise!! Hopefully I can get some work done today, get some laundry done today, get some cleaning done today! Usually I like to relax Sundays and do nothing.

Everything is coming up Milhouse!

January 10th, 2008 at 04:36 pm

I was about to write a post about how pissed I was that I was going to be short on bills this week and had to take $200 that I put into the Ef last night (that I was so happy about) into the checking account to pay bills. Gah! I really thought it was going to work out.

But once I did the math, I realized I was going to be short. And being that most of the payments this week are blasted CC payments, I knew they HAD to be paid, and it's more important for them to be paid on time rather than having $$$ in the EF, unfortunately.

So I was in a bad mood all day. The teaching job isn't going to work out at the moment (but in 6 months when someone goes on maternity leave and isn't going back, I'm 1st on the list to be called for the position. Woo! If I want to work 7-9 four nights a week, it's $800 a month, only 7-9 for two nights is $400. For such little work and only four nights, I'll take the $800!! That's a TON of extra money!!) and I had to take money out of the EF to pay stupid bills, putting be back where I was with hardly any EF. BUT then my husband came home, pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket. Our friend gave him a $200 payment for the iMac she's buying! Yay!

So although I'm not ahead, at least I don't have to change my little $1,000 emergency fund ticker down $200 : ) And our friend will be making $200 payments until the computer is paid, then whisking it away and we'll be $800 richer : )

I'm just happy I managed to break even! And I have decided I'm going to open an ING account to hold the EF : )

Added $300 to the EF

January 9th, 2008 at 06:53 pm

Argh! It's such a rough month. It's going to be a long one, I fear. Although tomorrow is the much anticipated "Find Out If I'm Getting a Raise" day, so maybe that's why things have felt like they're dragging.

I cashed the rent check from our tenant, put $300 in the EF. Well, not actually IN the savings account with the rest of the money. I need a better way to keep it. I need a way where it's hard and inconvient to get to, but not impossible. I know that the best thing to do is have it in the savings account, but it's just so easy to pop online, transfer it to the checking account when I get nervous that there's not enough $$$ in the checking account, being that I like to have a cushion in the CA and not under $100.

So my husband suggested that I take the cash and put it in a pitcher of water and freeze it, so if we need it, it's there, and if I think I might want to take a few bucks, I know it will be a HUGE pain to thaw it out and dry all the money. It sounds crazy, but I think that's exactly what I'm going to do. When I have the full amount, then I'll put it in the savings account or some other interest earning method.

I'm really frustrated this month. We're JUST scraping by. I really, really, really hope I don't need that money. I just know I can't move forward without the $100 emergency fund.....I've been trying to do "no spend" days, but being that every few days I have to shell out $6 for parking when I'm downtown, it's nearly impossible. And saying "it was a no spend day EXCEPT...." really isn't a no spend day. Hrmph.

So yeah. I keep trying to think positive and all that fun stuff.... it's hard! We're still getting by though...

Okay, I'm off to go freeze some cash.

stupid, stupid, stupid.

January 7th, 2008 at 05:21 am

I am SO MAD at myself today. And it's a Monday to boot.

I sat down last night around 8:00 to pay the bills (I am addicted to online bill pay... it's so nice not to have to buy stamps all the time.) and started paying away... i keep all my bills and all my bank transactions in one of those hardcover books (always seemed to lose the check register, and the book has lots of room to write) from Office Max. Anyway, I knew the car payment was due, electric bill, a few others that quickly drained my bank.

Then I saw it. The Home Depot bill. Oh no! It was due the 7th. GAHHHHH!!!! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Looking at the back of the bill, it said if you call the bill in by 5:00 p.m. that it would be credited that day. Being a Sunday and late, that wasn't going to happen. So I paid it online and it put the payment through today....*sigh* It WAS a 0% credit card on the balance we owe ($1700) and I'm sure that privilege will be taken away, as well as getting hit with a late fee.

I'm always so careful. I had never paid a bill late until yesterday. And usually Friday after I deposit my check I come home and pay, pay, pay, but we had company this weekend and I knew most of the bills weren't due (forgetting about Home Depot as usually I would have paid it last week) until later.

The thing that really kills me is that I HAD the money in the account to pay it. We're just doing the minimum on cards until we save the EF back up, so it was less than $20.00. Hrmph.

*sigh* This won't happen again...

I've decided...

January 6th, 2008 at 08:12 am

...that I'm going to call the trade school I went to to see if they're looking for teachers. it's a very small field, so I just have this feeling they might be, and I've been working in this field for over three years now so I have some wonderful on-the-job insight. I talked to someone a while ago (I had just started working in my field and was waaaay too bogged down to consider it) and they said the teachers there make $400 a month, which isn't bad for working two nights a week from 7-9, plus it's a teaching job that would have no extra things to do, like at home or when not teaching, being there's a grader for the school. So for an extra $400 a month, it would TOTALLY be worth it. There's a LOT I could do with that money! Plus it's year round and the place is only about 20 minutes away, so it's not a far drive. The guy who runs the school is one of the most intimidating people I've ever met, but maybe being a teacher and not a student would erase his weirdoness. And I'm assuming it's more money and less time I'd make at any other part-time job.

Okay.... have to go food shopping. I only have about a measly $25 to go food shopping today, and all we have at the house is bread, milk, some rice.... that's about it. Hope this works. I'm going to scan the Sunday adds to see if it will be better to go to a supermarket with good sales and coupons of if it will be better to go to Save-A-Lot or Aldis. We'll see! I've never had this little money to go food shopping for a week's worth of food, so it will be interesting. And if I DO manage to get everything I need, then you can bet I'll be spending this much every week. Crossing my fingers... wish me luck!

Wow...

January 5th, 2008 at 09:59 pm

I know my husband and I are in awful financial shape, and we're trying our hardest to get ourselves out before it's too late. Although we've made little progress, we've made progress nonetheless. Heck, even stopping using credit cards under any circumstance for the past few months in and of itself is progress.

So a certain family member and I were talking. He lives across the country in CA and is the only person other than my husband who knows the extent of our cash troubles. So I was telling him about all the steps we've taken and how in even a year there's going to be a dent in what we owe. So this person proceeds to tell me how him and his wife are going on a Mexican cruise this year. They moved to CA like two years ago, own a $250,000 condo and a beautiful $550,000 house, one truck with a truck payment. Now, that's a LOT of financed stuff, and being I know they moved out there with basically no cash, I'm willing to bet it was all no money down on the house, the truck, the condo.

So he tells me how much they have in consumer debt. Approximately $95,000 for credit cards, furniture, electronics, whatever. I ask how the hell they manage to pay ALL these bills this month and buy more (like a timeshare they bought this year.) He launches into this big spiel about how they do it. Get a 0% credit card, buy stuff, when the 0% runs out, transfer. So although they're paying little or no interest, he says it's as good as cash, even with running up the other cards again. (I'm not without fault on the 0% interest trap, but not $95,000 worth. Plus I know better now.) I wasn't trying to be snotty, but I asked "What if one of you loses your job?" I don't remember his answer. I really was shocked. I know they're putting said cruise on a credit card. Why not go to the timeshare instead??? I asked if they were even trying to be debt free and he said no, it's FINE. GAH! They want to have a baby in the next year, how is that going to happen???? I also just assume they have some wacky ARM on the condo and house, as neither of them have extraordinary jobs. They do well, but not THAT well. Oh, and said family member is 27 and the wife is about 31-ish. Being that this family member is pretty close to me, I feel awful for their future. I cannot believe they're not even remotely concerned. Not a care in the world!!

I tried to tell him about some of the stuff we were doing and the books I've been reading and this website and he wanted no part of it. What about the future? I cannot imagine having roughly $850,000 in debt (and not even being CONCERNED!). Tthey do have two roommates, btw, to help foot the cost of the house, but still....

So yeah. I have visited them in CA and was instantly jealous of the flat-screen tv, the fancy kitchen, the marble countertops, the walk-in closets, the master bedroom with fancy-schmancy tub, the attention to detail in the molding and woodwork, the nice artwork, the electronics, state-of-the-art washer and dryer, the pool, the two porches, the hot tub, two new cars in the driveway, and of course every time they say they're taking another great vacation.... who wouldn't love all that? But now I'm looking at our dinky apartment in the double that we own, our cheap tv, cheap entertainment center, naked walls, cheap couch, second-hand dining room table and teeny kitchen with not enough counter space.... and I think, hmm, maybe it's not that bad!! At least I know that when the time comes for us to have our dream house, we'll be able to afford it being that we did decide to buy this small double now.

I shudder to think of the price they will wind up paying in the end so that they can live it up now.

It might be a long month...

January 4th, 2008 at 09:55 pm

I was all excited to come home and work on my budget and tell all my $$$ where it was going to go... you know, new year, new outlook, new organized budgeting me.

Imagine how quickly my excitement over my newfound budget obsession deflated when I realized...... there's a chance I *may* be short on the bills this month. I hope my math was wrong. I'm going to have to look at it again in the morning when I have a clear head.

So up until today, I hadn't spent ANY money this year. That was 3.6 no spend days. Woo! But that did come to an end. I needed gas (hopefully I can get by on $20 this week) and we needed a Liquid Plumber-type stuff for the bathtub being that there was some sort of clog. Also we needed a new toilet brush due to the foster dog galloping around the house as if it was a toy and breaking the handle. So yeah, I needed two measly things. Where to get them? There's a Big Lots right across the street. I really never had been there. So I figured I would check it out.

Wow!!!! wow! I cannot believe ALL THIS TIME I never went there. It's walking distance! I am ashamed of myself. So I found a toilet brush ($1.99) and some cheap unclogging stuff (80 cents) I wandered around for a bit marveling at all the cheap stuff they had, and I must admit, it was very, very hard to not get the it's-so-cheapitis. Really, there was some great cheap stuff. I also noticed in the food section that they had tons of cereal and other food that was lots cheaper than most store's generic food, so I'll be stopping there IF I happen to scrape enough money together to go food shopping. There was so much good stuff, as far as laundry detergent, shampoo, cleaning supplies, etc. Awesome. I'm also SO proud of myself I only got what I went in for, but whether that was due to me knowing it's going to be a rough month or my fabulous self-control, we'll never know ; )

My husband might be getting a small part-time job, which would be soooooo great. As mentioned in other posts, he has health problems and he's been completely out of work since October. *sigh* with the price of his health insurance (approx. $450 a month) and all our nasty debt and him not working, it's just a big 'ole stressful mess. Blah. But even if he's making a few extra bucks, it will help.

Also, I found four giant trash bags while poking around in the garage and they were busting at the seams with bottles and pop cans. I asked our tenant if they were his and he said no, they must be the guy's we bought the house from. Dibs!! They're old, like the old style Pepsi cans and stuff. I'll be taking them back this weekend. Good thing they look like they were all cleaned out and rinsed. I don't know how much they're worth, being that we never buy pop, but at five cents a can, I'll take it!

Also, I've been looking for stuff to sell around the house. (This is turning out to be a long rambling post. Oh well!) My friend wants to buy our desktop iMac (which admittedly isn't that old...) and I told her for $850 it's hers. They our EF will be back up to the much-coveted $1000. Yay! She said it will take her a little bit to save the $, but she's really good about it so I don't think it will be too long. Now what else to sell... we have so much CRAP! I don't know if eBay is the best way, but with some of the more collectible stuff we have (I'm married to Mr. Don't-Take-It-Out-Of-The-Original-Package) it probably is. Must do research. I shudder to part with it, by my Nightmare Before Christmas collection alone might be worth some $$$...... must go look up stuff on eBay. I know it's for the best. I'm happy I'm not sad about parting with my stuff, means I must be on the right track.

Budgeting, Taxes and other random stuff

December 30th, 2007 at 08:40 am

So I'm having a problem making a budget. It's SO hard on a variable income, and Dave Ramsey's sheet in the back of his book is confusing me, which is nothing new being that numbers of any type confuse me. The way my paychecks work is that I get paid for the previous month the current month. For example, at the end of November, I handed a bill to my boss with all the work I did and the total of what she owes me. Then the first friday of December, I get four checks equally divided (and when there's five Fridays that month, five checks). Being that it varies from month to month, it's just hard to budget! I think I'm going to spend a lot of time today researching budgets online with variable incomes.... I usually make around the same each month, but it can be really high or (god forbid, which I fear for january) a lot lower. It just depends on the work I had that month. I'm going to have to step it up an insane amount if I want to get us out of this mess, which will mean working every weekend and working late. I don't care though!

Taxes. When I got my last paycheck (which I don't have in front of me, so numbers are approximate) I found a percentage calculator online to see how much percent I paid in taxes. Like I said earlier, I'm awful with numbers, but I kept coming up with the number that I paid 28% in taxes [when I first did that, I had the exact #'s in front of me]. Does that sound insanely high for someone who made roughly $56,000, or am I really just that naive, or can I not even use a simple percent calculator correctly (hope that last one is that case)?? I paid approximately $15,000 in taxes. I claim single and 0 even though we're married, being that I really don't ever want to owe, and I *always* used to owe. Plus we do have the rent money from out tenant this year that we'll have to pay taxes on. But 30%?? That seems like a LOT. I'll get my check and put the exactly money withheld later and exactly how much I made, but at the very least I paid $14,000 in taxes, although it was closer to $15k, I believe. Hrmph.


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