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Completely Uninteresting April 1st Debt

March 26th, 2011 at 09:17 am

Again, this is just for me to keep a running log of my debt as I hopefully get it all paid off.

Merrick Bank $442.28
PayPal PayLater $61.99
Orchard Bank $479.21 (a stupid annual fee)
Capital One $1359
AT&T $75.17 (They added $29 to my bill when I canceled prior to my next billing cycle. Jerks)

Total April: $2417.65
Total March: $2609.74

Paid Off

Last Month
Target: $24.40 paid
HSN: $39.00
PayPal Pay Later: $140.00
Merrick Bank: $465.31
Orchard Bank $443.40
Capital One: $1362.63
AT&T (last phone bill)$135.00

It is so little debt in the grand scheme of things, but it seems like it is taking forever to pay off!


Paid Off

Cars & Phones as status symbols

March 19th, 2011 at 05:57 am

Since I know I'll forget about this, I wanted to document it to remind myself of how silly it is.

I switched from my iPhone to a Virgin Mobile slide/touch phone about three weeks ago (and will be saving a ton of money doing so). For the first couple of weeks, when I took out my little phone, I felt a bit uncomfortable, like I couldn't afford an iPhone or something. I was shocked that I would feel like that over a phone. Now I'm fine with my new, non-status phone. (Not that iPhones are status symbols anymore, everyone has one it seems, but still . . .)

Soooo, I'm leaving work at the same time as several people yesterday, and start noticing all the shiny new cars in our parking lot. There were a couple older cars, but mostly new. It didn't bother me at all to walk over to my definitely non-status symbol car. It's a 1998 Ford Escort wagon with 72k miles (30k of them mine). The paint is nice; it has one tiny dent FROM BEING TOWED, but is in great body/engine shape.

Why my phone bothered me but my car doesn't just seemed odd to me.

Living Social *deal*?

March 10th, 2011 at 01:43 pm

I've never purchased anything from Living Social, but earlier this week they had a pizza deal for a place I've wanted to try, and you got $2 extra dollars off if you watched the trailer for a new television show. I thought I was getting a good deal - $20 gift certificate for $8.

I checked my account this morning, and there is $10 'processing' and $8 and $10 charges listed as holds, all for Living Social. Maybe it will be fixed, but in the meantime it's on my mind and aggravating me. What's the problem? Charge me the $8 that showed up at checkout and be done with it. I don't understand why there are many different charges/holds (3) on my account for one purchase.

Phila. Traffic Court Saga

March 8th, 2011 at 01:19 pm

So I had my traffic court appearance today and got nothing, nada, zip. Before I even could explain, the judge asked if I had switched insurance. I told him yes, and that I had documents from Geico, and copies of what I sent to Harrisburg to prove I had insurance back in March of 2010 when I switched carriers. He said this happens all the time.

He mumbled something to the clerk and told me to go sit on a bench and wait to be called to sign my paperwork. I asked about getting some of my $436.00 back, and told him that the previous judge told me I should get all but the 'administrative fee' of $75 back if I could prove I had insurance and had given notice of such to Harrisburg. The judge didn't even want to see any of that. He said that they don't give any money back -- he literally said they can't afford to do that (I know, who in the world would ever believe that in a million years. I really wish I would have taped the whole thing). Then he said that he dropped the $594 fine for the suspended registration even though my registration *was* suspended at the time. Gee, thanks for the favor.

So . . . as a last resort I am going to forward all my information to the PA Attorney General's office and see if they'll look at it. Years and years ago Wells Fargo screwed up my mortgage, and I forwarded all the information to the AG, they took on my case, and Wells Fargo had to right things. Hopefully I'll be lucky again.

Oh well. I was hoping to get at least a couple hundred dollars back to infuse my now non-existent EF. After the $400 in January, then $400 in February for inspection and repairs, I'm more broke than I've been in about forever.

Debt as of March1st

February 28th, 2011 at 01:27 pm

So it's not the first until tomorrow, I just want to get this in. My plan is to update at the beginning of each month so I can track my progress. I estimated last month, so these numbers are correct.

Target: $24.40 paid
HSN: $39.00
PayPal Pay Later: $140.00
Merrick Bank: $465.31
Orchard Bank $443.40
Capital One: $1362.63
AT&T (last phone bill)$135.00

It is so little debt in the grand scheme of things, but it seems like it is taking forever to pay off!

Sam's Club

Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it . . .

February 22nd, 2011 at 02:46 pm

To set the stage, I started a new job the last week of October and took a giant pay cut. On top of that, my first five bimonthly paychecks were prorated, and $400 less than they normally would be. I had some money in the bank (knowing I would be switching jobs), but barely enough to get through until my pay went back up. Of course, I had also planned on getting paid for the sick time and personal time that I had built up my first two years at my previous job (75% for personal/25% for sick), using that as a buffer. Apparently you have to give 90 days notice or you forfeit all that money. Okay. FU. It's worth it to get out of that horrible job that had me unable to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, go through lockdowns, and have my family constantly worry for my safety.

That left me super broke though.

I got a tutoring job. I sold books on half.com and classroom sets on ebay. I cut everywhere I could cut. We got in a screaming fight because I said we weren't going to make two damn trips to the Dollar Store in one day and waste gas. We turned the heat down and used only single lamps with high efficiency bulbs. Boiled water for pasta and then shut off the gas to let the pasta cook for 20 minutes with no heat. Spun clothes dry and hung them on a rack. Seriously. We did everything.

We had the most minimal Christmas you could think of. My parents paid our gas and tolls so we would go to their house. By January we were broke, but knew my income was going to go up by $800 that month.

On January 5th my car got towed because someone in Harrisburg screwed up. When we switched insurance, Hbg thought our insurance was canceled, and they sent us a notice to either send our plates or proof of insurance. We faxed in proof. We were actually covered by two different companies during the time they said we didn't have insurance. We got another notice saying our fax wasn't legible, send in copies. We did. We have copies of our fax receipt and the letters we sent with proof. We heard nothing else. Then our car gets towed nine months later.

We brought all our receipts/copies to traffic court so we could prove we had insurance and go get our car from the PPA. It was like a cross between Parking Wars and a Kafka novel. $600 later we had our car and another court date (3/8), and we were informed that we *might* get our money back if we had proof (we also have proof from the insurance company that they notified Hbg) of insurance for that time period. Oh, even if we proved we had insurance and Hbg was notified we wouldn't get back $75 of our money because it was an 'administrative' fee.

Okay. So we're flat broke now. Literally using change to buy milk, and rationing that out.

We start to climb out of the hole. With my Feb. 15th paycheck, I actually splurge and let us each have $15. We did have to get our car inspected, and knew there would be about a $130 repair. Okay. That sucks. But we had money for it -- amazing considering what's gone one. What happens? One side of the emergency brake is frozen, and if I want the car inspected it will be $398. So, again, I'm flat broke. My next paycheck on the 28th will cover rent and bills that are due before the 15th, leaving about $115 until I get paid on the 15th. Thankfully I'll have a small tutoring check and my husband's small check, but those don't add up to much. My check on the 15th will be used to start building up savings again, which I'm sure will disappear to another unforeseen disaster.

Sometimes it just gets so depressing to scrimp and save and go without just to have it all taken away.

Wachovia to Wells Fargo

February 21st, 2011 at 10:45 am

Since WF bought Wachovia, I thought I'd check on what was going to happen to my Wachovia Rewards account. I logged in and found that I had 5,229 points. After reading the faqs, I learned that WF will charge $12 per year to take part in the rewards program.

The first thing I did was use 5,200 pts to 'buy' $40 that will be credited to my checking account. Now I want to see how many points, on average, I would earn by paying bills with my card. I don't really use my card for anything else, since I'm one of those people who, if I don't have a cash envelope for a category (gas, groceries, etc.) I tend to spend more than I planned. The only thing I really use my card for is paying bills online, so I doubt it will end up being worth it.

Cell phones

February 20th, 2011 at 01:47 pm

My husband and I both have iPhones that we've had for years. I've been really annoyed at AT&T because my bill is about $130 per month.

I finally decided to break with my iPhone, which kills me, but I need to get this debt paid off so I can start saving money again.

I bought us each an LG Rumor Touch phone from Virgin Mobile, and signed up for the $25 plan. Unlimited text and web, and 300 minutes of talk time. That should be fine for us since we mostly text.

This will save us about $80 per month, so the phones will pay for themselves in about two months or so.

Again, it pains me to lose my iPhone, but I downloaded Opera Mini to the new phone, and I can deal with it for $80 per month savings.

Debt as of 2/20/11

February 20th, 2011 at 01:41 pm

Target: $24.40
HSN: $39.00
PayPal Pay Later: $170.00
Merrick Bank: $451.00
Orchard Bank $428.00
Capital One: $1326.00

I don't know what my student loan payment will be because I'm going to be on the Income Contingent Plan. I am going to begin an Ed.D. program, but my job pays tuition. YAY!! I should add that $3K per year to my income as I will use it every year.

Back Again!

February 20th, 2011 at 01:36 pm

I haven't posted since 2006, and I'm so surprised my blog is still here. I get a new job, moved to a new city, went back to school to get my Master's, and completely forgot the name of this site.

A few weeks ago I was searching for something else and this site came up! I was so excited! I had completely forgotten the few things I wrote about (at the time I actually canceled internet and used it only at work, so I stopped posting anything anywhere). I'm going to lay out my situation so that I have a record of where I am and what my plans are.

I left the job I moved here for, taking about a $15K paycut, which, believe it or not, was totally worth it not just for the piece of mind, but for the kick in the pants it gave me about money. I sort of went on a spending spree over the summer planning to go back to my awful job, but ended up switching jobs, taking a pay cut, and having too much debt.

Since no one knows who I am :-), I'm going to lay out where I am and where I want to be for my own records.

After massive pay cut, $48,500 salary. Hopefully I will get a generous raise next year. I get an extra $200 or so per month from tutoring, and my husband makes about$70/week at a weekend job (he homeschools our son during the week).

I am going to do a 'debt' and a 'budget' post so I don't have to wade through everything to see where I am.

$12.00 raise

September 15th, 2006 at 08:22 am

I just got my direct deposit notice, and I apparently got a $12.00 raise in my living stipend. It was actually a nice surprise since I didn't expect it at all. Every other week I will take that right off the top and put it into my emergency fund so it will be like I never even got it. It's just $312 extra over the course of a year, but I'll certainly take it!

$12.76 to the $20.00 Challenge

September 14th, 2006 at 12:13 pm

.07 from my husband's car
12.69 from my car
12.76 this pay period

My husband's car was completely empty because he made an out-of-state trip last week. I was pretty psyched about my car, but unfortunately I have a trip for work this weekend, and I won't be getting reimbursed for my travel. My destination is about 1.5 hours from here, and I'll be doing some driving once I'm there. Hopefully I won't use too much gas. I also have a trip next week (not a budgeted gas week) that I will get reimbursed for, so I'm trying to figure out how to account for that. Maybe a category for reimbursed work expenses/expenses, and another for reimbursed work expenses/income to even it out? I'll have to think about how to account for that since I do it about once per month.

My $20 Challenge

September 10th, 2006 at 10:06 am

I'be been trying to figure out what to do for a $20 challenge for the past few weeks. I've been trying to find some new place where I've been 'leaking' money, and it finally came to me. I budget $40 for gas every other week for both of our cars, and don't go over that unless we have a long trip somewhere (rarely) or I have to travel for work and my reimbursement for travel is mailed to me after the fact. However, we are often under the budgeted amount, and I leave that extra in the checking account, where, eventually, we spend it on something else.

So, my $20 challenge will be to transfer all of the budgeted money I don't use for gas to my $20 challenge account. It won't be much, and it will only be every other week, but I feel like that is an area that I 'cheat' in by treating that extra bit of money as fun money and wasting it. I only have an emergency fund account set up at ING, so I am going to try to set up a subaccount today to get my challenge started. I don't know what I am going to use that money for yet, but I'm sure I can come up with something. :-)

I'm now a CPR instructor!

September 9th, 2006 at 07:33 am

I spent this week earning my CPR/AED/First Aid instructor's certificate from the Red Cross. I am now certified to teach CPR/AED/FA classes; I'm so excited! Part of my current job is to teach these skills to low income populations for free, so I will get a lot of instructor experience this year! I'm not allowed to have a second job until my term is up next August, but hopefully, after that, CPR training will provide me with a little extra income since I'll be able to be a per diem community/workplace instructor. I think knowing basic first aid and CPR is extremely important, and if I could afford the manikins, I would teach it for free to anyone who wanted to learn.

On a different note, when I went grocery shopping last week I got a nice surprise at the checkout -- a '$10 off your next grocery purchase' from Kraft, with no purchase requirements. Since I don't buy packaged foods, I'm not sure what Kraft products I bought (other than cheese), but, I don't really care! :-)

This weekend I plan to go over my budget and finances again as I've been a little lax over the past two weeks. I also finally got a copy of The Total Money Makeover and the workbook that goes with it. I started it last night and hope to at least skim through the whole thing over the next couple days.

The Adoption Interview -- YIKES

September 1st, 2006 at 07:29 am

OT, but related to an earlier post--
Well, the check I was worried about earlier still has not come in. I have no idea what is going on, so I think I will have to call the hospital. Thankfully I have plenty of money in the account to pay for it now.
My husband and I are going through the process of adopting, and we had our first home study appointment last night. It was a joint interview that lasted about three hours and asked everything you could imagine about us, our marriage, our lifestyle, our parenting philosophy, and our financial situation.

The embarrassing part -- when she asked how much money we have left over each month, I didn't really know! August has been so crazy, and we have been so off-budget, that all I could do was guess. I explained that we (unexpectedly) had our two nieces for one week, then our nephew for another, we had an out-of-state funeral, had to buy a new (used) care because ours died (paid cash), and we also had our vacation in August. Oh, and we make very little money right now. I told her that I automatically had $62.50 per paycheck put into our ING account, along with whatever was left from my husband's paycheck every other week. I knew every one of our bills. We prepaid our car insurance, we have life insurance, etc.

We were very concerned that, making so little money, we might not be considered qualified to adopt. Well, she was actually very complimentary about first, our conscious decision to live as we do, second, about the fact that we knew what our bills were, and third, that we believed in saving money in an emergency fund. Although we are very financially depleted due to the crazy month of August, she said it was clear that we understood financial management, and knowing that what we went through in August didn't put us in debt or into an emergency situation, it was obvious that we were financially okay. She also said that she does home studies with people who make a lot more than us, and who have NO savings at all, and have huge credit card debt (we have none). We felt really good after the interview.

So I guess the whole 'it's not what you make, it's what you save' really does count. :-)

Poverty quote

August 29th, 2006 at 07:16 am

I've been reading all the posts about poor people lately, and I just got this quote in my email, from Discovery Health no less:

When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.
- Saint Jerome

I just felt it was appropriate.

Clearing my conscience

August 27th, 2006 at 08:57 am

Okay, so I finally decided to start a public blog as a way to actually admit the problems I am having with sticking to my budget.

I paid two hospital bills last month, one for $640. & one for $1640. Well, I ended up having to go to a funeral, which cost me about $125 to go to (gas, tolls, etc.), and $100 for a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in lieu of flowers. I knew I didn't have that money budgeted, but this person was very important to my family, and I really wanted to donate.

Knowing that would overdraw my checking account, I transferred $200 from my ING account (leaving just $600 after having to buy a new *used* car last month). I also had my nephew for an unexpected week, and spent more than I had planned. The $1640 hospital check bounced because I wasn't paying attention to my account during the time around the funeral. I transferred money from my savings account to cover that, leaving barely $100 between my two savings accounts at the credit union.

Then, I'm checking my account, making sure I have enough money to cover the bounced check when it comes back in, and out of nowhere I see a $240 check cashed. I found out that it was a check that I had written at the beginning of June before I started using MS Money, and I thought it had already been cashed. So, now the only way I can cover that bounced check is to transfer almost all my ING savings into my checking account and I don't want to do that even though I know I should. Leaving myself no emergency money at all just won't work psychologically for me, especially after all the emergencies I've experienced lately.

So, if the bounced check comes in after Wed. at midnight when I get my direct deposit, it will be paid. If it comes in before that it will be sent back to me, and, here is where my guilty conscience kicks in, I am only going to pay part of it and make monthly payments on the remaining balance so that I can keep some of the money. I know I should just transfer some of the ING money, but I just can't bear to do that. I worked really hard to save money, and all of a sudden my car breaks (frame, so it couldn't be fixed) and I have an out-of-state funeral to attend, and my savings are virtually gone. I feel very vulnerable with only a couple hundred dollars in savings, so I am most likely going to avoid paying the hospital the full amount all at once by letting the check get returned. I know. That's really horrible.

There it is, my guilty conscience.