Archive for March, 2014

1 Yr Blog Anniversary

Ok so technically it’s been 13+ months since I started this blog – that’s 13 Months of publishing all of the ups and downs of our finances.  Am I crazy for doing so? Some might say yes, others might say no – I am somewhere in between personally.  While I haven’t technically learned any real lessons through the last year, I have seen just how screwed up our financial life is…I’ve made promises to myself that things will change, and alas they do not…so where does that lead? More screw-ups and more issues…we’re no better now than we were a year ago…sure we have a newish car, sure we’ve lost one fur baby and gained two more in that year (well one furry the other scaled) but man we haven’t learned a thing have we?

Doom and Gloom here huh?

Well that’s been the way of it – I truly truly want financial stability – but right now we’re down so very deep that I don’t see how we can dig our way out of it…we’re once again almost $5K behind on our mortgage with no end in sight on getting caught up or even ahead…we’re once again behind on our utilities (this is a perpetual cycle)…I have no end in sight for the stagnant pay – my boss won’t give me a raise  – nor will she even talk about benefits…am I looking for another job? Yeah but I am being pickier about what jobs I apply to, not applying for everything I remotely qualify for, I want something that’s not entry-level admin w/stagnant pay & no benefits – I want a promotion, better pay (AT LEAST a $5,000/yr raise if not more) and benefits.  If the job doesn’t meet those qualifications then I am not applying for it, PERIOD!

Today my husband is talking to his store manager about a possible move within his company, he’s been invited to join the grooming team which will mean higher pay (hourly wage + commission), more stable hours and even a closer chance at management vs. the two-three cycle it’ll take to get him store management…so crossing my fingers that he comes away from that conversation with good news!

The next two weeks for us are going to SUCK arse financially – for two reasons – well one BIG reason – Days Off with NO PAY for me, Week Ending 04.13.14 will be a 4-Day workweek I am going to try and squeeze a 5-Day Workweek into 4-Days (10 hour days with gym trips in the morning, UGH)  – the reason for this is GS Camporee 04/10 – 11-12/14 and then I’ll turn around and have a 3-Day Work Week on Week Ending 04.20.14 because we’re heading to Maryland to visit our family 04/17-18-19-20/14…UGH 🙄 Joy of all Joys right??? I am just thankful that we have the new van (we’ve named her Bessie) so that I don’t have to worry about renting cars!

Well that’s all…Happy 13-Month Blogaversary to Me!

Image Borrowed from: http://www.cristina-turcan.blogspot.com
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Which only meant we had more “loose change” or other monies to spend elsewhere – while I am glad about that after seeing the total of how much we spent this week, $88.80 on Misc. Items we probably could have done without, or better planned for in our grocery shopping we’d have that money going into this new week coming up…kicking myself in the arse on this one I swear!

Last week I posted a topic on Weight Loss and Budgets stating how my weight loss program has been costing us additional monies – what I did not mention is that now I am yet again at that in-between stage in terms of clothing sizes meaning while all of my Size 12/Mediums still fit, I am wondering how much longer they’ll still look decent – the 12’s are starting to just loosely hang on me, yet we don’t have funds enough quite yet to get me into 10s…and I still need shorts for summer…fantastic.  The other side to the weight loss is that I am not eating the same foods as the rest of my house – my lunches consist of items consistently different than what I used to eat (which was closer to what my kids eat) along with alternating items for dinners…to say grocery shopping has gotten interesting would be an understatement…while I have worked it so that I am not spending more on the grocery budget – just different – some of what I eat now comes from Target vs. Wal-Mart or even from Harris Teeter vs. the other two just depends on what I’m in the mood for.

On that note, here we go here’s the budget from this week:

 $15.54 Remaining from W/E 03/09/14  $523.78 Lara W/E 03/16/14 Salary, Pay Date 03/21
 $88.80 Amt. Spent  $288.13 Jimmy W/E 03/16/14 Salary
 $(73.26) Avail. Starting  $811.91
 $15.00 Savings for X-Mas ’14  $(73.26) Avail. Starting
 $2.99 Food Lion  $811.91 Total Pay
 $4.54 Target  $738.65 Avail. For Bills
 $11.00 Target
 $26.73 Target
 $5.13 KTC
 $4.80 Target
 $1.00 Facebook?
 $2.51 PetsMart
 $2.03 Rite Aid
 $13.07 Food Lion
 $6.03 Everybody’s
 $1.52 Office Max
 $88.80

As I mentioned above – we spent WAY too much this past week…seriously will cut that back in the coming weeks otherwise we’re going to be royally screwed financially.  I am still trying desperately to put money aside to help fund Christmas this year, just want to ensure we don’t run into the problem on having to pull it back into our account like I did two weeks ago.

So here’s how things broke down, we had our internet bill due which meant no money going to the mortgage – yes I am starting to sound like a broken record here…going into Q2 2014 I am going to work much harder to correct this…

 $738.65
 $121.66 AT&T, 03/21 Pre-Payment
 $616.99
 $85.00 LAS Financial
 $531.99
 $60.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $471.99
 $63.44 State Farm, 03/24 Auto-Draft
 $408.55
 $200.00 Groceries
 $208.55
 $25.00 Dinner, 03/21
 $183.55
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $158.55
 $40.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $118.55
 $60.00  Gas
 $58.55
 $7.99  Hulu.com, 03/21 Auto-Draft
 $50.56  $50.56
8%  $4.04
 $4.04  $46.52

So there you have it – our budget – we’re back to square one – BROKE as a JOKE and not liking it at ALL!

How does one fix the above?

  1. First and foremost they STOP spending money frivolously
  2. They find a means to bring in more money – we’re working on this
  3. They find a means to take advantage of ‘free money’ (i.e. rebates, things benefits through work cover and such)
  4. They get smarter.

Any other suggestions? Taking them now!

Hope you all have had a good week!

Money Weight Scale

MFP Logo

I’ve mentioned in passing through a lot of my recent posts that I’ve been a course of  losing weight since October 2013 – since that time I’ve lost roughly 44 lbs – it’s been a  lot of hard work, watching what I’m eating, carefully logging everything that goes in my mouth, and every minute of exercise I do (no matter how minimal)…I’ve been using one site to do EVERYTHING, My Fitness Pal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com) and have loved it! The community I’ve found there has been extra supportive, pushing me when I lost my Motivation – picking me up when I felt down – and encouraging/congratulating me when I succeed! Every victory, literally, has been celebrated and I’ve loved it! For someone who suffers anxiety/depression getting outside support and encouragement means the world!

Clothes Mentor Logo So on the back-end of all of that I’ve had major amounts of shopping to do LOL! As my weight has  dropped, my clothing size has also dropped, I’ve gone from a Size 18 Pants/XXL shirts to Size 12  Pants/Medium Shirts – none and I mean literally NONE of my clothing from a year ago fits, it’s all way  too big on me and even with a belt the pants didn’t stay on…SOO I’ve hit the stores picking things up here and there.  My main source of shopping has been Target’s Clearance racks for yoga pants ($18/ea on a GC, size Medium) and Tank Tops (4 x $7/ea = $28.00), Wal-Mart’s clothing section (1 pr of Yoga Pants x $12), some random t-shirts/tanks x $4/ea on clearance and underwear, pckg of 8 pairs for $6; I’ve also hit up a consignment shop in town, walked out of there with 2 pairs of jeans and two work shirts for $48 (one pair of jeans was BRAND NEW Levi’s with the Tags’ STILL on them for $10!!! WOW!) – the only real splurge I’ve had was a good sports bra I picked up at Dick’s Sporting Goods right after Christmas for $35.00…all in all I’ve spent a good bit of our tax refund on clothes – and I still have a long way to go in terms of filling my wardrobe.  I’ll need a new pair (s) of shorts for Summer, a new bathing suit (HELLO BEACH!), some more t-shirts and new bra’s at some point…

PF Logo So how has this affected our budget?  Well since I began this track I’ve done as noted above – spent  money on new clothes – I’ve also joined a gym, Planet Fitness (www.planetfitness.com) – and I’ve added  items into our weekly food shopping for just me (whole wheat bread, I can’t believe it’s not butter light,  sugar free coffee creamer, more fruits and veggies) so those are adding up. I am hoping once I hit  maintenance I won’t have to spend quite as much…we shall see!

Images borrowed from:
http://www.modvive.com
http://www.myfitnesspal.com
http://www.clothesmentor.com
http://www.planetfitness.com

Money-Flying-out-the-Window_2

Well there’s that – the last of the tax refund is GONE…Ugh…so wish we could have made it last  longer again…keeping it on hand 6-Weeks isn’t terrible – but we could do so much better –  someone PLEASE next year SMACK me clear across the head to hold onto it for a longer  period…let’s see what did we spend it on:

  • Sadie’s Adoption Fee x $200.00
  • Sadie’s Necessities x $144.26
  • Nixon Veterinary Needs x $225.00
  • Down Payment on Car x $470.37
  • Bills x $500.00
  • Misc. Spending x $1,175.13 (this includes some purchases for the animals, including a new tank for Smaug, Heartworm/Flea Meds for Nixon, Ear Infection Meds for Nixon, etc.)

We TOTALLY were not smart with the money – DAMN I am not happy about this – we spent more on our pets this year than year’s past, which I am somewhat ok with, but not at the same time if that makes any sense…so here we are no refund left and getting back to things as per usual…life sucking as it usually does for us financially…can we tell I am SO not in a good place in my mind in terms of our finances??!?!

I THINK the only positive is the new van – Can I just say that I am TOTALLY in LOVE with my new Van!!! It may be 9-years old and have 109,000 miles on it, it runs great and I just LOVE it!

Money Burning Hole in Pocket

I think this sums  it up – we burn it up – it literally burns holes in our pockets…this has been a  consistent problem for me since I first started working – I’d cash my paychecks and BAM they’d be  spent within a day or two, smart saving has always been an issue for me – I’ve never been able to  really hold onto money before – I think that’s what our overall problem is with our finances…I  sincerely need someone to take my money control out of my hands so I no longer have this issue –  I say this because theoretically we make enough money to pay all of our bills, BUT we spend way  too much on fruitless, needless purchases…I can’t seem to stop…the sad thing is I recognize this  and yet I continue to make the same mistakes time and time again…

This week is no exception – I haven’t balanced the checkbook in two weeks (HUGE MISTAKE) I know and I’ve paid the bills based off of the project budget without actually accounting for everything we’ve spent, so I ended up over-paying the bills and not leaving enough left over for a check that’s pending – so I had to drain our Christmas account to cover that check…while I am ok with the fact that we had that money sitting there – I am NOT ok with draining that account considering it’s taken me so long to save that money…so here goes, critiques on the budget would be helpful…

 $390.35 Remaining from W/E 03/02/14  $425.92 Lara W/E 03/09/14 Salary, Pay Date 03/14
 $119.08 Amt. Spent  $199.01 Jimmy W/E 03/09/14 Salary
 $271.27 Avail. Starting  $624.93
 $15.00 Savings for X-Mas ’14  $271.27 Avail. Starting
 $5.00 To KTC Acct  $624.93 Total Pay
 $3.41 Chick Fil A  $896.20 Avail. For Bills
 $2.93 Chick Fil A  $100.00 In From Christmas Savings
 $10.33 PCJ  $996.20
 $8.83 Incredible’s Pizza  $150.00 Bill Cleared From W/E 03/02
 $29.80 Wal-Mart  $846.20
 $7.14 PetsMart
 $28.44 Target
 $3.40 KTC
 $4.80 Target
 $119.08

I am going to highlight two items, the $29.80 at Wal-Mart and the $28.44 at Target are mostly clothes purchases – my son has outgrown every pair of jeans he owns apart from like 1 pair, so we’re replacing his jeans – I went to the kids consignment shop I generally frequent and they’ve PULLED all of the winter attire (um last I checked it was still cold outside…so they had NO jeans on their shelves) and we had to pay full price for two new pairs of jeans for him; plus I purchased a shirt and a pair of tights for myself – having lost 42lbs my wardrobe too needs replenishing…

 $846.20
 $111.00 Great Lakes, 03/17 Auto-Draft
 $735.20
 $5.00 CCA, 03/17 Auto-Draft
 $730.20
 $19.99 Planet Fitness, 03/17 Auto-Draft
 $710.21
 $40.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $670.21
 $200.00 Groceries
 $470.21
 $25.00 Dinner, 03/14
 $445.21
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $420.21
 $40.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $380.21
 $85.00  LAS Financial
 $295.21
 $40.00  Gas
 $255.21
 $21.75  Nixon Needham
 $233.46
 $150.00  Citi
 $83.46  $83.46
8%  $7.25
 $6.68  $76.21

So there we are…I am NOT happy with how this has panned out…so suggestions would be welcomed!

Hope everyone has a good Tuesday!

Images borrowed from:
http://www.siliconvalleyandbeyond.com
http://www.sharonoday.com

February Calendar

Well February wrapped up to be a chaotic month, what with the accident and all the subsequent headaches and stress that goes along with accidents! Oy they are but a pain the arse for sure.  I sincerely felt like the whole time it was either fate and destiny pushing us towards our new van all along, or it was just purely something to push us to our outer most limits…but I honestly feel like everything worked out the way it was supposed to…I summarized our shopping trip in another post here you can read about our adventures on Friday…I sincerely hate Car shopping (as I am sure a lot of people do…though there are some crazy’s out there who actually enjoy the process…um WHAT?!?!?)

High Interest Rate As you all probably know with any new car purchase comes the headache of a car payment  and while we were nearly done with our payments on the Focus, we’re now back-ended into  almost two more years of payments on the van…honestly we’re going to try and pay  it off  sooner rather than later, as the interest rate at the Buy-Here, Pay-Here lot was something like  29% and that just HURTS!  Seriously we’re paying $150.00/bi-weekly which works out to something like 20 months worth of payments on the van…and…the best part is that if we miss just one payment they are going to come SNATCH the van…seriously there’s a GPS Device in it that’ll disable it on the lot until the back-due payments are made…WOW! Talk about OUCH! So now we really have to stay on top of these payments….

Chapter 13

Our mortgage however, yeah, not sure what to do about that…we’re seriously struggling to figure that out  – I’ve worked it so that something is going to Citi each week so that they are getting a portion of a monthly payment – doesn’t change the fact that  out –we’re back due until the beginning of December.  I’ve re-applied for the 3rd time for a modification, highly doubt they’ll do anything about it as our interest rate is already under market value, so who knows…if this doesn’t work sadly we’re looking at Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, it’s really the only option we have at this point – we’re in way over our heads and I feel like we’re drowning…we’re totally house-poor at this point and finding a rental isn’t really an option because of our six animals (and giving up ANY of them is SERIOUSLY NOT an Option! We don’t roll like that!)

Ok so now onto why we’re here, the budget – I’ve just lumped the remainder of our tax return into the overall numbers because we had to use it to pay the down payment on the van, so please to enjoy:

 $1,142.49 Remaining from W/E 02/23/14  $436.52 Lara W/E 03/02/14 Salary, Pay Date 03/07
 $261.82 Amt. Spent  $287.53 Jimmy W/E 03/02/14 Salary
 $880.67 Avail. Starting  $724.05
 $15.00 Savings for X-Mas ’14  $880.67 Avail. Starting
 $31.00 TGIFriday’s  $724.05 Total Pay
 $6.16 Citgo  $1,604.72 Avail. For Bills
 $4.17 Starbucks  $1,279.63 Settlement for Car
 $27.41 Gas Center  $2,884.35
 $34.50 GS Troop #1327
 $4.76 KTC
 $8.75 Checkers
 $3.85 Red-Box
 $30.00 Kwik Kuts
 $7.47 Dollar Tree
 $7.33 GameStop
 $77.79 Wal-Mart
 $3.63 PetsMart
 $261.82

 

Um yeah we TOTALLY overdid it with our spending this past week…I am well aware of that fact – I did have to put Gas into the rental on Friday as you have to turn them in with a full tank or they charge you an exorbitant amount of money per gallon of gas to refill it, and then we decided to get some movies, a steering wheel cover, air fresheners for the car and some socks for  my hubby at Wal-Mart on Sunday and that turned into the $77.79 you see above…Ooops!

 $2,884.35
 $1,750.00 Down Payment on Car
 $1,134.35
 $225.00 Citi
 $909.35
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $839.35
 $200.00 Groceries
 $639.35
 $25.00 Dinner, 03/07
 $614.35
 $40.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $574.35
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $549.35
 $62.68 Gas
 $486.67
 $5.00  Tate & Kirlin, 03/10 Auto-Draft
 $481.67
 $85.00  LAS Financial
 $396.67  $396.67
8%  $31.73
 $31.73  $364.94

 

Ok I will note three things here:

1. LAS Financial, Inc. is the Buy-Here, Pay-Here on lot Finance Company – our bi-weekly payment works out to $150.00 or rather $75.00/week – I figure paying them just a little more each week puts more on the principle, thus lowering what we’re paying in interest and overall.

2.  The van has a 25-Gallon tank and is costing me more to fill-up, though it’s almost double the tank size of the Focus, so I am hoping that a fill-up will last me two weeks, we shall see.

3.  The insurance premium on the van is going up to $80.00/mos vs. the $64.44 we were paying on the Focus and this is because it’s a newer vehicle.

So there we are! Hope you have enjoyed!

Images borrowed from:
http://www.commons.wikimedia.org
http://www.debt-relief-programs.com
http://www.wjflotow.com

Here we are, 14-Days Post Wreck and Everything is moving along at a good pace – albeit there has been a lot of ups and downs we did manage to get most everything resolved; the medical side of it is still pending, but well the collision portion is done, we received our settlement check and off we went to get ourselves a new vehicle.  Sadly, we had to go through one of those Buy-Here, Pay-Here Lots where they self-finance (which’ll mean HUGE trouble if we miss a payment, they put a GPS Device on the van to know where it’s at so they can snatch it as needed…WONFERFRIGGINFUL)…so here’s the deal, we took the $1,279.63 the insurance gave us and added some of our own funding for a down payment of $1,750.00 on a 2005 Chevrolet Venture with 108,000 miles on it.

New Ride 1 New Ride 2 New Ride 3

 

It’s very roomy on the inside and I am still getting used to having something so big – there’s three rows of seats, both of the back two sets can split into two separate chairs which’ll come in handy when we travel to Maryland in April and then to Camporee!  There’s TONS of Room for our luggage, our dogs, us and a bunch of our stuff!

Initially we went to the Kia Dealership and while we were approved for a loan through Capital One, they wanted verification we were in the process of doing a modification on our loan (which we aren’t) so we had to walk away – probably a good thing – and off to Lovitt’s Auto where we initially looked at a 2002 Dodge Caravan similar to Trusty Rusty, but I noticed a grinding noise in the steering column and the brakes so then we noticed the above vehicle sitting next to it and they agreed to a lower down payment so we could get into the above! I am happy – albeit worried about making sure we can make the monthly payment, $150.00/bi-weekly or $300.00/month….as we’ve had snags before where we couldn’t and thankfully our loan company let us make up the payments later…this place not so much…

So the next step is to find out where we’re at with the Medical Stuff and a possible settlement with that!

Well as suspected the car was deemed a Total Loss – not worthwhile and cost effective to repair it, I figured as much, as did my husband, my parents, and just about everyone else out there…

What gets me most though is the why of it all – why now? why was it our time to lose out on the car? why couldn’t this sort of thing happened next year after the car was paid off and our credit was cleaner? WHY WHY WHY?!?!?!? I just don’t get it – we really had it outlined to pay off the car, get our mortgage situated and caught up and THEN and only THEN look into getting a new car – we’d given ourselves a year to clean up our act financially and BAM fate throws us this curve ball – I am mad, mad as a hatter about this, and stark raving…but I am keeping it all on the inside – boiling over would do me absolutely no good, so here we are…

I spoke with the Total Loss team this morning and here’s what they told me:

Using the National Automobile Dealers Association ratings based on Month of the Accident (February) Year of the Car (2000) number of Miles on the Car (150 – 160K), Make (Ford) and Model (Focus SE) the total value is $3,475.00 added to our reimbursement amount is NC Sales Tax of $104.25 and NC License & Registration Fees of $55.00 – Total Reimbursement = $3,634.25.

So breaking it down:

$3,475.00 – NADA Estimated Value

$104.25 – NC Sales Tax

$55.00 – NC License & Registration

$3,634.25 total

10-Day Payoff on the Loan = $2,254.62

$1,389.63 – Remaining Balance

Less our $100.00 Deductible: $1,279.63 due to us

Not terrible; not wonderful either…not sure what we’re going to do, but they’ll stop paying on the rental on Tuesday 3/11 – which gives us a week to find a replacement – Good Luck to us right?!?!?