Archive for the ‘Cost of Living’ Category

So to Speak…

I have so much in my brain right now – I’ve discussed where we’re at with the Mortgage and the van – and we have that underway.

The mortgage is in a holding pattern until the funds from our 401K arrive via Fed-Ex after it’s sent – the NCHFA has told us that we’ll have the funds forgiven after 10 years in the home – I really hope that we’re successful in paying the mortgage ourselves after their support runs out after 18-Months.

However, today I received the paperwork FINALLY from Wells Fargo to close my account – I sent an email to the HR Team of my previous employer requesting they complete the paperwork and send it back to Wells Fargo as soon as they can so I can get this money quickly.  So now we wait…as per usual.

Bonus, though today we got a call from DSS telling us we qualify for Family/Adult Medicaid through the State so we can get medical insurance.  YAY! My husband has been experiencing random low grade to somewhat highish fevers and I am really worried about him – BUT we’ve been unable to get him to the Dr’s to get it looked at.  And, he’s been unwilling to go to the hospital to get it looked at, and I understand that, ER’s are not clinics and not the place to go for medical attention.  So tomorrow, off we go to DSS to get this application in.

I was told today that another manager in my store is looking for someone Full-Time in two of her departments – she’d already offered me extra shifts and I am going to take them – however, my counter manager told me to talk to this other manager about getting a full-time position with her.  I am considering it because we could definitely use the money, and its looking like my future is bound within the walls of the store…for now at least as I am having a very hard time finding work outside of the store. Been looking for a couple of months now with no luck…so yup.

I am also considering undertaking a change in our diet – recently one of my favorite author’s has started on her blog a series of posts about Depression Era Eating and cooking.  She’s listed those items to store in bulk and now I am thinking about how to outfit our kitchen to accommodate bulk dry goods in my kitchen. (her initial post is here, Food Frugality in the New Depression) – it’s a 12′ x 12′ square with one wall of cabinets interspersed with my stove, sink, and refrigerator

The other side of the cabinets is the same, and on the 3rd wall is a steel dog crate for Sadie.  So now I have to get creative, maybe using some shelves and the real estate on the floor by the other wall on the other side of the kitchen next to the living room…

I think doing this would allow us to save some money at the grocery store – just because we’re on Food Stamps doesn’t mean we have to eat like crud – we can use those funds to pay for bulk items at the store and eat well. At least that’s my thought…what do you all think? If nothing else the money saved will be helpful in paying for other items.

One is Silver – we’re considering selling her, as much as it breaks my heart – we cannot continue to pay her monthly payment, the insurance and gas – we’d need another vehicle so possibly going back to a buy here – pay here place OR buying something for cash.  We won’t get what we owe Regional for her – I am aware of that – BUT the bigger picture is that her monthly payment ($540.00) plus the insurance ($272.00/mos) plus gas ($140.00) is just too much for us right now on my $9.00/hr income…so we have to determine if that’s a viable option…

Ok I think I’ve offloaded enough…

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I seriously feel like I need to play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to our finances – hold every penny earned close to my heart and not let it go unless ABSOLUTELY necessary – never having fun – always pushing friends/family and events off to the side.  We’ve been hit from every angle as of late and frankly it’s getting old!

So since my last post let’s see what’s happened:

Silver’s repairs FINALLY wrapped up with a $250.00 deductible being paid out of our Merrill Account, and the rental cost was $754.53 for the 37-Days it took to get the repairs completed.  Ugh. I did send a copy of the receipt with an email style invoice to the repair shop requesting reimbursement for the rental cost as it exceeded the estimated number of days they told me repairs would take.

So that left us with none of our tax refund left – the remaining balance went to buying groceries/gas and basically supporting us for the last month while I looked for work.  I did manage to find a part-time position at a major department store retailer in the South and East working in Fine Jewelry, so not terrible. But it pays $9.00/hr maxing out at 24.0 hours a week until a full-time position opens.  Joy!

In the meantime we’ve re-done our food stamps and now have more money in Food Stamps every month to help us pay for groceries – the mortgage is still in process, need to check-in there and find out what the status of that is. Hubby went back to DSS yesterday to apply for Medicare to be told that the state no longer covers adults like they do children, SO he was directed to Soc. Security to apply for disability in hopes they can get him the coverage he needs for his heart issues.

Otherwise, we’re down to our last $100 until I get paid Friday…fun right?!

So that’s that ya’ll!

Good Monday Morning One & All –

So thought I’d check-in with a current status update on the Silver situation – we paid them on Friday – $2,035.00, yes you read that right – they quoted me $1,134.00 to get her out of Repo then because it took us a week to raise the funds required to get her, another payment posted, $540.38, bringing the total due to $1,674.38 and THEN there was Repo Fees Added in the total of $361.00 they failed to mention when we spoke initially.  Ugh add to that A $30.00/day storage fees x 12 Days = $360.00…I could just puke.

THEN THEN when I call them on Friday afternoon to find out where we were once it was paid they said they couldn’t release her until TODAY…sure it was 3pm on Friday, but STILL! They couldn’t be bothered to express the paperwork so I wouldn’t have to pay an additional $60.00 in storage fees.

I am so burned…I’ve filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and will be filing a formal complaint to Regional today as I feel they’ve taken advantage of our already precarious financial situation.

Oh and to add to it, hubby calls me last week on the 21st and tells me that our water was shut-off…WHAT?!?! Thankfully we have access to our shut-off and can turn it back on, but STILL!

I swear one more thing gets added to my plate I might just need an asylum…this is CRAZY!

So yeah that’s where we’re at…hubby went to the foreclosure hearing last week and it went as expected – we got on with a nonprofit that’s going to help us try and save our home – so that bought us a 60-day stay.  Otherwise, we’re probably going to see a power shut-off soon because every penny I have has been going to Silver this week…

We had a very long conversation last night – one we’ve had time and time again since my hubby lost his job – but we had the same one last night…what do we do going forward and how can we continue moving forward?

He heard back from the place that sent him for the Drug Screen and was running his background – they turned him down because something “dinged” on his background check and the Regional Manager said No…I know what it was, he was arrested in 2008 for Embezzlement while working at a hardware store – he was given (3) Mis-demeanors, restitution and 2-years probation – we paid the restitution to the courts and he served his probation – has kept his nose clean since with no problems AT ALL and it’s been what 7 years? How long does one have to carry this around?

So we’re back at square one…

We’re waiting for his Unemployment Benefits…which according to the state could be another 2-3 Weeks before we get those

We’re waiting for Food Stamps…and DSS said that too could be another 2-3 Weeks…

What do we do in the interim?

Oh yeah balanced the checkbook just now and see we’re down $62.42 going into pay day tomorrow…so with that and my check being less than $300 for health insurance we’re screwed…my car insurance is supposed to draft next week on the 28th to the tune of $212.00 (I just sent a note to my agent’s office requesting the payment be cancelled for the month as I can’t make it this week or next until we get the unemployment benefits)…

So we’re trying to figure this all out – options are thus:

1. We try and find a place to live here in Wilmington to lessen the interruption to the kids’ schedules and lives

2. We drop everything here, sell as much as we can and possibly move back in with our parents in MD – yes taking all five of our furbabies with us – we made a commitment to them when we took them in – a lifetime commitment…pray I can keep my job and work remote…pray

3. We file bankruptcy and pray we can keep Silver

As much as I don’t want to leave Wilmington I will if push come shove – we’ve not had good luck since we got here…the move itself was smooth, but we’ve had a seriously rocky road since we got here…

Hubby made an observation last night that’s stuck out with me – whenever we get somewhat stable, inevitably something gets pitched into the mix that seriously throws us off course…and this is so true…I don’t know what we did in a past life to piss off the fates but my Kids deserve better, they deserve stability and we need to be able to give that to them!

Ugh

Angry Emoticon Frustration

Yup those are where I’m at right now

Well here we are roughly a month out from my Hubby losing his job – the job search is still going – he spends the better part of his day searching for and applying to new jobs – he’s had two bites – both Pet Retailers – one has sent him for a Drug Screen and are doing a Background Check but we wait…and we wait…and wait some more…in the mean time we’re doing our very best to try and get by.  That’s a good way to put it – get by.

After my last post I did do some thinking, digging, investigating and decided to open an Etsy shop to try and sell some of my crochet – so here it is

YarntoAfghan Creations on Etsy – Click on the Image

Yarn to Afghan Creations (1)

I also have a Website where I blog about my work and share the latest and greatest projects, such as these

Black Pink White Baby Blanket Boy Flip Fops Completed with Buttons 1 Burgundy-Gold Scarf wtih Fringe Crochet Pattern Booties Completed 1 Green Yellow White Afghan Hat & Scarf Multi-Colored Chevron Scrapghan Redskins Baby Blanket with Hat Roses 2

So I do it all – blankets, hats, scarves, etc. I haven’t attempted any sweaters/clothes, but that’s next I’ll bet!

Anyhew – this venture hasn’t brought in much other than the $75.00 for the previous afghan and about $40.00 for the White Flip Flops for a friend.  The other two projects are just about finished, putting finishing touches on one as we speak and will be delivering those this weekend.

So now down to the Nitty Gritty

I have added us to my Company’s Health Insurance and that literally eats into 2/3 of my paycheck, rendering my last one less than $300 – how is someone supposed to live on that? Ugh – we’re still waiting for his Unemployment and our Food Stamps – both places have told us it’ll be another 3-Weeks before we receive either of those benefits, lovely right?  So until then we borrow from Peter to pay Paul – so I borrowed from the Vehicle tax payment to pay the water bill yesterday, $174 to prevent shut-off.   I will say this though – being on the company benefits + having enrolled in our living well program did give us a discount + it’ll reimburse me quarterly for my Monthly gym membership dues…so YAY there! I’ve filed for 1st & 2nd Quarter and am waiting for that payment.

If there was more Overtime to be had I’d take it – but alas there’s not – I am so slow at work right now I am literally going insane sitting here day in and day out.

On the upside though my daughter went back to school today – year round school – and her supply list was all of (4) Four items + 1 donation item for the classroom and we managed to find her a pair of sneakers at a Thrift store here in town for like $10.00, and since school just let out 6-Weeks ago she hasn’t grown so much we need to replace her entire school wardrobe, Thank Goddess for that!

So that’s where we are right now…

Well here we are it’s been two weeks since my hubby lost is job and we’re still very much up in the air…nothing has been settled apart from getting us on my company’s insurance, we’re still waiting for the cards, but everything else is pretty much settled.  Thankfully!

When I last touched base with everything he’d just lost his job – the AC was out – hubby scoured the internet and found a company that was willing to work with us financially and they sent a technician out the next day and repaired our unit for $200 ($100 paid when he did the repairs and the balance was paid that Friday when I got paid)

Then the SAME day our AC was out my Hard Drive on my computer (work) had crashed – did I mention that little nugget?  Yeah it took a nose dive onto the floor and BAM the hard drive was toast…ugh managed to get it to the IT team here at work – they replaced the hard drive and got me back up and running – however, I’ve spent the last two weeks rebuilding all of my work documents.

And then on Tuesday my hubby posts to Facebook that our Washer Exploded…yeah you read that right EXPLODED – not quite literally – but just the same the thing decided it was going to break down in such a way that there’s no hope we can jerry-rig it.  We have a Front Loader Frigidaire washing machine w/matching dryer, they were housewarming gifts from my Grandparents when we closed on the house, total cost was like $1100 for the pair, and this was seven years ago mind you.  About a year ago the lock on the washer went out and the spin cycle decided to not work properly we’ve managed to jerry rig it so that we can run the spin cycle and it worked – well hubby was running my daughter’s laundry post camp when mid-cycle he heard a loud bang…he went into the laundry room and found this

Washer 1Washer 4

Yup the glass on the door just imploded! He called Frigidaire yesterday and they offered to SELL him a warranty for $400 and then they’d sent out a technician ON OUR DIME to see IF (yes I said IF) it needed replacing or could be repaired…so yeah we’re screwed – as of right now we can’t run any laundry and with four people in the house its piling up quickly.

On a positive side note a couple of weeks ago I posted on the Wilmington Buy-Trade-Sell Facebook group a free scrapghan and the flood gates just opened – EVERYONE wanted it – and some people even requested I make them afghans – some were serious – others not so much – I’ve already sold one, a pink Granny Square style one, isn’t it pretty? I was almost finished with it when she requested a Pink/White afghan – I told her I was almost finished with this one and she grabbed it – we agreed on a price and she paid me $75.00 for it!

Pink Afghan

Thus far only one woman has been serious about it and she ordered two afghans – one a daisy granny square pattern and the other a chevron pattern one…the daisy afghan is done, and I’m just getting started on the chevron pattern one – here’s the Granny Square one

Daisy Afghan 1 Daisy Afghan 2 Daisy Afghan 3

So Pretty!  I’m not sure how much she’s willing to pay for them – she said cost of supplies + so we’ll see – I am super excited about this!

In the meantime we pray and hope – hubby is headed to DSS today to try and get us Food Stamps – we’re still waiting to hear back on whether or not he’ll get his unemployment – evidently his employer isn’t being responsive to the ESC, wonderfrigginful – so we wait…later in the summer may be looking at some VERY hard decisions – especially about our home – we obviously can’t afford the house + the van + the insurance + feeding ourselves + groceries + utilities so if he doesn’t get a job &/or the unemployment + food stamps don’t fall in line we’re screwed.  We know for sure we HAVE to keep the Van – we need our reliable transportation, so when it comes to pay the mortgage or pay the van we’ll pay the van…we’ll see – but most likely our options are these:

1. Walk away from the house and my job and head back to MD – NOT my top idea honestly – if this happens it’ll be on the coast of MD – I have to be on the coast

2.  Walk away from the house and my job and hit the road in Silver (van) and just drive around the country camping, living out of Silver, homeschooling the kids and working odd jobs

3.  Walk away from the house, keep my job, stay in NC and move into a cheaper home – the only issue I foresee here is our five furbabies…

Until we know for sure what we’re doing the balls are in the air – quite literally…

Until next time…

Ugh

Ugh

Ugh

Why do I always find myself in this situation?  A place where we are struggling to find that balance with our financials + our life+ wanting to keep our kids from suffering financially in our lives (i.e. missing field trips we can’t pay for, getting them new clothes when needed, etc.) it’s a constant battle to try and figure it all out – we have way more going out than coming in and 2/3 of what’s going out is just the Mortgage, Car Payment, Car Insurance, and the Utilities…I can’t stay ahead of them no matter how hard I try.

So where are we:

 – Midland Mortgage – 6 Weeks Behind, 1.5 Payments = $1,281.00 due by 06.15.15

– Regional Acceptance – 6 Weeks Behind, 1.5 Payments = $808.50 due by 06.17.15

– Cape Fear Public Utility Authority – New Statement Shows $285.00 due by 07.05.15

– Progress Energy – New Statement Shows Another $289.21 due by 06.01.15

 – AT&T – No new Statement Rec’d yet, assuming it’s going to be another $130.00 due by 06.15.15

Then there’s the whole need you know, EAT, and our grocery bills run about $150 – $200/week depending on how much we need – and we eat fairly healthy so that means a lot of vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheeses, and the like and those are more expensive than the processed crap in the store (backwards I know) and then if there’s a week I’m in need of protein powder that’s another $40.00 for both of those (vanilla and chocolate – used for two separate things and bought maybe every other month, 2 x 2lb containers last a while)

We try to make use of my husband’s work coupon to save money on Dog food one week a month and we haven’t used it yet this month – so we’ll probably use it tonight to save some money there as we also need to get kitty food.

And Silver, our van, requires about $30 – $35/week in gas, which Thanks to our Costco membership I save a little money there each week! Whoop Whoop!

And my husband’s money changes week to week, but here lately he’s required all of his $25 + some…ugh…I so can’t wait until he’s back to grooming so he can get tips + his commissions – oh yeah I didn’t post about that – but about 6 weeks ago or so he was injured during his shift – a 60ish lb dog was flayling around and knocked into my husband’s rib cage – and ambulance was called because about 15 mins after that incident he started having chest pains that radiated up his arms, neck and into his back, so we thought it was a heart attack – after spending 6 hours in the ER it was determined that it was musculoskeletal and he was sent home to follow-up with his primary care Dr – the following Monday he went to see his Dr and it was determined he had broken some ribs and had some bruising to the muscle’s – back & forth with the employer for Worker’s Comp – put on leave and then light duty for 6+ weeks means he’s losing money – we’re back to just his paycheck which hasn’t been much especially when they take out his benefits…ugh…

I am grateful though that I have been able to work my full-time schedule and if I’ve had to be out of work I have leave to offset the hours – YAY!!!  That’s been very helpful for sure.

And while my work for my author-employer has been steady it’s not income I rely on to help cover finances because the hours are up and down depending on her schedule…I mainly use that money as a means to fill a gap when we’re requiring it – like now Silver is due for an oil change, and I intend to use my next paycheck to cover that expense which I am estimating to be about $65 – $70 with the oil change, tired rotation, filter replacement, etc.

Ok back on track – so with the above we still have our normal monthly drafts:

– My Gym Membership $19.99/mos on the 17th

– My Personal Trainer, $50.00 on the 1st

– Hulu.com Subscription, $7.99 on the 21st

– State Farm Insurance, $272.00/mos on the 28th

– Music & Arts Center, $33.41 on the 18th (son’s Trumpet Rental)

– Vet’s Wellness Plan for Sadie, $32.95 on the 5th (this is with my hubby’s discount)

It’s no wonder we’re broke…ugh…I seriously need to invest some time into getting OT hours – I keep forgetting I too have benefits that draft from my check and need to make sure I work enough to offset those costs.

So that’s where we are – I am also running burnout at work – trying to save my leave so I can take some time off this summer and have some remaining for Christmas break as well…wish me luck!