Archive for the ‘Spending Habits’ Category

Good Evening Everyone!

It’s been roughly (3) Months since I last checked-in and WOW things have changed some – some for the good and some staying where they are…

Our tax return lasted us about 2.5 months this year – 90% of which was spent paying bills – we dedicated a large portion of it to help pay the mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, etc and it turned out to be a blessing for sure! Those months right after Christmas always tend to be a problem for us, but having the tax refund really helped smooth the road from that point forward.  The remaining 10% we spent on shopping – we took about $600 and hit Myrtle Beach, SC for a day of Outlet Shopping, cruising Broadway at the beach and then dinner at Red Lobster! It was a fun-filled day that we all needed!  And the rest went to little purchases here and there – movies, books, other clothing items, food, etc.

For the good, and I mentioned this on my NCReaderBlog the other day – I have taken on a 2nd job, part-time, working for an Indie Author named, Heather Hildenbrand, author of such books as ImitationDevitation, and the Dirty Blood Series, doing her administrative work – helping her with blog tours, cover reveals, working on her newsletter as she needs me do and just anything and everything she needs help with! The hours fluctuate based on her needs and schedule, but I love it! She’s an amazingly sweet lady who is just very cool!  I found this job via her Street Team facebook page and applied as soon as it hit my newsfeed – she was like whiplashed I hit her so fast w/my inquiry and resume LOL!!  This position adds an extra $40 – $80/month to our budget or $10.00/hr as her needs require, and has helped with some smaller expenses as they’ve come up – stuff like oil changes for the new van, or something as simple as putting gas in the car or paying for emergency groceries!

Another, for the good change as been a gym change for me – if you all remember roughly 15-Months ago I joined Planet Fitness to help with my weight loss goals – well I reached my goal weight and was looking to move more into weight lifting and decided to give the New Rules of Lifting for Women program a try – well to do the program in full I really needed more weight room flexibility so after a lot of soul searching I decided to leave PF and joined Gold’s Gym – and I also took on a personal training twice a month to help me reach my goals.  The costs of which were a $200.00 enrollment fee + $19.99 month for the membership and then $50.00/month for my PT – who has been well worth the expense! She’s just amazing – she’s a powerlifter and has been working with me to increase the weight I use while guiding me with proper form! I’ve been a member of Gold’s now for about a month and I feel so much more at home than I ever did at PF! Probably because I know my way around the weight room more 😉

Otherwise, we’re remaining static – the last restructure we did with Citi went through and as soon as the paperwork was returned to them they sold our loan to Midland Mortgage – who is just now receiving the paperwork from Citi – oy what a ride that’s been – but I spoke with them yesterday and all is good – our credit hasn’t been affected by the changeover and we’re paying the payments as scheduled, so we’re good!

Life continues to move forward and we’re just taking things one day at a time.

Well its early 2015 and we’ve already filed our taxes – so thankful for my Dad and for Turbo Tax – he patiently accepts all of our tax paperwork, asks for missing information and files our taxes for us every year.  Without him I’m pretty sure we’d end up at either WalMart, Liberty Tax, etc. getting them done paying too much to file them, so Dad Thank-You so very much!

That being said, we’ve received our refund from the Federal Government, this year we received $4,344.00 and somehow we owe the State of NC $51, so that will be filed and paid within the week – Dad suggested we wait until the last possible minute, but I want to make sure its paid when I know I have the money for it.

So now we’ve sat down and discussed how we’re going to spend it and allocate the funds – priority #1 was the utilities – getting current with them and paying them off, so here’s the breakdown:

 Utilities Due
 $                    450.00 Progress Energy Due 01.02.15 Paid 01.05.15 via Phone Pay, Conf# 06223256020515
 $                    157.18 Addt’l Progress Energy
 $                    173.91 CFPUA
 $                    147.45 AT&T Due 01.05.15 Paid 01.04.15 Via AT&T Website, Conf# 4LH7MYW9B045RH1
 $                    928.54
 $                 3,364.46 Remaining After Paying Utilities

Tonight, Thursday Feb 5th, our Electricity was cut off because of such a large past due balance, so we had to pay that and then some to keep it on – that payment was made over the phone tonight – tomorrow I’ll be paying the Water bill and the remaining balance of the Electric bill.

I then added in our projected income for the month and mapped out when the bills are due:

 Income for February
2/6/2015 2/13/2015 2/20/2015 2/27/2015
 $                    471.34 471.34 471.34 471.34 Lara’s Income (40.0 Hrs/Week)
 $                    269.02 269.02 269.02 269.02 Jimm’s Income
 $                    740.36  $             740.36  $    740.36  $    740.36
 $                 4,104.82  $          4,104.82  $ 4,104.82  $ 4,104.82 Remaining After Utilities + Income
 Bill Due for February
 $                    269.24  $             269.24  $    269.24  $    269.24 Regional Acceptance
 $                    430.07  $             430.07  $    430.07  $    430.07 CitiMortgage
 $                        5.00  $                    –  $            –  $            – Tate & Kirlin
 $                           –  $               33.80  $            –  $            – Music & Arts
 $                           –  $               19.99  $            –  $            – Planet Fitness
 $                           –  $                    –  $      57.97  $            – Oster
 $                           –  $                    –  $        7.99  $            – Hulu.com
 $                           –  $                    –  $      91.80  $            – Medieval Times Money for GS
 $                           –  $                    –  $            –  $    121.41 State Farm
 $                    704.31  $             753.10  $    857.07  $    820.72 Total Due for Other Bills

What’s kind of funny with Regional Acceptance is many years ago they financed the Alero I mentioned in my previous post about cars, see that here, so to be back with them is something I was surprised about when we got the payment paperwork earlier this week, but alas I guess there’s only but so many places that’ll finance people with less than stellar credit.

So then after the above was done, we mapped out our “Wish List” for the money with projected costs:

 Wish List
 Item Budget
 New Computer  $             250.00 to  $    300.00
 Clothes for Lara  $             200.00
 Jimmy’s Fun Money  $             200.00
 Kids’ Fun Money  $             125.00 $75 for Ashley/$50 for Austin
 Dinner Date  $             100.00
 Family Dinner  $             100.00
 Doggy Meds/Nixon Vet  $             150.00
 $          1,125.00

These are things we know for sure we want to do with the money – we’re going to give ourselves some “fun” money to play with and she $200 for my hubby and I will be used to replenish our wardrobes and spend as we need – we’re planning a date for the two of us – and then a shopping/dinner excursion to possibly Myrtle Beach to hit the outlets!  Should be fun! With my weight loss I know I need new Summer clothes – mainly work pants – some new dress sandals – new yoga pants – socks-undergarments, etc.  So I am hopeful I can find some reasonably priced items!

So then lastly we made a list of larger items we know we need to take care of in the house, those include:

 New Flooring for Front Hallway
 Ashley Metal Bed Frame – New Linens
 Austin Metal Bed Frame – New Mattress – New Linens
 Poss. New Couch/Chair for Living Room
 Rake, Shovel, Garden Tools
 Bookshelves
 Ottoman w/Storage Inside
 Carpet Cleaner Rental
 Sadie Teeth Cleaning/Nails

Fairly simple things – and whatever’s left will go into Savings.  We’re going to do our very best to stretch this money as long as we can to have that padding…gotta be smarter with it, its a larger amount of money than we’re used to seeing.

So that’s where we’re at right now!

Ugh Ugh Ugh…

We do this time and time and time again – we overextend ourselves and we get ourselves into situations financially that we just can’t overcome…

I’ve done the math with the payments and financials for the new van and I must say I am less than pleased with where we’re at and where we’re going to be.

Here’s the breakdown using our last four (4) paychecks are the basis of our overall budget

W/E Date  Lara  Jimmy
12/21/2014  $    512.23  $    290.12
12/28/2014  $    550.68  $    307.58
1/4/2015  $    471.34  $    286.22
1/11/2015  $    490.92  $    263.42
 $ 2,025.17  $ 1,147.34
Average Weekly Pay  $    506.29  $    286.84
Combined Weekly Pay  $    793.13
Combined Monthly Pay  $ 3,172.51
Expenses: Monthly Weekly
Mortgage  $    860.14  $    215.04
Car Payment  $    538.30  $    134.58
AT&T  $      85.00  $      21.25
Progress Energy  $    125.00  $      31.25
CFPUA  $    180.00  $      45.00
Groceries  $    640.00  $    160.00
Brigades  $    240.00  $      60.00
Dinner  $    100.00  $      25.00
Jimmy’s Money  $    100.00  $      25.00
Cat & Dog Food  $    120.00  $      30.00
Gas  $    140.00  $      35.00
Planet Fitness  $      19.99  $        5.00
Hulu.com  $        7.99  $        2.00
Oster  $      57.97  $      14.49 One more Draft for Feb 2014 – Then Done
Music & Arts  $      33.80  $        8.45
State Farm  $    148.68  $      37.17
Banfield  $      24.95  $        6.24
Tate & Kirlin  $        5.00  $        1.25
 $ 3,357.51  $    856.71
Difference:  $  (185.00)  $    (63.58)
OT Hrs Needed to Break Even          (7.83)          (2.69)

In order for us to break even every month one or both of us is going to have to bust out some major overtime…I know that once the final Oster (hubby’s grooming tools paid on a 6-Month payment plan) payment is made then we’ll be better off.  What’s worrying me more than anything right now is that with everything surrounding the wreck & buying our new car has hindered our ability to make the final payment on our trial plan – here’s how it all breaks down:

Rental Car #1 = $98.83

Rental Car #2 = $675.52

Deductible/Repairs = $390.00

Down Payment on New Van = $500.00

Sum total paid out in the last month for vehicle stuff: $1,661.35 – OUCH

I have right now $860.14 due to CitiMortgage on Tuesday 01/27 and IF we want to, oh I don’t know, EAT this week and feed our furbabies + put gas in the van I can set aside all of $250.00 on this week’s paychecks…ugh…

I went to balance the checkbook this morning and discovered we were hit with overdraft fees because of piss poor financial planning on our part and hoping the rental #2 wouldn’t draft until today (it drafted on Wed) therefore causing my payment to Brigades ($40.00), the DMV ($10.00) for Jimmy’s new ID + the down payment on the van ($500.00) to cash out and overdraft our account to the tune of $105.00 (3 Fees @ $35.00/ea).  I’m not sure how I am going to pay this payment to Citi + everything else I have to pay out on next week’s paycheck – BUT OH wait Citi wants their payment on Tuesday the 27th and I am coming up $610.14 SHORT.

I can’t even schedule the payment to be delayed until the 30th (Friday) because Citi wants to ensure their funds are drafted & applied before the end of the month…so I can’t even put it on next week’s pay (Pay Date: 01.30.15) – so we’re basically SCREWED! Anyone want to generate a miracle here????

I QUIT!!!!  

Just to remind everyone – we were going through with our what? 4th Attempt at a Mortgage Re-modification, you can read about it in these posts:

Checking In…Where Are We…And Some Random Thoughts…
Thoughts on the Modification…
Well Here We Go Again…Into the Grinder of a Modification

So we got the letter from Citi yesterday and under the FHA Home Affordable possible (yes you read that right, possible) modification we have to first pay three (3) payments of $860.14/month with the first payment due 11/1 – YES in just two (2) weeks they want us to come up with $861.00! Um WHAT?!?!? I have other bills – including, oh I don’t know, EATING, due before that time…no I am not mis-prioritizing things, instead I have already scheduled our monthly car insurance, $81.72/mos drafting 10/24 first and then maybe, just maybe I could give up some funds toward this mortgage payment, BUT BUT wait for it – UTILITIES are due! Oh yeah those pesky monthly payments, right now we owe

Progress Energy (Electricity) $250.00

CFPUA (Water, Trash, & Sewer) $182.00

AT&T (Phone & Internet) $125.00

Grand Total Due: $557.00

Then you know the weekly expenses

Groceries – $200.00 x 2 = $400.00

Gas – $40.00 x 2 = $80.00

Cat & Dog Food – $40.00 x 2 = $80.00

Jimmy’s Money – $20.00 x 2 = $40.00

Friday Pizza Night (the cost of which is equal to groceries) $25.00 x 2 = $50.00

Brigades – $60.00 x 2 = $120.00

Mid-Atlantic Finance (Bessie’s Payment) – $75.00 x 2 = $150.00

Grand Total: $920.00

Between the Two: $1,477.00

Over the course of the next two weeks we’re estimating an income of roughly $1,630.48

That leaves what? $153.48

So where exactly can we afford $861.00??? Someone please tell me?!?!?!?

So here’s how this is playing out – today my Hubby is going to call Citi and see if in fact they need that initial $861.00 on 11/1 as the letter indicated, and if so then we have to figure out what our options are,

Option 1 hubby suggested taking out a small loan to cover the mortgage deficit over the next three months, so roughly $2,500.00 and that would only be done if the cost of the payments was reasonable – note this is NOT something I am on board with.

Option 2 would be the allow the foreclosure process to begin and pray we don’t get kicked out of our home for an extended period of time, allowing us to save money and rebuild our credit while remaining in our home.

Option 3 would be to walk away, find a cheap (ish) apartment here in town (so we could continue our current jobs) and move – this would mean a change in schools for the kids, which I don’t like but if push came to shove that’s where we’d go.

Option 4 would be file for Bankruptcy, he’s thinking Ch. 11 so that everything is put on hold for 5 or so years, but someone told me this morning that Chapter 11 is mostly for businesses…so not sure how this would play out.

Option 5 would be to bail on everything and head back to MD where we have family that can help us…

I don’t really believe we’re here…we try and we try to keep our head afloat, previously rent always took priority in our lives, but then again we’ve never been in a situation where we didn’t get paid time off and a stagnant salary…so now that’s changed some and I am hopeful that now we can work with the change in my income situation and prevent the losses of income.

On that note we did decide last night that we’re going to do what we can to bring in some overtime – for me I’ll log in an hour or two here and there on my rest and yoga nights and some on the weekends and he’s going to see about overtime in the salon at work just so we can bring in more income.

Thoughts?

UPDATE:

Spoke with my Hubby after he talked with Citi and as they’ve explained if, Yes the payments are due on the 15th of the Month like any normal payment plan for a mortgage, so that gives us 4-Weeks aka 4-Paychecks to come up with the $861.00 due or $215.25/week for this month and each subsequent month during the trial period.

At the end of the trial period HUD will step in an pony up our back-due amount, roughly $10K less the 3-Payments we’ve made and the monies currently sitting in our un-applied funds account.  IF we can make these three payments then and only then will the underwriters move forward with a HUD Home Affordable Modification with our final monthly payments yet TBD.

I’ve done out the budget for the first payment and I am not sure still about paying the utilities…but we’ll figure it out…

Do you guys remember, what was it back in May when I sent a letter to my HR Dept?  I posted it to my blog on this post:

Well I finally Got Fed Up – Sent an Email to HR

So I haven’t heard anything back – there was some initial back & forth between myself and the HR Manager, which I shared here, and pretty much let it drop from there –  awhile ago I guess my frustration started to surface and I had a conversation with my boss where she told me that HR was working to get me on staff full-time with benefits, a raise, paid time off, etc.  I took it with a grain of salt, didn’t think anything of it because I’d heard the speel before…so I let it go.

This morning was rough with the kids dawdling, not wanting to get ready for school – so much so that my daughter missed her bus – so I had to run her to school and got to work around 8:15 ish – I had all intentions of following-up with HR this morning, especially after yesterday’s post, find that here.  However, my boss beat me to the punch, she called me into her office and told me that she had something for me from HR…uh oh I’m thinking…but nope…she says Congrats you are finally a permanent member of the team!

WHAT?!?!?!

Eyes Popping Emoji

 

 

Color me surprised! Yup she had an Offer Letter from our Corporate Office for me stating that as of yesterday I am being offered a $0.75/hour raise – full time permanent with Overtime pay – benefits including Paid Time Off, Vacation, Sick Leave, Paid Holidays, 401K, and Health/Life Insurance!! I am soo gobsmacked still I can’t wrap my head around it quite yet! But I am pleased.

The math works out to $30.00/week on a 40.0 hour week or $120.00/month or $2,760/year!!! I figure that extra will offset the cost of the 401K/Life Insurance, etc. Not sure if we’re switching insurance yet, hubby and I have to look at the two plans side by side before we decide…so yay!!!!  Great Way to Start a Tuesday, No?!?!

So where are with with the modification…as of right now STUCK…what I mean is simple, Citi sent us a letter stating they can’t approve us for a general modification due to our financial documents we’d never be able to re-pay the arrears, which are in the 5-Figures right now…yes we’re that far behind guys…and that we can be approved/set-up for a FHA Making Home Affordable something or other, but we’re waiting for a letter to arrive for that – when my hubby called last week or the week before about it our “counselor” told us that the letter hadn’t even been sent – there was a deadline date of 10-09-14 on the original letter…so where does that leave us? Currently in limbo.  I’ve been looking at rentals in our area, but there’s nothing we can reasonably afford that’ll accept our animals – and um yeah Giving them up is JUST NOT an Option! We’re not that kind of family…we’ll keep looking until we find somewhere where we can take them all (all SIX of them!) – the only remotely decent thing I’ve found is a 4-Bedroom house out in  town called Delco, which is about 30-Mins West of where we are currently located and about 45-Mins from where I work…while not ideal, if push came to shove that would be an option…then again I am willing to bet it’s been rented by now – so we keep our eyes out and see what life brings our way…

So what else?

Well a thought occurred to me over the weekend, and why I didn’t think of this sooner I’ll never know – but there’s all this news of pushing the minimum wage rate to $15.00/hour – which to me seems a bit extreme, but whatever – it finally dawned on me that $15.00/hour is MY SALARY! So if this minimum wage thing passes I’ll basically be making Minimum Wage…uh Hells NO! Ugh seriously need to fix this…YES I’ve been looking for work…NO I haven’t had a single interview…NO I have zero clue why…I am curious though as to what in the world we’re being set-up for.  My hubby just started working as a groomer (he’s still in his 8-Week 100-Dog Training Period) and will be making more money, but why in the world is it that I am “stuck” – I have a few ideas lined up in my head, it’s just a matter of making them become reality…so with that I am going to add in the below.

Now for anyone who has stuck around my blogs for any length of time will know that I am a TOTAL sucker for all things Nickelback – and when I heard they were releasing a new album, well you know I have been all over that…however, as per usual Chad’s got a message to share be it Political (as is evidenced in the 1st single off the album, Edge of a Revolution) or motivational, as is the case with the below, ‘What are You Waiting for?’ I hear this and think to myself that it’s time to move forward and time to get my arse moving!

So then this all begs the question of Where in the World did things go askew for me??? My financial life has been a royal friggin roller coaster since I moved out of my parents house back in the summer of 2000…what is it that I am missing? I have a wonderful husband whom I adore, two beautiful children and yet we continue to struggle – when are we going to get our release? When are we going to finally be in a settled situation?  Ugh frustration is running rampant here, can’t you tell?

I am not going into too much detail, but I am going to share a series of Facebook posts – our Van our Wonderful Bessie had a hiccup about two weeks ago – she overheated severely and I had this brown disgusting sludge coming out of the coolant area and the transmission fluid was low – call the mechanic, estimated costs of repairs, $380.00, YIKES! Wait until Friday when we get paid, ok the repairs – he replaces the radiator and water pump – low and behold he also tells me that he did something to the transmission “so I wouldn’t have problems going forward” I’m thinking ok cool, another $30.00 he needs to for what he did (without permission mind you).

See the Original Post About the Van

What is it with Cars/Vans and Hemorrhaging Money? As if Stressing Over a Mod Isn’t Enough…Let’s Add this to It!

So here’s what I posted on Facebook:

From 09/12/14

“Well she’s all fixed, but the mechanic flushed the transmission fluid and that added another $30.00 to the bottom line, $410.00 – he wants to check her again on Sunday to ensure that the transmission is holding onto the fluid – there’s no leak, but he wants to make sure it’s holding on…while I am happy it’s fixed, wish he’d have checked with me first.”

“Might have spoke too soon…the transmission fluid is causing her to do some shaking when shifting to 1st gear…ugh he’s coming back tonight to get his $30, and to look at this issue”

From 09/13/14

“Well where are we? Ok well the mechanic picked her up again this morning, he’s going to re-flush the tranny fluid and add some stop-gap measure to get me through the week while trying to clean out the filter. He said the filter most likely needs replacing, but this thing he’s going to do should get me through the week – if she starts shaking again he said to take it slow and get home, call him and he’d look at it…ugh…if the tranny goes on Bessie I am royally F&CKED!”

“the whole Bessie is running fine, no problems, turn back into the neighborhood and wouldn’t you know it, the Shaking begins AGAIN…she’s just hemorrhaging money right now…”

From 09/14/14

“Ok back from our outing…Bessie did good en route to Wal-Mart, a 10-min ride to the Junction, we did our shopping, got 2/3 of the way home before she starting “jumping” when shifting gears…made it home, but my stomach drops every single time it “jumps”…ugh not sure what to think, the mechanic told me that it’d be ok for my trek back and forth to work this week…I don’t know how much I trust that…we’ll see.”

From 09/16/14

“Ok just braved the roads w/Bessie for a quick Target/PetsMart run (prescription and crickets for Smaug) and she did good, no overheating (which shouldn’t happen anyways) and no “lurching” when shifting…WTF?!?! Bryan’s coming over tomorrow to check it out anyways and show me a few things about basic car care”

From 09/17/14

“Friend came over showed me some of the ins and outs of Bessie’s engine and fluid compartments – took me to Auto Zone and we purchased some Transmission Fluid (she was really low) and some Anti-Freeze (she was nearly empty) came home put it all in and ran the engine for a bit and she held the tranny fluid well, he had me shift the gears to help get any “air pockets” out and then he added some power steering fluid and that should do it he said. Crossing my fingers it worked, we’ll see!”

Today, 09/29/14, Two Weeks+ Post Repairs

“Ugh Monday morning…traffic at Myrtle Grove this morning caused Bessie to get HOT again…she cooled down during the ride to work, but all that stop-go-wait trying to get out of the parking lot was heinous on her! I don’t get it! New Radiator, New Water Pump, the Right Coolant and yet STILL gets hot quicker than she should?!?!? I am out of Money and Out of Ideas! Soo not how I wanted to start my Monday…here’s hoping the rest of the day runs smoother!”

“Seriously did the Finance company for my Van just call my WORK#?!?!?! I was in with my boss and they left a message, yeah I called them back and told them to remove that # IMMEDIATELY from their Database, they are NOT Ever to call me @ work! GRRR!!!”

Further Post about the above:

“Alright so those ARSEHOLES just called me back on my cell as I indicated, they THINK I am past due 24-Days = $225.00 and are threatening to repo the van if I don’t pay that soon…WTF?!?! Money don’t grow on trees guys, I explained that to him, but as per usual they are trained to not listen and only respond to what they want to hear…yes sir I’ll sell my oldest to pay you! Nevermind it’s illegal, nevermind that I’ll go to jail…yeah not to politely told him to f*ck off and hung up on him…where in the world am I going to dig that money up from? Shit Bessie needs more repairs and I’m past due…F*CK F*CK F*CK!! He’s like “If you can’t afford the vehicle we can take if off your hands and it won’t be an issue” TO which I was like “um yeah you’ll just sell it @ auction for less than I owe and stick me with the balance due” and he had the BALLS to say to me “well then maybe you can afford it then.” Ugh why are car finance people like flies in your ears, buzzing every chance they get?!?! Lovitt’s would never have harrassed me as much as these jack-offs! But no they sold the loan and now I have these assholes in my ears!”