Posts Tagged ‘Utilities’

So man alive 2016 has been a chaotic one at best.

First Silver is Repo’d – thanks to all of the generous donations we received we were able to retrieve her from Repo, $2500 lighter, but she’s back and we’re able to get around town – most importantly, get me back and forth to work.

All the while this is happening our water is shut-off, ugh I cannot even begin to express my frustration there – then AT&T shut us off – the pendulum is swinging hard one way for sure.

So then almost as soon as we’re clear there, I go and burn my hand – yup – 2nd degree burns on two of my fingers on my right hand – one trip to the local ER and then a trip to the Burn Center and UNC Chapel Hill and I am on the road to recovery.  Had to take two days off last week, but alas I am healing.  I worked a whopping 25 hours last week – and with the new insurance draft I was paid a whopping $61.12! WooHoo!!

Now though in the midst of all of this we managed to collect our tax documents and get our taxes filed, Thanks Dad!

Right now we’re getting about $5700.  Not too bad.

So our plans are such:

$1,000 to savings right off the top

$400 for a new TV

$300 for our daughter to attend camp – might be less if I can get her another Campership Scholarship.

$500 -? for a new washer/dryer – I am getting tired of going to the laundrymat.

$200 to repay my Dad – he helped us with an electric bill before Christmas and then paying him for the tax filing.

The rest will go to bills and carrying us through – we may take a day to go to Jacksonville and have one dinner out, we’re not 100% sure quite yet.

I am hopeful we’re able to stay relatively stable through the end of the summer…that might be too much to ask though.

 

 

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…

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!

Yesterday I discussed ways to recover from financial debt mis-management and one item that was suggested was to create a Financial Goals Look Book to refer back to when you begin going off of your path, today I am going to create a mock-up of that book here – I realize that the article meant a real-life physical one you could hold in your hand, seeing as how I don’t have the resources to do as such today I am going to put it here.

So Enjoy!

First and Foremost: Paying Off the Car so we can Allocate that Monthly Payment ($336.98) to the Mortgage

Car Paid Off

Second plays off of the above, Financial Stability – I figure once the car is paid off and we can put that money back into the mortgage our finances should semi-stabilize

FinancialStabilityCircle

Then from the above, we can begin to build two separate savings accounts; #1 an Emergency Savings Fund

retirement-emergency-savings

And then maybe simultaneously #2, a Retirement Savings Fund – we’ve started t his with our 8% Merrill Transfers each Week, Now we just have to Stay out of That Account

Retirement Savings

Then somewhere along the line maybe, just maybe we can get and stay Current on All of Our Utilities

articleheaderimg_resources_utilities

And then maybe we can begin putting money aside for some kind of Family Vacation – something we’ve NEVER done outside of traveling to and from Maryland to visit family – I’d love nothing more than to take the kids on a real vacation, to say Disney (cliche I know, but it’s truth!)

Mickey & Minnie Vacation

And them maybe we can begin allocating funds to invest back into our home, there are two things  I’ve love to do more than anything: 1 is to replace the sash’s of two broken windows, and 2 is the replace the flooring in our main living areas from the icky grungy contractor grade carpet and tile we currently have to maybe some Pergo/Laminate Flooring

Pergo Flooring tilt-sash-replacement-window-300x212

And I figure in order to do some of the above we need to either find new jobs or maybe find some extra income – and I can do that by maybe just maybe finding a way to get paid to do book reviews!

Paid Book Reviews

So that’s the basics of my look book as new goals arise  I’ll add them here!

Images Borrowed from:
http://www.fiscallysound.com
http://www.diaryofasahm.com
http://www.paidbookreviews.org
http://www.dhs.state.mn.us
http://www.blog.equifax.com
http://www.annuityguys.com
http://www.earlwood.org
http://www.replacementwindwosadvisor.com
http://www.blogs.newsobserver.com

Man in the past recovering from an overdraft took several weeks because we’d think we were ok and over-budget, pay too much to the bills and then get back in the hole – having this new budget system has helped us prevent such a situation, I have a better hold on the finances (so to speak) and can overcome such hardships with fewer problems.

BUT don’t let that hide anything – we still are looking for ways to make some extra money – specifically for Christmas – we’re saving for that but it’s been very slow, we’ve pretty much spent our cash withdrawal down the last penny.  Making extra money/income has proven difficult – WritersCash fell through simply because I didn’t feel comfortable doing the work – seemed to much like it was people buying research papers for college and that just wasn’t something I could get behind – that and it was entirely academic writing…so that’s scratched off and we’re back at square one.

This being said, we’re doing ok for now, I am tad stressed because I haven’t paid the mortgage in a couple weeks, we’re behind on the car payment, and we’re playing catch-up on the utilities, specifically the electric, UGH UGH UGH!  I think right now just about the only thing working in my favor is the fact that I am now down 7lbs on my journey to weight loss and better physical health…that’s saying something right there LOL!!

Anyhew, the reason we’re here, the budget – here goes – the transactions posted here immediately below are including what we spent over the weekend before I did the checkbook balancing over lunch today, so the negative shown is not completely accurate:

 $24.24 Remaining from W/E 11/03/13  $525.97 Lara W/E 11/10/13 Salary, Pay Date 11/15
 $42.27 Amt. Spent  $247.67 Jimmy W/E 11/10/13 Salary
 $(18.03) Avail. Starting  $773.64
 $2.09 KTC  $(18.03) Avail. Starting
 $16.22 Wal-Mart  $773.64 Total Pay
 $5.12 PetsMart  $755.61 Avail. For Bills
 $9.17 McDonald’s
 $4.18 Wal-Mart
 $5.49 Target
 $42.27

And with the line item breakdown:

 $755.61
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $685.61
 $200.00 Groceries
 $485.61
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $460.61
 $25.00 Dinner, 11/15
 $435.61
 $40.00 Gas
 $395.61
 $25.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $370.61
 $89.00 APM Int’l, 11/15 Auto-Draft
 $281.61
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 11/21 Auto-Draft
 $273.62
 $111.00 Great Lakes, 11/17 Auto-Draft
 $162.62
 $60.00 AT&T
 $102.62
 $70.00 Progress Energy
 $32.62  $32.62
7%  $2.28
 $2.28  $30.34

The beauty here is that the $89.00 APM Int’l will no longer be there after this month – we’ve cancelled my son’s contract and pulled him out, he was miserable going to TKD and wasn’t participating or learning anything new – which honestly is sad, because I sincerely feel that IF the instructors actually took time to teach him and engage him he might have been more interested and learned more and maybe just maybe he’d still be going – but the last few months over the summer I noticed that he was left on his own more and more and basically ignored unless he did something he shouldn’t have…sad but very true…

Anyhew, and now with the cash withdrawal – now I will say something else here, my husband is taking our daughter out on a Daddy-Daughter date later this week and I didn’t budget for that, but I did ensure that there was enough cash left in the account so he could take her out without much worry.

 $755.61
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $685.61
 $320.00 Cash for Week
 $365.61
 $89.00 APM Int’l, 11/15 Auto-Draft
 $276.61
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 11/21 Auto-Draft
 $268.62
 $111.00 Great Lakes, 11/17 Auto-Draft
 $157.62
 $60.00 AT&T
 $97.62
 $70.00 Progress Energy
 $27.62
 $2.28 Merrill Transfer
 $25.34

So that’s where we’re at right now – recovering from the Overdraft, getting ready for Thanksgiving- which OMG is NEXT week, when did that happen?!?! LOL!!! And then subsequently getting ready for Christmas.  We’re, I’d say this week, Ok

Lesson Learned: Track Bills Better and Think Positively because You Too Can Recover!

Seriously a break would be helpful? Why is it this time of year everything goes to sh*t and our finances takes a large plunge down the drain, UGH! This go around it was new tires for the car, a trial Amazon.com Prime Membership I forgot to cancel in time re-routed just about everything I had allocated elsewhere to spend on bills.  The $200 I was going to send to Credit Acceptance and the $115.00 for the Electric bill (which I am hoping beyond hope is still on when I get home tonight)…so we’re pretty much screwed this week…if i could I would just fill this post with the “F” bomb until I  exploded!

I explained what happened with the tires in a previous post, if you missed it, it’s here

Otherwise, here’s the budget – I seriously am going to figure out a way to fix this and get us back on track, I submitted my essay the other day to WritersCash, you can read it here in hopes its accepted and I can begin making money freelance writing, we could really use it!

With that rant over, here’s this weeks’ budget, the money paid to Amazon will be refunded after the pending transaction clears, Thankfully! Then maybe, just maybe I can pay part of the electric bill; I tried to request an extension on their website, but that was a no-go, my hubby tried to call them this morning and all he got was a message saying “all circuits are busy at this time” oh gee I wonder what happened there!

 $126.31 Remaining from W/E 09/08/13  $491.39 Lara W/E 10/27/13 Salary, Pay Date 11/01
 $126.00 Amt. Spent  $223.77 Jimmy W/E 10/27/13 Salary
 $0.31 Avail. Starting  $715.16
 $100.00 DSS  $0.31 Avail. Starting
 $9.44 Harris Teeter  $715.16 Total Pay
 $0.79 KTC  $715.47 Avail. For Bills
 $15.02 Adj.  $50.00 TXFR From Merrill on 10/30, Voided 10/11 Transaction
 $0.75 Kindle Charges  $765.47
 $126.00  $25.00 Re-Deposit of Cash Withdrawn
 $790.47

Ok so let me explain a few things here – the $100 to DSS aka New Hanover County Dept of Soc. Services is the Kids’ NC Health Choice insurance deductible for the year – Thankfully one thing went right and we were re-approved for another year, yes thank-you Brigades you brought our income down enough to qualify us!

The $25.00 put back into our account was that I accounted for dinner @ Incredible’s Friday night and by the time we got there to meet my hubs he’d purchased the pizza with our debit card, so I put those funds back into our account…

So here’s the breakdown:

 $790.47
 $223.07 New Tires
 $567.40
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $497.40
 $200.00 Groceries
 $297.40
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $272.40
 $23.17 Dinner, 9/13
 $249.23
 $40.00 Gas
 $209.23
 $25.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $184.23
 $79.00 Amazon.com Prime Membership
 $105.23  $105.23
0.07  $7.37
 $7.37  $ 97.86

And with the lump sum cash withdrawal:

 $790.47
 $223.07 New Tires
 $567.40
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $497.40
 $320.00 Cash for Week
 $177.40
 $79.00 Amazon.com Prime Membership
 $98.40
 $7.37 Merrill Transfer
 $91.03

So here we are, Halloween went well, the kids had a BLAST trick or Treating! We walked around downtown for about two (2) hours before heading to Harris Teeter to get Ashley some cold meds – she felt a little warm to us and was coughing some during trick or treating, though she didn’t let that bring her down, she took off as per usual and had  so much fun!

Here are the kids in their costumes:

Lil Devil

 

Our Little Devil!

Shadow Ninja

 

And our Shadow Ninja!

MISC. SPENDING HAS BEEN BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL!! We only hit the checking account twice last week for small drafts and didn’t spend hardly anything at all!  I am very proud of us!!!  I have literally been on pins and needles waiting to share this wonderful accomplishment with everyone!

The only reason we had (1) stop at PCJ (Port City Java, Wilmington’s answer to Starbucks, but WAY better!) was because Jimmy was running a headache (the extra shot of espresso is an easy fix for a headache) and I needed some coffee, so we stopped at the PCJ by the Wal-Mart we shop at and grabbed (2) small Latte’s and the kiddos some snacks.  On Thursday after Girl Scouts, I did run to Starbucks and picked up a new travel mug to replace the one I got for Christmas from my manager – it broke last Wednesday morning when I dropped it while washing it – I was able to use the rest of a Gift Card I got for my BDay from my In-Laws to pay for the bulk of it and the remaining balance was very small ($2.56) so I didn’t fuss!

But aren’t you guys proud of us! We’ve been trying to do this for EONS and somehow we managed it last week!

This is good because as I was reviewing our overall financial picture this morning did I realize that we are way over our heads financially and this cut-back will help us recuperate the overage elsewhere…

After putting into a small spreadsheet everything we have going out, this is what I came up with while sitting at OT Solutions waiting for Austin to get done with his therapy session:

The income numbers I used was what we were paid on Friday – you’ll see these replicated below – and these are our monthly numbers for everything using a 4.25 multiplier on the weekly expenses – used instead of 4 as there’s something like 4.25 – 4.5 weeks in any given month:

 $496.56  $2,110.38
 $258.92  $1,100.41
 $755.48  $3,210.79
 $830.00  Citi
 $297.50  Brigades
 $337.00  Credit Acceptance
 $850.00  Groceries
 $170.00  Gas
 $64.47  State Farm
 $89.00  APM Int’l
 $21.39  Blockbuster
 $7.99  Hulu.com
 $111.00  Great Lakes
 $106.25  Pizza Dinners
 $106.25  Jimmy’s Money
 $106.25  Cat & Dog Food
 $125.00  Progress Energy
 $125.00  AT&T
 $105.00  CFPUA
 $21.25  OT Solutions, Inc.
 $3,473.35

Leaving a Difference of: ($262.56)

OUCH! No wonder we’re broke as sin!  Even if I cut back the weekly pizza expense and when APM Int’l is done in November with Blockbuster being cancelled (as will be done this week) – I will still have that $25.00 in my grocery budget to pay for food on those nights and with the possibility of cutting out OT  – Austin’s therapist is talking of possibly transitioning him out as she doesn’t feel it’s needed any longer – we’re still in the hole: ($130.92)!

Our biggest expense is the house – and with our payments being as inconsistent as they have been our Escrow account has been overdrawn so now we’re having to make-up that difference in our payments as we were also unable to make the extra payment for just the escrow account thus causing the monthly payment to jump up from $765.00/mos to $830.00 – OUCH!

Alright here we go with this week’s numbers:

 $35.11 Remaining from W/E 09/08/13  $496.56 Lara W/E 09/15/13 Salary, Pay Date 9/20
 $15.95 Amt. Spent  $258.92 Jimmy W/E 09/15/13 Salary
 $19.16 Avail. Starting  $755.48
 $12.59 PCJ  $19.16 Avail. Starting
 $0.90 KTC  $755.48 Total Pay
 $2.46 Starbucks  $774.64 Avail. For Bills
 $   –  $5.00 Unpaid to OT Solutions
 $15.95  $779.64

And the overall breakdown:

 $779.64
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $709.64
 $10.00 OT Solutions
 $699.64
 $200.00 Groceries
 $499.64
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $474.64
 $25.00 Dinner, 9/20
 $449.64
 $40.00 Gas
 $409.64
 $25.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $384.64
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 9/21 Auto-Draft
 $376.65
 $21.39 Blockbuster.com, 9/23 Auto-Draft
 $355.26
 $5.00 Coastal Beh. 9/25
 $350.26
 $64.47 State Farm, 9/24 Auto-Draft
 $285.79
 $200.00 Credit Accept
 $85.79
 $30.00 Boys’ Haircuts
 $55.79  $55.79
7%  $3.91
 $3.91  $51.88

And…with the lump sum cash withdrawal:

 $779.64
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $709.64
 $10.00 OT Solutions
 $699.64
 $360.00 Cash for Week
 $339.64
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 9/21 Auto-Draft
 $331.65
 $21.39 Blockbuster.com, 9/23 Auto-Draft
 $310.26
 $5.00 Coastal Beh. 9/25
 $305.26
 $64.47 State Farm, 9/24 Auto-Draft
 $240.79
 $200.00 Credit Accept.
 $40.79
 $3.91 Merrill Transfer
 $36.88

And that left me with just over $18.00 cash to put into the savings jar this morning! We’re well on our way to being able to fund Halloween! YEAH!

Well that is all from me for this Week! Until next week!