Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I am about to lose my head!

All these changes!

It ends up, I couldn't stand living away from the man. And he wasn't too fond of being away from us, either. So, we packed up and moved yet to ANOTHER state to live together again. Deployments be damned.

Now, the issue is finding a job. I haven't been called into ONE interview. I am getting kinda worried. I even got turned down for a job at Target. Really? I can't really understand why I am not good enough to work at the Target. But, it is what it is, I suppose.

I have resumes out at a few places here, including the school district for an administrative support position. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I am going to go get all the paperwork done in order to be a substitute teacher. It may not be everyday, but any little bit of income will really help us out.

And although the money issue IS stressful, it is nice to be all together again. Even though he has to leave in a couple months for this deployment, it is much better to be at "home".

Monday, July 12, 2010


Well, the man and his son came down to where the girls and I are last week. For them, it was a vacation (meaning they had to travel to get here!) - for us, a Stay-Cation.

OK - so although it is obvisouly cheaper to have a vacation in your own hometown (I don't know how this works in a small town - but where we are is pretty big) it still ended up costing some $$ bills ya'll!!!

I think the average was $150 a day for the 5 of us. Which I guess really isn't that bad - and it did include food, beverages and some touristy souveniors for the kids.

$150 x 5 days = $750

Holy Cripes!!!!!!!!!!

But, we had a lot of fun and did things that the kids will remember FOREVER. Like PLAYING with baby ALLIGATORS. Literally picking them up out of their baby pool and holding them. Yep. That was fun. Those baby alligators felt like really terrific purses. :)

But, the man and boy had to leave, which involved a lot of crying on my part. LOTS. Enough for me to consider packing up the car and going to where they are.

I mean, it isn't like I have a job yet. I am still waiting..... I can wait anywhere, right?

And, I miss them. I miss him. I am really sad without him.

I was sad before, but them coming here for a week made it worse. So now, I am thinking about spending another couple hundred in gas and an overnight hotel to go to where they are.

Even if the man will be at work ALL DAY.

Even if realistically I will see him for about 3 hours a day, IF I am lucky.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday America!!!!!

In honor of this wonderous birth, the girls and I went to a friend's house for the customary bar b que. (Yes, it is a day early, but it is what it is)

I have kept in touch with the friend throughout many many years. Since like, the 6th grade.

She has kept in touch with many many people from high school. Because, well, she never moved away.

I never kept in touch with hardly anyone from high school. And a whole bunch of them were going to be at this bar b que.

Funny how time changes people. People who I never got to know really well (because of our different social status' - and trust me, my status was not the lowest, but certainly lower than many of these people) are actually NICE now! Who would have thought!?! I mean, maybe they were nice back then.... ha.

Then there were the people I didn't like back then. Some of them have improved, some of them I still don't like, but I think that is just personality differences.

It was nice to get to know these people a little bit. Even if I went to school with them, I never really knew THEM. It was nice to see them with their husbands and wives and kids - to see the human side of them and not the vision I see of a bunch of High School kids high on ego trips.

It was a nice day. But I will say, even if they were the most popular and all that jazz, I am skinner than all of them!!!! HAHA!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

YOU SUCK letters, well, SUCK

I have decided that I am slowly going insane. (Or, maybe I am just slowly realizing that I AM insane. Either way)

And I think it is because I still do not have a job.

Oh, I know it isn't as easy as, "Hey! I graduated college and now I am living here! Hire me!" (Although I really really really do think that it should be!)

But really - I shouldn't get the nice version of "YOU SUCK" letters at this rate. Really. I shouldn't.

Like, really, Dollar General SHOULD NOT have sent me a nice version of "YOU SUCK AND WE AREN'T GOING TO HIRE YOU" letter. They should have sent me a "OMG! YOU ARE THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS" letter, because really, I AM.

So, for every "YOU SUCK" letter I am receiving, I have decided that it is more like a break-up letter. A break-up from a relationship I never had, but still. So I can tell myself things like:

Its their loss
They don't know what they are throwing away
I am too good for them anyway
I didn't like how they (insert whatever here)
They get all their crap from China anyway!

or whatever else fits the bill.

One day I will find the one (job) for me. Until then, I am stuck trying to find SOMEONE to go out with me on Friday nights. Without looking TOO desperate.

Because LOOKING desperate might actually be worse than BEING desperate.

And I am getting desperate.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Either I have the best mother in the world, or she is tired of my being in her house. (I'll go with the best mother in the world!!!!)

Today she was talking to a woman she knows. A woman who works for a politician. A woman who works for a politician whose assistant just gave notice.

Momma said, "Oh, so you are hiring? Because my daughter just graduated college and is looking for a job."

Politician worker lady who is about to lose her assistant asks what my degree is in. Momma says Communications. Worker lady gives momma her card and tells her to have me call her Monday morning.

Of course that doesn't mean anything. But it is a contact. It is a possibility. It is SOMETHING, and it is all thanks to my wonderful momma mia. I heart her!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good Intentions

As I am cleaning out all the crap - I mean, wonderful things - out of what used to be my bedroom, I am finding all sorts of good intentions.

Baby shower, Christmas, Birthday, Christening would be gifts are all shoved in whatever place my mother managed to find. And then forgotten that they were even purchased.

Organization can really save someone the time, money and hassle of purchasing items multiple times!

I am happy to report that I probably only need about 2 more weeks in my old bedroom to make it completely organized and user friendly.

But it may take me another 10 years working on the entire house. Maybe I should call in "Clean Sweep" or "Hoarders" - except my mother would never forgive me if I invited cameras into her house to show the world.

She keeps making the excuse that there just "isn't enough room". Well, no, there isn't. There is NOT enough room to keep everything. I mean, I found a babywipes container (it had sewing needles and thread in it, you know. She was green before green was cool) from when I was a BABY. That was over 30 years ago! She hasn't sewn a thing in the last 25 YEARS. Time to GET RID OF THAT CRAP!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

8 years later....

the state actually starts garnishing for Child Support payments!


My ex-husband has never been what you would call timely, current, or even concerned about his child support payments. Some months he sends full amounts, months go by with lessor amounts, even more months go by with zero amounts. But finally, the State has heard my call to enforce the child support order! (I bet they finally cashed that flashy $25 check I wrote them to actually ENFORCE the order as well! Imagine that! Have a deadbeat dad? Not on welfare? You better pay up some money to get the State to enforce that court order! Just be prepared to wait 8 plus years!!!!!!!)

The good news is that not only am I now getting weekly amounts, I also got what would have been his federal tax return - all 638 wonderful dollars of it!

I should be feeling so bad for him, losing out on his federal return and all. Except I am not. He is over 60 thousand dollars behind on child support payments, so excuse me if I don't give a rip whether or not he gets his federal tax return.

I just hope the State doesn't send him to jail for being so far behind. If they do that, we go back to nothing. I pray that he doesn't quit his job because they are garnishing his wages. He would be one to do something like that.... especially now that he has himself a new girlfriend who just moved in who, in his words, "has a really good job and is going to help pay the bills".

Lord help her. At least I can say I was 19 and stupid when I hooked up with that guy. I can say at 23 I thought maybe I needed to make it work for the kids. But at 31? That's just plain RETARDED.

What to do....

I have applied for quite a few jobs, actually. I have applied for jobs that I am not even qualified for. I mean, the worst they can do is ignore me or tell me after review of my qualifications, other people are better qualified. (I am trying to be optimistic here!)

I do have about 5 resumes that are "under review" right now - which I suppose is better than they 20 I got back saying I wasn't qualified or there were better people out there. (I got turned down by the Dollar General. THE. DOLLAR. GENERAL.)

I did just put in for an events coordinator job in London. How fantabulous would THAT be?!? Well, only if it pays enough to actually LIVE in London with the children.

We have lived in Germany before and loved it and I always have been drawn to London as a romantic type of place. Why? I don't know. It isn't because of Jack of the Ripper, I tell you that!

But, anyways, in the meantime, I am really just hanging out with my family and helping my mom organize what used to be my bedroom which has turned into a closet. It is backbreaking labor. I should have taken a photo of what it originally looked like, but I didnt. I will post a photo once it is all done though.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Moving is not what it was supposed to be....

Well, we have moved.


It is not what it was supposed to be.

Since he has found out that he will have to leave the country for about 18 months basically a month after we were due to arrive, we have not moved to where his duty assignment will be.

The kids and I have come back home for an undetermined amount of time and are staying with my father for the time being.

I couldn't move back into my house because the renters are in it until Aug 1st. Had to get out of the house that we were living in because it is getting sold (can't afford the mortgage payment on that house PLUS another house at the duty station - yet another reason why we decided for us to come home right now)

So, I am job hunting. I have something in the works back were we came from and if it works out, we will be going back. If that becomes the case, the kids will stay with grandma and grandpa until the renters are out of my house and we move back into it and in the meantime I will sleep on a friends sofa.

I also have resumes out all over the country, so I could end up anywhere. My resume is under review for a position here at "home" - if that works out, I will sell my house and get a rental here.

All of our furniture and stuff is in storage back at the duty station - so if we end up here or anywhere else in the country, we will have to get it shipped to us. I looked into a U-Haul, but there is no way I can drive that thing. besides, I will find the extra grand so someone else has to load and carry all that stuff. Even though I made over 30 trips to the Goodwill, the storage area is packed and two other people and myself moved it all and it about killed me.

So, as much as I try to be better about updating the blog, there always seems to be stuff happening that takes my focus off of updating!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I know it is has been a month since I have posted! Bad bad me! But a lot has been going on!

*We will be moving to another state June 20th. Last minute orders, thank you Army! This has caused quite a commotion around here.

*Got his house up on the market and ready to sell, because of the move. This included installing new flooring in the hall bathroom and kitchen. The old vinyl flooring was very dated and torn in some spots. Also planted some spring flowers in the garden for curb appeal. Spent a total of $300 on these improvements, which keeps the house in line with the asking price.

*Looked into selling my house. Renters lease is not up until July 31st though, so I really can't do anything about it until the renters are out. Urgh.

*My family came into town for a week for Commencement. They brought up a sack of live crawfish and we had a crawfish boil. It was so yummy. Brought my mother to the girls' school for a Mother's Day event, which was a lot of fun. Spent a lot of time just hanging out with th folks.

*Had to wrap up the semester for school - final projects and finals themselves. Thankfully, I got it all done!

*I graduated from College! Walked across the stage and all!

*Dealing with some issues at work. Not about me, but it does affect me. Starting next week, I will be working a heck of a lot more until I leave - one of the employees is getting fired for stealing. Not a good time dealing with that, but it will be much better once this employee is gone.

*After trying, unsucessfully, four time to get Chase to lower my interest rate, (when they bought out WaMu, they raised the rate from 10% to 27.99% just because. No real reason, other than they could) I decided to enroll in CCCS. It was a very painful choice for me, but I was making zero headway having to pay $280 a month just in interest payments. I put two of the last three debts on the program - for a total of $16,000. My interest rates went from 19.99% to 6.99% and from 27.99% to 6.00%. I still plan on paying the same amount I was paying before - but with the reduced interest rates, I can actually make progress.

* Submitted my resume online to a job posting that I am interested in at the new duty station. Hopefully I will hear something back.

* Posted some things on Craigslist to sell - already got two items sold and gone, another item to be picked up tomorrow and some interest in two more items. Hopefully they will all sell. The total asking price for everything is $850 - which will really help out a ton.

I am sure there is more, but that is the basic top heavy stuff that has being going on around here!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting out of Debt: Step Four

It's time for the "B" word - creating the Budget!

Take a piece of paper. Create an Excel spreadsheet. Get some budgeting software. Which ever way is easiest for YOU. It is YOUR budget, after all. I personally built an Excel spreadsheet for myself - designed to my own desires. I love my budget, too, even if I don't always like what the numbers show me. Simply because with MY budget, designed for me, I can see everything I want to see simply by opening the thing up.

You obvisouly need to have an income category (ies). You may do either Gross income or Net income. I personally only use my net income. It is easier for me to deal with. My income categories are as follows:

Previous Month's ending Bank Balance (Because I never know how much I am going to make, I do not zero balance out each month. For me, this allows me to see where my financial picture looks like for the future)

Tips (Tips change from month to month)


GI Bill (its income!)

Child Support (just in case I get it!)

Rent (from my rent house)

Misc Income (sometimes I get money I wasn't expecting as a gift!)

Add all of those amounts together and I have how much money I have to work with during the course of a month. Fun Fun!

Next, you need categories for your expenses. Everything you pay each month needs to be addressed. Start with things like:

Mortgage (Rent)
Natural Gas
Vehicle Payments
Child Care
Credit Card 1
Credit Card 2
Credit Card 3 (and so on)
Loan 1
Loan 2 (and so on)

Add these amounts up, and you know how much money you HAVE to spend each month. Subtract this amount from the income amount, and you have what's left over.

If you see a big red number after doing this, you have a problem. For starters, you haven't yet bought food, household products or put gasoline in your car. Those are things you kinda need. You need to immediately look at ways of slashing some of those above costs and increasing your income. You may need to get a second job, sell A LOT of your stuff, or cut the cable. But you need the number after subtracting expenses from income to be in the black. If the net amount is zero, you still need to increase income and find a way to slash expenses, because you still have some expenses to add into the budget!

Now it is time to add in your varible monthly expenses. Like:

Household Products
Christmas Savings
Medical Savings
Car Maint/Repair

You have already tracked everything you buy, so you have a good idea of how much you actually spend in all of these categories. Just put those numbers into this category. Add up the first set of expenses with this set of expenses and subtract from income. This number tells you how much money you truly have left at the end of the month.

Again, if you see big red numbers, you are going to have to adjust the amounts you are spending in the varible categories. If you can't go out to eat this month, so be it. If you have to slash your grocery bill by a few dollars, do it. A number of Zero means that you are flush even between income and expenses, but that isn't going to help you get out of debt. You may still have to sell some stuff, get a second job, and slash expenses.

If you have a number above zero, congratulations! You have something to work with for the next step of getting out of debt!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Getting out of Debt: Step Three

Now it is time to start tracking where all your income goes.

And I mean every last penny.

Start by writing down all the money that you have to spend each month - i.e. - your debts. These things have to be paid, so you subtract those amounts from your income.

After that, you should see how much money you really have to spend each month on discretionary items. Track how you spend that money. Each time you stop to get a coffee, write it down!

After one month of tracking down how you are spending your money, you can add up each expense into a certain category, such as, Clothing, Movies, Groceries, Eating Out, Coffee, etc.

After you get your amounts, you can start lumping like things together. Movies and Eating Out, for example, are part of the overall "Entertainment" category.

Once you have all these categories tracked and figured out, you can see how much you are spending in each category.

If you haven't realized it yet, you are at the point of having all the data needed to set up your wonderful budget!!!!

*It is very important that during this period you only spend CASH and DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS! Using Credit Cards will completely change the integrity of your category spending, which will make the data useless for the next step - CREATING A BUDGET!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting out of Debt: Step Two

Now that you have assumed responsibility for your debts, you are ready to get rolling. But roll to where?


You have assumed the responsibility - but the responsibility for what? It is now time to gather all your financial info and I mean ALL of it.

You have got to know exactly where you stand. Get all those debt statements, to include the house and the car. Write them all down and get that ugly total number. It will probably be shocking, but you need to do it!

You also need to get all your paystubs. Figure out how much you actually MAKE each month.

If you have any open savings or checkings accounts with balances in them - you know, assests - get that information together as well. Heck, you can even get together any stocks, retirement accounts and/or savings bonds together as well, so you can have a clear total of how much money you have at your disposable.

Once you get all of this information together, written down, and filed in a system that works for you, you should be ready for the next step.

But don't be suprised if it takes you a couple of weeks to complete this step. Some of us just don't keep good financial records (which would make sense considering we are in debt!) and it takes some time to get all of those records together. Just do it as quickly as you can, since time is a wastin'!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting out of Debt:Step One

Step one of getting of debt is (insert drumroll here) ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEBT.

Which is NOT the same as "Admitting you are in debt", or "Accepting the fact that you are in debt".

Of course, you have to admit and accept the fact that you are in debt before you can assume responsibility, but those two things to not necessarily mean you will do anything about it. I admitted I was in debt years and years ago and I accepted the fact that I was in debt for just about as long. It wasn't until I assumed responsibility of my debts that I started making changes in my life in order to kick the debt out.

Assuming responsibility for your debts means that you understand WHY you are in debt in the first place. Of course, it is because you spent more than earned, but WHY did you spend and WHAT were you spending on? Keeping up with the "in" crowd? Overcompensating by buying things for children or spouses? Deciding you "Deserved" or "needed" new clothing all the time, dinners out, movies, concerts, travel, etc?

Assuming responsibility means that you are logically looking at what you have done to yourself and are acknowledging that other steps must happen in order to break the cycle that you have started for yourself. It also means that you are realizing your own shortcomings and placing the blame exactly where it belongs - on yourself. Not the Ad Campaigns, Department Stores or Credit Card companies.

If you do not know WHY you are in debt and WHAT you bought that put you there in the first place, you are not going to be able to change anything.

Getting out of Debt

Getting out of debt, as you know, is not an easy task. It takes a lot of discipline, desire and honestly, an overall change in your behavior. Although some people are in debt due to severe circumstances, most of us are in debt by simply spending more money than we have.

There are steps to get out of debt. You can find differences in the steps depending on who is speaking about the subject, but they all pretty much boil down to spend less than you earn, save for purchases, use cash, and increase your income.

The next few days I am going to discuss steps to getting out of debt from my own mind.

I am also starting a "NO SPEND" week - which I will attempt each and every month to not spend a penny of money for 7 straight days. Although I believe I have my expenditures down quite a bit from where they were, I believe I can still find some more money each month to apply towards my debts - which I can get from simply NOT SPENDING!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Only $392 until my debt is at $16,999!!! SIXTEEN THOUSANDS BABY!!!!!!!

I have been so down in the dumps about NOT making a lot of headway these past few months, that I forgot to be excited about the fact that I am almost in the SIXTEEN THOUSANDS!!

Now, off to pay $392 towards a bill so I can actually BE in the SIXTEEN THOUSANDS!!!

Current Debt Balances

I have received my tax return and applied about half of it to debt already. As it stands, here are my current debt balances:

Capital One: $1283
Discover: $4468
Providian: $11620

My goal this year is to get my credit card balances at $12,000 or below. Selling the house should help me get to this point fairly quickly, but if I can not or ultimately choose to not sell the house, I am going to have to get creative in how that is going to happen.

Mainly because the Providian card (bought out by Chase) upped the interest rate to 26%. Only $144 of the payment is going towards principle. Why did they up the rate? I have no idea. I called and attempted to get the rate lowered, but to no avail.

So now I am questioning paying down the lowest amounts first, because it seems as though I make ZERO progress on the Providian debt.

What to do? Paying down the lowest balances first does indeed give a much needed boost to the brain with the "I PAID THAT OFF!" exclaimations. Seeing that the highest balance isn't moving really makes me angry. It should make me angry enough to get the other balances out of the way in order to attack it; but it only makes me want to do things out of order.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Disability Claim

Well, three years after I got out of the Army, I finally went in and started my disability claim.

I know, I am late. Yes, I should have gone earlier. But I didn't and I can't change that.

In any case, I claimed my knees (pretty much torn to shreds after falling in a ditch with 80 pounds on my back - oh, I was such a graceful Soldier!) migraines (started to occur after the 7th Anthrax shot. Don't get those. I wouldn't have, except that they made me. And yes, they can make you.) My lower back (partial sacralization of the 5th lumbar - whatever that means, I don't really know. But that was the diagnosis from the back doctor) and some various other things.

I have no idea what things will be covered and what will not (although I am pretty sure the knees, migraines and back will be covered) and I have no idea how much I will be awarded.

Although the money will help, I am more interested in being able to go to the doctor for the back, knees and headaches.

Hopefully I will get some type of monetary compensation, though. Only because my income is about to go down again with the end of my GI Bill and I do need something to make up the difference.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Selling the house? *long post... typing out my thoughts!*

The plan, when I moved in with my boyfriend, was to rent out my house. No, I'm not really making any money on the rent - enough to pay the mortgage and the siding loan is about all I am raking in. Okay, you got me - I am making $24 a month on the rent!

The thing was, with the house rented, I still had the house and at some point it *could* or *would* become basically a passive stream of income. Since I no longer had to pay a babysitter to watch the children while I worked all the freaking time (yes, the boyfriend could have watched them. No, I would not allow it. Call me silly, but I refused to *use* him for that without more of a committment than we were going out on dates and were not seeing anyone else but each other) and because I was not going to have all the other bills associated with the house (utilities, ect.) I was going to have a boatload more money to throw at the debt. Technically, with the plan I had, I would have been credit card debt free in May, the same time I graduate.

I got the house rented right before I lost my job. Which really is/was a great thing, because at least the mortgage was taken care of. At the time I lost my job, I stated that come March I would revisit the idea of either renting the house or actually selling it. I wanted to give myself time to adjust to the new income levels and see how things were progressing before making a major choice to unload the house off of my spreadsheets.

Well, March has come around and it is time to revisit the question, Sell or keep renting it out?

I have had the same renters since August. Their lease was up last month so now they are on a month to month basis. I have had no major issues with the renters. Actually, I haven't had any issues with the renters, really, except for their not maintaining the garden that I planted a few months before I moved out. But, that wasn't in the lease, so I really can't say much. They pay rent in full and on time every month and when I did enter the house in December over the hot water replacement issue, nothing was falling down or severely damaged. Yes, they hung a television on the wall which is going to require a repair job, but it isn't thousands upon thousands of dollars. If they don't fix it when they do leave, the security deposit will cover the repair.

I say all of this just to quantify the fact that I am not having issues with the renters or keeping my house rented. The income comes every month.

But here is the issue - I am graduating in May. My GI Bill, which has already been slashed in half last month due to not needing full time enrollment this semester to graduate, is going to be gone. That is $684 that I will no longer have coming into my checking account.

With the current economy, I am not sure if I will be able to obtain employment in the general vincitity of where I live in my field of study. Sure, people say just move to where the jobs are, but I have the wonderful boyfriend who I am going to marry, so I can't just up and move away when he is basically stuck here for a few more years due to his job.

So that means that I have to be open to employment that may very well have nothing to do what I went to school for. Which is okay. It's life. I get it.

But - again with the economy thing - I don't know if I will be able to get solid employment in ANY field. I may very well have to bartend for a bit after graduation, riding out the storm, if you will.

Now, I have made some pretty good money bartending, so I am not knocking it. And the bar I am working at now has been good to me. Not as good as my last bartending job, but I have been able to pay all my bills, not touch my buffer, paid cash for tuition and even got one debt paid off! But I have also had the benefit of a full GI Bill from August until January, a $900 GI Bill check in February and will have half benefits until June, which is $684 a month. After June, that money is gone.

And I will still have $16,000 in credit card debt. Which terrifies me to no end.

Chances are I will not make up that $684 difference every month. Especially not starting in July - the middle of summer- the slowest season for bars. So what happens when the bills come and I don't have the money to pay them?

I have worked hard at getting the debts paid down. My starting debt when I started this blog is NOT the debt I started with. I have gotten my debt down from around the $70,000 mark to where it is now. I have worked hard to do it. The idea that all that work would be for basically nothing if I couldn't pay the bills - have my credit score tank - late fees - still owe the money, but more of it in fees and interest- makes me feel sick to my stomach. I may not have made the most progress the last 8 months in getting the darn things dwindle down, but I have paid them on time, every month. Not paying them on time is not an option for me, even if it could become reality.

But, that is one option I have. Just pay what I can and to hell with whatever I can't.

Another option I have is to seriously consider and file for bankruptcy. But again, the idea makes me sick to my stomach. I could have just done that 7 years ago and saved myself over six figures in payments when you include interest payments and it would be off my credit report by now. I didn't do that because I felt that it was my responsibility and duty to pay back the money that was borrowed. So, although it is *an* option, I really do not consider it an option for *me*.

The third option I have available to me is to sell the house. Which is painful to think about. I know it is just a structure - but it is *MY* house! I brought both of my babies home from the hospital to that house! I put my blood, sweat and tears into that house! It is a safety net - a place where we can always go!

And this is where I need to let go of the emotion and really think about what is best for my family.

I could net between $12,000 and $17,000 with the sale of the house after realtor's fees, which when combined with the $5,000 I am applying towards debt with my federal tax refund, leaves me anywhere from $4,000 left in credit card debt to having money left over to put towards my Fully Funded Emergency Fund.

Not having any credit card payments would certainly relieve stress, worry or concern with the current economic situation. Only having $4,000 left of credit card debt still leaves some bit of concern, but nowhere near the same magnitude.

Either way, it is preferable or at least highly manageable for me. If I have to keep bartending for a period of time, all the work I have done will not become for naught.

I have another issue with selling the house - I hate the thought of having owned it for 11 years and having nothing to show for it when it is all said and done because every dime of the profits go towards debt payments. It really irks me. Of course, none of that should matter. I needed shelter no matter what - and debt free or close to it is what is going to help me sleep at night. I need to get over myself.

So, okay, say I have decided to sell the house. What do I do with the renters? Do I leave them renting the house until it sells? Expect them to keep the house show ready when there is nothing in it for them whatsoever? Or should I end their lease and keep the house vacant for showings?

If the house is vacant, will I be able to afford the mortgage without that rent check? Honestly, at this point in time, I could cover it for two months, MAYBE. More likely just one month.

So now comes into the quandrum of using my tax return to cover the possible months it may take to sell the house, instead of sending it straight towards the debts. Which, in the long run, keeps my overall debt totals higher after the house does sell.

Now, some people may worry that the house won't sell because of the housing market and people having houses listed for over a year. I feel pretty confident that my house will sell for the following reasons:

1. The area in which I live, although affected by the housing crisis, has not been demolished by it
2. I live right next to a military base. Soldiers buy houses all the time and have the advantage in these times to have the VA back their home loan. Less risk for the banks when lending money.
3. My house is not a McMansion. It is a 50's style bungalow house. It is small, but a perfect "starter" home or a "downgrading" home.
4. Price - the price of my house is one of the best features of the place! Listing prices in my neighborhood are anywhere between $35 - $65,000. I am figuring my house would sell for anywhere between $45,000 and $50,000. It could potentially go for higher, but I don't know. But anywhere in that range is a REALLY good price for a 3 bedroom/1 bath brick home with a attached garage pretty much ANYWHERE you go. It isn't in the ghetto - housing prices have always been pretty low here. When I bought the house in '98, it was only $36,000. (And silly me, with my 30 year mortgage, was paying just what the note said. So I owe $30,000 - 11 years later. Urgh!)
5. The house has had the roof and siding replaced 5 years ago - so no big repair there. The stove/oven, washer and dryer (which would stay with the house) were purchased in 2007. The Fridge was purchased last February and the hot water heater was replaced in December. The kitchen floors were redone (beautiful hardwood flooring!) the summer of 2008. So, there are a lot of new and newer things that come with the house.

On the flip side, there are some things that could be done to the house that I never had the ability to get around to. The bathroom needs a cosmetic update. It could be done for about $2,000 if we did it ourselves. I am not talking about plumbing work - all the fixtures in the bathroom (except for the tub itself) were actually replaced in 2006. Just things like ripping out the pink tile that goes around the entire bathroom and replacing it with sheetrock and installing a new tub surround and flooring. The house could stand for some new carpeting. The carpet currently there isn't torn or worn (completely) out - but it does look a bit dated. The house has new kitchen cabinet hardware and the cabinets themselves have been sanded and painted, but it could use a new sink and countertop.

Which is why I estimate the house selling for $45-$50,000. Perhaps if I put the $5-$7,000 into the house on those issues I could get $65,000 for it - but there is no guarentee of that. Besides, I don't have the 5-7 thousand dollars available to do the work anyway.

So, if you have read this entire post, I thank you and hope that you can make sense of what I am saying! LOL!

I know that selling the house is the right thing to do financially for family. I know that getting the proceeds from the house can really help the purse strings. It will allow for more breathing room into the budget. With the uncertainity that is looming closer and closer to us, it will bring more security.

So why, even after everything that I wrote, do I want to stomp my feet and scream that I am not going to do it and no one can make me?

I am going to set up a meeting with the current property managers though for next week. When I used them to manage the property I had to sign a contract which states that if I were to sell the house within 6 months of their involvement with the property, I had to use them to sell the property. I don't feel like getting into a legal deal with them over it and hey, it's Remax.

Hopefully they will have some really good news for me. Like, list it for $65,000 even with the imperfectations because someone will bid $54,000 for it and I will end up with 4-9 thousand more than I originally thought.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Today I am writing out the rest of my March Meal Plan. I had done up until tomorrow with things that we already had around the house.... allowing myself some time to wait before hitting the stores *right* at payday. I hate the crowds, what can I say? Actually, I pretty much hate the grocery store. I don't know why. Maybe it's because right when you walk in they have a damn "cold part" as I used to call it when younger and I don't like COLD!

Anyway, last month the planning of the menu's actually WORKED! We stayed well within our budget, had lower stress levels, and didn't starve. Sounds awesome to me! Let's do it again!

Ah... planning. I see now that planning can probably save me lots of stress, time and money overall if I just settle down and do it, other than flying by the seat of my pants. Growing up is hard.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Credit Report Check

Today I checked my credit report, just to make sure everything was the way it is supposed to be.

Imagine my suprise when I see that I am past due on two debts - debts that have been given to collection agencies.

So, I called to find out what I supposedly owed money for. One of them is a supposed Old Navy debt - $58 -yeah right. I paid that sucker in full in 2004. Now I have to get the bank to get me a copy of the cleared check if I can't find it through the online banking machine.

Second debt in collections is for BMG. $157.00. Um. Right. The dates associated with that account is when I was in Germany. (Being in Germany seems to have been bad for me!) I never received one music CD or anything else associated with that company - nor have I had a BMG account since I was a teenager. So, I have to dispute that one as well. The company said I just dispute it online with the credit bureaus.

Both customer service people I spoke to were pleasant. No nasty yelling or anything about my not having paid them money. But to be honest, I don't think they were even looking for me. I mean, these debts date back to 2005/2006. They weren't on my credit report last year when I checked. I haven't received any letters in the mail from these companies.

Now, the Old Navy debt people asked for my address. I refused to give it to them. Then they asked for my phone number. I told the girl, "Sorry, but I am not giving out that information. I do not want to start getting phone calls all the time over something I don't even owe."

I mean, if they want my address, the credit bureaus have the current one. They could have sent me a darn letter. But no way am I giving up my phone number.

Of course, they probably had caller id and I will start getting calls anyway. Urgh.

Other than that, one thing was missing from my credit report - one of the debts. It was for siding on my house that I got back in 2004. I financed it on installment over 10 years. It isn't being reported. Which is odd because it was being reported last year, but all of a sudden, it isn't on my report anymore.

I tried to call that company to find out what the payoff balance is and I got a recording asking me to leave a message and someone would call me back with the information within 5 business days. Wow. Leave a message? Um, where is the customer service department? I didn't even get transferred to India.

But, I am trying to make sure everything gets wrapped up and in order. Check your credit report, you may be suprised at what you see!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

State Tax Commission

Back in November/December, I had received a letter from my State's Tax Commission, stating that I owed them $3,800 in taxes for the year of 2006.

Right. 2006. The year I was living in Germany because I was a member of the United States Army. The year BEFORE I moved to this State. The year I was still paying taxes to the State of Louisiana - where my permenant address was.

So, I send in the copy of my 2006 tax form to get this mess straightened out. ( I still have no idea why they even *thought* I owed them money - urgh) It was supposed to be taken care of.

Until last Thursday, when I got another letter saying that they were taking my State tax refund and applying it to my 2006 tax debt.

Needless to say, I was on the phone in nanoseconds. After 2 days, I get told that the appropriate steps had now been taken to close my case and that I should be getting my state tax return in approximately a week. Also, a letter absolving me from this debt is in the mail for me.

I really hope this time it is all straightened out. But I really want to know why they thought I owed them money in the first place.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving along

Well, things are sorta becoming pretty routine. Housewise, anyways.

We are still using the monthly menu. We had to go to the store last week for milk, some fruits, and bread... and only spent $20. That was awesome! We still have $25 left in the grocery budget for the remainder of this month and it looks like we are going to be right on target.

Still waiting on my tax return, which I will probably be waiting on for a while. Oh well. When it comes, I already have a plan for what to do with it!

Now I am planning on attacking the next bill in the pile, which is Target. Only $777 left on that card and it is done! My plan for this debt is to send in a $50 payment each week, on top of my minimum payment and my "snowball" payments from the smaller two debts that I just killed. It should take somewhere between 2-3 months to get this debt killed as well. I feel up to the challenge!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Well, I am happy to report that I have finished my taxes!

Unfortunately, when I was attempting to E-File, I used the wrong signature PIN. I know what my PIN is supposed to be, but I think that I accidently typed in my PIN to my online information for college. Which, of course, means that my E-File was rejected.

When I attempted to go back and fix my misguided PIN, H&R Block online would not allow me back to the signature page. Oh, the frustration!

So, I had to actually get a shiny new stamp and MAIL my tax forms to the IRS. Which means, instead of receiving my refund in about 10 days, I get to wait about 5-7 weeks. Urgh.

But, I am happy to report that I will be receiving approximately $6,700 from the oh-so-wonderful federal government.

Before anyone yells at me about not paying enough throughout the year, let me just say that I qualify for the Earned Income Credit and Child Credits and Dependent Care Credits (or are they called something else? I don't know!) which means that this is all money that I NEVER paid into "the system". And the Government wonders why it's broke? Well, I am sure there are a lot of reasons, but giving people thousands of dollars that they never paid to the tax man to begin with may have a *little* something to do with it.

But, oh well. I didn't write the tax code or the tax law, so, well, I will be receiving the funds.

Which, of course, I already have plans for.

For starters, I need to go back to the dentist. So $600 of those funds are being diverted to my dental fund to finish my dental work I got started a year ago. Before I ran out of money in the fund and then lost my job. YaY! What fun!

Next, it is getting to be Spring/Summer time, which means the children are going to need appropriate attire to wear that actually fits them. So, there goes another $500.

The rest will go towards paying off the debts, smallest balance to largest balance. I can get two more debts paid off in full, and part of the third debt on the list. That will leave me only two debts left.

Yes, I could take the money I am using for clothing and apply it towards debt, but one, the children do need clothes and two, even though $500 is not that much to pump back into the economy, at least it is something to put back in the coffers of the retail industry which needs money just like every other business.

I am hoping that by using the snowball method, (using the minimum payments on the 4 dead debts towards the next on the kill list) and paying my extra $200 on top of that, I should be on track to having all this debt paid off next year at tax time (with the hopes of getting a decent tax return like this year). Then all the non-secured debts will be paid off - then I can get to work on paying off my vehicle. Oh joy.

But, there is a potential end in sight! I love when I can see light at the end of this long, dark tunnel! There may be a future out there for me financially after all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saints win the Superbowl!!!!!

And I paid off another bill!!!!!

To be technical, I already posted my debt balance with the bill paid early in the month. However, the check has cleared, (or the online bill pay system has finally hit my account) so it is official!

These two bills I have paid off are "minimal" to my overall debt load... each being under $250. But they certainly did not start off at that amount.

When I lost my job, debt snowballing kinda came to a standstill for me. I was fearful of not making enough money to pay even the minimums, so I was paying the minimums and holding onto the extra cash I had each month in case the income the following month wasn't enough.

In November, I decided to put an extra $200 a month towards one of the debts. Was it as high as I could have snowballed? NO. But it was as high as I was willing to go with my always changing monthly income.

So, although I still have a long way to go, these two victories are sweet.

But nothing is sweeter this week than the New Orleans Saints winning the Superbowl!

Being born and raised in New Orleans, being a Saints fan was not even a question. Of course I am a Saints fan. Year after year... with some good seasons and a lot of bad seasons, I still rooted for my team no matter what. There was still a belief that THIS year, (year after year after year) was the year that everything would come together.


And perhaps I am seeing more into it than simply a football team winning a championship.

I am seeing, and witnessing, first hand that with a game plan, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Head Coach Sean Payton said in an interview that when he came to the Saints organization, he had a four year plan to get to the Superbowl. And that they were right on track.

It didn't matter that for 38 years the team had stumbled. What mattered was that he envisioned a brighter path for the organization, and went about making changes to make it happen.

With patience and discipline and, let's face it, some gutsy play-calls, the entire team has shown that you CAN do it.

With a team filled with a lot much like the Land of Misfit Toys - tons a free agents that no one wanted - players coming off of injuries that should have never played again - players that were shunned by other organizations - the Saints focused on what they COULD do and do WELL.

It doesn't matter that in my financial past I have stumbled. What matters is that with a game plan that focuses on the things I CAN do - things that I CAN control - I, too, can arrive on top.

I can persevere. I can overcome my own obstacles. It may take time, dedication, discipline and sacrifice (even head coach Payton took a paycut so he could get the Defensive Coordinator he wanted) I can become debt free.

Perhaps that is as far from football as you can get. But the Saints have shown the world a very important lesson that we can all take and shape to fit our own circumstances.

For now, I will enjoy my city's celebration of being "Champions". All while I work and strive to become victorious over my seemingly defeated past financial blunders to become my own "Super Financial" Champion.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Menu Planning

So far this month... (Yes, I realize that we are only 5 days into the month, lol!) our menu planning has worked out well. We have stuck to the menu, ate the left overs on left over night and have grocery shopped according to the list that was made from..... the MENU!

Another great part of the menu is that the last couple of days, we have lost the "What are we going to eat for dinner?" stress. The night before I take out the meat to defrost for the next night. When we get home from school and work, the menu is right there, telling me what it is that I am making. Because I wrote the menu with our school/work/extra-curricular activities in mind, I am not trying to cook something that takes 2 hours when I only have 30 minutes.

So, although we have only been doing it for 5 days, it seems to be working out well for my family. The children love being able to look on the fridge door and see what they are having for dinner. It is something that I plan on doing every month from here on out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who Dat!?!?

The check cleared today for one of the bills. Which means one of the bills is dead and gone!!!!! Excited!!!!!!!

I'll post another update later this evening! WHO DAT!?!?!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paying bills, Paying bills....

I just got finished paying the bills for the month of February. Yuck. But, at least it is done!

Good news is that I have enough buffer in my checking account currently to cover all the bills until the end of March. Which is totally groovy with me!

Yesterday I sat down and made a dinner menu for the entire month of February. Then I went through the cupboards and made a list based off of what I actually needed. Today I went to the grocery store and got practically everything on the list for $110.42. Now, I didn't purchase any of the meats that are on the menu (save for the hotdogs for hotdog night and sausages to put in the Jambaylaya) because we get meat from the commissary where it is a bit cheaper.

My overall goal for the menu planning was to keep dinners to $2.00 per person per meal or less. I am happy to report that with the menu planning, I have been able to do that! (Of course, some nights may be more than 2 dollars per person - but other nights are way under 2 dollars.... so it all averages out!)

Other than that, not too much else going on. Oh, except for the fact that the New Orleans Saints are in the Superbowl. Yes. I am so excited I can barely stand it! WHO DAT!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Its a New Year

The past few weeks, I have been thinking about the fact that it is a new year. A new year: new goals (albeit some continue from before): new circumstances.

Although my progress slowed considerably last year after my job change, there are a few things I am quite proud of:

1. I kept $1,000 buffer in my checking account at all times
2. I was still able to pay all of my bills, even if just minimums, each month.
3. I still paid all tuition and fees for the entire year in cash.

There are others, of course, but those are the ones on the short list.

For the new year, I have a few goals:

1. Pay off four of my credit card debts.
2. Pay a total of 10,000 dollars towards my debt.

The first goal will actually be a freebie, since my tax return will cover the first four debts. The second goal means I need to come up with $5,000 dollars during the course of the year towards debts. Although $5,000 may not seem like a lot, right now it will be challenging. Hopefully once I graduate (IN MAY!!!!!!) I get a job that pays a bit more than I am earning currently. Even if I don't, I am going to strive to get that $5,000 done.

My other goal is to blog more. I realize I come and I go, but if I am gone it is usually because I am stuck in life. (Like when the hot water heater blew at the rental house a week before Christmas - after I had sent in payment to pay off a bill.) I will be better this upcoming year on blogging my progress. I do think I was doing better when blogging everyday or so. It seemed to keep me in check.