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Home > Archive: August, 2008

Archive for August, 2008

End of Month = Another Baby Step

August 30th, 2008 at 07:13 pm

I went ahead and updated my total CC debt on my sidebar, as well as my ticker. I have to keep my focus on the fact that my debt total continues to go down, rather than on the fact that it's going down so slowly. I started this year at almost $13,500 in debt, and now I'm just under $12,000 - yeah! Also, my FICO score last December was under 600, and I just checked it and it's at its highest point for this year ... 630! It's not nearly where I want it to be, but it's certainly better than it was 9 months ago. So, I continue to take baby steps. "Slow and steady wins the race," right? Smile

I applied for a new job (in the same company) online today. I have a pretty good shot at getting it, although it's definitely not a sure thing. If I do get it, I will move into the next salary grade, which would ROCK!! I should know something for sure in the next two or three weeks, fingers crossed!

As an update to the plumbing situation I talked about in my last post, the landlord did get the toilet repaired, and now I'm just waiting for the next occurrence!

Really wanting to move, and a ? about auto insurance

August 24th, 2008 at 08:37 pm

Yesterday we were struck with plumbing issues again, one day shy of 3 weeks since the last occurrence. I called the landlord and got his voice mail, then finally reached him after a second voice mail left one hour later. (I planned to leave one every hour, even through the night, until I reached him!) He came out and spent 3 hours here (after spending 4 hours here the last time) w/a rented "snake" (I guess that's what it's called) and we are back in business again, but for how long this time? He replaced the toilet in the kids' bathroom a couple of months ago, and it had a slight leak so he was going to put some sort of wax sealant on it, which he brought with him last night. So after he snaked the toilet in the master bathroom, he went to the kids' bathroom to put this seal thing on that toilet. Half an hour later he tells me he broke the toilet and he'll have to come back today and repair it or replace it again. He showed me what he'd done, and he'd literally BROKEN the toilet ... there is a big hole in the bottom of the tank!! I have no idea how he did that. Anyway, he was supposed to be here today at 5:00 to take care of that job, and he didn't show up ... didn't even call!! I am pretty sure the reason I will get when I do talk to him is that he forgot. That is the reason I got countless times last year when we had a huge portion of a tree lying across our back yard, dead, which he was supposed to come cut up and remove. (It was struck by lightning in June 2007 and he finally came and cut it up and hauled it off in May 2008.) I was SO fed up last night that I was ready to go sign a lease on an apartment today!! This morning, of course, I realized I really cannot pay for an apartment and moving costs right now ... unless I don't pay my rent for next month. Plus I still have a lot of stuff to get rid of before I can move. But I am SO ready to be out of here, done with all the plumbing issues, and done with that landlord!!! My daughter and I went last weekend to look at the apartments I referred to in my last post, and we really like them a lot. Last night I'm sitting on the couch (while the landlord snaked out the toilet for the umpteenth time) planning ways I could perhaps move out of here next weekend!! Realistically I know there is no way I can do that. But it will be very interesting to see how long it is before we have more plumbing issues ... I am saying two weeks, tops. And if he doesn't get back out here to replace the toilet he broke, we will not even have a back-up toilet!! I really will NOT be happy then!!

My auto insurance questions are: When do you give up collision coverage? What exactly is comprehensive, and when do you give that up? My car is 8 years old (less than 70,000 miles) but I still carry full coverage. I only do that because I'm so nervous that as soon as I drop it, I'll have an accident!! I need some of you to talk some sense into me!! HELP!!

As an update to my child support situation with my ex, he did receive his severance the day after I posted and I was able to deposit the child support check. Now it's due again this week (Wed.) and I'm on pins and needles wondering if I'm going to receive it. I went ahead and kept the $400 from my EF to have on hand and readily available as long as the child support is in limbo, so my EF in ING is down. Frown

The kids both start school tomorrow ... my daughter in 8th grade and my son as a college freshman! My daughter and I went to see my son on Friday because I wanted to see his dorm and just know where he's going to be living for the next school year (my ex moved him there a few days prior). He seems to have really settled in well and has made a bunch of new friends, so I am thankful for that. Now if we can just get our living situation here at home ironed out as well, life will be more pleasant all around!


August 12th, 2008 at 08:01 pm

I'm not sure if I mentioned this previously or not, but several weeks ago my ex lost his job. He'd been with that company less than a year, so I'm sure his severance package was quite small. Tomorrow I am supposed to receive the second child support payment due since the direct deposit from his job switched off. I asked him to send a post-dated check home with my daughter this past weekend, which he did ... and today I got an email from him saying as of today's mail he's not received his severance package so the check I was planning to deposit on my way to work in the morning is rubber. My checking account was pretty much at zero, my savings account (in brick & mortar bank) is my remaining challenge money of about $100, and everything else is in ING. We need some groceries, I put half a tank in my car yesterday, and had made payment arrangements with the cable company to pay my bill (which was due last Friday) this Friday (with a $4.95 late fee tacked on, which REALLY ticks me off) ... so I really need that check to be good! Ugh. Rather than face the prospect of going into the weekend with NO money, I decided to transfer $400 from my EF in ING, so it should be available in my checking account by the weekend. Hopefully the ex will get his severance tomorrow and I can just transfer the money back to ING ... but then I get to start stressing over whether the child support two weeks from now is going to be paid. He's never not paid (well, except for once when we were in the thick of the divorce negotiations and he was ticked off ... but that was 10 years ago!) and I know he will pay it if he has it, but I'm afraid if he doesn't get a job soon he won't be able to pay. I'm struggling as it is with the reduction since my son's graduation 2 months ago ... having NO child support at all would definitely mean getting a second job, and probably working 7 days a week! Well, I can't worry about that, worrying does no good ... I just have to have faith that it will all work out. I do feel for my ex, I really do. He had almost 20 years with one company, and they'd sent him back to school to get his Bachelor's degree, then paid for him to get his Master's degree, then eliminated his position shortly after that. Since that time he has had a failed business franchise and had to declare bankruptcy, then got this other job less than a year ago, which he just lost. Sadly, his financial situation sounds a lot like mine. It's a shame our kids have such deadbeat parents!! Frown

In a different vein, I have really been thinking seriously about moving. For the past few years, I've been commenting to my daughter that we'd look into moving to a 2-bedroom apartment when my son went off to college. Now the time is here, and there is a fairly new (2-3 years old) apartment complex less than a mile from where I currently live which, if we moved there, would allow my daughter to finish in her current middle school (one more year) and then go on to the same high school my son just graduated from. For the past year or two we've had repeated plumbing problems in this house which, of course, are not our responsibility to repair but it's SUCH a hassle to have to deal with over and over again. Overall, this house needs a lot of repairs ... nothing major, so the landlord doesn't want to spend the money. I won't even go into how badly it needs a few upgrades ... the house is 25 years old and I swear it's still got the original carpet! Anyway, it would just be a perk to have something newer and nicer for a change. (I know, that's a WANT, not a NEED!) My main reason for wanting to move is so that I don't have to deal with the lawn maintenance (since my son is moving, and he's always done the yard work)! Also, we'll have a pool if we move to an apartment, which would be nice during the long scorching Texas summers! Since I looked at apartments before I moved into this rent house 5 years ago, I knew that I couldn't expect to reduce my expenses by moving to an apartment; they were about the same as houses for rent at that time.

Last week I looked at the website for the apartment complex I'm interested in, and their 2-bedroom apartments are advertised at $1200/month, which is $200/month MORE than I pay for my rent house ... so I pretty much put that idea out of my head right then and there. Then I was talking to a girl I work with about it, and she hooked me up with an apartment locator, something I never even knew existed! I guess these apartment locators can get better pricing than just a person coming in on their own. She sent me some prices for these apartments that were over $200 less than what was advertised on the website, or about the same as my current rent! Cool!! So I got all excited about that. Plus, the deposit on the apartment ($250) is MUCH less than I paid for this house ($1,000). So today I asked her some questions about the pet deposit, and availability of the floor plan I'd like (the only 2-bedroom floor plan w/a garage). Turns out the prices she sent me were for floor plans without a garage, because they have none of those available (nor do they foresee having any in the near future). So I have no way of knowing how much those are running until one becomes available, and the prices may have gone up quite a bit by then. (Apparently the prices change frequently.) As far as the pet deposit goes, it was listed as $150 ... but it's actually $300, half of which is refundable. (Totally misleading, I think!) Also, that $300 is PER PET ... so, since I have two cats, my pet deposit would be $600. BUT, the security deposit would be $125 instead of $250, because I work for a "preferred employer." Okay, there's another perk from working for my company ... cool, I will take it! So that brings the move-in to $725, which is still not as bad as the $1,000 I was thinking I'd have to come up with. True, the rent would probably be about the same as what I pay now, but surely the utilities would be less. (I know the water would be, what with all the plumbing issues we've had here!!) Oh, then I also found out today that my monthly rent would be $10 more per pet as well, which really ticks me off. Have y'all heard of that before? I haven't. Granted, I haven't moved much in the past 10 years, and I haven't lived in an apartment since I was in college, but still ... that's just crazy!!

So, I guess I will just plan to TRY to save up the money to move (for deposits, movers, whatever), depending on whether or not I continue to get child support, what kind of raise I get at the end of the year, whether Murphy stays away, etc. and I'll just keep checking with the apartment locator periodically to see if an apartment with a garage comes available in that complex. It's probably just as well, since I have a TON of stuff to get rid of in order to be able to move into a 2-bedroom apartment, so I know I will have to have some garage sales. That's something I've needed to do for a long long time anyway, and it will make me some extra money, which I definitely need! (I will just have to wait for cooler weather!) Oh, one other good thing about moving to the apartment is that it's got ALL the appliances in it already, including a full-size washer/dryer, and ALL the kitchen appliances ... so I could sell all of my appliances!

Question for you Walgreens Shoppers

August 10th, 2008 at 01:48 pm

There is a coupon in the Walgreens ad this week to get a 4-pack of Scott or Cottonelle bath tissue for $1.99 (limit 2). I also have two coupons for 75 cents off a 4-pack (or larger) of Scott bath tissue. Can I use the coupons together, and get two 4-packs of Scott tissue for $2.48?

This 'n That

August 3rd, 2008 at 09:30 pm

Well, I've made a few more sales on half.com, and my profit stands at right around $40 now. I haven't received any of that money yet, but half of it should hit my account tomorrow or Tuesday. I decided to close my SmartyPig account (already!) so it's gone from my sidebar. I had $75.11 in that, and I needed money to buy my son some things to get him ready to go off to college in a couple of weeks ... so I decided it would be better to close that account than to defrost a credit card! Smile I am really feeling the pinch of that reduction in child support a couple of months ago. I just really hate to go get another job on top of my full-time job, because that will leave my 13-year-old daughter home alone an awful lot. But I may have no choice. I keep thinking I'll see how long I can hold out, and if I can just make it to next year things will look up. I'll get a salary increase in February, and hopefully something from the IRS. (Not sure about the IRS refund; I have gotten large amounts in past years due to earning such a low amount throughout the year; however, with this job I'm working now I have no basis for comparison.) But even if I can "hang on" ... that's still another 6+ months away, which is a long time.

In the meantime, I am paying the minimums on my credit cards again, but at least I am able to do that ... I refuse to make any more late payments or, worse yet, no payments at all! The progress has been slow, but at least I have made progress. Since the beginning of the year, I have whittled just over $1,300 off my debt, and I'm almost under $12,000 total now. At the same time, I have incurred NO NEW DEBT, woo-hoo!! I know as long as I keep doing what I'm doing, things will get easier with time. And I am still saving a little money and contributing 6% to my 401K. I have to keep positively reinforcing myself here! Smile

I got some good deals yesterday at JCPenney. I had to get some sheets and shorts for my son, like I said earlier. There was an ad in the newspaper on Thursday about a sale JCPenney was having, and they had their extra long twin size sheets on sale for $14.99/set. I thought that was a pretty good price, so I hauled my son out there on Saturday morning w/me to see if they also had any shorts he might like. I wanted to get what we needed before 1:00 to get the early bird discount (an extra 10% off), which we did. As it turned out, all their young men's shorts were on sale for $9.99/pair! The athletic shorts (basketball-type) weren't included, but those were 30% off. So we walked out of there with 2 sets of sheets and 6 pairs of shorts (4 regular, 2 athletic) for $112 total, which I didn't think was too bad. The last time I bought shorts for him, I can tell you I paid more than $10/pair!!

Oh, and I have to get in here that I had 10 no-spenders in July, woo-hoo!