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the light is getting brighter

June 26th, 2011 at 05:42 am

Sometimes it's not what you know, but also who you know.

DH has a new job - one that is a M-F position, pays more, has a car allowance and gas compensation program. No more heavy lifting, no more 13 hour days, no more working weekends. We are both so happy. I want to put an exclamation point after that, but my shift keys won't work....

My initial estimate says we'll be able to start saving about 750 a month, give or take. I'm thrilled about that, because life is constantly getting in the way of our savings efforts. Our first goal is to fix our garage which is falling in. That will cost just over 1,000; we have a trustworthy friend doing the work. This will include a dumpster, wood and paying him for labor. We will have that completed before the end of the summer. Next savings project will be for our new roof. I'm estimating 10k, so we'll start saving that much before we get quotes.

I am so happy to know that we can actually start tackling the projects that need to be done, rather than just dream about them in the future. This is a whole new chapter in our lives open. We are truly blessed.

My happy dance...

January 10th, 2011 at 02:22 pm

I was reading Laura's post about her friend doing a happy dance because their car was paid off (she thought they had a 6 year loan and apparently it was 5 years). I commented that I couldn't live being unaware of where my money goes.

I'll be honest though, my DH is ignorant of the finances. He's not a spender, and all he really cares is that the bills get paid...I just need to let him know how much he needs to make. I update him every so often when I want to see him have a coniption fit. LOL He saw our HEL balance and thought it was our mortgage last month. I told him we had about another $100K+ above that to pay. "Oh my God! We'll never pay it off!" He was in a panic and nearly a sweat. I told him that's why we leave it up to me to handle, and he shouldn't worry. The principal isn't due to be paid on for a few years and I've already made a dent in that. Sheesh!

On the bright side, he did tell me he got a $.50 an hour raise. I was proud of him. He said "hey, it's something." In the end it will help us meet our goals. I am not going to say that the raise will be put in the savings or anything like that at this point - it'll be sadly eaten up by the rising cost of gas, our potential monthly deficit and general lving. I'd like to be able to say down the road we'll be able to bank our refunds, bonuses and raises, but that may be a while down the road. It's okay, we'll get there.

Net worth

January 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Well, I'll jump on the bandwagon. Our Net Worth, as of December 31, 2010 is...drum roll please....

NEGATIVE $1,180.09

No where to go but up, right?

The weekend is here...

June 26th, 2010 at 06:36 am

But there's no rest for the weary!

It's been a couple of rough weeks at work - some transitions/power struggles (at least that's how I see them) has been causing everyone a lot of undue stress. Normally everyone's very happy there, but there have been a lot of angry people lately. But, the issue (or individual I should say) has been taken care of. Things are starting to come back to normal, but not without everyone putting in extra hours to get what needs to be done taken care of. That's the bad part about being salaried...no overtime. So I'll be working to do my part in the catch-up.

However, DH has been making a few extra bucks with working overtime. Unfortunately, he also got spendy. When he took the job and we found out his wages, I told him we'd be able to put money in the bank. Well...for whatever reason, he seems to think that he can be a little freer with his spending. Not on anything substantial - $20-$30 here or there. I sat down with him Thursday and tallied how much he spent in one day. $130. He had no idea. He also needs to have gas in his tank for work (he gets reimbursed for his mileage, but not til the end of the month). I told him there was no money for him to have for gas until the next payday - his reply "but I need it." I told him I understood that he needed gas for work, but if there's no money, there's no money.

He also has this concept of "well, I put in a lot of hours last week" so that should justify him being able to spend some extra money today. I ask him "did you get paid for that yet?" I think he's so accustomed to using credit that he still hasn't grasped the whole "cash only" deal we agreed to.

I'm just venting somewhat. He's a good husband and he's a good friend. I think shopping/spending makes him feel better, just like it does for so many others. I just need to make him feel that way about saving. I feel I have a long road ahead of me to retrain his brain! I will be creating a graph of debts decreasing and savings increasing so he can have a visual. Any other thoughts on how to make him think saving is cool?

Not as good as I thought, but not horrible.

May 2nd, 2010 at 06:09 pm

Well, when I looked at my Quicken again...I saw that the car insurance wasn't included, nor was a few other payments that are 10 months a year (budget plan for oil, house insurance...you get the picture). So...that just means that we don't have the savings we (I) thought we would have, but it does still seem to balance out and we aren't in the red.

Also, found out that we won't need to pay the state out of our pockets. We were able to sell off equipment from the business and will pay it off with that. That was quite a relief! DH will be calling the state tomorrow to get that taken care of. We still have the federal taxes to complete for the business, and DH is really hoping I will lend a hand. Which I will, but I really hate doing that kind of thing, and we certainly can't afford an accountant. We had filed a previous year with TurboTax, and although a little scary to do a business return on our own, it did come out correctly.

DH took care of bundling our phone/internet/cable, and that will save us about $40-50 a month. Also, my raise in July will net about $40 a week increase. Plus work will be picking up another 10% of my health insurance costs starting then, so I will be feeling even better about things!

I do have to say that it feels great to be up to date on the bills and not as worried about them as I was just a few short months ago. I was also able to give one of the parents $100 toward our debt. That made me feel good, though at that rate there is still a long way to go!

Busy week ahead. I've already planned dinners and activities on the calendar, and tried to organize myself as much as possible ahead of time. Hope everyone has a great week!

What a difference a day makes

April 26th, 2010 at 03:48 pm

I got a bonus from work! Some things do happen at just the right time. Sizeable amount; it will be in my next paycheck.

I track everything in Quicken. One feature is to look ahead at your balance after scheduled deposits and withdrawals have been made...and we're going to have actual savings in our account and it will keep growing! I kept thinking I screwed something up, but I didn't. We can survive on my income! Of course, any big emergency is still going to be a problem, but it's exciting to officially know we're going to be okay. I'm an optimist, so I always say we will be fine. It's so reassuring to know that I wasn't wrong!

After my visual confirmation, I called my DH into the room and showed him. He said "what? How can that be?" and we both looked to see if there was an error. Nope! He said "boy, that makes me feel better about everything" and from that point on you could see the change in his demeanor. He's felt AWFUL about not working. I hope now he will feel less stressed. I know I do!

We had a great supper - lasagna and garlic bread. I'm going to make some cookies tonight and go to bed early. I know I'll sleep good!

The IRS ate my refund

April 25th, 2010 at 06:21 am

A comment from Jerry prompted me to get back to my blog (thanks, Jerry!).

And yes Jerry - you were right. We were under the impression that the IRS couldn't take our refund because our bankruptcy hadn't discharged...but state laws apparently allow all refunds to be applied to taxes that are owed. Well, it's good because now that means we owe less, but to be honest, the cash in the bank would have been handy right now!

DH has been having severe back issues. I think it's not helped by the inactivity. He'd normally be out golfing and moving around more, but he's concerned about going anywhere because he's afraid of spending money. I keep telling him that we'll be okay, but he just is in a funk. He had gone on another job interview and thought he had it, but never heard back from them.

I had great sales the last few weeks in my side business. It didn't bring in huge bucks for us, but it helps.

It was nice out yesterday and I worked on preparing the soil in my garden...my arms are sore! I turned it and raked by hand; we don't have a tiller. I thought about how nice it would be to have one...and then thought about the calories I was burning. The may flies were making themselves known. Anyone know any good way to keep them away?

We cooked burgers on the grill for dinner. Yummy! I ended up waking up early this morning, and have some other projects already going.

Taxes filed!

April 6th, 2010 at 04:20 pm

I finished and filed our taxes tonight. We're getting a refund from both federal and state. I called the IRS last week because they stopped taking out the payments in February (we're on an installment plan due to owing on our 2008 taxes). They said once someone files for bankruptcy, they can no longer take the payments until it is discharged - often in 6 or so months. We can send voluntary payments...but to be honest, with DH stll not having luck on the job search, the $280 a month will come in handy. I'm also thinking that the refund we're getting from the federal taxes won't be touched...but I'm unsure about the state. We'll see how it goes!

I've been busy with all kinds of work, myself. I told DH that with my part-time job, on top of a really good raise at my full time job (yeah me!) he could work just part-time himself and that will give him opportunity to look for full time work and still pull in some cash. We're almost at the point where we're not going to be in the hole every month. We've been lucky so far with a few windfalls we've received, but the reality is those are going to be few and far between!

I've updated my sidebar...seeing it still had February numbers on it!

Today we...

December 30th, 2009 at 05:34 pm

...spoke to the family members we owe money to. I spoke with one, DH spoke with the other. Both are very sad and supportive, and told us that we "didn't have to worry about paying them back right away." I told them I appreciated their kind gestures, but I (and DH) both intend to keep making some sort of payment back to them, and will increase it once DH is back to work.

Everyone's been so kind. I would have thought they'd be angry, but they're not.

The truth of the matter is...

December 29th, 2009 at 03:41 pm

...that we have to file for bankruptcy.

Not what DH and I initially wanted, but unfortunately we need to close the business and move on. Because of the nature of ownership, we have to declare personal bankruptcy. We will be able to keep our home, but all credit card debt will be eliminated. That doesn't even equal half the amount of what we poured into the business the last few years to keep afloat and keep people employed.

Since October we haven't made any credit card payments, and finally we are at the point where we are actually saving money each month. The calls have been never-ending. I recall the lawyer saying to stop making payments...I questioned that, because it was my intent to pay those bills!

What bills do we have now? We still have the income tax due to Uncle Sam that we're paying monthly on. That was due to taking $$ out of our retirement to fund the business earlier in 2008. Because we've been paying on it, it's down to about $9,000.00. We'll be paying that for 5 years total, unless we can come up with some extra money to apply to it.

We'll also be owing to the state - currently to the tune of $30,000.00. DH is working on selling the business. If that happens, the $$ received from the sale will eliminate some of that debt. But we will still have to pay it.

We'll also be paying on our mortgage and home equity line ($115K and $68K respectively). The home equity line was more money used to fund the business, and we had refinanced the house at one point to pay a business loan too.

We also owe our parents - one just under (and not much under) $30K, and the other about $1K. This was all to help fund the business.

DH also needs to find a job. Quickly. He's full aware of that. I will also be looking for something part-time to help lessen the debt load. Now that I won't be busy trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, I will have more time and energy to do so.

We've already decided that there is no need for a credit card (or any loan for that matter) in our future. If we need to get a new car, we will buy it with what we've saved.

Ugh. This all sucks. You know, people say the economy is improving. It certainly isn't. Our lawyer told us of countless people who have to close their businesses and are declaring bankruptcy. Although it's always good to know you're not alone, it's not necessarily a category I wanted to be included in.

Please don't tell me I'm that I am taking the easy way out and I should be responsible for my bills and pay them like an honest person. I really wanted to. But all in all, including business debt, we are nearly a half million dollars in debt. I make $40,000 a year, and my husband's income will be cut off once we close our doors, and it's highly doubtful he's going to find a "good" job right away. Right now we can almost afford to live on my income. Almost.

When we opened our business 7 years ago, we wanted to make an honest living, and give people the means to put food on their table and a roof over their heads. We did provide to the employees, but at the cost of nearly losing all we had. Nice guys really do finish last.

Updated sidebar

September 30th, 2009 at 05:13 pm

Well, I updated my sidebar...unfortunately we are currently $2,930.35 more in debt than we were one month ago. That is because we had an income tax bill come due and I paid it with a "courtesy check" with 1.9% financing. The total of that was $3,581.33. Had we not had to pay that we would have had $650.98 less debt. That was the only time we used the credit for the month.

I did let my husband know what we had for debt. He wasn't mad, but he was sad to know that we were going to be working for a long time to pay this debt off. I offered to get a job on weekends (seasonal) to help, and although he was appreciative, he said to hold off and we will sit down and find the root of the problem. (To me, that's easy. We don't bring in enough income to meet our expenses. He's not as black and white as that when it comes to money.) I'm more of a "jump right in and do what needs to be done" kind of person. He's concerned that I'm going to burn myself out too quickly, which is a valid concern, but if I need to work 60+ hours a week to help get rid of the debt, why not? Especially if it's only for a few months? I think I should take advantage of the opportunity while the stores will be hiring extra people.

I've been trying to be very cautious of our energy usage. I was talking with a friend about ways to cut back on electricity, and it helped remind me to unplug things like my computer modem at night (the plug heats up, so I know it's drawing electricity while I'm sleeping!). I've also begun hanging my laundry in the basement. It was humid for a month and the laundry wasn't drying very well and started to smell musty, so I had been using the dryer. I noticed a $30 increase in my electricity bill! Neither of us mind the stiff clothes, although I do end up ironing some things that I wouldn't normally need to do if I had used the dryer. Then again, if I didn't take the clothes out of the dryer in time, they would be wrinkled and I would be ironing them anyway. I actually don't mind ironing. I find it soothing in a strange sort of way.

I was able to stock up the freezer with some on-sale meats. I got a nice ham, some bottom round (for pot roasts) and chickens. Even though there is only 2 of us, we still do like to have a Sunday dinner together. We also do like to have leftovers during the week, and I can my own stocks, so none of it goes to waste. I wonder if that's part of the reason he doesn't want me to work weekends? He'll miss out on the feasts during the winter. I would miss them too. Maybe he's right. But I'm not going to tell him that.