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Job Hunting

July 14th, 2017 at 06:50 pm

Well, I am officially unemployed. It is a good thing, strangely enough. I already have an interview set up next week and a few other leads. I don't expect to be unemployed for long.

My biggest hope is that I can FINALLY be employed in a steady income at the pay my skills deserve. I have been underpaid my whole career life due to a) not negotiating because I hate negotiations, b)being part of a family business, and c) too nice and too flexible.

So... on that note, any great advice on how to stick to my guns on salary? I have a number in my head I really, really would like to obtain. However, I am afraid that next week's interview is going to come in $15/hour lower than that, and that is too low to make it worthwhile to work and take my time away from my boys and their therapies.

Feeling good about my interview skills and my general job skills. I think I even have fall schedule figured out so that the boys' weekday care will be simplified and not too taxing. Cross fingers!

Quick Update

June 30th, 2017 at 07:23 pm

Surgery is behind us and we are on the road to recovery. Toddlers always amaze me on how well they bounce back. He is doing really well despite everything. Now onto straightening life back out and getting back into the new normal.

I thought I was doing ok with expenses until I got my last lawyer bill. In the end, I paid a few dollars shy of $9k for the entire process. But the divorce is done! Running really tight right now, but it will be ok!

I have a new job lead, but we will see if it turns into anything. I am open to finding new paths! I am bound and determined to turn this year around. By the end of the year, I will be on the right track!

Thank You

May 14th, 2017 at 06:59 am

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms here and the women who are "mother-figures" giving advice and support, and telling us to pull up our britches and get to work!

Patient Saver correctly called me out on my last post for being "pretty blase" about my debt. And she is completely right. :-)

Here is my excuse: I won't be able to concentrate on fixing it until mid-June at the earliest. I don't have the income to do anything at this moment, and I can't fix that until then.

My youngest toddler is going to be undergoing a major surgery here in a few weeks. Until then, we have a lot of appointments and things to wrap up. After the surgery, it could be months of recovery for him.

I will work on strengthing my income stream as soon as he is out of the hospital and we get thru the first rough week home. His health comes first at the moment and it has been an interesting ride.

I do expect repayment from my loan out sometime in the fall/early winter, with interest to cover all the transfer balance fees, etc it caused. And if I don't, well that was my risk.

Until then, 0% is awesome. I am not adding to it (except for the last lawyer bill that I will get at the end of the month). I put a little bit extra towards the debt everytime I can. I have reigned in spending. I am not ignoring the debt anymore and am coming up with plans to fix this and steps to implement them to get this gone.

So thank you for watching out for me, and helping me keep the energy going. I really do appreciate all you guys do for me!

Coming Clean

May 9th, 2017 at 07:21 pm

I have drafted and tossed a few versions of blog entries. I kept trying to dodge the ever-present fact of my debt.

I have accumulated close to $25,000 in credit card debt. Almost all is 0% until next year. The non-0% is typically paid off within the month. I am currently making minimum payments on the other cards.

I have also taken out a 4.5% loan from my life insurance for $7,500. I am paying interest only and a tiny bit of a principle by rounding it up to $50.

$32,500 in debt.

Debt. Debt. Debt. I am officially divorced and all this debt is on me. Kind of scary, but I still feel in control, somehow?

How did I get here? Some of it is paying my lawyer (my side of the divorce will end up over $7k), some are for summer tuition ($2k - going back for a master degree at an online college). Well, and I also took out cash advances, special 0% pay off debt check offers... for a loan for my family. I loaned money during a difficult time. To the tune of $24,500

I should, in theory, be paid back for these loans with interest. I am hopeful. I think it will probably happen. But I also gave it out knowing that it could very well end up a gift. I am ok with that either way. It helped me and it helped them and it cut a lot of stress out of a LOT of people's lives.

So..... yeah. Debt. LOTS of debt.

How am I going to crawl out of this? I don't know. Probably just like you eat an elephant.... one bite at a time. I have been in worse places, so this is just another day. Won't be fast or easy, but I can do it!

It feels good to come clean.

Ready for Summer

March 18th, 2017 at 02:25 pm

February is always rough. This year was absolutely one of the worst financially. Cross fingers, though, I think things are starting to stabilize this month. I am not even going to go into how far backward I went. Trying to focus on positive and move on. I might (should) come clean later.

I have started my part time job. It will be good for me. I think bringing in a little bit more money than normal is just the beginning of the benefits. I also get to make people smile and be productive in a work environment. It is a nice change. Extra training also meant extra pay at the start which was a relief.

I noticed that I am judging all my purchases by the hours I would need to work the part time job to pay for it. I have spent practically nothing this month. Realizing things would cost x hours both sucks and is great. I really like hourly wages over salary. Changes my whole mindset.

Which brings me to my very, very, very little spending this month. About $30 in gas, $9 in dining out, and $75 in households which over $60 was medicines and supplements (still sick). I haven't even grocery shopped yet in March as I had stocked up in Feb and my parents quick picked up a few (milk and pretzels) things I needed. I will need to go this weekend, though.

Even though February was rough, I think I personally am in a good spot. If I keep on this path, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can do it!

Sigh of Relief

February 10th, 2017 at 03:54 pm

I got a job! Every other weekend, 16 hours worth. Will probably only net $300 a month in the end, but every penny counts!

Slowly can breathe again.

Short Post

February 8th, 2017 at 08:33 pm

My every-other weekend applications proved productive. I have had four call backs! One I was unable to do the training hours required, one will be a phone interview, and two will be in-person interviews.

I am hopeful.

Also, the bad news I referenced a few posts ago.... turned out it wasn't as bad as we feared. Still more things to verify, but we think the worst is over!

Now if only my weekday work news didn't continue to deteriorate day by day...

Sigh.

But yay! Interviews!

Tighten the Belt

February 5th, 2017 at 07:17 pm

It became painfully clear that my income will pretty much be non-existent these next two months, if not longer. It will cover insurances, but that is literally it.

Luckily, I have been hoarding cash so I can last a good four months if I don't get any income by only paying the cash-only items, but that also means my credit cards will be maxed out by then. Let's hope work turns around soon and that I get some supplemental income from somewhere. So I made a plan and have started executing it.

I applied for a part-time job that will hopefully fit in the little time I have during weekdays and give me a preschool discount. It only works if I can bring one of my kids with when I work. Since my oldest is already there two half days a week, it shouldn't be a problem.

I have also applied to six every-other-weekend jobs. If I don't hear back from any of the others by next weekend, I will also go and apply at low-pay retail. That just involves going to locations and I do not have time to run around until then.

I also applied for eight online work-from-home-when-you-can jobs and have another two in the works. They are website testing, transcription, and data entry work. They won't pay a lot, or frequently, but it will be something.

I am plotting what I want to list on Craigslist to sell. I should be able to start listening next weekend. I have also joined Swagbucks finally. It is kind of a pain, but I already have 700 points in five days. Every bit helps. I hope to use those cards to counter my household costs.

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As for expenses, I actually tracked every penny for January for discretionary items. I typically generally do this, but I went down to the penny this time.

$124.24 for gas (my new car and filling up my mom's twice after I borrowed it)

$429.42 for groceries (me and my two toddlers - they are on a gluten-free, dairy-free, and picky-eating diet)

$55.90 for dining out (one "family" meal, two fast foods)

$275.52 for "household" (I group all else into this since most of my shopping is Target and I am typically too lazy to split it out. I did split it out this month - $144.87 on medicines and supplements, $83.65 on diapers and wipes, $47.01 on gifts (a birthday), charity (only $10), and surprises (preschool all by himself reward- a very big deal for us!))

February, thankfully, is a short month and will be low spend. Dining out will be gone. My household budget needs to be slashed by a lot. I should be stocked on diapers and wipes to last through the month. And there is no reason for gifts or surprises. I will need more medicine here soon, no way around it, but we should be done with antibiotics and inhalers. We basically have been sick all month. With my oldest starting preschool, I am not surprised.

Groceries will go down a bit, but we typically do not buy too much extra or waste. They have extremely picky/specific diet, so I cannot just shop deals, switch brands or cut back much. Gas is pretty much dead on. Might decrease a little, but probably not much, especially if I start driving to a new work.

My fixed expenses are my $210 car lease, $30 cell phone, and... that's it, actually. Preschool is covered by child support. The lawyer bills will be going on credit cards still to deal with later. Luckily I do not have any housing costs right now since I am living with the parents. I will forever be grateful.

So, that is where I am at... not a good place, but with a plan. I can make this work! I always do.

Ho Hum Low Cash Flow

January 10th, 2017 at 07:21 pm

Well, I finally sat down and budgeted. Should my income remain at its low level all year, I will most likely end the year with $4k to $9k in credit card debt (lawyer fees being the big wildcard). Strangely enough, I am ok with that. No interest will be paid on it this year, so that is a blessing.

I have to admit, I was kind of forced to sit down and think about it. We recieved some not so good family news. We are waiting to see if it turns into really bad or just stays sucky, but maneagable.

The news did put a hold on my being able to get a second job. There is absolutely no time, or energy, to even handle applying. However, it has renewed my interest in selling my extra stuff. Planning to really dig into it in the next week or two. I have also dropped my cell phone down to the lowest possile.

Let's see. I feel like there is so much I wanted to share, but I cannot remember it...

Oh! I have really enjoyed your uber frugal month efforts. I thought about joining, but have had too many needs pop up. It has, however, probably saved me over $50 in these ten days by making me question if things were wants or needs. A few wants did slip in, two carryouts- one for family meal post news, one for time crunch/lack of planning. Total of the wants have come to $40 so far. I regret neither.

I have won my dietbet again. Two in a row! I am hoping to have made enough to counter my failed one last year. I have lost 15 pounds since mid-November! I still have another 10 to 15 to go to reach my ideal range. Money, I found, was highly motivating for me. But I dont think I want to join another quite yet. I need to gain muscle, so I want to strength/cardio train a bit first then re-weigh with added muscle mass.

And, I think that is all for now!

2017 Goals

December 29th, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I just sat down and re-did my finances for the next year. It is hard to come with goals as things are still topsy-turvey.

The biggest news right now is that I traded in my $640/month van and leased at $210/mo small, good gas-mileage vehicle. All maintenance, among other things, are paid for in the lease amount. So all I will pay for the next three years (knock on wood) will be the lease, gas, and insurance. I am feeling a lot better about my car situation. Hopefully when my income stabilizes, I can start saving up for cash for my next vehicle.

My 2017 goals are quite simple, but yet tough at the same time:
1) Fully fund HSA - This should be easy. I have it on autopilot. $255/paycheck. This is a high priority due to my children's diagnoses. I will be cutting other discretionary areas in order to be able to do this the first few months.

2) Get rid of credit card debt - I currently have about $4,000 of credit card debt. I expect it to go up here once I get December and January's lawyer bills. It is a 0% credit card thru this year (and some of next). If I can, I will need to put at least $400/month towards it on average, without putting anything else on it. This will be impossible in the first few months of this year, but I sure hope it will work out later the year.

3) Create an EF fund - Start off goal is $1,000. I think I might even focus on that before the credit card payoff. After debt is gone, every extra penny is going to go into this for this year. Eventually, I want to get to $2,000 (one month of expenses), then $6,000, $15,000, and finally, the ultimate goal of $30,000! Someday, that is... ah, dreaming.

4) Contribute to 401K - I don't get employer match, so for the moment I am only putting $10/month in. Once my income bumps up to where it was again, I plan to put in as much as I can. Someday goal includes maxing it out. I need to plan to take care of myself without help from husband or children. I can do it!

5) Create "adult" documents - I need to create a will, power of attorney, medical directives, etc. I will probably do an online DIY one for temporary, and once I have more financial wiggle room, I will get a lawyer and get it nice and cleaned up and tight. I would rather have something than nothing.

Holding Pattern

December 21st, 2016 at 11:57 am

Since my last post, between the snow storms and the illnesses in my family, I haven't actually been able to do any of the cost saving measures that I wanted to do.

I did call my cell phone carrier and got it moved over onto my own line. I didn't drop to a cheaper plan though as they had a deal for me this month. It's on my next month to-do list now.

I need to go test drive cars soon though. I should do it today, but the vehicle I want to trade in is a complete disaster for them to look at and price. Needs to be cleaned up and de-toddlered. I will do it this week sometime.

I have found out that my income will be low, but steady for the next few payrolls. It will be up in the air come February, but I already have a cash cushion, so I can handle it if need to be, even if I don't cut the costs up above.

My 0% credit card is my emergency fund right now. It has a good chunk on it right now between lawyer, car insurance, and tires, but most will be paid off at the end of this month. Then I have a good 15 months left to pay off the rest slowly as I can.

As for what debt I will be getting post-divorce, well, I should find out in the next week or so. Hoping that it won't be too bad. It really won't, I don't think. I am cautiously optimistic, but until we are before a judge, I will still hold my breath.

Little Calmer

December 6th, 2016 at 10:36 am

I am still waiting for the shoe to officially drop.

I am very skeptical with my income, I am not sure if I will be getting much in in the next two months. I do know that I currently have enough to make it thru January, and possibly some of February. Thankfully I have no rent or utilities right now.

I am also very hesitant about what debt I will get after divorce is final. I thought we had it all worked out, but a few things have made me think he is reconsidering some of his stance.

So.... financially, I am up in the air. It will all work out in the end, that I am sure. Until I know, though, I am going to be very cautious.

So I have a plan. I am going to get a cheaper phone plan at the end of this month. I am going to trade in my expensive van for a -way- lower payment lease on a smaller, better gas mileage car. I am going to apply for an every other weekend part time job. None of this will hurt me.

But most of all, I am going to keep enjoying my kids and keep doing inexpensive fun stuff to keep them healthy and happy. I am going to continue to lose weight and build up my strength so I can keep up with my active kids.

Life is still good. Tough, Unknown, but Good.

Loop-dee-loo

December 5th, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Halfway through writing a post for here, I found out a few things that totally changed my tune.

Originally, I was all happy for this month. Finally feeling like winter. Almost done with joint liabilities. Seeing light at end of tunnel....

Then wham. I think a train is coming and I have to back up and get off the tracks.

I HATE being on uneven footing. I HATE not being able to plan for anything. I HATE not knowing if I will be paid or what my liabilities are/will be. Assets feel useless since it isn't cold hard cash.

I swear as soon as I can I will build up a HUGE emergency fund. HUGE. 6 months to a year style. I will get rid of all debt. ALL OF IT. This I pledge. I am SO DONE with the unknown and being unsecure. DONE.

Time to figure out additional income. Second job? I don't know when/where, but I sure will try. Sell stuff? Another I don't know when/what, but I sure will try!

No clue about CLUE; Reflections

November 29th, 2016 at 06:58 pm

They are right when they say something you learn something new every day. I had never heard of this, but some you might have.

There is a report for auto insurances called a CLUE report that insurance companies use to check on you before they give you your final rates. I was shopping for a new auto insurances, and here there was an accident misreported on mine, raised my rates quite a bit. It will take awhile to get it corrected. Longer for me, as it didn't like me online. I raised my deductibles to lower the premium, so I shouldn't be dinged too bad for awhile. (cross fingers)

You can get your free CLUE report thru LexisNexus's personal reports page.

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In other news, I really don't have much financial news. Still in holding pattern. Still low key. I just need to make it to January, and every day, it is looking better and better. Just keep swimming. Once January hits, I am pretty sure everything will turn around and be finished, so I can start budgeting for real.

Reflecting on my old blog posts, I forgot that I had deemed 2016 a year to coast. Well, I coasted, switched directions a few times, and then am ending in a coast again. I was pretty right on, just with a big change thrown in. Not like 2015 - the year of changes.

I have been trying to figure out what 2017 will be the year of... I think a year of organizing and getting life straightened out. I am in the process of getting things set up so that it can go that way. I find that I like having control of my own life and its path. This next year should be fun.

Finally Purging

November 10th, 2016 at 08:31 pm

I have finally made progress on purging. It feels great! Some of it has been hard, but I haven't regretted getting rid of anything yet.

I paired my clothes down to a third. Some was easy as I do not fit in much. Some was hard like some memory shirts and favorite clothes that reminded me way too much of my ex. I went half and half konmari on it. I had to keep some things that were funtional, even though I do not particularly care for it, because otherwise I would be severely lacking. No money (or really time) for a wardrobe makeover quite yet.

I also have purged papers like no other. I still have a ton, but am down to a fifth of what I had. Helps now that most of that stuff is online. No need to keep historical payments, bills, etc anymore. I managed to get rid of stuff from middle school on! It helped that I finally accepted that my past likes and hobbies are in the past. They helped shaped me, but they have no bearing on me now. I could finally let go.

I still have a ton of physical things I need to purge and sort, but i am happy with where I am now. The rest can wait for a rainy, or snowy, weekend.

Money-wise, I am still in a holding pattern. Spending is still only joint liabilities, gas, and groceries. Tight, but still able to have a little "mad money" as needed to spoil me and the kids (talking like $10 a week). I am noticing that I am spending less and less mad money each week as we adjust to this new life. It feels good.

I cannot wait for the new year. I am working on a goal of new year = happy, healthy and strong new me. I am already headed in the right direction, so i just need to keep moving that way!

Short Update

October 13th, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your kind notes on my last post. I missed this community. You guys are awesome.

There is so much going on; it's crazy. Divorce wrecks havoc like no other. Besides juggling kids, their therapies, work and divorce negotiations... Lawyers are expensive. Two households are expensive. Not yet getting child support is expensive. So until the divorce is finalized, I am going to have a good chunk of credit card debt. I am at peace with that and have opened a new 0% credit card with a low balance transfer fee to pay off my old credit cards. I am keeping my spending low. Not being as frugal as I should, but working hard at it.

The silver lining is that once the divorce is finalized early next year, I should be able to knock debt out of the park and start building up my savings. I cannot wait to have a decent sized EF (since there is only me now!), put in the full amount to HSA, and start really tackling retirement fund! It will be awesome!

I think the most annoying thing so far is that I have no clue what debt and assets I will be left with, so I cannot start to plan the debt payoff. Sigh. Patience. I do think that regardless with what I end up with, the boys and I will still be ok. Life is good.

My List

September 18th, 2016 at 01:05 pm

1) I am a spender. I mostly spend on home improvement items, crafts, and things for my kids.

2) I am a saver. I always have a checking cushion. I always have an emergency savings in cash, saving accounts, and lines of credit.

3) For the first time in over 4 to 5 years, I have credit card debt that wasn't paid in full this last statement.

4) I have used up all my savings pretty much dry in the last month, because...

5) I am in the process of a divorce. My choice, but so much pain- headaches and heartaches.

6) I have previously blogged here under "someone who walks thru a sticky black material" since 2010 but due to #5, I am a little cautious.

7) I am in the lower-30's years old.

8) I have two awesome little boys (toddler ages) who are autistic.

9) I used to dream of learning languages and traveling, but I have learned that I am more of a homebody.

10) I dislike politics. I understand them too well, having worked in a field that dealt with them. I cannot wait for the election to be over.

11) I have primarily lived in two Midwest states my whole life, plus short stints in Boston and South Carolina.

12) I cannot wait to really have my life 100% in my hands again. I have my boys and I have me. We are HAPPY.

13) I graduated from college in the beginning hard-hit part of the recession. I shall always be bitter about the choices those a few years before me and those a few years after me got to have.

14) I have learned that I no longer have a favorite color. I like brights and I like neutrals and I like black/greys and I like browns...

15) I struggle to understand the girly-girl types who don't want to learn how to do things themselves or get down and dirty to fix/build something.

16) I love dressing up in skirts and dresses, but I am horrible at managing my fine hair and makeup.

17) I started suffering with depression and anxiety last fall, when I could no longer keep up with a full-time job due to the children's therapies, among other family issues. After several different medications, talk therapists, removal of stressors (see #5 for one, :-p), supplements, and exercise, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

18) I cannot eat things in the nightshade family: tomato, potato, peppers, paprika, etc.

19) I am an introvert who can host shindigs and talk-the-talk like an extrovert, but I need my me-time to recharge.

20) I read frequently, but post infrequently. I love the SA family.