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Fast update

October 26th, 2018 at 02:27 am

Moved to an apartment this summer to get into a specific school district. Still searching for houses. I swear there is another bubble as small, old, dated houses are going fast at high prices. Can't even entertain anything that was built in the last 20 years. Beginning to think if I don’t save for 100% of a house and build my own, I will never find anything. I am starting a “new” job on Monday with a big pay increase with awesome benefits. First job where I feel like I am accurately employed with a salary that fits the work I do. Kids are great, but more medical issues on horizon for the youngest. MRIs and likely a surgery.

Thoughts and prayers to all those on this community who are going through hard times. I think about everyone a lot, even though I don’t post much. Sending my love.

Yay! April!

April 1st, 2018 at 03:36 pm

I am so very glad it is April. I am considering this month an important turning stone in the year. I am determined to get back on track and rock the remaining 3/4 of the year.

*FORCED WAITING PERIOD*
So the IRS decided to notify me that they are reviewing my taxes. They should tell me in 60 days, but if I don't hear by then, I am supposed to "call the above number"... which gets me stuck in an automated round about system, never to get a person. Sigh. $8k is in limbo until who knows when.

*SO SICK*
End of February and most of March was rough. We were all very, very sick with stomach flu and then influenza type A. One kid had a hospital stay due to dehydration and reaction to Tamiflu. I lost about 1/3 of my take home pay due to unpaid time after blasting through the little PTO I had saved up.

*NOT SPENDING EVERYTHING!*
Despite that, kids' new shoes, new glasses, lots of random purchases, and eating out when at work, I managed to not spend every penny I made in the month. It was my first month tracking my spending in a long time, and I think I found my system. Back to my basic love.... Excel. I can't seem to track as I spend, but once a week I can double check my credit card (98% of my spending) and see where I stand. Quicken and other systems take too much maintenance for me.

*CATCH UP TIME*
So, now that I am kind of back on track with work and home things.... anyone have any ideas how to catch up on a month's worth of homework and papers? I am so far behind, it isn't funny. At this point, I am just hoping to pass, barely.

Happy Easter!

Waiting Period

February 15th, 2018 at 03:13 am

I have decided to take my tax refund (whenever I actually get it) and park it for awhile. I felt like I was jumping in without looking and I need to let my emotions not override logic.

Part of this decision is that I feel like I am at a crossroads where change is coming. Not sure what, but its one of those "feel it in your bones" kind of change. Luckily, it is an optimistic feeling, so I am looking forward to it

However, I have no clue what type of change it is. It might be career, but it could be something completely different. We shall see.

That is a nice looking wrench

January 28th, 2018 at 04:56 pm

I did my taxes last night. From what I understand, I didn't make enough in the year to be taxed much, plus with the two kids, taking out too much from my paychecks since I wasn't sure how divorce would pay out... I am getting a LOT back. To the tune of $9k. Still in shock.

This completely revamps my 2018 goals. I am almost panicking. What will I do with that cash?!? Part of me just wants to put it straight towards house down payment and start looking. The other part of me wants to follow the plan. The third part of me just wants to wipe out a huge chunk of the financial aid student loan. The last part of me wants to spend it on things I don't need.

Logical me goes- use to to pay off a chunk of the studen loan. Just do it. Get it gone, one less thing to worry about. I am not quite ready to buy a house yet, so while the money would be wonderful towards that, it would be sitting there not doing much for quite some time.

AHHHHH! I should just pay off the entire student loan. I can if I take a bit of my extra in the savings for the program and the refund and the extra that I will be getting this semester after paying tuition....

It will delay my starting for saving for a house by 3 months, but I think I am ok with that. Am I ok with that? Yes. No. Oh, I don't know!

Luckily I have some time since taxes aren't being processed until tomorrow, and WI taxes are a few days behind that. Plus I haven't received my financial aid refund yet.

Logically, need to get rid of student loans. Evil, necessary things, be gone!

2018 Goals

January 27th, 2018 at 03:19 pm

I think I finally have my 2018 goals figured out. It took awhile, but I am happy with my decision.

1) $250 per week will be saved until end of May to save up for the rest of my Masters program for this year and next so that I do not have to take out any more financial aid.

2) $250 per week June to December will be saved towards a down payment on a new house. I will also throw any "leftover" funds I have all year towards this goal, including tax refund.

3) Should I reach these goals early, I will then start tackling my student loans which are just shy of $14,000.

I think that will be it for monetary goals this year. I am fully out of credit card debt, have a $1k emergency fund, and am saving weekly for car expenses. I am not planning on any vacations that can't be cash-flowed with my weekly budget. I also am not expecting any other large dental or medical expenses (besides our normal maxing out of pocket).

Now if I could just curb my eating out lunches and work parking expenses... I have started writing it down, but in all honesty, I just need better sleep, healthy kids and me, and more time at home to prep lunches and to actually go grocery shopping.
Hoping as spring comes that will get easier.

Good Bye 2017!

January 1st, 2018 at 03:24 am

It was a long year that I am glad to be over with. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. Just lots of stuff. Lots of time-consuming stuff.

However, I am ending on a positive note financially! I calculate my net worth by adding all my cash accounts and debt. I do not watch my 401k enough to follow it yet, so that is excluded. I also do not have any assets as I lease a car and live with my parents. I started the year with a net worth of -$278, and I am ending with only -$693! This is despite lawyer fees for my divorce, unemployment, taking on student loans, and a family loan out (that they have officially paid back!)! I am very proud of myself considering my worst month I was at -$29,684. Woah! Go me!

My 2018 goals are still conflicted. There will be some mix of paying off debt and saving. I just don't know what yet.

In all honesty, I am just too tired to think of goals and am fighting off one hell of a cold that has given my family pneumonia and bronchitis. I am crossing my fingers it doesn't come to that for me. My work time has taken a LARGE hit due to all the sickness, and hopefully, my coworkers will continue to be understanding. As a consultant, it is a hard thing to balance. I am going to have to figure out how to balance work-home life in 2018 as it is not working out as well as I had hoped.

Debt Ramble

November 17th, 2017 at 11:34 pm

I had been struggling for awhile on how to handle debt vs saving. The biggest issues for me are the need to be debt free, paying for schooling, and getting my own place. Depending on the day, it fluctuates which one "wins".

A huge chunk of my family loan was paid back, so I got to pay a chunk of my CC debt down. But between that and my unemployment money, I was sitting on about $4k to finish filling my HSA this year.

I decided against doing that today. For one, neither the kids or I will have a HSA plan next year. I know I could still use the funds, but I could no longer contribute. The real reason to not fund it ended up being that I was tired of dealing with this remote credit union. So I will be closing the account after the last bit is paid on this month's PT bill.

So... instead I used that money to finish paying off my 7.5% Whole Life loan! Yahoooo!

All that is left of my consumer debt is about $8k in credit cards which will be paid off with the last of the family loan this month. I will have zero consumer debt! However, I will have around $10k in student loans. Bugger.

Now I am pondering my next steps. I will have consumer debt paid. I have $1k in an EF. I am fully funding my car maintenance etc fund. I am saving so I won't need to take out more student loans. Christmas, birthdays etc will be cashflowed into my normal budget easily. Health money for next year has been figured out. I still will have money leftover every month to tackle... something.

The next questions I am tackling are:
- Do I work on paying down student loans? Being debt free sounds really good.
- Do I work on building a huge EF? I would like to not be in the same situation again.
- Do I start building a savings fund for my own place? I will need furniture and normal household supplies on top of down payments/security deposit, so this will be large, I think.
- Do I do a mix and feel like I am getting no where? The snowball method is the most motivating for me.

I am torn. I would LOVE to get my own place and feel like a real adult, no longer "burdening" my amazing parents.

But I do need to be more financial secure to be able to do that.

Plus I have found that the housing market in my area has ballooned again. Fixer upper, small houses that I could have gotten for $120k previously are selling for close to $200k. That is a huge jump for me, and I am worried about the market popping again. But I am not sure renting works for my kids. Shared walls/floors/ceilings are not an option, and house rental prices are just as crazy here. I remember when my parents bought a $200k house when we were young, and we were in the "rich" neighborhood. Now, the same house is priced for $440k. Yowch

Add in that I am a "contractor", I could face unemployment again in a year. Although, with my degree (should be almost done by then), I will be in a good position to find a job quickly. It helps that I also now know that I can work a normal full time job with my kids, as long as the job has some flexible hours allowed, so my hunt will be a lot easier and less stressful.

Having written this out, I think what I need to do is put aside a mortgage payment every month into savings. It can be a cushion until I decide what to do. Then with whatever is leftover, I will tackle the student loan debt slowly. That way I know I can handle the payment AND I can pay down debt. I need to remember to include utilities into my mortgage amount though. That is sometimes a forgotten cost. Time to go to a mortgage calculator!

Thanks for listening to my ramble! It helps to write it all out!

Money In!

September 27th, 2017 at 02:47 pm

I have started my job! I am second week in, although I am off most of this week due to kids' major medical appointments. I get my first paycheck tomorrow. Take home for 40hrs before benefits kick in in a few months is $827.48.

I also appealed my unemployment insurance denial and won! I have 8 weeks of back pay and will be getting one more week once they review it. Whew!

So now I need to sit down and figure out what to do with steady income. I cannot remember the last time I was in this situation. It feels good.

On top of that, the family loan will be paid back this next month-ish. Right when I predicted. Whew. Everything might be lining up, finally. Patience and hard work sure do pay off in the end.

Delayed Job, again

September 7th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

I got another call from my new firm. My original start date was supposed to be the 4th. Then was pushed back to the 11th at the earliest. And now, the 18th is the earliest. Good thing I am unemployed and flexible? I cannot imagine what I would be thinking if I had given two-week notice and had to wait two extra weeks out of the blue. The "excuse" is that they literally have to build me a space to work on top of getting all the tech stuff set up. Makes sense, but wouldn't they have known that when going through the months of the hiring process?

At some point, I really would like to get a stable job. Really. Please? Any day now?

Calmer

September 5th, 2017 at 03:22 pm

So, an acquaintance is struggling with Wisconsin unemployment office as well. And I am feeling much calmer. It isn't just me.

Basically, since I took and quit three months later an every-other-weekend job while working full time before, during, and after at a benefit job that I was laid off from, I was denied unemployment benefits. Mind you, I quit with two week notice at the part-time job with a lot of valid reasons, and long before I was notified of being laid off.

It feels unfair that I took a job to supplement full time job to pay off some bills, and get screwed over for it.

I am still appealing, but I am not a great speaker and not feeling great about my chances. At least I am not alone.

Job, Supposedly

September 2nd, 2017 at 03:32 am

I have had a few months of phone interviews, and one in person one that I was offered. Not my dream job or title, not the pay I want, but doing the typical duties of my dream job. And it is a job.

However, I was supposed to start Tuesday after Labor Day. Today, the Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, I had to call my recruiting company who called the client to see what time I was supposed to show up Tuesday. Thankfully my soon-to-be-supervisor was still working and my new start date will be the following week at the earliest.

Strangely that works out ok. I would have had to take two half days next week for kid specialists that I could not move. Plus it will be my oldest's first full week of 4K and I am still skeptical of the school and how they are going to handle his special needs.

However, in my new potentially first week of work, I will still have half a day off. That time will be going to go to Appeals Court for unemployment. I keep trying to write about it, but makes my blood boil and gives me angry shakes and insomnia.

Thank goodness for my parents supporting us during this period. THANK GOODNESS. I am indebted to them for forever.

BIG BREATH.

Not much else to report. I have a list a mile long of what I need/want to buy when I get a steady income. After seriously tackling the freaking insane amount of debt that is and getting a savings account back in place. Oh and maybe start saving for my own place and all the furnishings I no longer have and... and... and... a vacation. Really a hotel stay full of sleep, chick flicks, sleep, unhealthy foods, and did I mention sleep? Yeah. It will be good to have steady income again.

Standing Still

August 22nd, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Unemployment was denied. I am appealing. It stinks when the system's safety net fails you. It took a month for them to deny me and even though I filled appeal right away, the appeal court probably won't be scheduled for a month plus. Sigh.

I have applied to jobs, have had quite a few phone call interviews and a handful of in-person. No results yet. I am told my resume and interviewing are great, but that they are pursuing other candidates.

Summer session for my Masters is done, I have a scholarship for a class-worth this fall and I will be getting student loans for the other class. It should help temporary cash-flow while I am waiting for unemployment and a job.

Other than that, trying to keep spending down, but I was already doing that. I have had some of my personal loans out to family come back and should be getting the rest within the next three months. Whew.

401K question

July 29th, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Now that I am unemployed, and all that goes with it, I am really wondering what I should do with my 401K. I just got my statement and it is $26k with some change with MassMutual. Should I leave it? Roll it over to an IRA? Wait for a new job that will hopefully have a retirement plan?

I have been debating on rolling over it to Capital One's ShareBuilder since then most of my accounts are in one place and I will see it more frequently. It would be the "easiest", but probably not the smartest?

I honestly have very little interest in actively managing stocks, as it is knowledge I am not interested in and I am horrendous at gambling/risk taking type things.

I know I do need to learn more, and I will, but my brain cannot take on more knowledge right now. I am out of time as it is between the kid's therapies, my schooling, job hunts, and trying to keep the household together.

Any thoughts? Helpful articles?