Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

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I’ve always heard that money issues are one of the top reasons for divorce in the US, but when I went looking for statistics about causes for divorce, I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a reputable source to justify this claim.

Sooo, who knows? But, I did find this law office (site here) that provided a Top 10 list of reasons for divorce in America. Don’t know how reputable it is (would have loved to see a Nation-wide survey done by someplace that is not affiliated with making money from divorce….like a Gallop poll or something), but here ya go:

Top 10 Reasons for Divorce in the US  (according to these guys):

10. Boredom

9. Careers

8. Inability to have children

7. Loss of Interest

6. Abuse

5. Lack of communication

4. Addiction Problems

3. Social Networks

2. Cheating

1. MONEY ISSUES

 

So there you have it.

I bring this up because my husband has just come off a 16-day work stint (yes – 16 days in a row with no days off). Right now we are lucky to be in a place financially that money is not a big issue. We have enough to pay all of our bills and put a hefty amount toward debt payments each month. If we really stay nose-to-the-grind, we’ll be debt free in just another 2-3 years! That’s fabulous, right? (especially considering when I started blogging in March 2014 we had almost $150,000 in debt!!!!)

Well, yes. It’s certainly a good thing. We haven’t had an argument about money in a long, long time. We may have disagreements (like, he wants to put more toward savings and I want to put more toward debt), but no actual “fights.”

But you know what we’ve had a couple arguments about lately? Time. I was originally going to title this post “Time versus Money” because those feel like the two options we’re having to select between.

Husband’s business has been crazy busy lately (he owns a small wood flooring business). This is an awesome thing because he could unexpectedly have a solid week off work if a job were to cancel, or there’s subfloor issues that need to be fixed, etc. etc. etc. We can never “count” on the next job so his motto has always been that he must work while there’s work to be had. Things always traditionally slow down around the winter holidays. No one wants someone ripping up their floors and making a mess over Thanksgiving or Christmas, ya know?

So the issue is this:  time or money. What’s more important? I’ve been feeling like a single Mom a lot lately. I do it all: cooking, cleaning, yard work, taking care of the dog, the kids, household chores and errands, etc etc etc. Meanwhile, hubs has been working basically all day, every day. He usually works doing flooring from 7am-4pm, then he might come home for a couple hours, and go back out again in the evening to do bids. Then he comes home and takes time to write up and email out estimates. Plus, the phone calls are incessant. ALL.THE.TIME he gets calls from customers, his employees, the stores he sub-contracts through, etc. It’s endless. So I’ve been feeling a bit neglected and sorry for myself. And when I bring it up, the question is always the same:  Would you rather me work less and make less money???

Phooey.

Knowing that this is not how things will be forever I just grit my teeth and bear it. But it was certainly interesting to see “careers” listed at the #9 reason for divorce. I think this whole time-issue that I bring up could certainly fall under the career category.

Anyway, this is just something I’ve been thinking about as of late and wanted to bring it up.

Between the options of time or money, which would you select and why? I’m sticking to our debt-reduction goals and picking “money” right now, with the knowledge that inevitably we’ll have more time down the road when business slows down a bit. But it still doesn’t make the present very fun!


Cable Win!

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Remember when I talked about how my cable bill was going up and the whole headache it caused? (Cliff’s Note version: I was initially told there was nothing they could do about it; after a second call I was miraculously granted a new, lower, promotional rate for another year).

Well one of the readers said I should’ve gotten it in writing. They were right!

My bill showed up and what SHOULD have been about a $90 bill (maybe $95 with taxes) was for $118.60. No freaking way.

I called back and – shocker – there was “no record” of the new promotional rate I had locked in. After a long back-and-forth I got upset and asked to speak with a manager. I explained the whole situation and the manager was able to give me the promotional rate I’d been promised and to back-date it so I didn’t have this one super high bill. He said to call back in 24 hours and the new rate would be updated so I’d know how much I owed this month.

I did one better. I waited 3 full days. And when I called back the automated system said I owed….$118.60. I was livid. Absolutely furious that I would have to do this whole dog-and-pony show all over again – speaking to customer service rep, being transferred to a manager, the whole shebang.

When the customer service rep answered I calmly explained the whole situation. I started off with, “I don’t know if you can help me, I may end up needing to be transferred to a manager, but….” and I launched into the whole story.

So the representative asked me how much the automated system said I owed and I told her, “$118.60.”

Her reply: “Well I guess the automated system hasn’t been updated because my records indicate that you owe $34.62.”

Me: * stunned silence *

“No, no, no”, I thought. “That sounds way too low. Is that $118.60 and an additional $34.62 on top of it for something? What does that amount cover???”

The rep explained that it looked like they had given me a $150-some-odd-dollar credit for the month of August, so all that was owed was $34.62. After that, my rate would be the $89.99 (cable + internet) rate that I was quoted from my call that was, at this point, a full month ago.

I’m still a little skeptical that there’s been some confusion and I’m going to get slammed with a big bill, but everything the representative said seemed to make sense. I don’t know why the manager hadn’t told me he was giving me a $150 credit, but I guess that amount covers my “pain and suffering” for having to make these multiple phone calls over the past few weeks. Regardless, I’ll take it!

Soooo, since Sallie Mae decided to double-charge me this month and I’ve been looking for ways to come up with an extra $250 to put toward the car payment, I’m pretty pleased with this result. Instead of the $100 I budgeted toward cable/internet this month, I’ll only be spending $35. I “found” an easy $65 right there! Woo!!!!

Unrelated side-note: When I heard the automated system tell me I still owed $118, I jumped on Twitter and tweeted the company, saying how dissatisfied I was with their service and that they were about to loose a customer. I was thinking I might hear back from them (Comcast/Xfinity), but I didn’t. Guess who tweeted me instead….DirectTV replied by saying, “Ashley – we would LOVE to have you as a customer and we have lots of special rates right now! Can I set up a package for you?” HAHA! How genius of them to “follow” the Comcast tweets!!! The response was nearly immediate, too! I’m telling you – social media is changing the way companies do business. It’s crazy!


Pay Cuts….Again

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I thought it was about time for an update on my employment situation.

As a brief reminder, I work predominantly for 2 separate universities. I do online teaching for University A and research for University B. (For more detailed information, see these posts where I have written more in depth about my employment situation: first employment post, employment update post)

Anyway, I reported recently that University B was changing their payment structure. Instead of paying hourly, they decided to pay per project completion. This translated to a bit of a pay cut for me (given the number of hours worked per project, and averaging out the new flat rate). An update to this is that I’ve been able to recoup some of the loss of income….by working more. Isn’t this the way life works? Lol. So far my monthly income from University B is holding steady, but that’s simply because I’m completing more projects each month. I have figured out a way to try to streamline the process so it hasn’t taken me quite as many hours per project as it did before, but overall it still averages out to less per hour than what I was previously making. At least the net take-home pay is the same.

So what about University A? I’ve been pretty open and honest about how much I love working with University A. They have been an absolute dream to work with and I really feel so, truly fortunate to have the relationship that we have. Much of this is due to the fact that my boss is actually an old graduate school colleague of mine. This person is an incredible boss and I am so proud of how well she has climbed the academic ladder at such a young age and has really blossomed in her position. All this being said, sometimes things don’t go as expected with online courses. One of these dilemmas is low course enrollment. I was expecting that this Fall semester I’d be getting to teach a third class, effectively raising my pay by 33% (I’ve previously been teaching 2 classes per semester/summer session)!!! But I just received the unfortunate email that enrollment was too low to justify continuing with the third course and it would have to be cancelled. So back to only two classes. Also, the pay structure is hugely different between Summer and Fall semesters. In the summer I received my pay in two separate lump sums, so they were relatively large payments. I mentioned that this meant I would not be receiving a paycheck in August because the dispersements were in June and July (even though the classes extended until mid-August). The Fall payments are dispersed in four equal payments (September through December), so even though the pay per class is the same, the classes are more spaced out and the pay is, similarly, spaced out. So its going to look like my pay has really declined over the next few months simply due to the schedule of payments (and having one less class than I’d expected).

So our summer heyday of awesome pay may be coming to a close. I don’t think this is going to drastically change our overall income (since I only give you guys the combined figure of my income + husband’s income), but instead of consistently breaking the $10,000 mark, we may be coming in closer to the $8,000ish range. Only time will tell. Husband has been busy working out-of-control hours so his pay may make-up for some of my lower paychecks.

Anywho, just wanted to give an update on the employment situation.

Also, for any curious – I still haven’t heard anything about the job I recently interviewed for. This past Monday I sent an email to follow-up (basically, “I just wanted to see if/when hiring decisions would be made”). I heard back immediately (less than 5 minutes) that decisions would be made that week. Well…the week is over and still no word. I’m really pretty bummed, particularly since the job sounded like such a great fit and the interview had been so great! I’m assuming this means I’m on the “B-list.” Like, they made an offer to the first round draft pick and are keeping me on the sidelines in case that person turns it down, so they will then offer it to me. Does this make sense? Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on that but I don’t think its a great sign that I still haven’t heard anything yet. Booo!!!!

Hope you have a great Monday!

 


Never Financing Furniture Again!

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Remember when I came to you with my nitty gritty debt details post. I admitted that we had financed a bed last summer to the tune of $2500. Insanity. I know.

And yet the urge has struck again. No worries, we didn’t rush off and finance new furniture (we will NEVER finance furniture again!!!). But if we weren’t up to our eyeballs in debt right now, buying furniture would be on the top of the list! Specifically….a dining room table.

For those readers who have been around since my first post (hi!! *waves*), you may recall this little tidbit about us. Remember, my husband and I are originally from Austin, TX but had been living in Florida for two years so I could get my Master’s degree (this is also where we accumulated the majority of our $150,000 debt). When we moved from Florida to Arizona we left just about everything behind. The honest truth is we were too broke to even pay for the U-Haul (estimated costs were around $5,000), so we just left everything behind that couldn’t fit in our trusty Kia Spectra.

When we got to Arizona we spent about $2,000 refurnishing an apartment, mostly with stuff from Goodwill, Big Lots, craigslist, and the like. Our kitchen table, for example, was a floor model at Big Lots so we got it for a steal – maybe $75 if I remember correctly? But it’s a tall barstool style table that is only meant for two people. We’re now a family of four.

At first with the babies it wasn’t a big deal because they were in high chairs. When they outgrew those, we transitioned our high chairs into a kids’ sized table and chairs (we had bought this set from Target < NOT a referral link, just an FYI in case you’re interested because I’ve found that a lot of people have no idea that convertible high chairs exist). This worked fine for awhile, but now the girls are growing and becoming less satisfied with the scenario. Every night at dinner is a battle because they want to sit with us, which translates to sitting on our laps since we can’t accommodate them at the table.

This is certainly a want versus needs thing. Obviously a new table is, in our situation, considered a “luxury” item and not a necessity. But it hasn’t stopped me from longing for one. A quick online browse told me that even “modest” tables are in the $2,000ish range.

So we’ll continue to make do with our 2-person kitchen table + baby table combo. A new table is definitely not in our immediate plans. But I’d be lying if I said my wheels weren’t spinning to try to figure out how to fit a used one into our budget (maybe save money from our regular budget for a few months and find a used one cheap at a moving sale or on craigslist??).

Be honest – is it ridiculous that I’m even considering buying a new (or new-to-us/used) kitchen table? Does anyone have experience scoring awesome deals on a used table and chairs? How much did you spend and where was it from? IF (big “if”) we even get one, I’d like to stay in the $200 or less range. Is this still too much? Should I just learn to make do with what we have and put this out of my mind for now??? But we’ll still be paying off debt for years to come, so eventually (before our debt is all gone) we HAVE to buy a table that will accommodate our family, right? Am I just making excuses now? UGH!!! NO GOOD OPTIONS – SOMEONE GIVE ME A TABLE FOR FREE!!!! : )


The Next Step

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It’s been exactly a week since we left my parents today and three days since I broke the news to the kids.  In exactly 7 weeks to the day, we must be out of our home.

My biggest fear in all of this was that I would make an unwise move both emotionally for the kids (like moving them away from their comfort area so unexpectedly,) logically (moving so far out that the time spent in the car commuting to activities would be counter to any savings,) or financially (committing to too much because of the rush, just to have the security.)  My friends continued to send me an overwhelming number of places that they thought would work for us…often times they were comic relief!

  1. Sending me a 3 bedroom, $500/month rental sounded great until you read the fine print that they were only renting a room for that amount.
  2. A beautiful piece of land, super cheap that had an existing building on the premises…it was a church and the land was zoned as a commercial property.

It was stressful and nerve racking, but some amazing things began to happen.

First, my kids immediately began to embrace what was coming.  They rested assured in my promises and began to share the news that we were moving.

Second, my heart full of anger and hurt opened. This curse was truly a blessing in disguise, immediately relieving me of my debt to my dad as the selling price for the home will surely before more than that total.  The weight of that debt was enormous emotionally. And I began to open myself to the possibilities of truly going anywhere after this promised year.

So as I started really evaluating what was to come I knew three things:

  1. I need less stress in my life.
  2. I need less financial obligations in my life.
  3. No matter where we go, we will be alright, the kids will be alright.

So as of an hour ago, I received the call.  We have been approved for a 2 bedroom apartment, literally just 3 miles away from our home.  They will take our big dogs. They are right next door to our favorite playground, across the street from some fun stores to visit and have a dog bark park across the street from our soon to be apartment home.

Not only will my monthly financial obligation drop by several hundred dollars every month between lower rent and less utilities, but because we are moving in the fall when fewer people move…we got a fabulous move in special.

This concludes today’s housing drama.  I hope I have been clear and attempted to be as forthright and transparent as I could without compromising my dad’s privacy.  I took my younger two to see our new apartment yesterday…they are ecstatic.  I think this new chapter in our lives with be a positive thing for us all.  The twins are very happy that if we have to move, at least we are moving somewhere that they can still walk to visit their neighborhood friends, not to mention, there’s a Gamestop within a stone’s there.  I know there will still be some emotional fall out for all of us.  It will be very hard to say goodbye to this home where our family was built, but I am certain that we are moving in the right direction for our financial freedom!  Thanks for your patience with me.

Debt update coming in the next couple of days….

 


The Curse

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This is a multi-part series today.  Your best bet is to start at the beginning here before you read the rest.  This is the 4th part of my saga for today, and hopefully I will have a 5th part before the day is over, but it’s content is still unknown and thus we will both be waiting to see what happens.

As I pulled out of my parents driveway at 5:45am with 24 hours of driving and 4 overnights with friends on the way home, my brain was racing.  I had six weeks to not only continue my regular job, work my part time job, start the kids homeschool year and begin the new fall school schedule of activities as a single parent, I must now find a new place to live, purge even more of our belongings, pack our belongings and get us moved.  And that didn’t take into consideration the additional monies I would need to move and get into a new place.  Can you feel my overwhelmedness?  (Is that a word?)

So I drove and I turned things over in my brain…for hours on end as I faced the open road and the kids slept on.

And once we came to a stopping point, I began an urgent search for housing…housing that was affordable.  Housing that would accommodate 5 people.  Housing that would accommodate 3 dogs and 1 cat.  Screech….did your mind come to a screeching halt with that last one?  It should have.  I don’t know how long it’s been since you rented but finding a place that will take 1 animal is hard, finding one that will take 4.  Well…you’re probably able to calculate my odds now.

I didn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned.  I cried (quietly so the kids wouldn’t hear.) I felt like such a failure. How could I have made such bad financial decisions that we ended up in this mess.  And it’s just me.  Just me.

By the wee hours of the next morning, I was desolate and desperate.  I emailed my dad and asked him to reconsider, asking him to at least give us through Christmas, telling him of all my obligations.

The silence over the next few days from that email was deafening.  But the kids and I continued along our trek home and every free moment that I wasn’t driving or trying to keep a brave face and be present for my kids and friends or falling into fitful cat naps I searched for somewhere to go.

I had such great support from my friends during this time.  They expressed the appropriate amount of anger on my behalf while being respectful that this was my dad and it was not meant to harm me. And then they got behind me and starting searching with me.  Offering housing if needed, money if needed and just a ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

We arrived home 4 nights later and that email had still not been replied too.  I was cautiously optimistic.  I had finally broken down to call him expressing that I felt like I had a ticking time bomb hanging over my head and every second counted.  He said he would talk to me when we were settled at home again.  I called him as soon as we had unloaded the car. He was on his way out.

Several hours later, he called me back and gave a lengthy explanation and then final answer of No, he would not reconsider.  I was devastated and felt cursed.

And with that, I gave myself a few minutes to cry and then I arose to tell the kids. So Sunday night about 11pm our world got turned upside down as I told the kids that we have 6 weeks to find a place to go.

There were tears, there was stoicism and there were questions.  And with all that being said and done I made two promises to the kids that I would do everything in my power to keep us all together…people, dogs and cat and that we would finish this school year here with all their activities and friends and plans.

My daughter ended the discussions of the night looking around and saying “It feels like we are on TV.  You know like now that we have heard this curse, someone is going to jump out and tell us that we are going to be on Extreme Home Makeover or something.”  Oh, how I wish that was true, but even moreso I’m grateful that if I have to go through this really hard process I have the most wonderful children to go through it with.  I know that what feels like a curse right now could truly turn into a blessing, so stay tuned to see what has happened since Sunday night with this time clock ticking.


The Ultimatum

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This is the 3rd of what I hope will be a 4 part installment today.  You can read the second installment here where I described by reasoning for not buying my home.

Continuing on my dad and my conversation from my last day in Texas….

I’d love to report back that he was impressed by how much I had thought things through with my plan for finishing out the school year here while putting the house on the market next spring.  I’d love to say he jumped on board, supportive every step of the way.

He didn’t and he wasn’t and he isn’t.

I can’t presume to know what he was thinking or feeling. And I won’t repeat much of the conversation as it was private and not just my story to tell.

But what I can say is that with his credit on the line (since the house in financed in his name,) and the refinance looming just over a year from now, he was not willing to wait until next spring to put it on the market.

And we both agreed that getting a house ready to sale with the 5 of us living, working and schooling here, not to mention the 3 dogs and a cat…well, that’s really impractical and maybe impossible.

Writing this it makes it seem like it was so civil and clear.  It was not, I cried, he cried, we both fought for what we believed was right from our own perspectives and positions.

In the end, as is his right, he gave me an ultimatum…we are to be out of the house by October 1. And that is where things stood as we finished our time in Texas and began our trip home.

Turns out as I finish this 3rd installment, that there will in fact be 5 parts to this story, and even now at 12am this morning as I’m finishing this one, the 5th one’s content is not known to me, but the 4th…well, that I do know so stay tuned this afternoon.


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