By way of update, I have provided everything my ex-husband needed to get the children their passports. I learned that he and the kids had to stand in line for near 5 hours on Saturday morning b/c the location he chose was that crowded. I don’t understand him but also know it is not my job to point out to him the multiple options that would NOT have a wait for a passport. Sucks that my kids have to experience this sort of thing with him but it’s important that they see the reality. So they will be going on their cruise in the late summer and I pray for the best out of the entire experience. Nothing has changed in dealing with him at this point. He did have the kids call to say they’d be coming by to get DD’s bathing suit on Saturday. My first reaction was to get her swim bag ready but then I remembered that I have to approach things differently now. I asked to speak to him and then advised he needs to buy her a swimsuit. He wasn’t pleased and hung up. He seems to want to treat me poorly, dump the kids as he sees fit and then have me available to do what I’ve always done. He can’t have it both ways.
As for my summer travel, I read and thought about all of your comments. I’ve decided to challenge myself to save a separate little nest egg from my PC business and my ongoing selling of things on craigslist and ebay. If I save $1,000 by the proposed late July travel date, I do. If I don’t, I stay home. I will not lose money on the airfare. If I cancel I just get the credit on Southwest. I won’t be putting money down on the condo so there’s no risk on that front. I feel comfortable with this decision as it sets limits and both addresses the danger of impulsive decisions but also is realistic. For the last few months (as I’ve shared) I’ve had some tough days where I fear I am about to go out and spend crazy, unplanned money! So far I’ve done well to avoid bad decisions but remember I even had to take random purchases back to the store? I don’t want to be a nomad in the desert. I honestly worry that when the debt is paid off I am going to go crazy and in the span of just a short time, be back in debt. I want to learn to be balanced and measured about it and I think this Puerto Rico thing is a test. I’ll have to be very honest with myself and with all of you if this test is to work and be most beneficial. Fingers crossed.
Now I’m off to find stuff to sell…
is, admittedly, burning a hole in my pocket! I have the $500 voucher from my volunteering to take a later flight home out of Houston. I have shared before that I have an addiction to travel. That addiction only gets more powerful when I think I am getting a bargain. The voucher expires in May of 2014 but in my addict brain you would think it had an expiration of next week! I’ve spent entirely too much time dreaming of where I can go with that stupid voucher. Puerto Rico is screaming at me right now and I was wondering if any of you heard the same voices encouraging me to go this summer. I’ve taken the kids on a lot of vacations through the years and their Dad is handling summer vacation this year so I feel okay about going without them. Although I could save up just a few more points with Rapid Rewards and get all three of us somewhere fun for the holidays…or early next year. BUT, I could get to Puerto Rico with $150 still left on the voucher and I have been offered free accommodations by a friend who is from there. She can join me or I can go alone–or invite another friend. A lot of options! Wow. My crazy brain will do all sorts of bad things with the free condo opportunity! Pretty soon I’m convinced I have GOT to go before this deal gets away and it would be completely irresponsible of me to NOT go…soon…
Quick. Stop me!
I had absolutely nothing to do yesterday. The kids went to their Dad’s house for the first time in a month and I had nothing to do. I needed to clean my house but instead I watched television all day! I did workout in the morning but was back home by 9 am and in pj’s for the DAY! Wow. I don’t know when I did that last! It felt great.
I got sucked into a few television shows via Hulu and the internet. Some were truly mind-numbing (did you know there’s a reality show called “Pregnant and Dating?” Don’t judge me for watching that one!) while others were very informative! I watched House Hunters (both domestic and international) as well as “Love It or List It.” I think I’ve seen one episode of House Hunters before and “Love It or List It” was new for my TV watching list. There were a couple that caught my attention but two stand out. The first was the family from Houston who was transferred to Brussels for the husband’s job. I tend to watch things now with a “pre-blog” and “post-blog” take. I could relate to so many things about this family under my “pre-blog” brain. They were trying to make Europe fit their very American (and dare I say very Texan) ways. The wife kept saying she had a vision of what their European house would be like but then kept including very American aspects to that vision. And they had SO MUCH STUFF that I don’t know how they walked around the final set up of their home. The second episode was the single, female Dallas lawyer who up and moved to Rome. She had a business idea it seemed for consulting on American legal issues for European businesses but the show didn’t go into exactly how that worked. She had an $1,800 budget and decided on an apartment that wasn’t her top choice (the top choice was $2,400 per month) and she recognized that she could not overextend like that until the business was more stable. I have a secret little dream that after my kids are grown and I retire, I will live at least part time in Europe–so it was fun to watch that one.
Then there was “Love It or List It.” The premise of this one is a family’s home no longer meets their needs and one spouse wants to sell while the other wants to stay. So the show brings in a design/remodeling team to convert the current home into what the couple says they need and also brings in a real estate agent to find the couple a new home to buy. After all of the renovations are done and an available for purchase home is decided upon, the couple decides to “Love It or Leave It.” This show is fascinating from a relationship perspective too. The spouse who wanted to leave (in one episode the husband, in another the wife) really went to great lengths to not like their current home. It was as though the designer was dealing with children who did not like the clothes mom picked out and nothing was going to change their minds. The wife even got hostile with the designer insisting on a wall coming down that the designer knew was going to take too much of the budget–but the wife was insistent. In the end, both couples decided to “Love It” because the renovations were remarkable but it wasn’t without a lot of angst once they got a taste of the shiny new house.
It is neat to watch these things now with no envy or jealousy. I used to watch those things and “ooooh “and “ahhh” and want the same. I’d get the “design bug” and go do something random to my homes (when I owned my homes) just because I was sparked. Completely impulsive behavior. Now I still “oooh” and “ahhh” but the prominent thought in my mind is how much everything costs! I did not walk away from this marathon television day and look at my little apartment with disappointment. Instead I was grateful for what has become a simple life.
The kids needed summer clothing in a bad way with both of them growing taller in the last few months. If you aren’t careful you can blow some serious cash on keeping kids in clothes. It amazes me to see people paying high prices for clothes that will likely no longer fit in 3-6 months. With that in mind, we shop resale when we can. I’m thankful for the current movement toward thrift shops because my son doesn’t have any need to get mall clothes. He’s very practical about it all and I pray that continues. My daughter is just happy to get any clothes as she just loves fashion and isn’t old enough at almost 9 to worry about where they come from. We hit a resale shop called “Kid To Kid” and both of them hit the jackpot! For $123 my son got 4 pair of shorts, 2 shirts and my daughter got a dress, 3 pair of shorts and 10 shirts! All name brand, all gently used. It was a victory shopping day!
As we drove home my son mentioned that he admires that I don’t need to keep up with others. He said that because I’m a lawyer people assume we would only shop expensive brands and at certain stores. I offered that yes, a lot of professionals do that but not all of them. A lot of people who aren’t professionals do that, but not all of them either. I suggested that many people are shopping on borrowed money and incurring debt for material things. I was proud to see that he wasn’t embarrassed but instead excited about our finds. He also gets that just because his mom is a lawyer doesn’t mean he can’t wear used clothing. He knows that he grows fast and he knows that it makes little sense to spend $40 on a pair of shorts that aren’t going to fit next year.
To answer a few of your comments I want to share that I hope to be debt free in the early part of 2014. If I get lucky and find new ways to cut corners, December would be a very lofty goal. We’ll see.
I crossed a significant milestone in the month of May. My debt has fallen below $30,000. That is certainly news to celebrate. I do have these internal moments of jubilation but I think it is good too that I am never far from the thought of “dear Lord I still owe near $30,000!” There was a time in the past that I would have celebrated a dent to debt by going out and spending money. I’d use all sorts of rationalization techniques that would justify the spending. I’m not talking about a huge dent like I made in May but instead if I somehow managed to scrape together an extra $500 I’d go spend near that amount all in the name of what I deserved.
So the relief I feel right now is not about the dollars I put toward debt but instead the relief of a changed thought process. It is more empowering to have the spending part of my brain in check than it is to see that $4,000 went to debt this month. Does that make sense? That changed thinking is what will keep me out of debt (I pray) so that my “extra” $4K can go to long term goals instead of to making money for others. That is the victory of this blog and this true metamorphosis I am undergoing.
This change in my life has been reinforced this weekend as TWO friends have confided in me their serious financial worries. I hear their stress and know it all too well and do not want to go there again. I share my story in the hope of it helping them but a person has to be ready to make the change in order for anything to stick. Right now one of them is still in the spending to fill the void place and it’s strange to be on this side where it is so clear what is going on. He doesn’t want to make major life changes and his situation cannot change without major life changes. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile you know I have done big things to find success on this journey. As I shared them with him you could immediately tell that he isn’t ready. The thought of downsizing his life is currently more intimidating than the debt load he carries.
You will notice in the debt column info I went ahead and added $500 to the emergency fund. I did that for the “shot in the arm” impact I think I need. In addition to seeing debt numbers go down it is nice to see savings dollars increase. I dream of the months ahead that I pray I am able to sink $3,000 or more into my savings fund.
Final note–I intended to update my numbers over the weekend of course but it was DD’s dance recital weekend. Her dance studio does a great show but it is a lot of work taking up the entire day on Saturday for the full dress rehearsal and then the show on Sunday evening. It is all worth it in the end as she enjoys it and it is also an annual event for extended family to get together and celebrate. I wake today completely exhausted but cannot ignore that my fatigue is not due to all of the recital run around. Instead it is for this growing resentment toward my children’s father and NW. They showed up for the show and he had the audacity to seek out my 83-year-old mother to introduce his fiancée to as we are all focused on celebrating a child’s accomplishments. It isn’t about our daughter’s day for him and that angers me and I want to verbally shut him down. That would be misplaced and I know in my logical brain that his behavior will take care of the situation in time but wow am I already worn out from holding my tongue. I went to sleep angry and woke angry and that does NO good for anyone! He certainly isn’t carrying the burden of negative emotion so I am only harming myself! I get all of that in that logical brain! The emotional brain continues to be louder at the moment and I want him to suffer. I feel like I have the good angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other. Please pray the angel prevails! Because that devil has some VERY enticing scenarios I could participate in and get some short term relief from this angst.
Have a great Monday!
I could get VERY used to my utility bill in this apartment! Last month was $78 and this month it’s $65! Granted we aren’t in the heat of summer yet but I have been running the air a lot! I am so excited about yet another savings opportunity over the house!
I also received a partial refund from the $1,800 security deposit husband #2 and I placed on the rental home. They are trying to keep $900 for pet stains on the carpet. I’ve already mailed my objection and included a copy of my inventory sheet where I meticulously noted all of the pet stains on that carpet. I even had throw rugs all over the upstairs the entire time we lived there because it was disgusting! I think I once posted about that in fact. There is no way I am going to shell out $1000 to fix the crappy carpet they had in there! The manager at the leasing management company was always very difficult to deal with so I had prepared myself for something like this to happen. That’s why I was ready with my inventory copy. While I do not want ONE more thing to deal with I wasn’t going to sit back and walk away from that money. I personally think that places bank on people being busy and letting stuff slip by and it has certainly happened to me in the past, but not this time!
Things continue to deteriorate with husband #1. He only took the kids from late Monday night until Thursday school drop off and then had to travel for work–or at least that is what he told me via text. DS has expressed that he wants to talk to the counselor about these changes and that he would like to invite his Dad to visit with the counselor too. I’m leaving that to him as he is old enough now. I am pretty proud though that he wants that to happen. I hope his Dad doesn’t disappoint but (repeat after me…) I do not have control over that! On the same topic I had a momentary slip down to his level this week. The cruise he is taking with NW and the kids was booked at the end of January/beginning of February. He started talking to me about needing passports for the kids in April. I immediately signed the paperwork and got it back to him. Since April things have gone downhill and he sent a text last week (on my Friday) saying he was going to take the kids out of school to get their passports. Uh. No. You can do it after school. He adds that he found out he needs a copy of my license. Sorry–I cannot drop what I am doing at work to get you my license and sorry you are not taking them out of school. He was angry. He left town for the holiday weekend with NW and the kids were with me. All was well. I take the kids to him Monday night and then pick up DD from school on Tuesday as is our routine for dance class. She immediately launches into me asking why I did not let them go get their passports with their Dad. This is the crap that I used to just step over and move on from. I wouldn’t call him on it b/c I didn’t want the fight but I’m done with propping him up as Dad of the Year. I calmly explained that he wanted to take them out of school and I knew her brother had a test that he couldn’t miss. She eased up but then I went to battle via email with the ex. It ended with my proclamation that I will NOT provide my license and he can make travel plans that don’t require passports–period. I don’t care if he loses $2,000. Things escalated and I was completely dug in on my position. Friends couldn’t make me budge (even though they made valid points about the time coming that I would want the kids to have passports for our travel), family couldn’t convince me to ease up with reminders that I was only hurting the kids, etc. I hit a wall with his constant characterization of me as a bad guy and so my thought process was “you want to see bad guy? here goes!”
I know…I know. Dumb. My therapist talked me off the ledge and suggested that I involve the kids in the steps that I go through to get them what they need (in this case, the license). She urges me to show the kids all the things I do to make his life easier (that he continues to deny I do) and let time do its thing. I’m so sick of being patient but I will do as she suggests.
I’ll be posting new numbers soon and they are looking good! I had a big chunk from Pampered Chef and the returned Security Deposit (and yes, I can negotiate the check and still dispute their decision) so stay tuned for that good news!
I hopped on this morning to respond to a few of your great comments and then the keyboard caught fire and off I went! You’ll see in the comment about responsibility of parents that I have some work to do in this area. LOL! I hope you read it with the passion with which is was written because I am very passionate about the issue! It is why when my children forget something for school they know not to call and ask me to bring it to them. They figure out a solution to their forgetting the item at home. I communicate to them how incredibly hard it is to tell them no when they need their homework or band instrument, but I really do take that as a big part of my job as a mom. There are consequences to forgetting things and I always deliver the message with sincere compassion because it DOES suck to tell them no but better to experience the consequence in the 3rd and 7th grades then to slam into the grown up consequences down the road. I’m happy to report it only took one miss for each of them to get into some good routines the night before to make sure they have what they need.
I got my hair cut yesterday. How silly that a haircut is newsworthy for me, but it is since I stopped spending insane amounts of money at the salon. I got my hair cut yesterday for the first time since October. Going into the salon is now a REAL treat instead of the given it had become. You may recall that before Operation Debt Reduction I was at the salon every eight weeks, like clockwork. I would spend at least $200 every single visit. Yesterday I spent $35 because I passed on the stylist styling my hair. It would have been $50 with a style but with the terrible weather why would I pay $15 for my hair to go frizzy the moment I step outside? That’s thinking my friends and it is thinking I NEVER would have done 18 months ago! I walked out of there with my wet hair with my head held high wanting to tell total strangers I saved 15 bucks to look this way! LOL!
Enjoy this holiday and remember why we have the day off at all. Thanks to the sacrifice of many individuals and families, I am able to stay in my pj’s today and appreciate my freedom! I’m not trying to make light of the somber reality that got us this day but instead truly sharing my gratitude. Blessings.
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $27,305
- Paid: $70,796
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1500
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $8,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,735 ($20,000)
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