“General Debt” Archive
A few months ago I shared that as part of getting spending under control, I began planning our weekly menus. Many readers shared some great suggestions on websites that offer meal plans. As I look back over the last twelve months this new habit has undoubtedly kept money in my pocket. We rarely eat out and even with the busy schedule we lead, I even plan “meals to go” and we have family dinners in the car. The kids like that and although I much prefer sitting around a table like civilized people, I also know that eating our homemade to go box meals is better than visiting a drive thru and eating out of a window like seagulls. I took advantage of several introductory offers from online meal plans and finally ended up using two. The first is The Six O’clock Scramble (www.thescramble.com) and the second is Momables (www.momables.com). I paid $21 for the three month subscription for The Scramble and then $12 for a three month subscription to Momables. Momables has awesome lunch ideas that keep the kids interested in packed lunches. We use some of the recipes for dinner ideas too. That was money well spent as it has kept us on track with a healthy diet and a good grocery bill. There are so many ideas that I think when the subscription ends I can take a break for three or six months and then rejoin. I’m trying to just create 6 or so plans and then just rotate through those. I am guilty of trying too many new things that can end up costing too much (b/c I have to get special ingredients) so I’ve curbed that a bit.
By way of update, I am going to go ahead and sign up for the Dave Ramsey group at church. I have surely learned a lot in the last year but have a long way to go. I like the idea of having a real live support group in this process and meeting people with an interest in personal finance. I imagine people will be in different places on their journey and I do believe in strength in numbers. I’ll take all the extra motivation and support I can get and for $100 for 8 week, it’s doable.
It won’t come as a surprise to most of you but Steve’s mortgage company is looking for him at my address. I rejected a certified letter the other day and have returned as “no longer at this address” more than a few regular mail letters. I don’t know for certain but I surmise that he has followed through on a plan of proposing his renters assume his mortgage. By the timing of correspondence from the mortgage company I’m guessing that things are following their usual Steve course. In my opinion, Steve answers to no one you see…not anyone…including his mortgage company. Boy am I glad I never got my name wrapped up in that black hole!
I am not without fault in the creation of my own debt but (in my opinion) there is one major, fundamental difference between me and Steve: I pay my bills. I do not avoid payment! Even if it means I have to call and humble myself to explain my circumstances, I will do that before I will stick my head in the sand and act like nothing is happening. With time and distance I have concluded that this blog may very well have been a major catalyst for my divorce. It was much too close to the truth for him. It was much too candid. It was much too real. The grief I would encounter when I’d share too much was consistent but, for whatever reason(s), I wasn’t willing to stop and back down. I envision it like the walls of a room just closing in on him. My truth was his nightmare and he could not take it anymore. I am so thankful for that reality.
Thanks for your supportive comments to yesterday’s post. I am in therapy that is covered by my insurance. I am reflecting on how I got to this place in my romantic relationships and uncovering some significant core issues. However, this blog cannot and will not be about my relationships. Can you imagine the backlash from readers seeking debt reduction info only?! That part of my life will remain private for my sake, the sake of my children and the sake of any man who may enter my life. I will only say I am enough of an optimist to dare to say that I do believe in the goodness of humanity and that I do believe in love. Call me a rose-colored glasses kinda girl. I refuse to be bitter. Whatever lies in my future on that front remains to be seen but I will maintain a belief in the positive and not the negative.
As for my vehicle, I guess I don’t see the little 28 mpg Toyota SUV as a luxury vehicle. Maybe that is my overindulgent side, I don’t know. It does not have bells and whistles and I am perfectly content with that. It is a newer vehicle with a very real value on the reliability side. We’ve had this chat before on the blog. I am not willing to sacrifice peace of mind for a $3,000 car. I won’t apologize for that either because I feel very strongly about it. I am so blessed to have the help I have and I WILL pay it back!
I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed with where to begin now that the divorce is final. I feel like I’ve been a racehorse in the starting gate just dying for the shot to fire and the gate to open so that I can return to my open, candid self. I have so much I want to share and I need to be patient with myself and ask that you continue your patient reading as well.
The first thing I want to share is information about my vehicle. Through a series of events I am currently driving a 2008 Toyota RAV with just 25,000 miles on it. It is a long, drawn out story but the most important thing to share is that I am currently not paying a car payment. This may be temporary until my higher interest debt is paid off, but for now I am trying to gracefully receive the help. Right after the separation as I was about to take a hit on the minivan and get into something smaller with a smaller loan and smaller payment, my parents were kind enough to bridge a gap for me with a car they were not using. I was successful in getting out from under the van relatively unscathed considering that we had just purchased it in November 2010. I intially began the process to trade in my van but thanks to a series of events, I ended up selling it directly for what I owed before signing on the dotted line for the trade in. It was a stroke of being at the right place at the right time (and it helped that it was a very nice, low mileage Honda Odyssey) and a number of individuals simply looking out for me and getting me the best deal possible. In that sense, Steve’s poor handling of his departure paid off. I did not ask for people to help in this way, but I do believe strongly in doing good deeds and that when you do, the blessings come back tenfold. They came back in the form of my ending up without a car loan payment. I could not have done this without my parents and it has been a humbling experience. They did not want to take any money from me and I thought about insisting they take something. After putting some thought into things and looking at my debt–I humbly accepted their generosity and vowed to tackle the debt even more aggressively.
It is humbling to share this with you and part of me just wants to continue hiding in the shadows on the car info but as someone wise told me, the readers will be persistent. You do deserve to know if I am keeping this real. I’m sure many of you will scoff at the fact that I am receiving this kind of help from my parents and I’ll just have to take the lumps. It does REALLY suck but I am relieved to know that I have the help available and I will do everything in my power to both pay my parents back and pay it forward.
More to come this week but I am tired! I had a very busy weekend with the kids! One last thought to share: My divorce was final on Friday but in light of the events in Connecticut, I couldn’t bring myself to “celebrate” via any social media. I was reminded by that tragic event that no matter what we are each going through in life, we don’t have to look far to see others facing much bigger challenges. Perspective. So I got duped by a man. I and my children are stronger for the experience and most importantly, I forgive myself. Failure would have been to stay in an abusive relationship. There are far worse things than divorce. Remember there is always someone out there facing a much steeper climb than you. Here’s to a great week!
Our open enrollment ended yesterday and I made some adjustments to things to help with my tax situation. In years past I had used the flexible spending accounts but not to their maximum potential. In recent years I was not using them at all. I can’t tell you why except that it was something on the list that just did not get done. I know…I know…totally irresponsible. So beginning January 1 I will be using both the health care spending portion as well as the dependent care. The online calculator said I’ll save almost $2000 in taxes. I don’t know what to expect for 2012 taxes but I am preparing for the worst. I did also adjust the withholdings for the rest of this year to help as much as possible. I obviously should have been paying much more attention to this part of finances than I had been but all we can do is look forward, not back. Every little bit helps.
As most of you know, the divorce can be final as of November 17. Steve continues to refuse to communicate with me at all. So stupid. He needs to demonize me to continue his avoidance of responsibility. None of that concerns me and I cannot control his irrational thoughts. What I can and have controlled is a date certain for this to end. I set the final hearing for December 19. Due to a 45-day notice requirement, that was the earliest date. It so happens that would have been our 3 year anniversary. So, we wait. We can still finalize prior to that final hearing date but that will require communication between him and either me or the attorney I’ve hired.
I am once again thankful that I’m a grown up. Maybe my profession makes me someone who can disagree with others but still be cordial and communicative. Maybe because I was raised to communicate well makes me capable of bridging divides and moving forward. Whatever it is I am thankful. To be incapable of finding resolution is a miserable way of life and something I never want to experience.
On the money front, my crosshairs are focused at Bank of America. Every extra penny, which isn’t much right now, is going toward that stupid credit card. I’ve made payments as little as $10 just to keep up my momentum.
Oh! And I fired AT&T and disconnected my home phone. I only had it bc DS doesn’t have a cell as he isn’t quite ready to keep up with one so on the rare occasion that he’s home alone, he needed a landline. Well, I didn’t care much about that when in the moment of rage with stupid AT&T! Long story short, they kept Steve’s email on my entirely new account. When I called to ask them to correct their error I was told that for security reasons they could not. Done. Disconnect my phone. I haven’t been that pissed off in a long while. It’s those small moments with irritating issues like this that get me riled up. Now AT&T will wait for me to pay my $30 balance. Perhaps at $1.00 per month. I’m kidding…sort of. I also got a new cell through Verizon. I was still on Steve’s employee plan but all ties need to be cut. My bill will increase by $40 but soooo worth it.
I’ve updated the numbers. Although you won’t see a huge drop I am very relieved that I did not add new debt. October was expensive. I used the debit card WAY too much and went WAY off budget…..BUT not so far off that I used a credit card. Whew.
Beginning today, I am back on the strict cash only and updating the budget spreadsheet. You’ll notice that my emergency fund is back down again. I ended up filing taxes “married, filing separately” and it cost me more money than anticipated. I took it from the Emergency Fund. I now have a new challenge in front of me because I adjusted my federal tax withholding to be better prepared for 2012 taxes than I was for 2011 taxes so my monthly income has been reduced by $300. I’m making adjustments in the budget but am a bit frustrated that this means less money can go toward debt. On the upside, I am making extra income pretty consistently with the side business. I remain optimistic that it will always work out!
And so we head into the month of thankfulness! If my divorce is indeed finalized this month, I will be most thankful!
I am so sorry for my absence! I decided to take Birthday Week completely OFF from anything but me time and time with my kids….but failed to communicate that to my readers. I decided the best (and cheapest) gift I could give myself was the gift of time. I relaxed and did very, very little on any electronic device (phone, computer, etc) and it was NICE. The kids and I simply enjoyed each other’s company. That is not to say that I didn’t spend some money because I did–on a haircut! My first since June 29. I was hoping to make it to December but I needed and wanted a little salon time for my birthday. I did JUST a cut and style as I’m still doing my own hair color and it was money well spent. I enjoyed the pampering time.
The day after my last post about my debit card slip, a funny thing happened. I accidentally left my debit card in an ATM machine! I took it as a major sign and allowed all debits to clear the account so that I could get back to “balanced” and back on my budget. I’ve ordered a new card but with cash in hand there isn’t a real sense of urgency for it to arrive. Losing the debit card was one of those little moments that made me smile as I thought God was making sure I stopped the madness!
I will have new numbers to post later today. No major movement on the debt BUT no new debt added. That’s a good thing.
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $31,490
- Paid: $66,611
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1000
- 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: $12,570 ($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: $18,920 ($20,000)
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