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Utilities, Security Deposit Return and The Ex!

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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!

 

Happy Friday!

 


This is what happens when I don’t plan…and when I make excuses

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I  had to go out of town for business on Thursday and came home yesterday.  I had a Pampered Chef party at 7 pm and planned ahead and packed all of the supplies I needed for the show.  I really keep it simple so the packing wasn’t a huge ordeal.  I knew I would be tight on time with a 2.5 hour drive back home.  I took only a suit and some bad work out clothes with me on this overnight trip.  I managed to get everything I needed for PC but failed to pack something to wear to the event!  I had zero time to come back home and get to the party on time so…I did a bad thing…I stopped and bought something comfortable to wear!  I hit San Antonio and pulled into the first Marshall’s I saw–although that makes it sound like it wasn’t premeditated.  It was very premeditated.  I mapped out the first clothing store I could find on google.  Sigh.  I ran in and within about 10 minutes I managed to spend $75.  Just like that–total impulse shopping that was the result of poor planning.

I had about an hour left on the road after the shop stop to get to my party.  Thankfully there was a LOT of traffic and I had a LOT of time to think.  I thought about the fact that I would be just fine in my suit, minus the coat, as I talked to these gals about food.  I talk to juries about all sorts of random things while wearing a suit.  Two more hours in a suit in front of 10 women was not going to kill me.  But boy did I want out of those work clothes!  I sucked it up though and left the clothing with the tags on in the car.  As of this afternoon they have been returned.

Yes, that’s progress I suppose.  I didn’t keep the items.  Too bad I had to go through the craziness of the stop and then the stress of the thought process though.  I hope one day to be strong always but I am human after all.

The PC real food thing is still going pretty well.  I bring in at least a two hundred dollars each month and all of my friends are still speaking to me.  🙂  I don’t nag for parties but do keep the product in their thinking with just simple emails and texts letting them know when I order.  All very non-threatening and I find it helps for both friends and strangers to know that I am an attorney who is not making my sole income from this venture. It puts everyone at ease I’ve noticed.  I encourage people to make their wish list and then contact me as they budget for the purchase.  Yes, I am now preaching what I practice.  Two of the gals at the party last night paid in cash which prompted me to discuss what a great habit that was to practice.  I never want to be party to someone getting into debt for cooking products!


Sold!

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I’ve had a frenzy of a week with selling stuff.  I finally got my ring posted on “I do now I don’t” and it sold in the first 8 hours.  I have all the paperwork showing what it cost and I priced it at 50% of that and it sold.  I had a few inquiries asking for a reduced price but based on some online research I knew I was giving and getting a deal.  So, I’m $4,000 richer.   This website is pretty ingenious with its built in protections for both buyer and seller.  The buyer has to pay and then the money is held in escrow until I send the ring in to IDNID, they confirm the authenticity, they mail to the seller and then send me my money.  So far, I’m totally impressed.  This was, in many ways, “found money” and with no emotional attachment to this ring (yes, even the ring was a source of conflict in the marriage), I’m feeling good.

Next, I took your advice on my Craigslist items.  I had to step back and realize that there is a little money value in someone coming and picking up this furniture.  My bedroom set is on the second floor.  It is gigantic, solid furniture and my stairs have a “turn” in them.  The amount of time it would take movers to get this out is significant.  So, I lowered my  price by what I estimated movers would cost me to get it out of here, plus the cost of storage bc this furniture will not fit in the apartment and the reduction in price got it sold pretty quickly.  I bought this furniture 10 years ago for $2600 (it was a floor sample at a nice furniture store) and I sold it for $1000.

The table and buffet sold too.  I got $750 for those.  The two buyers have given me a cash deposit and they’ll come pick up this weekend. So excited!  We have a folding table that will serve as our dining table for now and my bed will just be on a metal frame.  Somehow I am finding even MORE motivation in this reality because a bit of discomfort in my living conditions (which really isn’t all that uncomfortable, but hopefully you know what I mean) will push me to get out of debt even faster I think.  I have a big dresser in my master closet that I call the ugly dresser bc it is in terrible condition as far as appearance goes but it is old school, solid furniture.  It was my grandmother’s and it is one of those dressers that has drawers so big that you just can’t find these days.  One day I hope to sand it down, paint or stain it and add new hardware but for now the scary dresser will do just fine!

There’s the sales frenzy update.  I’ve emailed the Homeowner’s Association because I can’t find any rules on yard sales but I know there has to be rules.  This neighborhood has A LOT of them and as I thought about it–I can’t remember a yard sale in the 3 years I’ve been here.  There are other options but the idea of selling the smaller stuff at a yard sale sounds very efficient.

Have a great day!  I’m off to look around my house for more stuff to sell!  I feel “lighter” by each moment!  🙂


Paycheck!

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I just received my paycheck today and it dropped by another 80 bucks since the January 11 check.  I compared the two pay stubs and it appears I was paid near $80 in “stock dividends” on the 01/11/2013.   I didn’t catch that when I looked at  my 1/11/2013 check the first time but it appears the lesser amount that I see in today’s check is the “final answer.”   I see about $450 less per paycheck now and that is sobering.  As a reminder the new deductions are increased federal withholdings, my health insurance and the flexible spending accounts (FSA).

On the upside–of that $900–I have $208 to recover from my health care and dependent care FSA.  Please remind me that this is a good thing for tax purposes because the lazy financial person in me just does not want to deal with submitting receipts to recoup that money.  Hurry.  Tell me.  I already have expenditures to get that back but it’s just that hassle factor that gets me.  That is my old mindset rearing its ugly head–pay for convenience–I guess.  I’ll get over my silly fit about this but in this moment I simply do not want one more thing on my “to do” list.  I know.  Get over it.

It’s another busy weekend ahead.  There are kid events (a band performance and a end-of-season basketball party) and then a Real Food Workshop on Saturday.  I’ve put the invite out for the Feb 10 couples’ event and so far have 5 couples attending.  I am still excited about this little side hobby/money earner.  The kids and I have a lot of fun putting it all together.  The kids are natural little “party hosts” and I like to see those skills grow in them.

Have a good one!  I’m off to gather receipts for child care and medical expenses!  🙂


Sold Gold

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My grocery store has this cheesy kiosk place that buys gold and silver.  My clean up of jewelry had yielded some completely random (dare I say hideous?!) gold jewelry items that I didn’t think would sell on ebay.  It was a trip down memory lane to even see this stuff as they were gifts from high school boyfriends.  I was definitely not wearing them anymore.  So before flying out on business this afternoon and right before an orthodontist appointment for DD, I ran into the store to see what I could get for this gold.  I had done a little research online but I wasn’t going to kill myself wondering if I could get something better out there with these particular item for a whole host of reasons.  I ended up selling 6 pieces (2 chains, 2 rings, a pair of earrings and a pendant) for $480!  I was hoping for $250 so that was a pleasant surprise!  This money has gone straight to the IRS fund. 

The final for 3 items on Ebay was $534–after fees and postage.  Adding this to my gold sale brings the IRS fund to $1014.  I threw in $1.00 (lol!) and the IRS fund is at $2,165.  I am so proud!!!  I still need to figure out options on selling my wedding rings but this progress feels good.

I also thought of another (hopeful) source of income that I will NOT count before hatching, but my company gives us bonuses at the end of February.  We will find out in mid February what the amount is and then it is paid on February 23.  While I had hoped I could put any bonus dollars toward my regular debt, that was not in the cards I suppose.  I’ll still push forward on “finding” money but at least the bonus is another way to avoid new debt and stay on track.


Updated Numbers

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I’ve updated the debt and savings numbers.  I am overjoyed to only owe Bank of America $7.954!  I’m also excited about my extremely low signature loan rate but still somehow more thrilled about the Bank of America aspect.  Whatever motivates you, right?!  While the overall debt amount remains unchanged the savings in interest is no small gift!  I am motivated!

And it’s a good thing I am because I owe $3,950 to the IRS by March 28, 2013. Totally stinks that adding that in takes me back up to $45K in debt but it is short term (very short term…76 days in fact) and I have at least a partial plan to attack.  My goal is to “find” money to put toward that without detouring from my regular monthly debt payments. 

I have moved $1,150 from my emergency fund because I had stockpiled that for taxes when I learned of the debt. Please note:  I have created a separate “asset” item called the IRS savings account but for some reason it isn’t showing up on the sidebar.  I’ve got an email out to Jeffrey for a solution.  I received a small commission check from Pampered Chef for $100 and I sold some of the kids’ clothes at resale shops for $80.  I found a lot of random things to sell and they are selling.  As of now, I have $300 coming in from Ebay.  There’s sterling silver jewelry, purses, kids’ items, craft items and they all have bids. I do not yet have that $300 added into my IRS savings.  So I am currently at $1,330, $2,620 to go.  I really pray that I will get at least that for my wedding ring.  It is a 1-carat princess cut diamond, platinum setting that I have all the documentation for including the receipt showing the $7,000 paid for it and the appraisal at right around $10K.  I have zero emotional attachment to this ring and will spend a little time getting as much as I can but honestly–I’ll be happy if the tax debt is paid.  I do want to share for the record that I did not participate in the selection of this ring at all.  Zero input.  I wanted a plain band, no diamonds and was never very comfortable wearing the ring.  That’s not bitterness talking…just the truth.  The ring only lost more appeal when I learned of the 401K withdraw used to buy it. 

Anyway,  I have two real food workshops on the books for January with prospects for a few more.  I’m confident I can do this….but….IF I can’t “find” the money I DO have the option of making minimum payments for just the months of February and March and using the overage to knock it out.  I think I will see what comes of the wedding ring sale research and plan on revisiting my plan on Feb. 1.

Have a great weekend!


Teacher and Friend Gifts

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When I shared my holiday budget a few days ago I didn’t go into my budget for teachers, co-workers, neighbors and other friends.  Here’s another place where Pampered Chef has paid off.  In addition to the commission I earned that has nicely padded my emergency fund, I earned those “Pampered Chef Dollars.”  With $300 to spend I was able to get everyone a small something and able to keep $100 for later.  It’s nice to not have to touch my regular budget for these items!  I haven’t done much with PC this month for obvious reasons (the divorce, the holidays), but I look forward to jump starting my real food business in January.  I also woke up today with a fun idea to incorporate couples by having an event in February.  Many of my friends have been discussing how we can get their husbands and boyfriends involved so a couples’ event of cooking real food sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day.  I really do enjoy this real food stuff and to be making money at it is a complete bonus.

If I can get through the holiday season and just spend my kid budget I will be SO proud!