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Not a Good Day Financially


Today I sent out over $1,000 to pay for taxes that we owed. I also initiated a payment plan with the IRS and opted to have $250 automatically withdrawn monthly from our account to pay for the remaining balance. It’s not fun making things right, but I do feel better getting it resolved. Once I know the total amount due (once penalties and interest are added on) I will update our debt total.

That’s how the day started.

Then, in the mail I received a bill for the laboratory and ultrasound portion of my miscarriage. I cannot believe that what I had done cost over $1,000. I already called to get a detailed billing statement so I can audit each charge and make sure it is right. There is good news, though…my health insurance partially covered it (I was worried because my plan doesn’t cover prenatal care). The bad news is that we still owe our 30% so that’s about $360 that we don’t have at the moment.

We don’t have it because I paid as much as I could towards the tax debt and pretty much bled our checking account dry. I also pulled from our savings account and our new balance is showing on the right hand side. I left some money in there in case we need it for an emergency. I also want to go through and double check my check register and make sure I’m not missing anything because we are really cutting things close.

Overall, I feel like I really have to rethink a lot of things on a personal level and a financial level. Lately things have stalled for us financially and I have to figure out why.


  • Reply Jen |


    Sounds like you had a rough day. I thought you could use a hug!

    I know you’ll make it through this patch. You’re dedicated, you’re creative, and you’ve got a good head on your shoulders.

  • Reply Da big D |

    Bump in the road is right. You are doing it, just not as fast as you want. So sit down with your husband and do a reality check on your economics.

    If Fast Food is the only thing out there at this time, its the only thing.

    So chin up, and keep up the faith!

  • Reply Fellowes |

    Hang in there. Sounds like you did indeed have a rough day but just take stock of what has changed fundamentally and try to move forward. Look at the positive, in that you certainly avoided any future problems with the IRS, a situation that would certainly cost you more in the long run. If it is any consolation I’m feeling a bit stalled as well, as my entire debt repayment plan hinges on one my creditors being flexible. Talk about a pressure cooker.

  • Reply Sarah |

    Yuck! Tricia, I’m so sorry. It’s wretched wehn you work and work and work only to feel like life spits in your face. But you’ll get there…one “making it right” moment at a time.

  • Reply KMK |

    At the risk of sounding condescending or pollyanna-ish, consider where you came from. You have paid of $15,000 of debt and that is amazing! You will get back on track and this will just seem like a bump in the road.

  • Reply Renee |

    Well rest assured in the fact that you have made someone (me, and probably others) feel better about their tax situations and that you are not alone. *hug*

    I, for one, look forward to reading in a few weeks how you managed to get through it πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sara |

    This is just a bump! Had it happened a year or so ago, it would have been a major disaster!

    I’m just amazed that you started your savings account at *just* the right time AND with the health insurance! You’ve just saved yourself so much with those amazingly timely decisions.

    You continue to make great decisions for your family and for your life. You’ve done so much with so little time and resource.

    A bump, for sure, and a set back, but my gosh, step back and take a look at the big picture of what you’re accomplishing. You rock!

  • Reply A long time reader |

    I’m sorry that this happened, but I am really puzzled by what is going on. I have read your blog for a long time. I don’t see that your husband is really contributing to the family income and that seems to be the real problem with your finances. He quit his last job and at your insistence took over a small, irregular part-time job that you had. He really needs to get full time work or at least several part-time jobs. I haven’t heard you mention any effort on his part to find work. What is he doing to generate income? Is he out looking for a job? At your income level, 40 hours a week of McDonalds and delivering pizzas would change everything.

  • Reply flippy |

    Good luck getting through this stalled period. I know you’ll do it.

    Getting out of debt can be entirely reduced to income and out-go. It’s that simple. It seems like your family is reasonable on the out-go. Now you need to address the income. Your husband getting a job and one or both of you getting part-time work would make a huge difference and allow you to get huge TRACTION versus stalling and taking baby steps.

    Regarding the previous post and the fact that you said readers can ask questions, I am curious: Does your husband work with you on all of this like a partner, or do you have to drag him along like a mother-figure? It’s great he does childcare – I wish more men did! But, like the previous commentor, I am mystified why he doesn’t go get any job to help the family’s financial situation and why he doesn’t seem like a more active partner in your big effort.

  • Reply it's not a mystery |

    Back on Jan 20, you stated, “My husband does have a college degree, but there are no jobs for him in the area.” Many people are not using their specific degree in their current job. And it isn’t an excuse to not have a job (or a job past the one you handed down to him). I agree with ‘a long time reader’ and ‘flippy’…unless we are missing something, your husband needs to find more work.

  • Reply auntie |

    Hi there, I have been reading here also for a very long time and enjoy checking in every morning with my coffee. I also must say that my husband and I both have degrees/diplomas and are NOT working in our field. My brother who is highly educated is also not working his field. Times are hard and we have decided to take advantage of our youth and work now (at whatever)so that hopefully we can play later! I work parttime+have 2 cleaning jobs and yes I even sell Avon to add to the family income!!

  • Reply Matt |

    We all have the bumpy days – don’t let it get you down. You’re an inspiration to people like me who just can’t seem to get it quite together when it comes to getting out of debt. You’ve accomplished a great deal don’t let the days here and there that aren’t great get you down too much. Just remember the big dent you’ve already put into your debt.

  • Reply D |

    Tricia, you feel the stall for obvious reasons. Honey, you have been through a lot. This year, 2007, has been full of issues. But the largest is the miscarriage.

    I lost a child a long time ago, in the same manner. It was difficult. It effected many, many areas of my life. Even when I thought I had it under control.

    I planted a tree. That tree grows tall and strong today. Everytime I look at it, I remember. When I remember, I can’t forget.

    I don’t know if this would help you, but it did me. And it still does.

  • Reply Jen |

    I think Tricia’s husband has a business of his own that he is trying to get off the ground. He could get another minimum wage job, but doing so could sap time and energy he could devote to his business. So, if it were me, I’d take another job only if it paid enough to make shelving my own business worthwhile. I see the long-term goal as creating a business that could bring in more money and much more satisfaction!

  • Reply MVP |

    Please, don’t be so hard on yourself. This is a very rough patch, but you’re going to get through it. My husband and I are trying to conceive a child and I can’t imagine the toll the miscarriage is taking on you – please just allow yourself to heal from it. You’re on the right track with the money – it’ll work itself out. As for the hospital bills, you can put those on the back burner for awhile. Most hospitals are very benevolent and will work with you if you go in for a face-to-face meeting and explain your hardship situation. They may reduce the cost or allow you to postpone payments. Please, for your health and your family’s sake, take some deep breaths or you risk getting yourself sick.

  • Reply Nathania Johnson |

    Call the hospital or clinic where you had the ultrasound and negotiate a payment plan. They will work with you on this. They make financial arrangements all the time b/c people have a hard time paying bills like this. I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more. In fact, it would have been more if your insurance hadn’t negotiated a rate with them.

  • Reply Flora |

    Your insurance doesn’t cover prenatal? WTF?! I swear, we all need to move to Sweden.

    As others said before, you should be pround of yourself for having insurance at all, and for having the emergency fund. Without those pieces in place, this would have been a total nightmare.

    Chin up.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Thank you everyone for the words of support. I’ve been super busy at work and it looks like another long night. I’ll try to reply to your questions/comments shortly.

  • Reply Lacey |

    Oh God, I feel for you. That sounds like a terrible day. Way too much money and way too many bad things. I hope things get better for ya!

  • Reply Fellowes |

    I look at your Debt-O-Meter and I think WOW! Pat yourself on the back for all the hard work and just do what you need to do to get back on track. It does sound like your hubby could be doing more to contribute but I’m not privy to the specifics of your situation so I won’t make any judgements there. Paying off debt is like a marathon not a sprint so just keep running even if you have to slow the pace a little bit. You WILL get to the finish line and much sooner than I will at that πŸ™‚

  • Reply Tricia |

    I’m going to be stuck working most of the day again today (at least it’s overtime!) so I won’t have much time to post a thorough reply.

    Please note to everyone saying that my husband should get a job. He *does* have a job (the temporary one). He also has another job starting next month. There are also a few more projects. These jobs/projects are good ones. They pay well and they are very close to using his degree. For thinking ahead for his career, these will go much farther than a fast food job.

    I’ll detail more about these when I get a chance.

  • Reply Danielle |

    I agree that Tricia’s husband NEEDS to get any job he can right now, even if it’s just to inch away at the debt. If he got something bringining in $1000 a month, then they would be less than 2 years from debt free. But that isn’t any reason to come down on Tricia. She can’t control him. No one can control another person’s behavior, even spouses.

  • Reply Chris Jones |

    I’ve been reading through your blog for the past few weeks (and even subscribed to your RSS feed), but I cannot understand how anyone gets to owing $1,000+ to the IRS. Mind if I ask what it is all for and maybe how it came to be that way? I’m only curious so that I can try to avoid it for myself.


    PS – It is really annoying that you cannot leave a comment using FireFox.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Chris – not sure why you can’t leave a comment in FireFox. That’s what I’m using right now to write this comment. Anyone else having problems?

    As for your question, and the others, hopefully I will be able to get to it tonight.

  • Reply Chris Jones |

    hmm – everytime I use FireFox to make a comment I get redirected to a page that says:

    “Error: This file cannot be used on its own.”

  • Reply Chris |

    I can post in Firefox 2.0. Check for the latest version, or there may be something else wrong not associated with the browser itself.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Ok. I reponded to the questions about my husband in a post. Click the link in the comment above this one to go there.

    Chris – With our taxes, I took a big deduction that I shouldn’t have. I thought we could take it, but we couldn’t. Adding that deduction back in was close to removing us from earned income territory so we now had to pay money back we had received from that. I really think that I will seek professional assistance next year. While the computer programs out there are great for helping with taxes, you can still make mistakes. And, sometimes those programs make mistakes! While redoing my taxes, I found a credit that the program I used miscalculated. The result was more money that had to be paid back.

  • Reply Chris Jones |

    danielle – I used IE, obviously.

    Chris – I’m using, this happens at work and at home. If I’m the only one having problems, it must be an add-on.

    Tricia – Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question. My wife and I have both used H&R Block’s TaxCut online software for the past 5 years without issues. In fact, we have had such success with it that we haven’t even tried any other software.

    To me it sounds like you need to configure your exemptions correctly so this does not happen again. The IRS has a very helpful withholding calculator directly on their website (http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html) to help with this kind of thing.

So, what do you think ?