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Posts tagged with: thanksgiving

My Loan Request Was DENIED!!!


First thing’s first. Welcome, Amy! I’m so excited to have another blogger up in the mix! I was a reader long before I was a contributor here so I’m super pumped to be able to follow another blogger on their debt journey! Yay!!! I can’t wait to get to “know” Amy as we share this debt-reduction journey together!

(Side Note:  I’ve also seen many people ask about Hope in recent comments. I don’t have any updates, but I’ll send her a quick email today just to pass along our warm thoughts and kind regards. I honestly don’t have any additional information at this time but I wanted to address it because I know lots of have asked about her recently).

I hope all our American readers had a lovely Thanksgiving this past week! It was JUST what I needed! Quiet, low-key, relaxing, etc. We spent a solid 3 days in a row at home (we had friends over for play dates on Friday & Saturday so we weren’t all alone), and it was GLORIOUS to just hang out and relax. This was our first Thanksgiving in a very long time where we were just at home – we didn’t go anywhere and we didn’t have any guests here, either. I used it as an excuse to go super easy for Thanksgiving. We just had meat, 2 sides, and a single dessert. That’s it. I have to admit that I kind of missed not having a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers (my favorite is a thanksgiving sandwich with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and turkey – but we didn’t even do ANY of those foods this year! Our main was ham and our sides were green beans & sweet potato casserole). We did buy a mini (2 lb) butterball turkey that I’ll probably cook sometime this week, but hubs had specifically requested ham for our main meat for Thanksgiving so that’s what we had.

And then I applied for a student loan consolidation….and I was DENIED!!!!!

I couldn’t even believe it.

According to Credit Karma, my credit is in the “excellent” range. They have my credit at a 760 or 785, depending on the site (Equifax & Transunion, respectively).

What possible reason would they have for denying me a line of credit?

An outstanding collection.

That’s what they said. The thing is, I’ve literally only had one “derogatory” mark on my credit in my life. It was from when I was 18 or 19 (nearly 15 years ago now) for not paying for those 10 DVD’s for 1 penny thing (mine was via Columbia House, but surely you’re familiar with those programs – there were several in that time-frame). It was a legitimate debt that I owed and, funny thing is, I even tried to pay for it a few years after-the-fact, but I couldn’t get the creditor to send me a letter stating that the debt would be settled in full after payment, so I never sent the payment. It aged until it fell off my credit and I haven’t even thought about it in years.

According to Credit Karma, I have no derogatory marks/late payments/etc (like I said, due to its age, this one negative mark long-ago fell off my credit report). I’m telling you, I’m kind of a stellar client from a lender’s perspective. I’m conscientious, pay on time, more than the minimum, etc. etc. Plus the lender who denied me also had me link my different bank accounts so they could see that I had lots of assets available (not only from my EF, but also my retirement, and I’m listed as a joint account holder on my Dad’s account, too, so although  I don’t consider his money “mine”, its a lot of additional liquid assets that are mine from a legal perspective since it’s a joint account). Soooo…what the heck? I don’t get it. But that’s that.

So this lender is out. I still have other options, but I was just shocked about this denial. Truly, genuinely shocked.

Have you ever been caught off-guard about an unexpected credit denial?

How did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

No Spend Month – Wrap Up


So if you will remember, due to my job lay off and being on the edge financially I committed to No Spend November. I have to admit, it has been a very pleasant month.  I did ALOT of cooking and really enjoyed every morning getting up and searching through my cookbooks to find new recipes to try out.  In fact today, I have a hearty vegetable soup going in the crockpot which will be perfect for this cold winter night!

But on the spending side…

We did GREAT with no spend November.  But I did cheat…exactly twice.  Once during the weekend of Little Gymnast meet.  At the end of the meet, we were both starving and while I did have dinner at home in the crockpot, I knew I couldn’t make the 3 hour drive without something so when we stopped to get gas, we each got a little snack…$13.59.  And then last night, the last night of the month, I just couldn’t resist a celebratory meal out for the kids and I to the tune of $42.  I immediately regretted this second one especially in light of how tight this next month will be, but boy it was good!

Otherwise, I stayed right on track with absolutely NO SPENDING!  Go me, go me!

Now, on the income side…

As I previously wrote, I have gotten a decent part time job which will start in January, but thus far have found no other work. However, I have been very blessed this week by two friends.  One had surgery and the little ones and I volunteered to go help her out for a few days while she was home recovering; she has a 10 month old and 2 year old at home.  It truly was a friend helping a friend.  Then I went to clean out my purse this weekend and there was an envelope in my purse with a check from them.  I called immediately and she said she knew I wouldn’t have taken it but they wanted to help me out.  I couldn’t help but cry.

And then another friend whose son is in three of my classes, unexpectedly paid me most of next semester’s tuition a month early.  What a blessing that was!

The kids and I had a great low key Thanksgiving.  We actually cooked a full meal including a turkey our neighbor gave us!  And better yet, we set up our 6 ft plastic table in the middle of the living room and ate together as a family…the first time we’ve sat together at a table in our tiny living space…and one of the things I miss the most.

2015-11-26 14.16.26

So in a nutshell, my No Spend November went great!  And I am looking forward to Do Good December!


Life Happenings…


Hi guys!

Probably didn’t expect to hear from me this evening, hmm??

Truth is life has been scattered lately! Instead of having posts pre-planned and waiting to go up at “X” time, I’ve just been writing and pressing “publish” whenever I can. Writing as life happens, that is.

At any rate, we’re back in our house. It’s still a bit of a cluster. They had to re-carpet two rooms and although the carpet installers moved things for us, it was still quite an ordeal. The cribs were too big to fit through the door frames so had to be completely disassembled. Even with things finally moved back, it almost feels like we’re in the middle of a move or something! On the good news front, our landlord is going to work with us on some of the costs. I feel uncomfortable disclosing the numbers in our agreement, but I’m happy with the situation. This month will still require us to dive into our emergency fund (both for the house stuff and for the car repairs), but I’m knocking on wood for a calmer week this week!

In other news, I was able to get a couple work applications submitted! I had 2 due on the 15th (which was a Saturday) and one on the 17th (a Monday). I looked at them all and decided to ditch one of the applications. I selected the job I was least likely to get and metaphorically chucked it out. The other two applications I completed late Sunday night (the 16th). I realize this was past the deadline for one of them, but I figured the reviews wouldn’t start until Monday anyway so I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would work out. And guess what…I’ve already heard back on one of the jobs! They’re requesting additional information, which is always a good sign (means I’ve at least made it past the initial round of cuts). It’s for a job here in Tucson and is not a tenure-track position, though it still keeps me in academia. Obviously a tenure-track job is what I’d really like (or maybe its not so obvious….but I spent 6 years in graduate school specifically to try to earn a tenure-track position, so this is a big point of distinction for me). However, I’ve figured that if I get this position I could probably keep teaching at least 2 classes per semester online through my teaching job, and would effectively make my salary higher than most entry-level tenure-track positions. Plus then we wouldn’t have to deal with a cross-country move (so torn on this though, as I’d love to be closer to family). So, we’ll wait and see what happens. I know better than to get my hopes up at this stage in the game.

Also, I’m taking some of your advice and trying to fix my own iPhone screen. Since I initially mentioned that I’d broken my screen again, the crack has progressively gotten worse. There are now pieces of glass that have fallen out and I’ve actually sliced my fingers a few times (small slices, more like paper cuts). At any rate, it needs to be replaced. I found a $15 kit on ebay complete with new screen, all the tools, adhesive material, etc. and it should be here tomorrow. I’m a little nervous. I’ve watched a couple youtube videos and it does NOT look easy. But I did find a cheaper place that can do repairs here in town ($115, whereas last time I paid $150). I figured even if this doesn’t work out, I can still go with the cheaper place and be saving money over what I paid last time. Obviously I would prefer if it just works out with this repair kit and I get away with only a $15 fix (+ cost of a new OtterBox case, as that seems to be the consensus for best/strongest case). I’m still mad at myself over breaking the phone, but in light of the Crap River we just dealt with, it seems like small potatoes.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having to hold myself back from some retail therapy. I’m really not a big shopper, but I’ve been longing to go to Kohl’s and buy myself some new warm tops (now that it’s finally a bit colder in Tucson…sorry to those of you in negative degree weather!!) I think this is partly due to stress, partly due to simple change in weather and wanting newer clothes for the new season, and partly due to all the spending we’ve been doing. It almost feels like “oh, well, we’ve already spent $XXX on hotel and food, what’s another $50 or so for clothes???”  Don’t worry, I haven’t done it (and I have plenty of warm-weather clothes, for the record), but the struggle has been real!

And, lastly, I’m SO SO excited for Thanksgiving next week! My Dad is going to come to town and it will be the first time that I’ve hosted a Thanksgiving at our house since the girls have been born (the first year when they were 5 months we went to a friends’ house; last year when they were 17 months husband was in the hospital with his mystery illness and we skipped the holiday all together). I’m starting to think that Novembers are cursed (not really…but kinda), so it will be good to be with family celebrating everything we’re thankful for. I’m trying not to go too overboard with food, so I’ve planned a menu. I plan to write a whole post on this to run it by you all for some suggestions on how you save money at Thanksgiving. The point is, I’m really looking forward to it!! Now I need to find a free Turkey Trot 5K or something. All this eating out has made me bloated and “ugh” feeling!

I hope your weeks are all off to a great start! Let’s get a head start on Thanksgiving week – leave me a comment with something you’re grateful about! 


Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I hosted a small gathering for part of my extended family (12 people) while a larger part of the family went to my sister’s house in Houston.  While I certainly would have loved to spend this day with everyone under the same roof, that just wasn’t feasible.  By the end of the weekend though I will have seen everyone.  Here’s an example of yet another area I have made changes to in my journey to being debt free.  No, not avoiding my extended family (LOL!)  but instead making adjustments to perspective.  Here’s what I mean:

In years past there would have been zero hesitation on my part about loading up the car and taking a road trip to my sister’s for Thanksgiving.  With so many of us in the family I would have ended up in a hotel for at least 2, probably 3 nights, and thought nothing of the financial impact.  I wouldn’t have thought about the gasoline it would take to get there.  I’d be sure to bring loads of food and wine to share with the group (even though my sis always had the menu covered).  I would have spent money in the preparation to take the trip and then spent more money while out of town.  I would have mindlessly paid over $100 to board the dogs and likely added grooming to their stay for another $100.  I probably would have picked up little gifts for my nephews and sister “just because.”  I would have spent money while on the road feeding us from bad fast food restaurants.  I might have even bought new stuff to “entertain” the kids on the road.  All in the name of time with family on this certain day of the year.

My how things have changed in the last 12 months.  I knew I was not in a position to take on the expense of a “quick and cheap” trip to Houston.  So, I declined the trip and instead will see much of the family at some point over the four day weekend.  I used to get so wrapped up in being with them on the exact date of the holiday that I would not employ common sense!  Now I see the true importance being that I visit with my family while also being fiscally responsible.

I spent $100 on Thanksgiving Day groceries and have enough leftovers to feed us for at least the next week.  I asked people to bring items and found some free game and craft ideas for all of the kids who joined us.  We played old-fashioned games both indoors and out and had a super great time!

I had a momentary flash to some of the nasty comments made by readers over the last week and my niece caught my smile as I did so. She only said “oh–you’re reflecting on something!  I can tell!”  I smiled because I know I HAVE made incredible progress in my thought patterns and spending practices.  I smiled because I “get” what is important now and am making changes to live my life more in alignment with those important things.  I smiled because even through a pretty shit*y near three months (and mostly shit*y 32 months before that), my focus on debt reduction remains.  I smiled because somehow through all of this mess I have still been able to avoid adding new debt and have made more than the minimum payments on my debt.  And I smiled because the gym was open today from 8 am – 2 pm  and I was able to get a 30 minute workout in before having company over!!!

So here’s my thank you for today:  Thank you to all of the jerks who were nasty and mean in their comments.  You did give me good food for thought that I am and will continue to think about.  But in this difficult season of my life, you made me realize that I”m pretty much a rock star in my world right now–a rock star with a cheap gym membership.  I promise you motivated me as I figured out the stupid elliptical machine that almost owned clumsy me this morning and this is my big Texas size THANK YOU!  I’m more motivated than ever to prove all of you wrong.

Navigating Black Friday…


Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone (and by ‘anyone’, I mean my mother) but…

I read Cosmo.

Come on! I read finance stuff all the time and every once in a while, it’s nice to read garbage *cough*, I mean, light reading.

Anyway, for those of you crazy folks *cough*, I mean money savers, who shop on Black Friday, Cosmo has some tips on surviving the busiest shopping day of the year.

#1 – Go to Blackfriday.com. They have a listing of retailers you can sign up for e-mail notifications when their deals are posted. They also let you know what stores are running pre-Black Friday deals.

#2 – Go online early, add items to your cart, and press refresh when the sales start to see if your items went on sale.

#3 – Join your favorite retailer’s Facebook page or subscribe to their Twitter feed. Sometimes subscribers get early access to sales.


#4 – Don’t buy gifts this year and pay down debt.

OK, they didn’t write #4. But that’s the one I’m doing.

Catch Up…


I wrote some short posts over the last few months and even though they aren’t debt related (well, most of them anyway), I thought I’d share. No, this won’t become a baby blog. But be generous. Give me today and I promise I’ll shut up about it. If anything, I hope you can smile at my misery.

November 10th:

There was an extra pink line on a pregnancy test this morning.

I woke up my husband who said, ‘I don’t think that’s a positive’ and goes back to sleep.

November 14th:

Tried again. Definitely positive.

Took a photo with my cell phone and texted it to my husband saying, ‘HA! I told you so!’

Not exactly the romantic moment I anticipated.

November 25th:

Today is the first day morning sickness hit… and when I say ‘hit’, I mean ‘knocked me off my feet, can’t even think of food anytime this century’. Leave it to my kid to announce itself on Thanksgiving.

My husband, who heard that lack of morning sickness could mean a miscarriage in the future, said, ‘I’m so glad you’re sick.’

I didn’t hit him… but that was only because I lying on the floor with a cold towel across my forehead and couldn’t reach.

December 7th:

At 2:00 a.m., I have an argument with the baby. I demand not to be sick between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

The baby thinks that’s hilarious.

I wake up my husband. If I’m miserable, he’s going to be miserable.

December 20th:

Dropped off a pair of pants to be shortened at the alterations place. The cashier told me they would be ready next week. ‘But they won’t FIT next week!’ I whined. She looked at me confused. ‘Uh. Christmas weight.’ I muttered, apologized, and walked out.

December 24th:

Tell my husband’s family about the baby. There is a solid 3 minutes of shocked silence.

December 25th:

Tell my family about the baby. No one believes me.

I’m starting to see a theme here.

My mother asks how Chris reacted when he found out. I made up a story about how we both cried for joy and embraced. Heaven forbid she finds out it was via text in an ‘I told you so’ message.

January 6th:

Still in salary negotiations for the new position at work. I don’t want to come to the table with a ‘handicap’ so I don’t mention the whole ‘baby’ thing. At three months, I’m not showing at all. I’m crossing my fingers that my ab muscles will hold tight at least 3 more weeks…maybe 5.

Feb. 1st:

The promotion is in the bag so I can finally share the news!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


What a great year this has been. I’m unbelievably thankful for my family, my friends, and *yay!* a good job in a bad economy.

I am so very blessed.

Wishing all of you a very happy thanksgiving!!