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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Neither of the two Craigslist folks showed up yesterday (no email, no phone call) and the gal who was supposed to come by tonight emailed (at least) to let me know she would need to cancel. So, that’s a disappointment money-wise. The only other person who replied back seems to only be able to meet during hours I’m at work, so not sure we’ll be able to arrange something. I wrote him back, so we’ll see what happens.

I’ve had various luck using CL. Sometimes I get several flakes, or a bunch — yet one day not long ago, I was able to line up SIX people and they all showed. That’s got to be some kind of record. I think I’ll delete it, then repost my ad (so it moves back to the top) and wrastle up a new group of interested peeps. Someone HAS to buy something by next Monday or I’m screwed paying off rent and electricity, unless something else crops up.

I’ve been edgy all day. Having only 57 cents in the bank does that to a person. I’d hoped those folks yesterday would’ve spent enough so I could at least put some gas in my car and bought another pack of cigs. And yes, I am well aware that if I stop smoking, not only will I be healthier, but an annoying (guilty) expense will be taken off my shoulders. I’m a tense/anxious person by nature (on meds for it in fact) and having cut back on nearly everything I enjoy already, it’s REALLY difficult for me to consider giving up cigs too. I have cut back a bit though (1/2 to 3/4’s of a pack a day, instead of 1), so that’s something. At any rate, all day I was nervous not only because all my CL sales fell through, but because I was getting low on cigs. I would only have 3 left for the entire evening, which would’ve forced me to go to bed early. I love sleeping, but I don’t want to be forced to sleep so I won’t crave cigs. It would actually make me want them more, knowing I was nearly out.

After looking at my daily planner, I realized I was going to borrow money from that cash advance place on Wednesday, so I figured since my CL person cancelled, I’d just borrow that money a few days early. I’m still going to owe loan back the same week (after payday), so there’s no big difference. I zoomed over there after work, driving on fumes, got my $175 (payback amount will be $205.87), put $5 gas in the car, bought 2 packs of cigs, a sandwich for dinner and don’t hit me, more beer. Never mind, I’ll slap myself. I wasn’t even really in the mood for it, but then this sad song (that reminds me of a past relationship) came on the radio right when I was pulling into the convenience store parking lot…and as I suddenly contemplated splurging on the beer, I decided to just work harder to make up the difference. Which all sounds good and dandy at the time, right?

But, it’s not the end of the world. Everything else (including the sandwich) had been planned for, so it’s not like I blew a big wad o’ dough on a pair of shoes. Of course, if I’d done that, I’d still have the shoes tomorrow. But I couldn’t DRINK them, so there.  And thank the flying spaghetti monster I’m not one of those girly-girls who gets giddy about clothes and shoe shopping. Carrie Bradshaw I am not. Plus, when you figure I haven’t seen a movie at a theater in about 4 years, I don’t go to bars or clubs, and rarely eat at a sit-down restaurant, drinking cheap beer a few times in one week isn’t so bad. Ya think I’ve justified this one enough?

In other news, I called the temp agency this morning and asked my rep to try and get me a pay increase. She said she’d work on it and let me know. No message back tonight, so I don’t know if she’s called them about it yet or not. And, the manager of the office I clean called me (right before I picked up the phone to call the agency) to apologize for it being a bit more of a mess over there since they’re working on consolidating offices. She did mention that since I’ll be cleaning up after 3 new folks, we can renegotiate my pay if it winds up taking me longer to clean. I figure it will take a little more time with more furniture and pictures to dust, plus 3 more trash cans to empty, so I’ll probably try to eek out another $10 a cleaning if possible. Plus, I’m guessing the kitchen will get a little messier too. My estimate was a bit on the low side to begin with, so an even $50/cleaning will be a nice compromise I think…which, my fellow math whizzes, will be an extra $40 a month. Which is practically a million to me at this point.

As I was taking a smoke break today, I was thinking I really need to try to get a long-range financial plan together. Like I said in my previous post, it’s very hard to see past each week. So much up in the air. So many factors to consider. One thing I know is that borrowing from this cash advance place has got to stop soon. My feeling is “once I get caught up enough…” but there’s always a setback (i.e. my recent illness) or another debt I’ve put off that needs to be paid (i.e. 3 months to the IRS). Of course, I have had some rather unexpected turns of good luck, like landing this cleaning gig and that contract work, selling some bigger items via CL, etc.

One thing I’ve yet discussed is my credit card situation. I used to have 3 (two major ones, and one for an electronics retailer). Long story, but the bottom line is that several months before I was downsized as a legal assistant (fall of ’08), the minimum payments on the 2 major ones got to be too much for me to handle. This was before I cut out all my non-essentials like cable, Netflix and Rhapsody. I tried to pay them what I could when I could, but they kept bugging the crap outta me (“yeah, we got that yesterday, but when are you going to pay again?”), and they didn’t seem to even want the $25 or $50 I could send because it wasn’t “enough”. So I decided, I can’t win and stopped paying. Took awhile (oddly), but they finally both came after me with a vengeance via collection agencies: calls, letters, and so far, one lawsuit (which they won by default).

I sought counseling from a bankruptcy lawyer (free 30 minute consultation last fall). He was the one who told me to stop paying on my other card since it will be wiped out with the rest of my debt once I file bankruptcy. So now those fuckers are on my back. He was also the one who told me not to bother trying to stop that default judgement, because the best I could hope for would be maybe a 10 day delay in the court finding for the plaintiff.  Whatever. Only problem is, to get this all settled, I’m looking at about $1,000+ in fees, financial classes and court costs.  It’s so weird to me that you have to pay a chunk of money to officially proclaim you’re broke.  My original plan was to have the money sometime this spring, but obviously, doesn’t look like that will happen.  The nice thing is that I can retain him for as little as a few bucks and he’ll field any collector calls, but since it will be months and months before I can come up with additional money to add to my “bankruptcy layaway” (as he termed it), I didn’t really see the point. I just turned off my ringer and screened all my calls over the last few months. Fortunately, most of them have stopped now.

From what I understand, they will try to find out where I’m working to garnish my wages, and because I was unemployed there for a while, it may have been tougher for them to track me down.  I suppose any day they’ll figure it out, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.  My priority now is to keep the roof over my head and the utilities turned on. If I have to gear up the bankruptcy express, then that’s what I’ll do (via means I’d rather not think about right now, like crawling to my asshead brother).

I never thought I’d be in the position to be dodging creditors. It happened to my parents years ago and I vowed I would never get into the same mess. Plus, it makes me feel plain shitty for not paying off the debt I racked up. If, for some bizarre reason, I find myself drowning in a vat of money, I’ll pay every cent off in a heartbeat. Of course, my credit would still be a wreck, but at least I wouldn’t feel bad anymore. And if I had the money to at least get back to a “reasonable” payback schedule, I’d do that too. But it’s too late.  They want it all. NOW. Bastards.  No, I take that back. It’s my fault. I just wish they weren’t so…unpleasant about it, especially in this economy.

The two things I do feel good about are that: 1) I paid off all my student loans (I think I wrapped that all up in about 2002), 2) I paid off my car around the same time.  There’s another back story regarding my student loans. Won’t get into it too much now, but while I was in school, my dad had promised to pay those off for me “come hell or high water.”  Well, that didn’t happen. My parents did pay for quite a chunk of my tuition and living expenses though while I was in college, so I am grateful for that. However, I incurred student loans starting my freshman year, but my older brother only got loans his last year in school. I’m not exactly sure how it turned how that way.  My parents didn’t push him to apply for loans or grants when he went to college, and he never got around to getting paperwork done till he was a senior. We both went to private, rather pricey colleges. As far as I’m aware, his loans totalled around $5k. Mine were about $18k (plus I did work study and had grants). He landed a job making about $40k within 6 months of graduating (with help from my dad and a “mentor” he set my brother up with).  I was making minimum wage ($4.25) working part-time within 3 days of graduation. No help, no mentor. I’d been forced to move back home (3 hours away) because my parents were flat broke, and I was told to get a job “anywhere” and “fast” to help out. Like I said, rather long story, which I’ll elaborate on more later.

Bitter, who ME?

Alright, enough rambling for now. Oh!  I got one page view the other day (whoever you are, thanks for stopping by!)  I do so love I have this blog to get all this stuff off my chest when I’m in the mood.  If anyone else happens to wander in, I appreciate you taking the time to read my little diatribes…

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The MOACA finale was great!  I wonder how long I’ll have to wait for the next season to begin. *waaa*

Thought I’d give an update on the status o’ my finances, based on this week’s spending and next week’s incoming moolah:

I started off with $15.67 in my bank account as of this morning. I stopped off at the gas station for 2 packs of cigs (5.98) and $2 in gas before my gig at the non-profit. On the way home, I was jonesing for something sweet to eat with the pot of coffee I planned to make, so I stopped at the Wal-Mart neighborhood market store and picked up a box of 4 iced honey buns made by their “Mrs. Freshley” brand. Total was 1.08, but I used some of my remaining change so the total charge to my bank was only 77 cents. By the way, I ate 2 and they were pretty good, albeit a bit unsoft (rather tasty after 10 seconds in the microwave). But they’re cheaper than Little Debbie, and it’s nice to know I have an even less expensive alternative for snacks when the mood hits. I indulge on little treats when I can, so as not to go batshit crazy with all this budgeting.

Speaking of indulgence, after finishing that pot of coffee and the MOACA finale, I was in the mood for something else. Being Saturday night after a long-ass week of work, I checked my bank balance: $6.97. Just enough for my ideal splurge — a 12 pack of beer. I debated back and forth about spending the money and running out again, but I finally decided “screw it.” Grabbed the dog since he needed a walk any way, and we buzzed over to the convenience store. I was hoping I could use up the rest of my change (40 cents or so) then put the rest on my card, but they were unable to take 2 different forms of payment, so I put it all on my card, knowing I had enough to cover the $6.35 charge.  My bank balance is now 57 cents, plus a handful of pocket change.  I sure to like to push it right to the limit, don’t I?  Luckily, my bank doesn’t charge if my balance is too low and I normally get very squeamish about having that little in my account.  I think my record low (several years ago) without causing an overdraft was 11 cents.

So, I have 57 cents in the bank and 40+ cents in change (too lazy to count pennies right now).  I owe $730 for rent + $164.42 for electricity in SIX DAYS, for a grand total of $894.42.  So I’ve got the 42 cents covered at this moment…now watch how I plan to accomplish paying these two bills off:

  1. Paycheck from temp job direct deposited Tuesday 3/2, 35.25 hours x $~6.93 after taxes = $244.28
  2. Paycheck from non-profit work to arrive Tuesday or Wed, 7.75 hours x $12 (still not sure if taxes will be taken out or not, but let’s knock off a few bucks just in case) = ~$80+
  3. Cleaning advance check, to be received Friday, 4 cleanings for March x $40/ea = $160
  4. Cash advance loan for $175, to be taken out Thursday (payback amount will be 205.xx in 2 weeks)
  5. Float!  Paycheck from temp job direct deposited 3/9 (hopefully before rent & electricity hit), ~$240
  6. Total: $899.28 (!!!)
  7. Which would leave me with 5 bucks leftover for the next 2 weeks to buy food, gas, and whatever else.

This is where my  sales from Craigslist and Half Price Books come in, not to mention another possible $10 accrued on Amazon Mechanical Turk within a few weeks.  If I can get a few CL people over in the next week, we’re looking at anywhere from $5 – $75 in possible sales. Selling books, CDs, videos and cassettes to Half Price will garner between $5 – $40, depending on how much I load up in the trunk and what the items are. So far, I’ve made nearly $100 selling items to them over the last couple months (4 different trips over there after work, which wasn’t bad, since it was very close to the non-profit).

Other ways to make extra money include asking my neighbor if she needs help cleaning & organizing again (last time I helped her out for two hours, she paid me $22), plus the few dollars I’ll get from recycling and selling 4 DVDs to a pawn shop on that end of town (they take DVDs in cardboard cases for 50 cents each, whereas the other place doesn’t). I still have about 15 or so DVDs in plastic cases I could sell to the “other” place for $1/ea if things get absolutely bone dry and I need a few bucks in a flash. However, I’d rather sell them to Second Spin and make a bit more if I’m going to part with the rest of my collection…the only downside it takes about 2 weeks turnaround to get the money.  Aside from that, pulling stuff out for eBay sales is another possibility. Although, I’m not sure I can get my camera software working with Firefox, so that could be a wee snag (and I have no idea where I put the battery recharger, which is really unlike me — the camera and the recharger always get placed next to each other wherever I leave them, except this particular time. Grrrr.)

At this point, if I can get through this next grinding round of bills by the 5th, I’ll reassess for the coming weeks. The whole problem with all this is that I can never get caught up enough to see the light at the end of tunnel. Borrowing from a cash advance place is not a good idea, but considering the alternatives (i.e. borrowing from my brother), it’s pretty sweet. I will elaborate on the deal with my brother in future posts. I can’t borrow any more from mom (she helped me out greatly last year when I lost my job, plus she’s on a fixed income), my dad’s in the same boat financially, and my brother is a raging dickhead.  I actually can’t wait to dish out the goods on him. One reason I started this new blog was so I could talk about him and other family issues without repercussions. My former blog (much more humorous) was known by my sister-in-law, which was fine when I was just shooting the shit, joking around, or bitching in general, but as far as family stuff went, I had to watch whatever I said.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever give this blog address to anyone I know (even close friends). I’m enjoying the anonymity for the moment. And while I’m not discussing anything they would find upsetting or shocking, my main fear is that they would find it tedious and boring. I’m usually much more entertaining. While I will throw in some funny shit now and again, I don’t have to worry about an audience that’s hoping for laughs.  Of course, at the moment, I’ve received zero page views, so it’s rather a moot point. On one hand, I love that no one but ME knows about this site, but it’s also slightly depressing. I guess I’m anxious for some feedback by now, and not from a total idiot saying “u suck” either.

Anyhoo, I’m going to run along for now. But I wanted to point out I hate that WordPress considers certain “big” words to be “complex expressions.” For example, in a previous post I used the word “accompany” and it suggested I use “go with.” In this post, it suggests I replace “accomplish” with “carry out.” WTF?  Do we really want to dumb down an already dumbed down society?

Nighty night for now…

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