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Archive for October, 2008

What a relief (re: a medical bill)

October 30th, 2008 at 05:59 am

Well, I finally called on getting a payment plan for the $563.87 doctor's bill that I found out we couldn't cover and can honestly say it was a very pleasant experience. I was very upset to have to do a "budget plan" at all and worried about interest and everything, but it's 0% and they will never charge me to pay over the phone, even if I use a credit card. The woman I spoke with was more than helpful and very kind.

I have never had to do this before and was very surprised; is this a normal interaction for most people dealing with medical bills? I was very relieved once off the phone to have it done and on such a manageable schedule. I had planned to pay if off asap, but since it's 0% for the life of the plan, I may just take my time and put the extra money towards a CC that's charging interest instead of this. Who knew?

I Fell Off the Bandwagon

October 24th, 2008 at 03:17 pm

Well, I mentioned that last month was bad financially and this month is more of the same. I mentioned in a previous post about my husband's speeding ticket, just found out it'll be $297! That "nice" information comes just a few days after finding out that the $563 I thought I still had coming from the FSA has actually already been deposited into our account and spent; UGH! I had taken a little hiatus on watching our account like a hawk when the baby was born and we had family here; this is what happens. Yes, I cried. I then completely rebelled and went to buy new clothes. I have been wanting new jeans to actually fit my post pregnancy body, but have put it off since I know that I will continue to lose weight (it's only been about 2 months). I'm wearing the new jeans now though and I feel much better about myself so I guess that's a good thing. I got the jeans and some shirts at Kohl's, all were on sale (most 80-90% off with an additional 15% off the total), but we still didn't really have the money for them since we're so behind where we want to be. UGH. We haven't overdrafted, but our budget has been shot as has our projected date to get out of debt. Now we just need to stop, reassess, see where we are and create a new plan.

I like to try and include good/fun news whenever I have bad news; it helps me be optimistic. So, the fun news is that we just got word that we'll be going out of the country next year on vacation. (A gift from family.) We'll need to find a way to build passport fees (none of us have one yet) into our budget now, but we wanted to get that done anyway. That'll be exciting!

So...we just keep moving along...

Oh Happy Day & Frugal Magazine Gifts

October 19th, 2008 at 09:55 pm

I was just cleaning out my wallet and found a Visa gift card that I had forgotten I had. I thought there was still some money on it and I was right. I have $9.70 left, yeah! That'll cover two of the magazine subscriptions that I want to give as Christmas gifts. I'm going to order them now.

I like giving magazine subscriptions because they give all year. I am giving these friends the Family Fun Magazine so it's more like a gift for the family. It's a great magazine and very reasonable. I think it's usually about $5/year, but if you go to http://www.magazinepricesearch.com/index.html, you can get it for $3.55/year. They have great prices on other magazines too that change each day. I always check there first. Last year I gave all the nieces & nephews a children's magazine subscription; they all LOVED it (they got mail and they were about animals, Thomas the Train, etc.) and I didn't spend more than $12 or $13 each. I have also renewed my husband's ESPN subscription, which is the only magazine he asks for, for $4.94! ESPN was wanting $26 to renew. I just ordered Parents magazine for $5 about a month ago.

Just a heads up, if you want to do this for Christmas, now would be a good time to order since it usually takes 8-12 weeks for the subscription to start. It takes a little while because you'll be going through a third party. Also, keep your receipts! I have ordered about 7 or 8 subscriptions so far and had one that never came, not sure what happened there. Anyway, enjoy!

Freedom Account is Working

October 18th, 2008 at 04:16 pm

This past month has been awful for us financially and the rest of the year doesn't look that good because of it (will be playing catch up). Anyway, we had started auto deposits to our new Freedom Account on 9/15 and I can already tell that I'm going to LOVE it! I am initiating my first transfer from it back to my checking to cover a hospital bill, oil change, two small gifts and two shirts I bought (on clearance, of course). I can just tell that this really will bring peace of mind in at least some aspects of our financial life.

I did decide to use an ING savings account for our Freedom Account. I didn't want to see the balance information every time I checked our checking account. This was definitely the best decision for us. I think out of sight, out of mind is the best thing right now.

Anyway, we earned 7 cents in interest in September and that will be added to the $20 Challenge since we'll be adding all found money to that.

Y'all are inspiring and helping me make money!

October 13th, 2008 at 01:13 pm

First the good news: a few posts ago I asked what y'all were all selling on eBay as I'd seen several mention this. Most of the comments mentioned just selling things around the house. When we moved about a year ago we downsized and did a TON of purging so I hadn't been thinking we've have much left to sell. However, after deciding to stay in the apartment another 1-2 years, I decided to reevaluate everything in storage with that in mind and have listed several things on Craigslist. Well, I just got my first call (hopefully, the first of several) and on the biggest ticket item! We are set to meet tomorrow at lunch and I should get $50 (for a power washer). Keep your fingers crossed that it'll all work out!

The bad news: My husband got a speeding ticket the other day. We don't know the amount yet, but it really stinks, especially since he was set to have another ticket drop off his record in the next several months that would have reduced our car insurance even further. Aargh!

$680

October 11th, 2008 at 01:46 pm

Well, I haven't written in a few days because I have been avoiding thinking about money; we've been hemorraging money. We've had more "surprises" that I love so much (sarcastic) to the tune of about $680 and that's just this pay period!

Anyway, on the positive side, I returned some things to Target today and left without buying anything else. I was walking down the aisle considering a purchase and thought of y'all's blogs and how some of you have written about avoiding temptation and it gave me strength! Smile I didn't need anything, but I do need to use what money I do have wisely.

Have y'all seen the recent Dr. Phil and Oprah episodes on the current economic crisis and what it means to you? They both went through a list of things to do NOW and they both included getting out of credit card debt and living within your means. Those thoughts also ran through my head and helped give me strength. So, yeah, I exercised constraint and feel good about that.

Simple Pleasures

October 6th, 2008 at 09:58 am

We had gotten the Finding Nemo gummy treats for my toddler as a special treat (he's still adjusting to having a new sibling). I was getting ready to recycle the box when I had the idea to cut out the picture of Nemo to laminate and make into a figure for his felt board. Well, he saw the box on my desk (I had tried to hide it!) and started begging for "Meno!" I cut Nemo out of one side (I still have the other side for the felt board!) and my toddler ran away yelling, "Thank you Mom!"

Isn't it great to get such pleasure out of simple things?

Update to "I was way off" Post

October 1st, 2008 at 03:58 pm

Well, my husband brought home his paystub so I can now figure out why my estimate of what his new take home pay would be is so off (I am off by $200/paycheck!).

It looks like it's a combination of my error and his company's error, but mainly mine. I took federal tax withholding into account (we don't have state income tax), I even estimated high for that, but apparently forgot about social security and medicare, or somehow combined the three and really underestimated them. I'm not quite sure how it all happened, but that's that bulk of the mistake. His company also needs to pay us about $25 more per pay period for them to be paying him the new raise. I'm not sure why their accounting is off, but my husband will go and talk to HR tomorrow and find out what's going on. $25 may not sound like much, but with 24 pay periods a year that comes to almost $600 and I want that $600! Smile

So, it's back to the drawing board as to the budget. Well, not really, I really just have to change how much money will be going to debt repayment (that's about $400 LESS a month than expected) and readjust our estimated payoff date...bummer. That's really discouraging. I could stop the Freedom Account we just started in order to have more money per month to put towards debt, but in the end that defeats the purpose of doing any planning since those unexpected expenses would come out of the debt repayment money anyway. No, I'll keep the Freedom Account and at least we will then have more of an accurate payoff date.

So, anyway, that's the long and short of it. I messed up, but at least it's more money that we had coming in before this promotion! That's the bright side. I'll post the new budget and estimated payoff date soon.

Another CafePress Sale!

October 1st, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Yeah! I just made my third CafePress.com sale today. I make $2.00 commission on each item sold so that's $6.00 this week. That pretty much covers my monthly hosting with them so any other sales this month will be profit. I love it!

UPDATE: It's been 3 hours since I first posted this and I just got another email alert that I made another sale! It's a $4.00 commission this time; yeah!