Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Happens When You "Own" Two Jobs

This is what happens.... you become delinquent on every single responsibility and hobby you ever had at home.  This includes your blogs.

I've worked a solid month, December, with only one day off.  Yep.  No kidding.  Today is the 2nd day of my first weekend off since, um, I don't remember.  Sometime in November I guess.  Between the turnpike (weekends only now) and the hospital (weekdays), I have little time to spend on my blogs.

So here's the financial update:
  • Having two jobs allows me to pay my bills - on time.  This is huge after being out of work for the better part of 2 years.
  • I was forced to buy some decent office environment clothes for my new hospital job. I kept my buying to a minimum, not wanting to encourage new debt. 
  • I'm paying off Macy's first - where I got most of my new clothes.  The rest I put on my American Express, which is paid in full every month anyway.
  • I've been tackling my Discover card first, because the interest is the highest there.
My Discover card limit is $6600.  My balance since last spring has hovered just a few hundred dollars below my limit.  Groceries and gas have been charged since I've been out of work.  In December, I paid $200 on my Discover card.  I recently paid $250 for my January payment.  It's not a ton, and it's not going to get my Discover paid off fast, but it's better than making my minimum payment of $124, with $108 going toward interest!!!  I'm hoping to increase each month's payment to Discover.  Paying off Macy's this month, and not using my American Express each month, will allow me to make a bigger payment to Discover starting next month.

I'll keep y'all abreast of my progress with my Discover card.  Remember, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  I have 3 other charge cards to tackle once I get the Discover card paid off.  :-(  I have also reinstated my savings account at my bank.  To date, I have $275 in my "new" savings account.

I would also like to start another savings account at SmartyPig.  This one will be earmarked for the week long country retreat we're sponsoring in June for our kids.  SmartyPig is a pretty cool savings option - check it out when you have a minute.

I don't like working 2 jobs and losing my home life.  But I keep reminding myself that I don't want to be a slave to debt.  At some point, I will have to decide between the two jobs.  Goodness knows I can't work every single day forever without eventually becoming severely depressed.  I'm trying my best to maintain a positive attitude and not snap at the hubby or the dogs.  LOL

My long-term goals are to help the hubby with his debt, once I've gotten mine under better control.  If something catastrophic were to happen to us, we could easily lose the house and the property.  No savings, way too much debt.  Not good at all.

I'd like to use SmartyPig to help me save for some of our rural needs... say, a tractor.  In the future, I'll be using my savings instead of my charge cards to buy what we need.  That's the way our forefathers did it, and it's the way we should do it.  At the same time, I'll keep building my regular savings account at my bank as an emergency fund.

I can't wait til I can get these credit cards paid off and then close the accounts!

I'm determined to get off the debt bandwagon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Official: I Own Two Jobs Now :-\

I got the job at the hospital.  I'll be working a swing shift Monday through Friday - overlapping the day people with my Chargemaster duties and providing registration back-up for the emergency room in the late evening, leaving somewhere between ten and midnight; we'll reassess my hours after a few months have passed. 

I'll need to talk to my turnpike supervisor this weekend and make sure they are willing to work with me on the "weekends only" plan.

As soon as I figure out how I'm going to attack my debt, I'll be back to outline my plan here.  I need to get a few paychecks first to get a feel for what my monthly net is going to be.

I'm determined to stick to this 2-job thingie as long as I can physically and mentally do it.  I'll be coming up with positive, success-driven statements to keep me going. 

Such as...

Let the little things at home GO.  It's not going to be a perfect house and don't even attempt to make it so.

Don't be tempted to buy new things.  Pay off debt.  Stick to the plan.

Remember to be thankful I have the opportunity to have 2 jobs - many people can't even find ONE job.

If I find myself stressing out, becoming depressed, or feeling overwhelmed, request a weekend off from the turnpike.

And I'm sure I'll come up with more idioms, sayings, philosophies, mantras - whatever you want to call them - to keep myself going!

Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Becoming Debt-Free

Let's face it.  Who hasn't wanted to be debt-free?  I know I sure do. 

When I sold my house in Ohio and moved to Kansas, I was real close to being as debt-free as I've ever been.  Then it took me too long to find a job here in Kansas.  After I went through the small amount of capital I had leftover from my Ohio house, and the pittance in my 401k, I began using my credit cards for necessary things, such as gas and groceries.

Big mistake.

Now I'm in debt again.  I work part-time for the Kansas Turnpike.  During the summer, I was scheduled A LOT to work.  Now that the travel season is over, I'm lucky to be scheduled two days a week.  Ouch.  That's not going to work for me.  Not only will it NOT help me get out of debt, it's not even going to cover my monthly car payment or keep my current on my other minimum payments.

As of yesterday, I have the opportunity to gain a full-time job at the hospital where I worked as a temporary employee twice in 2009.  My first interview is tomorrow, and I've got my fingers crossed.  Sure, it's disheartening to think I might have to work 7 days a week for a period of time since my plan is to keep the turnpike job for weekends only.  We'll see how long I can do the 7-day gig before I burn-out.

But I want to grab that chance to save as much money as I can, and work harder than I ever have to climb out of debt.  I'm going to draw up a mantra, a philosophy, so I can push myself to be positive about having a job, heck, having two jobs, that offer a paycheck.

In that vein, I found this new blog today, Enemy of Debt, with lots of good motivational stories of others who have gotten out of debt.  I've only read a few posts, and I'm already motivated. So I wanted to share this blog with my friends here.

If you're already NOT in debt, then good for you.  If you are, then I hope you're inspired as much as I am by Enemy of Debt, and all the links he has to other debt-free philosophy blogs.

Once I get my short- and long-range plans down on paper, I will share them here with you, my readers. I'm going to need a cheering section to help me stay on the debt-free path during my journey!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Re: Negative People

Ok, just a real quick rant before I head off to my lovely place of employment today.


I mean, seriously NASTY, MEAN people?

You know who I mean.  These nasty people get the ultimate joy from saying something mean and nasty to other people.  They couldn't say something nice if their sad life depended on it.

Two nights ago at work, I had two co-workers lash out at me.  My modus operandi in these kinds of situations is to shut up and retreat.  From this point going forward, they won't get the time of day from me.  I will steer clear of their grumpy temperaments in order to preserve my sanity and my smile.

What were these co-workers nasty about, you might like to know?

1) Because I took 1 minute (and not a second more) to feed a stray cat sitting by our door.  Someone else had taken it upon herself to take care of this cat, so I was just helping out.  God forbid I feed a poor animal and keep the nasty fellow employee 1 minute away from finishing her deposit and getting home.  From that point forward, she couldn't stop saying negative things such as "I wish one of the troopers would just shoot that stupid cat."

Which could lead me to my next rant of WHY IS THE WORLD IN A RACE TO GET SOMEWHERE??  Where is everyone going?  Did I miss out on the memo???  I even volunteered to finish counting out the other employees' deposits so said nasty employee could hurry up and go home, but regretfully she was nasty even further and stayed to help with deposits.  Ugh.  It's obvious to me she loves to complain about everything and anything.

Slow down and savor life I say.  Quit being in a hurry.  If half the people analyzed why they are in a hurry, I guarantee most of the time they would find there is no justified reason.

2) The second nasty is harder to explain in written text, but suffice it to say that another employee didn't count out my deposit correctly and being it's MY deposit, I questioned her.  What was I thinking, to actually question her?  Duh.  So, lash out at Susan #2.

Gee, I can't wait to go to work today.  I really hate to say this, but at least 1/3 of said employees are what I might term "losers".  They go to work and try to get by on the very least they can do in a shift.

Not my work ethic at all.  I bust my butt and do as much as I can, and I'm as friendly as I can possibly be ... within reason, of course, pending the other nasty people out there, LOL.

Ok, there's my rant for the day.  I guess I'm being rather negative myself, huh?  :-0

I really need to hit that lottery so I can avoid said nasty people.  Well, at least so I don't have to WORK with them.

What about you?  Any nasty people jump to the front of your mind?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How This New Blog Came to Be

(Warning: I'm very wordy, so you might want to grab a beverage and snack!)

Suz and I started a series of emails a couple of weeks ago that led to the beginnings of this new blog. You know how it is, she commented on one of my posts, I commented on her comment and made a remark about not having any money, she wrote back that she didn't either, and pretty soon we were carrying on a conversation about LIFE. Not just life, but about how sometimes it sucks, how we never talk about THAT on our blogs, and how nice it would be to just zing off a post on those days when, whether because of a leak in the radiator, an argument with hubby, no money for groceries, or just because, and we have no one to talk to (because, well, some of us just don't have anyone to talk to). Things we might not necessarily want our regular readers (who might include parents, kids or friends) to see or know about.

We talked a lot, in those emails, about how we're barely getting by, and yet we never write about it because nobody else does either, and we want our blogs to be happy places. After throwing the ball back and forth for awhile about starting a new blog where we could rant about things we don't talk about on our regular blogs, I wrote an email about my rant always being about finances, and that is now going to be the topic of my first post here.

My story is that we are suffering financially, frighteningly so. That's the story for a lot of people, but there are so many different takes on the same story of not having enough money. Are you only suffering because you don't have enough money to go on vacation this year, or are you on the brink of bankruptcy or foreclosure? Are you cutting coupons to save a few pennies, or are you secretly going to a food bank? Are you a two-income blue collar family who's still barely getting by, or are you an upper-class family where both partners lost their job and you've plummeted to lower middle class? Are you a single mother who has always been on the edge and suffer anxiety attacks daily? Or are you a single income family where one partner isn't working for health issues or to raise kids?

I think there's a lot of shame in not having 'enough money', like we're not 'good enough' to generate it. And also a lot of confusion about what to do about it since a person can only work so many jobs, assuming they can find one. And how many of you 'hide' some of the family's finanacial details from your spouse, so that you don't have to listen to their pain or frustration or anger? Or are you robbing peter to pay paul on a regular basis, hoping that tomorrow - tomorrow, surely - things will get back on track?

I can only speak for myself, but we used credit cards for many years to keep ourselves in what I guess would be a comfortable lower middle class. Not for lavish vacations, no bells and whistles, just to pay those vet bills, go to an out-of-town funeral, the go to emergency card for gas or groceries when cash in hand was depleted. We've always owned a house, but relatively small and definitely nothing fancy. No iPhones, but a cell phone. Not premium cable, but cable nonetheless. But those credit card purchases piled up (hmm, there's that hospital bill because we didn't have insurance when David had his heart issue), those vet bills were enormous (Eva Jean alone was a couple thousand dollars to find out about her inflammatory bowel disease, and there was Toby's congestive heart, and Annabelle's Cushings Disease...), and eventually, we had to file for bankruptcy in 2008 when the bottom fell out of our economy and my husband's 35 year construction career as an expert trim carpenter went right down the toilet (plus, at sixty years old, he was no longer physically able to withstand the toll it was taking on his body).

Well, the point being, we dug ourselves in with nobody pushing us (except the credit card companies!). WE LIVED BEYOND OUR MEANS, though never lavishly or excessively (I always have to point that out), no doubt about it. And a lot of us did, and then the walls came tumbling down. After our bankruptcy, we thought we had learned our lesson. No more debt, no more credit cards. Spend only the money you have. A new beginning, a fresh start. Sounded good and we were hopeful...

until there were no jobs to be found. We now have an income, but it's not enough to keep up. No matter how much I scrimp, we can.not.catch.up. We're behind on taxes because we have to pay self-employment taxes, and I have to decide each month do I take out quarterly taxes or pay the electric and water bills. We're going into August still not having paid July's house payment. The dogs all need heartworm preventative and vet visits. It's time for my thyroid test (oh, did I mention we don't have health insurance?).

I came to the realization the other day that WE WILL NEVER CATCH UP. Seriously. We're in our sixties. Our income, though it will hopefully become more regular when our economy straightens up, will never be enough to catch up. The back taxes, though we're paying on an installment agreement, will never be paid AND still be able to pay current taxes. The house payment, while relatively low compared to some at $875 a month, will be waaay too much for an elderly couple with no 'retirement savings' in ten years! So. What do we do? Move from a clean little ten year old house (assuming we could even sell it) in a little suburban neighborhood to ...what ? It's incredibly frustrating and scarey. For right now we're robbing peter to pay paul and hoping hoping hoping something good happens. But the frustration is there. And the godawful pain in the gut fear.

I, for one, would be interested in hearing YOUR financial life stories. I know some of the blogs I read have nice houses with nice things and take lots of vacations...are they hurting at all, or have they just not maxed out their credit cards, or are they just incredibly lucky? Are others in our position, broke and in danger of losing the house with another bad month or two? What do you do with your fears?

If you would like to share your story, either as a comment here or on your own post as a guest blogger, then speak up, please! You can comment anonymously if you want, on this topic or any other that comes to mind. If you want to do a post of your own, long or short, one you'd never think of posting at your own blog, about your financial story or anything else that frustrates you, just let Suz know and we can make you a guest or a team member, and can even do that anonymously by doing a copy/paste of a post for you (we are pleased to present a post by our Anonymous Guest Blogger!).

Here's the thing. One morning you wake up and things just go wrong, maybe seriously wrong, maybe trivially wrong. Maybe it's been a long time coming, maybe it's a sudden occurence, maybe you're just pissed at life, maybe you're just frustrated. You want to talk about it with someone, but you don't want anyone to know how wierd you are or what bad shape you're in, or you are one of those people who simply has no friends or family close enough to talk to. You can come here. You can say whatever you want. Anonymously or not. We don't have to be able to help you or comfort you, but we can listen. And isn't that something we all want, someone to listen to us, no matter how much sense we may be making? No judgements, no criticisms, no analysis, just a good ear. And maybe you'll find out that YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE! Maybe what you're feeling or experiencing is more common than you realize!

Well, we're a work in progress and haven't thought the whole concept out or worked on any kinks. But we'll welcome you joining us on this project. I know there are similar places out there where you are invited to get it off your chest, but this can be your place, and ours.

And as for my financial story...I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more about that, as it is definitely a work in progress!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fantasy Friday

I'm tired today.  

After working late last night, the dogs woke me early this morning... I helped the hubby load up the truck with a haul for Goodwill, and we ran other various errands while we were out and about... the Verizon store to get a new cell phone for him since he lost his earlier this week, then to Walmart for a few things, then to Braum's for some milk and lunch, and a final stop at the liquor store for hubby's beer.

I did dishes and cleaned up the kitchen after he left for work.  Made him a salad using some of my leftover chicken from lunch, so he has something to eat when he gets home after midnight.  Filled out the rebate for his phone and got it ready to mail. Created our MyVerizon account online and updated our MyCircle friends.

Then, after a few emails with my sister in California, I decided to sit back and fantasize a little bit by reading my latest issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine.

Truly, this is fantasizing at its height.  To model my life after MaryJane Butters would be far, far sweeter than being a Martha Stewart clone, who I never cared for anyway.
If you've never heard of MaryJane, then you really need to take a look at her empire.  Yep, she's got an empire.  Lucky farmgal that one.  

I'm officially jealous.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Death Rattle Of A Marriage...

In the past did marriages last longer out of love or out of not having a choice?  Did they last longer because we were taught you made your bed so lay in it?  Was the past a more romantic time or just a time of acceptance?

After thirty-eight years, I wonder if my marriage has entered its final chapter.  I try to see when it began to end and can not put my finger on the exact moment or even get close.  It was gradual and no one event caused this illness.

Once we could not stay away from each other, now we can hardly stay in the same room.  Once we talked for hours, now we hardly talk at all.  Once we use to hang on to each others words as if we could taste the sweetness of them.  Now the bitterness shows on his face, my words are of no importance and my presence is not desired.

I shall not say it was his fault or mine.  There is no one fault here.  I only know I can not bear to see the hate in his face any longer. 

I check the pulse of my marriage like a paramedic automatically checks a decapitated corpse for life.  There is but a thread of love's heart I pull the sheet over the face of this or do I try CPR one more time?