In Between

So the good news is this should, potentially, be a good winter for making money.

The bad news is: It hasn’t snowed yet.

And we’re out of money.

My cell phone has been “restricted” until I pay the bill. Luckily, this week I get my paycheck early due to the holiday and can pay the bill. Unfortunately, I was hoping to using my entire check for groceries and Christmas shopping on Black Friday.

Not gonna have much money for shopping this year.

To add to the stress, I’ve recently been promoted to the Assistant EMS Coordinator position at the Fire Dept. Cool, right? The EMS Coordinator called me this morning and needs to move up her maternity leave – to now. So, until she comes back after having the baby, I’m in charge. yikes.

And i’m still on-call 24-40 hours a week. I’m at home though, so that doesn’t stress me out.

And i’m half-way through my EMT class. 2 nights a week/4 hours a night. Homework due and quiz every class.

And work has picked up a ton of work, so i’m working super full time.

My cup runneth over and is empty all at once. Life is good~!

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Looking Ahead

Hubby is in the lawn maintenance/snow plowing business. He started in high school and has steadily built up the business over the past decade or so. Overall, he’s been pretty successful. There have been some rough patches, of course, but he’s never given up the dream.

Until last year, he had a business partner for the snow end of the business. There just was not enough capital or manpower for him to go it alone. That business was pretty successful and they purchased a lot of equipment. Last year they split and split the equipment. It was the first winter hubby was on his own and did fairly well. We weren’t able to knock out any debt, but we maintained.

This year, he’s been aggressively knocking on doors and wearing the buttons off his phone. Literally. He had to replace his cell phone because the little ball thing kept falling out.

So, far it seems that his efforts will pay off. Well, eventually.

With the contracts he has secured for this season, i calculated the estimated sales based on last year’s number of plowable events. It’s slightly more than double last years sales.

*blink*   *blink*

I double checked the numbers and re-calculated. Yup, no mathmatical errors.

Whoa.

I do believe we are going to have a fabulous winter. This also means we will have additional expenses, but we can creatively get through that.

Let it snow!

Let it snow!

Let it snow!  🙂

Getting a Grip

What a productive weekend!

The bank that handles our mortgage sent us a letter a week or so ago stating that we may qualify for a loan modification. They were hosting an event as a chance to meet with an advisor face to face and discuss possible options based on your situation.

I was on shift (it’s volunteer, can be at home but can’t leave the township) most of the weekend starting Friday after work. What an awesome opportunity to sit down at the computer and really put some numbers together.

I started Friday night. I woke up early Saturday morning and continued working on it. Gathering pay stubs and tax returns was the easy part. They provided a worksheet to list income/expenses. Easy enough right? Well, since hubby is self employed, the numbers get a little fuzzy. I’ve always had a “budget” worksheet based on historical estimates – that I look at ALL the time. But it was several years old and I decided to go through it line by line. I spent hours going through bank statements, utility bills, receipts, automatic payments.

By mid afternoon, I was ready to look. The results were amazing.

Just as I already knew, we were spending exactly what we brought in each month. On just the basics. I was blown away by the numbers. That I thought I already had a good grip on. There is zero room for error. Or haircuts, or new tires, or Christmas presents… but I digress.

This wealth of information helped me accuratly fill out the bank’s worksheet. But I didn’t stop there. I researched some of the options they offered. The Making Home Affordable program seems to be the best option. After some reading, i discovered that one of the criteria is if your current loan, taxes, and insurance are more than 31% of your income. Hmmmm… Crunch some numbers on the ol’ calculator. Whoa. We are at 39%. Looks like we might have a real chance to be approved!

I gathered up all my paperwork, grabbed my letter, and headed out the door for the 1.5 hour trip. Not gonna lie, I was nervous and prayed the whole way there.

The representative I met with was very nice and we discussed additional paperwork I would have to provide. That kind of annoyed me. Why didn’t they ask for it in their letter? Oy. Anyway, we got all done and I took a leap of faith. I spilled my guts. I figured it could only go one of 2 ways. Either she would politely nod while trying to pretend to listen to yet another pitiful sob story trying not to stab her eyes out with her pen, or she would offer some good advice.

Miracle of all miracles. She listened. And then she shared her story. God was on my team that day. We chatted for probably a half hour swapping stories of unemployment and the dreadful economy. At the end, she offered kind words of encouragement and i left. Feeling a little lighter, feeling hopeful.

When I got home, i filled hubby in of all the details. Then I got back to work. Digging out yet more paperwork, more paystubs, more tax returns.

Then I pulled up my spreadsheet and got to work on a projection for next year. If we stay on course, several credit cards will be paid off by next October. The dump truck will be paid off in November. We were able to reduce the cell phone/internet bill by $60/month, and the cable was downgraded recently saving us $30/month. The commercial vehicle insurance rates are actually lower starting last month.  The forecast looks really promising. It’s just getting from here to there that makes me nervous.

Please don’t grab a shovel…

I gotta tell ya, the view from Rock Bottom is amazing. I’d send ya a postcard, but i’m hoping we aren’t here long. No need to take pictures, the images are permanently engraved in my mind. This is a destination i never ever would have ever imagined being in some day.

We’ve arrived.

I hope our stay is brief. I’ve already mentioned that our gas and power are back on. Sneaking into the fire hall after midnight to shower and use the toilet is humiliating, mortifying, and downright depressing. We had to do it 3 days in a row. Luckily, nobody saw us and no calls came in.

I checked the bank this morning, and the mortgage payment went thru again. But, since hubby paid the gas and electric to get service back on, we are $400 short to cover it. Hubby is expecting to get paid for some work he did, so here’s praying its at least $400 worth…

My hours have picked back up at work and i am back to full time. yay! The bad news is that I have only been working 24 hour weeks most of the year and so now we are behind again on the credit cards. Working full time again is definitely helping, but as you already know, we are waaaaaay behind on alllll the bills.

Unfortunately, unless a miracle happens, it looks like we are going to have to drop out of the credit counseling program. We have 10 months left. So close. And because we can’t afford to even pay the minimum balance on all of the cards, welcome back late fees and 30% APR’s.

Hubby’s sales revenue has taken a hit as it has been a drier than usual summer. On top of that, some customers have taken longer than usual to pay, or have stopped paying altogether – including our largest customer.

Satan, errr i mean the mortgage company, is offering a face-to-face tomorrow to meet with a rep and discuss modification options. We’ve already been turned down for a mod, but I’m willing to go and try to see what other options are available, if any. At least it will show them we’re trying.

On the bright side, I have decided to pursue my EMT license. The township will fully reimburse me once i have passed the national test and have my license in hand. Paying upfront sucks, but it’s truly and investment since I can pick up some night/weekend shifts for area ambulance companies once I get my license. And since I’m already an MFR, the class is a breeze and my instructors love me. Here’s to hoping it could lead to a job offer…

And saving the best for last, I have just been promoted to Assistant EMS Coordinator for our department. The EMS Coordinator is pregnant and due mid-December, so I will have my hands full pretty soon. Looking forward to it! This is a paying position, which i did not know when i applied. Yup. $45/month. Every little bit helps, right? This stipend plus my average number of runs per month adds about $150/month to the family coffers.

Can someone toss me a rope please?

Rock Bottom?

Attention passengers and crew; this is your captain speaking. We are in our final descent to our destination Rock Bottom. Please remain seated and leave your pride in the overhead compartment, you won’t recognize it when we do finally land. You may pick up your shovels in the baggage claim area. Enjoy your stay here, although I hope’s it’s brief. Thank you for flying American Recession. Please empty what little is left in your pockets as you disembark. Good day.

Yup. We’re here.

So the gas was shut off on Monday and the power was shut off yesterday.  The mortgage payment bounced and the banks are closed today. My vehicle is experiencing electrical problems and the license plate tags are expired on all the trucks. Health insurance premiums will be increased 18% starting Jan. 1. Christmas is approaching fast. Okay, so that’s the bad news. Is there any good news?

The good news is hubby handled the disconnects with the utility companies. Power and gas are both on as of today. He announced he will now be handling the bills. Hallelujah! It really really really sucks to go to bed in the dark and freezing cold, but if it means hubby will finally get on the financial train than it was worth it.

So much more to tell. Tomorrow.