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Are we there yet?

This update is long overdue, but here goes…

Jan 2011 – July 2011

  • CC1:   14,350        13,250   
  • CC2:   6,325             5,800
  • CC3:   1,025                 950
  • CC4:   4,910             4,650
  • CC5:   390                          0
  • CC6:   485                          0
  • CC7:   515                          0
  • CC8:   520                       90
  • CC9:   5,225              5,225
  • CC10:   4,150           3,650
  • Total CC’s:   37,895          33,615
  • Family: 10,000                  7,000

So, drumroll please……….. we’ve paid off $7,280 since the beginning of the year! Get out of the way, HUGE snowball rolling downhill! LOVE seeing those ZERO balances!

Thanks to landing some nice contracts and a snowier than usual winter, we have been able to knock down a large chunk of debt. We are also CURRENT on all of our monthly bills, including the mortgage. A small emergency fund is in place for both personal bills and business bills. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…… What a wonderful feeling.

The physical aspects of unloading such a burden are positive as well. I’ve been able to shed 15 lbs since March. My periods (I know, TMI) are pretty regular now. I LAUGH again. I have friends again. I have a good time whenever we go out with friends/family.

Work has improved for me as well. I’m back up to 40 hrs/week plus a $1.25/hr raise. That really helps get caught up. I’ve been throwing extra money each month at the vehicle payments trying to pay them off sooner.

Did I mention we took a VACATION in march? It was hubby’s idea. Surprise of all surprises. Of course, i wanted to pay off as much debt as possible, and maybe stash some aside for the inevitable unexpected expenses. Hubby convinced me that we NEEDED a vacation. It had been more than 5 yrs since we spent any money on ourselves, and we needed to enjoy the fruits of our labor and not be miserly. It took several days to sink in, but he was right. As long as we didn’t accrue any additional debt, and were still able to keep on pace with paying down our debts we needed to spend our money in a positive way and see money as a good thing, and not as evil incarnate. Besides, our 10th anniversary was coming up and he thought we should do something more special than spend a weekend a few hours from home in a so-so hotel in some lame town, arguing about what to do.

So we went on a cruise. Neither one of us had ever been on one before. He found a great deal through his parent’s travel agent. We spent 5 days in the caribbean. It was awesome. We had a BLAST. In fact, we had so much fun, that we decided to work extra hard and save money and do it again next spring. Who would have ever thought? That $1500 splurge allowed us to really RELAX and re-align our senses. It was good for our marriage. Honestly, i didn’t know what to expect. I worried that it could go the other way. It was a good deal, but still a lot of money in what -i felt- was still a fragile personal economy and we hadn’t spent that much time alone together since we’d been married. It paid off ten-fold. He’s still telling everyone what a great time he had and recommending them to go.

So, are we there yet? Have we made enough progress to call it a victory? I mean, everybody has bills, right? Just 6 months ago, my only financial goal was to be able to pay the bills on time every month. We’ve accomplished that. And it feels great. But, it only seems natural to set the bar a little higher.

Discretionary income. It’s one thing to be able to pay your bills, it’s another to MAKE CHOICES on how you spend the money left over when the bills are paid. That concept terrifies me. What if something happens and I need that money later? Was a trip to the movies this weekend really worth it if the electric is in danger of getting shut off again in 6 months? What if an appliance suddenly dies and my small e-fund is wiped out? And then another appliance dies, or the car needs to be repaired? I never thought about these things before because i just couldn’t. I was strictly in survival mode. Food, shelter, clothing. Now that those needs have been met, there’s a whole new set of things to worry about.

So, are we there yet? Or when are we really “there”?

 

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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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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?

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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.

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Shutdown

It’s official. We will be having a summer shutdown afterall. The question is for how long: 2 weeks or 4? The OEM we ship to recently announced that they will be having an extended shutdown for 4 weeks this summer due to stagnant auto sales. Okay, that’s cool, right? Not so much. This equates to 4 weeks of no sales for us. Not good. We were already starting to experience some cash flow issues with launch. Now is when things are really going to start getting interesting. The owner has already made it very clear that he will not infuse or loan any cash to get us through the stretch between launch and receiving payments from our customers. So basically we’ve been surviving on accounts payable. Good thing i’ve done such a great job establishing a good credit record for this company. Now i get to watch all that hard work smash to pieces as i’m sure we will be on COD with a majority of our suppliers by the end of summer due to the payments that are not yet late but surely will be. And the credit rating that i’ve worked so hard to revive over the past 3 years? poof. gone.

Maybe automotive isn’t for me…

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What to do?

Things are getting pretty tense at work. We have recently been awarded several big jobs that start in a few weeks. That’s great news right? Well, somehow, the powers that be seem to have forgotton one very important thing. Although these jobs will bring in some big cash, we need to buy tooling, materials, and labor now. I’ve been doing projections since we’ve been awarded these jobs and showing a gaping black hole for a few months until the cash starts coming in and the payables level out. Apparently either nobody has looked at them or hasn’t cared.

This makes me really mad. Now i’m the one left wringing wet, sweating it out how we’re going to make payroll each week and balancing the demands from our vendors. Who will really stop shipping if we’re past due? Who won’t bother us for a while? What materials can we do without for now? Where else can we buy the same thing? ARG!!! And what really sucks? I’m the lowest paid, highest seniority of the upper management echelon.

Maybe it’s just time to move on. I hate to say that because i really love my job. I like what i do (other than recently), i love the people i work with, i love the drive (7 miles, who can beat that?!). I DON’T like my paycheck, and i DON’T like feeling like the only one who cares around here. So, i don’t know. In the long run, do the pros really outweigh the cons? I don’t have retirement befefits or dental insurance, but at least i have health insurance for my husband and myself. Can i really do better? It’s an awful scary thing to find a new job.

 

 

What to do? What to do!?!!?!!?