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Still going…..

I wish i could tell you that we are debt free and pursuing our next goals. But…… we’re not. If we had been able to stick with the debt management program, our last payment would be in a few weeks. Unfortunately, we had to drop out of the program last winter because we just couldn’t come up with the moo-lah anymore. We have been making the payments still, but much smaller.

The good news is this: we are current on all of our regular bills. The exception is a handful of medical bills. They have all been sent to collections companies eons ago, so the damage is done. The plan is to build up a comfortable emergency net in savings and then tackle them one at a time.

I’ve recently decided to alter my strategy. I had been aggressively paying down our credit card debt using the snowball method. In 2 weeks, another card will be paid off and we will only have 3 cards left. (We started with 14!) The minimum payments total $320 for all 3 cards. Instead of snowballing the next card in line, I’ve decided to take the “extra” cash and put it in my ING Direct savings account. I know, I know. I’m not giving up. I’ve decided that it would be better to build up our emergency coffers for the remainder of the year.

Being a type A personality, i fret over the unknown. Even though we have some savings, a larger cushion would help me sleep better at night. We only have 1 month’s worth of expenses in savings. If we need to dip into savings between lawn and snow seasons, it’s all gone. Not cool. And since it will be quite a while until the next card will get paid off, i’ve decided to take a break for a while. We’ve paid of 5 cards this summer. That freed up over $250 in monthly payments to snowball with. The remaining balances on the 3 cards are large enough that adding $250 to the payment won’t reduce the minimum payment significantly. I’d rather have $750 in savings than a $25 lower minimum payment. I’m sure the personal finance gurus are foaming at the mouth, but right now it feels like the right decision.

ugh………

Getting out of debt sucks.

It definitely does not happen overnight. So easy to lose momentum…

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Verrrrrry Productive Weekend

Last week I did some investigating on ideas to organize mail and clutter. Also ran across some articles debating “cleaning” vs. “organinzing”. This really got me thinking. All these years I thought i was organized. Turns out that was only half true. I didn’t truly have a system in place to deal with incoming mail, receipts, unpaid bills, etc. It all went into a pile on the counter and once or twice a week went with the laundry upstairs where it joined another existing pile. Then once in a while it would get sorted through and paid/entered/filed.

So, ladies and gentleman, let me tell you about my new system! I was pumped after i received my new basket in the mail on Friday afternoon. I immediately put in my folders labeled: Bills due by the 15th; Bills due by the 30th; Bills due (for those bills i’m not sure when they can get paid); Reciepts; To File; To Enter/To Do. It looked great! But only took up a small portion of the basket.

I decided it would look best and be the most functional on the catch-all counter. *Admit it, you have one in your house too!* Our catch all counter is about 4 feet long and this is where we (previously) piled mail & papers, charged the phone, stored the cookbooks, charger for my MFR radio, charger for the cordless landline phone, kleenex box, etc. Quite the smorgasbord of stuff.

Then, on the main counter under the phone with the answering machine is where i kept the message pad. On the wall under the phone was a wood mailslot box type thing. In that i kept deposit slips, stamps, pens, letter opener, customer phone list. 

Then i had a brain fart. I can put all that stuff in my new basket! So now everything is in ONE place. When it’s time to pay bills or create invoices or work on anything financially, i can just grab the basket and head to the computer. Now I can pay bills every other week without worrying about being late. I send invoices to our customers every other week in the winter, so that information can just accumulate until I’m ready to work. It’s perfect!!! 🙂

So far, it seems to be working perfectly. I bring in the mail, toss the garbage, and sort into the proper folder. No more piles. And i know where to find it when i’m ready to deal with it. My counters are less cluttered alogether and I took down the ridiculous mailslot thingy. Cookbooks that didn’t fit on the shelves went into the cupboard. A nice plant is hiding cords to chargers. I also installed the under-the-counter radio/TV i got for Christmas. Except for a fresh paint job, my kitchen is nearly perfect!

Sunday I spent the day in the ER on my clinical rotation. It was….. not what i expected. I was really looking forward to it. It wasn’t horrible, but it’s definatly not in my career path anymore. The nurses and doctor were very unfriendly. The triage staff were grumpy. I was made to feel like i was in everybody’s way and unwelcome.

I guess I was expecting a tour of how the system works from admitting the patient, to triage, to the actual care of the patient based on their chief complaint and assessment findings. Since I’m an EMT student, I anticipated them explaining how the hospital works and what I can do in the field to make their job easier or better for the patient.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I got there about 7:30 am and there was only one patient, so it’s not as though they were busy. All the nurses huddled together and complained about how overworked they were. The doctor – I have no idea where she was half the day. The triage crew were the best. Grumpy, but asking me to help them and explaining what I could do to help. Any time I tried to ask questions, I was either ignored or was given an answer – with attitude. There was one lady there who sat at a desk the whole time. Her scrubs were a different color, so i asked her what her job was. She said “everything” (with flair), and turned to the nurses to bitch about discuss the schedule for the day. I still have no idea what her title is or what her job is.

An ER tech arrived at about 3:00 and he was very nice. He explained to me what his job is, what is required to get the job, and the salary range (which is not very much). The nurses treated him like crap too. But, he was very upbeat and genuinely enjoyed his job. My rotation was over at promptly 4:00 when the next student arrived. Apparently 2 students at once is especially frowned upon.

ugh. Next clinical i will try at another hospital. Maybe it was just a bad experience.

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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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much ado about nothing

Wow. So much has happened in the past few weeks, i hardly know where to begin.

With the good stuff, of course. Hubby and i went to a family wedding in Tennessee last weekend. At the last minute, okay two days before, hubby decided to make a vacation out of it. Seriously?! Hooray! I desperately needed a vacation, but didn’t really want to pony up the cash. Don’t worry about it, he says. We NEVER go on vacation. We’ll figure it out. So off we went.

We went to Myrtle Beach for 2 days before heading to Tennessee. We did some internet homework late Wednesday night and found some great deals on hotels and left late late Friday night. Myrtle Beach was awesome – but HOT. We went parasailing! Something i’ve never done before but always thought looked like a blast. And it was!

Tennessee was still hot, but a beautiful wedding. I really really love the south. The people are so friendly and the landscape is just so beautiful. Everything seems just a little bit slower, more relaxed. I would move there in a heartbeat – if i could move my house and family with me. And set up the same way. Hubby’s parents across the street and grandparents next door. My parents and brothers would all need to be there too.

The church was beautiful. Huge. The people there – awesome. Wish we had a church like that back home. The ceremony was the most beautiful and touching i’ve ever seen.

Then, we came home and i went back to work. Not. Fun. Apparently, shit hit the fan while i was gone. Everything went crazy. Suppliers shut us off, customer rejected parts (like 5,000 of them) due to quality issues that, crazy, go back to February. Suppliers raised their prices on petroleum based products (ie: vinyl, plastic) which is pretty much everything we buy. Oy. Why didn’t i just stay in the mountains and live in a cave?

Oh, and my goals? Not so much. Pretty much back at square one. No ovulation this month. No lottery winfall. No raise. No bonus. No new and exciting (and profitable) opportunity knocking at my door. No budge on the scale. No good.

Back to the drawing board…

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Worth Something

Ever have one of those days where you just feel like a big old dirty floor mat? Ya, me too. Lately it seems like everywhere i go, i get run over.

At work, i’m seriously underpaid. I know, i know. Everyone feels that way. But seriously, i am making 12k less than i should be. That’s a pretty big chunk. Especially when they hire new people to work at or below me for the salary i should be making. WTF? How can a new person that.i.have.to.train make 12k more than me? Here’s my sign…

At home, everybody wants me to be their slave. And i don’t even have kids! Seriously, we live here together, don’t leave me a chore list. i know what needs to be done. and after i’m done working at my 2.5 jobs everyday? i’m tired. leave me alone. Even my mother gets upset with me whenever i don’t jump up and do her a favor. And she doesn’t even live here. Nor does she have any kind of outside employment. I need a vacation…

Something needs to change. Either a new job, or a new industry, or a new attitude. Something’s gotta give.

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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!?!!?!!?