Friday, November 11, 2011

Where Are We Going? Who Cares, Let's Dance!

I didn't find a work study position.  But that's ok.  I got things worked out with the financial aid office.  Right now, I'm just focused on getting through this semester.  It is rather chaotic.  Doing 18 credit hours worth of work, two intensive writing courses, two astronomy classes (I'm not that great at science)... plus I'm trying to figure out an internship for next semester.

Travis and I have been having a mini-identity crisis.  We have no idea what we are going to do with our lives.  Choosing a career is such a HUGE decision.  It isn't something to just take lightly.  After having some disappointment with Trav's job, he's made the decision to go to college.  We are going to be sticking around Bloomington just a little longer.  He's been fancying a nationally recognized program at Indiana University.  I think it fits him perfectly.  I think... wait, I know he will be happy in this field.  He is interested in two majors.  I don't think he can double major - but the majors are so similar, a lot of the courses can be counted for both.  So until he finds his niche, he won't be sacrificing years at college if he chooses to do one major over the other.  The majors are a B.S. in Park & Recreation Management and a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management.  Getting set up for next year is actually on Trav's To-Do List for today!  This will be exciting!  

What am I going to do?  Well I have no idea.  I won't lie.  Not long ago, I attended a networking night on campus.  I met a gentleman from a local publishing company.  It is a fast growing publishing company!  As I talked with him, the company sounded better and better.  It literally fit everything I desire in a career.  I asked the gentleman about internships.  He responded saying that the company does not believe in un-paid internships.  That sounds amazing, right?  Well, due to budgeting, they do not have room currently for interns.  I was crushed.  I need an internship to graduate next semester.  I am really looking to intern for a company where I could be hired on full-time.  This publishing company has multiple job openings.  The hours are a typical 8-5 shift, but starting and ending times can vary once in a while.  Even though they are not hiring interns, they are hiring full-time positions.  What would be the harm in applying now anyways?  I have really no commitments next semester.  

The problem:  I still need 20 hours a week in an internship (Rabble Rabble).  So, I did a lot of research these past few days.  I have a strong interest for genealogy.  I've been exposed to genealogy since I was a wee-little thing.  I have a passion for research.  I contemplated going to graduate school, but I am afraid I will over-qualify myself for the careers that I want.  I really feel like my only desire to continue to graduate school is my love for writing and research.  Well... if I apply for a position with a publishing company - I satisfy my writing passion.  Where could I get the research?  Genealogy!  I looked online for the genealogical library here in Bloomington.  They hire interns and are in need for volunteers all the time!  They have flexible scheduling, because they expect that majority of interns and volunteers work during the day!  Why, this is perfect!  They are not open on Sunday or Monday, but they are open on Fridays and Saturdays.  I could dedicate a lot of hours on Fridays and Saturdays (when they need people most) to an internship!  I could work in Event Planning or the Genealogical Library.  I really like this idea!

So today, I am meeting with the career center on campus.  I have so many questions to ask.  I'd also like them to review my resume and help me with cover letters.  I have such a difficult time selling myself.  Maybe it's because of a lack of direction and/or self-confidence and fear of rejection.  I don't know.  But I always blow it on interviews.  I practice with family and friends - and I do great practicing interviews.  Yet, the moment arises to hand over my resume and tell the possible employer about myself, and I fumble.  More than likely, I'm going to need another appointment with the career advisor.  But I'm super excited to at least talk to someone today about my career objectives.  We'll see how it goes.

Oh yeah!  I haven't updated the stats, but we paid off another medical bill!!  YAY!  And we have more money in our emergency fund!  We still have a ways to go, but we're getting closer!  

Happy dance! 

happy dance+animation pics on Sodahead

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

365 Day Picture Challenge

I came up with an awesome idea yesterday.  I know this isn't relevant to this particular blog... but maybe it is.  I've always wanted to do a 365 Day Picture Challenge.  I'm debating to start this challenge either on my birthday (November 2), or to start this challenge when I graduate in May 2012.  I think it would be cool either way.  So who knows, maybe I'll start this little hobby on my birthday.  Maybe I'll start it as the first year after graduation.  But I feel like if I started it while I'm in my senior year, I'll be able to watch a transformation.

Stage 1: the last semester in classes and on campus.
Stage 2:  the internship.
Stage 3: life after graduation.

To me, that sounds like more fun.  So once November hits, look for a post with a link to my 365 Day Picture Challenge blog.  And I promise, I'll update it daily. :P

Opportunities, but What Path Should I Take?

Well, I have put out my resumes for work study positions.  I have to have a work study set by September 30th!  YIKES!  I'm just waiting to hear back from these people.  As of yesterday, the IDS school newspaper and student media has scheduled an orientation for me:  Thursday, September 22nd at 7 PM.  This should be fun!  It's definitely ideal, since afterall, I'll get to play around with many more interactive programs for the internet and come up with fun blog and website ideas.  I know I'll like it.

However, I had my heart set on a work study position at this theater here in town.  It is a historic theater, and the work study positions were as assistants in public relations and marketing.  It is totally up my alley.  I would love this.  But they haven't e-mailed me or called me back all week.  I'm bummed.  But who knows, maybe they'll ask for me to join their crew later?  This ideal situation has me thinking....

I will not turn away this position with the IDS school newspaper and student media.  As a matter of fact, it is a paying job.  But they work with the university, so I can do my work study there.  AWESOME!  But what if... what if the theater calls me up and says that they want to hire me as their work study assistant?  I don't know if I could switch work study jobs.... My ideal situation would be to set up the IDS as a work study position.  Then IF the theater hires me, I'd like to switch my work study position to the theater (because they only hire work-study), and take the IDS as a part time job.  If I did that... I would have to quit my job at Five Guys.

I won't lie.  Quitting Five Guys sounds awesome because the work is just not my cup of tea.  I needed a job.  I got the job.  I established great relationships there.  I haven't worked there long, but I really like the crew (some of them) and my bosses.  One of my bosses is one of my references.  I would hate to lose a good reference by being a short-term employee.  I've been there for about a month and a half.  To put my 2 weeks notice in (IF I get the theater job) now... I feel like I'm cheating on them!  Why?!  I have no idea.  But there is no way I could do 18 credit hours in school and work 3 jobs.  No. Way.  Besides, the IDS position and the theater are in my field of studies.... Five Guys is not.

So, I am kind of worried.  I would hate to let everyone at Five Guys down.  I'd hate to leave them.  But I will have to if these opportunities present themselves.  And, I'm worried about what that will do to my references....  Also, there is an incentive to stay.... a chance at $1000 (which is highly likely due to our scores) at the end of the quarter.  An extra $1000 on my last paycheck there would be super nice.

Other than that, we're still kickin' it.  We've got all the bills caught up.  We're doing alright.  I'm a little bit behind on my school work.  I'm going to get serious about catching up this weekend.  Luckily, nothing is going on this weekend that will prevent me from spending a lot of time reading.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Everyone Wants Paid... Except Me?

I am really frustrated with my previous job at the moment.  I have a $300-$400 check that was mailed to the wrong address.  I have went in personally to speak with the supervisors about my check, and the gentleman took my name, my correct address, and my phone number.  He told me that he would "take care of it."  A week went by, and I still hadn't received it.  So I called, only to be directed to voicemail.  I left a detailed message, explaining my paycheck was mailed to the wrong address and I would like to know the status of my paycheck.  I did not get a call back.

Here it is, one month later, and I still haven't received it.  I went in another time, only to give my information all over again to someone new.  I called a total of 5 times.  By this point, I was upset.  More like pissed off.  I had to go in person again to the office.  ALL of the supervisors were standing outside smoking.  The gentleman I spoke to the first time said bye to everyone and left.  Convenient.... As I spoke to another supervisor, this girl tries to give me every excuse in the book.

"We just fired a bunch of staff."
That sucks... I don't really care.

"We cannot handle checks here."
Ok, direct me to someone who can.

"Oh, I remember you.  Did you not get my e-mail?"
Nope, never got an e-mail.

"Did someone call you?"
No, that's why I'm here.

Then another supervisor (the one who told me that during my telemarketing calls, if the prospect says they are dying of cancer, I was supposed to ask "is it terminal?") comes up and asks if my check is even valid.  He began asking if there even was a check for me.  He was trying to persuade me into thinking this check didn't exist.  I gave him a snarky remark, saying I know for a fact because the other supervisor had told me it existed!  And um... HELLOOO.... I freaking worked for free practically!  That's not going to just fly by me.

After pressing for a while, the girl finally repeats, "well, we don't handle paychecks here."  I asked her who does.  She gives me the name, e-mail address, and phone number of the lady that handles the paychecks.  Then she feeds me the additional excuse, "yeah, like I said, we just fired a bunch of people last week, so it has been hectic."  I reply that this has been an issue for over a month now.  I wasn't buying the excuse.  She gives me a snarky apology, and the other supervisor (the one that didn't believe me) says that there was no way a paycheck could be lost for a month unless I didn't contact them about it.  Fired up, I responded, "Well, after coming in here multiple times and having my voicemails ignored, I don't really care what's happening here.  If I have to return here again, I'll bring my attorney with me."  They restate that they don't handle the paychecks, so I replied, "well then I'm sure your higher ups won't mind speaking to my attorney about your mishap."  I thanked them, and left.

They tried telling me that they don't handle the paychecks - which I know is a downright lie.  They handle them bi-weekly.  They send the paychecks out.  They were the ones that sent the paycheck to the wrong address.  And they were the ones avoiding my calls about the status of my paycheck for an entire month.

All the while, I think of how I received numerous calls from debt collectors and bills in the mail.  Everything has a due date.  I cannot go past the due date without paying - or else I could be given a fee.  But, when it comes to people paying ME back, they can take as long as they can.  Not only am I waiting on this paycheck, I'm still waiting on my reimbursement check from the Pathologists for over-paying.  Everyone wants their money, and they want it now.  But if I don't get paid for my work, I'm supposed to wait for when it is convenient for them.  What a load of crap!  UGH.

Everyone wants paid... but apparently I don't..... **sarcasm**

Time Got Away from Me.

So much is going on!  I am so sorry I left ya'll behind!  I'm going to update you on EVERYTHING! :)

My husband received a promotion at his job!  It is now a typical 9-5 job.  He has more responsibility at the business.  I am so proud of him!  On top of this 9-5 job, he is also working with me at a burger joint called Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  That's right.  We both picked up a second job and are working together!  It's a lot of fun, and our bosses like us.  Hard work pays off.

As for me, I am pulling 18 credit hours this semester.  I was able to receive grants and aid to cover my education costs.  I will be walking in the graduation ceremony this December, however I won't actually be finished with my degree until May 2012.  Since I am doing 18 credit hours this semester, I barely have time for fun.  But the sacrifice is so worth it.  I only have 4 credit hours once this semester is over - and those 4 credits are dedicated to an internship.  It seems absolutely crazy, and honestly, my life is so hectic.  However, in the long run, it is going to be cheaper than doing 12 credit hours this semester and 10 credit hours next.  Plus, next semester, I'll only be doing 20 hours a week for the internship.  The rest of my time will be dedicated to a work study position that is 10 hours a week, and a remaining 10-20 hours a week for my part-time job at Five Guys.  It's doable.  It's stressful, but it's going to be so worth it.

Right now, I'm always doing homework, I'm always in class or at work, and I have to say "no" to many of the invitations friends give me.  So many friends and family members will beg, guilt trip me, or try to persuade me into thinking I deserve time off.  My only response is, "my time off will be paid back to me in due time."  Right now, looking at all the bills and having graduation so close I can taste it, I don't want "time off."  I want to push harder.  I have more drive, more motivation.  I'll get up some days and dread being busy for 13-15 hours.  But I look at how much all this work is going to pay me back in due time.  I'll drag my feet to make it to class or to whine about writing papers every week, but in the end, I do it with vigor and passion.  I don't half-ass (excuse the language) anything because this is not just what I need, I have everything I really need; this is what I want, and that's what makes the difference.

Unfortunately, we were not able to sell the car.  We still have it with a "For Sale" sign on it, but no one is interested.  Husband turned the car on and found out the brake line had broken.  We've still put up a Craigslist ad for it, but no one has been interested in it.  If no one buys it, we're selling it for scrap parts.


We're paying off our debts completely!  Woo hoo!!  I am super excited about it!  We've also paid off the remaining amount required for my student loans.  It is now officially in deferment until 3 months after graduation.  So far, as it looks, we should have 2 more debts completely paid off by 2012!  We have also added to our emergency fund!  This gives me such motivation to keep on keepin' on!

So right now:
- Emergency fund $123.91
- Husband's Promptcare Lab bill Paid off as of Sept. 1, 2011
- Sallie Mae $150 bill for deferment Paid off as of Sept. 1, 2011
- Direct Loans $323.74 bill Paid off as of Sept. 14, 2011
- Unity Physician's bill Currently $904 remaining
- Dr. Greene bill Currently $540 remaining
- SIRA radiology bill Currently $325 remaining
- Capital One credit card Currently $492.12 remaining
- Credit One credit card Currently $306 remaining

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Call about the Car!

Some people think we are crazy.  We are selling my husband's car.  The only reason we are selling his car is because we cannot afford the insurance and maintenance on it.  We currently have one car that is paid off, has insurance to cover both of us, and it is in great condition.  But hubby's car needed a new fuel pump and there is an easy fix for the left brake thingy (obviously, I know nothing about cars).  Basically, the car needs about $400 of work into it that we just can't afford.  Plus, we cannot afford to get car insurance for hubby and I on that car.  We are selling it for a decent price - what it is worth minus the extra costs that are needed to repair the fuel pump and brake.

To have one car might sound like a bad idea.  But where we live, there is readily available public transportation.  For starters, taking the bus is not that bad.  I usually take the bus to campus anyways because it costs way to much to pay for parking.  I can easily walk anywhere I need to when I'm on campus.  My husband likes to skateboard and ride his bike, so that is usually his way of transportation to and from work.  Sometimes, he and his co-workers will carpool.  The only time we really need the car is to get groceries and for me to get to work.  Sometimes, my husband will take the car to work while I'm on campus all day (Mondays and Wednesdays are 13 hour days!).  And if anything, IU has this awesome Safety Transport system.  If at any time, day or night, we need a ride from point A to point B - all we have to do is call the number for the Safety Transport, and an IU marked van with 2 employees (one male, one female) will pick you up and take you to where ever you need to go.  There really is no use for a second car in our lives right now.

So - the car has only had a "For Sale" sign on it for a few days.  It hasn't even gotten cleaned yet - haha! A gentleman called my husband today, and he is interested in the car!  He totally agrees with the price!  He is going to talk to his wife overnight, and he'll call us back tomorrow.  I guess they need a car that will get them from point A to point B.  The maintenance on the car doesn't seem like a big deal to him for the price we are asking.  I'm super excited about this!  The money we make from this car will go directly into our emergency fund and paying off some of those medical bills!  **Fingers Crossed!**

Putting in the Extra Effort.

Today has been a great day!  My husband's unemployment FINALLY arrived.  Turns out, they had put all the deposits on the wrong card.  Yeah....  their mistake took a while to fix.  So, today, we finally received the unemployment card and we paid off many of our bills.  It felt great to finally get caught up.

So, I had a hold at the financial aid office.  A hold means they wouldn't allow me to access my financial aid money.  I went into the financial aid office today, and I asked them what the dealio was.  Turns out, they just need a statement from my advisor saying I am graduating in May.  ::shrug::  I'll just give them what they want and schedule an appointment tomorrow with my advisor.  Kind of annoying, but oh well.  But, I do believe I qualify for work study.  I already know there is an available position at the Career Center on campus.  I've already spoken to someone about it.  I just have to wait for the hold at the financial aid office to go away before I can apply for the position.  I really want this work study at the Career Center, because I will have access to all the information about job fairs, resume building, career advising, etc.  That is so perfect for my senior year.  The work study would only allow 10 hours a week. But that is why I have my part-time job at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

My husband did something pretty cool today.  My parents came to visit - a surprise visit.  That was completely fine with me.  We never get to see our families much, so when they surprise us with a visit, we are overly excited about it.  We just tidied up the apartment after we got all our errands done for the day, and just in time for my parents' arrival.  My parents *always* want to see where I'm working.  I don't know why... they are just curious and excited, I guess.  Last week, they visited my sister (who is an occupational therapist) during her lunch break, and she showed them around a little bit.  I guess it's just something we grew up accustomed to....  So, when they came, they wanted to go eat at Five Guys and they wanted dessert from my husband's bakery.  It was fun!  We had a great time.  So, how does this apply to my husband doing something pretty cool?  While we were at Five Guys, we casually talked to my boss and my boss's boss (the GM and the owner).  My husband just got to talking with the guys, and they ended up hiring him on the spot!

So yes, my husband and I will be working a part-time job together at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  I think it is hilariously awesome.  Everyone has asked me, "do you want to work with your husband?"  This is how I look at it:  it pays the bills.  Beggars can't be choosers.  Why does it matter if I'm working the same job as my husband?  Sure, we might drive each other crazy - but a job is a job - and if you are desperate for money, you take what you can get.  Needless to say, I'm very happy for my hubby.  He's taking this "building our nest" seriously.  So seriously, he's picking up another job.  And I'm super happy he got the job!  This is going to be a saving grace!

I just had to brag about how awesome my darling hubby is.  Putting in the extra effort is tough, but we're doing whatever we can to get where we want to be.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where We Were...

Just to give a few people an idea of where we are coming from, I decided I would fill you in on the number crunch.  I'm not lying when I say we used all of our money to pay debt.  I've had a few people come up to me and say, "Oh, you think you have it bad..." and then proceed to tell me their negative numbers.  I'm not trying to belittle anyone.  I know this economy is really hurting people.  But we didn't just blow our money like I've seen some people do.  I know this sounds harsh, but I don't want to hear woe-me stories about debt when those people are doing literally nothing about it (other than blowing their paychecks on videogames, booze, strip clubs, and night clubs).  Then, they want to come up to me and tell me how I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to finances.  So, kiddos, I'm going to lay it out there and show you the numbers.

I'm only going to focus on medical bills and credit cards.  You'll get the picture.  Our rent is average, our utilities are very conservative (especially since water/sewage/trash/recycling is all included in our rent), and the only reason why we are in debt in the first place was because of medical expenses.  Our medical expenses forced us to use credit cards (which is stupid, don't do it unless you know you can pay off the credit card!).  I'm not going to include my student loans.  Why?  Because I believe you can't put a price on education.  Yes, I'll be paying it back - but paying back my student loans won't be nearly as difficult if we take care of our current debt.

Currently, these are the medical bills we're paying off:

  • IU Health (when hubby had meningitis, it's the final bill):  min. $50/month = $175 remaining
  • Radiologists (SIRA):  min. $20/mon = $405 total
  • Dr. Greene's office:  min. $20/mon = $620 remaining
  • Unity Physicians:  min. $120/mon = $2707 total
Currently, these are our credit cards (GASP - we only have 2!):
  • Credit One:  min. $25/mon = $306 total
  • Capital One:  min. $15/mon = $500 total
We are currently LOW income.  When I say low, I mean $1600/month income.  But this is me going to school full time, working only 16 hours a week (because that's all they can give right now), and my husband literally just got his job back after being laid off and is starting back this week.  I'm currently getting everything situated for my senior year in college, and I am looking into work study as well.  I'm still looking for a second part-time job, too.  

So, with our current expenses and our current income - it sounds doable, right?  We should be saving money!  No.  That's not correct.  We just started this income this week!  My husband was laid off for about 4 months!  I couldn't work up until April.  And when I could work, I spent the next 3 months looking for a job.  Economy is tough, ya'll.  So, you can imagine with no income, how hard that was.  Luckily, there were food pantries, generous family members willing to help because they understood our situation, and we used ALL of the money we ever saved to survive that difficult time.  Saving what we did prior was our emergency fund.  An emergency fund goes quickly.  I'm glad we had it when we needed it.

But here's something else.  We paid off a lot of debt.  How much?
  • IU Health grand total:  $21,507.87
  • Unity Physicians total: $1803.00
  • Radiologists (SIRA) total:  $1065.00
  • Pathologists total:  $165.00 (and we are expecting reimbursement of $27.50)
We paid off a total of $24,155.87 in 2 years.  Before I got ill, I worked.  I would work as many shifts as I could and I even pulled overtime.  But from November 22, 2010 until April 15, 2011, I could not because doctor's ordered me not to and for 3 months of that time, I was strictly bedridden - only permission to use the restroom.  And my husband worked a lot, pulled overtime, and did whatever he could.  We struggled for 2 years to pay off that amount.  That is not even including the bills family members contributed towards.  It costs a lot of money to save your life - and not all treatments are covered under insurance plans.

Paying off debt is possible.  We've done it - and we know there are sacrifices to be made.  But I definitely don't like someone telling me that I don't know what I'm doing, or that I'm following a cult because we're following Dave Ramsey's plan.  Maybe why so many people follow him is because it freaking works.

For all the other penny pinchers out there - stand your ground.  You aren't crazy!  I know it is possible.  We survived... literally.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cheap Date Night!

So, one thing about saving up for money means less time going out and spending it!  Obviously!  Well, what about having a date night with the other half?  Looks like we'll be getting creative!

Tonight, we are having our first cheap date night!  What are we doing?  We have strawberries and sandwiches packed, and we are going to a "secret place" that my hubster won't tell me where it is to watch the meteor shower!!  I'm super excited!!

The weather alert says there is a thunderstorm watch for tonight.  I'm not too excited about that.  Sorry mother nature, you are not ruining date night!  And you better not be in my way from seeing cool meteors!


Mother Nature decided to be cruel.  We went to Morgan/Monroe State Forest, and the storm pretty much pushed us out.  The clouds were so thick and heavy, it was impossible to see the stars.  And the lightning pretty much freaked me out.  So, we came back home.  Oh well, at least we managed to enjoy our time watching the storm roll in over the lake.  It was quite beautiful.

Listening to the Radio

I don't know why, but I love listening to the radio.  Something about the radio is intriguing.  A friend of mine co-hosts a financial radio show a couple times a week.  He truly believes Dave Ramsey is a genius.  We also have a cousin that is a financial consultant - and he also says Ramsey is brilliant.  As of right now, hubster and I cannot buy the Dave Ramsey books or pay for the Financial Peace classes.  Not yet.  Dave Ramsey books are on my birthday/Christmas lists.  Whenever people ask me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I tell them I want a Dave Ramsey book.

Until then, we are following everything available on Dave Ramsey's website.  This includes the live radio archives!  I like it a lot.  I can listen to the radio online on my down time while playing around on the internet (like Facebook).  It's so convenient.  The radio show is live Monday through Friday 2-5 PM EST.  If you can't listen to it live, they have an awesome archive.  You can listen to any show anytime that is convenient for you!

The first radio show I listened to was Friday, August 12, 2011.  It was interesting.  Dave Ramsey had a few people call in to exclaim that they are debt free.  These are people who have went through Ramsey's steps and managed to get out of debt.  I really liked hearing it.  It was nice to know that people who were in greater debt than we are finally managed to pay off their debt.  It was inspirational.  I already know what the hardest part is going to be in our venture....  saying no.

The first couple on the radio show said this was the hardest part.  They have a very social group.  Everyone in their group took trips, went out to eat, and spent money on social gatherings.  They had to force themselves to say no whenever the social opportunities arose.  Their friends would ask them to go out, and they had to say no.  OMG - this sounds just like us.

We have a very social group.  Our friends love to go out, hang out, spend money, and have been known to go on spontaneous adventures.  I will admit - we did that too!  It wasn't smart.  Our families are the same!  They are very social people, and they always have something to do.  Our families and close friends are also in other cities and states.  Traveling costs a lot of money to visit.  My hubby is a social, fun-loving guy.  He cannot say no to his family and friends.  He always gives in because he loves them and wants to see them all.  He's a free spirit.  But now it's discipline time.  We have to say no.  If we want to get where we want to go, we have to say no to our friends and family.  It's going to be the hardest thing to do.  We are going to do this.  No isn't a bad word.  It's a stepping stone.

Another couple we talking about how they had to settle down, buckle down and get organized.  The wife said her marriage became greater, their life became better, and she said, "The gotcha's don't getcha anymore."  I cannot wait to be in that position.

Dave Ramsey also recommended setting up a will.  My husband and I do not have wills.  It would be a smart move.  This is where this post turns depressing.  In the past year, I almost died twice.  My husband almost died in 2007.  We've been there.  We've seen it.  It's scary.  With my birth defect, it is scary.  There is a chance that Volvulus can occur - and there really isn't anything I can do or prepare for.  Scary, huh?  Life happens, and when it happens, you feel lost.  So, maybe today isn't the best day to set up a will.  But Dave Ramsey suggested going to this site:  This is definitely something I will be looking into.  Only $15 to have a decent will... it doesn't sound half bad.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Waiting & Jealous - I have to get this off my chest.

I can't help fight this funk.  I was pregnant before - and it was bad timing, and at first, I was upset.  But then I finally became ok with it and excited about it.  Unfortunately, I had a miscarriage this past April.  Ever since, I've been in this funk.  My husband and I are in no place to start TTC.  We're re-building our nest right now.  But I have baby fever - BAD.

My husband has noticed it.  He keeps reminding me that now is just not the time.  He says one day, we will have a home and start a family.  I just can't help fight this feeling - I'm impatient.  It's like my biological clock is ticking (and I'm only 24!).  Everyone around me is having babies.  One of my friends is due Oct. 29 - two days after my baby's due date.  It literally aches seeing her updates.  Don't get me wrong, I'm am incredibly happy for all my friends.  But I'm not exaggerating when I say I had 7 friends tell me in the same week that they are all expecting.  I can't help but feel jealous.  They all want to talk to me about all the great updates on their pregnancies, and I am happy for them that all is going well.  But, I can't help feeling sad at the same time.  Like today, I just found out that my cousin in-law is having baby #2.  He and his girlfriend moved into this nice 3 bedroom home.  He invited my husband and I over, and the moment I stepped into his house, saw all the baby toys, saw the house coming together.... I had to take a moment to step outside and breathe.  I felt like I was just going to bawl.  I'm so glad that everything is working out for them, but I just wish my life was in a better place for my hubster and I.

I know it wasn't in the cards we were dealt.  We were given a tough hand.  But I can't help feeling like I should be where they are by now.  I should have a career, a home, and be starting a family too.  But no... I'm waiting and trying to get everything all worked out now.  I know we're going about this the right way.  I know I'm doing the smart thing.  The feelings are just eating me alive right now, and I just can't escape them.

Getting Rid of What We Don't Need

I have honestly been thinking of selling literally everything.  If I could sell it, I would.  I would sell whatever I could and start from scratch!  But a lot of our furniture are hand-me-downs, and when we got them - they weren't in the best condition.  So those things probably won't ever sell.

We aren't in desperate mode just yet.  If we were desperate - you better believe I'd be getting rid of some of our nicer things, like the TV, entertainment center, book case, dressers, even the bed!  But we're not desperate yet.  So, what are the luxuries that we have that are just a hole in the pocket?

First and foremost, my husband's car.  We can't afford to fix it and keep up the maintenance on it.  We've managed to do just fine with only one car.  For school, I take the public transit to campus and walk.  I don't need a car on those days.  Plus, what's great about it is I can also walk to my husband's work from campus.  So later in the evenings, I could actually get a delivery driver to pick me up on his rounds and take me to his work or take me back home.  It's pretty neat to have that available.  If for some reason they can't, I can always call the campus safety transport to take me home.  If I had to go to work, I would need the car, or I would need a ride.  My husband and I are pretty good about sharing and taking turns, so I highly doubt we'll have any issues with this.  Plus, our schedules work well together to make it less of a hassle.  Bye bye beast car.

1994 Pontiac Grand AM - You were convenient, but we won't miss you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby Step 1: Build An Emergency Fund

Our current goal right now is to follow the Seven Baby Steps offered by Dave Ramsey.  We're starting today!

So, baby step #1: build an emergency fund.  Sounds easy.  But that emergency fund is $1000.  We have $0 in our savings.  It is up to us right now to pay off the minimum payments towards all our bills.  We have to continue paying for our monthly expenses, such as rent, electric, food, gas, etc.  So, thinking about it, this is going to take a little while.  Once we can build this emergency fund, we'll be able to have something to fall back on in case something happens.  To help us get there, we are selling my husband's car.  Two cars is a luxury, and we cannot afford the maintenance and insurance on his car.  We're also selling some furniture and random items.  I hold on to my books.  I love my books.  But I'm even going to sell them.  I want a library some day, so I see this opportunity as a temporary separation.  I don't *need* them.  I just want them.  So there's the difference.

At the top of the post section, I have a handy dandy ticker dedicated to savings that I got from Ticker Factory online.  It's great because you enter in the amount you need to save, and whenever you add to your savings, you can add it onto your ticker!  I'm going to have tickers for every step.  I think I will get a much more satisfaction seeing all the tickers completed.  Plus, I have you lovely readers to keep us on track!

We are also using the budget sheets available on Dave Ramsey's website.  We are going to do this!  This is the first step towards building our nest!



Today begins the day that my husband and I are starting over.  We've had a very rough patch in life.  This blog is mainly for us to track where we've been and where we are going.  It's to monitor our success, a place to vent our worries, to praise our hard efforts, and get us motivated to get where we are going.  I'd glad you have come here to join us!  The work it takes to get on your feet again after a hard time is agonizing.  Sometimes, it feels impossible.  But to stand up and face the impossible makes anyone brave.  Everything in life comes back to money.  It's a shame.  It shouldn't.  There's an amazing quote that I always think of when I hear people talk about money.

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money."
- Cree Indian Proverb

It makes you think.  But unfortunately, you cannot survive without some kind of currency.  

I was never taught how to manage money or how to budget.  Sometimes, I found balancing money very confusing.  I figured out a system real quick when I had to move out on my own.  I never lived out of my means and I worked hard for every penny that I earned.  When my husband (fiance at the time) became ill and almost died of bacterial meningitis, his medical bills really put him in debt because he didn't have health insurance.  Luckily, the hospital offered financial assistance for those who honestly could not afford the bills.  Unfortunately, it didn't cover all the bills.  I was also experiencing health issues (which were misdiagnosed as endometriosis).  I had been dropped from my parents' insurance, and I myself quickly racked up medical bills for treatments.  I wasted my money on a health benefits plan that didn't pay for anything.  Our medical bills combined became overwhelming.  We took money out of our savings accounts including our wedding fund to pay off the bills.  With my health becoming a risk, my husband and I married at the Justice of the Peace because we couldn't qualify for any assistance as independents (unless I had a child, which was not in our plans at the time).  We gave up hope for a wedding because it was not in the cards we were dealt.  

My health got worse, and I had a insurance plan (even though it wasn't anything great, it was better than nothing).  I had a heart attack at 24 years old due to a congenial birth defect called intestinal malrotation. My health continued to get worse, and medical bills piled up again.  I was forced to withdraw from college and quit my job - leaving us on a single income and more debt than we could afford.  If it wasn't for local food pantries and the generosity of our family members, we wouldn't have survived when my husband was laid off from his job.

I found out I had become pregnant, and my health continued to decline.  It wasn't until I was pregnant that I found out I had struggled with E. coli for months.  I was treated for it, and Hoosier Healthwise paid for my pregnancy.  Unfortunately, we lost our daughter on April 5, 2011.  I had complications from the miscarriage, and I hemorrhaged.  My ER visit for the hemorrhaging was not covered under my pregnancy plan because I had miscarried 3 days prior and the doctor decided to not put the medical code saying my visit was pregnancy related.  I fought for months, even got a patient's advocate, but the doctor still wouldn't budge.  Without that code, my pregnancy insurance would not cover my visit.  My mother graciously helped me pay off some of the medical bills that acquired during this difficult year.  

My husband and I struggled to find decent jobs to get by.  I set up payment plans for all the medical bills.  My husband waited for three months for unemployment to approve his status.  We are still waiting, one month later, to receive his unemployment.  By the grace of God, the company my husband worked for was sold to new management, and he got his job back.  I found a job, working part-time at a burger joint.  They couldn't hire me as full-time.  

I am going back to college for my senior year.  I qualified for many grants and financial aid to cover my final year in college.  I am still waiting to hear whether or not I qualify for work-study.  If so, I have a possible work-study position available to me at the Career Center on campus.  I also signed up for tuition reimbursement for the semester I had to withdraw from college.  I won't find out if my appeal is approved until after September 6, 2011.  If I do receive reimbursement, I will have to wait another 45 days to actually get my money back.  

The economy is rough.  It's rough for everyone right now.  We are in a crunch, living paycheck to paycheck.  We're even behind on some bills.  We literally have about $50 in our bank accounts.  Once my husband receives his unemployment, we should be caught up on our bills that are behind.  

Now that we are working our way out of our current quicksand of financial stress, we are setting up budgets and working towards building our little nest.  We have so many things that we need to pay off, and many things that we need to save up for.  We are literally starting here with nothing.  So now is the best time to get a plan put into action.  This is what this blog is for.

We are following guidelines from Dave Ramsey currently.  We plan to follow the Baby Step program and see what happens.  It couldn't hurt.  So, this blog is dedicated towards our nest egg.  This blog is dedicated to building our nest so that we can officially live our lives.  I hope readers will find this blog as a useful tool to getting out of those difficult times.