Monday, December 30, 2013

The un-expected

So just when I decide I'd better get my feet back under me and get going on an emergency fund. The worst thing happened.

My dad went into the hospital on the 19th. At 86 every hospital stay is serious.

He passed away on December 26.

Not only was I not emotionally ready for this. I also wasn't financially ready. Which makes me angry with myself. To have to borrow money to travel to  my father's funeral. This scenario is a nightmare.
But I did. I borrowed money from my mom's account ... she's in a nursing home so I have to be sure and pay it back or the Medicaid folks will say I"m 'hiding' money. She wanted me to have it but that's beside the point...

The point is I should have had enough money!!

My dad was a huge proponent of one basic financial tenant:

Spend less than you make... put the rest away.

Do you think after almost 50 years I could figure this shit out???

So I'm in Evansville. And my dad was my only family here aside from my step-family. No one was really 'getting together' the night before the funeral.

I called my step-mom to let her know we were in town and she invited us to dinner at a local restraunt...
That was God-send number 1.

We spend some time with her and I met one of her sisters and brother-in-law. Super nice people. We talked for awhile and then opted to go to the hotel.

Hotels are rarely cheap anymore. even less so around holidays. I contacted an old and dear friend to see if she was available to meet. We had seen each other in about 15 or 16 years. She was and she came out to the hotel...

She called me over to where she was talking with the lady at the front desk when I went out to meet her.. seems my dear dear friend had had a coupon for a free night's stay at this very hotel... and she got the hotel to apply it to  my bill... I was nearly in tears.. well, actually I was in tears!

God-send number 2.

Now I can focus on why I'm here. ANd now I can quit worrying about how to get home.

And I can also use this story and my father's precious memory and wise philosophy to motivate myself to do better. for me, but especially for my girls.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Life and money, they are 2 different things

Settling back into single, solitary life, I really am trying to convince myself to work on my finances. It's not as easy as it seems. For a few reasons..

First and foremost.. CHRISTMAS!
I love Christmas! I love decorating! I love food! I love presents!! Giving them that is. And I love, love, love, to spoil my girls. I love for them to have lots to open. I love to have bulging stockings over flowing with candy and goodies.

I love to shop for my friends! I love to find that one perfect gift. That thing that says to them 'yes I pay attention to who you are.' I love to have them over for get-togethers. I love to entertain and go to where I'm invited.

And I'm trying to balance these loves with my goals. But this year I'm reallllly not doing so hot.

Family circumstances... My Mother.
My mother is in a very expensive nursing home. And I need to move her, but I can't figure out how. Applying for Medicaid for her is so daunting and confusing. Add to that that she has dementia and I don't even know where most of her papers are. And if they were in a central location at one time, they aren't now because I've had to sell her house and move all her things into my house and everything is an upside down hickledy pickeldy  mess.

And advice is hard to come by... Good Advice that is.
So I sold my mom's house. So that should mean that a nearly 20 year investment should come to fruition. According to all the financial gurus that is. Dave Ramsey for instance...
But guess what?

She lost money. She bought it for 30 and only sold it for 35. 20 years and thousands upon thousands of dollars of improvements and upkeep. A 3 bedroom, turn of the century home with forced air heat and central air. 35. It makes me want to puke.

So exactly what is best for what to do with your money? How is a person to know what's best? Well there are a couple of things I'm learning...


  • stuff is pretty worthless.



  • Houses are just shelter and space to create a personal atmosphere in. It's not money or a 'sure thing' ask the thousands affected by the housing bubble. and me. So live cheaply and make it nice. Nice for you... personally. fill it with what you love and what speaks to your soul. 



  • buy long term care insurance. Just do it. 



  • stay out of debt. It's not honorable. And it's hard to get out of.  



  • The one thing Dave Ramsey and I agree on totally is do not count on the government for your income in retirement. What do you count on? Invest of course. Other than that. I wish I knew. 


What I do know is that if you end up with dementia like my mom, none of it matters because you won't remember or understand any of it. Not where your money comes from, or where it's going. Not where your stuff is or what your stuff is. Not what an investment is or a percentage rate or why it matters. You'll be like Rainman... 'how much is a new car? About a hundred dollars. how much is a candy bar? About a hundred dollars.'

So heed my warning and buy the long term care. At least you'll be safe and cared for.

In the meantime, I'm working my way into more responsible living (morally and socially). I'm working on eliminating my debt, then reducing my bills, then reducing my housing expenses in order to move into a life that better fulfills my beliefs.

And someday I hope to be able to expand on that statement specifically. In the meantime, I'll keep you  informed.  Follow along if you're curious.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why must I rehash lessons?

Ok, so here's a pattern I've recently discerned in my life. Get bored, go on match.com, start dating a very nice guy, watch my own life fall apart, get stressed, end up breaking off the relationship, hurt nice guy, go back to my solitary existence and re-focus and suddenly feel great. (except for the guilt where the guy is concerned).

I've been on this merry-go-round since I was ohhh.... 17? 3 marriages (except the last, that was totally his fault and yes he does know it.) a couple engagements, and then recently some near relationships. 3 to be exact in the last year.

And at the beginning of each was a gut feeling that this was a bad idea. Not because the guys weren't great, they were and ARE! but because I'm not. I'm fickle. and moody. and really quite awful at multitasking and with my life I have enough on my plate yet nothing I can bring to the table for someone else.

So again. I'm taking a vow. I'm friend-zoning the whole male population. all y'all. Yes even Billie Joe Armstrong... friendzoned. For 365 days or until I'm out of debt (I'm 100% sure I can't get out of debt in 365 days.) I will not d.a.t.e.

Neither will I 'hookup' (which I haven't done since my 20's anyway), or go out surfin' dudes. I won't wallow. I won't begrudge. I won't envy.

I will maintain my friendships. I will take care with the feelings of others.

I can't fathom what it is in me that makes me so able and willing to hurt people!

It makes me wonder if that one time not even a year ago, when I had MY heart shattered, if he'd have stuck around would it have just been a couple weeks before I was ready to put him on a shelf too?

Maybe these are things I can work through over the next year. Or maybe I WONT revisit this question at all for at least a year. Instead I'll focus on what I'm supposed to be focused on, my debt, my kids, my home, my job, my church, my writing, my friends, my volunteer work.

I'd say I have plenty to keep me occupied.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Prep and Circumstance

I'm getting ready for that most dreaded of events to help one financially.... A yard sale!!



It's a daunting task. I have my items to go and mom's items. But the money has to stay separate. My money to my debts, her money to her bills. My back is against the wall on both.

It's 2 weeks away... and there is so much to go through... for both of us!!

In the meantime, I'll just hang on until Thursday when I get paid and keep tackling the mountain.

Yesterday I spent
$5.00 to the offering plate
$10.01 to the gas tank.

Friday, August 30, 2013

strides

I've been doing very well about watching what I spend. I went to the grocery store today and only spent 27 bucks and most of that was on snacks I had to provide for a fellowship group I lead at church.

I've come to the conclusion as well that I don't have to make enough to support my lifestyle, my lifestyle can be modified to fit what I make.

For me, and my pride and ego, this is a huge stride.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's a good start!

Sometimes a trip to church is just what I need to clear things up.

I’ve been fighting life something fierce over the last few months and trying to forge out on my own over and over again. With increasing frustration and hardship spiraling into destructive behavior, a bad attitude, and finally into depression.  And I wallowed in it. I used these emotions as excuses for more complaining and less action.

I’ve been overwhelmed and distracted and I needed to be neither. What I needed was prayer yes, but better yet.. I needed to slow down and listen. I needed my eyes opened to the answers that are right in front of me.

These things became glaringly clear this morning:
I’m not connected enough with my spiritual relationship with God
I’m being nudged into a different job
I’m in the wrong relationship

 Those are the three biggies. Now what actions I take to rectify these I will stick close to my Lord about and step gingerly but deliberately in a positive direction.

The three things that were shown me this morning also created in me some new feelings
My life can be amazing!
I DO have worth.
The opinions of those for whom I have little respect shouldn’t bother me so much.
I have unused talent.

Was this weekend a bottom? Yup. For me it was. And I don’t need to go any further down in order to impress anyone with how far I can fall. That’s an odd statement, but if you’ve ever been around recovering alcoholics you’d soon understand what I mean. So this was far enough.

God has given me enough direction. The destructive behavior urges are even gone this morning. I know where I was when my life was working and I know I can get back there pretty easily. Not without work, but without so much STRUGGLE!

And I feel light and refreshed and on the verge of happy tears J I can talk to my dad and not be full of down news and sadness, which will keep his mind eased. I can go see mom and enjoy spending more than 20 minutes with her. I can enjoy hearing about my girls and be prepared to help them weather any crisis that may come their way.

In essence, I can get back to being me and not something superimposed as me. I can be more authentically the me God hopes I’ll be. And intends me to be.


That was, obviously Sunday, and today, Wednesday has not changed my enthusiasm for the epiphanies of the weekend. In fact, the challenges have continued and my ego is getting totally bashed but during the pain of this I have been given even more insight! I can get past what ever may happen.

By that I mean that I am NOT afraid to change my lifestyle and my pride has sloughed away like bad, dead skin. I’m not worried about how my ex-boyfriend will see me and laugh at my failure, I’m not worried how my peers will see me and gloat over my ‘reduced status’. I hope there are people that will ask me how I got the courage to make such a bold stance to uphold my beliefs. To which I can easily report, through my faith.

I love my house, but I can love anywhere I live. I love my cats, but I can find them homes where they are still loved and cared for (well, most of them), I love my van, but I own outright a good Blazer. I love my garage, but there are ways to cope with winter. I love my things, but I love the people in my life more. These are JUST things. They hold no real meaning. Not even my beloved books. Because guess what, the library has those. And then some.

And to those who think I’m crazy to risk losing my home I say that NO ONE can take my home because my home is with my family and my friends and they will be with me no matter where I go or where I live.

My life isn’t defined by who envies me. My life isn’t about how much I make.  I don’t need to earn enough to support my lifestyle, I’m unafraid to make my lifestyle fit what I earn. Bare minimum if needs be.


With the quality of people I have in my life I will still feel absolutely rich beyond my wildest dreams. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Focus

Moved my girls to college today. Both girls, same day, different schools. About an hour apart. It worked out ok.

But on the financial front it was a killer.

And on all the bills and statements, my parent plus loans aren't showing up. We sorta kinda need those or we have outstanding bills on a couple grand a piece.

These are the types of things that I haven't had (and by had I mean taken) the time to try to figure out.

Well, that leaf has turned and it's time to focus on what needs done.

Straighten out the loans.
Straighten out mom's finances. (which apparently I've managed to mess up because it seems to be what I do lately).
Straighten out my finances - probably by getting a second job.

My life if a living testament to why I want my girls in school pursuing good careers and why I've tried to keep them from being too much into the party scene and not too terribly boy crazy. I hope they've been paying attention and are ready to focus too.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hit and Miss

As sporadic as this blog has been, I've not forgotten it! And now that life is so full of changes, I thought here would be a great place to chronicle some happenings and vent some emotion...

Since my last post:
Oldest Angel finished her first year of college

Youngest Angel graduated from high school


I had to put my mom in a care facility for Alzheimers patients
I have mom's house on the market and a hoarders stash now takes up my whole 2 1/2 car garage

And child support stopped making me realize that I'm in a world of financial hurt...


And it's this last one I would like to blog about more often.

I'm going to work on getting 100% out of debt. 100%
That means credit card
That means cars
That means student loans for my kids
That means home equity loans
That means mortgage

I'm also looking for a different job. In a different city.

And I"m dating.

All of which I find daunting and stressful. Yes. All.

And I'm flirting with being a tad bit depressed over the whole thing...
I've been keeping better tabs on my spending and it honestly seems like the more I watch and try to control, the worse and more out of control it gets... how is that?

Both my girls are in college now...which isn't cheap... and they both move into the dorms this Sunday. So this Monday is the kick-off to financial control.

So just HOW much debt do I have?
I'll tackle that question in my next post.