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Viewing the 'family' Category: Dmontngrey's Personal Finance Blog
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Talked to my brother today

September 30th, 2009 at 12:42 am

Ok, more like tossed quite a few text messages back and forth about the car. Hello? September ends tomorrow and with it, the car inspection!

It took a few messages before I was able to determine that 1) he was sorry he hadn't taken care of this sooner, 2) he's really stressed about life, and 3) he wants to fix this as cheap/fast as he can.
Oh boy... it sounds to me like he can't even come up with the $$ to get the car inspected. Well, since DH technically still owns the car, it falls on us to get it legal again. Brother is en route here now as I type this. I emailed my boss to say I'll be in late tomorrow. Not sure how involved I'll need to be. In all this, I didn't even THINK to ask if he has any reason to think it might not pass inspection!! At least we're taking it to a shop that has passed it many times before. I just worry because the exhaust is not "stock". It IS stock, just off a different model. Some places have given us crap for this.

Between my mother, my brother, and sometimes even my dad - could somebody please tell me exactly where *I* came from?!?!? Not this family. No way.

I feel really bad for my brother. I don't think the army was what he expected and now is just not the time to be trying to find a job. He jumped into home ownership while in the army and now what? Yeah, he didn't make all the right decisions - but he's my brother and I still feel REALLY bad for him. A troubled marriage isn't helping the situation.

Eh, on the bright side: the house is a little cleaner now! My inlaws were here a couple weeks ago, so I just needed to vac, change bed, etc.

In other news: I found $200 to send to Student Loan 1 this past week!! I think I'll have that knocked off in no time. Smile

I'll leave you with a pic of the other feline mutt in this house. Uh, I wasn't baiting her - honest!! Ha ha ha... She didn't know what to think and kept looking at me like "WOW, I didn't know we had THIS!"

Updated finances

September 26th, 2009 at 05:45 pm

Er... tried to? The mutt was in a MOOD this morning. We had a lengthy discussion over other available sun spots in the house before I finally dragged her upstairs - to the full sun third floor.

When I finally got my desk back, I got caught up on the financials for the week. I have things running so smoothly that I can just do a quick update when I don't have a lot of time. That was last week when my inlaws were in town. This week I wanted to dive into things a little deeper now that DH's car is paid off.

Next up? Student Loan 1 and Citi BT!! Six months?? We'll see. I paid off DH's car in six months, but this is a little bit more to pay off. Well, I updated my sidebar and then scheduled another $125 to Student Loan 1. I still need to take a look at my other bank account and see how much "extra" is there. Smile

There is a down side to having DH's car paid off: he now thinks he can move on to his dream of driving a race car. *SIGH* Is it just me, or is it really more complicated than "buying a race car"? He KNOWS this too!! He volunteers on a pit crew for a Super Late Model car at a local track! To make matters worse: his parents will happily hand over $1000 for him to do this if we'll move back to Indiana. C'mon - who wants to scream with me?!?

Here's a little background: an untreated ADHD mind can destroy your life financially if you're not careful. He's diagnosed, textbook, and currently untreated. His mind isn't currently capable of seeing the impact his decisions can have in the long run. He wants a race car and he wants it NOW. I'm still trying to figure out how to get us working on the same page. He just sadly says our priorities are different.

Here are MY priorities, not quite finalized:
1. Pay off Student Loan 1
2. Pay off Citi BT
3. Build emergency fund - dollar amount TBD
4. Build "baby" fund

Then, I'm really not sure. You can absolutely count on #4 disappearing if we can't work out our differences on the race car issue. No way will I ever be able to explain the costs associated with medical bills, nevermind anything else.

Don't get me wrong: I WANT him to be able to race cars. I just don't see HOW we'll ever be able to afford it.

Well, those are the demons I'm battling today. And here I thought my biggest problem after the car payoff would be to talk him out of a big screen LCD TV...

Paid off DH's car today!

September 25th, 2009 at 12:05 am

So Lux is cleaning house?? Guilty. I'm one of the ones being beckoned back. I am here nearly every day reading and commenting, there's just a block when it comes to writing. I see I started an entry July 10th. I wanted to upload a pic and pics weren't working. Never came back to do that.

- How did Lux know?? Just this morning I transferred the money from savings, clicked a few buttons, and as of tomorrow - DH's car is paid off! This is at least three months earlier than anticipated - WITHOUT money from the sale of his old car. The savings account had been named "The XXXXX car payment fund". I transferred the money and renamed it "Yup, I stole it all..." DH hasn't noticed yet... hee hee...

- Paying off the car taught me a bit about the current state of our finances. I'm in REALLY good shape to tackle the next item: Student Loan 1. I need to update my sidebar - WAY out of date. It's nice though - I can see we've made some progress since I last updated it.

- My brother is HOME. Not overseas, not in the army, but HOME. For GOOD. He's actually the reason we never got any money for DH's old car. We had two people lined up to come see it the next day - one was a guaranteed sale. My brother sent me a text saying he needed a car. That was the end of that. We handed over the keys on a paid off, inspected, registered, insured vehicle and told him to figure his life out. Eh, he still hasn't. Inspection is up at the end of September. I told him at the time that I'd need the money by the end of the year to pay off DH's car. I'm glad I didn't immediately need that money and this is something we'll get worked out eventually. I'm just nervous since technically DH owns the car even though we haven't seen it for a couple months and the inspection is about up.

- My mother and I haven't spoken in two weeks due to a couple BAD (in my opinion) financial decisions she made. I'll save that for another entry. This is affecting my current mental state.

- I got a raise! Wow, that's great these days. It's about $20 net each week. Not too bad at all. It's effective 08/31/09, so I'll have to process 3 weeks of retro pay for myself. Yeah, tough being the payroll department.

- I am reading "More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies For Adults with ADHD" by Ari Tuckman. I really like it... but hate it. It says in the intro that it's your book, do what you want, yell at it if you want. I'm more inclined to start beating myself over the head with it. DH is so textbook ADHD and the more I understand about it, the better. He is diagnosed, but currently untreated. I feel he can only pursue treatment if we fully understand what sort of treatment would benefit him. Me reading and understanding is the only way things will get better. It's just a SLOW process. I AM learning a lot though.

- My YTD coupon savings must be over $2500 by now! I'm about a week behind on updating that info in the spreadsheet. I think this has a lot to do with helping us get the car paid off. We hardly buy anything anymore.

- Work has been VERY stressful for me lately. I think this is compounded by the problems with my mother and the problems in my own mind I am trying to sort out. I'm only one person and I'm tired of having to solve the world's problems. Yeah, it probably doesn't help that my boss suspects he has ADHD, but has never pursued this. *sigh* I know from experience that my mind does, but does not, mesh well with the ADHD mind. I'm WORKING ON THAT!

- Since I'm trying so hard to change myself, I'm actually taking more time for myself these days. Well, trying to. No matter what - the household stuff still needs to be done somehow. I'm just trying not to kill myself over it and trying to relax sometimes too.

- I do NOT miss TV!!! I am absolutely loving music again. I'm listening to a station on right now and this song is good. By Ian McCulloch of Echo and The Bunnymen. I'm learning "new to me" stuff that I missed from years ago. Love it!!! I'll still watch a tv show here and there, but not much. I don't have it on as background noise anymore. DH was even nice enough to notice it has been bothering me and he went upstairs to watch tv tonight. That was a HUGE move for him! Smile

That's about all I can come up with for now. Just taking it easy this evening. MUCH needed these days!!

Got my car back

May 2nd, 2008 at 04:17 pm

Got my car back yesterday - it runs and the A/C works! They said $850 and $850 it was. Actually, I got the work order back with a note and cash clipped to it. The note said: "sorry, I slipped a finger and charged you $852. here is the $2" Couldn't help but laugh over that! I really like this shop.

It was good to drive my car this morning! Curiously, my check engine light is gone. Not sure what that had to do with my A/C as it's throwing a fuel emissions code. I fully expect it to be back on by Sunday. There's nothing wrong with my car in this respect. The computer is just slightly confused.
Oh, my floor mat was also upside down - spiky side up. Can't figure out how you screw that up!

Glad not to have to carpool anymore. It wasn't so bad overall, but there are some "issues" at home and we both need some space. Four days of carpooling don't help that. It also doesn't help to feel trapped at home with no car. Although my only option if I want to get out of the house is to go shopping! That wont help either!

I requested some info to be mailed to me regarding a local support group that I feel might help me right now. I'm really nervous about that (not so great socially, though I'm not shy) but took the first step. Guess I wont think about it til the info arrives.

In other news, my mother got paid today and now I have to convince her to hold back on spending for the next 2 weeks. She's still not seeing the whole picture and doesn't understand how spending now impacts things months from now. She still owes the fuel company $339 for her last fill up and owes me $350 for the one before that! Last time I asked her when she was going to pay me back she told me to stop crying about it. I think she was joking, but I couldn't really tell. Right now it's looking like she can pay me back in AUGUST if she cuts back her spending. Maybe sooner with her stimulus payment, but I fully expect whining about it. She only got $600 and that doesn't even cover these two debts. At the moment, it's sitting in her old checking account that isn't as easily accessible.

Well, I think I should go enjoy the rest of my lunch break!

This and that

November 27th, 2007 at 01:16 am

Hello. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent a long weekend in Indiana with my inlaws. Got to meet our new nephew who turned a month old the day we arrived. The trip went ok I guess. Our expenses were probably as good as they could be. Where else can we have free room and board with two dogs and all it costs us is gas money to get there? We did spend a little money out at a bar Friday night, but that's what allowance money is for. Smile
But... whenever we are there we eat out EVERY meal. My stomach is not happy about that. I'm not used to eating out so much and my poor tummy can't handle it! At least we don't have to pay for the meals.
We exchanged Christmas gifts with them since we would all be together. I still don't think they've caught on how little money we spend on them!! We pick up gifts throughout the year when we find things at really cheap prices. Of course my inlaws hadn't even bought our gifts yet! I got mine and DH is still working on figuring out what he wants. I didn't get to choose, but I'm happy with their selection. I got two gifts: a set of vintage pyrex casserole dishes and a brand new Olympus 8.0 megapixel digital camera. Can ya guess which one meant more to me? Really, the camera is great... but picking up those vintage pyrex dishes was just much more thoughtful.
So.... the camera is great BUT I'm still running a dinosaur here with windows 98. 98 is becoming more and more obsolete and of course my new camera needs at least 2000 professional! So I'm in the process of setting up a dual boot system on this computer. Is it going smoothly? No. At least I got the usb working, but I still can't get the sound to work. I am typing this from the 2000 drive, so it's working for the most part. I still have yet to install my camera. Isn't that what I was supposed to be doing right now?? I'm curious to see what the pictures look like once I download them.

In other news: I'm kicking myself for the boneheaded thing I did. I'm also REALLY pissed off with Citibank. They changed the interface on their webpage recently and it's not very user friendly. I missed payments last week on two cards that had balance transfers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I log into my account, my first card shows all the details. The rest of the cards just showed the current balance, so I thought that meant no payment was due since it didn't say one was due. I realize now that I actually had to click on something to show all the details. I don't understand why they show for one but I can't get them to permanently show for the others. I tried calling to talk to someone but of course their system was down. I sent an email to customer service explaining the problem and I do have it in writing that I will not get any late fees. I'm certain that I WILL get hit with interest charges now though. I'm in the process of transferring the balance elsewhere. I have no choice and I know how this game is played. I just have NEVER EVER EVER (and I can not stress that enough) missed a payment for any reason. I'm so unbelieveably anal about this stuff that I drive everyone I know crazy. I can't go back to paper invoices because I just would not read them. I have a system in place that works very well for me and I do place some blame on Citibank with the changes they made.

On that note, I think I will try and install my new camera now as a distraction. Smile

A soldier's thoughts

July 15th, 2006 at 12:59 am

My brother wrote this in his blog this morning. I felt it was worth passing along. He is stationed somewhere in Afghanistan.

Thank God itís Friday!

Or it was Friday? I get so lost over here that I lose track of the days. I did not know it was Friday until I looked down at the clock to see what time it was. It is ok because the days of the week do not matter much to me.

I hope you all have big plans for the weekend. If not, go out and have some fun! Enjoy your freedom! Remember that not every one in this world is free so take advantage of what you have but DO NOT take advantage of people. Get together with the people you love and do something special for no reason at all.

I want to hear stories come Monday of all the things you did this weekend. Remind me why I am over here fighting for your freedom.

Every body needs to take some time to enjoy life.

Be safe and have a wonderful weekend!

Money back IN

March 29th, 2006 at 01:52 am

Wow, for once I finally feel like money went the other way! We returned several items to stores tonight, and got our money back. I had spent $26 on a suit I decided not to wear. It was a great deal, but just did not look right on me. Back it went! DH spent $30 on Madden 2006, but hadn't had time to open it yet. Good thing since I found out today a friend's son was looking to sell his. Worked out a deal where DH trades a $15 itunes card (he got for free) for the game! The itunes card will mean more to the kid than the game did. Back went the game! We also returned some other unused items for a total of $11. Walked out of the store after spending just $10. I got some body wash and DH got some shoe inserts - both on clearance. Got a couple other things as well. Only $1 was spent on a "want".

I've noticed we're watching more lately on what are wants and what are needs. DH did have something on ebay that he "had to have". The total came to $8.49, but I found a paypal coupon online that brought it down to $5.04. Not bad!! We do need to work quite a bit harder on controlling the spending around here. DH is just barely showing just a little interest in where the money goes. If I mention money, he instantly goes deaf. I can't force him to get interested, but it seems he might be coming around on his own.

Mom's budget

March 26th, 2006 at 03:23 pm

Ok, I'm finally going to step in and put my mother on a budget - and teach her to use it too! She's been trying on her own, but she's not looking at things right and it's not working for her. I went to visit her last weekend and started asking her all sorts of financial questions. I was HORRIFIED to find that 1) she is paying 20% interest on her car loan for the next 15 months and 2) she hasn't paid her property taxes since 2001 ! As of her February statement, she had a balance of $548.00 @ 12% and $1561.16 @ 18%. *SIGH* I had no idea this was going on and I know my brother must not have known about it either. Before he left home, he was making decent money and could have paid this off. My mother's way of thinking about bills is: if you ignore it, it will go away, right?

Well I'm still working on some numbers. I know what her definite bills are each month: rent, car insurance, electric, phone/internet, prescriptions, bank overdraft payments (balance of $387.00). Other household expenses include groceries, gas, church donations. I left out the car and property taxes because I'm working on a plan for a low interest rate to get these paid off. Ideally, I'd like to see this paid off in 2 years. Once I have a clearer picture of what's going on, that may have to stretch out to 2 1/2 years - at the most! I'm very happy about this plan, and I think she will be too.

She seems to be on board with this plan. Everything I have asked her to do so far she has done. She decided that she didn't need to make automatic payroll deductions for savings bonds. I showed her the cost comparison with her prescriptions - she can save just under 1/3 per month if she does the mail order pharmacy. I had her call Verizon and switch from the 29.95 to the 14.95 per month dsl plan. If my suspicions are correct, she wont even notice a speed difference.

Making progress!!

Down on luck

March 12th, 2006 at 06:10 pm

One of the things that depresses me the most is when people around me are so down on their luck. I am lucky that I have everything I NEED, quite a few WANTS, and a little extra to work on the debt I have. My mother called me friday to tell me she had a migraine. She got paid (every two weeks), paid the rent and electric, and had nothing left to live on for the next two weeks. She needs food! I HATE THAT! She works so hard and just does NOT have enough to get by with. She has rent, car payment, utilities, medication. She doesn't even make enough to cover these expenses. She is in the process of applying for prescription coverage assitance with the various pharmaceutical companies. That will help. Eventually my brother will be able to send her more money. He sent her $600 a couple months ago. That brought her current and got a little extra with the gas company. My brother just deployed to Afghanistan less than a week ago. Once money starts to build up in his bank accounts, he wont have any expenses and can send her money. I did immediately put a check in the mail Friday. I guess she didn't get it yet since she didn't say anything about it. It will probably arrive tomorrow. I didn't tell her it was on the way.

Then last night on the way to the grocery store, DH tells me how a neighbor asked him if we had any spare canned cat food or tuna. She needed food for her cat and couldn't afford to buy any. She's a single mom laid off from her job just this week. She also just found out she needs the brakes replaced on her car - rotors are shot. My spoiled brat doesn't eat canned food, but DH told her to go knock and see if I had some tuna. He doesn't know if she knocked or not, I was upstairs and couldn't hear the door. He didn't put two and two together and realize we were AT the store! I bought 12 cans of food for $3 and he put it on her front step. It's not there this morning, so I hope she found it.

This is just how I was raised - to help others when they need it. I certainly can't sit in my warm home, watching tv, browsing the internet, eating my food - when my mother can't afford food and a friend has hit hard times.

My brother's taxes

March 4th, 2006 at 07:23 pm

Thank goodness my brother had the common sense to save his final pay stub! He ships off to Afghanistan tomorrow and I've been bugging him for his final W2 I'm missing. He called them and they did have my address on file, but for some reason decided to send it to his old address in AZ. He called there - not there. I have all of his stuff here so I went through it. There was only one pay stub in his suitcase - the one that matters.

This should be a challenge. He worked for one month in NH. He worked a couple months in AZ. Then he joined the army, but he put down my address (in MA) as his address. The army took out MA state taxes, but he has never lived or worked in this state. I'm not sure how he should file. At least now I have all the info to get started. I'll work out the details later.

His address has since been changed to mom's house in NH. No state taxes there.

Military Deployment

February 26th, 2006 at 08:13 pm

Last July my brother (24 years old) finally decided to do something with his life, so he enlisted in the Army. He seems to really enjoy it, so I'm happy for him. He deploys for Afghanistan next week, either the 6th or 7th of March. He was really looking forward to going at first, but I think now he's getting a little nervous about it. He told me the other night he can't wait to come back home. This will be quite a change for him since before the army he was only familiar with his life at home in NH where we grew up.

I have access to all of his bank accounts and he's supposed to be setting up power of attorney - just in case it's ever needed. The only bill he currently has is his cell phone. He still needs to talk to them about suspending that for a while. I can't imagine a company would be stupid enough to not allow something like that for a military member. He hasn't called to ask though since he was afraid they'd shut off his phone earlier than he wanted them to.

I need to talk to him about moving his money to a high interest savings account while he's gone. If it's going to just sit there for a while, it might as well be working for him!


February 26th, 2006 at 08:00 pm

I've been a member of Saving Advice for quite a while. I've finally decided that starting a blog might be a good idea for me. It might do some good for me to "write" down some of my thoughts-even if no one reads the stuff!

My husband and I have been married for a little over four years. We've been together for over seven years, and I've been managing the finances for almost as long. I inform him of the things he needs to know about and I take care of the rest myself. I know according to some "experts", this isn't the way to do things, but it's the only way it works for us. He wants nothing to do with the household budget and I always obsess about ways to improve things! We both work full time and certainly have everything we NEED.

I consider myself to have a VERY good handle on financial matters. Several people I know think I should make a career change and become a financial planner. Not something I feel I have enough knowlege for - maybe someday though! Right now I have my hands full with my finances as well as advising my mother and brother.

I will write more about my fiancial concerns for myself and my family in separate entries.

Thanks for reading!