Archive for August, 2008

Women’s Day Mag

Today I was reading the Women’s Day Mag & one of the articles is titled 11 Easy Ways To Put Money In Your Pocket. A few of the items listed, I was already aware of. However there was one that I didn’t. “#1 – Entertain the Family for Free.” If you are a Bank of America customer, you can get in free to 73 museums across the country the first weekend of each month. All you have to do is show them your Bank of America debt card, credit card, or ATM card. There is more information at the website http://bankofamerica.com/museums

I think this is a very good thing for Bank of America to do. I’m a BoA customer, so this would be cool if I lived a little closer to a major city listed on the site. The closest one currently is Chicago. I eventually plan on taking a trip to Chicago so I’ll have to remember this for later.

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Misc. Income

I mentioned in another post that I signed up for a Chase Freedom credit card. The last thing I needed was a new credit card, but I did request my $50 bonus rebate check. That should show up in the next week or two. I’m also waiting on my $7 survey check from Opinion Outpost. I’ve been trying to earn money through surveys, but it’s a very slow process for me. Most of the time I don’t qualify. Sometimes it’s annoying, but most of the time I don’t mind. I just wish I would qualify more often. The pay from surveys isn’t much, but something is better than nothing.

I’m also still waiting for my rebates from recycling my cell phone & my old laptop. I’m supposed to get $70 for the cell phone, but only $16 for the laptop. I don’t care though, because like I said something is better than nothing. And if I didn’t recycle my laptop it would still be sitting on my bedroom floor taking up space. I have another laptop that I could recycle, but I’m not able to erase my hard drive. I don’t like the idea of sending it in  with all of my files on it. Maybe I’ll find away to erase the hard drive so I can send it in. I’ll look into that this weekend.

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Debt Consolidation & Reduction

After checking out a debt consolidation company’s website &  the Better Business Bureau’s website, my dad decided to give them a call. I helped him print off all the credit card accounts that we have access to online & helped him get everything in order. My parents have two options to choose from. One that has a much lower payment per month, but will probably negatively affect their credit score. Or one that has a somewhat lower payment per month & probably won’t hurt their credit score. They’re obviously going to take the second option. This option will lower the amount they are paying now towards their debt & will help them get it paid off in 5 years. However, they will not be allowed to own any credit cards. I don’t see a problem with this, but my mom did. She thinks everyone “has” to have at least one credit card. I explained to her that no one “has” to have a credit card & there are many people who have taken the road less traveled & choose to live without one. The perfect example is NCN over at No Credit Needed. He doesn’t use credit cards & neither do a lot of people. There’s a lady that works with my aunt who doesn’t even have a debit card. I know this because back when I worked for a department store, we had this “event” we had to sell fragrance & cosmetic items for & this woman was nice enough to order a few items from me. The only problem was we needed a credit card or a debit card number to charge on the day of the event. She explained to me that she had gotten herself into some trouble with credit cards. After she got herself out of the situation she was in, she vowed never to use a credit card or debit card again. She said it was just too great of a temptation.

I think she’s right. I too sometimes get the urge to spend what I don’t have. I love cosmetics, even though most of them are not good for the enviroment, & I love electronics! I’ve had several different brands & styles of cell phones since I first got one at age 18. I have a habit of wanting to have the newest & best out there. I know I don’t really need these things, but these are some of the things that sometimes drive me to spend money I don’t have. That’s why I think it’s great that my parents won’t be able to use credit for a while. Maybe they will find out they’re much happier without the cards & choose not to get new ones when they’re able to. I would love to go back to the days when I didn’t have a credit card. It’s much easier to talk yourself out of buying something if you don’t have the money or the ability to charge it. I think once I get my credit card paid off that I will cancel all credit cards & try going without them for a while.

And since we’re talking about credit cards…

I posted earlier about my Citibank card offering a 0% interest rate on any balances I transfer until March 2009. I did go ahead & transfer my balances over. So now I only have one card with a balance!!! I can’t really consider my other accounts paid in full until the balances are paid off on the Citibank card, but at least it’s just one payment now instead of several. This should make my budgeting a little bit easier & hopefully I’ll be able to pay extra money towards it since there’s no interest. Once the credit card is gone I can focus on paying off my auto loan. That would be awesome! It’s been several years since I haven’t had to pay a car loan. That is definitely something I’m looking foward to. And I have every intention of driving my vehicle until the wheels fall off, so to speak. I don’t want to have another auto loan for a very long time!

[Edit: Asgreen over at Always The Planner has made reference to my post & has done some research about a company called Freedom Debt Relief. Thank you for the mention! 🙂 The company that my family is using is called Amerix Corporation. They have a satisfatory rating with the BBB. ]

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Family Situation

So far this blog as been all about me. Normally, I don’t like to share my or my family’s personal business. However, since this is anonymous & for learning & reflect purposes, I will share some of our situation. My family’s situation extends into more then just my own personal debt. My parents have been married for 20+ years & it wasn’t until the end of last year that the rest of us found out that my father had a gambling problem. No one had a clue. Yes we knew that dad liked to go to the casino once in awhile, but he didn’t go all the time. For awhile, he would maybe go once a week. Then there were years where he didn’t go at all. Little did we know that even though he didn’t go frequently, he was losing large amounts of money most of the time he was there. What’s even worse is that he was using credit cards to gamble, losing the money, then using the credit cards to pay our bills. A VERY BAD No-No. My mom always wondered why didn’t have money to go on vacation & we didn’t live an extraggant lifestyle. My parents are self-employed & for a long time the only days they didn’t work were Thanksgiving & Christmas day. Dad was always the one who handled the money. Anytime mom asked questions, dad would just get mad & yell at her. That should have been an indicator to my mom. That one single thing should have put up a big red flag letting her know something was wrong. But my mom never really pushed the subject very hard. They’d argue about money & then she’d let it go. I think subconsciously she didn’t want to know.

We didn’t find out about dad’s problem in nearly enough time to stop it. And the only reason we found out at all is because of me. I’m the type to push the envelope with things & after finding out that dad had ran up the bill on a credit card in both my parents’ names, I got curious. Where was the money going? Why didn’t we have a better home life? Why wouldn’t my dad fill out the financial aid form when I first went to college? So I did something that technically would be considered illegal. I looked up his credit score online. I know I know, it wasn’t my business to get into, but this hasn’t only hurt my dad. This has affected my whole family. My mother has a lot of health problems & she can’t work. Although she can’t work, she also can’t collect disability. So the only income my parents’ have is the business my dad runs. If something were to happen to my dad, his life insurance would just barely cover the debt he’s in. I’m scared that something will happen to my dad & leave our family broke. Another fear I have is that something happens to my mom & then my dad ends up blowing what little life insurance she has. I’m scared for my whole family. This is the main reason I work so hard & have 2 jobs to support myself & pay some of the bills at my parents house. This is the main reason I haven’t moved out of my parents’ house. They need the extra help. My brother & sister are a little younger & still live in the land of denial. They don’t fully understand or accept the consequences of my dad’s actions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my dad. I ALWAYS will. And I know that he loves us. I personally believe that gambling addiction is a disease. His father had it & he has it & by the Grace of God neither me, my brother or sister will end up with it. He always thought that he’d be able to get the money back, but couldn’t. I know it may have been wrong to find out the way I did, but Thank God I did. I don’t regret what I did at all. We needed to know so we could all make an effort. Thankfully we at least found out about it now rather than later. We’ve all been trying to work toward getting the payments current & lowering the debt so my parents’ can work with a consolidation company to get things under control. We were turned down once before, but that’s been 6-month ago. We’re going to try again this week & hopefully this time it will work.

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New Week

It’s Monday. Lately Monday has become my “favorite” day of the week. The reason being that Monday means going back to my regular job & not working at my weekend job. I know I’ve probably complained a lot about this part-time job. I think the reason I dislike my weekend job so much is because it means I don’t get a day off. Working 7 days a week is definitely not fun. I don’t know how some people do it. I know I need the extra money, but I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to keep working there. So many little things at the convience store annoy me.

 I see the same people every day. Sometimes 3 -5 times in one day! They buy the same exact thing. There’s nothing new about it. Yesterday I saw the same guy 3 times. Two of the times he came in to get coffee & the third time he exchanged a propane tank. There’s a couple that always comes in & they both get coffee refills. I saw them 3 times as well. There’s an older guy that comes in & every day he wastes his money on pull-tabs & lottery tickets. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I buy a lottery ticket, but I definitely don’t spend all my money on pull-tabs & scratch tickets. What’s fun about that? There are plenty of other ways I could think to spend my money. Why doesn’t he save it? Go on vacation instead of coming into the convience store every day? Another guy comes in on Saturday & Sunday always buys an 18 pk of Busch Light, a pk of Marlboro Lights & Marlboro Menthol Lights. Why don’t people buy in bulk? If he knows he’s going to be drinking over the weekend & he knows that he & his wife always smoke cigarettes, then why doesn’t me save some time & money by buying a larger pk of beer & a carton of both kinds of cigarettes?

Maybe it’s just me, but it makes sense to buy larger quantities at once rather then making several smaller trips. I hate to multiple trips if I don’t need to. I live about 2 blocks from another convience store & I can’t even remember the last time I was there. I guess I’m more of a homebody. As soon as I get done with work, I like to go home & stay home. I apologize if anyone finds offense in this blog, it’s not my intention. I suppose I just don’t understand how some people think at times.

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CVS Trip

2 Bic Wite Out – 2/$3.00 – $1.00 Off Coupon = $2.00

2 Glade Airfreshner – $0.88 ea – BOGO Free Coupon = $0.88

2 Puffs boxes – $0.88 ea – (2) $0.25 off Coupons = $1.26

3 Crest Toothpaste – $1.99 ea – (3) $1.00 EBC ea – (3) $1.00 Off Coupons = +0.03

4 Oral-B Toothbrushes – $1.99 ea – (4) EBC ea – (2) 2/$1.00 Off Coupons = $1.96

 

Subtotal = $14.50

Total ECB = $7.00

Grand Total = $7.50

 

Not bad I’d say. Yes, I still spent $7.50 of my own money. But I still think I did a good job. Toothpaste & toothbrushes should last a while!

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Paycheck 8/22

This week is payday!! Yippie!! I love payday. The bad thing is, is that the money is going to leave as quickly as it showed up. Well most of it anway. This is how this week’s paycheck breaks down:

Paycheck Amount – $716.31 (Full-time job only, Part-time job is not included)

$195.30 – Utilities

$263.68 – Credit Cards

$85.00 – Student Loan

$50.00 – Fuel

This leaves me with $148.18 left over. Depending upon what my part-time paycheck ends up at, I may increase the amount I put towards my credit cards. I try not to leave too much “left over” money floating around or else I’ll probably spend it. Thankfully once I’m able to transfer all the credit balances to one card, I only have to worry about making one large payment rather then several smaller payments through out the month. Plus like I mentioned in the last post, it’s interest-free until March 1, 2009. I’m excited about not paying any interest! This will definitely save me money in the long run.

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