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Archive for January, 2015

Several Snippets

January 31st, 2015 at 08:56 pm

Wow January is over? In expense tracking related news, things are still going well. I have about $36 unaccounted for which is annoying, but not the end of the world. This could be vending machine snacks, gas, cash tips, or something I bought and forgot to ask for a receipt for. Regardless I just noted it on my spreadsheet as “I have no idea” so it would balance out lol.

In income related news I got a cost of living raise at my day job, which is good because that means more money toward debt and necessities. It just caught me by surprise because normally those adjustments are so low I do not notice any difference in my net income, but this time I definitely do. My 2nd job has cut hours due to less work and even though that is extra income it is still sad to see smaller checks. They are expecting work to pick up in February, so I am crossing my fingers.

My car insurance is up for renewal and will go down a couple bucks. I also reviewed my coverage and learned that there is no deductible for just liability/uninsured motorist coverage. All this time I thought I would have to pay a deductible if I got hit by someone with no coverage, but apparently not. My car is worth less than 3k and the mechanic says I should be able to get another 2-3 years out of it so I will continue with the same coverage.

I also was able to add that class I wanted to take for professional development purposes and I must say it was kind of exciting to just pay cash for the tuition and books. I could have used this money to knock out some more debt, but in the long run this will lead to more income and it was a way to celebrate getting rid of that title loan. Normally I would celebrate by going out to dinner with my family, but I did not tell any of them about that loan because it was entirely too embarrassing. Advancing my career is an even better celebration =)

Something Suspicious

January 31st, 2015 at 08:55 pm

Given how wonky my spending was this month I figured I would wait until the end of the month to add funds to my EF. So I go to log in to Barclays and get an error saying my account is blocked or not recognized. Odd. I know I am using the correct user name and password and I received no contact from them indicating a problem. Well apparently there is no way to request a password reset online (and that may not even be the problem) so I actually have to call them to get to the bottom of it. I am already very skeptical of online accounts and this is not making me feel any better about it. Hopefully this is some weird computer glitch that can be quickly remedied otherwise I will happily close my account and forgo a good interest rate at a brick and mortar institution.

Update....
So I called Barclays this morning (now Feb 1st) to find out what was wrong with my account. The rep couldn't find a single thing wrong with my account or my log in information. He said the only thing that was strange was that I was logging in via their main site, which I should be able to do, but it wasn't letting me for some reason. He gave me the direct link for their banking site and logging in there worked fine. My money is where it should be and my information is safe, but that was still really weird.

Thoroughly Tracking

January 22nd, 2015 at 07:59 pm

Expense tracking is off to a good start for 2015 and I am glad I used December as a practice run. I am noticing that consciously asking for receipts or recording cash purchases in my cell phone to later add to my spreadsheet often makes me ponder whether I actually need the item or if there might be a more affordable option. I even surprised myself by actually taking some coupons to the grocery store when normally I keep forgetting them and then they expire unused.

Spending this month has been a little crazy due to a business trip I had to take, but I submitted my receipts for reimbursement immediately after my return. I did quite a bit of research to keep my costs low regardless and that worked out very well. In addition to this my car needed new tires, front brakes, and an oil change. All necessary maintenance, but still costly despite the deals I was given. I am also hoping to take a class for professional development purposes and will be paying out of pocket for that at the end of the month if my add request is approved.

Toodle-oo Title Loan Torture

January 22nd, 2015 at 07:41 pm

It was just after the New Year that I got an updated statement from the title loan company and I was happy to see that the balance was finally under $500. On my next paycheck I sent them a final payment and thought good riddance. They will forward my title as soon as they have removed themselves as lien holder and I will go back to owning my vehicle outright. This debt is finally dead and this experience (life lesson?) will never be repeated. The final numbers are as follows:

Amount Financed $3090.00

Amount Paid $9983.35

Yes those numbers are daunting, but as I mentioned in a prior post part of the reason the amount paid ended up being so high was because I wound up paying late or making partial payments on so many occasions. When that happens generally they apply payments to late fees, finance charges, and interest before going anywhere near the principle just like most other debts. That is also how they make their outrageous profits, much like payday lenders.

Thinking back to the dire circumstances that led me to get this loan in the first place leaves me with mixed feelings. I did have to deal with that situation and at the time there were no better financial options available so I cannot say I regret doing it. However, I do regret not having educated myself earlier on about how to put myself in a better financial position so that the odds of me going this route were significantly reduced. Oh how grateful I am to be doing things differently going forward.

While I am happy to be done with this debt I think I expected to feel differently when it was over. This frees up so much income to throw at other debts and savings and I guess I expected to feel more inspired to pursue those goals. Instead I just feel kind of flat and like doing nothing. That is not realistic and I will not actually do that, but I am surprised to feel that way.

Out with the Old?

January 10th, 2015 at 06:27 pm

Wow 2015. I have actually just spent the first week of the New Year trying to take in all the progress I have made and all the goals I have set for myself. As mentioned in the sidebar, my goals are in no particular order largely because it was too exhausting trying to decide what should come first. I have had enough stress the last few years and do not want to continue that way going forward. Once I felt centered I figured I would just be guided to handle each goal in whatever order I was meant to and that would be ok.

So here I am having a loungey TV binge day at home (I just discovered Switched at Birth and am almost done with season 1) and there is a knock on my door. I am not the type to have guests so knocks are usually the landlord, someone needing directions, or well meaning religious types. Turns out it was one of my neighbors that I have seen around a few times. I have lived in this complex for a few years, but I pretty much keep to myself or am gone a lot so I do not really know any of the other tenants. She came by to inquire about my old car (the one I still need to deal with) that I have parked here and registered in non-operational status. I just told her that it is a hunk of junk that no longer runs (which is true), I am still making payments on it (not exactly true), and when it is paid off I am dumping it at the nearest junkyard.

Well funny thing is she loves it and does not care how much work it needs. She thinks it is adorable, is mechanically inclined, and sees it as a fun project for herself. She said when I am done paying on it she would love to take it off my hands. Visually it is cute so I kind of get that, but why on earth would she want to waste the time and money fixing it up? I rattled off all the repairs I had to do over the years because of its poor design, the high cost of insurance (I do not currently have it insured to save money), and just what a huge pain in the ass it turned out to be despite its cuteness lol. And after all that she is still interested! Weird right? I guess this is the universe telling me that I should begin working on this goal now.

I actually do not know the current status of the vehicle and was thinking of using that EAP service through my employer to talk with a lawyer about it. When things got bad (as detailed in my post The Indebted and the Irresponsible) I was not able to keep up with the payment and the lender would not work with me, surprise surprise. I figured they would eventually just pick up the car, but that did not happen. Then a couple of years ago I got some tax forms (which I filed as part of my return) in the mail related to the loan because I assume they were writing it off their books. They still did not pick up the car, I still do not have the title, and I have not heard from them since those tax forms so the status is unclear to me.

At this point it is not really worth anything so taking it back would not do them any good, but I am thinking there is room to reach some kind of settlement on whatever amount they were not able to write off in exchange for the title. That is why I figured talking to a lawyer might be a good idea and then they could handle that kind of negotiation and explain all the fine print to me. If that is indeed possible and my neighbor is still interested then I have no problem letting her have it as I am ready to let it go.