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Archive for April, 2008

Identity theft, my credit score and WTF????

April 29th, 2008 at 06:55 pm

Last week I got a letter from the administrator of my daughter's 529 plan that said a hard drive with client information was missing and I was among those whose vital records were on it.
The administrator included a number of options to "safeguard" clients like myself against identity theft. Among them was signing up for a service that would alert me to anything changing on my credit report.

Today, I signed up for this and in the process was given my current credit score. I was surprised to find that it's still in the excellent range -- despite all my debt. Now, I'm thinking WTF?!?!?!?!?!

I mean, come on, aside from my booming side business, I have very little reportable income. And, as you can all see, my debt is HUMONGOUS!!!! (Plus, there was that unfortunate incident last year when I was more than 30 days late on my credit card.....)

So someone tell me, just what are these credit folks thinking rating my credit score as excellent????

I'm no financial genius (obviously), but I think it's safe to say my credit score should be around the "sucks to downright stinks" rating.

More for the challenge and paying down debt

April 26th, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Another freelance check came in the mail today. After putting $262.50 into my tax fund, I'm putting the remaining $787.50 into the challenge. That brings the total to $9,725.30.

I also got the rest of my payout from my savings to put toward paying off my credit card debt so I've adjusted the savings and debt figures over there on the left.

A little more for the challenge

April 24th, 2008 at 09:36 pm

I made all of $2.97 from an eBay sale so I'm adding that to the challenge. The new total is $8,937.80.

Grrrrrr....

April 23rd, 2008 at 06:50 pm

I'm having one of those weeks....

The other day -- the day I called in sick with vertigo -- my husband's car broke down in the middle of a major intersection near our house. He had Mini Me in the car with him so I ran over and got her and then we went to the nearby garage to wait for the tow truck to show up with my husband's car. A while later, in drives my husband. Apparently the car decided to start again -- but it would only run if my husband kept his finger on the ignition switch.

The mechanic looked at it and said the ignition switch or some do-hickey had to be replaced -- for $600 (thank you, car repair fund....).

Also that night, I realized our rice cooker, which I had dropped a few days ago, was broken. It still will cook the rice, but the plastic is cracked, there are all these wires sticking out of it and one of the legs is broken so I have to stick a plate under one side if I want it to be level. (Did I mention it bounced a few times when I dropped it?) So that'll need replacing sometime soon.

Then, yesterday, I realized why I had vertigo -- it's because my husband has shared his nasty cold with me and my ears, head, sinuses, chest, whole body are a mess now. But, like an idiot, I went to work at the "office" job anyway (since the full cold hadn't hit yet and I was at the moment feeling OK). Work itself wouldn't have been so bad if some crazy lady hadn't gone ballistic in the middle of the "office" right before I was scheduled to leave.

Said Crazy Lady has done this numerous times over the last few weeks, but never to this extent. My response is to let the person in charge deal with her, because I'm sorry but I'm not making enough money to deal with crazy people.

So, while I was calling the person in charge (who just happens to be a control freak), Crazy Lady got right in a coworker's face in a very confrontational, threatening manner. Coworker told her to back off or she was calling the cops. Crazy Lady didn't, so Coworker did and in the course of all this Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge shows up.

I then went about my business (figuring one more crazy lady/control freak wasn't going to help matters), but while standing there counting down the minutes until I was off Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge came over and whispered to me "I really think the person in charge should deal with this and I hope nobody calls the police."

I point out that Coworker is still on the phone with the police, who appear to be on their way. And then Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge whispered to me: "That's not the procedure...."

At this point, I almost went crazy-lady ballistic as well, but instead I ever so nicely told her to shove the procedure up her you-know-what and that if anyone feels threatened it is fully within their rights to call the police if they so please. Then I walked off to count my blessings that I'll soon be rid of the "office" job.

I thought that would be the end of it, but after four policemen hauled Crazy Lady out, Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge came over to me and said "I'm not second guessing anyone." To which I replied that she was doing just that the second she whispered her little procedure comment to me and shame on her for putting someone's safety before procedure.

She said she didn't know what to say to me and I said "What about 'sorry'?" She then looked at me all befundled and wandered off to dwell on how to control the rotation of the Earth on its axis.

I'm still waiting for an apology. I figure I won't get one. But I do figure I'll be hearing from Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge and the real freaks in charge at the "office" job about this little incident sometime between now and the end of my tenure there.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that should have been said to any of us worker bees by Control-Freak-Person-in-Charge was: "Is everyone OK?"

That's my story and I'm sticking to it and I dare one of those "office" bosses to question me on this one!

(And this is why I am the best CEO of ME!!!!)

More for the challenge

April 22nd, 2008 at 03:31 pm

Sold something on eBay yesterday, so I'm adding $5.50 to the challenge. The new total is $8,934.83.

Another challenge addition and car trouble

April 22nd, 2008 at 03:19 am

I got $3 for doing a survey, so I'm putting that toward the challenge. The new total is $8,929.33.

My husband's car died on the way home tonight. He thinks it's something to do with the electrical system and is an "easy" fix (i.e. cheap). I hope he's right because shopping for a car right now sounds about as appealing as getting a root canal.....

I'm kind of sick....

April 21st, 2008 at 07:43 pm

I called in sick to the "office" job today. I'm down to my last 30 days there and the motivation is just not there most days. I woke up dizzy -- seriously -- so I decided it was grounds enough to stay home. That means I won't get paid, but it also means I'm not leaving the house and won't spend money. I haven't had a no-spend day in a few weeks, so it'll be good for me.

By the way, did I mention that I really AM dizzy? I'm not sure what it is. I have no other symptoms, but every now and then a severe wave of vertigo hits. Probably a good thing I'm not driving today....

More challenge money

April 20th, 2008 at 12:03 am

Mr. Postman delivered a nice freelance check to me this afternoon to the tune of $900. Since I've already met the minimum income requirements for this month, it's all going into the challenge, which makes the new total $8,926.33.

Less is more if you ask me

April 18th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I got the first of my two savings payouts to put toward my debt, so I've updated my totals over there on the left. On one hand, it hurts to see my savings take a nosedive, but I won't miss those monthly payments to Chase.

Another eBay sale

April 17th, 2008 at 08:08 pm

I made $14.77 on eBay today (after shipping) so the new challenge total is $8,026.33.

More for the challenge/dental fund....

April 16th, 2008 at 12:53 am

I made $13.32 on eBay today, so it's going into the challenge. The new total is $8,011.56.

$*(#(@) Delta Dental Insurance

April 15th, 2008 at 09:17 pm

Here's a conversation I just got done having with a Delta Dental lackey (seriously):

Me: Can you tell me why Delta won't pay for an emergency exam I had last month for a tooth infection?

Delta Lackey: Because we only pay for two exams a year.

Me: Yes, but this wasn't a regular exam. This was an emergency exam. I woke up and my tooth was throbbing and my face was swollen up like the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Lady.

Delta Lackey: But under your plan, we only cover two exams a year.

Me: So, how was my dentist supposed to diagnose me if he couldn't examine me?

Delta Lackey: I'm not sure.

Me: So what you're telling me is the next time I have a toothache if I've already had my two regular cleanings for the year I will need to wait until the next year to get the toothache examined if I want Delta to kick in its share of the bill?

Delta Lackey: Yes or pay out of pocket for the exam portion of the emergency.

Me: Doesn't this seem a little bit absurd to you since I'm already paying you all my money for dental insurance to begin with?

Delta Lackey: Yes, I see what you're saying.....

As much as I want to, I won't

April 15th, 2008 at 01:13 pm

I decided over the weekend (after hearing back from all three of you) to do the unthinkable and take some money from my vast savings to pay off a wee bit of my vast debt. This will give me a little bit of breathing room and allow me to speed up my debt snowballing, plus will free me from Chase forever. (My husband assures me that when I'm old and decrepit he'll support me with his vast retirement, so that was an added incentive.....)

So, yesterday I called Vanguard and got the ball rolling on the payout. I did have to switch my remaining 401K to an IRA to make all this happen, but I should have the check in my hot little hands by the end of the week and be a little bit less in debt by next week.

When I got back from running yesterday, I had a message to call Chase. Apparently they have an answer to my request last week not to raise my interest rate. I wrote the number down and then went on my merry way -- determined not to call them so that I wouldn't start second guessing myself if they suddenly said they love me and want me to be their friend forever so they won't start messing with my interest rate (YEAH RIGHT......)

It then ate at me all afternoon -- I so wanted to know their answer. However, my husband told me just to leave it alone and wash my hands of them so I burned the phone number last night.

I won't call. I won't call. I won't call. I won't call.....

Only I would be so clueless....

April 15th, 2008 at 01:32 am

I actually went to the post office today to mail some packages and couldn't figure out why it was so crowded.... DUH! April 15. TOMORROW!!!!

Rolling in the dough....

April 15th, 2008 at 12:48 am

I'm adding a whopping $3.65 to the challenge from the eBay proceeds. The new total is $7,998.24.

Finally, something other than the challenge to blog about....

April 11th, 2008 at 03:20 pm

I am thinking the unthinkable.... I am thinking of dipping into my vast savings to pay down my debt. Specifically, I am thinking of paying off my United Mileage Plus card, which has a balance of $23,867.86.

Why this sudden change of heart? Well, basically, I'm tired of Chase trying to set me up to fail.

Yes, I'm have decided that Chase -- the bank behind the card -- would love to see me not be able to make my monthly payment on time and in full. Thus bringing more money to its coffers in the form of late fees and increased finance charges.

You see, yesterday I got a letter from Chase saying they were raising my interest rate. I called and politely asked "WTF?" and they transferred me around to four different people -- disconnecting me altogether at one point. I finally got Jamie, who I have to say was one of the nicest, most helpful credit card employees that I have ever spoken to.

I nicely walked him through my situation (nicely always being the key when asking credit card companies to play fair). He then walked me through Chase's situation. I then nicely pointed out to him that Chase was setting me -- and others in the same position -- up to fail and dig a deeper hole for themselves. He said he fully understood my situation/point and even admitted he's in the same boat himself. He then walked me through my options. And, without outright telling me what to do, suggested highly what I could do to get Chase to lower my interest rate even more instead of raising it.

As we were chatting, he took some info from me and said he was going to submit a request for a lower rate for me. He said it's unusual for Chase to accept the request on the first try, especially considering my current state (which I won't bore you with the details). I said I appreciated him at least trying. He said if it didn't go through to make sure I call back monthly to see if I could eventually get it approved. I said I would. He then said he'd have an answer for me in the next 48 hours.

Then I obsessed about it overnight and I decided if Chase doesn't agree to at least leave my interest rate alone then I'm going to take the plunge and dip into my retirement funds to pay off the card, and be rid of Chase and credit cards forever. (Yes, Chase is my one and only personal credit card debt.)

I have already figured out that I can save the money I was putting toward the card and in 5 years have the total amount I withdraw from my retirement fund paid off. I will have to investigate my investment options, though, since I'm pretty sure my husband and I have priced ourselves out of the Roth IRA market. But, that's a minor inconvenience for something that will ease my mind greatly.

I am still digesting it all while I wait for Jamie to call me back. Even if Chase does agree to leave my interest rate alone, I'm kind of leaning toward just cutting my ties with them altogether.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking do I really need this financial news when I just gave notice at the office job to focus on building up the booming side business even more?

I DON'T THINK SO!

Now, tell me what you would do and explain your reasoning? Also, tell me what you know about the Roth IRAs income limits. (And, be nice! I'm not in a very good mood here. I'm having a bad hair day. ...)

I really must find something else to write about....

April 10th, 2008 at 08:12 pm

I need to come up with something else to blog about. Instead, all I've got today is another addition for the challenge of $31.60. That brings the new total up to $7,994.59.

More for the challenge and rectified the shipping problem

April 9th, 2008 at 09:10 pm

I shipped another eBay item today. My proceeds after shipping were $31, which I'm adding to the challenge. My new total is $7,993.99.

I also rectified my shipping dilemma with eBay by picking up a flier at the post office that outlines the exact costs for flat rate shipping. It's illustrated and includes international rates, so it'll be much easier to use than eBay's shipping estimator.

More for the challenge

April 8th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Sold some more stuff on eBay yesterday, so I'm adding $21.81 to the challenge. The new total is $7,962.99.

More for the challenge and other odds and ends

April 7th, 2008 at 05:07 pm

I sold some stuff on eBay last night and got it all shipped off this morning so I'm adding $26.40 to the challenge. The new total is $7,941.18.

I need to be better about calculating postage. I always underestimate the shipping costs and then end up using more of my proceeds for shipping than I would like. Any suggestions from eBay sellers out there?

****

I got up early to do some work on the booming side business (soon to be the only business) and I also swam a mile. I'm now exhausted and it's only 11 a.m. Not a good thing since I need to go into the "office" job today to give notice and maybe get some work accomplished there as well. It's shaping up to be a high caffeine day....



Ready to take a leap of faith

April 6th, 2008 at 02:07 pm

I have decided to give notice at my "office" job tomorrow. I will work through the middle of May, but it's time to clue them in.

I was going to wait until May 1 to give notice, but went back to the "office" job yesterday for the first time in two weeks and realized I really do not want to be there any more.

Since the booming side business is still booming and is more than enough to meet my financial needs, I feel like I am doing the right thing.

Yes, the booming side business could come crashing down, but for now I'm willing to bet that it'll keep me going for a while.

More challenge money

April 6th, 2008 at 12:34 am

Got a small freelance check of $50 today so I'm putting it toward the challenge. The new total is $7,914.78.

Frugal news

April 5th, 2008 at 01:56 am

I just read this on CNN and thought of everyone here.

I was stunned by the sentence that said the average American family spends $800 to $900 a month on groceries. I don't think I've ever paid this much for groceries in one month even before I started shopping with coupons....

Taking preventative action

April 4th, 2008 at 03:12 pm

I noticed a slight drip under my kitchen sink this morning, so I called Vince the Plumber to come take a look. Normally, I'd just hand my husband a wrench and tell him to go at it, but about once a year my kitchen sink backs up (usually in the middle of the night) and I end up calling the plumber to snake the line out since it requires some heavy industrial snake to clear it every time -- not something the average homeowner can rent.

Instead of waiting for the big flood that usually accompanies the back up, this year I'm taking preventative action and having Vince snake the line out even though there's no problem yet.

It'll probably cost a couple hundred bucks, but it's better than the cost of a midnight visit from Vince the night before we leave on vacation (which has happened in the past).

Vince is coming tomorrow afternoon. I can hardly wait to see him for once....

Free flowers

April 3rd, 2008 at 10:52 pm



While standing around after the shindig last night thinking about how much my feet hurt in high heels and wondering when my husband would be done chatting up some stuffy guys in suits, I was approached by a banquet worker carrying a tray of centerpieces from the evening's dinner. She asked if I would like to take one home. (This was after the event was over.)

My husband paused long enough to say "Yes, she would" before carrying on his conversation.

I'm thinking this is his way of saying "Thank you" for being his arm candy despite being a walking germ factory. What a deal he got, huh.....

Me and Frida

April 3rd, 2008 at 07:46 pm

After swinging by the gas station ($48) and hitting Starbucks for my venti black iced tea sweetened ($2) this morning, I drove way out south for my meeting, which was actually a training session that covered stuff I didn't really want to learn. (Too much information for a job I'm quitting in a month anyways....)

Then I stopped in at a spa/salon to get an eyebrow wax. I rarely splurge on such things, but I noticed yesterday while dressing for my fancy schmancy dinner that my "eyebrows" were becoming an "eyebrow." Yes, unibrow was threatening to show itself, which might be OK if you're Frida Kahlo but not if you're me. So I thought the $36 (with tip) was money well spent.



After that painful experience (try it sometime guys....), I had every intention of getting my running shoes, but first felt the need to eat lunch so I stopped for a fish taco ($7). As I was sitting there chowing down, it occurred to me that I still felt like poo so I came home instead of driving across town to the running store.

All in all, still a spendy day....



A surprising no-spend day yesterday

April 3rd, 2008 at 02:01 pm

I picked my husband up on the way to the fancy schmancy dinner (which was lovely by the way) and he ended up paying for parking, so I technically had a no-spend day yesterday.

Today, though, I have to drive to another town for a meeting and I need gas in the car so a no spender isn't going to happen. I also need Starbucks, which I haven't had forever, so I'm treating myself in hopes that I'll survive sitting through a work-related meeting that I'm dreading.

Depending on my energy level after enduring the meeting, I might stop and get new running shoes with some birthday money I've been hording. So I'm not even anticipating a "low-spend" day.

Accessorizing with a box of Kleenex

April 2nd, 2008 at 04:57 pm

I'm taking my red, chapped nose and seal bark out tonight since my husband needs a date for his work event.

I had planned on getting a manicure, so my hands wouldn't look like I was just digging up the back 40 (which I was). However, I'm trying to conserve my energy today, so I've decided to skip it and save some money.

I do have to pay for valet parking at the hotel where the event is being held since there's no way I'm hoofin' it in high heels. (And, yes, that money will be coming from my husband's parking stash.....)

This is the dress I've decided to wear (since I know BA and DisneySteve were dying to see it....):



Hopefully it won't clash too much with the box of tissues I'll be carrying with me.

The first no spender of the month

April 2nd, 2008 at 02:01 am

The good thing about being sick was that I didn't go anywhere to spend money -- not even to the tailor shop to pick up my husband's tuxedo pants for tomorrow night....

Hey, where'd that post go????

April 2nd, 2008 at 01:17 am

In case you missed it, I very briefly posted a link to my other secret blog with a warning that the post would expire very soon. Sure 'nuff, it's gone now. Back to just me and my boring ol' financial life....


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