Tag Archives: money

Confused

Have you ever made a decision thinking it was a good one and then a week or a month later began to think maybe it was not such a good decision? That’s where I am at right now.

I took a promotion at work with some trepidation. I had been offered the job twice before and declined each time. I didn’t feel prepared to take the job. My daughter was still very young. She is a few years older now. The time I can spend with my daughter is very precious. I am lucky that I have a very supportive sister and mother who will care for my daughter anytime I ask. Being a single mother I worry about babysitters and child care services, I am not always trusting when it comes to my baby girl. Not to mention the money those services cost. When I was offered the job this time I considered it briefly before accepting. I asked for a 90 day probation period, I was given 60 but told they would prefer 30. After almost 30 days I spoke with the owner and received a salary offer that wasn’t quite what I hoped but was sufficient. I waited a few days and then accepted the offer. It has been 4 days and I am now wondering if I made the wrong choice. The scope of the work is quite a bit more than I have handled in several years. I am capable of doing the work, I just am not sure that I want to do the work. I was also hired with an assistant. She got a new job and will be leaving, no new assistant to be hired at this time. Looking to the future I wonder if a new assistant will be hired and worry that if one is not hired that I will not be able to keep up with the work my assistant did as well as my own work. I want to be fair to the Center Director and the owner and let them know how I am feeling. The truth is I am not sure I really want this job. I thought I did, but second thoughts are creeping around inside my head.

I feel like I am in one of those cartoons where the character has to decide between doing two things and the little angel and the tiny devil pop up on each shoulder. Instead of an angel and a devil, my little people are my daughter and my checkbook.

My checkbook is constantly yelling at me about the bills I have to pay. I feel like there are alarm bells ringing all the time, “IT’S TIME TO PAY ANOTHER BILL”! That damn checkbook always reminding me that there never seems to be enough money to pay for every necessity, every bill and still have a little fun. When I think maybe I have bit off a bit more than I can chew by taking on this new job my checkbook begins to whisper in my ear. Well, it starts whispering and then begins to scream a list of everything I am responsible for paying. House payment, gas, electric, car insurance, car maintenance, gas for the car, groceries, pet care, student loans, medical insurance, co-pays, clothes, shoes, camps for my daughter, debt relief program because at one time I couldn’t control my spending, Dad’s funeral bill that, according to my Aunt, should have been paid off awhile ago, the kitchen remodel that I started (and now have no time to keep working on because I am working more hours), school field trips, and next year school uniforms and the list just keeps going and going until I feel like I am drowning. Oh, how that checkbook makes me feel so damn guilty!

On the other shoulder is my beautiful, smart, loving daughter. She is backed up by my writing wants and needs, as well as at least one of her aunts. When I was trying to figure out if I should take this job I considered the impact it would have on my daughter. She is my priority, always. I thought about it and the bulk of my working hours are when she’s in school, with the exception of school breaks. I talked to her about it and she was all for me taking the job. Now I am left wondering what I am going to do with her for part of the summer. She has 3 weeks of day camp, but then what? Summer break is 9 weeks long. I am working extra hours and I feel like I cannot make some school functions and as though I am not spending much time with her, not like I was able to before. Despite the fact that I am at work mostly during the day while she is in school, I feel that I am taking something away from her. Then there is my writing, something that I really want to make a priority in my life. By the time I get off of work I am so tired that I am ready for bed after dinner is made. There are dishes in my sink and I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks. One of my daughter’s aunts told me that she wouldn’t accept the job if she had social security like I do, she would stay home with her kids. If you are new to my blog I receive benefits from social security until my daughter turns 16 because my husband died 6 years ago. I can understand the aunt’s point. It was my intention to only work part time until I was no longer eligible for the social security and then go back to work full time. I don’t really care about money. My daughter isn’t going to remember all of the things that I buy her but she will remember the times we spent together. For this reason, it was a difficult decision to go to work full time. A decision that I am now struggling with.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my dilemma with work is small potatoes, but I could really use some advice. I feel like I have been deceptive to the owner and the Center Director and unfair to myself and my daughter. I am conflicted because I want to do well at this job and not give up so easily and yet I want to be able to give as much of my time to my daughter as I can. I don’t have another half that can pick up the slack for me when I fall short. I have a wonderful family that helps out, but it isn’t the same. I have roughly 2 months to make a decision before I will lose my social security benefits. I feel that taking those 2 months would be very unfair of me, so I am trying to do my best and decide what it is I want and make a decision within the next week. I am so very confused.

 

Change is in the Air

Hello! It has been awhile since I have written anything :(. Big things have been happening around my house :)! I am considering a promotion at work, I have started the process of publishing my second children’s book, I have started writing a for all ages book(sort of) and I have contacted a plumber to try to get the ball rolling again on my kitchen remodel. Lots of things happening!!!

I am really excited about my upcoming children’s book! It is called No More Hugs and is super cute! I get to meet with my illustrator, John Olmstead, towards the end of May to go over some of the rough drawings. I am hoping everything will be completed by the end of June so I can have it published by September. YAY!!!! I have also begun work on a book about enduring the loss of loved ones. The book is my story of loss and how I found my new normal. It is a hard story to write so it may take me awhile. I think it’s time to write it though, maybe someone else can benefit from my perspective.

The plumber is going to come to give me an estimate on moving my dishwasher sometime this week. I am not sure why the dishwasher was across the kitchen from the sink and not next to the sink in the first place. If I find out that it can’t be moved I think I will have it completely removed. I have found this amazing piece at a great local store that is handmade. It’s a bit rustic looking and I think would fit great in my house! With a kid and animals I don’t want to feel like things have to be pristine. I want that loved/used look that let’s people know I like to cook and makes my house feel comfortable and inviting. I have never felt comfortable in houses with formal living rooms and formal dining rooms. You know, the ones with the furniture you are afraid to sit on because you might break it or get it dirty? The houses where you feel like you can’t relax and sink into the furniture, instead you sit on the edge of the couch or chair to make sure you don’t somehow mess it up. I am glad that I can start that project within the next month! I told myself that I am not in a hurry and can be patient, but I am ready to start the next phase of this remodel!

I was recently offered a promotion at work. I have been considering taking the position for about a month. During this time I have been training for the job on a probation period. I think I will be decent at the job. My struggle with taking the promotion has several layers. Layer #1: I have had social security benefits since my husband died six years ago. This has allowed me to work part-time and be home more for my daughter. By taking this job I won’t always be able to take off work for day time school functions. On the flip side, I will get off most nights between 5 and 6. Which means I will be home to make my daughter dinner and help her with her homework. If I officially take the job I will lose the social security. This means if the job doesn’t work out there is no getting that back, I will have to get another job. Another job that may not be as flexible with lunch breaks and child illnesses. Another job that may not allow me to pick my daughter up from school and bring her back to sit in the office until I get off work. This is a scary prospect. An unlikely one, but one that must be considered.

Layer #2: I like teaching and working part-time as a tutor allows me to teach. Becoming the Director of Education will not leave me much time to teach. I have spoken with the owner and the Center Director and I will be able to teach a couple of hours a week. It isn’t the same as being a teacher, but at least it’s something.

Layer #3: I like to write and would really enjoy making that my full-time job. Taking this job will make writing more of a part-time job. On the other hand, taking this job will make it easier to pay for my illustrator. At least I think it will. I have not yet spoken to the owner about salary. During my probation time I am considered hourly. I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss salary. I am crossing my fingers and sending out as many prayers as I can that we can come to an agreement about salary that will make it worth giving up the short-term financial stability that I have with the social security. Social security isn’t much and there are some months when I wonder if I am going to be able to pay all of the bills and put food on the table, but it is a guaranteed amount of money coming in every month. Taking this job means losing that stability. Which in turn means that I need my salary to be more than what I get from Social Security after taxes to make it worth losing the benefits and the ability to be available for my daughters school functions.

Layer #4: Since 2011 my priorities have changed. That year I lost my husband, my grandmother and my Dad. Making money has never been first on my priority list, but that year made me realize that life is too short and too precious to not spend time with the people I love. My daughter comes first. She always will. I realize though that money is needed to provide for my daughter and living on social security and a part-time job does not always provide her with opportunities to experience life and learn new things in interesting ways outside of the classroom. As I said earlier, there are times when paying for food trumps paying the electric bill. Taking this job might mean that I can take her on vacation or send her to a summer camp. It might mean that she can join after school programs like track or take a martial arts class or purchase the drum set she wants so she can learn to play the drums like she’s been wanting to do for a year now.

That’s it! Big things happening here! Decisions to be made and lessons to be learned. Life is bittersweet and losses sometimes happen with gains. Until next time my friends! I hope your life is filled with a great mix of ups and downs. May the downs not be too low or too long and may you always be grateful for the ups and everything in between. As someone wise once said, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” Lots of love friends.

Budget of 0.00 #2

Well, I have had a pretty crappy week! Today, in particular, was spectacularly awful. I am really trying to maintain a level of positivity, but I am going to allow myself a little pity me moment right here.

Today, I decided I finally had enough time to cut the plywood and put my sink back in place. I figure the plywood would be ok until I could decide what to do about a new counter top. I am not in a hurry, I just wanted the sink back so I could stop rinsing my dishes in the bathtub. My saws did not work the way I felt they should and I ended up using a hand saw for most of the work. UGH! I was knocking off the tiles from the sink that did not want to come off when I removed the old countertop and sliced my hand on the broken tile. Then I missed a tile and hit the sink, yeah, I broke the sink. AHHHHHHHH! Turns out it didn’t matter because I cut the opening for the sink wrong! FUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!

Yes, I cursed, I am sorry but it was needed at this time. I decided that to calm myself down I needed to just clean up and make soup. I made my daughter and myself a very yummy broccoli cheese soup. I am currently sitting at my dining table taking deep breaths and writing this.

I would like to state that I did not think that a remodel would be easy, especially doing most of the work all on my own, but some days are just really rough!

I am going to continue to rinse my dishes in my bathtub and use my dishwasher to wash said dishes. Yes, I was smart enough to leave the dishwasher in place. When I have a little extra money I am going to purchase plywood and eventually a new sink and have someone help me cut the plywood. I wanted to start with the flooring and work from the ground up, but things are not happening the way I hoped. Things rarely do. My stove and refrigerator are still working just fine, knock on wood, so it is really just the sink that is the issue. Thank Heaven!

While I am waiting to purchase a sink I will continue to price flooring and repair drywall and plaster. Knocking down walls and removing countertops didn’t really require any money, so the easy part is done. The hard part is now beginning, but if I am patient and do things right I will have a nice kitchen by next summer and hopefully without spending a lot of money.

Here are some pictures of what has been done.

I had some family and friends helping so the work wasn’t horrible and now I can rebuild it:).

A Budget of $0

Hello, family and friends and readers of my blog. This is just a note to let you know that I am not crazy or in an irrational state of mind :). I am, however, in a mood to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, remodel my kitchen. Here are some pics

I have been watching DIY shows and looking through Pinterest and HGTV magazines for years and I finally have an idea of what I want to do to my kitchen. No, I do not have a budget. I am a single mom with a part time job and the dreams of being a professional writer. My bank account frequently screams in agony and every time I use my debit card I hear alarm bells sounding. This will not stop me and here’s why.

Life is really fucking short! It’s too short to wait until the “perfect moment” and definitely too short to wait for my bank account to always be in the black. Life is too short to sit around and whisper “someday” into the air. My someday is now. To some of you, this might seem foolish, stupid and perhaps a bit absurd. I mean who starts a remodel without having a budget in place!

The answer to that, perfectly understandable, question is this: someone who doesn’t need near instant gratification, someone who plans on doing most, if not all, the work herself. Yes, I do have big plans. Yes, I do know that not all of those plans will work. After all, I am not a plumber or an electrician. I do know how to hang drywall and swing a sledgehammer, I can use a saw and put down tile. I plan on doing things slowly and scouring places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army for materials. I also plan on using some material from my basement that will no longer be needed down there. I will price and shop around for needed supplies and buy them as money comes available. I am in no hurry. In fact, I want this project to take a little while. Believe it or not, this project is helping me deal with stress as well as satisfy my desire to remodel. I am not perfect and I am sure there will be times when I curse myself for even starting this project. Mostly, though, I am happy. I am adding to my coping skills. In the past, I have used retail therapy and food to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy. Today I am using my writing, the gym, and now home improvement projects to cope.

The last, almost, 6 years has been rough. I have walked that long, lonely road of grief and I have done and said some stupid and crazy things. Through it all, I have had my family and friends standing beside me letting me know that I am safe and loved. These past 2 years or so I have finally decided it is ok to be happy and I am figuring out what that means. I have had to rediscover who I am and who I want to be. Please try not worry, I am ok and I do know what I am doing, for the most part ;).

Just so you know, I will still complain about not having any money. That is a never ending situation no matter what I am or am not doing. Love to all! I will continue to share my Remodel on a Budget of $0. Demoing is kind of fun, the clean up not so much.

No Money, Stressed, But Positive

I have done it quite brilliantly this time! I have managed to put my finances so far into the toilet that there is no way for it to be fixed. Yep, about negative $500 in my account and growing. Went to Walmart with the charge card to get a few things and it was promptly declined. Now I am in panic mode. WHAT IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?  Did I mention that the outlet in my bathroom doesn’t work, my dryer is near death and my stove is acting up? Yeah, I am in one hell of a shit storm right now. Again, what the hell am I going to do?

I am going to take a deep breath, get as many hours as I can at work, have a garage sale and remember that as life goes, mine is actually very good. I have had some craptastic moments but I also have a bunch of wonderful people in my life who are there for me in those moments.

What I am not going to do is sit around feeling sorry for myself or blame other people. It is no one else’s fault that I am not good with money. It is no one else’s fault that I use loans to dig myself out of holes, temporary fixes. Now all of that has caught up with me and I have to do what I should have done in the first place. Pay bills and quit spending money.

Please do not think badly of me, I was, at one time in a more financially stable place. Truth be told I would still be there except I went ahead with the publishing of my book when I should have waited. Shoulda woulda coulda will not get my money back and neither will sitting on my ass crying about it.

The point, my friends, is that when life throws up rough spots you can either boo hoo or you can stand up and take action. You can blame others or you can take responsibility for yourself and your life. I have always believed: You can’t control other people but you can control yourself and how you react.

Living in a constant cloud of negativity makes me feel like crap. I don’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week, I am talking about constantly complaining about life. I think that if a person continually focuses on the bad things then that is all they will ever see. If instead, a person looks for the good things then the rough stuff becomes easier to work through.

Life is full of big bad stuff that is harder to overcome and takes a lot of people working together to change. Why then would I choose to focus on the little things all the time? Be angry, friends, be sad, shout some curse words, sheds some tears, then take a deep breath and let it go, because life is too short to hang to the little things that anger you. Instead, hang on to the little things that make you smile. Life is much better that way :).

Just a few little things that make me smile. There are much more 🙂

 

The Learning Curve

I got ready for bed about 10 o’clock last night. Decided I would check my bank account before turning off my phone for the night, I wanted to make sure I had enough money for essentials this week. To my great surprise, there were five charges that I did not recognize! I start to panic thinking that someone has gotten ahold of my bank information. I took a deep breath and looked at the places the charges were made, the next word that came out of my mouth was my daughter’s name. All of the charges were made this weekend on iTunes. I was sick all weekend so my lovely daughter was on her iPad pretty much from the time she got up until she went to bed. Now, normally I would have an issue with this and tell her to go ride her bike or do something else for awhile, but as I said, I was sick. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would charge $122.36 in in-app charges on iTunes. We have had extensive discussions about how she is not to purchase anything without asking me first. She has had her iPad for about five years and has known the password for buying apps for about two years. Never have we had an issue. Until this weekend.

To say that I am furious is an understatement of the grandest proportions. I have been struggling financially since my husband passed five years ago. I have also been trying very hard to overcome this financial difficulty while still being able to be at home when my daughter is at home. I have always felt that it is more important for her to have me around than to have things and be raised by babysitters. I have wonderful family and friends so I have, for the most part, been able to give her complete access to my time and attention. This is not an easy accomplishment in this day and age and sacrifices have been made. That is a story for another time, back to the issue at hand. I have not always been the best at giving punishments. There were times when the punishment outweighed the crime and times when the crime outweighed the punishment. Last night when I discovered the infraction it was late so I was tired and still not feeling the best, because of this I ended up screaming at her and grounding her for the week from her iPad. When I woke up this morning I decided that this was not enough, though I was feeling a bit guilty for the screaming at her part. I had an hour before I had to get my sleeping beauty up for school so I thought about what should happen. I started planning. I woke up my daughter and I gave her the first part of the plan. Then I dropped her off at school and I contacted my sister and a friend because I needed help working this out without being completely over the top or too lenient. It helps to have a sounding board or two when you are a single parent. Not to mention I was ready to smash her iPad into smithereens and ground her for the foreseeable future and possibly use corporal punishment just to drive my point home. Luckily I chose to go to sleep last night instead and took some quiet time to think this morning. I am happy to report that the iPad and my daughters booty are still intact. Let’s get to the plan shall we?

This morning: After waking my daughter up this morning I calmly explained to her that her actions have caused a serious problem. I will now be negative in my account unless I can find a way to put back the money she spent. Instead of going to visit her uncle, aunt and cousins in a couple of weeks I will now have to work. In addition, I will have to pick up some extra hours at work to cover the loss. Her mistake has cost me not only money but a trip to see my niece for her birthday. Her punishment is not being able to use her iPad, YouTube or play any video games for the entire week. She will have to do all of her chores and any additional chores without complaint. I have changed the password to the iTunes and apple store accounts, she will no longer be allowed to have the password. I explained to her that because of the problems with the roof, the need to pay bills and put food on the table was going to cause us to be negative in the account in April and due to her actions we are now going to have twice as less money. I accept responsibility for the first part and had already taken steps to remedy the situation, however, I will now have to figure out how to remedy both situations. This not only entails me canceling the trip north and picking up more hours at work but may also mean that we will have to turn off the internet and all tv services until the situations are fixed. While I understand that mistakes can be made she made the same mistake five different times on the same weekend, four of them in the same day. More importantly, she broke a rule. There are consequences for every action. Boom! Done! But wait! There is more! Here is what awaits my precious love this afternoon.

The Lesson in money: Under the advice of my friend I reached out to iTunes store and they graciously agreed to reverse the charges. Yep, all $122.36! Happy Dance! 🙂 Do you think I am going to tell my little one about that? Heck no! Baby Girl keeps telling mom she isn’t a baby anymore, did I mention she is about 5 months from double digits? Yep, she’ll be 10. I guess it’s time she learns how to earn money. Here’s what she is going to find out this afternoon. I have made a list of chores and assigned them a number in minutes. For example, sweeping and mopping the floors will earn her 30 minutes, dusting 15 minutes and dishes 15 minutes (we have a dishwasher), etc. She will earn $8.50 per hour. We will keep track of her time with a time sheet, at the end of the week, we will add up her time and figure up how much she has earned and then deduct that from her debt. If she does her job without complaining she will receive a raise. If she complains or gives me a hard time about the chores there will not be a raise. If she refuses to do the chores she will extend her grounding by one day for every time she refuses to complete a chore. Bam! That’s right mama’s got her dancing shoes on! All done and without a single smack to the ass or slap upside the head!

Thanks, Sister and C for the listening and assisting! What do you think my blogging friends and loyal readers? Too much? Too little? Am I completely off my rocker or on the right track? Constructive criticism only, please! Being a parent is tough friends so let’s not have any hateful words, only helpful ones :). Thanks all!

??????????????

Here are my I thinks for the month of December. They are I thinks because I am not 100% certain about any of them.

1. I think I have made it through Christmas without bringing myself into an unescapable pit.

2. I think will be able to pay off 1 or 2 small bills by the end of March.

3. I think that my roommate is staying until August now so I can include her rent back into my budget. That helps a lot!

4. I think I am going to have to rethink the way I do Christmas because it is just too stressful! Christmas is supposed to be about PEACE, HOPE, and LOVE. NOT about presents, money and wrapping paper. I say this every year and yet do the same thing again and again. I think……..no, I know it is time for a change.

5. Now that I know budgeting is really hard and that no matter what you expect something always changes, I think I might be able to do better in the new year.

Peace and Love friends! I will have a new budget to post on New Year’s Eve. Until then Merry Christmas(or whatever holiday you celebrate) and Happy New Year!

Kick Me, I’m Down

So I have been trying very hard lately to see the positive side of life and not let the negativity of it bring me down. Today I am failing miserably at this.

It all started last night when my 6 year old daughter decided to regal me with all of the things that make me a horrible mother, it was a surprisingly long list for her very short number of years. I honestly didn’t think I’d have to listen to that for at least 6 more years…I was very sadly mistaken 😦 This morning I attempted to shake it off, after all she was very tired last night and upset about something to do with a video game. But the day just won’t cooperate….AHHH! I can’t quit thinking about some of my apparent missteps that Anastasia rehashed. In truth I don’t play with her as often as I should and I don’t buy her everything she wants (I do not regret this last one in the slightest). I am in the mind set that a child should have to earn some things. These of course were just the tip of the iceberg…I wonder how many more atrocities I will pour upon her before she hits her teen years and puberty makes even those tiny things seem like giant mountains of failure? Sigh

Sadly this was not the only thing that weighed me down this day…oh no there was more to come. 

I am trying to open a business, one that will help children and the environment all at the same time. I won’t go into more detail here for my passion about it would carry me away. Unfortunately finding a bank that will loan me money is proving rough. Today I spoke with a very helpful women who said that she could probably help if I had some equity in my home. I told her that it has been about 7 or 8 years since an appraisal has been done. She kindly worked some computer magic and found that the county assess the fair market value of my house to be $65,899…something to feel good about since I bought my home for $63,500, that is until I tell her that I refinanced my house those years ago for over $70,000 because is was worth that much then. Needless to say I still owe about $68,000 on that mortgage. CRASH, BOOM, BANG! That would be the collapse of my hopes.

Shortly after this conversation I receive a phone call from a debt collector telling me I still owe the hospital money…shall I jump in front of the train that runs behind my house, or run away and change my name? 

BANG, BOOM, POW as they say in the comics, I am now flat on my back and staring at the ceiling and wondering what I did that was so bad I deserve to be kicked again and again. YES MAAM I AM RIDING THE SELF PITY TRAIN! 

I know that my problems are nothing compared to other people’s problems. Hey at least I have a house, a daughter and money coming into the bank (never mind that it leaves it just as quickly). And as they say tomorrow is a new day perhaps I’ll get off the pity train at the next stop, but for today…CHUGA CHUGA CHOO CHOO

Tomorrow will be better……..;)