Sunday, April 26, 2009


I've blogged about my overspending last week and reflected on it. This week I'm feeling the pain of that overspending. I'm broke!

I hate that feeling and it brings back all the old anxiety.

I've long had bills that are in collections and I've never done much about them. I always took a head in the sand approach and I can see how that didn't work for me in a positive direction. That is what this blog is for.

I've ordered my credit reports and I'm calling for the bills I've thrown out (note the head in the sand approach). I'm making some very tough decisions, some I feel are a must but it has me conflicted. Some I knew I should have done a long time ago. I made a mess.

This past week though I was able to see something different because I have been blogging and that is that this head in the sand approach needed to stop, the whole thing just has to let up. It causes me stress and that causes health problems. I'm still young and can overcome all of it and be financially successful. Again, this is why I started this blog to become responsible with financial decisions and become what I know I can be. I have goals I plan on posting about this week, I want to see those goals actually happen and in order to do that I can't just blog about it but I have to take action. I blogged about that at the beginning of this month; it was here. My first step is to create my goals and actually work on them as well as creating a sidebar with those nifty markers that show progress (note to self: find out how in the world you do those, THIS week).

I'm making a very difficult financial decision at the moment and I will blog about them when those decisions are fully made. Whatever decision I do make the turn around is near. I have an appointment Thursday so expect an update by the latest early next week as to what I decided to do about my finances.

Accountability was my number one goal for this blog so I'm holding some accountability here and doing what I need to do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WWYD Wedensday: More of some questions for you all

So, I know a few things about finances and learn even more as I go along.

This is a question I thought of yesterday and today even more so. I plan on looking it up online as well but here goes it:

When talking about housing expenses and the percentage it should take of your income I've heard 25% and 35% of your income should be allocated towards housing.

What exactly is included in those numbers? Is that just rent or mortgage or is it all living expenses like rent/mortgage, electricity, insurance (rental or house), gas etc...

Also is that a percentage of gross or net income?

What happens when your percentage of income is not enough to live on in the areas you have to choose from to live? Is this still a big no-no?

So this week is more of a what do you know than it is a WWYD question. I hope that is okay for my readers but I really had this question looming and it made it difficult for me to come up with anything else.

I suppose I could pose it as a WWYD, as in WWYD if your percentage of income was lower than what your housing costs were. Yes, we'll do that in here as well.

So WWYD? and WDYK (What do you know)?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Have you found motivation?

I lack motivation lately. My last post talked about emotional spending and the problem I've had with it in the past. I'm excited to tell you I have been doing well. I did again overspend... at the grocery store, but not by much. My cupboards, fridge, and freezer were bare because I've been trying to use up stuff that was in there first.

Anyway, I think my ADD is taking me off into other posts ha!

I'm lacking motivation lately, I'm proud of accomplishments I have made but I don't feel motivated to do them. I just do them. I know I'm over scheduled and over booked and that has a lot to do with it. So I've made a decision this morning, well half a decision I need to think it through just a bit, school is out in just a couple of weeks. If I can get through that period then I can make some real progress towards some of my goals. I'll put a few of them on the back burner for now and just get through this rough patch. I'm stressed and being stressed will only make for stressed attempts at my biggest short term/long term goal right now. I'll still make little steps in these two weeks but I'm not going to jump in it full force because I know what that will do to me.

Where do you find your motivation? Do you take a step back ever for the greater good of your goals?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Emotional Spending

I have had a problem with emotional spending most of my life. Granted it isn't as bad as some others but if you compare incomes it really is my percentage of income spent on emotional spending is about the same as some of the others in real financial trouble with really high debt. My debt isn't that high but it is too high for my income that is for sure.

I realized this in therapy actually that when things get really rough I spend the money rather than taking it and allocated what I do have in the best way possible. Since I realized that a few years ago I've tried to be better but I still slip up more often than I would like to.

The past few weeks have been super stressful and I can feel that urge to shop again. I even have done it grocery shopping, I'll see a good deal and buy some stuff I don't really need just because it seems at the time to satisfy and reduce the stress and anxiety. That is temporary though. My habit has always been about finding a deal, it has to be a really good deal to make those feelings go away. It is almost no different than an alcoholic is with drinking and masking things inside. I've gone out and bought CFL's on sale to reduce my electric bill out of my budget even to 'satisfy' this 'need' or urge. I guess if you have this issue mine is of the least destructive kind because I buy things that make my financial life easier sometimes although in the grand scheme of things I make it harder on myself for the time being. The list goes on and on about the things I have bought in the name of emotional spending and the need to be frugal at it at the same time. Its not really frugal though if I'm over extending on my budget now is it?

I realized I was spiraling though and I decided to start walking when I feel that anxiety and urge. Its working and best of all its free. Not that I haven't been off the wagon this week because I spent too much on lunches out but this time will be different I'll have to make concessions the rest of the month (maybe even the next one) to make up for that.
I'm so much more satisfied with the walking now that I'm actually doing it, changing my stress and anxiety relief habits into healthy ones is a hard road. The fact that I am changing it to not just healthy decisions but for my body too makes the walking even that much more satisfying in fact. I'm hoping as I get more strength and endurance I can add in some work out videos too. For now the weather is beautiful and I don't own a bike so walking is free and that is what I will do. I do plan on budgeting in a used bike before summer hits so I can bike ride with my daughter. We have a beautiful metro park within walking distance. It was so refreshing to take a walk with my child and talk to her and listen to her thoughts as well. Walking by myself when things are at their worst is most helpful and I've gotten up at work and left my desk about 2 or 3 times this week to take a walk. What a difference that has made with the desire to just call in and stay in bed as well.

Anyway this post is mostly about my accomplishment this week. I took that anxiety and stress and I didn't go out shopping... instead I did a free activity that both reduced the stress and anxiety and didn't give in to that addiction. Even if I did over spend on lunches, I have a plan for next week since I know it will be stressful the rest of the month. I'm bringing things into work to put in the fridge so I don't have to pack a lunch daily it will just be there then I remove the excuse to go and get lunch while I'm working. Overall I call that a great success!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WWYD Wedensday: Tax Day Edition

Since today is tax day our WWYD is tax related.

I'll put a spin onto it, lets first discuss what we are doing with our refunds. Mine goes right back to the IRS to pay back taxes... I know, I know but at least I'm getting it paid off. What are you doing with yours?

Also here is a link for Tax Day freebies, let us know if you utilize any of them. Look at the link there are also links within with tax tips and tax information for all of us but mostly for you last minuet folks.

So now for the WWYD:

You've gotten your refund you have several places you can allocate it to:
  • Your Emergency fund which is almost non-existent but you are plugging away on
  • Spending on a much wanted and useful item you've been trying to save for
  • Much needed car repairs
  • Paying off a credit card
  • A vacation you couldn't afford otherwise

So, WWYD? Tell us why. I tried to think of different possible scenarios that cover someone just starting out in the healthy financial journey because that is where I am at and I believe many people are hurting right now so that can help those people too. If you have other things to add please do add them.

Photo By: reallyboring

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Utilizing Employee Benefits

I have pretty craptastic health and dental insurance fairly good dental and vision. Dental is good because of the orthodontics plan and we are majorly utilizing this. My daughter got braces in September of 2008 and they are mighty expensive if you don't have coverage. In fact, she has 3 dental plans on her until these braces come off. We are lucky in that sense that instead of parenting married we parent jointly, which means my daughter has a step-mom who also carries her on her insurance as well as her father and I.

While those benefits aren't the best I do have benefits at least. However, I also have a ton of other benefits I haven't ever really used. I've decided I'm going to start utilizing them especially the EAP (Employee Assistance Program).

Some of my available benefits in addition to insurance and salary are:

401k - They match. They also contribute even if you aren't contributing how cool is that? I'm not utilizing it to its full potential and I am not contributing at the moment. I think its safe to say that most people have a little anxiety after so many lost so much of their retirements my mom who is 55 lost almost $200k that's a lot of money for someone nearing retirement to loose in their plan. Heck its a lot of money for anyone to loose.

Auto/Home Insurance - This works like a group rate type of thing, you get a discount just for being an employee and other discounts for getting automatic deductions from your paycheck. At the moment I am not eligible for this because the insurance company said they didn't give a reason but you know what I'm going to find out (I think my credit score just sucks enough they don't want me).

Employee Discounts - Too many things to list, hotel discounts, car rentals, cell phone plan discounts, attraction discounts, vehicle discounts (supplier benefit), various home repair discounts (HVAC, plumbing supplies) as we provide these services as well, and really many other items. This will really help whenever I finally buy a home.

Foundation - This is a charity part of the organization I work for, if I do a fundraiser and apply and get approved for a charity of my choice my company will match it. I'll be utilizing this for my 3-Day Walk.

Savings Bonds - I know wha??? That's what I was thinking too but apparently I can purchase them and have a weekly amount taken from my check until they are paid off. Kind of neat, I'll have to check that out more

Scholarships - This is for the children of employees, I don't plan on being here that long but its nice to know if I am my kid can apply and maybe get a scholarship out of the deal

Stock Purchase Plan - I think this has been offered everywhere I've ever been. I've never really participated but one day I will.

Thanks program - This is an employee incentive/recognition program. I don't see it being utilized to its potential at my branch though.

The EAP though, I'm going to utilize that on Thursday to get help financially. They have financial advisers and I think I could benefit even from just a small bit of help here. So many things I can get from the EAP. I'll let you all know how it goes.

What are your benefits you aren't using to their full potential? I urge you to find out what they are and see if there is something offered to you that you aren't using.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where I've been

Hi all,

I have had a crazy week. I'll be sure to post more this week. My WWYD Wednesday posting didn't go up this past week because I was in a minor accident on the way home from work that day. Actually my whole week was like that. I'm okay no worries.

So this week I promise to be better.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Business Venture

I've been toying with doing some freelance on different things.

I did some research and I know what I'm good at and have had a couple of offers so I think it is time to do some work on it.

Any tips for someone just starting out doing freelance work?

Friday, April 3, 2009

About change

As people, I think we have gotten into a thought process that we can bring about what we want without changing. I think its fair to say that isn't true but we want the easy way out anyway.

Trent, brought home a point though I hadn't thought about. What are you doing TODAY to bring results towards your goals. Hmmm.... I thought about that and I have to say that I don't really do something daily to work towards my goals. Not in the way where I actually think about it and maybe I need to change that about myself. Even if it is small I think I'm going to start making a list daily of what I am doing to better my situation and work towards my goals. Even if the list only contains one item like study for that anthropology test. See going to school is part of a financial goal because it will get me a better paying career rather then just the job I have now.

I'm very much a creature of habit, I desire a schedule even if I resist it some. I don't like change all that much so I think it is especially important for me to note the changes I make daily or the items I do towards my goal so that I get comfortable with the ideas of these changes I must make.

In ending I'm going to be the change that I want to be, are you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Utilities are by far the bill I hate paying the most. For some reason I really hate paying for the most basic of necessities as far as living expenses go.

I hate paying the gas and electric bill, the phone bill, and my rent. I wish I could find something I could do to reduce them normally and normally I come up with just about nothing.

There are some plans to reduce though.


I am currently buying the new CFL light bulbs, I have noticed a difference in the few I already have

New savings program - every time something not in use is left on the offender must put 25 cents in the utility jar (all quarters will be used for laundry though) When there is enough I'll put it in the bank to pay the electric bill

Budget Plan, making my electric bill the same each month

Gas (by far the worst offender):

Buying items to winterize next year -

  • programmable thermostat
  • plastic for door wall and windows
  • heavy drapes
  • outlet covers

I will not have another year of this super high Gas bills.

Actually both utilities are on the same bill.

I don't have a water bill per say... it is part of my rent. However, the landlord has a water bill and he has been letting us all know how high it is and encouraging us to help keep it down. I know helping to keep it down will also help to keep my rent down.

Renting brings me to another point, since he doesn't have to pay the gas bill he doesn't care that the furnaces are old or the windows are really bad. Nor, does he have any responsibility in fixing what isn't broken even if they cost me tons of money. Which is frustrating because I also know how incredibly cheap he is and approaching him on this isn't going to help at all.

Photo By: Josh Harkinson

WWYD Wedensday: Leaving a job

In these economic times leaving a job could be a grave mistake. Sometimes though it could make a whole lot of sense.

This is our last Fiscal Year where our contract is valid, and the first time ever the customer is bidding it out. There have been problems with the head honcho here and the customer satisfaction. It really does look like we may be out of here and we aren't hearing a thing about it.

I decided not to actively look but to wait it out and save money just in case (this is what is funding my emergency fund). I also decided after doing the simulator on paying some old stuff off to up my credit score not to do that for now and just work on my emergency fund.

The reasons for this are simple, the job market especially in Michigan is pretty scary and it isn't likely I'll find a decent job. I make better money here than I would someplace (really anyplace else at the moment) I can ride it out here and hope the economy is better in a year to find a job or my emergency fund can float me while getting unemployment to finish school like I wanted when I got laid off a while back.

Don't get me wrong I have my feelers out, I'm working on something to earn extra income, and I'm updating my resume. I'm being proactive but not jumping the gun quite yet. Who knows we could win the bid if I left I could have left a decent paying job (for what I do) for a crap paying job because I was in a panic about something that hasn't happened yet.