Hello 2019

Happy New Year everyone.   We’ve been busy here.  DH’s recovery has been a bit difficult, but he’s on his feet, and making progress every day.  I hate to see him in pain, and I know he’s frustrated by it as well.

We have yet to receive any short term disability paychecks.  And no one can seem to give us an answer on when we’ll be receiving one.  The last work paycheck was painfully short.  They had deleted DH from the system 7 days before he was set to leave.  HR was suppose to submit his hours, but didn’t.  I have our bills paid up until the 18th right now.  I have a little bit in savings to tide us over, but we really need a check soon!

Also my renter needs to pay!!  $1600 behind right now.  😦  I can’t carry on making the payments for that house much longer if they don’t pay up.

But even with all the financial stress, I’m in good spirits.  Perhaps the zoloft is finally kicking in? lol.  I’m staying sane and doing well selling items locally, I’ll have a post about that soon.  I’m thankful to have several friends bring our family dinner over the last couple of weeks too.

It sucks, but we’re surviving.  🙂

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A Small Broke Christmas

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

That’s exactly what we had and it was wonderful.  Not a lot of gifts, but a lot of fun.  I found deals on almost all the stuff we bought for the kids.  Some items were from last years Christmas clearance that we forgot we put away in our closet.  We tend to follow the simple gift process of want, need, wear, read, and Santa.  Plus a stocking.

We had already let our immediate families know that we would be unable to give gifts this year.  It’s just not in the budget, especially with DH’s upcoming surgery.

I come from a very materialistic family.  Instead of showing affection, things were given.  I always felt we received too much, and as a result, things were not appreciated as much as they should be.  In my early 20’s, when we bought our first place, I embraced the minimalistic lifestyle, and vowed to continue it if/when we had kids.  And we did.  My family doesn’t understand it, and friends think our kids are missing out, but they’re not.  It’s all our kids know!  And they are thankful for their gifts, and appreciate them more.  They also take care of the things they do receive.

I started a small auto-savings for Christmas a few months ago, with the goal to spend less than $500.  I spent $280!  That includes clothing the kids needed, as they’ve both hit growth spurts recently.

Now we prepare for the new year.  It’s going to be a rough couple of months.  DH has his back surgery this week. FMLA has been set up.  We’re hoping recovery tops 8 weeks vs 12 weeks, but time will tell.  I’ve been cooking at home, paying minimums on credit cards, and trying my best to stash cash for this time.  We’ve been on a decluttering kick, and managed to make just shy of $700 in one weekend of selling items from around the house.  I still have a lot more to get rid of too.

Have a safe New Year’s!  Let’s all hope 2019 is finally going to be a good year.  🙂

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Cutting Expenses…Again

Trying to cut things from our budget as much as possible as we prepare for three months of income at 60%.  I’ll list our income and expenses below, any suggestions, let me know.

One thing I tried to do was get PMI removed from our mortgage on the rental.  Unfortunately I need to pay down my balance another $2600 before I qualify for removal, unless I pay for a new appraisal.  Appraisal is $600 and must be through the lender.  That’s not happening!  So close, yet so far!  That would have saved $57/mo.  Not much, but something, just not enough to justify $600 up front.

Contacted AT&T to see about a better cellphone plan.  No luck.  Ting/Republic still unavailable in our area.  😦  Internet company was non-negotiable.  Why do all the good deals only go towards new customers and not the loyal, long-standing ones?  Annoying!  This is the only internet company without a data cap in our area.  Since we do not have cable/satellite, we stream, and a data cap would cost a lot in (highly likely) overages


*DH’s income is averaged.  This is after taxes and benefits, but before mandatory savings and escrow, which are accounted for in the spreadsheet.

The credit card payments shown are all the minimums due for December.   I usually pay anywhere from $50 to $200 when possible.  Based on this budget I have a little money leftover, but that isn’t the case when I pay above minimums.   One thing I haven’t accounted for is medical.  The copays and prescriptions are hard to budget for.  I never know what is happening each month!

Food is the primary budget killer for us.  I’ve been cooking at home more, trying to avoid eating out, even if it means cereal or sandwiches for dinner.  I’m looking to find more crockpot meals, as those provide usually 2-3 meals for us.  Freezer cooking is another method I’d like to try out.  The $500 includes groceries and eating out.  I can easily trim eating out, hopefully save $100ish.

Kids activities covers piano lessons, field trips, and class contributions.  Only $5.00 for the month of December, as piano teacher took the month off.  Hulu/Netflix are only $15, but I could cancel one if need be.  The kids prefer Netflix, I prefer Hulu, but I’ll survive.

I called the hospital financial department to discuss my son’s outrageous MRI bill.  Instead of offering assistance or a payment plan, the guy told me to apply for medicaid and get back to them.  Been there, done that.  Only my youngest qualifies (under 6), my oldest does not, but they want me to appeal and show proof.  Annoying!  Then in the mail yesterday I received a bill from the physician who reviewed the MRI, that was an additional $489!!  On top of the $5,501!

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Debt Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve totaled up our debts. It’s a depressing chore I’ve avoided for a few months, but it’s time to face the facts over here. We’re broke. We’re in debt. It’s grown in 2018, due to medical issues with kids and now DH. It is what it is.

Credit Cards: $11,641.59
Some of this is old debt, but a majority is medical. Our health insurance sucks, the deductibles are high, the coverage is low. Not much to say about it, other than having a special needs child can be draining. Minimum payments are $258.00 per month, but I try to double it when possible.

Auto Loan: $6,649.00
This is for the vehicle that was totaled in an accident in September. Still being forced to pay on it, and Capital One refuses to help us out at all. Monthly payment is $257.29.

Mortgage: $54,391.95
This is on the rental home. Payment is $664.62 per month. House is appraised around $130,000-$140,000. Will need $10-15,000 in repairs before listing due to damages.

That brings our total debt to a whopping $72,682.54. Cue the tears. I’m hoping we’re able to settle with insurance by the end of December, and officially wipe out that car loan. The lawyer sent a demand letter around Thanksgiving, and they have 30 days to respond.

As for an accident/medical update, we met with the surgeon, and DH will be undergoing major back surgery sometime within the next 30 days. He’s just awaiting surgical clearance from his PCP. I love his surgeon, he is working with us, even waiving the copays. He said he’ll handle it directly with our attorney. Thank goodness.

In other medical news, my sons MRI bill finally showed up. I was billed $5,501 for an MRI. We’re responsible for $2,837 after insurance!!!! Absolutely ridiculous!!!! Where is this affordable healthcare!? Ahhhh.

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Worst Case Scenario – Confirmed

The MRI results from DH’s car accident are back. We received some shockingly unexpected news. DH was adamant that his pain was a pulled muscle or pinched nerve. Despite the agony. Not the case. His discs, on his spine, are completely destroyed. He has to have major back surgery, a lumbar spinal fusion. He had one done years ago, and it was successful, but it was HARD and recovery was long. Unfortunately this accident damaged the discs above the previously repaired ones!

We meet with the surgeon next week. I am so worried about every thing. The last time he went through this, he was out of work for so long, he lost his position at his company. When he returned they gave him one that paid $12/hr – not a livable wage!! The company guarantees a job for 12 months, but only your exact position and pay for the length of FMLA.

We are fortunate to have short and long term disability benefits, but the pay is only at 60%. Not enough to cover our bills. We need to cut back, I just don’t know where. The renter needs to get the hell out. We may have to mortgage our current home. This surgery is just north of $150,000. Actually that price is from 2015, it’s probably higher now!

We will be going after the at-fault driver and their insurance. But it’s a long process, and we’re responsible for all costs until things are settled.

And that’s my depressing update. I was not expecting this news at all. I don’t know what to do anymore, I’m just exhausted.

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Car Accident Woes Continue

When the at-fault drivers insurance company became difficult to deal with, their “supervisor” advised us to get in touch with our insurance company to let them handle it. When we attempted to do just that, our agent said he didn’t understand why they would tell us to call. The claim is with them, not our insurance, and there’s nothing they can do. He said he’d “look into it” and “call us back”. That call never came.

Today I get a call from an adjuster with our insurance company regarding our “open accident claim” (?!?!?!) and letting us know our check was being overnighted. WTF!? I never opened a claim on my insurance. I was told they couldn’t even help! I explained this and said we have an attorney handling the case. The woman told me “attorneys don’t handle property claims.” Another wtf…!? How do these incompetent people get jobs? It’s mind blowing. I asked her when this claim was supposedly open, and she could not find any information on that. Hmm.

Our attorney informed us that we can cancel our insurance on the vehicle, and to notify the lender that the vehicle was totaled. He said the lenders usually give 30-90 days deferred payments in situations like this.

Canceling insurance was a breeze, but it didn’t lower it as much as it should have. The totaled vehicle was several years newer, and a pricier model than mine, I expected the payment to go down at least 50%. It only dropped 28%. I guess we lost the multi-vehicle discount or something. Still less to pay per month.

The real issue was with our lender, Capital One. They offer NO deferments. Period. Not for a totaled vehicle, not for any hardships, nada. They want their payments on time, and actually had the nerve to tell us we have 30 days to pay off the loan now that the vehicle is totaled. LOL!!! GOOD LUCK GETTING THAT CAPITAL ONE! I just do hate making a car payment for something we can’t even use, at no fault of our own. Frustrating how all of this is the result of someone else who failed to yield/stop, and yet we’re the ones paying the price for their mistakes. I know it’ll eventually get resolved, but in the present, it’s draining financially.

I can’t wait until this is all over. Get rid of that loan. Maybe buy another old car in cash, if possible. I’d hate to finance again, but I’m not sure we’ll have an option. For right now we’re content sharing one vehicle, but my goal is to get a job, and if that ever happens, another vehicle will be necessary.

Tomorrow DH gets his MRI and X-Ray results. Wish us luck that there is no major damage!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Despite our recent hardships, I am thankful life isn’t worse. We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and our health – for the most part lol.

I am thankful for my hardworking, stubborn DH. Our brilliant, but exhausting two kids. And to you my dear few readers, thank you. For your comments and advice. I am forever grateful for this outlet.

Enjoy your feasts! Back to cooking I shall go. 🙂

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