Account Wiped

Let me just say – thank goodness for text alerts from our bank, or I may not have found this until tomorrow.  Not that it helped resolve anything today, but at least we were aware.

5:15pm I got a text alert from my bank:  Low balance alert.  Your available balance for account ending in ### is $0.00.

WHAT!  No way.

Immediately got on the computer to check our account, and sure enough, $0.00 available balance.  And nearly $800 taken from savings due to overdraft protection thanks to various charges from AWireless.  We’ve never heard of this company.  We never approved any such charges.  The charges were put through as debit card transactions.

DH called the number on the back of our card from the fraud alert line.  He was on hold for 57 minutes!! Do you know how easily a crook could wipe out an account in 57 minutes?  We were livid about that.

While holding, I googled AWireless, and found many posts regarding fraudulent charges.  Also discovered it’s the phone insurance that wireless companies partner with.  I found the number for AWireless and called.  They make it hard to reach a human being and kept saying my 10-digit mobile number was “invalid”.  Finally reached someone and they requested my name and phone number, then proceeded to ask if I needed to file a claim for my Verizon phone?  I don’t even have Verizon!  I explained the charges, and they told me I needed to contact AT&T.

AT&T phone service closed at 5pm – convenient.  I hopped online for live chat.  They stated if we made an insurance claim for a phone, or were paying anything for the insurance, it would be billed directly to our cellphone bill.  Not taken from our account.  That we needed to contact AWireless.  AT&T provided a new number, I called it.

They denied ever making charges to our account and that we needed to handled it with AT&T.   DH is still holding with the bank.  Contact AT&T again, new chat rep escalates it to their insurance department manager (or so they said), and apologized.  Said there is no record of a claim and we should have never been billed and:

“Rest assured that the charge will be removed today and this will not happen again.”

Doesn’t that contradict AWireless and AT&T telling us no charges were made in the first place?  Just reading from a script I’m sure.

Finally DH gets through to our bank and they told him to CALL BACK AFTER 6AM TOMORROW!!  Oh he was furious.  These are CLEARED payments, not pending, and they refused to dispute/freeze/whatever any of the charges.  Had this occurred on our credit card, we’d have a rep on the line in 5 minutes flat, and they’d immediately remove the charges.  The bank?  NOPE.  Wouldn’t even cancel our cards!!  After that call, two more charges appeared.  I am livid.

This wiped out our checking account ($1200) and emergency fund account ($850ish).  Leaving us with $72 – assuming no more charges are processed.

We’ll be showing up at the local bank branch when they open at 9am.  Then shopping for a new bank.  Terrible customer service.  Just what we needed this weekend….a holiday weekend, so who knows when our damn funds will be returned!!!

Update:  Bank told us we had to wait until next TUESDAY for them to be able to process a dispute!!!  Again – most of these charges are CLEARED not PENDING!  I am LIVID!!!!!!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The Flu Has Arrived

Both kids are down with the flu.  Originally my oldest was diagnosed with croup last Friday night at urgent care.  We were concerned about the flu, because he is asthmatic and respiratory illnesses quickly take him down.  I’m assuming he caught the flu while waiting six hours at urgent care, because Monday my little one had a 104 fever.  Sure enough, he tested positive for the flu.  Tuesday, the oldest began spiking high fevers.  Also the flu.  So far DH and I are healthy, but I must admit I’m paranoid with the kids having it.  The flu seems to be a lot scarier this year!

I’m administering breathing treatments with the nebulizer to both kids.  I called the medical supply company to get an additional mask, and was quoted $109.95.  For a plastic mask and tube.  I hopped on Amazon and bought the exact same kit, with 2 masks, for $10 shipped!  You’ll never convince me that pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, along with health insurance, aren’t gigantic scams to the American people!

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, our deductible resets, and I know we’ll be in for a hefty bill from the urgent care trip.  I’m pretty sure DH’s bonus will go towards these medical bills.

  • Urgent Care Copay – $65
  • Urgent Care Bill – $500 estimate
  • Vending Machine – $10 (water, crackers)
  • Pediatrician Copay – $45
  • Pediatrician Bill – $135 estimate
  • Albuterol – $15
  • Nebulizer Mask – $10
  • Kids Motrin/Tylenol/etc. – $28

Expensive week so far and I’m sure I’m forgetting something!  I just want the kids healthy, hopefully this passes soon.  Since Tamiflu is too risky due to their ages and medical history, we’re just riding it out as best we can on OTC meds.

I’ve sold a few items on the Facebook Marketplace lately, around $80 I believe.  I haven’t counted it yet, just stashing it away in my desk for now.  I’ve also begun prepping for the consignment sale.  I have about 20-25 totes worth of items, and I’ve only completed one tote so far.  That came to $117 in clothing, at 70% would net me just under $82.  I’m feeling optimistic that this will bring in a good chunk of change for us!

I’m throwing extra money at the credit cards and hope to have a decent update for this month.  I’ve been taking extra B12, and I must credit that for my energy and motivation to get things done recently.  Hope I can keep this momentum up!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

$27 & Some Good News!

This week was tight.  We had $63 in our account on Sunday, payday wasn’t until today. Thankfully the bills were already paid.  I usually have a buffer in our checking account, but the end of 2017 wasn’t kind to us, and we’re stumbling to get back on our feet in the new year.  It will happen, I just need a bit of time to rebuild.  🙂

We ended the week with $27 in the account.  I cooked breakfast and dinner every day, I shopped the freezer, I got creative, we ate great.  Also managed to pack my sons lunch for school all 5 days.  (Make that 4 days, he was sent home with flu-like symptoms today.  Oi!)

The pay issue I mention in my previous post with DH’s employer is resolved, and not really in his favor.  Basically there was a “policy change” regarding weather interruptions.  The day crew gets full pay if they close.  The night crew does not.  However, night crew can use PTO/sick time if they close for hazardous weather.  I do not understand how this is a fair policy, especially when icy conditions are worse at night.  !?  So he used vacation time to cover it, but it won’t be applied until the next check, in 2 weeks.

The good news is that DH’s company jumped on the tax bonus bandwagon – only after multiple competitors did, of course.  He’ll be receiving a $1,000 “cash bonus” sometime in February.  This “cash bonus” will be added to his check and taxed high, but hey, it’s extra money.  No complaints there.

I’m busy working on consignment prep and selling items on Ebay this week.  $398 made through Ebay and Mercari just this week!!  If I could keep up this momentum, we could make a nice dent in our debt.

Posted in Budgeting, Extra Income, Family, Home | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

All Over The Place

I’ve been a very busy bee the last few weeks. We’ve had a lot going on, and somehow, accidentally, started a little side business.  The post is more of a good, bad, and ugly life update, but it’s positive.  🙂

A few months ago I mentioned being contacted by a collections agency for an invoice from my dentists office from 2014.  I know I paid this, but couldn’t prove it since we switched banks and our old bank was unable to provide statements for us from 2014.  (The ultimate downside of paperless…)  I’ve been making $50/mo payments on it ever since.  Fast forward to last week with excruciating tooth pain, I called to make an appointment, but they refused to see me until I paid the collections balance in full.  $400.  Then $153 for the appointment – nothing wrong, must be “bruising in the gumline.”  $153 for less than 10 minutes.  Pointless dental insurance.

We need to replace windows in our living room and master bathroom.  Not an emergency must-do, but definitely a “should be done in the near future” kind of problem.  We had the company that came out quote replacing all windows and replacing just the two rooms.  Entire house: $59,041.  LOL!!!  Just the two rooms: $21,940.  LOL!!  They have lost their minds!!  The lady was here for four hours and would not leave.  High pressure sales, you’ve met your match.  I’m not signing a damn thing.  😉  Sure gave us a good, hearty laugh.

We recently experienced some unusually cold, wintry mix weather here.  Around three inches of snow and lots of ice.  DH’s work was closed for the day due to this weather, and his manager told him to “make the call” for his night shift crew.  He drove out there and the roads were still quite bad, plus it was still raining, and temps were dropping to 16 that night.  Thank goodness for 4WD.  Anyway, DH called off for the night.  Yesterday he found out HR is refusing to pay him for that night, because “he did not make an attempt to work.”  Yet the day time workers are receiving full pay since the store closed due to hazardous weather conditions.  I’m sorry, but how the hell is that fair?  Especially when the weather was even worse that night?!  I don’t understand why the store manager and HR have different stipulations for daytime and nighttime crews regarding store closures.  It’s outrageous.  I hate that place!

As for the good, DH and I had a long talk about all the stuff we have in this house. We still have boxes we haven’t unpacked from two moves ago.  He had a few days off this week and we tackled a good bit of the house.  Tons of trash, tons to donate, and I have nearly 25 bins to consign.  It feels GOOD!  Not only that, but DH has decided to part with a collection of his.  Turns out this was a very profitable side gig selling off these figures.  In just a few weeks, we’ve made about $1,500, and still have 100+ to sell.  He also ‘flipped’ a few figures for other ones, and was able to make even more money selling those.  It has kept me very busy packaging and shipping every night after the kids go down.  I’m averaging 15 shipments per day right now.

The local consignment sale is only a month away, I have a lot to do for that.  Right now I have to figure out if I will volunteer or not.  By not volunteering you pay a $11.95 participation fee and earn 70%.  Volunteer 8 hours, receive 75% / 12 hours, receive 80%.  DH use to do the volunteering as security, but he can’t with his new work schedule.  I just have to juggle DH’s schedule plus the kids, and is an extra 5% really worth my time?!  I expect to make over $1000, if not closer to $2000 after fee’s anyway (based on 70%).

I’m feeling a bit more optimistic and motivated these days.  Hoping this lasts long enough to get through the seemingly endless piles of crap we have.  😉

Posted in Expenses, Extra Income, Home, Work | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

$150 Screw Up

I messed up.  One of the credit cards I’m working to pay off is for a home improvement store.  This was used to fix up the rental house a few times.  Each purchase had a no interest promo for 12-18 months.  Or so I thought.  Apparently one of them was only for 6 months.

I noticed the promo expiring last month, and I immediately added up how much to pay to avoid being hit with accrued interest:  $220.  I paid it before the due date, and gave myself a pat on the back for catching it.

Until today, when I logged in to pay the bill, and found $150 in accrued interest charged to my account.  😦  I nearly cried people.  I thought I was on top of every thing, but I messed up.  I misread that damn credit card statement.

Instead of adding up and paying off the full balance due on the promo, I accidentally added the accrued interest column of several promos.  The $220 came from accrued interest.  The balances due?  Over $700.

I have never in my life paid interest when we opted in to one of these promos.  Sigh.  Live and learn.  A painful start to 2018 already, hope it’s a one time thing.

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2017 vs 2018 Debts

Sickness has infected my household again.  I’m holding back a long rant about people hosting birthday parties and allowing their flu-affected children to attend.  Like dominoes, we have fallen one by one.  On the mend now, so here are the numbers:

Our starting debt for 2017:

  • Mortgage:  $60,185.80
  • Auto Loan:  $0.00
  • Credit Cards:  $11,186.44
  • Total:  $71,372.24

Our starting debt for 2018:

  • Mortgage:  $57,137.65  (-$3,048.15)
  • Auto Loan:  $8,582.54 (+full amount, new loan)
  • Credit Cards:  $9,974.47 (-$1,211.97)
  • Medical:  $291.60 (+$291.60 + more coming I’m sure)
  • Total:  $75,986.26 (+$4,614.02)

Womp, womp.  Here’s to hoping to a more successful year of paying off debt!!  I’m stilling waiting for DH’s first full paycheck of 2018 to get an idea of his take home pay.  I’m not sure how it will be affected with the tax changes and health insurance increase.  Once I have some numbers, I can work on a budget for the new year.

I’m hoping DH received his annual review next month.  They skipped his last year.  I don’t think it was intentional.  The company restructured and brought in a new management team at the same time as reviews.  The new guys never rescheduled DH’s.  No annual review, meant no raise.  He’s received a small raise every year until last.

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2018 Goals

I had a lengthy list of goals for 2017, and for the most part, failed miserably.  I’m okay with that, life happens, and we had a rough year.  Looking back, I can clearly see I was overreaching.  For 2018 I want to keep it simple.  In fact that’s my motto this year – KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Three “simple” goals to focus on:

  1.  Pay off as much debt as possible!  Credit cards, medical, truck loan, etc.
  2.  Rebuild our savings account.
  3.  Get ours wills and living trusts completed.

Selling the rental house is on the agenda for this year, and that will help wipe out debt.  So I consider this ‘goal’ just lumped in with paying off debt.  Same with consignment sales, yard sales, extra income, etc.  All these things have one goal:  Pay off debt.

Rebuilding our savings is a must.  Medical bills drained us in the fall, as well as my youngest’s ongoing therapies that insurance decided not to cover (five months after we received an approval letter!)  We went from a healthy $15,000 down to $1,000.  Yep.  We’ve got ourselves a baby step emergency fund at the moment.  It’s hard not to cry about this, but it is what it is.

Getting our wills and living trusts completed has been on my to-do list for a few years now.  We had an appointment set up to get this done (free) through DH’s employer benefits, but the person in charge of our district quit, and hasn’t been replaced.  Apparently there’s no one else to handle it (??).  I’d rather not wait out a new hire (over 6 months now), and will be calling around local attorney offices for pricing.  We’ve lost a lot of loved ones in recent years, and I have very manipulative in laws, so I want to make sure we are protected in case anything happens to either of us.

We have two exciting events happening in 2018.  My youngest was dropped from his PT and speech therapies due to the insurance issues mentioned above.  A classy move on the part of a non-profit Children’s Hospital if you ask me.  However, he is being evaluated by our local school system, to create an IEP for starting preschool when he turns 3.  This is an amazing opportunity, because it will cover physical therapy, speech, and any occupational therapies they deem necessary.  Plus it opens up my schedule a little more to search for work without worrying about extra childcare.

In the fall, we have a trip planned to the midwest for a relatives wedding.  I’ve been saving for eight months for this and only have $1,800.  That doesn’t even cover the cost of plane tickets for the four of us.  I’m hoping to bump this up with our tax refund.  It’s not until November, which gives us plenty of time.  I do hate it’s during a holiday month.  I am beyond excited to take the boys on their very first plane ride, even though I’m dreading the actual process of it.  This is an event I refuse to miss, so I’m going to make it work financially no matter what.

I’ll have a numbers update by the end of the week.  Here’s to a hopeful 2018!

 

Posted in Budgeting, Debt, Family, Goals, Planning, Savings | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments