Extra Income + Tax Refunds

Happy Friday!  Our federal and state refund direct deposits finally cleared.  The money has been sitting in our account untouched for over a week now.  We still do not have a debit card.  Now that the tax deposits are done, we can switch banks.  That’s on our weekend to-do list.

We received $5500 federal and $650 state.  We were able to itemize this year due to our children’s medical expenses.  I didn’t realize how much we actually spent on medical bills this year.  It’s quite depressing.  So much for health insurance!

I have not spent a dime of the refund money and still need to figure out where to put it.  No luxuries, it’ll be debt and savings rebuilding only.

The consignment sale ended and I made $599 after fee’s.  I only had a few items leftover.  Happy with that extra money.  I’m debating on putting this towards credit card debt, or into our self-funded escrow account for property taxes and homeowners insurance.

I was bummed to realize I had a lot of items stolen at the consignment sale.  The organizers are not responsible, and I understand that, but I honestly question how some things get out the door when there’s security.  That was disappointing.  I’m already prepping for fall, hopefully I can make another $600.  If I had the time, which I should by then if my youngest is in school, then I’ll volunteer and make a larger percentage.

Also made $59 on Mercari this week, and $68 on Ebay.  I’ve been too busy with consignment stuff to list online.  Now that it’s over, I can focus on my online sales again.  🙂

And finally, DH’s HR called last evening to discuss how his new crew is working out.  During the conversation he let DH know his raise:  3% increase.  It’s decent considering the stingy company, but it didn’t exactly help us out thanks to a 19% increase in health insurance premiums.  But it is what it is, and it’s little bit more, so that’s good.  The raise won’t go into effect until next pay period, despite having been told about it well over a month ago, and colleagues already received theirs.  Wish I could insert an eyeroll emoticon here, lol.

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Posted in Debt, Extra Income, Savings, Taxes | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Increasing Expenses + College

Trash pick up increased 30%:  $48/qtrly to $63/qtrly.  No explanation.  I’m paid up through April, so I’ll call other trash companies in the next few weeks to get the service switched.

Car insurance increased from $161.80/mo. to $199.80/mo. out of nowhere!  Nothing has changed.  I have never, ever paid this month per month for full coverage on two vehicles.  Our vehicles are both 10+ years old!  I know car insurance rates vary wildly depending on state, but we’ve always paid $90-$140 per month for 2 vehicles.  The $161 we had been paying recently was already much higher than we were use to.  I don’t understand the price hike.  No tickets, no accidents, etc.  Credit scores are good.  Already started shopping around, but I did email my insurance guy to ask why it increased so much.  It’s not even renewal time, we haven’t had them for six full months yet!

I’m assuming the car insurance increase also means a future homeowner’s policy increase.  Both our homeowner’s policies are paid in full through October.

It’s frustrating how the price of every thing keeps increasing, yet wages remain stagnant in this country.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin to fix this wage issue and lessen the gap between the classes.  I’m not sure our government officials will ever fix it either.  Too much wasted time arguing.

Speaking of wages, DH’s raise still has not gone into effect, nor has his boss told him what it is.  DH has attempted to speak with his boss and HR and continues to get the run around.  I cannot wait until he can tell that place where to shove it!

DH is actively taking the steps to start a new career.  He was suppose to take the university entrance exam last week, but it was canceled that morning.  Now he’s scheduled to take it next week.  Enrollment is end of April.  He’s hoping to start classes this summer, but it may be fall.  He won’t know what courses are available when until he applies after testing scores come back (within 72hrs of taking it.)

I’m thrilled for DH.  This is a huge step for him.  He’s Mr. Content, no real drive for more success, but the toxic work environment is pushing him to his breaking point.  Thankful he has this opportunity, and I’ll share more as we go.  I know it will be tough, for both of us, but we’ll make it work.

  • End goal:  New job.  Higher salary.  Out of state relocation!  Debt free!!!
  • Timeline: 2-3 years.  Hopefully 2!  (Debt free before then.)
Posted in Budgeting, Expenses, Family, Goals, Work | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Credit Score Improvement

I had a small bill in collections from a dentist appointment in 2014. I’m 99.999% positive this was paid, but since we’ve moved, and switched banks since then, I couldn’t “prove” it. I had to pay this in full before the dentists office would even allow me to schedule an appointment. I was in agony, so I paid the $400.

Apparently I underestimated how much this one little bill was affecting my credit score. A few weeks after paying it off, I had notifications from Credit Karma and Capital One about a change in my score.  I was hovering around the 730’s for the last year.

I realize these aren’t my actual FICO score, but since I don’t want to pay for that, and have no reason for a bank to check it right now, I go by these two sites.  In my experience, when I have received my FICO for financing purposes, there was little difference.

I guess it’s a strange thing to be “proud” of, but I am.  I hope to help DH improve his score now.  He’s in the 650’s.  This has a lot to due with medical bills that are in collections that shouldn’t be.  These bills were handled by a lawyer, and should not be on his credit!  I’ve tried disputing, but can’t seem to get anywhere with it.  Once those are cleared, his score should dramatically improve.

If you have any tips for disputing collections on your credit report, please let me know!  The online forms have given me zero response.

Posted in Budgeting, Debt | 2 Comments

Things and Stuff

I’m just not creative or thoughtful enough for titles these days.

I’ve been keeping busy with organizing paperwork (taxes) and sorting things for the consignment sale.  My sales for the latter are up to $695 before fees.  I’m happy with that.  Hoping I don’t have anything to pick up at the end of the sale.  I opted to donate 90% of it, if it doesn’t sell.  The other 10% are name brand items I can easily sell online, or that can go back into the fall sale.

We filed taxes this weekend and are getting a good chunk back.  We need to sit down and figure out how to use/disperse these funds.  First on that list is to bump our savings back up to $1000+ (DR style ER fund.)  After that it’ll be credit cards.  No fun money.

The bank situation.  We’re going on a month without debit cards.  I’ve enjoyed having DH on a cash diet!  Sure cuts down on unnecessary spending throughout the week.  Our bank still has not refunded the fee’s associated with the fraudulent charges.  I’ve gone by the local branch three times, and each time the “manager was not available”.  I’m sure he’ll be available the day we arrive to empty our accounts, which we’ll do once we get our tax refunds deposited.  We haven’t had a chance to check out other local banks just yet.  It’s coming though.

I do have some exciting news!  DH has enrolled in school!  I’ll post more about that shortly.

Posted in Budgeting, Extra Income, Taxes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Raise & Bank Update

DH had his annual “review”.  Well his superior didn’t stay late enough to meet with him in person, so made someone else do it.  Basically, no feedback, other than “you’re great, keep doing what you’re doing” and gave a raise.  Except the guy had no idea how much.  Their raises vary each year, they can be cents/dollars per hour, or a percentage.  Hopefully he finds out how much before the week is over, and that it goes into effect soon.

As for our bank situation:  all fraudulent charges were reversed. AS A COURTESY.  Yes, that’s right, they put that snarky line on each credit.  “COURTESY”.  Unbelievable!  They did cancel our debit cards, told us it will be 2-6 weeks to receive replacements!  The kicker is…they still won’t refund all the fee’s we incurred due to the fraudulent charges!

The fraud department told me to “take it up with your local branch”.  So that’s on my to-do list for this week.  Wasting more time at the crappy bank.  Still bank shopping…

Consignment sale has begun.  I have about $1200 in items consigned.  I’m hoping to make $600-$800.  I hope everything sells the first few days and not on discount day.  We’ll see.  I have plenty more items to put into the fall sale too, so I’ll focus on getting that organized, and it should be an easier process.  Prepping for consignment is no joke!  I just do not have the patience for it.  Though I am glad to rid my house of so much stuff.

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Bank “Update”

Unfortunately, no, the bank fraud situation has not been rectified.  In fact, it’s been extremely frustrating trying to get anyone to do their damn jobs.  Timeline of events:

Feb 15th: Charges hit and empty our account.  Incur various fees as result.  Immediately call fraud line (waited an hour) – we were told to call back after 6am the next day.  Would not cancel debit cards.

Feb 16th: Tried to call around 9am, but the hold time was 1 hour and 50 minutes!!!  Decided to just go up to the local bank branch.  There we were told we would have to wait until Tuesday due to holiday weekend!!!  Still would not cancel debit cards.

Feb 20th:  Called fraud line again.  I spoke to the most disgusting customer service rep I’ve ever dealt with.  Basically accusing me of lying about the charges, asked why I didn’t have any suspects in mind?!?!  Then told us no fee’s would be refunded because they were due to “something else” – but that “something else” couldn’t be explained.  Also refused to cancel debit cards.  I was transferred to a supervisor, who put in a fraud claim, and gave me a confirmation number.  This guy agreed to cancel and reissue new debit cards.  I was told I would be contacted within 24-48 hours.  While on the phone, another charge hit our account!

What’s happened since then?  Not a damn thing!  Charges and fees are still on our account.  Not a single call back, yet.  But funny timing, our bank had a huge server problem that lasted about 72 hours.  Yep, it’s BB&T!  We weren’t able to check balances, login to accounts, deposits weren’t showing up, charges weren’t being processed, ATMs were down, bill pay wasn’t paying bills, etc.  It was horrible.  I’m sure that mess will delay us getting any resolution to our fraud claim.

Today I plan to call the fraud line for an update.  If nothing is corrected by Tuesday, we’re going to the local branch – again – demanding a supervisor, and pulling every last cent out of that crappy thieving bank.  I have no idea where to switch to yet.

All banks sucks, and the only local credit union has outrageous fees.  I love BOA’s “keep the change” program, but BOA is basically the devil of all banks.  Sigh.  I just need this shit straightened out.  I have more pressing issues to deal with right now, like my kids upcoming genetics appointment we’ve waited 2 years for!  So. Much. Paperwork.  Not to mention trying to gather all our tax papers to get those filed soon.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

 

Posted in Debt, Expenses | Tagged , | 9 Comments

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!!!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments