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Archive for November, 2011

cash on the way, finally

November 30th, 2011 at 06:16 pm

Well, I'm finally getting paid most of the backlogged freelance checks. I just got notice from payroll that the direct deposit is set for tomorrow. So, I'll be getting $1850, and will be owed another $400 after that.

-$937 will go back to savings, to make up for the money I had to take out to cover the mortgage because the checks were late.

-That leaves me about $900, which will likely go to help with the car payment, savings, IRA, and the January mortgage.

I also have another freelance check floating in the ether, to the tune of about $500. I have to wait for the editor to finish working on it so I have a final word count before I can invoice. I filed it about a month ago, but it isn't edited yet because it's not high priority amidst all the holiday stories. Argh!

Runaway money train

November 29th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and out of control on the money front, which is totally out of character for me. It's probably a result of
*holiday overspending. I bought most of the kids' gifts used on Craigslist, but still have spent a tidy sum on children's and family gifts, as well as "adopting" the gift list of three foster children. Part of this is mom and I decided to pool our money to buy bigger, more useful and nicer gifts for my sister-- namely a laptop. And, an iPod that I got a super deal on thanks to sales and coupons. We're giving her the iPod for her b-day.

*I haven't gotten a freelance check since October. I have yet to be paid for October and November, I know the company is good for it, it's just that checking up on my peanuts is pretty frustrating. First, it was a snafu in the payroll department, so none of the freelancers got paid, and then my editor FORGOT to turn in the invoice-- and then finally turned it in a month late. This throws a complete wrench into my monthly financial plan, as that money goes to retirement and to the mortgage and preschool bills. Ugh. The only potential bright side is that IF I get paid in December, it will be for two months at once, so I might be able to put larger chunks where it needs to go, including replacing the $900 I took out of savings to cover the mortgage when the check didn't arrive this month! So frustrating.

I know I have totally been overspending lately, and I KNOW I should seriously clamp down and come up with a better plan for our monthly income. I just haven't because every day is so packed full between work, and shuttling two toddlers everywhere, plus the time I spend at my weight loss workouts at the gym. It's so time consuming! But, on the plus side, I've lost 13.8 pounds since mid-September. YAY!

I can't believe 2012 is just around the corner and it's already time to start thinking about next year. I don't know what my goals are, but I know I really need to figure out how to make the most of our money, especially now that we have a mortgage. Things have just been crazy since buying this place.

Holidays, surgeries, birthdays, babies oh my. this is a long one!

November 18th, 2011 at 01:23 am

I just realized it's been almost two months since I've posted anything. So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin.

A few highlights and low lights.

A. our baby turned 2 last Saturday. He's turned into such a little man. Talking in full sentences, with cute baby pronunciation. We're in a good place. He and his brother play pretend together, as superheroes, building guns and castles out of blocks. They're at fun ages.

B.On the crazy side, DH's dad has medical drama again. It's a long story, but let's just say he's never taken care of himself, never exercises, and has always been a cure the symptoms, give me a pill kind of guy. It really came back to bite him. He sought out a parkinson's drug to help him with a shaking hand he has had since he had brain surgery a few years back.

Four doctors refused, saying he didn't have parkinsons. One reluctantly said he might and wrote him a prescription. Long story short, the medication caused him to lose an eye, because he took it even though he wasn't supposed to if he had glaucoma. We want to feel bad for him, but it's hard given his attitude toward health. That pretty much derailed our holiday plans and any other plans until the dust settles and we figure out if hubby needs to go up there for moral support or not. (His dad is very woe is me...)

So yeah.

C. Another up side. Thanks to the Ultimate Weight Loss challenge at the gym, I've lost nearly 12 pounds since mid-September. The baby weight is coming off! I plan to keep going until I'm down to pre-wedding weight, which would be another 15-18 pounds.

Oh, and it's bad karma fall for appliances! Hubby broke the glass top of the convection range a few months back and we had to replace that. (Same price to buy new as to repair it. I'll never understand why.)Then last week, the dryer suddenly quit working. At midnight, with two loads os wet laundry waiting in the wings. Ugh. I sold the broken one on craigslist for $40, and headed to the scratch and dent. I ended up buying a ridiculously fancy red Whirlpool Duet for about $400. Reg $899. Now that it's here, it seems too fancy to be stuck in the basement. Oh well. At least it looks good, right?

D. On the downside, I'm feeling really burned out freelance-wise. It's starting to bother me that my profession (journalism) is in such a bad spot, and that the freelance rates have tanked. I make less per story in real and actual dollars than I did 8 years ago. It seems things are just getting worse. And for the price of a couple hundred dollars a week before taxes and the sitter, they expect you to produce copy and ideas as if you were a full-timer with benefits. It's frustrating, and it's starting to feel hopeless. After the sitter and taxes, technically I actually PAY to make money, but I do it to keep my hands in my profession while I'm home with kids. But then I realized ... why? There aren't any full time jobs in journalism waiting for me when the kids go to school all day. Those jobs are gone. All the newspapers are laying people off, not hiring. I feel like my career is on life support, and maybe it's time to pull the plug. I have to fist fight to get paid every month because one of my editors never remembers to send the invoice to payroll. It's ridiculous and humiliating to fight for my peanuts.

I don't know what to do (nursing is not an option, people....). It upsets me when I think how hard I work two write two stories a week for the local paper, how little I get paid, and that there isn't anything better coming along. I feel like a hamster in a wheel-- in purgatory!

Anyway, money is just okay. I did the majority of Xmas shopping for the kids on craigslist, and I got some great stuff for way way way way less than new. A little tikes playkitchen with all new in box food and pots and pans ($50), Playmobil castle, dragons, knights and airplane ($50), and an awesome Cozy coupe that's like a blue station wagon with wood paneling ($10). They're also getting a dress-up box, and I spent a good penny filling it, but I got a lot because I loaded up on costumes and accessories at yard sales and at Halloween clearance sales.

I also told my family that I was no longer doing gifts that don't matter, as in just buying them stuff that's going to gather dust or sit on a shelf or in a cabinet and only be used a few times. I made them think about it, and then give me lists of the things (services, etc.) they thought would most improve their everyday lives, and asked them to make the list without censoring it for prices, etc. I want to make lives better and easier with gifts, not more cluttered! (I've been watching too much "clean house" late at night!)

Well, it turned out to be a useful exercise. From my sisters comments, I realized wireless internet (we'll buy her the wireless router and set it up) and a Roku box for streaming netflix on her tv are the best ways to go. She has hardwired internet that's a real pain to use when she works at home with her work laptop, and she is always jealous of all the streaming movieson netflix. She's still in the DVD plan. She tried once to set all this up on her own, but gave up. DH is a tech geek, so I know we can make it work. Stuff she'll use!

Mom has yet to give me her list, but she does love to take photos, has a crappy old digital camera, and she doesn't know how to download photos to her computer or edit them, so if I can somehow turn that into a gift, that might be something. I'm open to ideas. I'm thinking a new camera might be part of it.

As for hubby, I have no idea. Maybe beer and coffee. drink up honey!