Saturday, August 30, 2014

Unexpected bonus

I've been really busting my butt at work for the past couple months, working long hours and at a fairly frantic pace. My company has more work than we know what to do with and, so far, have not had any luck in finding another person to bring onto the team. S has been so patient with the overtime even though it often means super long days with two active toddlers and putting his own work on the back burner.

A couple days ago the three partners at the company pulled me into the only space in the office that has a door and closed it behind me. First thought, oh crap, I've been here almost 6 months, maybe they think I'm not measuring up to their expectations when they hired me!  Gulp!

The convo started with the usual review type questions, how do you feel you are settling in, how has the transition been, etc. Quickly though they started singing me praises and said they just wanted to take a break out of the busy schedule to let me know they appreciate the hard work... and if that wasn't enough of a boost for me, they handed me an envelope on my way out the door with a nice little bonus check in it.

It's been a long time since I've been in a work environment where I feel that my knowledge, efforts, and hard work are valued and even longer since I've received a random bonus. It really makes all the difficulties S and I have faced since the move seem like they are worth it! And honestly, the check couldn't have come at a better time. The boys are at the upper limit of the height class for their infant seats and it's time to get the bigger seats. With no savings and very little extra cash in our budget I didn't know how we were going to afford two expensive car seats that would fit in our compact cars.  

So $500 of the bonus is going into savings so we can finally have a little bit of an emergency fund and the rest will go to car seats! What a relief!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Selling spree

I’ve been on a selling spree this past month, going throughout the house and listing unused and unneeded stuff on Craigslist, Ebay, and at a children’s consignment event. Things I uncovered to get rid of included old video games, furniture, my wedding dress, and all the boys clothes, toys, and items that they’ve outgrown.

After all was said and done we brought in $293 which is great since we had some unexpected medical bills and auto parts that were needed over the past month. $100 went towards buying the clothes, shoes, and coats the boys need to get them through the fall and winter which we picked up used at the consignment event.

Some of the stuff I uncovered, like my wedding dress, didn’t sell during the course of the last month and while I still intend on selling this stuff, it’s a ton of work to stay on top of all the listings and people contacting me for more info. For now I need to focus my attention elsewhere for a while and maybe I can do another month selling spree towards the end of the year or perhaps near the spring children’s consignment event.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Medical debt

Life has been moving along at warp speed and I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like about what’s happening financially in my life.  Little financial things have been going on like selling off stuff on craigslist/ ebay and preparing for the big kids consignment sale this weekend.  But also one major thing has occurred that really puts a kink in the financial plan: medical expenses.

One of the twins had a trip to the ER (he’s fine, just a little infection) which means a $150 co-pay and I ended up needing a minor surgery (I’m also fine).   Since we hadn’t met any of my deductible yet for the year and have a 20% patient responsibility we owe a little over $2,000 for that.  Unfortunately, the need for these medical services were totally unexpected and since we still don’t have any money set aside in an emergency fund this all means we have more debt now. 

I’m really bummed out about the med expenses for a number of reasons.  The first is that it just drives home how important the emergency fund really is and it has been so frustrating trying to get money set aside for emergencies. All that debt consolidating/ shuffling and putting my student loan in deferment a couple months ago have only allowed us to cover some of the smaller medical bills and other unexpected expenses we’ve had lately.  And every time I bring a little extra in via my side businesses or by selling something off we have some unexpected expense so nothing makes it into savings.   

I’m also bummed because we were only two monthly payments away from paying off all the medical debt from the boys’ birth.  Now we’re right back in medical debt and almost as much as we started with.  Just feels like another big step backwards.

The biggest reason I’m bummed out is that we can’t afford to make additional debt payments on anything right now.  We’re on an extremely tight budget as it is and there’s nothing left to pay towards new debt.  When I tried to set up payment plans for the medical debt, the minimum payments to the three different accounts that make up the bulk of the balance were no were near affordable with our budget.  And even though the three accounts are all through the same umbrella company because they are from different locations and people they can’t combine the accounts to try and get a lower monthly payment.

After talking with the billing department for a while and explaining our situation the lady suggested we take another approach.  Apparently after the bills go unpaid for two billing cycles they will be transferred to the internal collections department (which is not reported to the credit bureaus).  She advised us to let the bills go to internal collections at which point we can consolidate those three accounts into one.  She said that the collections department also has a lot more flexibility on repayment terms so we can get a much lower monthly payment.  The only saving grace in this situation is that by the time these new bills go to collections we will have made our last payment on the birth debt.  Hopefully we can get a repayment plan at or lower than the medical payments we are currently paying but we won't know that for another couple months.

I certainly hope I can start posting more positive news soon and start seeing some debt reduction again.