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Archive for November, 2011

Bill Paying Night, Broke Up with BF

November 29th, 2011 at 07:01 pm

I paid the last two November bills tonight. I have been very careful with every dollar all month and I was able to send Citi MC the $124 regular payment plus the new charges in full! So that train has not been de-railed at all. Yay!

I paid Chase Freedom in full only by pulling $700 from vacation savings. So that is not so yay.

I did not contribute to Roth or any savings, other than the few "extra" dollars I sent to CurveBall (credit card rewards, class action lawsuit, change from my wallet).

My monthly budget report will be good news for a change.

In other news, I broke up with my BF last night. I am sad and angry, but know it is for the best. I have been waiting for 17 months now for him to move in, and he just won't make any progress at all. It has been 2.5 months since I told him I was very tired of waiting and if he wanted to move in with me, he needed to do it. He promised no more video games until he moved in. I'll bet he has spent 100 hours playing video games in the past month, yet not 1 single hour doing anything move related.

Last week, when BF and I were at my cousin's for Thanksgiving, he casually mentioned in conversation that years ago when he broke up with a particular girlfriend, he moved out of their place in 24 hours. I said "Really? 24 hours?" and he said yes and launched into details. That remark made me very angry but I don't think he realized it.

Last night when I got home from work, I discovered that he had done nothing much all day yet again. And that was just the final straw, I felt very angry and I knew that I was done waiting. So I told him I had decided it would be a mistake for him to move all the way in and he should start moving out. I also said it was not fair to me that he makes promises but does not keep them. He was surprised and then I think a little angry, and he just looked at me. He slept on the couch last night, was still asleep this morning when I left the house, and is gone now. He hasn't moved anything that I can tell, but he had driven his car and left his truck and trailer at his house the last time he was there.

(That is another story. He has some important mail waiting for him at his p.o. box. The week before Thanksgiving, he would say each morning he would be gone when I got home, he needed to go get the mail and attend to the matter. Each evening he would still be at my house. Finally, when I got home that Friday, he was ready to go. I said "Tomorrow is my 1 day off this week (I had to work last Sunday), and NOW you are ready to go?" So he did stay, then went home on Monday. He came back Wednesday night because we were leaving Thursday morning for my cousin's house. Guess what he hadn't done? That's right, he hadn't gotten the mail. He went to the post office, discovered he must have lost his key, spoke to an employee and was told he needed a certain document (the p.o. box is in a corporate name, not his personal name) to get a new key. So he went home to get the document but was not able to find it. This is the sort of thing he does which makes me CRAZY.)

Do I sound angry? I am starting to have a lot of anger towards him, and I don't want that. He really is a lovely person with some fabulous qualities, but he is extremely unorganized and cannot manage his time at all. The breaking promises is a deal-breaker for me. If I was OK with that, I'd have just stayed married.

What I am most worried about is how my son J will take this news. He goes to his dad's house on Sunday afternoons and gets dropped off back here on Tuesday evenings. So in an hour or so, I will have to tell him. He and now Ex-BF had really bonded. I'm not going to make that mistake again.

Minutiae

November 20th, 2011 at 09:46 am

Looking good on the spending front so far this month.

This was a good week for class action lawsuit settlement checks. In addition to the one from Dell, I got one for $18.04 from the credit card foreign transaction lawsuit as well. That one took a long time to settle. I went to Ireland in 2003 and was charged some foreign transaction fees on my Visa. I was notified about the lawsuit about 5 years ago. I have already tucked that into Curveball.

I received another $20.00 rewards check from Chase and will tuck that into Curveball today.

A few days ago, my niece and her husband drove down from where they live (Willits), picked up my nephew, and took him home to stay through Thanksgiving. This niece is his sister.

I have nothing else to report.

Approved for Chase Southwest

November 14th, 2011 at 06:53 pm

I got an email from Chase today, I have been approved for the Chase Southwest card! Whoo-hoo!! Now I hope that I can qualify for my gift cards in time to use them for J's iPad for Christmas. That probably won't work out, but I am hoping anyway.

Today I received 10 more decoy mail pieces! My biggest day yet (this time around). I have racked up $16.25 in earnings now.

I chipped my $8.00 from Dell today and updated my sidebar. Does my mortgage look exponentially smaller now? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Oh well, one chip after another and eventually I should get somewhere.

The best think I can say about my tax update class today is....my lunch was delicious! Smile

Decoy Mail, Dell Class Action Lawsuit

November 14th, 2011 at 06:16 pm

Yesterday in the mail I received an $8.00 check from Dell for their class action lawsuit settlement. I happened to buy a laptop from them during the period covered in the lawsuit. I am going to use it for a mortgage chip tomorrow, even though I should just be saving it. I look at it as pleasure spending, because it gives me great pleasure to mortgage chip!

Tomorrow is the day more details about HARP changes are supposed to be released. I will be in a tax update class all day, so I won't get to read about it until tomorrow night. I have been thinking about my situation. While I would love to have a lower interest rate, I don't want to start over again with a new 30. So I was thinking I could calculate a 25 year payment and simply pretend that is my payment. My payment would still drop and I would be shaving a year or so (depending on how long the refi would take) from the end. What is not to love? Then I started wondering if they wrote the note for 25 years, would I get a slightly better rate? Will they even agree to write it for 25 years? I don't know, but I think it is worth asking. And of course, all of this is supposing HARP rates are not at a premium.

Since I became a HauserNet decoy mail agent again last December, my volume has been pretty low. I haven't been paid even once yet, because they won't cut a check for less than $10. Lately my volume has been picking up. Thursday I had 5 pieces, and yesterday I had 9! I now have 55 pieces in my stack, at .25 each that is $13.75. I expect I will get a check after this quarter ends.

Update on My Neighbors/Fence Situation

November 12th, 2011 at 01:34 pm

So I got my 3 estimates, and I took copies next door to my neighbor. No one would answer the door, even though I am pretty sure they were at home. So I wrote a note and left it along with the estimates inside their security door but outside of their front door. It has been about a month, but no response from them.

So one day BF saw the neighbor's son in front of his house, BF asked him what he thought about the estimates. The neighbor's son denied ever having seen any estimates.

Two weeks ago, a fence board from another section of the fence fell into the neighbor's yard. I did not know this, and let the dogs into the backyard one evening. When I let them back in, there were only two dogs. I went into the back and observed the fallen board. I went into the house and reported this to BF, we walked over to the neighbor's front door and knocked. The neighbor's son came to the closed door and yelled "who is it?" BF yelled back "your neighbor". The son yelled "I can't open the door." So I yelled through the door "there is a board down. I think you have a dog in your back yard." He yelled back "no, I don't". I yelled "I think you do. Do you want to check?" he yelled "OK". BF and I waited. And waited. And then we waited. He never came back to the door to say anything at all. Eventually BF and I realized he had no intention of coming back, so we went back to my house and got a strong light and looked into the neighbor's back yard. The dog was gone. I think the neighbor let my dog out.

An hour or so later, I got a phone call from a woman living several blocks away, she had the dog (he has a tag on his collar with my cell number). We went and got him so it turned out fine.

We upended my picnic table to block the gap in the fence from the fallen board and braced it. The next morning we went to the hardware store and got another sheet of plywood to nail up. Now we have two. The fence is so ugly with the two sheets of plywood nailed up, but it does keep the dogs from escaping.

So, I think this is a tactic to get me to pay for the fence myself.

Yesterday I used my county assessor's website to look up her parcel and name. I didn't know her name, but now I do. I made more copies of the estimates, I printed out a copy of California Civil Code Section 841 which states that property owners are equally responsible for maintaining fences, and I wrote her a letter. I am going to send it certified mail with a return receipt on Monday.

In the letter, I state that I would like to know when she will be able to afford her half. I tell her my opinion on the estimates and ask for hers. I refer to the law and state that we are equally responsible. I state that while the plywood is ok for now, it is not an acceptable long-term solution. I tell her she is welcome to come to my house, write me, call me, or email me.

I think she is going to be very surprised that I found out her name. I think she is ignoring me and refusing to communicate on purpose, thinking I will just go away.

If she does not respond, then I will know my options are to forget about her paying her half or sue her. If I sue her and she still does not pay, I can put a lien on her house.

They are such yucky people! Bleah.

2011 Income Tax Return Guesstimate

November 10th, 2011 at 02:44 pm

Since I am feeling blue about not making the financial progress I would like to be making, I pulled out my last checkstub and guesstimated my 2011 income tax returns. It looks as though I will be refunded a bit over 2k. That made me feel better! What to do with it? Easy! At the moment, I have contributed $2,950 to my Roth for 2011. Another $1,050 will be a nice little boost, and then 1k to traditional.

This will be nice, because it will be 1k more than planned to each, improving my chances of hitting my targets. Yay! Smile

Taking Stock

November 9th, 2011 at 03:27 pm

Well, here I am yet again with more expenses than cash on hand (in checking) to cover them. So far this month, I have been sticking carefully to my budget. Poor consolation after last month!

At the moment, I have $593.06 in checking. I have paid my mortgage and deducted my gym membership for the month. Still to receive in this month are two $1,512.41 net paychecks and two $226 child support checks. Still to pay out this month are utilities, my $1,326 Chase Visa bill, and my Citi MC debt payment. I put some of my charges on Citi MC, which I had resolved not to do, but there they are. So I am looking at increasing my revolving debt. I will have to increase my minimum payment to Citi as well, as I still intend to keep my Dec 2012 payoff date.

At first blush, it looks as though I can cover everything. But wait, I can't draw checking down to nothing as I will pay December's mortgage payment with my second paycheck of November. I need to leave a cushion.

What to do? Well, I will transfer some money from vacation savings and pay it back with my approaching Christmas bonus. I hate relying on a bonus to cover my overspending. I would much rather have the whole thing to save/invest. But this is the pickle I put myself into.

I dug out a purse from my purse bin and transferred my stuff into it from my summer purse. Guess what I found? A $50 Visa gift card from last Christmas. I remember Ex-H gave it to me (from J) and I wasn't able to figure out how to use it. I called and got it set up, and will use it the next time I buy gas. That will help me in December when it is time to pay for November's charges. J is turning 16 tomorrow! I plan to tell Ex-H that I think we can stop giving each other gifts from J now. This will make life simpler for both of us.

Every day after school, J walks to a friend's house. I pick him up there after school. I also swing by in the mornings and give that friend a ride to school. I think tomorrow I will take a long lunch and pick up some bakery cookies or other treat and swing by the friend's house, so that the treat is waiting as a surprise when J gets there after school. I will speak to the friend's dad tonight about it.

J has been having some acne problems, so I ordered him some Proactive (my cousin suggested it). It was worth every cent, it is really working. But that is another recurring expense for me to cough up.

I have been Googling for Cyber Monday deals. I have found an HP notebook for $399 from Amazon. I think it might be a great substitute for an iPad. I would want a cover for the iPad (more money) as J would be carting it around. I think a notebook would make more sense as it snaps closed. It is still lighter and smaller than a laptop. I think I will take J to look before we decide, but I will buy online to get a better price.

If I am approved for the Chase Southwest card, I will use my bonus points for giftcards and buy the notebook. Ex-H plans to contribute $150 to J's present, so I could use his cash elsewhere since the giftcards would cover the entire cost. I might not be approved, though. Chase might be tired of giving rewards away to me. Big Grin

Speaking of, I hadn't received my 2,500 rewards points for opening a stamps.com account. I messaged a rep yesterday and today the points are in my account. I was able to cancel stamps.com without incident as well, so I feel the effort was worth $25.

October 2011 Budget Report

November 7th, 2011 at 10:59 am



It's very ugly. In addition to the items I mentioned in an earlier post (Blue Man Group tickets, Alcatraz excursion, replacing carpet padding, repairing & cleaning carpet, new winter clothes), I also had a big tune-up for my car (75k miles).

I am expecting a large Visa bill this month. I will not be able to pay in full unless I dig into savings, which I do not plan to do.

Chase Freedom Rewards, BF irritation

November 4th, 2011 at 04:10 pm

Well, what do you know? Remember when I said I had opened a Chase checking account to get $150? Well, apparently when you have a Chase checking account, you earn extra rewards points on your Chase Freedom card. Instead of earning 1% on everything, you earn 1.1%, plus 10 extra pts on every purchase. I had no idea! They have really been adding up. Just cashed in another 3,000 pts for $30.

I am very frustrated with my BF. He has so many wonderful qualities, BUT (you knew there was a "but", didn't you?) he is very unorganized and he has a habit of ignoring problems in the hope that they will just go away. We decided early last year that he would move in with me in June of last year. He has moved in most of his clothes, some of his kitchen stuff, and a few pieces of furniture. In 16 months. The bulk of his belongings are still at his house. He will stay at my house for 2 - 3 weeks, then go home for a few days. I told him about 6 weeks ago that I am tired of waiting. He has made one trip to move stuff since then. Just one. He did have a matter come up recently which required his attention, and he was gone for 2 weeks tending to that. The matter is not settled, but he did put in work on it. I don't want to say too much about his finances because they are his and not really my business, but it concerns me that he isn't terribly motivated to tend to them. He told me over a year ago he has some pressing things he must do, but he has yet to do them. Meanwhile, he has a lot of free time. He has a small business which he is trying to grow, and he does book a job from time to time, but I wouldn't even call it "part-time", it is more like "sometimes". He could be 100% moved if he wanted to. He could take care of his business matters if he wanted to. He would rather wait for the good fairy to come along and wave her wand and magically do it all for him.

He did release my cell phone numbers so that I could put my lines into my name. (One is mine, one is my son's, one is my mom's.) So now I will be paying $133 per month for that. That was the only bill of mine BF was paying. He does buy groceries sometimes. We had agreed he would pay me $500 per month towards expenses once he has moved in, but doesn't have it now because he is still paying for everything at his house. The same house he told me when we first met 2.5 years ago that he needs to sell. The same house which is full of stuff and not even ready to list.

October 2011 Net Worth

November 3rd, 2011 at 10:12 am



Finally getting around to posting this one. Budget is next (sniff).

HARP Refinance In My Future?

November 2nd, 2011 at 02:53 pm

Have you heard the latest news from HARP? On 10/24/11, it was announced they are eliminating the 125% LTV cap. That was the one requirement which disqualified me from doing a refi under HARP. More details are to follow on 11/14/11. I am anxiously awaiting those details!

I already know that my lender is participating, that Freddie Mac owns my mortgage, that I have no late payments in the last 12 months, and that I have sufficient income. What I don't know is...will being upside down mean I will have to pay a premium rate? I only want the refi if I can snap up a nice 4% fixed rate loan. Otherwise, I will stick with what I have. I will have to wait and see.