Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A New Day - A New Outlook

Don't get me wrong - I'm still stressed.

Last night after I wrote my post, I hunted down the Halloween candy DH had bought and hid from all of us - and I don't even like that kind of candy!

I am a pragmatic person.  Things ARE overwhelming and feel completely out-of-control right now, and I'm sure something else will go wrong at some point today (call from the school nurse? a leak in the upstairs bathroom coming through the kitchen ceiling - again? a termite infestation?) but I have to focus on what has to be dealt with right now and see what I can do.

The biggest most pressing problem right now is the finances.  The district that DH works for is currently under contract negotiations.  The teachers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the year.  For some bizarre reason, that translates into NO tuition reimbursement, NO salary bumps after completing any continuing education courses, and NO regular cost of living increase in salaries.  And no, even once the contract is signed, nothing will be retroactive.  I know.  It doesn't make any sense to me either. 

Ignoring the slight salary increase that we were counting on, the worst part is DH is currently in a Master's program and is completing one course each semester.  The course he is in now ends on Thursday, and due to no tuition reimbursement from the district, he will be taking a break from the program until a contract is signed.  The worst part right now is that the two thousand dollar tuition for the course he is just finishing now has to be paid.  We were counting on getting some/all of that reimbursed from the district.  Now we have to figure out how to pull $2000 out of the air.

Our fridge is on its last legs.  My extremely generous in-laws have offered to buy us a new fridge as an early Christmas/Chanukkah gift for the two of us.  What a relief to not have to worry about figuring out how to pay for that!  There is stress still involved with finding a fridge that fits our small space and the other features I want (Energy Star Qualified and french doors), but at least the money aspect of that is not a concern.

I work best with clear goals, so I'm going to make a TO DO list of what I need to do to try to improve our current financial situation:

1.  Contact the bank that holds our Home Equity Line of Credit - maybe we can take more money from that to pay DH's tuition and my hospital bill without affecting how much we're paying each month too much.
Not going to happen - already borrowed the maximum amount we could borrow.

2.  Finish completing the on-line application for state assistance.  I have no idea if we will qualify for anything, and I really never thought I would need to do this, but it's there for a reason and it sure would help.  If nothing else, both boys qualify for Medical Assistance due to their autism diagnosis, and that is actually not income dependent.  If I can get that set up quickly enough, that should cover medical expenses for any procedures related to this new cardiac stuff.  Wonder if it would also cover copays for Twin B's therapist?  Hmmm....
Completed!  "Only" took about four hours altogether.  Of course, then it gave me a list of literally twenty different documents I need to find, make copies of, and then deliver tot he county office.

3. Call each of the three credit cards we own (two are maxed out and the other is $500 from its limit) and ask for a lower interest rate.  I heard that if you ask for this and ask for that person's manager (I think) when they tell you they can't do that, it could happen.  I figure it can't hurt!
It took forever, but I managed to do this for one, reducing it from 29% to 12%, after I requested help due to financial hardships.  This rate will be good for one year, and I can't use the card for that year (fine with me), but at least it will help in paying it off!  Still haven't managed to do this for the other two cards - yet.

4.  Figure out a new way to pay for oil and my gym membership (I know, it seems like a splurge, but I really need to lose weight - I'm actually considered obese at this point - and I will be reimbursed $150 if I go at least one hundred eighty days in the course of the year.  Talk about incentive!) since they were on a credit card that is now maxed out.
No time for this.

5.  I reduced what we pay for car insurance and home owner's insurance.  Next I'm going after life insurance, oil, and electric.
No time for this.

I now have four and a half hours before the kids get home.  There's only five things on my to do list - should be no problem.  Right?  Right?!!  Or maybe not.
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MemeGRL said...

Don't forget to have DH talk to the school where he's going and explain the situation to see if he can start a payment plan or if he's eligible for any low- or no-interest loans. It's a small (to the school) amount of money and if they know he's in it for the long haul with guaranteed payments later (when the contract is signed) they might be able to do something for him.
And FWIW, I lost more weight when I quit the gym. I hated doing it but we were in our own money crunch at the time so I used videos that came with cable, walked, and T-Tapp freebie videos online.
And as someone else with a small fridge space--I couldn't find any with French doors to fit our teeny space (the last owners built the cabinets around the fridge so there is NO wiggle room and of course, it was an unusual size)...don't forget to try Ikea, those Europeans have smaller kitchens and therefore smaller appliances than we do sometimes.
Good luck!

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