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The Christmas Present

December 24th, 2007 at 03:10 am

Several years ago, I pretty much stopped indulging in Christmas for my kids. I never really had much, but I always managed toys from the Salvation Army or something. There would be so many presents that they would not all fit under the tree. The kids all got something that they really wanted even if I had to charge it. I remember several years ago, they all got IPODS. Wow, was I ever stupid.

About three years ago, this all stopped. It all stopped because of a conversation I had at work.

The girl's name was Tracy. My mom would have called her an old soul. She knew more then most people would ever know in their lifetimes. She had a lesson to teach and I listened.

Tracy had six kids. Her lifestyle was very similar to mine. Her husband was abusive. Like me, she finally left and bought her own home. Unlike me, Tracy really knew what was important in life and one day, she sat down to tell me.

Tracy told me how her family celebrates Christmas. She said that they would get up early on Christmas day and they would all dress up and go to church after breakfast. When they came home, she would cook dinner and only then, would the kids open their presents. The three oldest at home would share a present and the youngest would get one of his own. To her family the presents were the least important thing of the day.

I had never had an epiphany before and if you never had one, it kind of feels like a feeling in your stomach when you realize that you got an answer that you weren't quite ready to hear and mine almost made me sick.

I suddenly realized that I had it all wrong. Somehow, all the presents I got for my kids symbolized to me what Christmas was all about.

That year I bought each of my kids three presents. The difference in what I spent and what I budgeted for them, they got back in cash. This they couldn't understand. I didn't explain. Maybe I got something wrong.

The next year they got clothes and one present. Yes, they were absolutely shocked. It would be the first with the clothes and still, they didn't understand. It still needed some work.

In year three, I did not get them anything. I was having a hard time last year and there just wasn't any money. The charge card did not come out. Their sister bought them gifts and that was that. I told them in advance, that other then dinner and some candy in their stocking, there wasn't going to be any gifts from me. They accepted it very well and I think it was one of the more special Christmas' that we have ever had.

This year, I have not received one Christmas wish list from the kids. My youngest asked me if they were going to get a stocking for Christmas this year. I smiled and told her yes. I have received more questions about what I'm making for dinner and who is coming then about the big empty spot under the tree.

Maybe this year I finally got it right.


Budgets completed through February...

December 8th, 2007 at 12:40 pm

and things don't look any easier.

The insurance company settled with me for my daughter's car. I owe 7100. They settled for 5100 because their insured actually hit 4 cars including my kid. I've started paying them $125 per month. They call all the time and drive me crazy. I've asked a few money wise people what to do. Some of them told me to call and offer them a settlement others tell me just to keep paying them each month. I'm always scared that if something else should happen to me that I won't have any money to cover it. I barely have enough money to pay my bills and put a little money into savings for bills that don't come every month like insurance and propane. The only reason I can even pay them is because I got a $1.00 an hour raise a month or so ago. I don't know what to do.

My daughter is paying for the puppy that had parvo. I only paid $400. So I am thankful for that. She considers him her dog and feels responsible. Did I mention that she moved out again? Things are kind of stressful between us because I'm paying for that car and she's not. I was never going to mention it to her again, but she brought it up to me a few days ago and I told her that I was making payments on it. She asked about the settlement. At the time I didn't have it yet and I told her so. I'm almost afraid that if I mention to her that I got it she might ask me for money. When we argued about who's responsibility the car was, and I realized that she was not going to keep making the payments, I told her to never ask me for money again. She's never asked out right for money, but she has hinted at it. I'm not going to give her money.

My loan for my house is still in the restructure stage, but they told me it has been approved.

I still have most of the last couple of mortgage payments. I used the first mortgage to catch up on all my bills, pay the $400 for the dog, pay my car insurance for 6 months and the registration on my car.

I did take another $1,000 and get new tires (bald), brakes (90% gone), oil change, alignment and a couple of other things for the car. One of my tires was flat every morning. Lately I've been worrying about the car just holding out.

This means with the settlement that I have $8,500 in my bank account in my money market fund. So why am I still very, very worried?

I'll tell you why. I did my budget and I barely have enough money coming in to pay my bills and buy groceries and pay my mortgage which I was told would be increasing 'just a little' with the restructure. What the heck does 'just a little' mean anyway?

I figured out that to feel comfortable I would need to make $300 more every month. That means that I would have to earn 4% interest on $8500. I can only earn that in a CD, which would tie up my money for no less than 3 months at a time. I am not willing to put it into my deferred comp that invests it. I lost money there anyway and it is too hard to get to if something should happen. So there it sits in my money market earning 1.7 % interest each month.

I think I'm just tired. I do all I can and I just can't seem to make ends meet. Every month, it is something else.

Christmas is coming and my oldest daughter asked me to go in halves on a Nintendo video game for my son. Last year I didn't buy them anything, because I didn't have any money. This year I have $200 saved up. I have three kids at home. I told her "no". My share would be $125. I told her that I thought that was too much for my son to ask for. She said she told him that but that is all he wants. I still said "no".

I am also having Christmas at my house this year for the family. We always pot luck it so it's not so hard.

My youngest son who is seventeen, desperately needs to go into his second phase of braces. I'm hoping on getting just a little bit of income tax refund. I claim 14 and I haven't paid my mortgage in 4 months. I hope I don't end up owing money.

On the good side, I am now owe $10,899.41 on my credit card debt. I can hardly wait until that is gone. I thought about paying a big chunk towards this too, but if I was going to do that, I might as well pay on the car. I think I'm better off just making payments and saving the money for an emergency.

D minus 1

April 26th, 2007 at 03:35 am

Tomorrow I write the check for $250 for my little girl's braces. I wish I could have said that I had it all saved up, but I don't. I'll be stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

My son brought home a little kitten. He named him Lily, until I noticed he was really a Charley. Poor baby was so starved it chased my mean cat away from the food while she was eating. My Jack Russel loves him. My Aussie just ignores him. I think he is growing on the other cats. He was a little shy at first until the Jack Russell crawled towards him on his belly and put his nose down with the kitten's nose. Now they are fast friends. Funny how animals are.

I got $27 from turning in my cans and $22.10 from Treasure Trooper. It bought groceries. With that, and what I have in the fridge, it will have to do until I get paid again in two weeks. I don't think I'll do Treasure Trooper again.

I'm just so tired of worrying about paying the bills. The new kitten and the flowers in the garden have really cheered me up. Gardening and playing with baby kittens will cheer just about anyone up I guess.

As my mom always said, "Tomorrow is a brand new day and you get to start all over."

Almost laughing

March 18th, 2007 at 03:38 am

Hi fellow bloggers,

Ended up at the doctor's office on Wednesday. I couldn't seem to get out of bed. Oldest daughter took me. They gave me a sample for new muscle relaxers. The spams stopped almost instantly and I didn't get the normal shot. The residual pain is still there and neck is very stiff. OUCH. I called in to work and told them that this time I'm not tearing up the doctor's off work order, this time I really am staying home. My neck really hurt. I also got one oxycodone. So managed the drive home without crying. Pain didn't go away, but I no longer cared. I haven't filled my prescription for the muscle relaxants. I still have one left and then there is the old stand by "motrin". Woke up with a really bad headache. It's probably related to my neck being so stiff.

Took my kids to the dentist on Friday. Younger son has six cavites. (He is the candyholic.) He asked about clear fillings and I told him there is no way. It's bad enough he has 6 cavities. Other two were cavity free. Dentist told me that my little girl needs braces. How funny. I told him she starts in April with the expander.

My new balance on my stupid debt is $11,579.39. My check will be short as I missed overtime on Friday. Oh well. Maybe I'll volunteer a Saturday. I've come to the realization that I may never have money again.

I did some paid surveys. I'm hoping I actually get paid.

Well back to the couch I go. I don't know why I'm more comfortable there with my reading pillow. I don't know how I'm going to manage 9 hours at the desk on Monday.

Happy St Patrick's Day.

My poem is getting published!

March 11th, 2007 at 01:50 am

Hello Dear Blogging Family,

My poem is getting published! I know hundreds get published every year but I am still just thrilled that mine got picked!


I'm so happy!