Changing from a Spoon to a Shovel

Posted in Getting Out Of Debt with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by chocolatemilk72

In my early 20’s I remember equating getting out debt to attacking a mountain of sand with a tea spoon. Paying my minimum balances on my credit cards, dodging my medical bills, and robbing Peter to pay Paul was not working. So I gave up and 10 years later in my early 30’s I filed for bankruptcy. Which would have been great, if I hadn’t Bren laid off a year later. What was really unfortunate was I didn’t learn anything new in that year and now I was married, pregnant, on unemployment and back in debt.

I’m happy to say eight years later I’m in a much better place, but it didn’t happen over night. I had to make some hard choices, create healthier habits and learn to communicate.

“Hi, my name is Charmane and I am financially clueless!”

Honestly, that was step one. Knowing that there was a problem. I had to re-educate myself about money and use it as a tool to get from A to B and not how to maintain A and only dream about getting to B.

Over the next year, I want to share steps I took to get financially healthy. I’m not 100%, but I know I’m on the right road to financial security.

Today’s 1st tip: know your numbers.
You can’t make changes if you don’t know how much you bring in, spend, and owe. So yes, take the time to keep a financial journal. Track every dime of income coming into your household. Keep every receipt. List all your actual household expenses, list all your debt (mortgage, car loan, credit cards, student and personal loans, etc). I know it seems tedious, but it’s like the person who starts a weight lost program and don’t know their starting weight or the number of calories they consume. Not only will you know where you stand after this journal, but you can track your successes.

One

What Does The Debt Ceiling Mean To The Average American?

Posted in Getting Out Of Debt with tags , , on July 9, 2011 by chocolatemilk72

You can’t turn in the news without hearing about the Debt Ceiling…. What is this Debt Ceiling, why haven’t I never heard of it before and why should I care?

First of all I was shocked to find out the Debt Ceiling isn’t anything new. It’s been part of the American economy since 1962. According to CNN.Money.com it is a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow. The cap applies to debt owed to the public (i.e., anyone who buys U.S. bonds) plus debt owed to federal government trust funds such as those for Social Security and Medicare.

So let’s say you are a fiscal responsible American and set a budget every year. Of course you have your mortgages, utilities and car note. Then you have your cable, retirement fund, health insurance, car and homeowner’s insurance. Your budget is based on the income coming into your household (i.e. taxes and revenue generated from bonds in respects to the US economy). Then of course we have our extra misc expenses… Entertainment, gym membership, traveling, clothing, etc. We use credit cards and working overtime when available for the extras. So now let’s say half way into the year someone said a percentage of income is cut and you have to start picking and choosing what expenses your going to pay. You already took your vacation so that money is spent, so you have to rob Peter to pay Paul. You pay your mortgage this month along with your utilities but opt to pay your car note next month. You pay it, but without your credit rating taking a hit. That is what’s going to happen if the Debt Ceiling isn’t raised. This is money the country has already spent if we default we run the risk of compacting and already rocky economy by not being able to sell US bonds or borrowing money.

Long story short are the Republicans willing to bankrupt this country to secure the 2012 elections? Just like your personal budget, it adjust every year and more then likely you make the necessary adjustments. The same thing is true with the US budget and the Debt Ceiling is raised every year.

The reason most of us never has heard of it the term Debt Ceiling is because this is the first time since 1962 it hasn’t been adjusted as needed and is being used to a political pawn.

I just hope that our lawmakers think about the long term consequences before they play Russian roulette with our future for short term gains.

Loan Limbo

Posted in Home Buyer with tags , , on April 18, 2011 by chocolatemilk72

We are what I affectionally call limbo. We have started packing, we have started contacting utilities to change service, but we don’t know if we have no loan. Tomorrow will mark our second extension for our loan commitment.

Did I mention our closing date is in four days? What makes it hard, is the fact there is nothing we can do… It is in the hands of the loan underwriters and they are backed up. What’s so ironic, we thought that buying at this time of the year was going to help us in the price… We lost the bid on our first choice, because a competing bid went in at the same time. Now the underwriter is backed up. Crazy. All we can do is not stress and hope for the best.
Good night

Discouraged

Posted in Home Buyer, Uncategorized on April 3, 2011 by chocolatemilk72

I’m feeling a little blue… This is not how envisioned my day… Though I knew we weren’t closing today the reality of it really hit home especially when we were hit with the challenges of getting Wallace’s student loans deferred. I’ve been trying to keep him positive, that some his half glass empty blues started effecting me.

So tomorrow is my birthday and I’m back in limbo. If all goes well I’m going to be the loan deferment queen. I promise to post step by step what to do if you’re ever in this predicament.

Delayed not denied.

Good night

Second Thoughts?

Posted in Home Buyer with tags , , on December 20, 2010 by chocolatemilk72

I spent a good part of my afternoon looking at tiles for my backsplash, blinds for the windows, closet organizers, even a portable door bell and outdoor security lights. It felt good and scary at the same time. Good because I’m shopping for me new home and scary, because this new place is going to require a lot of shit.

I’m realizing I’m not going to get my milk chocolate glass subway tiled backsplash and I am going to work on one room at a time. I’m cool with that thought… The thought of creating a house that fits my family, then Wallace comes home and announce we need to talk about the house. He is having second thoughts. Hid task for this week was to find home owner’s insurance. We found out that in Missouri we are required to have a policy that will cover the replacement of our house in an event it is destroyed. Well our house is over a 100 years old and it’s all brick. This means that while our home maybe valued at $210,000 it will cost between $350,00 and $500,000 to replace it. Brick by brick. So we went from think our insurance was going to be $1,200 to anywhere from $5,000 to $2,700. The cheapest has been $1,800, but I’m not putting too much stock into that quote.

I know this has spooked poor Wallace, but I explained to him that we are going to have this problem as long as we are looking at old brick houses. Wallace in his infinite wisdom said, let’s draw a pro and cons list… He listed three cons… Townhouse, small back yard, 3 bedrooms and a bathroom in each of the kid’s rooms (he is convinced they are either going to drown in the tub or stuff shit in the toilet). I didn’t understand his lust, because we are finishing the basement to give him his room and the yard us enough for the kids. I ended the discussion that we don’t have to get this house, we cab keep looking, but he knows that I am happy with it and I doubt if the kids flood it via the toilet.

This isn’t the 1st time he has questioned it and I doubt if it will be the last. But what I know for sure that we both have to want it in order for it to work. So tomorrow we will talk some more and if he isn’t 100%, then we have to be willing to walk away, because it’s a house, not a home. My home is right here right now with my husband and our three children and I will never lose sight of that again.

Good night.

Sellers Disclosure

Posted in Home Buyer, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 20, 2010 by chocolatemilk72

Today I received the seller’s disclosure via email from our realtor. Thanks to a long conversation I had with a friend Monday, I was advised to look over our sellers disclosure with a magnifying glass.

Did you know a seller’s disclosure is a bonding legal document? I didn’t and I’m sure many other buyers don’t either. This maybe to only recourse you have if a seller wasn’t completely honest in it’s completion.

So I have my ruler and going through line by line with Wallace on the phone. First thing I noticed was my seller checked no for a supply line for the ice maker. So I flagged it with a posted note. Then I got to the basement section, my seller failed to check yes or no indicating if the basement was damp, wet or had flooding. So I flagged that section too. After reviewing the seller’s disclosure for a second time, I clicked over and called, Vicky (our realtor) and she said she will talk to the seller’s agent.

To be honest, I’ve been looking at houses for well over a year, and I’ve seen at least 10 seller’s disclosures… All I saw was blah, blah, blah… I don’t even recall signing one seven years ago when I purchased my 1st house.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Vicky, but I’m going to sleep soundly tonight oppose to my tossing and turning Monday night… Sweet dreams. Good night

The Talk

Posted in Home Buyer with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by chocolatemilk72

This morning Wallace and I sat down and really talked about buying this house. He voiced his concerns and I listened. Then I stated my concerns and he listened. I was able to address all his concerns, but my main point was bottom line, if he isn’t happy, I’m not happy. He is the head of our family and if he isn’t 100% going in, we pull out now. In the end he green light us moving forward. I think every married couple has to really make sure the are on same page when buying a house. One person can’t feel bullied or pressured into a decision this big. I know deep down Wallace is giving up somethings so that I can have the house I fell in love with and for that I love him dearly.

Good night.