Browsing the archives for the our economy category.

My least favorite part of adulthood: Fighting

It seems like every time I turn around there is another battle to be fought. Why is it that nothing is straightforward and easy anymore?

I just had a baby, right? When we found out we were pregnant we got legally married even though we were in the process of planning our actual wedding. We did it for insurance purposes because we felt it was the responsible thing to do, as opposed to going to the state for maternity benefits.

Sure the government would have paid for my health care as an unwed pregnant lady but that wasn’t in our eyes the responsible or honest thing to do. N was making good money (and supporting me), it’s his child and all we needed was a marriage certificate to get me insured, we were gonna be married anyway… So we were married at the courthouse on Halloween last year. Our unofficial marriage anniversary is coming.

I still hope to have a real wedding someday and I have my wedding gown that’s never been worn… I am a bit sad that we were married without the wedding part, that is another post topic though!

Anyway, we got married and N added me to his insurance so prenatal care and childbirth would be covered…

Now that Everly is here and the labor/ delivery are behind us we’ve begun tackling the insurance aspect of it and I am just livid right now!

We knew the homebirth cost would be paid out of pocket and that we would have to submit for reimbursement later, we didn’t know that for every single claim submitted would be denied or ripped apart piece by piece. The insurance company is throwing loop-hole after loop-hole at us as reasons they wont need to cover our claims.

First there is the $2000 bill for my perineum repair.

I had about 100+ stitches following the birth of Everly and required a hospital transport since there were deep muscle tears and the midwives had never repaired something that severe.

Insurance wont cover the $400 that the hospital billed as co-pay for the visit and they aren’t applying it to my out of pocket maximum amount.

Add the $400 co-pay to the $3500 I paid the midwife for the homebirth and I’ve paid $3900 out of pocket, my maximum is supposedly $2500 though.

Then there is the $100 cord blood test.

We had the test to determine Everly’s blood type and wheather or not RhoGam was necessary. The hospital billed this test as not medically necessary even though OBGYNs consider RhoGam VERY necessary in Rh negitive mothers.

Insurance is fighting us on covering this too.

The cherry on the shit-cake is that the bill for the homebirth was submitted to insurance back in June and when we’ve inquired about the status of it we were told it’s not in their system, so it needs to be resubmitted now.

We’ve been fighting with credit card companies over billing issues, product makers over faulty items, the water company, the bank and now the insurance company. It is just exhausting! I don’t wanna be a grownup anymore.

:-(

How much do you pay to banks each month? Take a closer look!

I am curious, do you know the exactly how much money you are paying in interest and bank fees each month?

I ask because recently I’ve been particularly worried about this one credit card account I have. It was literally the first card I got when I decided to try reestablishing myself credit wise.

This means I had to pay an annual fee for the card and a pretty high interest rate. It was something I felt was necessary though since nobody would extend credit to me otherwise.

Well just the other day I got a notice from that credit card company about how the account terms are being changed. The annual fee is going up and so is the interest rate, big time. It’s been five years since I accepted that car and I actually forgot just how much I was paying them to extend credit to me!

Since accepting that credit card offer I’ve improved my credit tons and I now have several lower APR/ no annual fee cards that are a much better deal. I quickly decided that this first credit card is something I don’t need to be paying for any longer and am closing it.

Well, this all got me thinking about how much N and I are unknowingly throwing away on bank fees and interest charges each month. I was scared to sit down and figure out the exact dollar amount but I also knew that if I didn’t we wouldn’t truly see how much we can cut back and even save if we make some small changes.

Let me tell you adding it all up and listing it all really does put it in perspective folks! It also really helped me to see which accounts we wanted to focus on paying down first. Throwing less money away is always a good thing right? You gotta take those blinders off first though.

Plus, once it is all listed you can go through it and see how the interest rates and owed balances are looking. Available balances and interest rates are two very different things, just because you have the money available to spend doesn’t mean you should.

Listing your monthly interest and fees paid will also help you see if you are using high interest rate cards too often or if you have too much charged to them. It will help you determine if you should be paying more towards one card as opposed to another. It will also help you to see if certain cards are just charging you too much in comparison to all your other accounts. Ignorance is bliss… but it is bliss you probably can’t afford right now!

Are you convinced yet? If so you can use this free spreadsheet right now to plug in your own information. It will figure totals for you over a 6 month period, then you can print it out and keep it as a reference if you want.

I am also curious to see how much individuals are paying each month and how all my readers average so I made an anonymous survey I hope you’ll take.

It is just asking for your January 2009 numbers, no personal information. It’s all recorded on a spreadsheet and then I’ll share the anonymous values with you all in another post so you can see how you compare to other readers.

In these times of economic hardship everyone is looking for ways to cut back and to save money. Watching your monthly budget and spending trends is a simple and obvious way to find areas that you can cut back. How much interest and fees banks charge you is a big one many people overlook!

Yep, we are moving AGAIN… Shoot me now!

Did you watch Obama’s thing last night? I did because N and I are all opinionated about the government and we’ve been looking real hard at the governments ideas to help the housing market.

We’ve officially come out of our state of delusion and are actively looking for a new home that we want to be in BEFORE Tater Tot arrives (it is our perfect world goal but we’ll move after the baby comes if we really have to). Unfortunately this is dependent on several other things like getting out of our current lease… can we buy a home, will we just have to settle with renting, etc…

One specific tax incentive has us looking for more info, it is the home buying one that is proposed to be included in the stimulus package. The house passed a version of it that few republicans supported and now it is being messed with  and voted on in the senate today.

Personally I don’t prefer to keep offering incentives and tax breaks to those who already have money and are doing fine. I am hoping that we’ll get something in place that will actually help middle to lower class families. We don’t need more investors or multi home owners to buy right now we need to get non-home owners and first time buyers in homes they can afford.

I am sure many of you remember how often we’ve been home hunting. We have actually been in the market to buy for several years but because of economic reasons and lending practices we’ve been shut out.

We have a hefty down payment in an IRA for our first home purchase and we (as a couple) have less than $8,000 in revolving credit card debt (unlike most Americans). We aren’t making a car payment and the only other debt we have is N’s student loan that we are paying as agreed. Still we couldn’t get a mortgage to buy a decent home in Arizona when we tried.

Now that we are in a different housing market we are gearing up to try again for a mortgage, we’ll see though. It would be nice to be able to finally get in on the real estate market without overextending ourselves. It seems for many in our age group this is just not an option though.

In other news I am still eating conversation hearts like crazy and Tater is kicking me as a result. Tater is going to be a sugar addict before even coming out of the womb thanks to valentines day candy, the OBGYN would be so pleased…

Speaking of the OBGYN we are going in for our rescheduled ultrasound appointment Thursday. Oh and I gained another 3 pounds in 2 weeks briging my weight to about 115 and my waist is measuring at almost 29 inches so growth is still not an issue here. That is 25 pounds of gained weight and almost 5 inches in waist growth (that is not even the biggest part of my belly!). Now go enter your baby weight guess and get in on the betting pool guys!

So what are your thoughts on the stimulus package and all the stuff going on in the house & senate right now?

Coming out of the winter coma on a warm and sunny weekend…

You’ve heard about S.A.D right? It is a type of “winter mood disorder”

I’ve seen commercials about S.A.D and the prescription pills that “I should ask my doctor about if I am experiencing similar symptoms”. I have always rolled my eyes about the idea of the winter season making people depressed enough to need a special prescription.

Well, N and I were chatting about how strangely productive we’re feeling as a result of the oddly warm and nice weather we are having and have been having all weekend. We might be coming out of our own winter depression or something! (by the way that is why I didn’t post all weekend, we were busy doing stuff outside…)

We got all our storm debris cut up and ready to be hauled away and we finished the 100% homemade rabbit hutch for Boner! We went grocery shopping, made yummy meals together for dinner, cleaned stuff, looked at rental home possibilities, toyed with the idea of trying to get approved for a mortgage, tried to have the brakes replaced and were outside in the fresh air. It was so nice.

I am super proud of N’s rabbit hutch project (I hope he’ll blog about it and share the plans). We are just waiting for the sealant to dry then it is ready for Boner to move in! Look how it turned out:



Oh, and we stopped in our local Circuit City just for fun to see what deals were to be had (N still wants a 42in flat screen LCD tv…). Have you been to their going out of business sale? We were just amazed at how many people were still looking for and actually buying those high ticket electronic items.

Actually all this weekend we saw people everywhere buying all this high priced non necessity stuff like big screen TV’s and other electronics despite the claimed economic hard times so many are experiencing. N and I just scratch our heads when we see it. We DIDN’T buy a tv by the way…

I mean these aren’t wealthy people, they appear to be mid to lower class and they are just lining up for a $2000 big screen tv or a new video game system. Um, hello! Save your money and think ahead about your economic future guys!

Oh and don’t even get me started on Nadya Suleman, the now mother of 14 who just had octuplets

Home buying fun in Evansville, IN- sellers are still greedy even when screwed!

Remember all the times I have talked about trying to buy a home on this blog? Well we are still living the first time home buyer saga. Over the weekend we looked at a place here that was a possible option for us, we met a Realtor that was overly eager to make her money and we once again have home buying on the brain.

The main reason we are looking to buy is because of the economic state, it is a buyers market for sure. Houses on the market are in abundance, home prices are falling and lots of people are desperately needing to sell the homes they can no longer afford.

Plus with President Obama it is likely we’ll see some type of housing market stimulus attempt, you know to get people buying again and to turn the market around. We suspect this will be most beneficial for those who have not been sucked in to the subprime mortgage mess and whom have not lost homes or even purchased them to begin with.

We have worked very hard to get money for a down payment in the bank. Thanks to employer sponsored 401K plans and roll over options we now have a decent down payment in an IRA ready for a home purchase, we are very pleased about this.

Now we are looking at our home buying options and considering what is truly in our best interest. Obviously we don’t want to remain in a mold filled rental home especially with a baby on the way so we have reinstated our home buying search.

We are looking at unconventional purchasing options at this time. Things like contract sales and owner carry buying options. We are doing this for credit reasons and also because we know somethings are going to change with the new president in regards to the housing market and financing options.

What cracks me up right now is how delusional sellers and agents are right now, they are still trying to be as greedy and shameless a possible even though the number of sellers clearly outnumbers the number of buyers in Evansville, IN.

The place we saw over the weekend was not spectacular by any means, the basement clearly had flooding issues and there were also structural issues on the 2nd floor. The seller made some crazy offer to us that was just a crock and we just laughed about (I don’t want to bore you with the specifics).

What I am wondering is when will people wake up? We are in a recession and greed just doesn’t work anymore. Seriously you selling me your house is NOT doing me any favors. We can rent forever and just keep making interest off that down payment money in the IRA, it’ll be more saved for retirement or whatever. Or we can buy another house, there isn’t a housing shortage you know.

When you have a buyer that is interested how can you honestly make such laughable requests when YOU are the one that is struggling under 2 mortgage payments YOU can’t make? We aren’t struggling financially to pay for our housing because we didn’t get in to an agreement that was impossible to make good on.

When you get someone who is willing to make your payments for you and help YOU out how can you still be so greedy? I know you really want to make your $50,000 profit off the home sale but which is better taking a profit cut or holding out in greed and risking foreclosure?

What kills me is that so many are honestly willing to loose their homes to foreclosure instead of just cutting their losses, learning from the mistake and just selling for what they can get. Those greedy people make me feel like foreclosure is deserved and that we shouldn’t care about their suffering or bail them out, I mean they did it to themselves right?

The Celebrity Ads, what are your thoughts?

It seems everyone but Britney Spears has responded to McCain’s petty celebrity ad! When Paris Hilton responded it was funny but now that Obama has responded I am not sure what I think.

I mean there are too many other important issues to focus on right now and all we can dwell on is the celebrity ads. I have already made up my mind about the candidates but isn’t this petty stuff just ridiculous?

What are your thoughts on it all? Here are the videos in case you missed them, though I doubt you did.


See more funny videos at Funny or Die

So much chaos and uncertainty in the USA right now *sigh*

I have been following the news of the massive flooding occurring in the Midwest right now since Indiana is a place we may be relocating to. Many people are displaced and have had their homes ravaged by the flooding and storms. Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa are in a state of emergency as a result of the flooding and the video footage is just heartbreaking to see, houses are just being swept away by raging waters.

In the east people are experiencing a heat wave as temperatures reach triple digits and earthquakes are devastating many in places such as Nevada, California and Greece. I was left thinking “Holy cow, what is going on with the weather” after learning of all the chaos.

Add the weather stress to the economic stress of fast rising gas prices, home foreclosures, layoffs and financial uncertainty and you can pretty much guarantee you know someone who is having a tough time right now. All this craziness is sad and it makes for a hard time for many, thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach and it is surreal.

Income inequality and how it impacts life in the USA.

I have got to admit, I envy those of you living outside the US sometimes. Today I am just not loving our consumer driven corporate America. There are just too many greedy people out there looking to use one another to get ahead in life, this leaves the rest of us going without and struggling.

Do any of you ever stop to think of the massive divide between incomes these days? Many are making millions annually and I even read that “the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality. I don’t doubt it for one second! (want to see it on a graph?)

I was just wondering how many Americans earn at least a 6 figure income and how that would compare to the rest of the population. I couldn’t find any statistics but I am sure it is just sickening, it reminds me of a blog post I just read about life and working.

Do you work to make a living or do you work to build a life for yourself? Think about the question for a moment and try to see the various meanings behind it. Sorry, I don’t mean to give you a brain overload this early in the morning, I am just on a roll.

Those working to make a living are often only working to get by, most of their waking hours are spent on the job and sadly there isn’t much time for enjoying life. N and I have been in this category for a long time now. It is an exhausting state to be in and knowing that you spend all your time at a job that only just covers the bills is demoralizing for anyone.

Working to build a life for yourself is the opposite of working to make a living. When you are making a life for yourself you get to enjoy the little moments and focus on the day to day joys. Your time is spent focusing on the important things in life, family, home etc. Many stay at home moms find themselves in this category while their men are in the other category.

Maybe I am just dreaming here but shouldn’t it be easier to provide for your family and also enjoy the moments in life? Why aren’t more people concerned about this? Working 50-60 hour work weeks for measly pay is not that fair, especially when so many other people are making so much more money for less work.

I guess I am just rambling on here but the income inequality in the US just strikes a nerve for me. Maybe it is because of our financial dealings right now. Oh, I guess I should update you…

The mechanic confirmed that our engine was shot, a new one would cost 5-6 thousand and a used engine would cost 3-4 thousand. We havn’t made a decision about what we want to do yet.

Also, Evansville offered N the job and sent over a potential contract for us to look over. It it is for oh, about half of what the job opening salary was posted as, which means they offered him about $2000 more than what he is already making here. This is disappointing news for us. They will only cover $1500 in moving expenses (which will come out to about $3000) and we don’t really know if a $2000 raise and a lower cost of living are incentive enough to pick up and move 1500 miles away.

In general we are just tired of the contract negotiations, they limit and impact other decisions we make about our life. Plus every time we enter negotiations we find we are just being low balled and taken advantage of, you know so the company can save money or whatever… Too bad the companies never kick back any of their fortune to the little guys, it would sure help us live better.

Being a renter in Arizona kind of sucks!

Well, this was going to be an auto post for tomorrow since we are heading down to my moms house but I am just raging mad right now and have to share this shit with you guys!

Yesterday I mentioned that our landlord informed us that the home we are renting was being put on the market and that we would need to show the house to potential buyers, this is not good news to us!

We looked over our lease and had a family member and real estate expert, Jerry, look over the lease. Nowhere in the lease does it say that we are obligated to show the home to potential buyers and agents (like it did in the previous lease we signed for another home) but it does state the landlord must provide 48 hours notice of intent to enter.

We only have 3 months left on this lease and we would prefer to not be showing the home in addition to trying to plan and research a cross country move. Plus we have a medium sized dog, who is not friendly to strangers and we have inside cats who have to be prevented from escaping the house so allowing strange people into the home when we are not present isn’t really an option. It is barely possible when we are home!

So I went online to do some research. I found this page which outlines that in Arizona according to A.R.S. § 33-1343
“the purposes for which a landlord may enter a rental premises are to:

• Inspect the premises
• Make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements
• Supply necessary or agreed services
• Exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors”

So it seems like we are going to be forced to show the home we are renting even though it was not agreed to when we signed the lease. Apparently that is the crappy law here in Arizona that favors the f*&kers landlords.

I emailed the landlord about how this is an inconvenience for us and I warned that our dog was not friendly and that entering the home without us being present was a very bad idea for them since our dog is not nice to strange people. I also stated that we were not agreeing to anything at this time because we were waiting for more information about our rights.

The landlord responded that we had nothing to agree to and that the only right we had was the right to a 48 hour notice of intent to enter. He also went on to say that after the 48 hour notice was given we could not refuse the showing and that they could enter whether or not we were home.

Then my phone rings and it is our landlords secretary stating that they were trying to schedule a showing for Saturday, which is 2 days/ 48 hours away. We wont be here for the showing but I am sure they will just do what ever the hell they want to!

I am now wondering if the landlord can “check keys out to possible buyers and their agents” and allow them to show up here unaccompanied while we aren’t present, I was under the impression the landlord had physically to exhibit the dwelling under this law, can they just give keys to anyone who comes by and allow them to enter after giving us notice? What if we aren’t able to be home, can they enter the home anyway? What do you think?

If they do enter the home they will be unpleasantly surprised and possibly bitten in the ass by our very protective dog.. Maybe we will leave some sex toys out around the house! Bet that would cut the visit short huh? I am so flipping MAD!

When life gives you lemons…

… smash them into a sorry pulp, take some photos and blog about it.

Things are crazy right now (that is quite the understatement)… Our living situation saga just keeps getting more and more interesting as the days pass.

Back on January 15th 2008 I wrote “You broke your toe? Want to buy a house?” where I shared with my readers the interesting letter we received from the owners of the home we are renting. They were expressing their “urgency” and wanted to work with us to make our ownership of their house possible. Back in August when we agreed to rent this house on a month to month basis my man was negotiating his contract at work. His contract stipulates pay over an agreed amount of time and a bunch of other legalities. We were considering refusing the contract and possibly moving to a higher paying area, possibly out of state. We want to buy a home and start a family… All of this depends on his contract.

Anyway we had expressed an interest in buying the home as we were signing the rental agreement… Come January when the economy is verging recession and we are locked into another 1 year contract the home owners contact us and ask us to make an offer on the house… We offered what we believed the house was worth taking our own financial situation into account and also the state of the economy.. No response from the owners.

Two weeks later on January 31st the stove catches fire (we don’t own it, the home owners do) and we are notified that the house has a contract on it and is in the process of selling. N thinks the owners only wanted us to make an offer on the house so they could be sure they were getting the most they could for it. Greed!
felt-like-this.jpg
So, (I am getting to the “when life gives you lemons part, don’t worry) we come to terms with the fact the we have to move in 30 days and we begin lining everything up. Found a new house to rent, will sign the 6 month lease tomorrow.. Got a replacement stove delivered, the home owners bought a used one and have been working to bust out my bulk purse order (only 16 left to make).

Last night N and I were home together and I had planned to make my favorite Moist roasted chicken recipe, I get the chicken all ready and I go to turn the oven on… Recipe calls for baking at 450 degrees, I hit the bake button and NOTHING happens!

N tries to turn the oven on, pressed various buttons, reset/ off, cook time, bake etc and the oven wont turn on… It gives us an F 13 error code. What the f? He pulls the oven away from the wall to unplug and re-plug it in, maybe it needs a “reboot” or something. No dice.. oven will not turn on, it’s about 9pm now we are snowed in and can’t cook our food.

I was planning to roast the chicken and to bake some brownies, both are not possible without an oven but we are resourceful (here is the lemons part)… N goes out to the shed to grab this old rotisserie thingy he purchased before we first got together. We wiped all the salt off the chicken shoved it in the rotisserie for cooking. Then we grabbed this old toaster oven thingy from the shed turned the temperature to 300 and cooked the brownies.

It was a frustrating night of cooking but what can you do? I considered throwing the defrosted chicken out into the snow out of anger but that would have just wasted a perfectly good chicken..

I just can’t wait to move out of this house now.. The stove/ oven replacement is used/ not fully functional and I just feel like the owners half-assed that whole thing. Seems like they just want to make a quick buck off the house and that they have no regard for anything else. They supposedly remodeled the place and did all this wonderful work on it but so much was just sloppily thrown together (this may just be my anger about having to move talking so you be the judge and view the photo slide show of the house). I just feel sorry for the poor soul that bought this little place.

By the way… you can click on the photos to get a better/ closer look at them….

:-(