Friday, November 19, 2010

Anti-Hoarding Measures

Men's Health (1-year auto-renewal)I am cleaning my room today! The clutter has started to build again, and the word “hoarder” keeps bouncing around in my brain.

Especially when I got rid of Men's Health from 2005-2008 (again, keeping only the Gerard Butler issue).

But I also had six back issues of The Week magazine. Reading a six-week-old issue of The Week is like reading a six-week-old newspaper. Why do I let this happen?

Again, I console myself with the thought that it's less hoarding than “can't keep up with my life, not even the magazine part”.

After being listed on eBay many times, my wedding rings sold yesterday for $100. I also sold a 1979 Who's Who in American High School Students (Western States edition) for $7. That one I was really just happy to rehome rather than drop in the round file!

I am trying to get more serious about my eBay listings again. Gotta start somewhere. But Amazon has blocked all my toy sales until after the holidays because I'm not a big enough “merchant”.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Tally

I really need to write this part first, to make myself feel better! After sending in that additional $550 check, my tally dropped to $16,779.38.

Sadly, when I finished paying my bills just now, my November tally came in at $16,630.81. So “working ahead” mid-month didn't really do much for me!

But if you add in that new A/C debt, which I am obviously loathe to do because it erases so very much of my progress, then my current tally is $21,741.81.

One step forward, five thousand steps backward.

I am now only $2,541.79 ahead of where I was when I started. I suppose another way to look at that would be to consider that I would have had to incur the A/C debt either way. But, you know, right now that doesn't really help.

As Cathy often says, I feel like the universe is conspiring against me.

The Depressing Part

Right around the time that my A/C went, I calculated exactly how much I owe on my house.

I bought my house for $231,000, but rolled in closing costs, so I really paid $240,000. I got an 80/15/5 mortgage, which means I paid 5% down ($12,000), put 80% into the first mortgage, and owed the remaining 15% in a second mortgage. So really I guess I started off owing $228,000.

Well, kids are expensive. I ended up rolling credit card debt over into my second mortgage. Twice. Each time vowing never to let my credit card debt climb again. Ha ha.

At first, that didn't seem so bad. The value of my house inflated to a whopping $500,000. But then the economy tanked. My realtor told me a few days ago that today I could get around $285,000-$290,000 for it. I've lived here nearly eight years. Once I factor in closing costs on both ends and moving costs, I'm not sure that would leave me with enough money for a down payment on a new place. If I wanted to move. Which I don't. Right now. Well, except to Hawaii.

As of today, I owe $167,398.51 on my first mortgage and $60,000 even on my second mortgage (which always gives me the option to pay “interest only”, so that's what I do) for a total of $227,398.51. That's $601.49 less than I paid for it, if you take the down payment into consideration. It's $3,601.49 less if you use the $231,000 figure and $12,601.49 less if you use the $240,000 figure. But I obsess...

Under almost any calculation, I now owe more on that new A/C unit than I've paid down on my house.


My A/C went. I needed to replace my twelve-year-old unit in its entirety. $5,202 (with $795 of that being a ten-year parts and labor warranty, which is absolutely necessary because some expensive coil goes every sixteen months, at around $1,600 a pop).

And here's where I got stupid. I was so tired when the Del-Air rep came over and met with me. He went over everything. I made my decisions. I asked him what I would find out if I contacted his competitors. He said that since they were the largest around, no one could match their prices. And, like a complete idiot, I believed him and didn't do my homework. In my defense, I was tired. And hot. And in a hurry. But still.

Then while Del-Air was here doing the install on a Friday, two different people asked me why I wasn't using Air Temp, a rival company. So on Monday I called Air Temp. When all was said and done, they quoted me a price that would have been $572 lower for exactly the same equipment and install.

So not only am I out $5,202 I can ill afford, but I made a bad deal.

Oh, and of course I contacted Del-Air in an attempt to get that $572 refunded. After three solid days of jerking me around, they gave me... absolutely nothing.

But I did get a lecture about their quality. I guess they forgot about the time one of their technicians set my attic on fire and then sat down on my stairs and cried.

And I also got a lecture about how they'd put together the financing, and that'd “cost” them something. But he stopped talking when I said the word “kickback”. Just like with auto dealerships, I'm sure.

Bottom Line: I am now carrying an additional $5,202 in credit card debt at a “special” rate of 5.9% on a card where all the other rates are 27.99%. And I'm not even sure how long that 5.9% rate is guaranteed. I'm scared to make the call to find out. And entirely too depressed.

After all my progress, that $5,202 is weighing down on my shoulders very, very hard.

We've been putting off braces for Cathy. My car is older than Maryanne, who would like a car of her own. My living room furniture has holes in it. But, hey, Del-Air now has my $5,202.


It's been one month and one day since my last entry. I've been too discouraged to write. I don't even know where to begin. But if I don't begin, I'll never get back on track.

On October 17th, I pulled $500 out of my Paypal account and then mailed off a check for $550 to a credit card. (That's $500 Paypal bucks + $50 bonus reward money from my Amazon Visa.) So that's THIRTY-TWO, THIRTY-THREE, THIRTY-FOUR, THIRTY-FIVE, and THIRTY-SIX, with $80.68 left towards THIRTY-SEVEN.

Then disaster struck.