Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Thought About Where I Am Now

Do what I have to do, so I can do what I want to do.” - The Great Debaters

A post from Single Ma this morning applying that quote to her finances got me thinkin'.
Right now I'm doing what I have to do:
....erradicating my debt
....spending less(working on my altoid consumption)
....budgeting and using the envelope system
....paying attention for retirement(greatly reduced per debt payment)

so I can do what I want to do;
.....not have to worry about $$$$
.....retire well
.....purchase property
....Circle world travel w/o the question of where is the $ going to come from?

The Library Again

I've got to really get a system regarding returning library materials. Because I forgot again, fines are now at $5.25(those .25s add up). Included in that price is the $2.00 from the late DVD return. I've decided to write the due dates down on a sticky and post it on the computer cabinet wall. Not much else is posted there.

But this points to a larger issue. I'm being a hog. Why have books I'm not reading just hanging around? What's to say I'm gonna get to them. So I'm returning what I truly don't need so someone else can check them out..

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A New Look

Car back in working order and looking good. It cost me an xtra $100 because I needed a light and new grill. Total cost $810. $10 tip imposed by Good Neighbor since Mechanic's son delivered it. I noticed the battery is slow in turning over when the car has been sitting a day or two. I'll deal w/that later.

Sun, Sea, Sand

Back from a few days of relief. I'll be back in swing momentarily.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

$700 and A Bottle of Beer

After certifing this great rate for the car. The mechanic doesn't take checks. What?? I don't have the cash readily available.
Now it's really my fault cause when I misplaced my cards I used it as an opportunity to make cash not so readily available. And it worked. It worked a little too well. I transferred funds when I needed to, etc. In this instance I needed cash. Fast thinking...who can I ask to cash a check for me(after feeling like an idiot of course). Okay that's all squared away. But I had to rectify my situation. So I made some changes that will have my cash available to me when I need it. And I'll just have to be as disciplined as I am w/my BofA card.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Auto Drama

In addition to the bumper episode the starter needed to be replaced. Being tired of the nonsense, I decided to shop around. My mechanic (A) was charging $140 ($70 for the part) if he could get the starter which would take him a few days since his car was down. Plus I had to take the car into another station because he doesn't have a lift. Here's the catch. If the shop had to get the starter it would cost more. Enter Mech-B who also wants the bumper repair job (more on him later). He was able to get the work done the same day. In addition he replaced the side lamp. The cost for the starter $140 tax incl. plus his labor of $80. The total job came to $230, which was a good deal since Good Neighbors 1 and 2 told me the lamps are close to $100. The only thing I didn't like was the fact Mech-B never called me to tell me the additional work he was doing.

Now let me take you back to the day after the accident. Mech-A took me to a collision shop who didn't give me a quote then and there but told me to check w/the other party's insurance co. to see if they were going to pay for the damage. New to the game I really didn't get it and I was crazed cause my baby was naked w/no bumper. He verbally walked me through the process, told me who to contact, etc. Seemed like he was looking out for my interest. He also told me if the insurance peeps. didn't find in my favor he would give me a good price. Riight.
Lesson #1: Get a quote. If not then, bring the car back later for one. All you want to do is get your car fixed. The only bottom line is what's the price(not how much is the insurance company is offering).

Now since he was the person Mech-A suggested, when it came time for the adjuster's visit I left the car at his shop. When I went to pick it up he handed me the report and asked me if I was going to leave the car. Since I still had no clue as to whether they were going to pay and the car was driveable I took it with me. A girl still had to get to the JO. By this time I was starting to get some vibes about this guy.
Lesson #2: Never let a mechanic know what the insurance company is willing to pay. Have the adjuster see the car away from the body shop, especially if the car is driveable.

Earlier on Mech-B who works on my block, left a note on my window saying he could do the repairs. When I called him he gave me a rough quote of $1,700-$1,800 and told me if I got more $ from the insurance peeps the rest was mine to keep. Sounded good. And that was the first time anyone had said anything like that. Now while this seems like something I would know. 1- it isn't everyday I have a car accident and 2-Common sense isn't always common(thanking my pops for that one).

A few more days go by and I'm still driving. That is until the starter died--as a matter of fact I was on my way w/Good Neighbor 1 to get a quote from his guy.

I decide to go w/Mech-B for the starter job. Although it's going to cost more, I'm able to have my baby the same day. When he returned the car I asked him for an estimate. He came back with $1,000, $500 of which would be for parts. However, that didn't include the paint job. His words were, "you could drive it as is or I can get you an estimate for the paint job once the bodywork was done." Mulled it over a day or so. I don't think so! Yeah the price sounded okay but then I'd be on the hook for more cash when I decided to get it painted. Ah hell naw(common sense kicking in)!

Finally Good Neighbor 1 and I were able to catch up w/his body man, who after inspecting and going into his shop came back with a $700 rate. What? I digress....First of all I never called Mech-A's body guy back once I found out I was paying for the job myself. The deal: I assumed his good rate would have been somewhere between $1,500 and $1,700 since he knew the adjuster put a $1,900 valuation on the job. Besides, what would I a novice and mere woman have known. Riiiiiiiight!

Back to Good Neighbor 1's guy - I missed the word complete as part of his quote. So I like an idiot asked how much for the paint job. He said to me that's the total price. Well hell. I told him I'd bring him the car tomorrow. Good Neighbor 1 ragged me to no end. A note about Good Neighbor 1. I had no idea he'd had a collision shop in a past life so when he originally told me the job should be no more that $800 I was like how could that be.
Lesson #3: When in doubt ask questions and then ask again till they break it down in real talk.

Savings - $1,000.
The absense of guilt because I won't feel like I got taken - Priceless.

Ed McMahon

Ed. The Million Dollar Man who used to come to your house w/a check. I saw him on Larry King the other night talking about his house foreclosure. Wow! On the show he made a comment that he broke his neck and hadn't been able to work for the past 18 months. He's been in the business since like 1955! A few years ago I would have wondered how this could have happened to "someone like him". Now what does really mean? I would have assumed he had money simply because he was making oodles of money and should still have some of it. Total judgement on my part. Fast forward to todays' reality. Just because people seemingly make good $ doesn't mean they have good $ habits. The habits you have when you're broke are the habits you'll have when you're not. Any change is a choice and it begins in the brain. That's me now.

Now, having said all that, I'm not cracking on the man cause foreclosure isn't fun, even from the sidelines. It's just more of an example of what people do or don't do w/their finances.

Maybe someone will ring his doorbell with a check. Stranger things have happened.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Inertia, or so I'm Mistakenly Calling It

A feeling of non-movement. Stuck. Like I'm not doing anything. Inertia. I checked out my main account, calculated what percentage was formerly going into my 401K from my mid month paycheck. $97 I think it was. Guess what? I'm making it an even $100, even though I'm still having 1% deducted. So the total upcoming payment will be $250. $157 was May's minimum payment. June's will be less due to the extra $650 I sent their way. However, I'm not taking into consideration a lower amount. The goal is to let this ball and chain go.

Are there things I need to do. Yes!!!!Resoundingly so. Tomorrow I'll look at my goals and see what I'm going to do. One of them is clean up my computer area and file papers. Not feeling so hot so we'll see how tomorrow goes.

You know what? Inertia is certainly not what this is. I'm just tired.

$$ Lessons at The Mall of America

What attracted me to the Mall was the fact they had a Barnes and Noble. I love bookstores. Did I say that already? Anyhoo, I spent an hour or so in the pf and self-help sections. Got engaged w/Richard Templar's, "The Rules of Money". Although I focused on the rules important to me, in general the book is an easy read. I'll begin w/the rule that made me think about a prior conversation.
Rule 1:You have to work hard to get rich enough not to work hard.
Worked w/a guy who had a number of side businesses and was in the process of house building. He said his father's mantra was in your 20s have fun and get acting stupid out of the way. In your 30s work your ass off so when you reach your 40s and beyond you can coast down. I'm paraphrasing cause this convo was at least 3 years ago and I may have left something out, but at the time I thought it sounded great coming from a place where I didn't have that kind of info in my own financial start.
Rule 2: Spend less than you earn. - where have I heard that before. Went along w/the next 2
Rule 3: Have a plan .- Did an initial one and now I need to go deeper.
Rule 4: You've got to know where you are before you start. - I do. Thank God!
Rule 5: Get finances under control-stop the leaks. - Needs more work.
Rule 6: Decide what you want money for. - This goes w/completing my plan.
Rule 7: Don't envy others. - I like when others are doing their thing, but I've learned unless I know how someone got that item the price I pay in debt payments may be too steep for me.
Rule 8: Wealth is a consequence not a reward. A great thought on which to chew.
Rule 9: Keep it under your hat. Many of his reasons negate what pfbloggers do daily, however, I liked the thoughts about not sounding preachy and having a secret gives you a warm glow.
It was great taking a look at my actions and thoughts thru the eyes of this writer.

I also did a quick perual of "1 Small Step Can Change Your Life" by Robert Maurer, PhD. Doing it the Kaizen way has you break down tasks into smaller pieces. As in eating the elephant one bite at a time(Ghana). I bought cards at the dollar store, tried on shoes, bought food and caught the bus back. Total cost $10.00. Not bad!

Monday, June 02, 2008

WaMu and the Rest of My Day

Sounds like a donkey. Anyway they've been sending me c/c offers. I almost took the last one and called. Looked at it one more time and decided not to have a hard inquiry on my report. No I'm not happy w/my current interest, but my goal is to work it down. Actually....There was a little break in my typing while I called BofA to try to get a match on the WaMu. No Deal. Valued me as a customer since 1997, blah, blah. He did offer me a balance transfer of 2.9 for other balances. I turned that down. However, I forgot to ask for my limit to be raised. How could I be so... Enough of that. I, as you know will try a-gain.

Successful Finances Require More than Just Learning at pfadvice reminded me to get off my butt regarding calling mine and the other parties insurance co. Not good for me as they are not paying for my damages. The only thing to do is to go on to the next step to have my car repaired.