Another Day…

Today was pretty much like every other day. Nothing to see here. Nothing much to report. I cleaned the bathroom when I got up this morning. I cleaned the kitchen just before going downstairs to bed. I checked the finance app to make sure my recent purchases are pulling money from the correct budgets.

I bought a few accessories for Luke’s Halloween costume at a thrift store for $6.50. Luke is unhappy that the neck tie isn’t purely blue, but after 3 weeks and 6+ thrift stores, I could only find a mostly blue necktie. Oh, the horror!

One of the cats caught a mouse and left the bottom have of the mouse on the door mat to the garage. Gee thanks, cat. Just what I always wanted: mouse entrails.

Oliver sent me a text message before I got home from work that Luke was drinking soda and watching extra episodes of Netflix. Soda is a weekends only beverage and Luke and Oliver are allowed one Netflix episode each a night.  I’m glad Oliver didn’t punch Luke when Luke was monopolizing the TV, but I wish the kids had worked out their problems themselves. First things first: We’ll ween Oliver off expressing frustration physically then we’ll start encouraging the kids to work out problems together.


Super Massive Black Hole

I’ve spent most of today thinking of ways to dig myself out of the financial black hole. I haven’t come up with a sure-fire solution.

First,  I’m going to sell some fine art photography prints and possibly photo jewelry. I can sell prints and jewelry even if I’m struggling with health issues. For the photo jewelry, I can use smaller prints of interesting fine art photographs to create small wearable works of art.

Secondly, I’m going to work on another website to accept paying photography clients. This will be harder since it depends of feeling physically well enough to complete the work after working 40+hrs/week. However, I’ve been feeling a bit better lately so this just might be possible.

I’m also going to immediately start selling some things around the house that are in good condition but rarely used – like the nearly-new jeans the kids have outgrown and some camera accessories I haven’t used in years.

I considered getting a second job, but I can make more with photography than I can with a second job. Also, I have 24/7 rotations at work every 6 weeks so I can’t work 1 week out of every 6.

Speaking of cameras, mine is currently broken. Thank goodness I used it this weekend to document adventures with the kids because that let me see exactly how it’s broken. The sensor is splattered with grease so every single photo I take has fuzzy black dots on the left side of the image. I have a wedding to shoot this weekend and I could have shot the entire wedding before noticing the issue.

Fortunately, rental cameras are available. Renting a camera will eat away at my bottom line from the wedding, but it will also prevent the images from being completely ruined. A smaller profit is better than no profit at all.

Worst. Timing. Ever.

Jonathan got paid today! Well, he got mostly paid. His boss still owes him some money because the bank won’t just full on cash such a large check.

Unfortunately, Jonathan’s payday came too late. The bank made a mistake and over drafted my account by $400. I called today to get the bank to sort out the issue however the bank “can’t” because the electronic payment has already been accepted by the payee. I’m just hoping I can get the bank to refund the $40 fee they charged when my account was mistakenly overdrawn. What a mess. What horrible timing for such a mess too. Ugh.

At least grocery shopping will happen this weekend. For that I’m grateful. Jonathan set aside money for the kids to pick out pumpkins for Halloween too, so we’ll get to have fun. It’s boring to be stuck in the house all the time because your parents are too poor to do anything fun.

I spent the amazon gift card

I spent the Amazon gift card on things we need. As much as I would have liked to keep saving it for boots, Jonathan hasn’t been paid and it makes more sense to spend it on things we need. Toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, shampoo, deodorant…  I bought a huge pack of guaifenesin and some hair product for myself. I’m almost out of hair product so I hope the stuff I bought works. comes highly recommended.

This evening I made a  list of things I would buy if I had extra money: A rug for the bedroom floor because the tile is freezing cold in the winter, a light winter coat since the one I have now is unraveling, a cheese grater for the kitchen to replace the one that came apart in the dishwasher, a new pair of shoes…

I stopped because the list just made me feel annoyed I can’t afford anything. I didn’t even put anything extravagant on the list; just things I need or would make good sense to have.

Jonathan’s “boss” (the guy who is contracting Jonathan and paying him right now) drove 6hrs to pick up the missing $21k check today. Perhaps tomorrow Jonathan will get paid so I can get paid. None of the money Jonathan gives me goes to shopping for things like winter coats and cheese graters, but instead to bills. Medical bills, utilities, grocery shopping…

If Jonathan gets paid, I can go grocery shopping this weekend. Since I coupon we have a stockpile and I can skip a week or 2 of grocery shopping if needed. We won’t starve, but the kids would miss some of the regular items they pack for lunch. The kids would discover just now little money we have if I skipped a grocery trip, so I’m really hoping not to skip a grocery trip.

Financial Dominos

I’ve said before that life is a series of difficult decisions.

This week it’s one decision after another. Jonathan was planning to pay me for the month. (Jonathan gives me money every month to put toward bills since we don’t share an account.) However, Jonathan’s current employer didn’t get the $21,000 check from a client this week. No $21k check, no money for Jonathan, no money to pay me, no money to pay the bills.

So, here we are. I need to pay a $1,700 bill tomorrow and I have a grand total of $600 to my name…well, and an Amazon gift card that I got to pay for the boots I can’t afford. Do I pay the bill and have no money left to pay any of the other bills? Do I not pay the bill and get slammed with a late fee? Do I pay part of the bill and get slammed with additional interest? Every way to handle this situation has one outcome: I end up owing more than I currently owe and I can’t even cover what I currently owe.

Here’s hoping Jonathan’s employer gets paid soon so Jonathan gets paid so I get paid so I can pay the bills. Sigh…

The Boots I Cannot Have

For 6 months, I’ve been saving all the credit card rewards points to buy boots. I purchase what I normally purchase on the credit card (groceries, phone bill, etc) then redeem the points for gift cards. I planned to use the gift cards to buy boots.

So, for 6 months, I haven’t redeemed any points for anything because I desperately wanted a pair of Dr. Marten’s Victorian print canvas boots in size 9. Amazon had the best price. I’ve longed to have these boots since I first saw them 2yrs ago but never saved up for to buy the boots because there was always another financial priority.

I waited until I wore out nearly every pair of the shoes I had. I waited until I could justify owning $80 boots because I am out of shoes and Dr. Marten’s last forever. Today I received my final gift card. I logged in to make the purchase. The boots have doubled in price to $160. There is no way I can afford $160.

This is why I cannot own nice things…

Stupid FSA!

As if finances weren’t already stretched to the max, the flexible spending account has decided several of our medical expenses are ineligible. Now I have to replay over $500 to the FSA. That’s $500 I just don’t have. $500 spent on glasses for Jonathan and Luke; getting Oliver’s damaged tooth surgically extracted…

2015 is the first year in about 10yrs I’ve used an FSA, and this is why. The FSA always lists eligible expenses, I verify the expense is on the eligible list, then the FSA refuses to cover the expense. Only *certain* vision services are covered (meaning: only lasik is covered). Only *certain* dental procedures are covered (meaning: only adult dental surgery is covered). I’m good with paper work. I’m good with rules. I’m good with lists. Even I can *barely* use an FSA account.

FSA’s are designed to save money by allowing pre-tax dollars to be contributed to medical expenses. Theoretically, this can save up to 30% of the cost since the contributions are pre-tax. The problem is, once the contributions are made, those contributions are forfeit if not used toward an eligible expense. Of course the FSA company comes up with every possible reason not to reimburse claims! That’s how they make money.

You know what I’m not having next year? Another FSA account. This year has been a complete waste of money and a huge hassle. Sure, the theoretical 30% discount sounds great, but in practice, it’s a total sham.

I don’t even know how I’m going to afford this. Do I chose not to buy groceries for a month? Do I chose not to pay the mortgage for a month? It’s not like I’m sitting here wasting my money on cable TV, Netflix, or even clothes for myself and the kids. Hell, I can’t even afford flea medicine for the pets. Where the am I going to get $500???