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The Non-Paying Tenant - Part II

June 20th, 2008 at 07:46 am

I heard back from the non-paying tenant. She will pay $500 cash today toward last month. As of today she owes (assuming she pays cash at 6:30)$2,485. In the message I left her stating pick up time, I asked for a written plan/timeline as to how she plans to become current with her rent. It will be interesting. DH thinks we should see what her plans are before we decide to not renew her lease. I agree; however, being the worrier that I am I feel as though I need to plan for the worst.

DH's salary is enough to cover our basic living expenses (mortgage/utilities/simple food/clothing). Also minimums on the credit cards. This month we will have saved $500 - $400 for retirment and $100 into HSA. So there is room for additional money should we suspend/alter those contributions.

I am trying to plan for several months NO RENT should we decided to get rid of tenant A and opt for a go around with new tenants. There are several houses comparable in the area already FOR RENT so DH thinks it might be best to work with the tenant we have. I am not sure of this.

Worse case scenario - I don't receive another dime in rent this year - my deficit would be $4K - I suppose that DH's irregular salary from side jobs would be roughly $2K to $3K so I would have to take $1K to $2K from savings to pay the last installment of real estate taxes and Cathoic school tutition.

I feel somewhat better, but not sure I am completely fiscally comfortable.

Didn't work out as planned (my grocery shopping)

June 19th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

In my previous post I wrote about the non-paying tenant and my budget until next Friday.

I added all the cash to the checking account which brought my total liquid cash to $130.00. I spent on shopping trips today I spent $110.00 on groceries. I did manage to get at least ten days worth of meals, maybe more.

I stopped at Walgreens and used their store coupons and $24.09 got me (3) Kraft mac & cheese, (3) small Bush's baked beans, (3) Butterball 99% fat free chicken broth, (3) 20 oz cans of pineapple, (4) 11 oz mandarin oranges, 1 16 oz coffee cream, (2) Campbell's soup at hand, 1 dozen eggs, 2 quart-size Ziploc freezer bags, 1 12.5 oz Doritos, and 4 rolls toilet paper. That was my last stop and it put me over intended amount, but I feel I got a lot of bang for the buck.

Now I have to trade a post-dated check for $30 with my mom for cash. Not happy about that, but I very rarely ever have to do that.

Lesson learned: Sometimes skip that last errand and you'll remain on-target, but you might miss some good buys.

Lesson learned: You're never too old to count on your mom.

ADDENDUM: In the mail I got a $58 dental insurance reimbursement. Yay, I am solvent - won't have to get an advance from mom. Paid that visit with checking account.

My tenant can't pay her rent! Need to rework the budget -

June 19th, 2008 at 09:00 am

I responded to a post earlier stating my tenant always paid her rent on time (well, within the two week frame). Well, my tenant has bounced her rent check (did it last month, blamed it on a snafu with her transfers from savings to checking, paid in cash two days the rent plus the fee my bank charged)again.

She left a message on Monday stating she wanted to use the security deposit as rent and then pay late next month's rent. I said the first is not an option. I left a message (Monday) and said I needed to know what portion of rent could be picked up Tuesday. No return message - haven't heard from her at all. I did leave another message today stating that I need to hear from her today.

I paid off tons of bills, made a dent in the credit card debt, was feeling really good about things. This throws a monkey wrench into my plans.

My husband's salary covers our regular expenses - however, I didn't account for *no* rent and got our checking account down to almost nothing.

I WILL NOT use my credit card to cover expenses. I have weaned myself of using it for "points".

DH gets paid next Friday - he will also be paid for a painting apartment job he's finishing this weekend. I will have enough for the mortgage payment and all bills. My challenge is to get through to next Friday (eight days) on the cash we have (when all checks clear I will have $26 in the checking accout).

I have $100 cash - I have budgeted $30 for gas ($15 for each minivan as both are on E) and the $50 for groceries. My cupboards are somewhat bare - but I'll be hitting the buy one, get one free at the one store and will hit Aldi's for all else.

I'm driving today (not tomorrow) so will hit the library and kids consignment store (drop offs)

Lesson from this: Never completely count on someone else's money to add longevity to your budget.

I do have a $1000 EF and short-term savings of 3 months living expenses. This doesn't exactly qualify as an emergency, just a reworking of the budget pots.

Concept of a billion stated in an interesting way

June 18th, 2008 at 04:58 pm

I don't usually share any emails and I am a rather unpolitical sort. While the economy is on people's minds and we are talking about balanced budgets with the candidates, here is an interesting analogy.

There is a comment about mothers who stay home close to the bottom - I am a SAHM and wouldn't chose any other option for my traditional family. This is my own personal view, so please don't argue back with me on any ills of society. We all choose what is best for our own particular families.

"How many zeros in a billion?
This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the
word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the 'politicians' spending
YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
but one advertising agency did a good job of
putting that figure into some perspective in
one of it's releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.
While this thought is still fresh in our brain...
let's take a look at New Orleans ..
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator,
Mary Landrieu (D)
is presently asking Congress for
to rebuild New Orleans . Interesting number...
what does it mean?

Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
(every man, woman, and child)
you each get $516,528.

Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

Or... if you are a family of four...
your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D. C
< HELLO! >
Are all your calculators broken??

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inher itance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt...
We had the largest middle class in the world...
and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians!'


NSDs and Other Frugal Thoughts

June 17th, 2008 at 07:36 am

In an effort to curtail last week's expenses which seemed high to me, I am being rather homebody-ish about life this week. Yesterday was a NSD - Sunday was the normal donut run/gas/last minute gift for FIL who we weren't supposed to be seeing but did. Expenses so far this week $58.

June 16 and 17 NSD -

We are heading out to the library - DD10 likes foreign language tapes and we have no dish/satellite TV until we switch back to cable on Fri (reception went out after storm, the tech people insist it is a problem with the switch - they'll send someone out on Thurs for $70 per hour). Guess what? Only $49 to switch back to comcast and their package is $99 versus the $150 I've been paying. Anyhow need to stock up on DVDs and movies to watch til then.

And I have a bin of winter stuff for kids'consigment store. Hoping to make some money there (I'd be happy with $30)

I've been doing cheap snacks this week - rice krispy treats and chocolate pudding and jello with cool whip. Need to explore more snack alternatives - I'm thinking about making trail mix - haven't tried granola bars yet to make.

Have a good day!

Week of June 8 to 14: A Recap

June 15th, 2008 at 09:01 am

Here is what I spent this past week:

Church $12.50
Gas $75.00
Living $175.31
Misc $10.48
Gifts $40.00
Clothing $26.91
Kids $25.06
Entertaining $45.00

TOTAL $410.26

How I covered these expenses:
CASH ($115.58)
GIFT CARDS ($235.68) Purchased $125
thru church
CHECKING ($59.00) (Plus $125)

Incoming Extraneous Income

Cash from laundry machines $58.00
Unexpected gift card DH $30.00
Gift (check from Gma) $100.00
Gift (cash from Mom) $10.00

TOTAL $198.00

Thoughts on this:

It has been hard, but I am abandoning the use of the credit card to cover expenses. I loved the thrill of point accmlation. I am opting for trying to cover things with cash and gift cards. DH pays for some things and doesn't access the "envelopes" so I need to work on that - and check payable to church for tax records won't change.

Gas/groceries were higher than had hoped - on las day of spending period had to put gas in car $20 additional and we hosted a several-friend slumber party which caused a second shopping trip when I spent more than planned and at least $12.00 was on ice cream/toppings/soda - all buy ones get ones - I didn't know that Beyers has gone up to $6.49 a tub! Yikes!

Gifts - Father's Day - paid cash and used gift card for Barnes & Noble from perk point cash-in bonanza.

Clothing - I am reducing the $200 BTS shopping by this $26 shoe purchase. I returned one item for $14 from last week (shorts that didn't quite fit one of my monkeys) I plan on spending across the summer months to plan for BTS.

Entertainment was spur of the moment outing with DH's thank you gift card for $30. Had to pay $8 over $30 for meal plus 20% tip of $7. Meal $38+$7 tip = $45 less $30 gift card = $15 OOP - fun, spontaneous, great plan, and you can't beat deep dish Chicago style pizza!

Kids category - covered tax on their PS 2 Karaoke game and $21 for the blow-up pool. Not unrealistic - well spent already provided hours of fun this week alone.

Still hopeful that I can reduce these categories significantly. Better planning I suppose.

unexpected Gift Card = Entertainment and Fun

June 14th, 2008 at 08:43 am

Today was last soccer game of the season for DS5. He is our first boy doing sports, and DH has loved taking him to practices and games and, in general, helping out.

Today DH came home all happy and showed me a Thank You card and $25 gift card to a local pizza place. They called him "Coach " and all DH thought he was was the dad who practiced defense drills and filled in at a practice or two when the head coach was gone.

We are celebrating Fathers Day tonight at the pizza place (will probably have to kick in some $ for a side order of breadsticks and a pitcher of soda).

Happy early Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

Update to Yesterday's Solicitation for Advice

June 13th, 2008 at 08:54 am

Thanks to those who helped advise what they would pay down given my funds and balances/interest rates. Out of the $4K I am paying - I paid $1,750 to debt #2 which was $2,300 at 0% now through November 09. I will pay more in the next few days - I have a tenant whose last rent check bounced - so untl I am sure that those funds will remain available I'll be happy with my payment.

In an effort to spread out BTS shopping for DK's - I took the first grader yesterday to Shoe Carnival for a pair of Sketchers originally $44 on sale for $29 and then I had a $5 coupon so it brough the cost down to $26.91. Happy about that - and we bought a 1/2 size larger to allow for any growth between now and then.

Help Deciding What to Pay Off?

June 12th, 2008 at 08:14 am

I paid off 1/2 of my consumer debt. I owe at this point a remaining $6,800 which I'm hoping to tackle in the short-term future (by end of summer). I have (as of tomorrow) $4K to apply. Here is what I need to tackle:

$2,300 @ 3.99%

$2,700 @ 0% til Nov 08

$1,700 @ 0% til March 09

Divide it equally among all three?

Total payoff of the $2,300 then apply the balance to $,2700 on line 2?

Pay off those at 0% because interest will be higher than 3.99 when balances come due (though I hope to have them paid off).

I will also have another $1,000 at the end of the month to throw at this.

BA - This one is for you - Rather Off-Topic

June 11th, 2008 at 06:38 am

I have been on the blog long enough to know that fellow blogger Broken Arrow likes kareoke, and is good enough to share some of his renditions with us.

Fast forward to home of the Senses. We own a Play Station 2 which Santa brought. The games are rather expensive and the kids have their favorites plus we rent some from the local Family Video. While I wouldn't quantify it as quality family time, we do have fun trying to beat one another at Dance Dance Revolution.

DD10 was at a friend's two weeks ago and did a version of Kareoke. She convinced the other kids to chip in their monthly allowance from their grandma to purchase this item.

We headed to Toys r Us yesterday with their cash and my $10 off coupon (I had hoped this item wouldn't be that expensive and I could get some practical like socks or undies for free with coupon). The item was $49.00 less the $10 then the $4 tax. My OOP was $4 to cover tax, the value of this item is priceless!

Having parents in their 30s, my kids have listened to 80s music forever. They opted for the 80s version (compared to the 90s and pop and some other version). First off, my kids have great talent - there is a playback feature and they sound really good. Even the three year old who knows some odd refrains to some of the songs. They performed at Hopeful level. DH and I cannot harmonize, carry a tune, read the words that accurately, or hold a note. We were awful and we were ranked Tone Deaf.

Aside from the fact that some of the me in make-up confused by DD9 (like Boy George), we had so much fun! We laughed until we cried (after listening to ourselves). I never would have thought that such a contraption could further our family fun.

I also had to realize that prior to the transaction that my children are making choices with their money. I cannot be allowance gestapo - they will make right decisions, and they will make wrong decisions.

Now go and find BA's blog and listen to some of his quality songs. I gotta go sing a round of Our House by Madness, then Everyone Wants to Rule the world by Tears for Fears.

First Time Shopping with Envelope System

June 10th, 2008 at 01:20 pm

I had my list of errands today which included several stops: grocery store, post office, gas station, etc.

I have a plain old envelope system which has prepuchased gift cards (as gifts and from a program at church where a certain percentage benefits the school), plus cash from DH's side jobs where 50% goes to groceries, 30% to gas, and 20% to misc.

I spent $62 at the grocery store and used 3-$20 gift cards. This was grocery staples and produce for four/five days.
Balance: $95 gift cards, $47 cash

I used a $25 gift card at the gas station. Balance: $25 gift card, $30 cash

I spent $4.80 at the post office, $3.50 to cover tax on kids purchase at Toys R Us (they pooled allowances to buy PS 2 Kareoke 80s Pop - I had $10 off $50 purchase and they offered to reimburse the $3.50 tax), $16.50 for DH's Fathers Day gift.
Balance in Misc Envelope $3.00

This certain makes it easy to budget - I plan on assessing the cash situation on Saturday's and add money accordingly.

I am needing to wean myself from plunkering down the credit/debit cards for the point program. I just redeemed a ton of points. I do think though that this puts money management in a different perspective when you're seeing the actual dollars coming in or coming out.

Upon my return home I jotted down amounts spent, stuck the receipts in and put the envelopes back.

Budget Related - Paid Utilities with Some to Spare

June 9th, 2008 at 04:52 pm

I sat down and paid the bills for June. I had anticipated $750 for utilities, and only had to pay out $700. Glad about that - will leave taht $50 there for next month.

Also paid off the remaining medical bills to the tune of $425: $68.36 for nebulizer, $80 to pulmonologist,$191.75 to lab for blood test allergy testing, and $80.40 for diagnostics on labwork.

Ah, sigh of relief to pay those off ...

Hard to believe that (knock on wood) we have been sooooooo healthy that there has't been one visit to the doctor at all this year. And we are on a HDHP.

My DS did have a speech eval today and he will be starting therapy weekly at the end of the month. It is so nice to have money in the HSA to cover this.

The psychological burden of debt

June 9th, 2008 at 08:06 am

I have stuck my head into the sand lately pertaining to the big picture of our financial life. I get bogged down by the little things and have this black/white all-or-nothing mentality. I have a list of things that I should do and justify not doing because I confess I am a "chronic starter over" as I mentioned in some of my previous posts.

I paid off half of our debt (roughly)last week. We acquired this debt when DH was unemployed and we had $10K in real estate taxes, $3K parochial school tuition, and COBRA to the tune of $1,086. I have enough money in the bank to pay off the remaining debt but I have clung to that money for dear life as a safety net for "JUST IN CASE". I am using it to pay off the remining debt so I can really start over with a clean slate.

I have halted the traditional IRA contributions to Vangard and decresed the contributions to the HSA by 1/2 so I can get a better grip on things. I decreased DH's 401K contribution to 6%. Why? I have done this in order to have three months of as much money as possible. I am going to ladder three 1 month CDs for our EF. I have to pay some medical bills (small but several) that I make minimum payments on.

I need to incorporate some Mary Hunt for a freedom account which is where I am thrown for a loop at times. I reread Dave Ramsey and felt OK about suspending payments for the next few months.

I can ideally get things on track and then use the rental property income simply for savings/far future expenses (like 09-10 school year and 10 property taxes).

In order to move on, I am paying off everything - the $700 on Kohl's, the medical bills $500, the remaining balance on AmEx blue to the tune of 3.99% incterest. By July 1st, I will have it all paid off. Scary, but exciting.

I did have DH check into his company's severance package - and it is 2 months - so that helped me overcome some of my angst!