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Traditions and Taxes

February 13th, 2008 at 01:26 pm

*sigh* Looks like we'll be paying big time, tax wise. I have to go back through TaxCut again, to make sure Im not missing something, but right now, we owe over $1000!

We make good money up here, yes, but Im pretty sure I never even changed my withholding amount after Voldemort was born - so we shouldnt owe THAT much. I think.

I think it's the rent issue tripping us up. Our rent is tax deductible because we live in the provided teacher housing and have no other options. I need to check closer and make sure that it is being applied correctly as a deduction.

Brandus has decided that he wants to First Dance at Potlatch this year, which is awesome.

Potlatch and First Dancing is a HUGE thing to get to do - it basically declares you a part of the culture. But, it's alot of work. Id like to First Dance too, but with dance practice being held every night from 7 til 10 or later, I cant. The Dark Lordling has to go to bed! Plus, the women have so much more physical stuff to prepare than the men!

The men have to have fur boots, a kaspaq (traditional shirt), and dance fans.

The women have to have boots, kaspaq, fans, fur headdress, fur belt...

We have a month to get him ready - he's already ordered his boots. I dont know how much they were - he wouldnt tell me. And he's selling one of his game systems to fund the boots, so it doesnt matter to me in the slightest.

So, now we have to put together the gifts. The first night of Potlatch, the First Dancers hand out gifts to as many guests as possible. We were already told we dont need to worry about getting any axes or shovels, which makes things a little easier. But, a lot of the gifts are traditional and we cant exactly just hop on down to Anchorage to go shopping.

Just so you have some idea of the magnitude of this, we're talking about 2 entire villages coming to dance and visit. And we have to get gifts for many of them.

And then, the second night, we have to bring MORE gifts - this time all food!

It's alot to do, and if Brandus wasn't going to be selling off some things to help pay for it, there's no way we could do it. He also has his class making things for gifts - ammo bags and beaded bracelets and things, which I think is really cool.

But, we have to go online tonight and order things. Otherwise, they might not get here in time. And we have to put some of this month's savings/debt payments towards stupid taxes.

It All Adds Up

February 7th, 2008 at 02:53 pm

So, out of curiosity, I took a look at how much I owed last year on the credit cards vs how much we still owe.

And I got depressed when I saw the numbers.

Last year: We owed 15,000
This year: We owe 10,000

And I thought, that's it? 5000 is all we've managed to pay off? What the heck did we move to Alaska FOR?

But, then I started really thinking about it.

Yeah, 5000 doesnt sound like much, especially with how much money we're currently making - but we had a baby. We moved. We traveled this summer.


We managed to put almost $3000 in savings for our next moving adventure.

So, while we didnt get out of debt, which I was really hoping for, we did make a dent. And we've got a good emergency fund.

And a baby.

So, hey, not too bad. Not bad at all.

Quite a Chunk of Change

December 3rd, 2007 at 01:11 pm

Last year, with me being pregnant, we were heading in to Anchorage about once a month.

Our flight there cost $1300 for the both of us, then hotel, food, fun...it added up.

And I knew that. I knew it cost alot.

But it really didnt hit me until last month, when we both got full pay, and didnt have to go in to town at all.

I had $200 left at the end of the month. And that's after paying all of our bills, paying off $400 in credit card debt, and putting a full $600 in our EF.

Wow! Think how much I can actually do the rest of this year if we can keep from going into town!

Moving On Up

November 27th, 2007 at 11:46 am

We've gotten a little further with the big move plans coming up.

Right now, we're looking at the Triangle in North Carolina - Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill - specifically at Carrboro, NC, which is sort of a small town within Chapel Hill.

If anyone is familiar with this area, I would love to know anything you have to tell me!

Ive wanted to move to North Carolina for years - its not home (GA), but its still in the South. And its cool enough overall that Brandus won't melt into a puddle and die, like he would in Charleston.

However, looking at the finances for moving is a terrifying thing.

We have to get from here on the edge of nowhere, Alaska to Anchorage, which, for all three of us and our cats will cost about $1500.

Then we'd have to get to Denver, where Brandus car, and our bedroom set and the furniture we didnt sell is stored - which would be another several hundred, depending on ticket prices. Hopefully, not another thousand, but you never know.

Then DRIVE from CO to NC, and add up gas costs and hotel costs and food costs..plus, by that point, the kiddo will be 1, and will need to take plenty of breaks from the car seat.

And THEN the basics of security deposits, first month rent, deposits for gas/electric/phone/internet/whatever...

*clutches head*

We're looking at needing a good bit of money!

Now, if Brandus gets a job with one of the school districts we are looking at, they have deals with some apartment complexes - so a security deposit wouldnt be needed. and possibly not for gas/electric too. That would help out ALOT.

We currently have $900 set aside in our savings, and $600 in my personal savings account, AND we get all three summer paychecks at the end of May in one big chunk - which will cover everything, I think..it would be about $9000 for my check, and about $8000 for Brandus'.

But that has to cover us for the entire summer - not just for moving.

Yikes. Way too many decisions left to make. I want to keep putting as much money into savings and towards our credit card as possible right now. The more, the better, I think!

Mathmatically Insane

November 1st, 2007 at 03:04 pm

So, Im trying to work out the difference between paying down the debt, and saving for the emergency fund.

At this specific point, we have about $11,000 credit card debt. Which sucks, and we're working hard on it.

We also have about $400 in our EF right now - we had closer to $600, but the health insurance hasnt reimbursed us for our flight out to Anchorage yet.

When your kid is running a 105 fever under 6 months old, you tend to not be as concerned as you should be about tracking receipts for reimbursement purposes.

So, obviously, our debt far outweighs what we got in the bank.

And we're planning on moving at the end of this year. We're not sure where yet, or if we're staying in Alaska or moving back to the lower 48.

We know we need to save money to move - and that if we move back to the lower 48, its going to cost quite a bit.

We need to save for the move.

We need to pay down our debt while we're making pretty good money.

How do we split it?

60/40, debt focused? 50/50?

I have no idea!

Im planning on sitting down this weekend and making up a list of the places we would like to move. Then, we've gotta think about moving costs, living costs, buying new things...


Any advice on moving and saving? Or on figuring out how to save FOR moving?

Quick Credit Card Roundup

September 18th, 2007 at 09:43 am

Hopefully, ill be able to post more soon, but with Voldemort being almost 5 months and already trying to crawl, my time is a little limited.


Here's what's left that we owe, credit card wise. Im leaving out the car and student loans.

Dis: $6,361.32 (sigh)
REI: $4,338.79
USAA: $281.11 (which Brandus will pay in full by next week!!)

And then Old Navy, which we normally pay in full, which is about $150 right now.

So hey! We're making SO MUCH PROGRESS!! *spins*

When I come back, does anyone want to hear about cloth diapering or bento lunches? We've been doing both, and its helping financially.

Long Time No See - Update

August 9th, 2007 at 10:49 am

Whoa, its been quite a while since I logged in and posted! I've been reading on and off, but I've been pretty much insanely busy.

Little Lord Voldemort was born April 23 in Anchorage, AK (and I had plenty of money put away for the whole time we were there).

He's a cutie, that's for sure.

Here's the Dark Lordling hanging out with his Daddy in a hotel.

His birth story was rather insane, involving a very fast labor and no time for Brandus to get from the village to Anchorage to be there. And two weeks later, he was on his first plane!

We've traveled all summer, which we've been able to afford because my dad flew me and the little guy on skymiles to Georgia and back. And then we flew Brandus on a buddy pass, thanks to my aunt, who is a flight attendant on Delta.

But, we went to Georgia, where we stayed with my folks for three weeks, then to Colorado, with Brandus' folks for three weeks, then to San Francicso, just for a vacation, and now we're back in Alaska!

its been an insanely busy summer, and all with a baby in tow. yikes!

Moneywise, we did pretty well. We got our May, June and July paychecks at the end of May in three deposits over 2 days, so Ive been a little stressed about budgeting.

Most of it I immediately put into our ING account, and only transferred a couple thousand over at the beginning of each month.

Of course, that's MY checks. Not my husbands. He makes a little less than I do, but I can tell you right now that he has nothing or very close to nothing still in his account. Whereas I have $1000 left in the ING account.

He also owes the credit card $600, as he said he would use a specific reimbursement check to put towards one of the cards - and then he spent it.


He will be setting up a direct deposit to "our account" this year. Oh yes, he will.

In Money Wii Trust

March 22nd, 2007 at 11:30 am

I know there are others here who feel like they and their families are on completely different pages moneywise, but sometimes I just dont know how to handle things as they come up.

Every spare cent - my allowance, my half.com money - for the past 2 months has been going straight towards being able to go to Anchorage and have the baby. I havent even been putting MY OWN MONEY into my personal savings account, because Im worried about no having enough.

Which is fine, as it is, my money, and my choice.

But then, when my husband mentions that - due to the afterschool tutoring program he is currently running, he's already made about $260 this WEEK, and is going to buy a Wii with it - why does this bother me so much?

It is, in fact, his money, his choice. i KNOW that. I do.

And thats probably why I just twitched a little and told him I wasnt entirely comfortable with that.

He got an Xbox360 for Christmas, half from me, half from his parents. He bought several games for it. He used his allowance for the NEXT several months (note: next, not last) to buy the Windows Vista upgrade. He just got us an AeroGarden (this is why I shouldnt go out of town and leave him on his own. Infomercials!). And most of this was from HIS account - which we also have to pay bills out of.

We are still very very close to maxed out on four out of five credit cards - mostly maxed while he was in school full time, and I was working a lower paying job. And the other maxed to move us to Alaska in the first place.

We are making a very good wage up here, and we COULD afford it, especially with this tutoring job. He's right, he's worked alot, and the Wii isnt as expensive as the other systems, so he probably could easily buy it with his paychecks from the tutoring.

But it just feels like we are on completely different pages. And no matter how much we talk about it, I get frustrated, because I feel like he isnt hearing or understanding my concerns.

Any advice?

Having Babies on the Cheap

March 13th, 2007 at 04:04 pm

Well..not really, but attempting to save as much money as possible while having kids!

Im due in May, and really, we dont have that much more that we NEED for the baby.

We're cloth diapering, so that's some money at the outset. So far, though, through ebay, I think Ive gotten some pretty good deals. We're using Kissaluvs and bum!Genius diapers initially - and while we still need a few more of both, we have 12 b!G and 13 kissaluvs, as well as 7 diaper covers, which is at least enough to get us started. All of that, including shipping, was about $285, and we can use those throughout diapering.

We're very lucky that both sides of the family are RIDICULOUSLY excited, as this is the very first grandchild for both, so they have gone a bit overboard with clothes and supplies. We've been given a crib, bouncy seat, car seat and stroller, baby bath..all kinds of things.

We still need a pack and play for the kiddo to sleep in while in Anchorage and then Georgia, and we still need fun exciting things like a breast pump. Bleh.

But, overall, we really havent had to spend much out of pocket at all - except for medical bills and little things we just wanted to buy for the fun of it..

I think this baby thing might just work! Smile

A Home With a View

March 9th, 2007 at 09:59 am

We finally found a place to live in Anchorage!

We're only leasing it for 2 months, because all we need is a place for mom and I to stay before I have the baby, and then a place for mom and I and the baby to stay until we get the all clear for both of us to travel.

And this place sounds GREAT. Its fully furnished, corporate (so everything like towels and dishes come with), weekly maid service (!), highspeed wireless, cable, phone, garage - for $1200 a month.

Which is EXTREMELY expensive.

But, its a 2 bedroom, and its less than 5 minutes from the hospital where my doctor's office is, and where im going to be giving birth.

Plus, I LOOKED at cheaper places, and either they had alot of stairs (and Im having enough trouble with stairs NOW), and/or they werent in good neighborhoods, or they were teeny.

Id rather live somewhere I feel comfortable and spend the money on it, then somewhere cheaper that makes me nervous.

Plus, the parents are footing half of the bill - and my mother is used to the high life. So, I dont think SHE would be comfortable in many of the cheaper places.

I looked at a one bedroom in the same neighborhood, and it was $1100! This is only $100 more a month, and it has TWO BEDROOMS. The other place told me they could probably "find a pull out cot."

Im not asking my mother to sleep on a cot for 2 months - especially not when she's coming all the way out here so I dont have to stay alone in a city while Im 9 months pregnant.

February's Budget Busters

March 1st, 2007 at 02:52 pm

February was a complicated month!

First, my computer died. Completely. Would barely turn on, and wouldnt fully boot before freezing. Fortunately, it's still under warrenty and I sent it back to Dell to get it fixed. I get it back on Monday. This doesnt sound like much of a budget buster until you realize that I track my budget ON THE COMPUTER.

So, tracking has fallen by the wayside, which means we spent more than we should have on stupid things, Im sure.

Then came an unexpected trip to the doctor when I was having a worrisome number of contractions, and so Brandus and I had to go in Anchorage (2 days after I got back!) to go to the hospital to get checked out. If I had been thinking at all (instead of being upset about having to make the trip and being very upset about how condescending the doctor was), I would have stayed and done my normal appointment a little early. As now I have to go again!

On top of that, I checked my credit card balances and minimum payments right before I paid them and discovered, to my surprise, that the REI card was over the limit!

Brandus had used it several times while I was in Anchorage the first time, but hadnt bothered to tell me!

Honestly, how is this a difficult concept?

The credit cards are still VERY CLOSE to the limit, except for the evil Chase card, which ISNT TO BE TOUCHED EVER. You have no money in your bank account. So, reason would say, "I shouldnt go to the store 4 days in a row and spend $20+ every trip."

Does that just make too much sense or something? AARGH!

I told him he owed me the $70 over the limit fees. Because there is no freaking reason why I should pay it. BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER THAN TO SPEND MONEY I DONT HAVE!

And Im all stressing out too, because in one month, I have to be in Anchorage until the baby comes, and we still dont have a place to live.

Not to mention that we are trying to decide which would be less hassle and difficulty for us and the cats - taking them to GA and then to CO and then back to AK, or boarding them in Anchorage. So, there's some more expenses. Plus, us getting to GA in the first place. Plus, baby stuff, even though we've got the basics. Plus, medical expenses.

I know it will all work out, especially because we have a little over $1000 saved for me going to Anchorage, the almost $1000 the insurance currently owes us, and the $1400 anticipated tax refund.

But, I like to plan, and I dont like not being able to go on and take care of this stuff!

There and Back Again

January 21st, 2007 at 09:03 pm

Brandus, and by extension, Riddick, arrived back from Anchorage tonight. Exhausted and still not feeling well, but with medication and the hopes of feeling better very soon.

Brandus didnt make it to my bank to deposit money, but he cashed out some of the reimbursement checks and just paid for most things using that.

Unfortunately, as my husband is REMARKABLY bad at bringing me receipts, I have no idea what was spent where..although he promises he did save several and they are in his luggage.

his luggage, which is still in Anchorage. *facepalm*

the planes are small. you can only fit so much stuff on there. and brandus was overloaded, especially with the cat carrier and the new ferret cage (yay!).

but, brandus did make it to the dr to get his ribs checked out, and it turns out that once a rib gets dislocated, its going to just keep happening. and even though i have never heard of dislocating a rib before, at least now we know what it is.

Also, it means we get 90% of the plane fare back as well. yay!

And Now Its Time for Good Idea/Bad Idea

January 20th, 2007 at 12:53 am

Or rather, the good and the bad.

The good is that Brandus made it into Anchorage tonight and will be depositing our $1800 health insurance reimbursement checks.

The bad is that this wasnt a planned trip.

Last night, we noticed that our male cat, Riddick, was having some urinary trouble. If you have cats, you'll know that this can be very serious, even life threatening.

So, we talked about it, and even though the trip would be expensive, we werent just going to stand by and let Riddick suffer.

So, Brandus packed up the checks, the checkbook, and the cat, and headed off to the plane.

Expensive? Yes. But..he's our boy. Out here, we would have no choices really, unless we wanted to borrow someone's shotgun if it didnt clear up. And Im not that brave.

Plus, Brandus strained/sprained/tore something in his chest (again!), and this gave me an excuse to bully him into getting it checked out properly.

So, if Brandus makes it to his own doctor, we'll get a chunk of the plane ticket cost back.

Here's hoping.

So, with pet related expenses, it does look like a good part of the reimbursement will go towards the cats and the ferret. And that's ok.

We were planning on using some of the money to buy a new cage for Juice, the ferret, and finally getting a kitty tower, because we had to leave the old one in Colorado. So, we'll just add these expenses in with those.

And hopefully, Riddick will come through all this fine, and only needing some medication.

'Spensive Groceries and $20 Challenge

January 14th, 2007 at 05:14 pm

Brandus went to the AC store (as opposed to the Native Store) today, and for my birthday, got me several of the things Ive been really craving lately.

The grapes alone cost $8! For one small bunch of grapes! But! He also got me chocolate milk, REAL chocolate milk, which I have NO IDEA how he managed to find, some fresh carrots, a 12 pack of dr pepper and a few other odds and ends..for the low price of $100 or so. Eek!

But, the chocolate milk ALONE made me extremely giddy, so its not a bad thing today. And we still have $100 left in our grocery budget.

Plus! The past couple of days, 2 people have used ING referrals from me, so Im adding the $10 each to my challange money. Im happy!

Meal Planning and Pantry Cooking

January 13th, 2007 at 08:48 pm

Ive been trying to plan some meals for the next week or so, but its very difficult for me.

I cant exactly make a meal plan of whatever sounds good and then run to the store. Being in the middle of nowhere means that there isnt much available in the 2 little stores here in the village.

So, instead, I have to do a full pantry inventory, and then make a meal plan from that.

Which isnt helped by the fact Ive found several recipes lately that sound really yummy. But I cant try any of them, because the store in town doesnt have half of the stuff we need for them!

Anyone have any suggestions for organizing the pantry? I hate doing that even more than i hate washing dishes!

Confusion and Extra Payments

January 12th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

It seems like everyone is a little confused this morning! (well, its morning for ME!)

Ive been thinking about that troublesome Chase card with the 29.99% APR. I applied for a USAA AmEx with a 0% APR on balance transfer for 6 months, which Im happy about. But..the limit is $1000, whereas we have $2800ish on the Chase. Should I call USAA and explain the situation (and that we just got raises, YAY!), and see if they will raise the limit so I can switch the full amount over to the new USAA card? Or should I transfer as much as I can, and then pay on both cards, paying special attention to the Chase?

There is a 3% transfer fee, but really, thats not much money compared to the extreme APR going on here. Last month, I paid JUST the minimum payment (as an experiment), and only $7.42 went toward the balance, thanks to finance charges!

Im stumped as to my next step. *sigh*

Also, we currently have a $380/month car payment (yes, I know its high. Its Brandus's car, his baby, and its the one he REALLY WANTED). I have an automatic payment of $400/month set up - I always figured it would help if we were ever really behind and couldnt pay the whole thing. Should I keep it at $400, or should I pay just the basic payment and add that $20 to a credit card?

The paying extra came in handy this last month, when things were REALLY tight thanks to Christmas and traveling. I only owed $50 for the month, which was nice. But, its probably not the best way to go about getting everything paid off.

Gah. Its all so complicated!

But, hey, I DID learn that our teaching contracts for this school year have FINALLY been approved. Yes, 4 months after starting teaching! And along with that, both myself and Brandus are getting a raise of about $1200 a year, retroactively. WHOO!


January 10th, 2007 at 02:54 pm

Our health insurance finally sent us the money they owed for the last 2 flights and Brandus's last visit to the doc. They still owe me for one half of my flight, plus, we didnt have time to go by the place to turn in our travel receipts for January.

But! $1800 back in our pockets! WHOO!

We are discussing where to put it. A small portion needs to be put towards a new ferret cage, as the one we have for Juice is just one of the little "starter" cages, and its starting to fall apart less than 6 months after getting it.

The rest? Im hoping towards the cards, as always! And probably a little into savings, just because. Smile

Cheaper Anchorage Trip and $20 Challenge!

January 5th, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Just got back from Anchorage again! Due to having to reroute through 2 different airports to get from GA to AK though, we ended up traveling for 24 hours straight.

*dies of exhaustion*

We pulled up to the hotel around 4am and stumbled to bed. I had to get up for a doctor's appointment, and Brandus ran a bunch of errands - picking up first aid/CPR training equipment for the village and stuff. My health insurance deductible started over again, but fortunately, i just had a $32 payment this time.

we were fairly lazy due to extreme tiredness, so except for having to pick up a prescription for me, we did NOTHING that night - Brandus didnt even try to order a movie from the hotel!

Leaving early the next morning, we found out that the hotel only charged us for one night instead of two - even though technically, they could have. So that was exciting. AND! because we have stayed there seven nights and we are gold members of the hotel (entitling us to free breakfast every morning), my next night there when i go in Feb is FREEEEEE.

so, based on all of that - and on the fact we couldnt rent a car at 4 in the morning so we had to wait a day - meant that we spent at LEAST $150 less than we normally would on an Anchorage trip.


Also, finally got the $20 Challenge up and running by opening a Emigrant Direct account through the savingsadvice.com link. My mother randomly gave me $20 on the first, and then I got some early birthday money, so I opened the account with $90 already! Through the link, I should be getting a $20 bonus after I confirm the account, so I am already well on my way!

Financial Goals for 2007

January 1st, 2007 at 07:19 pm

1. Pay off Chase credit card - currently $2754.30 with a whopping interest rate of 27.24%. Yikes!

2. Track budget with PearBudget, a free spreadsheet budget program. it breaks it down into a day by day, month by month thing, and i like it.

3. Move Roth IRA from current bank to USAA where I can actually access it and put money into it.

4. $20 Challange - I have no set amount to aspire to, i just want to play! Change and any dollar bills that can be set aside, as well as figuring out how to sidetrack Brandus when he goes to the store to pick up this and that, mainly because he is bored.

I would like to have 5 goals, but I cant think of another one that is all that important to me. Except for the "Save for this summer" goal, but I want a specific amount before I write that down as an actual goal. Smile

Trying to Plan Ahead

December 29th, 2006 at 08:54 pm

*clutches brain*

I was just writing a very long, involved post about trying to budget ahead for this summer, and realized that i was lost reading it. there is no chance anyone else would have understood it if i cant!

so, starting over again!

Due to where we live and the fact that I am pregnant, i will have to find a place to stay in Anchorage for about a month and a half. the doctor says I cant fly after 36 weeks, and health insurance WILL NOT help pay for room and board.

I know they wont. Because I asked. And then asked again. And then looked really confused, put on a poor pitiful expression, and asked again.

So, from about April 5th to about May 20th (ish. baby is due May 8th or so, and we wont want to get back on a plane right away), I have to find a place to stay.

a furnished place to stay. with room for my mother. for a decent price and in a nonscary part of town.

i dont even know where to start. the extended stay hotels are still really expensive, sublets for that time arent going to show up on craigslist yet, and i dont KNOW anyone in Anchorage who I can beg a bedroom off of.

any other ideas?




then, we have to budget for this. mom is coming to stay with me, because Brandus will still be teaching, and i dont want to be by myself, 9 months pregnant, in a strange city. it is very highly possible that Mom and Daddy will pick up half to all of the cost of wherever we stay, but i cant and wont depend on that.

but, i dont even know what to predict for that kind of stay. should i guess $800 a month, which is about how much most rentals are? should i estimate out how much an extended stay place would be, just to be on the safe side?

should i run away screaming? pick up a stranger in a bar and tell them im their long lost sister?

im so confused!


December 22nd, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Ok, so, let's say that you live in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, and that there are no banks in town.

or within 500 miles of you.

Let's say that you're going to town, and a friend asks if you'll write them a check, and they'll give you the money in cash, if you'll stop by and deposit the check in their bank.

Sure! you say. No problem!

Then, let's say you ask your wife, to make sure its cool, and she ok's it.

The guy gives you the $400, YOU (this is important) write a check, and you pocket the money.

Now, let's say its the end of the month, and your wife is completely baffled about there is $400 less in the checking account than there should be.

And then you remind her of the check for the friend.

When your wife stares at you and says, "no..that was out of YOUR account. YOU kept the money," why, exactly, would you be confused about why she is irritated?


Mystery Money

December 12th, 2006 at 02:45 pm

How very odd.

We just got back from an Anchorage trip, complete with plane tickets, hotel, car rental, food, and dr's visit.

And I still have $1000 left in my checking account.

After my $250 deposit to my ING account, the $200 regular savings deposit, the car payment, an extra $115 to the Old Navy card (Whee!), the bills...


Im starting to wonder if I forgot something. Like, some major bill or another.

We are still waiting for a couple of things to come in COD. Like my new jacket from the Army/Navy store.

But, still. Im going to end up going home after work and searching through every bill to make sure I paid it.


Non Customer Service

December 8th, 2006 at 02:31 pm

Yesterday was a frustrating day all the way around.

Our phone (and a neighbors) went out on the 5th, so yesterday we called to see what was going on.

You havent paid your bill since September.
Im looking at my WellsFargo account online and it says differently.
Then you have a problem with your bank.
...WellsFargo states you RECIEVED the check. And cashed it.
If we had gotten a payment, we would have put it toward your bill.
You got the payment. Would you like me to fax you proof?
Obviously, you are having trouble with your bank.
No, Im really not. Here's the reference number.
We havent recieved a payment.
But we sent it. The bank says you got it. More importantly, YOU CASHED IT.
I'm sorry, you need to work this out with your bank.


I faxed the proof anyway, made the husband call them back and yell. We have a phone.

Oh, AND they were nice enough to give us until the 15th to "pay our bill."


Expensive Gifts

November 30th, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Brandus's parents recently came into aLOT of money when Mimi (his grandmother) died.

So, when Brandus told me they wanted to "spoil us" with the money, my ears perked up.

"They want to pay off your car? Or your student loans?" I asked eagerly.

Oh, how little I knew.

No, they wanted to buy us expensive gifts and come visit us for Thanksgiving in Anchorage and take us shopping.

I think, oh! They'll pay for a Sam's trip! We're out of food, and we can get some nice food luxeries that we usually can't!

They came. They bought gifts.

And then we went to Sam's.

"Sure! We'll pay for it!" They laughed, throwing boxes of suger cookie mix (?!) and hummus and avacados in the cart.

And then? As we pushed the buggy to the front of the store to check out?


And by the time we realized they weren't coming back in, and we're going to pay, everything had been scanned, and we couldnt pull EVERYTHING out that wasn't a necessity.

$500. Fortunatly, all of it is edible. Its just not all stuff we would have even agreed to if we had known it was going to be on OUR dime.

Long Time Gone

November 30th, 2006 at 11:57 am

Wow, its been a while! Sorry about that, but things got WAY overwhelming.

We did make it to Alaska, sadly spending most, if not all, of our bonus checks buying (mostly) necessities.

And some toys. Because I have yet to develop the ability to exlain rationally to my husband that he has PLENTY of toys, and no, we dont need a lego robot.

And neither does your classroom, dear.

And it is expensive to live out here. Especially because, as soon as we got up here, we found out I was pregnant.

Which is awesome. But doctor's appointments are expensive, when you have to factor in airfare!

Roundtrip for both of us, from Kotlik to Anchorage, is $1280. If we BOTH have doctor's appointments, then our health insurance reimburses us for 90% of that.


But, they dont help with hotel costs, or food while we're in town.

Its expensive!

However, even with all that, we have STOPPED using the credit cards completely!

Ok, so, last month I had to use the Discover card once to pay for my score results to turn into the state teaching license board, but other than that, they are COMPLETELY UNUSED!

This is so very major!

It used to be that we would discuss it, decide not to use the cards, and then Brandus would convince me that we needed groceries, and we didnt have any other money...

But it's so exciting now to actually be able to see our credit card bills go down. Slowly, omg slowly, but still, DOWN!

We have three, and are close to the limit on all of them, but they are dropping! They are!

I will be trying my very best to update more often, as actually blogging about money helps me keep it in mind.

Sam's Challange

May 3rd, 2006 at 11:11 am

Tomorrow, the brandus and i head off for the Sam's Club to start an experiement.

See, when we move to Alaska, the best way to go shopping is to go into Anchoridge and go to Sam's or Costco, because the shop in Kotlik is TEENY and expensive. So, you go buy everything for the month, and then hope you havent forgotten anything.

Im thinking that waiting until we get there might be a bad time to experiment, because it will be very difficult to get to a store if we forget something we really need.

So, tomorrow, armed with menus and shopping list for a month, we head to Sam's.

Im pretty good about only going once a week or less, but brandus would go to the store everyday to get something if i didnt sit on him everytime he wants cheesy poof or the stuff to make nacho cheesy dip.

So, this will be new for both of us. We have a good amount of things we can use already at the house, so we hopefully wont go too overboard.

I know that limiting shopping trips can help your grocery budget by a good bit, but im worried we will end up A)running out or B)wasting alot of food.

Anyone have any experience or tips to share? They would be very helpful!

A Little Extra

April 10th, 2006 at 11:56 am

In fabulous news, my boss has agreed to compensate my time, starting two weeks ago, to the base pay Manager's pay.

Am I the manager? No.

Im the manager's assistant. and ive been doing my job AND the manager's job since the manager left.

Im hoping for a raise to at least $12.00 a hour, even if its just for this month. Right now, i make $10.70, which isnt bad, but that extra hundred or so would be such a huge help with bill paying.

We've been pricing things for Alaska. ACK.

The principal told us to wait until we got to Anchoridge before buying any of our major needs - but, if we do that, then we miss the good sales, and will spend more in the long run.

But we dont get the signing bonus until we get there..and we dont have any extra money to get outfitted at the moment.

Gah. Decisions, decisions.

Future Perfect

April 7th, 2006 at 11:20 am

In less then four weeks, brandus will be finished with his classes!

This means, in four weeks, he will again be EMPLOYED!! Oh happy day.

Im not teaching this year, due to severe burnout at the end of last year, and then came the joy of budget cuts. So, ive been answering phones and various admin type jobs, which has been fine.

But, at the end of last year, we talked about the fact he had practicum and student teaching this year, as well as finishing up his Master's classes, and we decided there was no way he could work AND do school full time+

And, we decided that we could live on my income and student loans, if we cut back some.

We did cut back, but not enough, and i wasnt tracking the credit cards well enough, so when we hit the credit limit on the discover card, it was a very bad shock.

we cut back further, and did ok. but then brandus needed supplies for school, and new clothes for teaching, and with one thing and another, we've run out of student loan money for the semester.

But! Four weeks! Four weeks and he is FINISHED! and he can become employed, and i can stop having panic attacks every month.

I keep reminding myself, we just need to get to August. Because we get our signing bonuses for Alaska ($3500 each) to outfit ourselves for the experience. Plus, our paychecks will be HEFTY. And we can start by paying off the credit cards! and brandus's car! and student loans! and SAVING.

At some point, i AM going to post the Alaska budget, but at the moment, it still needs alot of tweaking.

So far, the only thing we have a ballpark on is the cost of housing. We have a two bedroom, fully furnished apartment with utilities paid, including high speed wireless internet.

For $500 a month.

Like I Need a New Hobby

April 5th, 2006 at 12:23 pm

This is, technically, my third blog. I have Silverspiral.net. as well as the livejournal.

Family reads those though, and im not comfortable talking about my money situation with them.

they might offer to send me something, and that would make me uncomfortable.

Anyway, in August, we (being myself and Brandus, the husband) move to Alaska for a year to live and teach in a fishing village. We're both very excited.

The pay is very good, so i want some way to track ourselves as we dig out of dept that way.

At the moment, brandus is student teaching, as well as finishing up his Masters, so we are living on my income, which isnt much. And, with having to pay our normal bills, as well as prepare for our artic adventure, things are going to be tight.

to say the least.

so, im going to try and track expenses here, as well as have a place to rant about brandus using the credit card, or ask for help finding cheaper internet service.

I have to swing by Olive Garden today, and see if they are hiring hostesses.

otherwise, we're not going to make brandus's car payment this month.

I cleaned out the piggy bank this morning, and will be depositing $14 or so in the checking account this afternoon. Thank goodness I already bought our grocery and gas walmart cards. at the very least, we will eat today.