Category Archives: Finances

Shit Week and Hard Decisions!

What is it about the month of March?

If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I had some car issues on Tuesday. (Allow me to mention here that the car passed inspection on the prior Friday the 13th!) On my way to work Tuesday morning, as I stepped on the gas to accelerate up a hill, my transmission slipped into neutral. My first thought (after OH SHIT!) was what the hell was that and why did it happen? The car sat in my parking lot and I had hoped that it would settle/improve for the ride home.

No such luck!

The ride home Tuesday night was more of the same. The car slipped into neutral numerous times on the way home. So many times that I actually called the ex-husband to ask him to show me where my transmission fluid was so I could check it. I stopped at his place of work, we checked the fluid (it was fine), and I continued my commute home. The car slipped out of gear two more times on the short drive home.

On Wednesday, I drove to the park n ride to take the trolley to work. I called my normal garage as soon as I got there and explained the problem. They told me I could bring the car by on Thursday. I was able to leave work early on Wednesday to get the car to the garage. The car slipped out of gear so many times that I ended up driving most of the way in first gear!

I get the “bad news call” from my garage at 3 PM on Thursday. They tell my that my transmission is bad. My options are either to get a rebuilt transmission for $3,000 that would come with a 3 year/100,000 mile warranty OR go with a used transmission that would come with a 30 day guarantee. Dilemma #1!

I place a call to another garage who specializes in transmissions. The owner talks me into a second opinion. My plan is to have my car towed there for them to evaluate.

Moving on to Friday. I go into work early because I want to leave early. I meet the tow truck driver and watch my baby get loaded onto a flatbed. This sounds weird, but it made me really sad to see my car loaded on the flatbed!

My poor baby!

Moving on to today, Saturday. I have appointments at two car dealerships. I’m interested in a Toyota RAV4 and a Hyuandi Elantra. While I am at the Toyota dealership, the transmission garage calls to say that he thinks I need a new solenoid and the work would be $450. Dilemma #2! What to do, what to do? I tell him to go ahead with the work, hoping that it will allow me to physically drive the car to a dealership for evaluation to trade it in.

I test drove both the RAV4 and the Elantra. Each has options that I really like. The monthly price difference is around $100 (with the RAV4 being more expensive). Toyota would give me a decent trade in sight unseen. Hyuandi wants to evaluate the vehicle.

Transmission garage says work should be done on Monday. I’m hoping to pick up my car after work and drive it to both dealerships to see what the trade in offers will be. I’m hoping for the trade to be enough of a down payment but I’m prepared to throw some cash as well if I need to. I have a payment figure in my head that I would be comfortable with. I’d love to drive an SUV again, but the car is roomy, has more features, gets great gas mileage, and isn’t as expensive. Dilemma #3!

Smart me thinks I should be careful and go with the lower payment and get the car. Impulsive me wants to go with the SUV. And they’re both so pretty!

Should I flip a coin? Draw straws? Throw pictures in a hat? It’s been ages since I’ve had to make such a large financial decision. I need some level-headed opinions to talk me through this!

They’re both SO pretty!

2015 RAV4 2015_hyundai_elantra_gls_black_noir_in_edmond_oklahoma_100917419923268182

There’s Change in the Air

Change Ahead


Well, it happened.

On Wednesday this week, I finally received the call from HR offering me the position. The recruiter asked if I knew my answer or needed time to think about it. I chose to think about it overnight and told her I would call her back the next day.

I talked things over with Social Diva at dinner that night. The new position will require that I work until 5 PM, which means I won’t get home until 6 most nights. I explained to her that she will have to do more around the house but that I would compensate her for it. She’s ok with my working later, was wary about having to do more (typical teenager!), but was happy to hear she could earn some money (she loves to shop!).

So Thursday morning, I talked with my current administrator to let him know that I received the offer and that I was going to accept it. He knows and respects the administrator in the new department and thinks it could be a good move for me. While it’s a bad time to abandon my current position, I’m close enough to help a replacement get through the approaching July 1st hecticness.

On Friday, I had to share my decision with one of the physicians I support. While he’s sad to lose me, he’s happy for my new position.  One doc down, three to go (those I support directly), and two other docs who I consider friends out of the office.

I gave three weeks’ notice, so I have a busy three weeks ahead! I need to make sure everything that needs to be done is done, get my filing done (I’m such a procrastinator!), and pack up the latest 15 years of personal crap that I’ve accumulated since I returned in 1999.

It’s hard to give up my 28+ years with my department (I thought I’d retire from here), but I look forward to new adventures with the new department!


My Well-Traveled Road of Disappointment

“Remember that time my BF offered to take me away for a weekend with friends because I didn’t have the money to go?

Yeah, me neither.”

So my friends are all headed to Baltimore for the weekend. Because I don’t have the money to go, I’m not.

I thought maybe the boyfriend was going to man-up and offer to take me away for the weekend (something he hasn’t done in the five years we’ve known each other). With wishful thinking, I requested a vacation day today. I coordinated a weekend trade of kid responsibilities with my Ex. But two weeks after our email exchanges discussing it, there has been no follow-up or offer from the boyfriend for me to go.

I don’t know why, but my disappointment is so overwhelming.

Our last email exchange about this trip was that he would “get back to me” about the questions I presented. He didn’t. And I don’t feel that it’s my place to remind him. Nor do I feel that I need to beg for someone who supposedly cares so deeply about me to do something nice for me.

So instead, I will be home all weekend, kid-free, feeling sorry for myself that I let myself be disappointed again.

Before you start thinking ‘well, if you wanted to go, you should pay for yourself.’ Yes, I know this. I do not expect, nor have I ever expected, a man to fund my fun. As I stated before, I have paid my way over the past five years. I have never been comfortable with letting someone pay for me.

I don’t expect anything from others that I wouldn’t do myself.

I’m hoping that I can channel my tears and frustration into a cleaning frenzy so this vacation day and kid-free weekend isn’t a total waste. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so I’m hoping to be able to take the bike to the trails, clear my head, and get some exercise.

It doesn’t matter how much you care about a person, it doesn’t turn them into the person you wish they could be.

UPDATE: I wake up Saturday morning to an email “This trip would be more fun with you.” So I reply that I’m not there because of him. I forward the unanswered questions email to him. His reply: “I thought we had a conversation about that.” Another reply indicates that he needs to quit having conversations in his head with me because I can’t hear them. No kidding! Boys R Dumb!

Money Mash Up 4/8

Money Mash Up 4/8.  Hosted by simply stacia.  A weekly series dedicated to keeping us on track with our spending, giving, and  goal setting during the week and learning to find low cost and/or “free” things to do in our spare time.  Details below if you’d like to use on your blog

1.  The most money I’ve spent last week was for my summer pool pass for me and Social Diva for $122.40. My local municipal pool offers a 20% discount for passes purchased in the month of March. This expense covers the majority of my weekend entertainment on the sunny days.

2.  A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was to meet my friends out for a few drinks on Saturday night. An order of fries and three adult beverages only cost me $16 with a generous tip. It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice night out with friends and this was definitely needed!

3.  The one thing I did for another was pack up at least 5 bags of clothes to donate to the VA Vets Association. I have another bag going to my sister for her kids and step-kids.

4.  One goal that I have and will do this week is to get seeds planted for tomato plants and flowers. I usually spend $100 or so for flowers and tomato plants and then the deer end up eating them. Now that it’s again the law for the neighbor to feed the deer, I’m hoping my plants will have a chance!

5.  What is your favorite city in the United States? Sadly, I haven’t visited too many US cities. I love Hilton Head for vacation. I also recently visited New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to visiting again this November for a conference I’m coordinating. Once Social Diva graduates from high school, I’d love to entertain the thought of moving south.

That’s it for my week. How was yours?

Money Mash Up — 2/11

money mash up – 2/11Hosted by simply stacia.

1.  The most money I’ve spent last week was for my Miami hotel room pre-cruise and birthday related expenses for Vampire Boy. Thanks to last weekend’s snowy weather, we didn’t get out for his birthday dinner, but we made it out this past weekend when the weather was a little more cooperative.

2.  A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was staying in again for the weekend. I feel like such a hermit, but limiting my social activities really saves money.

3.  The one thing I did for another was volunteer as a gift wrapper for the Western PA Humane Society this past weekend. Not surprisingly with Valentine’s Day three days away, our shift was slow. There are lots of last minute shoppers out there!

4.  Something I really need to accomplish this week is to get my work and work area organized before I leave for vacation in twelve days!

5.  Valentine’s Day!!!  What are you doing? Honestly, I have no plans for Valentine’s Day (and hope to keep it that way).

Money Mash Up – 1/28

money mash up – 1/28Hosted by simply stacia.

1.  The most money I’ve spent last week was $384 for car repairs and inspection. Ouch. Merry Christmas to me. [This doesn’t include the damage caused when I was rear-ended on Wednesday evening. I’m still waiting to hear from an adjuster for this.]

2.  A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was stay home again this past weekend. Of course, the car accident and kids here for the weekend also contributed to my staying in.

3.  The one thing I did for another was gave up my seat on the T (subway) for a woman and her young child. During this week of taking public transportation, it amazes me how selfish people are. If you’re young, give up your seat to someone who needs it. It’s common sense and common courtesy. Show some manners!

Also, after Friday evening’s snow (and 2-1/2 hour commute via public transportation), I came home to sidewalks and driveway still needing to be shoveled (thanks for nothing, kids!). So after cleaning my public sidewalk, I also helped my Friendly Neighbor clear her driveway. Can these good deeds chase away the black cloud that’s been hovering around me?

4.  Something I really need to accomplish this week is to get in touch with Mr. Rear-Ended Me’s insurance company. I reported the accident to his company and was surprised that he hadn’t reported the accident yet. An adjuster was supposed to call me on Friday, but with the horrible weather in the area, I’m not surprised that I didn’t get a call. This is first on my agenda when I get to work on Tuesday!

5.  Life insurance.  Do you have it?  Why or why not?  I have an extra policy through work (separate of the coverage that they provide) and I think it’s for $180K? I figured the coverage of my salary (employer provided) plus this extra would be enough for the kids to pay off my outstanding debt, yet leave them enough to get on their feet.

How has your week been?

money mash up 1/21

Money Mash Up 1/21

I’m continuing  money mash up – 1/21 hosted by Simply Stacia.

1.  The most money I’ve spent last week was (or I should say WILL be spending) will be $112 for a ticket. I gambled with an expired car inspection.

2.  A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was was have my stepdad help me change my spark plugs/wires AND stayed in again this Saturday night.

3.  The one thing I did for another was provided a referral to someone on twitter. She was looking for a place to get rid an old car that wouldn’t start and I referred her to my former neighbor who owns a place for clunkers.

4.  Something I really need to accomplish this week is get my car situation taken care of.

5.  I am planning a vacation in one month! This is my annual “mom” trip and I’m taking my son with me as a birthday/graduation present. I have the opportunity for other “mom” vacations, but finances will probably prevent me for them. And I always take a day trip or two to the beaches at Erie with the kids over the summer. It gets us our sun and sand and doesn’t cost us too much.

How was your week?

money mash up 1/14

via money mash up – 1/14.

1.  The most money I’ve spent last week was for $71 to get a passport card for Vampire Boy. As part of an 18th birthday and graduation gift, I’m taking him with me and my friends on The Rock Boat, next month. He could have boarded with his birth certificate, but I’d feel more comfortable if he has a passport card.

2.  A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was stay home last weekend. Not going out anywhere really helps me to not spend randomly.

3.  The one thing I did for another was ?. I know I feel like I do a lot for others, but I think it’s so automatic for me, I can never remember any particular instance to talk about.

4.  Something I really need to accomplish this week is to get my car an appointment at the garage for both an evaluation (thank you, Check Engine light) and an annual inspection. I also need to prod myself out of this funk I seem to be in.

5.  I’m dying to try getting my life in order this year. I’m not where I want to be after five years of living at this address.

How was your week?

Money Mash Up 1/7

money mash up

Money Mash Up 1/7.  Hosted by simply stacia.

1. The most money I’ve spent last week was for rent. Sadly it takes most of my paycheck. Now that I have a cat (in my “no pets” place), the search has begun to find a new pet-friendly place to move this summer.

2. A low-cost or free thing I did this past week was staying in on Saturday night. Hibernation mode has kicked in. It was just me, the cat, Amazing Chicken, and an evening of Nicholas Sparks movies. The Notebook makes me long for a Noah of my own.

3. The one thing I did for another was nothing. I can’t think of anything I’ve done for another this week. I did, however, do something for myself, and that was make a deposit to my 52 week savings plan!

4. Something I really need to accomplish this week is exercise. My cruise is in 48 days and I’ve not lost a pound.

5. My most favorite thing about winter is fresh snowfall on a weekend morning.  There are usually no cars on the road, and the snow is hanging in the tree branches. It’s so pretty when it’s untouched!

How is your budgeting going in this New Year?