Today’s thrifty tip:
Back-to-school shopping–don’t. When I was a child, my Mom never took me back-to-school shopping. We didn’t have much money to spare, and my Mom’s philosophy was that you didn’t go shopping until you needed something. I’ve applied the same principle to my children. They check their closets first, and then only if they need something do we go buy it. Somehow the kids always manage to come up with something good for the first day of school and school pictures.
Today I checked another item off my to-do list. This was a “biggie”. I finally got all of our documents together and faxed our loan modification application. All 58 pages. It only took half an hour to send the fax. I know, because I stood next to the fax machine the entire time to make sure everything went through. We know our chances of a loan mod are “slim to none”, but hey, we’ve got to give it a chance. On Monday, I’ll call “C” to see if they received our fax.
One of my errands today was to deposit enough in the checking account to cover the automatic equity line payment withdrawal. I really dislike going to “C” bank, but I go because I need to make the deposit. Today was different. After being ignored by the employees since “C” took over, they must have recently attended a customer service seminar. As soon as we entered the bank we were greeted by an employee, and yes, we said “hello” in return. While I was preparing my deposit slip, he offered to help me with my transaction, and I told him it was just a deposit that I’d take to a teller.
After making my deposit and starting to leave, he approached us again asking how old my son was, does he have a savings account, and “let me give you my business card so you can come back and talk to me.” What I didn’t say is that my son already has a savings account at another bank and we have no intention of opening one up for him at “C” bank. What a change in the employees behavior from six months ago, from frosty to friendly. I really didn’t quite know what to make of it all.
As soon as I saw the car driving slowly down the street with two woman inside, I knew, I just knew what was coming. The kids and I were getting into our car and I saw the sedan come down the street, park, two women get out, and walk toward me. In short, they were two realtors from a local office who were offering to sell our home because they know we’re in foreclosure. They even mentioned the final date we have before the bank sells the house. They were very polite and professional. I was polite, too, and asked them if they had business cards. They were well prepared. Along with business cards, they had an entire brochure prepared which showcased their sales and copies of recent real estate newspaper articles. The women then got into their car and slowly drove away. I got into my car with the kids, and drove off to take care of my errands. As I drove my emotions ranged from being upset and on the verge of tears, to irritated as to the nerve of these woman trolling for clients. My husband’s response after I told him, he said, “it felt like an invasion of our privacy.”
By the way, the reason I asked for these woman’s business cards is because I have no intention of using their services and their names are going into my vulture file. As far as I’m concerned, while some may view these realtors as going after an opportunity, I feel that they are no different than the ambulance chasers, the lawyers who give their business card to the accident victim as the victim is being lifted into the ambulance.
My latest money saving strategy for the grocery store…DON’T BUY JUNK FOOD! We have enough in the house already ranging from sugary cereals to popcorn to leftover Easter Candy. I’ve decided that if we’re hungry for something sugary, we can make it or bake it ourselves. So far, I’ve made three trips to the supermarket (twice with the kids) and I’ve resisted the urge to buy cookies, candy, chips, etc. Our grocery bill has decreased by 10-15% and we’re eating much healthier.
Yesterday, I finally told my best friend that Ed and I were having financial difficulties and are applying for a loan mod. I felt it was about time. Especially since they are having trouble making ends meet, too. We’ll be seeing them in a few days. I’m certain we’ll be discussing more of our individual problems. That’s what friends are for, right?
I watched Oprah yesterday. Yes, I had watched the episode before and remembered most of it. Suggestions including, going through your monthly bills to see what you can eliminate, and cooking at home instead of going out to dinner. One tip I think I’ll try immediately. Put your daily receipts into a basket and then record on a ledger or book using two columns to categorize every item purchased into either “want” or “need”. I think that’s a great idea to track your spending and to determine whether or not you really needed or wanted to buy it.
Tomorrow/Thursday I plan on watching Oprah and seeing The Thriftiest Family in America. I’m sure I’ve seen this episode, but I’m always open to seeing new ways to save money.
In preparation for our meeting with the credit counselor, I’ve been collecting our financial information. Our mortgage statements, equity line statement, and credit card statements. We owe a lot of money. With the increase in our mortgage, the payment has gone from a stretch to being completely out of reach. The credit card debt is overwhelming. Over $50,000.
When most people hear or read about high credit card debt, their first thought is “how many toys did they buy? How much money did they waste?” Our credit card debt is a result of everyday living expenses. We have bought no furniture or taken any trips. We do not own the latest electronic gadgets. We wait until our shoes are literally falling apart before we go buy a new pair. The credit cards were used for car repairs, gasoline, the occasional groceries, and household maintenance that could no longer be deferred.
Were we living beyond our means? Yes, because for too long, we didn’t have any “means”.
I called the credit counselor referral that my college/realtor friend had told us about on Saturday. We have an appointment with him to discuss debt relief and credit counseling. We owe a lot on our credit cards. Over $50,000. I really don’t want to file bankruptcy, and I’d rather pay off our credit cards. We charged the money, we owe it. That’s how I feel. Even debt relief means that we pay back less than we owe, but at least it’s not as bad a hit to our credit as bankruptcy. Dang, just a year ago we were getting lots of offers for new credit and credit cards, now we probably wouldn’t even qualify for any credit card.