You know what they say about old habits dying hard

Well it’s true and quite frankly I am thrilled they don’t. Over the last five years as we walked the walk we have became increasingly careful about hunting for bargains for items we needed/wanted and we were both terrified that once the credit cards were paid off we would become looser with our money and if dh is to retire we can’t afford to do that.

Yet things keep popping up to tempt us. My dishwasher died late July, we replaced it, on sale, with a discount and in cash. That felt really good. As I said last week we did go against DR and got the extended warranty plan. Which we have already had to file a claim on. The thing has already paid for itself and we’ve got nearly five years to go on it. The control panel went out on the brand new dishwasher and between the mileage fees, the repair fees and the parts we have gotten our money back already. Or will have once the part comes in.

A week ago my much used and loved Cricut die cutting machine finally gasp its last breath and I was EXTREMELY upset to discover that to get an identical replacement for it was going to be $249.99 every place I checked, IF the place even had one in stock. My gazelle attitude just wouldn’t let me plop down the cash for it at that price although I did have it in my blow money budget because I’ve been hoarding that money rather than spending it.

I finally got on the various Cricut and Cuttlebug facebook groups I am a member of and bemoaned this situation because, of course, I was in the middle of a huge project that I could not complete without a working machine.

I was told immediately that Menards had them on sale for $99 after a mail in rebate! I got excited, until I found that the closest Menard’s was over 300 miles from me. Bummer! So I decided to see if they had an online store. They did and it was on the same sale there. I ordered it immediately, although it was still higher than I really wanted to pay, because it was a $143 before rebate and after shipping and handling.

It arrived 3 days later and I immediately filled out the rebate form to get it mailed off asap. That’s when I discovered that the $30 rebate was an IN STORE ONLY gift certificate. I contacted Menards customer service to see if there was a way around that since there were no Menard’s in our area. The answer was no, but I was told that the gift certificates never expire. And we have family in Wichita we go to see periodically and there is a Menard’s there. So I’ll just hang on to the refund until we go see them again. Then we girls will go shopping while the guys gossip, err discuss life.

Then while unboxing the machine I noticed it was a specially marked package that included a (are you ready for this) $50 gift certificate for Cricut.com to buy digital images for the machine with! Okay, that lowers my over all expenditure, because I shop at Cricut.com once every six months or so. I was even happier with my bargain now. Opened the box and the gc is good until 12/31/2015—yes! I don’t have to rush. I also found they had thrown in a mat that you need to do the cuts with, a $10 value. So my $250 plus shipping and handling machine dropped to $143-$30-$50-$10=$53 inclucing shipping and handling. I am definitely a much happier person over that price! Bascially I saved over $200.

On the way home from the fair (free parking, discounted tickets again) I suggested we stop at the new Goodwill store that went in not far from us…We came home from there happy too.

We love homemade ice cream and for over 30 years have used our Donvier to make just the perfect amount for dessert for the three of us without the fuss of using ice or salt. About three years ago ours quit freezing properly and when we priced new ones we couldn’t justify the $75 price of a new one when so gazelle intense.

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of the first things I found at Goodwil was a brand new in the box Donvier for $12. Sitting next to it was a bnib Foodsaver vacuum sealing machine. While it was a much smaller and less expensive model than the one we already had it was the perfect size for putting in the camper for traveling. This particular model runs normally around $100 and we paid $19 for it. Both came with guarantees that they would work or our money back as well.

We briefly looked through clothing, but neither of us was really interested in clothes shopping that day. I did find a brand new looking Disney Hoodie that were the type we had paid $60 each for ours originally for $5.99. while it was dh’s character, Grumpy, it was my size and we purchased that anyway.

I also found some Martha Stewart craft items in original unopened packages for $.75 that at Hobby Lobby are currently $3.50 and up per package. Some Halloween decorations and cups and a few other things. All in all we spent $42 and both came out VERY happy with our purchases.

I figure we’ll be going back to that store on a regular basis, and probably again soon because we just got the annual Christmas party invitation for the office and I need something nice to wear.

Dh has gotten the garage sale bug now and is already planning out a trip for next weekend to shop garage sales and hit various thrift stores we are familiar with to try and find some of the items we are needing to replace around here before he retires.

We also spent part of the weekend watching cooking shows and discussing learning new techniques on cooking. We tried a couple of inexpensive recipes that turned out VERY good (Pioneer Woman’s oven bbq chicken and the cinnamon roll cake that is making the facebook rounds right now).

Same as others

I pay these types of bills electronically with my debit card or an e-check. Sometimes they charge you to use your debit card (like a credit card fee) but e-check is always free. Just remember to balance your checkbook! e-checks don’t post right away.

We don’t owe anything except the house

insurance and utilities. We pay utilities online. Insurance is usually a check as is the house. I usually stop by the bank with the mortgage when we are downtown, but before the due date, and pay in person.

Stupid cash-only question (probably the first of many)

My first errand tomorrow will be to go change my weekly payday deposit into cash. I’ll be stuffing my envelopes BEFORE I go do all my weekly shopping. But one thing has already come up – I have a bill to pay this week for my cellphone. In the past, I’ve just transferred the money electronically. How do folks on a cash-only basis handle bills like that? I don’t even get a paper statement with a return envelope. Do folks just go ahead and pay some things like that electronically, or do they actually go get traveler’s checks and mail them off? I feel like a total moron asking this question but I’m not sure what would be considered best practices for stuff like that. Suggestions?

I am like you

Just seeing a spreadsheet worries me. I have cash on hand for various sinking funds. They are not at a bank though. I feel it is much easier on my brain to keep it separate. For instance when we replaced our roof a couple of years ago I immediately started a roof replacement fund. I took the cost of the roof we had installed and divided it by 20 (years) and then divided that by 12 (months) to get a monthly amount to save. That breaks it down to terms I can understand. I also keep that separate from our emergency fund. It would be too easy for ME to use it for something other than a roof down the road.

What about a compromise?

you do sinking funds with your earnings, separate entirely from the savings accounts already existing. New income stream, new allocation of that income.

That notion of compromise is definitely the plan

We’ve learned on our DR journey that any sort of absolute gotta-do-it-this-way approach is not going to fly very well, so we’ve learned how to compromise. The thing that caught me off guard with this one, is that I was just so delighted to have enough income again to even be thinking about restoring my savings account(s). I used to have one big savings account as you describe, and I used to track various goal amounts within it. But somehow with the divorce and layoff experiences behind me, I need to have something more solid in place besides just a spreadsheet. I want to see a list of accounts, each with their own balance, so I can see that yes, every category is taken care of. Call it a form of reassurance that works for me.
We’ll come up with some way to compromise on how much we put into those funds, such that DH doesn’t feel antsy that too much is being diverted, yet I feel like future needs/goals are being attended to. We’ll figure it out.

What we did around here was have two savings accounts, on paper

I have my sinking funds all in my spread sheets and keep track of exactly how much I put in, or take out from each sinking fund, but it goes into our general savings account along with our bef (now working on our ffef). That way we earn more interest on the combined amount, we felt better because we had “more” in savings, but we also had the mindset that x amount of dollars was designated or “named” for set bills when they came around. It takes a little while to get it all built up, but the peace of mind it gives is so soothing.

Take that trip we went on in May, we left here with what we were told was good tires, but we also left here with a $2,000 sinking fund specifically for tire and truck repair/replace as well as our bef, plus some in our other sinking funds. We ended up having to pay out almost $1,800 for tires while we were out, but it didn’t ruin our trip because we knew the money was there AND that we still had our savings, our other sinking funds AND our bef. That peace of mind was so wonderful.

Therein lay the problem

I have not been putting money from my earnings, into savings, ever since I was laid off at the start of 2011. I haven’t had regular hourly income until earlier this year when I got part-time off-farm work. All my earnings between the layoff and the part-time work have been lump sales amounts from farm operations and went back into farm operations. That was intended to be a stopgap measure when I first lost my job, particularly since DH had a very healthy savings account that could “cover” for our EF needs. At some point along the line, that short-term stop-gap became normal habit. And now that my earnings have gone back up, I’m trying to change that habit.

Additionally, he has always resisted the idea of sinking funds with his own accounts. I know some folks like having them and some don’t, but I have learned it’s important for me to have those funds allocated and separated well in advance rather than just all pooled together.

Now that my earnings have increased, a lot of our financial situation and practices are changing, mostly for the better. Yet a few will be things we learned in class but have never implemented until now. I think that’s where the resistance is coming from.

How do you fund your savings?

Doesn’t that too take money from the monthly budget? I would think that it would just be a mental shift – you’re still saving the money, just putting it in a different pot, which is most likely virtual anyway. I DIDN’T do “sinking funds” per se. I did savings, I allotted a certain percentage into savings, and included in that amount was money necessary to buy my Car’s yearly registration, money for my next car purchase, money for yearly property taxes and my rainy day fund.

Thorny budgeting question

This is sort of related to a cash-only basis existence, but it’s got bigger implications than just that. So here goes. We’re really scraping every month to achieve a zero-based budget. Some months we do, some months we don’t. I am a HUGE fan of sinking funds, and have ID’ed quite a few categories where we KNOW we spend money on an infrequent or irregular basis. So far we haven’t set up sinking funds for those, but I’d really like to. Yet by doing so, and by diverting even a smidgen of money into them (we’re talking less than $10 per category per week), it’ll be even harder to hit our zero-based budget every month.

My DH is very reluctant to invest in sinking funds for that reason, and prefers to put off the cost and taking it out of savings when the time comes. Of course when the time comes, it stinks to take it out of savings when we could have had it ready to go. Sometimes, a bill will go unpaid for awhile because we hate taking it out of our general savings. That tells me we really need a sinking fund for that item, but he’s resisting because it’ll blow the budget.

This has actually turned into something of a sore point between us, and I’m wondering how others have handled this. It feels to me like he’s just afraid to commit more money to more things, but then hates to spend the money when the time comes. It’s a no-win scenario, which I’m trying to change, and he’s resisting because any alternative still costs money. I just don’t see a downside to making the switch but I’m getting a lot of pushback. Suggestions?

Advertising such a way should be illegal!

Yeah those services are predatory! Actually a few years ago before I started the DR program I was duped into calling one of those “debt consolidation” places. What a joke! Yeah they get your payments down to $15 a month but 1/3 goes to them for doing nothing! You still owe your debtors they just negotiate payment terms with them, which you can do on your own.

A commercial that irritates me

Over a year ago I gave up my X-M to save $500 a year and have not regretted it one bit. Tune in radio on the computer and over my phone have worked just fine for free.

At night time my phone is hooked up to a pillow speaker and I listen to Coast to Coast while going to sleep. Currently I am listening to it coming out of Tronto, Canada because the one out of Austin TX kept having signal problems.

They run a commercial several times a night that really irritates me. The first time I heard it beginning I honestly thought they were going to advertise for DR because the commercials (there are 2 one that is a male voice and one that is a female voice) starts out “Hello, my name is ‘Debt Free’” But then you listen to the commercial and it is for a bankruptcy lawyer! Seriously? That’s not debt free, that is … well never mind.

I know it I shouldn’t let it bother me, but I find the touting of being “debt free” because you filed bankruptcy as a thing to celebrate extremely irritating.

I would imagine it would be worthwhile for

you and the buyer to get separate appraisals on the land, compare notes and meet in the middle. An appraisal should be around $300, maybe less since you don’t have anything built on the land. But then at least it would be two expert opinions.

If you feel ballsy, maybe ask the buyer to go in halves with you on one appraisal? Just be sure you both research companies and hire a reputable appraiser in the area.

How do you calculate a reasonable sales price on real estate?

When my fil died we inherited a small piece of property in AZ near Bizbee. It was part of one of those come buy our land schemes and it was never developed. To my knowledge there is not even any utilities on it. We pay the taxes on it annually, in fact they are due next month and I already have the bill for $46. 16.

When we inherited it they were around $20.

A lady dh works with is moving “home” to AZ in the Bizbee area and has expressed an interest in purchasing the land. We have no plans to do anything with it so we would be thrilled to sell it, but we want to be fair.

The last time we were in Bizbee we inquired about listing it for sale and was told that it would cost more in realtor fees than the land was worth.

As she pointed out there would be no realtor involved in this, just a lawyer and an exchange of money and title. How do we figure out a fair asking price for it?

Similarly we have a piece of land on Grand Lake that when the lake is up is lake front on the cove side of it, but it would take considerable work to build on it. It has a very bossy POA that we’ve been battling with for years because we owned the property BEFORE there was a POA and refuse to join it and pay $100 a year for a key to a boat ramp. We go by the property sometimes when going to see our brothers, but we’ve never camped on it or anything like that. How would we figure a price for it as well. The taxes on it run about $20 a year, they’ve been going down this last few years.

Funny you should ask

– I’ll be leaving shortly to go stack another 100 bales in the barn loft at our rental land. Long story short, we haven’t worked out all the kinks yet. Somehow baling hay has turned into something of a laboratory specimen for all the things we’d been struggling with over time – getting projects done in a timely way, balancing out up front costs vs payback later or payday loans FL, balancing out time, money and effort on the farm vs other paying jobs, working on equipment in February so it’ll be ready in April, vs needing it in April and working on it in July, etc. Sometimes it feels like for every step forward we take two back. When the Murphy email went out this morning, my first thought was “well, at least we’re not alone in getting a lot of Murphy time…..” I can say we’re making slow progress, but this year is another which had us fall back on hiring our landlord to do the baling for us since we couldn’t do it for ourselves. Frustrating. But we’ll get there.

Nothing like being late in answering a thread

but is it you they are truly after or are they after the insurance company ultimately? Has Insurance paid their part?

Otherwise I agree with being the squeaky loud wheel in this process. Send certified letters, call daily, speak to the supervisor etc. They will soon realize that you aren’t going to stop until you have positive resolution and will work to get you to quit your pursuit quickly.

I second the notion of asking for names of

each person you speak with and write it down – sometimes they may have an employee number or extension or something to go along with. In my experience, when someone KNOWS you took down their name, they’re more likely to help you because they know if they ignore your concern someone will find out!

Best of luck!

If I were you

I’d send a copy of the cancelled check to the collection agency with the note indicating the dates you informed the company of said payment. Follow up with a call.

Then I’d call the company and ask to speak to the manager (is it a dr’s office? Ask for the office manager/accounts supervisor) and explain the situation and follow it up with a letter outlining the issue, the dates and who you spoke to at the collections agency, etc. I’d ask them to read any notes on your file to you regarding payment as well.

If you were referred by a doctor of yours I’d send them a heads up letter and cc the brace company and tell them that your service has been severely lacking.

Basically, I’d throw everyone in the loop and make a big stink.

Then I’d start calling the same people every day until they send you proof that your account has been corrected.

BE THE SQUEAKY WHEEL!

Take names and document, document, document.

Seems like overkill, but I CAN’T stand people who can’t do their job. There is no excuse for the hassle you’ve been through, so move to the offensive and put them on defense.

We went through this with a medical bill a couple of years ago

The problem is someone is not doing their job and then it gets passed to the next flunky, who in turn does not do their job.

The way I finally solved it was I sent a firm letter with a copy of the canceled check, a copy of the info from the insurance company showing they had paid their part and then stated in my letter that if I was EVER contacted again on this matter I would be turning them over to authorities for attempted fraud and harassment. It’s been over two years and I’ve never heard another word from them. Jan who says you are being harassed because they know there are people like her fried D. who would pay the bill again rather than fight them in OK

Need some advice for a collection agency

I am furious at the moment, and need some advice from you all before I send the letter.

In June, I was fitted for a knee brace. The company billed my insurance, and then billed me the remainder — $374.06. I paid the bill and the check cleared July 9.

In August, I received a letter from them, stating that the bill was past due. I called, explained the situation, that I had the canceled check. They promised to straighten it out and get back to me.

About three weeks later, I received a letter, stating that the bill was past due and if I didn’t pay it in 10 days, they would send me to collections. I called, explained the situation, that I had the canceled check. They promised to straighten it out and get back to me.

Earlier this month, I received a letter, stating that the bill was past due and if I didn’t pay it in 10 days, they would send me to collections. I called, explained the situation, that I had the canceled check. This time, they asked me to fax them a copy of the canceled check, which I did. In the meantime, they promised to straighten it out and get back to me.

Today, I received a letter from a collection agency, stating that the bill was past due and had been sent to a collections agency.

I plan on sending them a letter with signature confirmation, explaining the situation and including a copy of the check. Is there anything else I need to say? Any way I can make sure this does not go on my credit rating? Anything I can do to make this stop???