Tag: mistakes

Bad Decisions I Have Made

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Yesterday, a reader (Hi Kay! I appreciate you!) asked me if I was overpaying my car payment because it seemed high.

It got me thinkng … I started blogging about finances after I made a pact with myself to stop doing things that were horrible, bad decisions. I’ve still made bad decisions since I’ve been blogging. The big ones were last Christmas when I got more credit cards to use for one holiday and looking for that post made me realize I glazed over the truth. I see myself saying I got an Amazon store card, but I ALSO got a Walmart credit card at the same time. I paid them back off after Christmas last year with the tax return.

This year I got all three kids a group gift for Christmas and then gave them stockings that were donated by a friend of mine. The group gift took one of my credit cards from 0 to max balance! Luckily, it was the card with the $300 balance. I got them the Skylanders game and we wrapped all the little people individually so they all had stuff to open. While $300 probably seems like a lot it is also the least I’ve ever spent on Christmas for three kids. So it’s an improvement for me.

That leads me to telling you about the most recent very bad financial decision I have made. I got the two older girls Kindle Fire tablets for their birthdays in January. I realized it was never on my radar to blog about and then I thought about it a few days ago and told myself no one would be interested. This morning I realized it would be stupid not to tell you I bought my kids VERY EXPENSIVE gifts for their birthday.

Maybe it was becuase I wanted to wait and make sure they were “worth it” before telling you about them.  Maybe telling you about the reading and spelling scores going from Fs to Cs and Bs thanks to educational apps will make it sounds like a less-awful decision. I don’t know. Every time I look at them I feel a little sick but I know that my girls have benefitted from them immeasurably and then I try to tell myself, “Hey, it wasn’t laptops, right?” So then I’m rationalizing my decision. I don’t know if the Kindles were a bad decision or not. I do know I saved $70 on them because I was like, “Sure I’ll apply for the card I won’t get since I just foreclosed on my house.”

Then I was approved. It’s a fee-free card with 3% back in Amazon credit so if I do keep a credit card this will be the one. I set up all my bills that could be put on the card onto the card (Internet, auto insurance, cell phones, renter’s insurance) and have a line item for that amount on my budget that’s {$240 – Credit Card Bills} and it’s actually scheduled for next week’s unemployment payment.

The month we didn’t have food stamps (EBT, SNAP, whatever) was a hard one. We found the local food pantry so several meals were covered that way. We had rice and pasta and ate everything in the house until all that was left was a loaf of funny wheat bread (I just had a slice for breakfast) and ramen noodles (which we will have for lunch) and then tonight I am so lucky we got the food stamp card so Mr. Brickie can go out in this weather (ugh this weather) and stock us back up on our staples. I will be so relieved when I can get back to making real food from scratch but until then we eat what we have and we are grateful for it.

All this to show you what might be my worst financial decision ever. The thing is, when I look at my credit card statements there are very few things that I don’t remember buying and usually when I don’t recognize one it’s Mr. Brickie getting gas. When I splurge I get a $19.99 Whirley Pop to make popcorn because I don’t have a microwave and pop popcorn about four times a week for the kids to take for snacks or to have when they want a snack. Or I get a $10 8″ frying pan because that way we can make five grilled cheese sandwiches at once and eat as a family. I know, it could sound like I’m explaining but it could also sound like I’m just rationalizing.

It’s a fine line I guess.

Life Expenses In No Particular Order
Payment Total Owed Estimated Payoff
Car $495.12 $6,839.49 April 2016
Utilities $195.00 n/a n/a
Rent (Savings) $260.00 $2,340.00 by November 15th
Auto Insurance $88.38 $444.74 renews May 2015
Cell Phones $88.96 n/a
Internet $37.99
$1,165.45
Credit Cards Listed In Order of Payoff
Payment Total Owed
Macy’s CC $25.00 $86.12
Target CC $25.00 $217.68
Amazon Store CC $35.00 $537.72
Walmart CC $25.00 $755.23
Capital One CC $35.00 $1,180.07
Amazon Visa CC $25.00 $2,328.11
$170.00 $5,104.93 <– embarrassingly large number
Money
Cash $81.00
Checking $262.03
Rent Savings $260.10
Emergency Fund $214.88
$737.01

So my emergency fund is looking a bit wrecked because of car problems, but also that direct sales thing where everyone gave me cash, I had to pay with a card, and that’s where the $81 in cash is coming from that’s on my desk.

The IL Tax Refund is going to pay off the lowest two credit cards and the rest will go back into the emergency fund. Then, when I get paid on the 9th from Scentsy that will also go back into the emergency fund and that will bring it back up to about$ 875.

I took my eye off the ball.

The joy of being you (the reader) instead of me (the writer) is you get to armchair quarterback what I’ve done and what I should do going forward. I wish I could go back and unpay those bills from Illinois and just let the gas and electric companies chase me and call me and have that $800 go toward the credit cards. I think, though, if I had I would wish I had done things the way I already did.

Sometimes choosing a path doesn’t mean choosing the better path it just means moving forward.

I am going to get through this. The kids are already signed up for an activity this summer and that’s paid for thanks to their amazing sponsor who I am a huge fan of. I will spend my time and energy on that with the three girls and every overtime check Mr. Brickie gets this summer is going to pound out those debts because we are THIS CLOSE to being out of debt. Overtime checks at his new 60% apprentice level will be big and I LOVE paying bills.

So stick with me through this mucky, dark, gross winter of discontent and poor decisions and you will be able to watch me make good decisions as soon as I can actually afford to.

Also, Miss Kay reminded me of something I want all of you to know….I welcome questions and don’t mind answering them. If you’d rather keep it private than put it on blast in the comments just shoot me an email at jennydecki at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it in a post.

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Stupid Mistakes I Made In The Last 24 Hours

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Surprise! This isn’t a list post. There are really only two dumb things I did yesterday.

1. I posted my mess on Facebook. Everyone knows when you’re freaking out you get off social media. Right? I know. The problem is the only time I truly crave being noticed is when I’m basically crying out for help because something has gone wrong in my brain.

2. I picked the wrong person for support. In the middle of freaking out I talked to someone and made a bad “let’s email a stranger” decision. I take full responsibility for the decision and my actions. That the person I talked to gave me the information while I was in that state, I guess, shows she isn’t in a place right now where she can be considered a person who will keep me safe when I cannot keep myself safe. It is pretty well known among my people and readers I do stupid things for the sake of reaching out and connection when I am in that place. I do not blame her. I am not mad at her. I can’t trust her when I am vulnerable and that is a fact with no value judgment attached.

Really, in the big, huge, wide world of stupid mistakes mine are small infractions. I am a little embarrassed about the posts and I want to crawl under a rock because I totally emailed some poor, unsuspecting person, but I wasn’t dancing on a bar and I kept all my clothes on and a bunch of other COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE things are running through my head on a loop as a reminder of what I could have done but did not.

But I still basically feel like this right now:

The Reason Might Be More Than Just the Foreclosure

I’ve been worried the foreclosure would go through before the loan modification for almost a year now. It has been a familiar daily thought. I have the budget so closely controlled and I save as much as I can when I can and I’m even in the middle of a copywriting project right now because we are all doing what we can. (On a side-note, I can’t wait to show you the project. It’s cute tag lines on packaging. It’s so perfect for me.)

There is such a sense of relief that we are not in limbo anymore. It’s a strange, backhanded kind of relief, but in its way it is better than stagnation.

There is also relief in Mr. Brickie working overtime and giving me the opportunity to save money every. single. week. toward Christmas and school supplies and the girls who desperately want a birthday party this year and I’m tired of saying no to everything. Saving toward moving expenses and not having to spend the tax return next year on anything and getting it in a savings account, again, for moving expenses.

We are finally on the upswing. The problem is when you fall down a deep valley the falling is easy. You hit bottom? That’s like a low-lying plateau where nothing happens. The upswing is actually a steep hill. There is more work and more control necessary when you have money to pay the bills. You have more opportunity to make bad choices because you can fund your bad choices. There is a sense of fear in having this money we now have to use properly. Having no money is one problem. Having money and allocating it properly is a whole different situation.

Especially because we don’t actually have enough money and I have to make right decisions now so we will get to the “enough” place faster and without too many extra obstacles. At least no accidents that should have been foreseen or mistakes that cost money. Those all need to be avoided at all costs. Get it? Costs! Har har. *groan*

All that to say I believe I’ve just kept a lid on my emotions here in survival mode so long that when the pressure was relieved and the top came off it was more like the cork from a shaken champagne bottle than the gentle pop of the top of a jelly lid. It was a release of so many emotions all at once. Fear, shame, forced calm, control, dedication, and all those other grownup emotions that keep you feeling still and safe in the middle of a snake pit.

How I Will Move Forward?

First, I will hope that the person I emailed just deletes the email. Really. So embarrassing. I’ve tried to think of ways to send a follow up email to cancel out the original email but that just seems like a really poor idea. You don’t fix a dumb thing by putting more dumb on top, right? I’m just going to hope that goes away.

Second, I need to get off social media and walk away from the computer. I will still write on the computer (I would write by hand but my hand cramps after less than a page. It’s always been that way) and by write I mean both blogging and non-blogging type. A social media vacation will let me step back and get some perspective on how I share, how much, and where.

Third, I need to get my house in order. I don’t mean the normal stuff. My dishes and laundry are kept up and the floor is swept daily…I mean the more detailed stuff. Organizing and downsizing, I guess is what I mean. Either store it, organize it so it’s easy to move, or get rid of it. Everything just needs to make sense as a thing we choose to have in our home. I’ll keep my paintings and elephants and giraffes and my much-loved Anubis statue of course. But I have about 20 tote bags. I don’t mean the cloth shopping bags, I mean legit tote bags. No one needs that. I probably could use to go through my clothes again and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

By the time we move I want to have everything that’s going to be stored in a storage space and the rest moved in one or two Uhaul trips. I do not want a long, drawn-out moving process if I can avoid it even a little bit. I want to know when we move it’s the simplest transition I could have possibly made.

So I’m moving forward, double checking next week’s numbers against my priority budget list and we’ll keep on keepin’ on.

Oh, and I found out yesterday Gertie is a rooster. So now we have to get rid of him or we’ll have a friggin’ hatchery in three months. *sigh* Knowing I’m going to lose another chicken might also be part of my freak-out. I really love my chickens.

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The Ball I Dropped

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If you haven’t caught on by now, this is not one of the most upbeat blog thingies to link up with.

But it’s so much more real than “Cinco de Mayo” with pictures of mayonnaise in sinks and guffaws from people who haven’t seen that picture seventy-five times in the last five years. Or some upbeat, uplifting post suggestions. I like being a little dark because I – as a person – am a little dark. I would love to be 100% full of love and light but since I haven’t managed that yet, you get to learn about one of the many ways I’ve dropped the ball in my life.

One of the things I want more than anything is friends. I love having friends. I love talking to people about my life and listening to people talk about theirs.

The people in this town I live in that I adore own businesses and get things done. They are women that I respect and think are absolutely fantastic. I wanted to be friends with them.

Come to find out there was an open board position for a local park district and one of the people thought I would be perfect for it. I was very sick at the end of last year (two emergency room visits, one urgent care visit, I was messed up physically) but still showed up and got elected to the board.

I was ecstatic. I felt so happy to be part of something. Unfortunately, between being sick and the board position putting me in charge of social media (which spikes my anxiety disorder like you wouldn’t believe) I completely failed in participating at all and ended up curled in bed, unable to do anything, and had to have my husband call to say I would not be able to participate.

Really, I was absolutely pathetic. I couldn’t make myself move. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think.

I finally slinked away from the Facebook page of the organization just yesterday. It was with shame and a heavy heart I removed myself as an admin. As I realized how badly I had failed these people I had hoped would become my friends. Or at least acquaintances. Or at least just get to know. These were people I wanted to help.

It was like I finally got my chance at being a fabulous board member of a fabulous organization and be THAT MOM … the one who does things and volunteers and is part of something. The housewife who is on a committee and does things for the community. The person I’ve always dreamed of being. Well, one of the versions of the person I’ve always dreamed of being, anyway.

Instead I completely blew it and I’m embarrassed to show my face at the Farmer’s Market because I am such an utter failure.

I sabotaged myself. Not on purpose…I mean who sabotages themselves on purpose, right? I just can’t live right. I can’t be the person I want to be. I can’t interact and make things happen and just follow through. I can’t breathe and want to hide under the bed. I want so badly to smile and participate and be …. human…normal….average.

I wish I could do it all over again and not botch it all up so horribly.

But that’s the thing about dropping the ball. You don’t always get a chance to pick it back up and give it another try. Sometimes you drop it and it’s lost in the tall grass and you have no idea where to find it again.

Even worse, what if you did get a chance to do it again? Would you just make the same mistakes again?

Axis of Ineptitude

Looking for the whole list of prompts? They are in text form and image so you can Come Play In May!