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Dodged the 1099-C Bullet!

February 9th, 2012 at 08:02 pm

I got confirmation that Citibank issued me a double 1099-C this year from a settled acct back in 2009. Yayy for us, saved us a lot of stress, hassle and money!

The only other noteworthy info is at that I should be paying off my car next week! Final payment....I have to admit I've not made one before bc I havent normally kept cars around for that long. We typically end up trading them in and starting the entire idiotic payment cycle over! So I am looking forward to paying it off and driving it for many years to come, FREE & CLEAR!

Other than that, my oldest daughter kicks off her college softball career this weekend. She is a freshman and plays for a division 1 school in the south...we are proud of her and look forward to her first year! Please keep her bat in your prayers haha! :-)

I have just begun reading the book called The Help, based in the 1960's...still very early in the story but it is very addictive! Can't wait to get into the full story line, etc.

Lastly, my husband & I started juicing raw fruit & vegetables back in January in place of our breakfast and lunch...and then eating a fairly healthy dinner. It is going well and we have both slimmed down a bit....we also feel pretty good bc our bodies are getting so much more nutrients than what we typically ate in probably one week! We ate some fruits & veggies here and there but not near enough for any substantial benefits. I also started doing the Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred workout last night and I am sore! I went for a good run today too to try and get some of the soreness worked out...helped but my legs are mostly tired tonight. Good! I have lost about 8 pounds which is good....funny how that small amount makes such a difference in how your clothes fit. I would like to lose another 10 if I could to be around 130. I'm slightly taller than average so my height helps with disguising some weight gain but I've never been this heavy and I don't want to start a long term relationship with the extra weight. It started coming on when I started working from ome full time about 1.5 years ago. I have become very sedentary and I can tell big time! But we are both eating healthier now and I plan to become much more active from now on. Smile

Choosing to be happy

February 5th, 2012 at 07:07 pm

I came across an article on a blog that really spoke to me. It was info passed on from a nurse who worked in a hospice-like environment where she cared for terminally sick or people who had reached the end of their life. She said she always heard the same 'regrets' over & over...one of which was choosing to be happy. While I don't consider myself a miserable or perpetually pissed off person, I do let small things bother me more often than they should and I do worry about stuff that rarely happens. I have decided to make a conscious effort to choose to be happy more often. I'm sure I will get mad about some things as we humans do, but overall I am going to choose to be more happy in general rather than worry or stew over things that annoy or upset me. Because I'm trying to become debt free, money seems to be the biggest source of stress & anxiety right now. It did occur to me that it took me a long time to get into debt....so I can't just expect to snap my fingers to get out of it. But I am impatient, I want to move on to the next phase of of building wealth instead of giving it all away right now to get out of debt. The next time I find myself stressing or feeling bad about the situation, I am going to try really hard to refocus that energy. I make a great living, I am not behind on my bills, I have plenty of food in the pantry and clothes in the closet, we are all healthy & well...God willing I will be able to maintain this same situation for a long time so there is no immediate "fire" that justifies my occasional bouts of stress & anxiety about getting out of debt any sooner that what our budget allows.

So wish me luck! I'm out of practice and it will take some work! Smile

Tax drama update

February 1st, 2012 at 08:16 am

After spending most of my morning on the phone on Monday trying to track down the right group to speak to about the "erroneous" 1099-C's sent to my house (these are for cancellation of debt, charged as income), I got a call this morning saying it does appear to be an error but they don't know how to fix it. I told them they IRS said if this is an error, they need to retract BOTH forms or else the IRS will be looking for us to claim them on our return. So I told the lady it is super critical we get this resolved ASAP bc it is causing me lots of stress! If these turned out to be legit, we would need to come up with about $16k....major issue! We are not out of the woods yet but I feel a little better about the situation. Hopefully I can get the confirmation I need today!

On another good news front, I got a $300 bonus for an ongoing project on my latest check. As a you can imagine, it was happy news to receive. I was notified today that I am getting another bonus for another project and it will be $1000! I was elated to get that news! It is really good to be recognized for your hard work & expertise! For all you managers out there, it is a great motivator to recognize your employees Smile

Will keep you updated on the final verdict on the tax situation. Keep those prayer lines open.

Lastly, I have one more payment (2/15) to pay off my car! Yay for the Big Saver household! Smile

Seriously wants to cry!

January 29th, 2012 at 06:02 pm

Told you guys our taxes were bad this year....we owed close to $4k bc we messed up our elections. Well, there is more to that sad story now. And it is really sad.

Several years ago we did a stupid thing and sold a house to a couple of sleaze bags who turned out to be criminals. We did a promissory note for a year where we carried the note and they were supposed to get their own financing at the end of the year. We did it all correctly, had a contract drawn, full closing, deeded property to them, etc. A year later they bail on the house that they trashed out, told us we could "have it back" even though it was theirs....and never paid property taxes or anything. At that time my husband wasn't working so we had 2 choices...either save our current house or possibly lose both if we try to save both. We couldn't afford both so we tried to work with the bank. This was before the housing crash so the bank was not interested in working with us at all....we did the entire bit where we submit our package of paper, they lose it 5 times, then it is outdated, we submit more, they lose it some more, etc. after several months of getting no where and losing a short sale buyer bc of the bank's inability to function, we told them to kiss our a$$ and do whatever they want with the house. We were through dealing with below average intelligence. So the house is foreclosed on, we get sued and we settle the debt with a cash payment. The following January, we get a 1099-C with the cancellation of debt amount we have to pay taxes on....which totally ate our lunch! And pissed us off. So we pay it and forge ahead.

Then last Friday afternoon, we get 2 more 1099-C's from this same bank....for the same account, one for me and my husband! Of course I call them and they are closed bc it is 4:00 in the afternoon. So I've had to wait all weekend, fretting & worrying over what this could possibly mean. While I am not surprised if it is an error, I cannot for the life of me understand how this mistake could be made. The form says the debt was cancelled in Oct 2011....but the other form was several years ago says the debt was cancelled in March of that year. So I have no idea what the heck is going on but if by some chance they don't admit this was an error, we will have to get an attorney and fight it. If we put it into our tax return, we will owe over $15k....which is bananas! I called the IRS and they said it was between us and the company....but that if we couldn't get it resolved that I should go ahead and send in the forms with our tax return with an explanation of all that took place.

So I plan to be on the phone with the bank most of tomorrow arguing if necessary....I'm just so worried this thing will go south in a hurry! Please pray for us!

2011, It's a Wrap!

January 12th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

So 2011 was the beginning of my total money makeover following the Dave Ramsey plan. I am glad to report it has been an amazing process and has literally changed our circumstances and our future! Here is a snapshot of our successful year:

January 2011 total debt = $103,565
This eye popping number consisted of a student loan, braces, 2 credit cards and 3 cars.

As of January 2012, our new debt balance = $43,794...while we are cash flowing about $12k in college tuition for DD.

It has been a very interesting year....I hate to say hard bc it is just so stupid we put ourselves in that situation to begin with. We did deserve the discomfort bc we clearly enjoyed too much stupid spending! Honestly, it was hard and involved a lot of creativity, mathematical hoop-jumping, budget-crunching, dollar-stretching, discount-asking and unhappy kids are just a few descriptions that come to mind. We did have a few things here & there that we splurged on but for the most part we were gazelle intense on getting this debt gone!

Of course our plan is to have everything paid off this year and live debt free forever! We are also selling our house now bc we plan to relocate soon....this should also give us some cash to put towards the debt. If we do sell, we plan to rent for a bit and save up enough to pay doe our next house or save enough to pay half....I'm not super worried about that right now but it would be nice to achieve that as well.

This site has also been a great tool for inspiration throughout this last year. While misery does love company (haha), the shared wisdom and success stories have been very motivating as well. ...so thank you all for the helpful information!

Now I'm off to do some more budget crunching....wish me luck ;-)

Another doctor bill reduced!

November 28th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

On my previous entry, I was talking about some doctor bills that came in for both of my older daughters. One had a birthmark removed and one had some testing done. Neither had any prior medical expenses this year so we have not met the deductible....which means I basically had to pay for a lot of this stuff out of pocket! I have already depleted my HSA which is usually only $1000 a year so that was no help.

Anyway - I'm stuck with 3 doctor bills to pay and I wasn't too thrilled about it b/c I'm still trying to get my cars paid off. It occurred to me to just ask for a lower price to "settle" the account. Turns out that works pretty well!! I got the first one reduced from $697 to $600. I recently got the second one reduced from $650 to $500! I tried it on the 3rd one and they turned me down...their reason was that their rates were 'contracted' with the insurance company and to reduce them would be to violate that contracted rate. Blah, o-well....it was a little difficult to argue b/c I don't know anything about that. So they offered to let me pay it out at $65 per month, no interest -- I said ok. I think it is something I will always do now, just ask for a lower price to settle the account. Worst case scenario is they tell you no, best case you save some money! I'm always game for saving some moo-lah.

On another note, I did do some Black Friday shopping. I don't think I like the new format of the stores opening at 10 pm on Thursday night b/c many more people come out!! I prefer the super early mornings where many people prefer to NOT get out of bed. It is still crazy early in the morning, but not quite as crazy as it was last Thursday night. I didn't have too much stuff I was trying to get -- turns out I was pretty lucky with what I did get! I got a $10 crockpot, $10 blender, a $200 Compaq laptop and a few little odds & ends for small gifts and usables for our family. In total we spent $325 and I think we did really good considering what we got. We got home pretty late and didn't do any other shopping on that Friday in STORES but I did snag a few things online. I'm not a huge fan of online shopping - mainly b/c I like to see/touch/try things in the store. PLUS there is rarely any issues with me checking out or returning items, etc. Of course the items I purchase on Friday are with a company that has a huge backlog so I did not get any confirmation of my order nor did anything hit my bank account. So I waited all day and then finally called the customer service department....they don't see the order either and advice me to place another one if I wanted the sale price that ends at 12 am PT. So I place a 2nd order for the same items and go to bed. I wake up to receive an email confirmation of the 1st order that they did not see...and shortly thereafter I get another email cofirmation of my 2nd order. HA -- so then I get back on the phone with customer service to try and cancel one of the orders which have already processed against my checking account. Errrhhhggg...this is why I don't like online shopping, too many things can go wrong and you have to WAIT to get your money back if needed. O-well.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I got to spend some time with my mom and her husband. Very fun time and we are looking forward to Christmas now!

The wind in my sails....is slowing fading

November 8th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I wrote a blog entry yesterday but somehow managed to wipe out my entire screen before I could post it...so I was very annoyed & decided to put it off, wasn't gonna write it again. So this is my 2nd attempt -- hopefully I don't blow this thing up.

My motivation has been struggling lately...making me feel depressed. We are 11 months into our debt snowball and have paid off over half of our debt and will be on track to have reduced our overall debt by at least $70K by the end of the year. While it is an exicting milestone, it is also somewhat nauseating b/c this has been a big ole whippin!! it is hard to squeeze every penny out of your budget week after week...pushing the limit every month and really restricting our spend. I am also the enforcer - my husband is onboard with the plan but sometimes I feel like I am the one having to keep us on track. I have thought of 'quitting' once or twice but then I think to myself, quit for what?? so I can be broke forever instead of just these few miserable months? So quitting would make me ultra stupid -- just doesn't make sense to quit and go back to what we were doing. So having resolve that internal conflict, I have no fear that I will quit but I can still complain that this plain sucks!! It will be something that will stay with me forever -- will not be repeating this again.

On a brighter note, I did some 'dave ramsey' negotiating today and it worked! One of the things I've been putting off buying are new tennis shoes for me...mine still look good/clean but they are at least 3 years old and they are broken down internally/structurally so they hurt my feet after a while. Anyway, I had a fairly large medical bill budgeted to pay this pay period (about $698) and that is pretty much all that is stitting in my bank account right now. I found some shoes today that are what I wanted and they were on sale for $20 off so I took a gamble that I could call the dr. office and offer them LESS to settle my account in full today. So I went ahead & bought the shoes and made the call to my dr office when I got home. Not suprisingly she said she would have to ask the doctor and call me back when I asked if I could setting in full for $600 today....she called back in about 10 mins and said YES! I was very pleased that it worked out b/c I do feel guilty about buying new shoes right now which is why I kept putting it off, etc. BUT I am tired of my feet hurtingn all the time so I don't think this was a wasteful expenses. I have 2 other larger dr bills I have budgeted to pay in the next pay period...I'm gonna try it again! See if I can knock off about $100 if I offer to 'pay it off today' :-)

I'm back to the grindstone for now -- squeezing dimes out of pennies and quarters out of nickels...wish me luck.

Debt update & other things

October 31st, 2011 at 08:59 pm

Haven't posted in a while so I thought I would make some time tonight. From a debt standpoint we are still clucking along with only a few hiccups along the way. We've had several expenses come up that I wasn't anticipating so our snowball has not been as big as it could have been over the last couple of pay periods. A little discouraging but I find that I wouldn't have done anything different if I could do it over again....so it is what it is. I've had an emergency flight to the northeast to be with a dear friend who lost her husband unexpectedly, our TV went out and we've had a few smaller trips & expenses come up that we needed to take (family weddings, etc.) PLUS several unexpected medical expenses came in from both of my older daughters. I take back my earlier comment -- I would take back one of these medical expenses had I realized I was using an 'out of network' facility for one of the bills! Apparently that would have saved me lots of money...but I didn't ask the right question when I was researching. I asked them if they took my insurance and they said YES...so I assumed that meant they were in-network. Shows how much I know -- i don't have many run-ins with the medical world thankfully but next time, I will be dang sure to clarify my questions to avoid that extra cost for out of network crap. Anyway, all of those extra expenses collectively has cost me about $3,000+ so it has been quite a set back for my debt snowball. I've still been able to make a fairly sizable payment to get my car paid off within 2-3 months but it has pushed out my overall timeline to get it gone!

Aside from this fun fall season of mishaps and financial mayham, I am annoyed with myself for not being more organized. I didn't even pull out my halloween stuff this year. Not a major life issue of course...but it is small stuff like that I don't like to skip out on b/c I know my kids like it, etc. I've just been too busy and very forgetful about every day stuff b/c my brain is overloaded. The house is a mess and I seem to be putting off more and more stuff until later...so I am always rushing around, forgetting stuff and everything is a mess!! I don't like it and it is not very typical of me but it seems to have become more common these days. I can only hope that November will slow down and return to normal...otherwise I'm going to have do something drastic -- what, I have no idea, but drastics times call for drastic measures, right? BTW - the baseball playoffs & world series are always a 'stop down' for me too so that is part of the reason I'm so behind...I've neglected some of the stuff I would normally do in the evenings b/c I was screaming, I mean watching, the sad Texas Rangers thoughout their playoff run and tragic ending. :-(

Anyway, cheers to a simplified life and slowing down this November!