Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Job Interview

The last 24 hours have been a whirl wind of activities in the M household. Last night, a sorority sister contacted me about a possible PR position in my area and asked for my resume. Less than three hours later, I had an e-mail from her boss asking to schedule a phone interview before 1 pm today. As soon as I woke up this morning, I sent an e-mail and told her my schedule was free. At 11:25, I received an e-mail to be ready for an interview at 11:30. Luckily, I was in the car so I found a spot in a church parking lot, said a prayer and took the call. Overall it went well but I was not ready for the following - what their agency actually does. Planned on researching that but ran out of time. Lame excuse…I know but it’s the truth. The other question was “what do you think you should make?” salary question. Totally NOT prepared for that one at all…so there was a long pause on my end about that one and I came up with a number that’s $20K more than what I make now. If I’m going to reach for the moon, why not go all the way right?

So besides a few awkward moments (that I’m kicking myself over), I did send the interviewer a thank you e-mail right after the call and plan to put a written thank you note in the mail this afternoon. For those who pooh-pooh the idea of a hand written thank you note beware – the last three positions at my husband’s office that were hired wrote hand written notes. It made them stand out above everyone else as someone who is really interested in the job.

We’ll see where this goes but I found today’s thought on the Upper Room Website very on point - God is supposed to be our trip planner, not our baggage handler.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Debt2Freedom Readers!

This blog is a my therapy couch and I thank you all for your comments and support over the past twelve months. Mr. M and I have accomplished that we are finally seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train" which is so nice to say. I can't wait to see where we are in a year from now!

Without further ado...a very cute Birthday Rap.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Perfect Gift

I feel that today has been a tough one in Blogger land and so today, I just wanted to focus on one of life's simple joys - a hug. It's free and as the ad states - it does relieve tension.

Our journey to becoming debt free was not meant to be easy. If so, Congress would not have an August 2nd deadline. However, there is a perk about this journey and it is learning about the strengths of others and how they tackle their own hurdles.

We can do this. We WILL do this and soon we will all celebrate each others screams of "I'm debt free".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Be Weird.

weird Pictures, Images and Photos

Saw this article, 11 Ways to be Weird on Dave Ramsey's website today and thought I'd pass it on as it is a great reminder of why we are all on this debt free journey.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are We Like Drug Addicts?

While jamming to my favorite songs (yes - I said jamming), this political ad keeps popping up claiming that Washington is a drug addict. Here's the video in case you haven't seen it.

Are we/Washington drug addicts? I did find it interesting that for every dollar we spend, 41 cents goes to China. Here is a link to their website if you want to read more about this group.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I try to ignore the news channels when they go into a tail spin about the economy, lack of jobs, etc. However, I do notice a change if food prices and that’s how I know that things are well…not the greatest.

Last night, I went grocery shopping for our food the next two weeks. Our budget is $60 total and I over spent by $5. Why? The cost of the basics (milk, eggs, rice, etc.) has gone up due to I’m guessing either the rise in the cost of gas, a double dip Recession fear or both.

I guess it’s time to get creative with my meal planning.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yard Sale

 Thank you all for your kind comments about the Con Artists situation. It feels like I've been dealing with this for months and not just a week.

In all of this uproar, Mr. M and I had committed with two other couples to have our annual Yard Sale this past Saturday. We've done it for four years and since we needed the money towards our debt snowball, we decided not to cancel.

You can tell that people are worried about their financial future this year compared to last three. Mr. M made fun of me for a having a nickel box this year and all of those items sold. No one really looked at our furniture but focused more on the clothes.

We did not a make as much as we had in precious years but we did make something towards our debt snowball. Yeah for a little snowflake!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Con Artists - Part II

Tuesday Morning
My mother wakes me up on Tuesday morning telling me to ask my sisters if she should divorce my Dad as it is our decision, thus beginning another day of e-mails and phone calls with the four of us. Claire decided on Monday night to leave the iPhone with me and I try to piece this whole story together in hopes that somehow we can figure out the truth. Right now, we’re all angry with my Father and India since they’ve placed my Mother in such a horrible financial position.

The morning is spent with researching software that will save text messages, notes, etc. off of iPhones so even if my Dad deleted the information, we would always have it. I can say that my Father never slept with India (trust me – that’s what I thought but thanks to Evernotes, my dad kept a journal of this whole ride and he never cheated on my Mom) but he keeps denying the fact that she’s a con artist. My request to him that morning is to no longer have contact with India or he would indeed lose his daughters.

Tuesday Afternoon
Mr. M and I decided to go to a very good family friend who is a lawyer to see if we can go after India since she still has the car but hasn’t paid for it yet as well as swindling my Father out of a substantial amount of money. That’s how we found out about Ben’s past jail time and the fact that they are both judgment proof. Lovely.

However, since Ben has a parole officer, I now have the officer’s number to call in case Ben tries to harass my family. Not the best news but it’s something.

Tuesday Evening
Claire, Mark and my mother travel to my house for dinner and we together as a family (with the other two sisters on speaker phone) try to create a plan (enter my Type-A self) on how to help my Dad for the future. This was another great point that Gamblers Anonymous gave me – create a contract with all the family member’s input so everyone gets a chance to express their feelings and the family is all on the same page. My guess is so this eliminates the finger pointing within a family and not to break up siblings on who sides with Dad and who sides with Mom. We discover that my Father added India to their cell phone plan and my Mother has been paying for her phone bill since January and that through her text messages, she stole additional money from my Mother.

I become the one elected to talk to my Father that night and tell him of the contract. Not going to lie, this was very hard to do and took every ounce of myself not to scream, threaten, and cry on the phone.

My sisters and I e-mail back and forth about what we want to have in the contract. For whatever reason, my Mother decides not to cancel India’s cell phone so she can see if she contacts my Dad.

Claire calls me to tell me that my Dad thought about jumping off the freeway overpass this afternoon to end his life.

More e-mails, more phone calls, it all feels like a vicious cycle.

We’ve decided to divide the contract into three sections – Communication, Financial and Well-Being. Mr. M and I drive over my parent’s house after work to discuss this with my Dad and to get him to sign it.

He has the hardest part with our request for him to no longer have a texting plan for a while. You would have thought that I had asked him to eat dirt for a few months. Mr. M and I requested that he goes through Financial Peace University and we would pay for it (which thank the good Lord went on sale yesterday). This was a very extremely hard conversation because if he doesn’t follow through with what we asked him, then my sisters will not talk to him again – ever.

My mother is now taking her anger over the situation out of me. It is now my fault that my Dad is in this situation and I went over the line with asking him to sign a contract (a contract that I had her approve before I showed it to her). Jennifer is working on getting my Dad a counselor due to the bridge issue the day before. I feel like a walking zombie.

Can I please tell you that this has literally been the longest summer in my life? Not to sound dramatic, but if terrible things happen in threes and we’ve already experienced the whole baby mess and now this financial mess, I’m afraid for the third disaster. When did my life turn into one of those “Intervention” television shows?

Con Artists - Part I

My life changed on Sunday night and not for the good. If efforts to explain this story…I’m going to give it a timeline.

Sunday, 3:30ish
My father called Claire’s (my younger sister) boyfriend, Mark, and asked him if he could borrow $600. Mark declined and so my dad called my younger sister who agreed to give him the money no questions asked. It wasn’t until my sister and Mark were on their way to dinner that night that Mark told Claire what my Dad had done and then she alerted the family.

Sunday, 6:30ish
Claire calls to tell me that my Dad has admitted to having a gambling problem and was asking for money from Mark. Because this is so out of left field, I question her judgement and call my other two sisters Jennifer and Sarah (there are four of us total) to see what they think. After a conference call (we all live in different cities now), it was decided that I, being the oldest, would drive the hour drive to confront Dad face to face.

Sunday, 9:00 pm
Arrive at my parent’s home to confront my Dad to see why he is gambling. He admits then that it has been going on for a few months and he has depleted my parents’ emergency fund ($12,000). Watching my mother’s face when she heard this news is heart wrenching and a scene that plays over and over in my head. Insert a good bit of screaming on my mother’s part and Claire’s. Amazingly, I remained pretty calm and acted like a therapist for the rest of the night. Probably still in shock since the couple that gave me Dave Ramsey’s book actually never abided by its principals and it became abundantly clear that night. I think I slept an hour that night.

Monday Morning
My mother finds out that my father did not tell the truth on Sunday as the total is close to $18,000 not $12,000 and he left her with $15.00 in the bank account until payday. My sisters and I being the process of divide and conquer as I take on the role of finding him counseling, Claire takes on the role of trying to figure out where Dad is gambling at, Jennifer takes on the role of supporting Mom and Sarah tries to help with finances. I would like to take a moment and thank Gamblers Anonymous as their staff was extremely helpful because I at this time was frankly overwhelmed.

Monday Afternoon
I have a meeting via the phone with Heidi at Gamblers Anonymous and learn all the steps that we as a family need to set in place so my Dad doesn’t relapse. She suggested that we all get credit reports done to see if he took out any credit cards in our names as well as some other helpful tips. The whole time I’m on the phone, I keep thinking this is not my Dad. He doesn’t act like this, he’s my hero and how did we all miss the signs.

Monday Evening
Since we’re not sure who my Dad is talking to place his bets, Claire gets the great idea to take Dad’s phone and look through his messages and contacts. That’s when the s*%^ hit the fan. My father was not gambling, instead he was giving his money to another woman who is four years younger than me. When my dad realizes that his phone is missing and it becomes clear that we know about India, he sits my mother down to tell her the truth.

Last fall, my parents decided to sell their older vehicles in order to pay off more of their debt which is a move that I supported. One of my Dad’s former employees decided to buy the car but didn’t have all the money upfront. This is where India enters the picture as she pays some of the debt down and then a few weeks later goes to my Dad for money to help with rent, doctor bills, etc and it simply got “out of control” to the tune of $18,000.

While this is going on, Claire drives the iPhone over to my home and we realize that my Dad is not telling us the whole story. India meets a boy name Ben during the last four months who is a criminal (his rap sheet is insane) and somehow India talks my Dad into helping to pay Ben’s court fees.

Yes – that’s where the money went. Not to gambling, not to help his wife, not to help youngest daughters with their weddings or improve his home. Nope – it went to two very good con artists.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Better than Expected!

smile Pictures, Images and Photos

We finally received word from Mr. M’s doctor and the news was better than expected. As of today, Mr. M will not need surgery (whoo!) and will be on medicine for the next three months. I am THRILLED that this is the plan as I did not want Mr. M to have surgery at all so this is a blessing. By giving Mr. M some medicine indicates to me that there is a chance that we could get pregnant which is uplifting.

So we have a plan. Stick to the snowball, knock down some debt and revisit the doctor in October. Okay – I can do that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th NDO

We’ve decided to start NDO starting Tuesday and stay on this plan until August 5th. This month will be interesting as we are traveling two of the five weekends but I think for the most part, we can save some money. The fun part is now the menu planning and I wondered if you all would share some of your dinner recipes with me. Since we do try to eat a home a majority of the time already, I’d like to introduce some new things for dinner time this month.

Thank you for your help in advance!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Southern Visiting

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th! We traveled to North Carolina to see Kaye and Jack, a couple which are like family to Mr. M and me and spent the weekend seeing their new home and town. Kaye and I were roommates after college and both got engaged to our husbands while we lived together. Jack and Mr. M are really good friends (they both work in sports) so getting together is a real treat and we were bummed when they decided to move to North Carolina so Jack could run a baseball team.

This is why when Mr. M proposed that we go and see them out of the blue two weeks ago, I didn’t hesitate and carved out some money to create a very small trip budget. Probably not the smartest money move but we stayed within budget spending most of our money on gas. Since they live in a town with only a gas station and no stop light (a big change from when Kaye and I lived downtown together), our meals were cooked at home. They now live on a farm so our entertainment was learning about the different crops, feeding the chickens or actually sitting and talking on the front porch. Mr. M called it real “Southern visiting”.

The beauty of it all is that when we left, we still had money left over and had such a relaxing time. It was such a change of pace and energized Mr. M and I to really tackle our debt for the next six months which is all we talked about for the six hour drive home.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Over 50%

OMG You all - We are over half-way there!

We have paid $22,347.79 down on our debt snowball and our original debt was $44,104.25! As of today, we have $21,756.46 which is still a good deal but I know we can do it. Our goal is to have all of our the credit cards paid off by December.

Here’s the breakdown:

Student Loan: $ 9,714.48
Credit Card #1: $ 7321.77
Car Loan: $ 3,459.33
Credit Card #2 – PAID 4/22/11
Credit Card #3: $1,882.12
Non-Profit Pledge: $700.00
Non-Profit Pledge – Paid 3/25/11
Bank Loan Closed – 8/27/10
Credit Card #1 – Closed 7/27/10

Total:$ 21,756.46

In other fun news…I tried to make an additional payment to Credit Card #1 and received this message. A sign that I’m doing something right.