September 2008


I have been thinking a lot about what the best way to consolidate and organize all of my paperwork and keep myself up to date will be. 

I have decided that what I need are six notebooks/binders which will each be subdivided. 

Here is the plan:

 

  • Financial
    • monthly budget
    • expense tracking
    • Immediate goals (0-6 months)
    • Short-term goals (6 mos – 2 years)
    • Long Term goals (2 – 5 years)
    • Future Plans
    • Debt Management
    • Credit Reports
  • Legal
    • Guides
    • Goals
    • Forms
    • Originals
    • Copies
    • Receipts
    • Correspondence
  • Health
    • Insurance
    • EOBs
    • Medical Records
    • Medical Schedules
    • Prescriptions
    • OTCs
    • Dental
  • School
  • School Records
  • Checklists
  • Schedules
  • Transcript
  • Home
    • Insurance
    • Mortgage
    • Appraisals
    • Home Security
  • Home Upkeep
    • cleaning Schedules
    • Cooking
    • Shopping
    • Organization
    • Holidays/Seasonal
    • Family Events
  • So I’m sure most people are now aware that Atlanta has a gas shortage.  Up until last week, I haven’t had too much trouble finiding gas because I don’t fill up often since I drive a Honda and although most gas stations near my house were all out there were 1 or 2 dependable stetions to get gas at.

    Last week my husband woke up early on Saturday and wen to fill up my car. It took him about 2 hours and a 15 mile drive to find gas. Either way, he filled up my tank while I slept in, so I didn’t really feel the gas shortage until Friday when I was at a quarter tank and there was nowhere to get gas and the 1 station that had gas also had incredibly long lines.

    Friday night when I picked up my sister she told us that her friend had gotten up at 3am to get gas and saw no lines at that time. Of course, thinking we are clever, my husband and I stayed up until 2am and went out to the gas station. There was a huge line where there had always been gas and no other gas station had gas. We drove back to the original gas station to find out that the huge line wasn’t moving because they were actually in line for the next gas delivery, which came at 6am. We were not about to sit at the gas station for 4 hours. We went home and he went back to the gas station at 7am with the intention to fill up my tank, get some gas in the gas can, so he could put enough gas in his car to get him to the station and fill up his car. Well, he was able to fill up my tank and the gas ran out at that station.

    As it was his and my sister’s bday weekend we drove out to my aunt’s Sunday. As we drove out of our neighborhood there was also no gas to be found north of Atlanta. Now we’re back at half a tank in my car and no gas in his car. All three of us are riding in my car and hoping that we’ll be able to find gas tomorrow.

    In case you were wondering what the government of Georgia is doing about this crisis: He took a trip to Spain and thought it would be fun to take the head of the DOT with him. He also waitied a whole week after the other Southeastern states asked for help from the EPA before he thought it would be necessary to ask for help. Nevermind that Georgia has the largest city in the southeast and we would probably need to ask for help before anyone else. Nevermind that people asked him to call off the UGA – Bama game to avoid a bunch of out-of towners taking the little gas we do have. Nevermind that there are about a million alternatives that he could implement. However, since he doesn’t fill up his own tank, the state does it for him, he has no clue what the rest of us are dealing with.  I sincerely hope that Georgians take this as a clue as to the mismanagement of a Republican government and finally overturn a red Gerorgia to a Blue state. It’s about time!

    I propose that one of these big department store hold a gas shortage sale; giving 15% off online purchases and free shipping to keep people at home and that all of these big Atlanta-based companies get their employees to telecommute until the crisis dies down. Let’s everyone stay home!

    So, my fears came true, and it wasn’t so painful.

    My family banks at WaMu because I’ve always thought they were great with the free checking, high yield savings, free checks, etc. I started to get worried these past two weeks as things at WaMu got worse and worse. It was my intention for us all to withdraw our money from WaMu in order to avoid the long lines seen from the IndyMac ordeal when WaMu got taken over by the FDIC. However, I also didn’t want to jump the gun and knowing that it is the panicked withdrawing of money that tips bank over the brink, I also didn’t feel good about withdrawing all of our money like that.

    Anyhow, just as my sister and I made the decision yesterday to go to the bank Friday afternoon and withdraw our money we turned on NPR to find out that WaMu had indeed just been taken over by the Feds, but then promptly bought by JPMorgan Chase and it would be business as usual in the morning. I checked our accounts this morning and everything is indeed business as usual. No change in my accounts. Debits/Deposits are posting, my debit card works just fine.

    Congratulations to JP Morgan. If a bank has to go down, this is exactly the way it should go. I will certainly continue with them, just as long as they maintain the qualities that made WaMu such a great place to bank at.

    So we’re back on the financial emotional roller coaster.

    How does one go from making independent sole decisions based on you and what’s important to you to joint decisions taking in both ideas and priorities without wanting to kill the other person?

    A few days ago we sat down to talk about our financial plans and goals and granted the conversation did not go so well, we did agree about what our short term goals are. This was my hangup that day because all of our short term large expenses would be for me. I have a $2,000 expense I need to take care of as soon as possible, also soon after that I’ll have to pay for my tuition and soon after that I would like to travel to Colombia along with my husband and sisters. He and I both agreed that these would be our common saving goals along with establishing an emergency savings account, 401K contributions, debt reduction, and saving for a down payment on a new house. My expenses are immediate, wheras everything else was deemed to be part of a long term plan.

    Last night we sat down to do our budget to see where we stood for the rest of the month and to set up next month’s budget as we will be traveling out of town for our reception, etc. Barring any cash surge (reception gifts) or emergency (car breaks down/whatever), accroding to our budget we should have approximately $2,200 saved up by November 1st.  So I said perfect! We have the $2K for my first big expense, which means I can get that out of the way next month and we can start on saving for my tuition and our trip starting in Novemeber and we’ll have $200 left over.

    Well, this sparked an all out fight. He thinks we should put a few hundred aside for my expense and break the money up so that in 6 – 8 months we can take care of everything. I blew up because I have been waiting to take care of this matter 16 years and when it is in my grasp he tells me we should wait 6 – 8 months until we have more bankroll and that we never agreed that that was what our money would be saved for or for immediate use.

    Now, mind you, the $2200 saved up means we’ve paid all of our bills, he’s paying down his credit cards, we’ve spent money on his  birthday, my sister’s bday, my birthday, alloted for miscellaneous spending, etc. and then we have $2200 left over. So, it’s not like taking the $2K immediately would leave us off badly financially, it’s just that he won’t see our savings grow for 6- 8 months before it gets spent, but rather we would spend it as we accumulate the amounts required for each expense, but wither way in 6 – 8 months the exoense would be taken care of and the “savings” would be gone.

    However, between Tuesday and Thursday things changed from “it’s OUR money and your priorities are our priorities”‘ to “you’re being selfish, everything can’t be about what you want, and I don’t agree with that plan”. It is driving me crazy that I have to get “permission” from him to spend the money we save. I wish I was alone or that we had not merged our finances then I would be half way to my goal and I would cut down every expense for the next month to save the other $1K by the end of Novemebr and I wouldn’t have anyone to ask, “do you agree?” I owould just make my own plan and follow it! I hate this merging finances/lives and being hadcuffed when making decisions, because we both have to agree! ugh! $1K of that money is mine! plus we would be saving part of my paycheck to come to the $2K and using my paycheck to pay for our household expenses etc just as much as his paycheck. ugh! I just want to be on my own again!

    On top of that, the damn house is his because he bought it and now I live with him so last night when I wanted to just lock myself away somewhere and be on my own I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t drive back to my place and just be alone. I didn’t want to be in our master room because , well it’s ours. I went to the guest bedroom, but that’s his room. The only place I could go to was our study, but tha’s still our common area and it’s in his house! I need my own space! My sister has her own suite upstairs, he’s got the guest bedroom, and I have no place that isn’t a common area. Sometimes I jsut want my apartment back. I just want a place to call my own again.

    So, after my whole thing about not having any money and feeling so inadequate, etc. I got a check in the mail from State tax returns for $1,000. Woo hoo. Ok, so $1K is not really that much money, but it cna certainly re-start my savings account, which I emptied for wedding costs. I am feeling much happier now, specially because I have a WaMu savings account with a wonderfully high 4% APY my little state tax return will earn me about $40. That makes me smile….ooohh…I could get a new sweater dress just with my interest. I hope WaMu doens’t go under with the stock market crisis because I LOVE their services.

    I was blog surfing earlier today and ran across Simple Mom . I’m not one to read the Mommy Blogs, because, well, I’m not a mom and I think most of the stuff they talk about is pretty boring. However, I did go from being a single woman in a one bedroom apartment to a married woman with a husband and a teenage sister to care for and a big house to manage in under 6 months. Needless to say, I’m suddenly in unfamiliar territory.

    I’ve always been a big fan of to do lists and organizational tools. Simple Mom teaches one how to create a Home Management Notebook . I think this is a great read, specially for someone like me, who out of nowhere has a household to take care of.

    At the same time, I’m hooked on My Dollar Plan and using a lot of her advise to begin creating a financial plan for my husband and I. Specifically because we both want to go back to school, my 19 year old sister lives with us and she has school to pay for also. My other sister is 11 years old and I see her college years fast approaching at a rate I can’t imagine trying to save for. On top of that, I want a new house. I would like for both of us to retire early. We want to travel to Colombia within the next 6 – 8 months.

    With so much to plan for, I’m thinking of merging Simple Mom’s tools and Dollar Plan’s ideas to create a Life Management Notebook. A place where I can create a financial plan both short and long term for my mixed up family. I can create a personal plan to go back to school. And I can manage this big house I’m in and the household needs.  I definitely believe my household needs a cleaning weekly/monthly plan. Another awesome idea from Simple Mom is using Google Calendar to plan a monthly menu. Thank you, and I’m on it. I think that if I plan the menus ahead of time, I’ll shop better at the grocery store and be able to save money too.

    Ok, that’s all for now, I’ll update as I start creating out Life Management Notebook

    Dear Congresspeople of the Democratic Party:

    For the good of this nation, stand up, dig in your heels and DO NOT pass Bush’s Bail Out plan. It is the single worst thing that culd happen to the economy at this point. A cabinet member would wind up with more power than the president and without any checks or balances.

    Do not allow yourselves to be pushed into passing a flawed proposal simply because “something has to be done”. That is not the solution. Stop wasting time with this garbage plan and get a bipartisan commitee together to analyze and study the best way to get the country out of the hole we’re falling deeper and deeper into and to protect the everyday American person.

    The Bush Bail OUt will leave the country more indebted, with less power, and no solutions.

    Something has to be done, but this is not it.

    Sincerely,

    Me, average American

    This week’s biggest story is the Wall St. Bail Out discussions going on in DC. This entire thing is so incredibly complicated that there is no one simple answer.

    First of all, I believe this is another one of Bush’s Iraq War. He sees the country in crisis and is trying to therefore slip in legislation that will change the course of the nation and benefit his friends under the guise of resolving a problem. The Iraq war gave many of Bush’s friends great (if not, unbelievably generous) contracts and screwed the country out of a ton of resources.

    Bush’s bail out plan threatens to do the same. His idea is to put $700B in the hands of a few people with no restrictions. Who does this benefit? Certainly not you or I. It certainly will not benfit John Smith who put his savings into the market with hopes of retirement. It won’t help Jose Garcia who works for any of these banks that will evetually close and put him out of a job. It won’t help Ed Jones who can no longer afford to pay his mortgae.

    It WILL help the CEO who made the choice to get into predatory lending to trap Ed Jones into a mortgage he would later have to defualt on. That CEO will get paid millions just to leave the job. It will also help the VP who decided to lay off Jose Garcia so they could cut costs. It will also help the VP who ignored the well being of his shareholders and helped steer the company to the brink of death and lost John Smith’s retirement money in the process. All of these excutives will walk away wealthy and without any negative consequences. The people who will pay for the consequences of the executives’ choices are the laypeople of this nation. The employees of these companies, the out of job realtors, the boomers who have lost their retirement funds, the homeowners being crushed under predatory loans, and the taxpayers . That is what Bush proposes.

    What we need is a bail out plan that will protect the retirement funds, the jobs of the bank employees, help stabilize the home market, and protect or modify default mortgages. This plan should penalize the executives for their bad decisions. They should leave without a penny, and what’s more they should pay back the company for the time they took to drive it into bankruptcy. Certainly the government/taxpayer should get to maintain a stake in the company if it gets bailed out. If we pay for your mistakes, we own at least a part of you. They shouldn’t get to be bailed out for free. The gorvernment should have the ability to modify these ridiculous mortgage contracts that these bail out companies got so creative with.

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