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Talked to the Dr today

January 31st, 2013 at 11:01 am

Quick update. Still no job but I have 4 companies that I have done technical interviews with so I am expecting a few offers within the next day or 2. More importantly, we went over the wife's MRI with the Dr and she has a bone disorder which is not cancerous or serious in most cases. Basically it is a disorder which weakens the bone and can replace bone tissue with damaged bone tissue. As long as it doens't mess with her Optic nerve, it should be ok but she will have to get a CT scan every year to monitor it. In rare cases, surgery is required. We were able to dig up an CT scan from 2005 and we were able to compare it to the current CT scan / MRI and it has not progressed over the past 7 yrs so that is a good sign


January 25th, 2013 at 05:05 pm

Well, It has been a tough month but I don't really have any updates. We finally got my wife's MRI and then went to her Dr to discuss it. He had not even looked at anything prior to us coming in so bottom line, he couldn't tell us anything and we will have to wait until next week to know more. I am still without a job and it is getting frustrating, the only people who call me are Indian head hunters who call me about jobs only remotely related to what I do. I did go on a few interviews including to one in Nashville. Luckily it was the same weekend that my motorcycle club was having an event in Nashville so I got to go to that for free!!! I am pretty much out of money. I have about 3k in a 401k which I am trying to get but my old company still has me listed as an active employee so they won't release it to me. The hospital also owes me about 1k as we overpaided for my wifes hospital visit. As you can guess, they aren't just handing over the money, they are making me jump through some hoops. 2 jobs that I had in the past came open again, both of them will require me to move but if that is what it takes, that is what I will do. I am also interviewing with a few companies which will allow me to stay in Fla. One of them made me do an on-line software demo. I spent 25hrs preparing this thing and they wait 4 days to tell me that maybe I can do the next interview with them late next week. I origionally talked with them before Thanksgiving. I am getting a bit pissed at them as they are dicking around. I have turned down 2 jobs already waiting on them. (both the ones I turned down would have required me to move to horrible places). I also got a call from an HR guy from a company near Cleveland, I must have been at a low point when I applied to that one. He called me at 9am and asked mw why I want to move to Cleveland. Umm, I couldn't really come up with a reason so I doubt he will call back!. Anyhow hopefully things will pick up next week and we will get good results from the Dr.

Next month will bring alot of change

December 29th, 2012 at 05:09 pm

As the year ends, I find myself in a state of total uncertainty. As you know, my wife has that mass in her skull. The Dr. doesn't think it is cancer but he has not ruled it out yet eithor. She will have an MRI the 2nd week of Janurary so hopefully, we will know whether it's cancer, something else that requires medical treatment or old scar tissue. At the same time, my contract ends Monday. I get one more full paycheck next week and then a 1 day paycheck for the 31st. After that, no more income from me. Luckily she works so we will have something coming in. I do have about 3k that I had put into a 401k while on this contact so that will give us a little breathing room. If we burn through that, the bike will be sold. I owe 4500 on it but I should be able to sell it for 11-12k. It will suck being a biker and MC member with no bike!!!!! (acutally I would take a leave on absence from my club). (yes I know alot of you who comment here are not fans of the bike, so you may win yet!)

Job hunting during the holidays suck. I have applied to about 100 or so jobs / contracts. About 20 of my apps were to jobs that are in my speciality, the rest were really longshots. Stuff I could do as they are related to my field but not really my niche. I have had positive response on a few but the holidays are slowing the process down. There is 1 company local to me who wants a long term sys admin / tech project manager. They told me that the interview I did with them went great but it will not be til after the new year until any next steps happen. I interviewed with them 3 weeks ago. I also had a 1st interview with a New England based company that would let me work remotely. I don't have that much of a warm fuzzy about them as they keep telling me that the IT director will be calling me soon for the 2nd interview. They have told me that every week for the past 4 weeks. The next option is another long term sys admin / tech project manager job in Nashville. Nashville would be ok as we are origionally from Atlanta so we still have alot of friends and family in Atlanta. Nashville is only 4hrs away. I have an interview with the hiring manager on Wens. Next option is for a 1 yr contact in Houston. I would let my family stay in Fl, and I would be in Houston most of the time with some remote work from home. It is only a 1 yr gig but the pay is literaly 2x the other 3 jobs. Finally, I spoke to a head hunter yesterday about a 4 month contract in Chicago. This would consist of staying up there for a month or so and then doing the majority of the work from home. The pay is about the same as the Houston contact. I also expect some call backs on some of the other apps I put in over the past few weeks. A bunch of them were out of state to places that I really don't want to move to (Like back to DC). I am really hoping that the one down here in Fl or the one that will let me be 100% remote come though. I don't want to get into a desperate spot where I have to jump on the 1st offer and miss one of the better opportunities by a few days.

We went to the hospital finance office last week. It wasn't nearly as bad as expected. In addition to my med insurance, we also had a supplimential that pays 1500 a day when hospitalized. They were supposed to pay us directly but somehow my wife signed it over to them. That is good and bad. The bad is that I could use the extra 4500 now, the good is that it covered the co-pay from my health insurance so we don't have a hospital bill and may actually get a few thousand back. We will have have the bills from the Doctors etc but they shouldn't be too bad.

We don't know yet what the MRI will cost. She is however covered under her job's health insurance as of 1/1 which is alot better than mine. I think it's 80% with 0 deductable. Not sure how having 2 insurances work so I don't know if mine will pick up the rest. Eithor way it won't be too bad. Now if she has to have brain surgery, that will be another story.

Ok, finally on to finances. When I started this blog in Oct, I had about 36k in debt or things that I needed to take care of. (not including the car payment). I was 2 months behind on my mortgage, 1 month behind on all utilites, owed the IRS 6k, a month behind on the car etc. During the past 3 months, I paid off 8500 of the debt. As of now, all utilities are current, I paid 1 of my late mortgage payment and had them spread out the other one so I am now current on the mortgage. We paid 3k to the IRS so the end is in sight on that. We did all of the required maintenance on the vehichles (there are still a few things we should do but they aren't critical), We paid off about 1/2 of the outstanding medical bills and took care of the $300 in car registration fees we owed Va from last year. We have been averageing about $2800 per month in debt reduction. Sadly with me becoming unemployed, we are going to lose alot of that progress.

I am really hoping that I get a job within the first 2 weeks of Janurary. The only real quandry is money. I am used to very high pay as I have been based out of the DC area the past few years and doing consulting work. I was lucky to get the contract down here in Fl for a New York based company (meaning I made DC/ NY wages while enjoying the Fl COL). The work from home, Local and the Nashville job all pay about 60-70% of what I normally make. With my wife working full time (provided her MRI is good), we can live comfortably on our salaries but knocking out our remaining liabilities will be difficult. (the biggest montly is the IRS which is 900 a month but I only have 4 more payments). The houston and chicago contacts pay a bit more than I normally make so we would be able to knock off some more debt but of course me living in a hotel or extended stay would eat into that, not to mention being away from home. But even with the living out of state, we still would be better off financially with the houston or chicago money, they pay that much more!.

Even though I have all this going on and I am stressing over all of this, the one thing that will have the most impact is the MRI result. To be honest, we have been living as if it doesn't exist, meaning we haven't discussed what we would do if comes back as cancer. We mentally decided to stay positive on that subject or else we would be walking around being paranoid and depressed (as if the job / money doesn't F*ck with me enough). So bottom line, the next few weeks will be very interesting and alot of change is coming to our lives, we just have no idea what the change will be and when it will be. Stay tuned as January will bring alot of answers.

good news

December 7th, 2012 at 03:02 pm

The good news is that the Dr. thinks that it isn't cancer. We still need to get an MRI but he is thinking it's not cancer that it is remains of an old infection or scar tissue from a head injury from her childhood. The bad news is that I am still broke (now $460 broker)

End of the month

December 1st, 2012 at 09:15 am

This month was so bad that I don't even know where to begin. My wife spent 4 days in the hospital. We have health insurance but it is a limited liabilty plan meaning that they will cap out at 15k. I am waiting for the bills to see how much out of pocket it is. While in the hospital, my wife had a ct scan and they found a tumor in her skull. She is now seeing a specialist and will have a biopsy soon. They will have to go through her skull to get to the tumor. Needless to say findout out about the tumor is our primary mission. I really won't know how to proceed umtil we get a prognosis on that.

As far as regular stuff, it was still a pretty brutal month. I had some planned car maintenance expenses and I took care of them as planned. I also had some unplanned vehichle problems so I had to come up with an extra $400. This means that I am putting off an old vehichile tax from last year in Virginia yet again. I do have it on my list for Dec. In addition, we both lost work time and since we are both hourly rather than salary, the monthly income was a bit low.

Bottom line is that we took care of our current expenses, handled the vehichle expenses but didn't make any progress on our debt other than the normal monthly payments. I am stil job hunting as my contract comes to an end soon. I was willling to go on the road for a few months while the wife stayed down here but with the tumor, I may have to stay local. I also did a few variations of my resume and I am applying for other job types. We will see how this all plays out.

Assuming the best case, "wife is fine and biopsy is not needed" we will be somewhat back on track this month and should be able to take care of a few nagging old bills. I will have to think about work though. The reality is that pay is much lower in Fl than I am used to. If I work local, I will end up with a pretty hefty pay cout. I will have to run numbers as see how low I can go salary wise. Plan B would be to do a series of short-term out of state contacts for high dollar to hopefully knock out the rest of the debt.

Assuming the worst case, well I really won't give a shit about the finances anymore.

2hr phone call with the mortgage company

November 8th, 2012 at 04:53 pm

Had a 2hr call with the mortgage company. I got transfered back and forth 5 times until I demaneded that we have a 3 way call. I am 2 months behind on my mortgage. I skipped 2 payments in the spring when I was between contracts. I have been paying regular monthly payments the past 4 months. Anyhow, I applied for the home owners relief program in Oct. Well my app was denied. Apparently I make too much money. But the bank has an internal program where they temporarly lower the interest rate. My forclosure prevention specialist applied for that program on my behalf without me knowing this. Well, apparently as soon as someone applies for this program, they automatically set up an escrow account (my mortgage never had one. I paid the taxes myself). So my property tax comes due in Oct and the mortgage company pays them without telling me. I found this out when I went to pay my property tax and saw that it was paid. So now I have a new escrow account and it is behind. So far this sounds bad but there is a silver lining. My homeowners insurance company dropped me a few months ago. So I found out that the mortgage company is also supplying insurance. The funny thing is that it is less then what I was paying. Now I am not stressing about finding new insurance like I was. So the bottom line is that my mortage payment will go up 200+ a month for a year to get the escrow caught up. After that, it will go down about 150. I used the money that I was going to pay the property tax to make up 1 of my 2 payments, so now I am only 1 payment behind. So overall, they will still get thier money, taxes and insurance are taken care of and at the moment with me and the wife working, we can pay they higher monthly payment. So, I guess overall this was a good thing. I will find out soon if I can get the interest rate deduction. Maybe that will offset some of the escrow account costs.

End of the month wrap up

November 1st, 2012 at 06:45 pm

Well, we are now into november. I did ok in Oct. My daily budget for living monthly expenses was 9516. I spent 8167 so I am living within my budget for day to day living. However, my goal is to pay down debts and other non typical expensses. I was able to make progress in those areas. I was a month behind on all of my utilities. I made double payments and I am current on them. I am still 1 payment behind on the car and 2 on the house.
I do have a few non normal expenses this month so I won't be able to do anything for the debt other then make my normally scheduled payments. The motor went out on the heat pump in my house in Atlanta so I had to fork out 350 today. Also, the property tax was due 2 weeks ago. I was going to pay it yesterday but the heat pump killed that plan. The good news is that I will be able to pay it next week and the late fee will only be about 20 or so. I do owe the State of Va about 300 for car tags. Even though I moved out of state in May, they still send me a tag bill. I also have to get 2 tires and an oil change on my car. I also am going to pay about 200 on back medical bills. I think I owe about 800 or so, the wife will total them out this weekend. It does help with the wife working. I will make my kids each pay 250 rent so that will help a bit.
Now the bad news and this really sucks. My contract at my job is not going to be renewed. That means my last day of work is Dec 31st. I do have a few irons in the fire so I am not worried about not having a paycheck, I just need to figure out what option will work for me.
Option 1: work for another company in Tampa which will be a long term job. That sounds good except they are lowballing on pay. I normally make about 70 an hour, they want to pay 40. I told them if they could meet met half way, we can do something.
Option 2. Go back to my former consulting company. That pays 80 an hour but it may not be steady. They may offer me salary but it would not be at 80!
Option 3, go to Roanoke. I talked to this company back in April and they still have not filled the position.( I am very niched in what I do). I have an interview with them on Monday. Not sure how much they will pay but I suspect it will be 50-60. That is doable in Roanoke and my wife would be able to go back to her old company there.
Option 4 is to stay tampa based and be an 'on the road' consultant. that means being gone m-th and flying home for weekends. The wife would hate it but she at least would get to stay here, there would be no moving expenses and it would pay 80 an hour.
So, we will see how this plays out.
My stepson said he will stay in the house another year, that means I won't let the house go but I will have to work with the mortgage company to make up the 2 payments. I don't qualify for any of the new mortgage programs. I guess if you are totally poor you get food stamps, free medical and housing assistance, if you make some money or at one time had some money, you don't qualify for anything.
Any how it was fun making the budget and all last month but soon the numbers will all change.
The good news is that my total debt and stuff I need to spend money on list went down from 36800 to 34400. I do expect some 'unexpected' expenses to mess that up though.

did my budget for the month

October 6th, 2012 at 04:53 pm

Did my budget for the month. since I have 2 utilities about to be cut off, it was easy to decide what order to pay things. next payday, I pay the behind payment on ele, car insurance, cable and cell phone. my current bike payment and a credit card payment. that leaves my $300 for groceries / gas and pocket money. The week of the 17th I pay current ele, cable, cell phone, car insurance, furniture loan, medical loan, my other credit card and child support. I will have %250 for gas / groceries and pocket money. After this it starts getting a bit easier. My wife gets her first paycheck but we have a property tax bill due for our house in Ga. Her check should cover it so it'a a wash. The week of the 24th I pay my IRS bill and my car payment. I will have $525 left over so I may pay down something. The final week, I get paid, my wife gets paid again and my renter sends in his check. I will pay my rent and the mortgage payment out of those. I should have about $900 left over.

My only big conern is talking to utility companies on monday. I can pay the overdue parts on all of them prior to the cut off dates but I can't pay the current amounts till next week. Hopfully that won't be a problem. I also hope to find out about the mortgage reduction and the repayment for the overdue payments. If I have to breat down the 1700 over 4 months, I would be ok.

My only other big worry is my job, they are doing the yearly staffing budgets this month and we just got a new VP. I don't know the lady at all so I have no idea if she will have any radical ideas related to the projects I am working on. If the contract does get renewed then I should be able to get the things I have been neglecting taken care of as well as pay off a fair amount of debt. Oh, my step daughter got a job today, I will have her paying rent starting next month!!!


October 4th, 2012 at 10:20 am

Yesterday was payday so I paid my mortgage and rent. I also budgeted 125 for groceries. The 125 is a bit low but I only had 200 left after the mortgage and rent. It will be a tight week. Luckily I get 5 pay days this month so my plan is to pay my overdue utilities next week and then pay the current utilities on my 4th paycheck. If all goes well, my over due utilities and overdue car payment should be caught up. that will be a pretty good accomplishment.
what does suck though that today is my anniversary and I am working from home today because I am sick. I would like to take the wife out but being sick and broke........

Talked to Mortgage company today

October 1st, 2012 at 03:18 pm

Got a certified letter from my mortgage company today. Never a good thing. After talking to the first girl, she suggested I go for a loan modification. So, I talked to that guy and we are seeing what we can do. In the mean time, they are holding off on demanding full back payment ( I am 2 payments behinds) which means that for now, I can just make a regular payment. If the loan mod falls though, they told me I can make 4 payments of 400 each to cover the payments I am behind on. With my wife working now, I am pretty sure I can swing that. The sad thing, is that I really don't want the house. The neighborhood went to hell and I have no desire to move back there. The only reason I haven't let it go is because I do alot of gov't contracts and a forclosure would kill my security clearance as well as prevent me from getting other contracts

It starts tomorrow

September 30th, 2012 at 06:28 pm

Well, tomorrow is the 1st which means I can start tracking / recording actual spending. When I made my budget, I of course had to do alot of estimating. My budget though is really a cash flow spreadsheet and it only shows my monthly spending. My 2nd spread sheet shows debts and upcoming expenses that aren't part of my day to day expenses. As I start this, I see a few positives and a few negatives. The positives are that some of my larger debts will be paid off within a year. For example, the IRS will be paid off in March and the bike only has 11 payments left. That will be alot of extra money. In addition, some of the reasons I got behind were due to lack of steady work by me, no work or part time work by my wife, high cost of living in the DC area and the move down south. Now that my wife is starting to work full time and my contract seems steady and the COL is alot cheaper in Fla, I expect to be able to knock some of this other debt off.

The downside is that it will be about a month before my wife gets her first check, and some of these expenses have to be taken care of now. I will be able to meet my current day to day living expenses this month with just my checks but I won't be able to get caught up on anything ( well mabye a few smaller things) until next month. The other negative is the upcoming holidays, as a contractor, I do not get any paid time off so for me thanksgiving, christmas etc mean forced days off.

I think things will be alot better next year but I also hope I can at the very least tread water till after the holidays.

Current debt

September 29th, 2012 at 04:19 pm

That attached spreadsheet shows my current debt as well as other things which I need to take care but haven't yet. I did not put my mortgage or my car paymewnt on here as they are both longer term debts which I am not focusing on at the moment.

starting numbers

September 29th, 2012 at 03:58 pm

I am posting a budget for my monthly expenses, this will be refined as I start tracking my actuals. I am assuming that the income stays the same and hoping that there are not any emergencies.

How I got here

September 29th, 2012 at 03:42 pm

this is my initial post so I may as well start by showing my current situation. I am currently working a contact IT job in Tampa. I make $65 an hour but I do not get any PT0. I do get half assed health insurance that I am paying about $600 a month for (family coverage but limited benefits). I own a house in Atlanta that I owe $106k on, Per Zillow.com, it's worth about 50k now. My stepson and his friends currently rent it. Yes they trashed it,meaning it needs a few thousand in repairs before it would be rentable again. Hopefully they will stay a few more years. They pay $650 a month rent, I pay $800 mortgage. I am thinking of letting it go but I haven't made that decision yet. Maybe I can explore it in a different post.
As stated in my intro, I was doing ok until the recession. I was laid off in the end of 08 from a decent job. Luckily I had a bunch in a 401k so I was able to survive until I picked up my next contract which took me 4 months to find. That one lasted 5. I found a job near DC 2 months later but I had to wait until I could get a security clearance which took 3 months. I also had to move myself to Va and of course rent a Townhouse while my family was still in Atlanta waiting for my step daughter to graduate HS. After she graduated she and my wife joined me in Va. Right after we got to DC, she had to have knee surgury so she couldn't work for a while. I worked as a Gov't contractor for 9 months then was laid off. It only took me about 6 weeks to find another Gov't contract but it only lasted 3 months. When that contract was over, I was unemployed for about 3 months until I got my next contract. During this time, I killed the rest of my 401k and most of my wife's. The contract I took paid well ($70) on 1099 (which means no taxes are pulled (which didn't work out well for me!!!)I stayed there for about 6 months and then decided to to move south again. I found (I thought) a contract in Jax so I put in my notice at my current contract and made plans to move to Jax. Well that company cancelled the contract 3 days before it was supposed to start. I had already turned in my vacate notice on my townhouse, rented an Apt in Fla and had the movers scheduled. So, with that falling through, it was time to job hunt in DC again. I ended up finding a consulting company to partner with and was able to stay in my townhouse (alghouth they raised the rent $200 month). The guy at the consulting company told me that had enough work lined up to keep me busy for a while. Well after 3 months I was billing 5-10hrs a week. A head hunter in Tampa called me for a (hopefully) long term gig in Tampa. I took the gig and we moved down here. The moving company ripped me off but that is another story. So far, things are going good in Tampa but the job market is kinda harsh. My wife starts working Monday and my son (who moved in with us) and my step daughter can't find jobs (although they are lazy and sleep til noon every day). So we have been living off of just my income for the past few years and I am support 4 people in my house as well as paying %540 a month child support for my 16yr old. That in a nutshell is how I got to where we are today. I will post my starting numbers in my next post.

Ok,I need to disclose a bit more to keep it honest. When things were going well, we went to the caribean every year. Since 2008 we have been 3x. Also, we spent $500-$800 a month in casinos the past 2yrs. I also eat lunch out everyday which adds up. I am aware that I am not a victum of circumstance.