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Blogging to help me live a better financial life on less than $13,000 a year.EllaSea's Personal Finance Blog
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Getting Financially F*****d

February 7th, 2014 at 05:16 pm

Every year in January I get a cost of living raise in my SSDI. This year I got a raise of $11 a month. Because of this, I just got a notice saying my food stamps were being cut by $8 a month.

Why do they even bother giving me the raise if they are just going to penalize me in some other way?

How the hell am I supposed to ever get to a point where I don't live in debt or on CC's when this is how the government helps me?

If I could work, believe me, I would. I hate being on disability. I feel worthless and useless and like I'm a burden and a drain on everyone. I have to listen to "well-intentioned" people complain about people on government assistance because we are "all lazy drug addicts who don't want to work". I have to rely the government to help take care of me b/c I have a disease that has no known cause and no cure and gets no recognition or sympathy because it's not life-threatening.

And then when I do something to help my situation, like moving from a place I loved to one I hate so I could have cheaper rent and afford to pay all my bills every month and not rely on my CC's, I get my benefits cut because all they see if that I now pay less in rent, so therefor I "must" have extra money now. So now instead of being in a good neighborhood in a place I love and living on CC's, I am end up in a shitty neighborhood and a place I hate living on CC's.

It just seems like there is no way to get even, let alone ahead.

Gift Cards

February 3rd, 2014 at 12:44 am

I love my gift cards! (I had to laugh when I saw someone else had the same post this weekend Smile ).

I had gotten a DnD gift card for Xmas and used that (plus a coupon) to pick up a $.99 coffee yesterday on the way to the mall with Mums. Since I used the GC, I don't count that towards my Weekly Spending.

At the mall I returned a dress that just didn't fit right, even after I tried some non-permanent and non-damaging minor alterations. It had tags on it, but since I didn't have the receipt (it was in my old wallet, which was stolen last month) they wouldn't take the charge off my CC. I can understand it because they need to make sure I didn't steal it, but since they could have just looked the purchase up on my CC history, I was pissed that they insisted on giving me a GC and not the refund. I'm going to call the company on Monday and see if they will transfer the GC amount to my CC even though you can't usually use a GC to pay a CC bill.

If they won't, I'll have a $59 GC to a store I like. I will use it, but I would have rather had the $59 taken off my balance. But hey, at least I can say I tried and then I can buy a new pair of shoe without feeling guilty, right? Wink

I also used a GC to Amazon today to buy a book I've been reading. I borrowed it from my BFF, but I know I'll reread it several times. It's humor, and not much makes me laugh these days, so when I found myself cracking up this afternoon, I knew I had to get it. It's written in short chapters, and each chapter is a little memoir-type story. There are crude and funny drawings with it, and it's the type of book you can pick up and read all the way through or just one random chapter at a time. I bought a used copy and after shipping spent $10.97, which is a great deal since it would have been $17.99 new.

So basically, I consider this a No Spend Weekend, even though I did buy a coffee and a new book. How about you guys? Do you consider GC's "free" money?

Weekly Spending Sunday January 26 - Sat Feb 1st

February 2nd, 2014 at 03:11 am

My Weekly Spending tracks non-necessary spending, so I can get a better idea of where my financial drops are coming from. Things like bills, groceries, gas in my car, etc don't get counted here.

Week of Sunday January 26 - Sat Feb 1st

Sunday: $9.25 at Panera during Writing Group on lunch and coffee
$.75 air for car tire

Monday: No Spend Day

Tuesday: $1 air for car tire

Wednesday: $5.99 Magazine for sister (gift)

Thursday: No Spend Day

Friday: $.75 air for car tire
$5 on 2 used books, one which I can resell for anywhere from $20 - $50!
$13.45 at Walgreens (snacks and face moisturizer)

Saturday: No Spend Day

Total Spent: $36.19
Unavoidable: $2.50 (air in tires)
No Spend Days: 3

Ha ha ha

February 1st, 2014 at 05:11 pm

I just looked up one of the books I bought at the consignment shop yesterday to see what I should list it for online. I see books through and there is only one listed there. For $3,272.97! I paid $1 for mine!

Things like this crack me up. I used to work as an appraiser for an antiquarian and rare book dealer, so I know my books. This book is NOT worth that. It's worth more than $1 yes, but not even anywhere close to the listed price.

It does help with my listing though. When someone prices a book ridiculously high like that, I can then list mine for a reasonable cost of it's value (like $20) and anyone who wants it will see the discrepancy and think "Wow, what a deal!"

$3,272.97 lmao Smile

CC payments

February 1st, 2014 at 04:58 pm

I got my check today (sometimes I get it he first, sometimes the third...gotta love the government!) so I went ahead and made Feb payments onto two of my CC's. Neither one are due until the middle of the month, but I like getting them out of the way as soon as possible so I make sure they get paid and I don't have to worry about coming up with the money for them later on.

Balance: $248.49
Due: $25
Paid: $30
New Balance: $218.49

Balance: $1003.34
Due: $20
Paid: $30.34
New Balance: $970

Right now I'm on a repayment plan with my LBCC so there is no interest on it and I'm only required to pay $20 a month. Next month is the last month of that plan, but I should be able to get that extended for another 6 months. On the plan I can't use the card, but since it is for Lane Bryant and I no longer need to shop there for clothes, I don't mind not having it anymore. Since there is no interest on it, part of me wants to throw money at it to get it as low as possible before interest kicks back in, but I really need to throw money at my main CC, which has a balance near $5K.

Consignment Books and Coupons

February 1st, 2014 at 01:13 am

I was planning on staying home today. I have laundry to do, some work for the week to finish up, and I want to list some things on Craigslist. I thought if I did go out, it would be to the used bookstore to drop off some books for store credit. But Dads called so I went out with him, and grabbed a $20 on my way out the door. I'm not letting myself use my debit card for "fun" money anymore.

Afterward Dads and I had lunch, I stopped by a consignment shop and dropped off a painting. The man who owns the shop agreed to take it for me and priced it at $30, of which if it sells I'll get $20 back. Yay! I also bought two books there; one for myself and another one that is a rare one I can resell online for anywhere from $20 - $50. Total for the 2 books: $5

All was going good, until I stopped to put gas in the car and put more air in my always-low tired. I get my check next week, and I need an oil change, so I was planning in getting the tired checked then. But when I put air in it, the valve started to snap off in my hand. So I detoured back to the mechanic to have him replace the valve. Usually they're only a couple bucks. But my car has the fancy one's with the sensor's on them and it cost me $154.87! Ugh! After it was fixed, I found out I don't HAVE to have the ones with the sensors installed. Next time I'll just go with the cheap $5 one instead.

Earlier in the day, I had decided that since I was going out, I'm stop at Walgreen's. I needed to pick up moisturizer for my skin, and I had a coupon for one that is also a concealer. The coupon expired in two days, and Walgreen's was having a sale, so it was good timing. I stopped there on the way home, and picked that up, along with some snacks for the house (bad, bad decision). Good news was that I also had enough points on my Walgreen's card to get a $5 coupon off my purchase. I spent $13.45 at Walgreen's.
The $1.55 I have left over will go into my savings jar Smile

So even though I had to spend $155 on my car, I was able to keep my "fun" money to under $20. Yay!

2014 Car Costs: $154.87

Sorting Clothes

January 31st, 2014 at 12:59 am

In the last almost 2 years I've lost about 100 pounds, so I've gone through a lot of clothes. It's been a while since I've sorted through some of them to see what fits and what I've grown (shrunk?) out of. I tackled some of them today (though not as much as I would have liked), and ended up with about 10 pairs of jeans. Some are in like new condition (I only wore some of them a few times, *sigh* the waste!) so I'm going to list those on craigslist tomorrow. Others are a little more worn; I tend to buy jeans that are too long for my short little legs and wear them long so the bottoms get frayed. Going to drop those off at Saver's this week.

I also have a couple of skirts, a dress, and a nice suit jacket with matching purse that are in good condition. The dresses even has the tags still on it. So they will go on craigslist, too. I have to fix some hems on the skirts first - they are coming undone form general wear, but it shouldn't be too hard.

Of course, this is the plan for tomorrow. I have severe depression, in addition to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so all my well intentioned plans could be railroaded like they were today. I'm hoping putting my intentions out here will help keep me motivated and accountable. Smile

My Theme of 2014: Downsizing

January 28th, 2014 at 06:40 pm

I don't make resolutions. A friend of mine came up with the idea years ago instead of creating a theme for each year. My 2014 Theme is Downsizing. I'm focusing on downsizing my spending, and downsizing my weight. A post I just read on 's blog got me thinking. Why not downsize my possessions and clutter, too? If I can buy only what I need (with a little splurge now and then) why can't I own only what I need (with a little splurge now and then)?

As I said in the comments: Last year I moved from a three bedroom, double living room, dining room, and storage room apartment to a one bedroom, one living room, no dining room apt. I got rid of A LOT of things, but I STILL have way too much for my space space. I've been slowly (too slowly, lol) working my way through boxes and piled of things in an attempt to have only what I need, use, and what fits in my house. Do I need four sets of bed sheets? No, I live alone and 2 is plenty - one to use and another to use when the first set in in the wash. Have I gotten rid of the extra sets yet? Nope.

Thing is, I really need to focus on getting rid of all these extras, especially since I don't use or need them, and all they do is take up valuable space in my home. It makes my place messy and cluttered and feel very unwelcome to guests. I think this may be part of my theme of 2014 of Downsizing.

Thanks Toilet-Paper-Tracker for the post

Text is How Much Stuff Should You Own and Link is
How Much Stuff Should You Own.

52 Week Money Saving Challenge

January 28th, 2014 at 06:11 pm

I found this on Pinterest, and I love the idea of it. I don't think I'll be able to keep up with it, since the later in the year it gets to be, the larger amount you end up having to save each month, and I'm stretched pretty think already. But I can started it and I wanted to share it. I may just repeat month one over and over again, which works out to $10 a month. We'll see.

Since I started it the first week of January, I've already completed weeks 1-4. Which means I've got $10 added into my Savings.

Old Savings Balance: $21
Added: $10
New Savings Balance: $31

Spare Change

January 28th, 2014 at 06:02 pm

At the beginning of the year (and any other time I think I have enough to do so) I love rolling up my spare change and cashing it in at the bank. I'm not an organized or neat person, but something about the sorting of pennies, dimes, nickles, and quarters, then counting them out and rolling them up relaxes me. maybe it's because I know I'm getting "real" money back when I'm done.

At any rate, I just finished rolling up all the change in my piggy bank that I had thrown in there last year. I came out with $15 in quarters (they were nice enough at the bank to let me give them $5 in loose quarters), $5 in dimes and $1 in pennies. I was short 3 nickles, damn it, lol

But that still gave me a nice start to my savings: $21

Old Saving Balance: $0
Added: $21
New Saving Balance: $21