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Don’t read this, rant ahead.

December 7, 2011

Sorry I need to spew to keep from crying.  My husband works very hard to provide for us.  He’s been working outside in low temperatures with someone who is truly stupid to bring in money so that we can pay our bills and buy gifts.  I try my hardest to always find the best buy, to cut corners wherever I can.  Why do you think I make as many gifts as I can for people who may appreciate the effort put into these homely items?  I even sometimes give them to people who won’t appreciate them in hopes that they at least appreciate the gesture behind it.  I keep the temperature in the house low to save money.  I’m always cold in the winter.   Every night I go to bed with icicles for hands and feet, needing microwaved heat packs to warm me up.  I buy my clothes at thrift stores so that I can have something different to wear yet not spend money that should go somewhere else.  The only books I’ve bought has been with gift cards from my birthday.  There are several books that I have been published in that I can’t afford to buy even at the discounted rate.  I’m patching my son’s jeans as he has wore holes in the knees.  We are doing the best we can and I feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth again.

USPS lost the check that was sent to the General Contractor.  The homeowner cancelled the check then decided to resend the check via certified mail.  The GC is about to leave on vacation or something tomorrow night for 2 weeks.  If that check doesn’t show up tomorrow, we will not have enough to buy gifts or food unless we use our credit cards. The GC gave Hubby as much as he could but it was only half of the check we expected.  The rest of his check will show up somewhere between the 20th-24th.  We have enough to make our bills for the first and middle part of the month, but nothing more.  We haven’t even got a tree yet.  Oh and we open gifts on Solstice, which is less than 2 weeks away.

Luckily, most of my son’s shopping is finished.  I wanted to get him a few sweatshirts and I need to get stocking stuffers but those can wait until the last minute .  I managed to pick up something for Hubby from me and a present from our son.  I’m pretty sure Hubby hasn’t gotten anything for me.  I only managed to get those things because Hubby told me to use the credit card and that he’d pay off whatever I put on it this week.  I hated doing it.  I’m glad I did it so at least Hubby will have something to open on Solstice.  I still have some gifts to ship.  I still have some extended family gifts to pay for…don’t know how I’m going to pull off my sister’s or my FIL’s.  Was going to go to the pottery store and paint them something with my son.  Can’t now.  Luckily many of the gifts I have the supplies to do/finish.  Still need to get my nephew a music download gift card for his MP3 player that he is getting from Santa.  May have to get creative with wrapping as I don’t know if I even have enough wrapping paper.

Hubby is saying put it on the credit card.  It isn’t like we don’t have the money coming, it is just going to be late.  Nothing you buy will stay on that card.  Yet using the card means I would have to eat my words that I said on a post in a group on Facebook.  If you have to use the credit card to buy gifts, then you really don’t need to make that purchase.  Some divinity may very well be laughing his/her ass off at me.  I need to learn not to make broad sweeping statements like that as they always come back to bite me in the butt.

I am frustrated and angry that no matter how hard we try, something always seems to come back to get us.  That money is there.  It has been earned.  It just is not in our hands.  I can’t blame the GC.  I can’t blame the homeowner.  USPS seems to be failing for a reason.  Crappy service.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2011 7:36 AM

    I have had problems this year with usps. My husband sent me a birthday gift that arrived in customs on the 6th of November and I didn’t get it until last week. This was a package he sent priority mail. And the boxes was crushed (thank goodness it didn’t have anything fragile in it). And all mail has been notoriously slow. I am vastly disappointed in the mail service. I am so sorry that you are having such difficulties with them that it is causing you this kind of frustration.
    Don’t worry about “eating your words”. This situation is unique. You are not shopping yourself into bankrupcy or maxing out credit cards for the holidays. If you need to use them as a temporary relief for the holidays until the money expected arrives no one would think less of your money savyness. I am quite certain that you would be calculating exactly how much you can spend with interest included to be able to promptly pay that debt off when the money comes in 😉
    I know exactly what you mean thought about being careful. All of my holiday shopping has been done largely by utilizing layaway or shopping ebay…and I am quite familiar with icy toes! You will get through this just fine. Don’t guilt yourself for using your credit cards a bit, and go ahead and have a good cry if it makes you feel better! ((hugs)))

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    • December 8, 2011 10:35 AM

      Thanks. I appreciate the outside viewpoint. The child in me says lights, presents, family! Nifty Fun! The adult in me says yes we want to feed the child’s needs and make memories but let’s be practical so this memory making doesn’t prevent the making of future memories. Finances are such a bugaboo for me. Anytime I have to deal with it, I freak out. My parents were/are very careful with money and I haven’t always lived up to that heritage.

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  2. December 8, 2011 10:03 AM

    I understand your reticence to use a credit card, but this is really a perfect example of how credit can be used as a tool, in a good way.

    For the last ten years, my wife and I have put very nearly every expense we have on one of our credit cards. We don’t typically carry cash; we rarely use our checkbook. But even though we use the credit card, we don’t make purchases we can’t afford.

    Every month, we get a bill for last month’s credit card expenditures, and we pay it off in full. I think we have had to carry a balance on a card maybe three times in a decade–that means we have paid interest on credit card usage only three times in ten years, despite using the card daily. Each of those times was a situation like yours: the money was coming, but it just wasn’t there yet. And in the meantime, we have built phenomenal credit ratings, and reaped a steady flow of cash-back benefits from using the cards (we’re actually paying for this Christmas almost entirely with Amazon gift cards that we have gotten as cash back rewards from one of our crdit cards). I stress this again: we put every expense on the card, but pay off our balance in full every month, unless we absolutely have to carry a balance. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars per year on our credit cards, with maybe $100 or $200 total in interest paid over a decade.

    If you have expenses but no immediate liquidity, but liquidity in the near future, thats exactly what debt is for. If you wind up carrying a balance for one month, the amount of interest you will pay–even with insanely high rates that credit cards have–is really small (those rates are annnual, and you will be carrying a debt for no more than 1/12 of a year, so, say $1,000 on a card, even at 25%, will only cost you a hair over $20 in interest in one month).

    But honestly, you won’t even rack up any interest if the money will be in by the end of the month. January rolls around, you pay the balance off in full with no interest, and that’s all.

    Credit is like any other tool–the problem is not the thing itself, but how you use it.

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    • December 8, 2011 10:38 AM

      Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to help me take a look at this logically. Last night I was very much stuck in the “it’s not fair” mode. You are correct though I will probably still flinch mentally every time I need to pull out my credit card.

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      • December 9, 2011 8:35 AM

        I mean, that’s not a terrible kind of reaction to have–clearly a lot of people fall into the oppoite trap with easy credit and spend money they don’t have and wind up buried under a mountain of consumer debt.

        At the same time, you don’t want to handicap yourself for no good reason.

        Something people don’t talk about very much is how many of us (myself definitely included) have serious emotional baggage related to finances. Like it goes without saying that most/many people have some sort of hangup with sex and relationships, but honestly people have hangups with money, too. And just like with relationship hangups, our financial hangups are usually coping mechanisms we originally developed in response to past difficult situations, but that are no longer required. But we have ingrained them as habits and continue to apply them even though they are no longer useful or functional.

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        • December 9, 2011 1:19 PM

          My hang-ups about money were instilled in me in childhood. Hubby finds it baffling and has been working, slowly…oh so slowly, to train me out of it.

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        • December 13, 2011 9:53 AM

          Bingo. Mine were instilled in me in childhood too. I definitely get where you are coming from.

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