Co-sign Update

So I went to the bank today that Mr Hive applied to get his car refinanced through. They thankfully approved him, sent in a payment in Nissan to pay off my co-signed loan, and today I “sold” him his car to him for the price of the new loan. I got nothing out of the deal except that my name is no longer associated with Mr Hive in any legal or formal way what-so-ever. The car loan has been paid off, which is actually great for me.

Interesting to think that the best thing for HIM would have been to keep the car co-signed (my assumption since this is the only thing on his credit report is that he took a hit on interest rates). The best thing for me was for him to refinance it. And he chose the best thing for me all to get me (the ex he hates for breaking up with him) off his back each month.

The car, a 2011 Nissan Versa, was refinanced for over $11,000. I have no idea the terms of the loan as it is none of my business. But it already has 25,000+ miles on it. That I did have to know to officially “sell” the car to him to release me from the title.

Two years. 25,000+ miles. Over $11,000. Man did the bank get screwed on that deal.

I thanked the loan officer as I left the bank for approving him. It really did mean a lot to me.

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Paying the Stupid Tax

When you’re young and “in love” you do really stupid things. Remember Mr Hive? Surely you do. He was the unmotivated, un-applied fellow I dated a few years ago. (Wow – has it really been that long?)

I mention in this post about how his car was dead and how I was tempted to co-sign for him on a new car. To quote me:

I’m so tempted to volunteer to co-sign for him (I’ve done this for other BFs in the past with no issue), but I know that we shouldn’t get so financially involved so soon. But at the same time, as we go forward in our relationship I also know that him having the lowest interest rate possible will be the best thing for us financially. He thanked me for having his best interest at heart when we went to a dealership last night. And of course my response was, “You’re welcome, but it also benefits me as well as we move forward in our relationship.”

You know where this is going right? RIGHT?

Yeah, one of those things that I decided NOT to mention on my blog because I was completely ashamed of it was that I did in fact decide to co-sign for him. Not only that but he chose a BRAND NEW car as the car he purchased.

Well, not more than a few months after that transaction happened (6 to be exact), I broke up with Mr Hive.

Since then it has been a complete battle. I have emailed him repeatedly to ask him to confirm that he is making his payments. The car loan, of course, shows up on my credit sheet as if it were mine.

He hasn’t missed a payment since we broke up, but having absolutely no control over when he pays, if he pays, or even knowing if that month he will be late has taken a huge hit on my sanity. Some nights I lay awake wondering what I will do about it.

(In the worst of these moments I imagine myself going in to his apartment [he lives with my future brother-in-law as luck may have it], taking his spare key, taking the car and selling it since I’m on the title. Mr Woodpecker and I still have this reserved as a back up plan.) 😉

As Mr Woodpecker and I move closer to beginning our lives together, I want this whole ordeal with the car and Mr Hive to be over. Once and for all. So I emailed him again and encouraged him to refinance the car.

During this time, Mr Woodpecker and I have had some serious conversations about what is peace of mind worth to us. We finally came to the realization that peace of mind is worth a whole lot. We decided that if Mr Hive didn’t take any action to refinance the loan we were willing to pay him to do so. We decided that if he did not do anything, we would sit down with him and  propose that if he refinances or trades-in his car and subsequently shows proof that the old lien is paid off, that we would help pay for the down payment on the new car or pay for the difference in value between the old loan and the refinancing. We decided that it was worth to us up to at least $2,000.  That’s right, we decided we would give my ex-boyfriend up to $2,000 to get the **** out of our lives for good.

Thankfully it looks like this reminder has given him enough motivation to actually do something about the loan. He has apparently applied for refinancing at a local bank, hopefully that will get approved. And we won’t have to pay anything for it.

I wish, truly wish, that someone had sat me down when I was thinking of doing this and told me how dumb of an idea co-signing was.

I felt like I was doing my then bf a huge favor (which I was). I felt like we were going to move forward together (which we didn’t). I didn’t think that he would turn out to be as much of a liability to my future happiness and security (which he beyond a doubt is).

There were even days that I have thought “why don’t I just pay the car off for him so I don’t have to worry about this anymore.” And if the loan had been less than $10,000 it may have happened.

So listen… please, please listen. Don’t co-sign for a loan for someone. Just don’t. I know it feels like you should because they need you. There is a reason the bank won’t finance them. A really good reason. And you don’t want to have 5 years of financing hanging over your head after you cut ties in a relationship.

I’m paying the stupid tax, but at least I’ve learned my lesson!

The Car – Part Infinity

My battery light came on in my car Sunday when I was driving to the Kansas City airport to drop off my sister’s boyfriend (for the last time before she moves in with him).

It is starting to get to the point with repairs that I really need to sit down add assess the cost of the repairs and my time getting repairs done vs. the cost of a “new car”. I’m getting close to the point where I’m putting money into repairs about every 2-3 months, my mpg has gone down about 12mpg since I got the car, and I don’t trust my car to take long trips (hello rentals!).

I do believe that my car could have a lot more life in it if I’m willing to make constant repairs, but I also am beginning to realize that I’ll need to start saving for a new car while at the same time increasing my contributions towards car maintenance. Currently I save $720/year for my car. However I’m spending between $1,200-$1,500/yr. So I need to bump up my car maintenance fund to at least $100/month.

I’ve decided I need to rearrange my budget (yet again… this is starting to be a reoccurring theme… it will be nice when I have one that just works!)

How will I rearrange my budget? I need to start saving money as if I have a car payment. I need to rearrange my budget so that I am essentially saving $300/month towards my car. $100/month to maintenance and $200/month towards a new car fund.

This is going to be really hard to put into my budget, because essentially I was planning on not worrying about a new car until my debt was payed off. But originally I had also hoped that my debt would be payed off within 3 years (I’m not approaching year 3 and am hardly any closer to debt pay-off). My car could definitely last until my original pay-off date, but now that it has been pushed back another 2-3 years I’m skeptical that my car will last until then and until I can save money every month for the cost of a “new” car.

This whole car thing is simply frustrating to me.

I’ve looked up online the bus routes, and even though I live on the same street as where I work (just 4 miles away), the bus doesn’t go all the way to my school (the bus turns off on another street half-way to my school and goes in the OPPOSITE direction the times I need it, e.g. I need to go south when the bus goes north and I need to go north when the bus goes south).

The bus system in this city is so terrible I can’t even put it in to words. Essentially there are two buses that go by my apartment and neither goes anywhere near my school – and they only have 4 buses running a day. If I could rely on public transportation to take me to work I would just do that and save money, but I can’t.

I could ride a bike to work, but there is nothing worse than how sweaty and gross I get after riding a bike. I do not want to ride to work and then immediately have to teach and interact with students in my smelly grossness. Also, half the year it is too hot, too cold, too rainy, and too snowy to ride a bike (I miss San Diego where I could ride my bike every day).

I also looked up if there was a zipcar option in my area, and sure enough there isn’t. No sort of community cars exist, even though I live in a high density public area (my apartment complex has over 3000 units, I’m near the largest shopping center in our suburb).

Even carpooling isn’t an option because all of the employees at my university (that I know) live the complete opposite direction that I do because housing is cheaper and newer. I chose to live closer to “the action” than the suburban life because of my age and single-ness.

So I feel stuck with the car. And how much money it costs. Even though I’d like to explore other options.

Road Trip! ?

I’m thinking of doing something a little crazy in July. I’m thinking of driving around the country (possibly with my dog).

I’m looking at going around for 3 weeks in July from Kansas City around the western part of the United States.

Here is where I’m thinking:

Taking a slow meander around the country, visit my friends and relatives in this part of the country, camping along the way, doing a lot of hiking, sight seeing, and reflecting. I feel like I’m turning in to an adult quicker than I would like to imagine and it may be the last time I have the lack of responsibilities to do a solo road trip around the country.

Possibility #1

I’d be stopping by my friends in Minneapolis, my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Salt Lake City, my grandma outside of Yosemite, my good friends in San Diego for a few days, my Aunt and cousins in Phoenix, and my step-dad in Roswell.

The entire journey I’m looking at doing is ~5,300 miles.

Possibility #2

Another option is to do more of a National Parks tour and skip my family that lives in Arizona and New Mexico and the friends in Mineapolis.

The total mileage for this trip would be 4,051. About 1,300 miles less, which is pretty significant when you’re looking at time in a car. I’d be trading time in the car and seeing friends and family with time at some national parks.

Possibility #3

Then there is the much shortened version in that I don’t go visit my grandma. I think that she would kill me if I was doing a road trip and didn’t visit her, but this would shorten the trip quite substantially.

This shortened version of the road trip would be 2,676 miles. That’s half the mileage of the original plan.

So those are the options. There are still quite a few things to consider.

1. Whether I will take the dog. I can have the dog on campsites in national parks – but I wouldn’t be able to take him on trails or leave him in the car since it will be the dead of summer. I think it would be fun to have him and would be cheaper since I wouldn’t have to board him or rely on Mr Hive to watch him (which he would if I asked), but it may dampen some of the fun of the trip if I can’t do day hikes with the puppy.

2. Price of gas vs. length of trip. With the price of gas going up, this is definitely a factor. My car gets 30 miles to the gallon. If gas goes up to $4 per gallon over the summer (not unreasonable) I’d be looking at $700 for gas for option #1, $540 for gas for option #2, or $357 for option #3. Obviously the longer the trip the more I get to see, the more gas costs, also the shorter the trip. Financially, I’d imagine that the shorter trip would be the best option, but I’d also miss out on seeing a lot of friends and family.

3. The wear and tear on my car – should I instead rent? My little car is no spring chicken. However I will be getting it a 120k mile service and new tires in June-ish. So it should be in tip top shape for the trip. That doesn’t mean though that I should add another 2,000-5,000 miles to my car. For $400 I can rent a car for two weeks that is comparable to what I drive now.

Lots of things to consider, but I’m really excited about the prospect of doing a road trip in July. If only Mr Hive could take off a week or two and go with me on the shortened trip… that would be the ultimate fun. =)

Which vacation would you choose? And what things along these routes am I missing that I need to see?

Someway, Somehow – I’m Not Panicking!

I went in on Tuesday to get my oil changed.

When your car is 9 years old, the thought of getting your oil changed can cause small palpitations: “What is wrong NOW?!

Fortunately for me I knew (seeing as my car is at 113k miles) that my 120k mile service was coming up and instead of just waiting for the long, long list of “recommended” things – I preempted the service guy by asking what I needed to have done for my 120k mile service.

He went over the list of recommended things at 120k miles and then pulled out the things that I didn’t need because of maintenance/replacements I’d gotten done over the past two years (this is why I LOVE going to the same people, they can tell you exactly what you need done based on the service they’ve already performed).

The basic 120k mile service came up to $676 with tax, parts and labor. With the adjustments based on what I need considering previous maintenance, the 120k mile service will “only” cost me $436 (with tax, parts and labor).

However, I also found out that I’ll need to replace my tires soon. This isn’t too surprising. It has been about 5 years (approx. 65,000 miles) since I replaced my tires. It is time for new ones. They even showed me the very, very balding spots on the tires and the parts where there wasn’t even any tread left. It was clear to see that these tires need to be replaced. Soon.

They recommended to be a pretty nice all-weather tire that is of comparable quality to the tires I have on my car. They’re $132 each, buy 3 get 1 free. Including all the little tire fees, mounting, etc, the new tires will come out to $450.

So in total in the next 3-4 months I’ll need to spend $886 on my car for maintenance.

Normally, this would bring me to a panic and make me hyperventilate.

Here is the good news:

None of this has to be done right away. The only pressing matter would be the tires if one of them went out. Even then, I have $520 in my E-fund so I can easily cover replacing the tires alone.

Currently, I save $60/month towards for car maintenance. Since I know that every year I have to spend some amount of money on my car, I have just started saving for it! $60 per month for a year means I have $720 available to me in my yearly savings account to pay for the 120k mile service and the new tires. That means that I’ll only have to come up with $166 out of pocket.

$166? Well, that seems like hardly anything worth getting upset or panicky over. My E-fund can easily cover that expense!

Used Isn’t A Beater

This is a $3,000 car. Not quite a "beater" yet.

…And not buying a new car now doesn’t mean that you’ll never get a new car and you’ll be doomed to a life of beaters!

My last post seemed to bring about a bit of controversy/conversation on the idea that you could own a car without ever having a car payment.

I will prefice this post by saying that this is a mathematical exercise and NOT something I’ve done. As I mentioned in my last post, I only have bought one car in my life but it was new and I financed. I now have the title for the car and am not making car payments.
Okay, let’s give this a whirl!

Hypothetical scenario: You need a new car! You have $3,000 for a down payment because you’re super awesome.

Let’s say we have two options

Option 1: Finance a new car! With $3,000 down making $30-50,000/yr you should be able to easily qualify for a $16,000 car loan. Let’s say that you get said car loan with 3% interest for 48 months (a pretty standard car loan for those of us with slightly above average credit).

For the purpose of this experiment I’m going to say that we bought a 2011 base model Ford Focus. It is a pretty popular car, and we can compare it to older models. =)

You’re looking at a car payment of $354 for 48 months. Plus you’ll need full insurance while under finance, which I would estimate to be $100-200/month depending on your state.

Over the term of the loan you’ll pay $16,999. Or about $1,000 more than the cost of the car.

According to Edmunds.com, for a 2011 off the lot Ford Focus, you’ll pay $6,427 in the first year you own the car  ON TOP OF CAR PAYMENTS in the form of maintenance, financing, depreciation, financing, taxes and fees. Over the first 5 years you own the car, you’ll put another $12,000 into the car in insurance, maintenance, repairs, depreciation, and taxes. The total cost of that  $16,000 car? $27,483 over the next 5 years.

Not too shabby? Let’s check out how we’ll do with scenario #2…

Scenario #2: Buy without credit. First, let’s say that we take our down payment and instead buy in cash a used Ford Focus. For $3,000 you can buy a used 2003 Ford Focus. Why am I using this as an example? Well, because this is the (near) exact car I drive, and thus I can tell you exactly what the cost of ownership.

We paid $3,000 for this car. Most 8 year old cars have some life in them, especially if they are in decent shape when you buy them. For instance, if you bought my car you’d most likely get another 5-6 years of good life out of it. Let’s say though that you only get 3 years.

The average that I pay for car repairs is $1,000 per year on my car of the same age, make, model, etc. My tax, titling and registration is much less because it is a used car. Let’s say around another $500 total (intentionally high value). So for year 1 we’re looking at spending $1,500 on this car and then $1,000 per year for the next two years after that. Let’s be generous and say that we’ll probably have to replace something really big at it costs us an extra $2,000. So in 3 years we’re spending $5,500 on this car.

However, we don’t have any car payments. So we can be putting that $354 that we were putting towards our car payment in scenario #1 every month into an interest bearing account. Let’s say we go with something modest like ING where we get 1.5% interest.

At the end of 3 years, if we didn’t have to pull anything out of that savings account, we’d have $13,397.05 in it assuming quarterly compounded interest. Subtract from that the $5,500 that we spent on repairs on the car and we have $7,897 sitting in the bank.

And you know what… yah… we did have to drive around a Ford Focus for a while, but coming from someone who drives an old Ford Focus – it isn’t that bad!

Now we have $7,897 – what can we do with it? Well, if we wanted to we could take that money and buy a 4 YEAR OLD Ford Focus in cash (assuming today’s MSRP and depreciation values).  Or if you wanted, you could just keep a couple thousand in that account and buy a five year old Ford Focus for $2,000 less. Let’s say we do that and we keep $2,000 in our savings account and continue to save our $354 per month with 1.5% interest. Since we have a newer car we can drive it a lot longer. Probably 5 years at least! Let’s just assume that we’re still spending $1,000/yr on repairs. So in 5 years we spend $5,000 on repairs for our car.

How much would we be saving during this time? $24,198.16

So by paying ourselves, having interest work in our favor, and by putting off today our nice car for 3-4 years and instead getting a passable used car we’ve over the course of time been able to save $24,198. What can you buy for that amount? Well, you could buy a brand new Ford Focus. Or really a new, affordable car of your choice.

Or you could just buy yourself a new $16,000 car or a slightly used car and just let the rest of the money earn interest for you towards your next car!

Okay… let’s be real… as long as you’re driving a car you WILL have car payments. But would you rather OWE someone for your car and lose money in the long run or buy your car in cash and GAIN money in the long run? You’re either paying some bank $354 per month for the “privilege” of a nicer car before you can really afford it or you’re paying yourself $354 per month and putting interest to work for you!

BTW… sometimes I feel like everyone in the world is like this guy, including myself at times:

How do I afford a $33,000 car while in College?

I went car shopping Saturday for a decent $10,000 Honda Accord, I wanted no older than 05 and I was not satisfied with the prices I was being offered so I walked out on 3 dealers. I have $1,800 I was going to put down but I still wasn’t getting any decent offers.

But then I saw the most gorgeous Camaro… unfortunately it was WAY out of my price range with $33,000 and I didn’t want to get it because the whole idea of me getting a better car was to keep my monthly payments at no more than $350 a month.

SO… I was curious as to how to get my payments around $300 with a $33,000 car?

I’m obviously going to save a lot more money, I was thinking a $10,000 down payment?
I make about $650 average a paycheck… So every month I get close to $1,400 a month and I’m hoping to go back in Mid-March with as much money as possible… How do I make my monthly payments really low with such an expensive car?

Financial Peace University – Week 4

As you all know, I’m going through Financial Peace University (FPU) with my BF. If you’re new to the story you can read about the Preview Night, Week 1 Week 2, and Week 3 by clicking those lovely links. =)

Week 4 of FPU is about debt.

Dave started by talking about debt myths. Things we, some of us, many of us, believe about debt.

The thing I realized while watching this was that INTELLECTUALLY I knew he was right. For instance, when he’s telling me that car payments don’t have to be a way of life, I know he’s right. I know that you can save cash for a car and pay outright, and while that first car might be a $3,000 beater – you’ll save up enough in what would have been a car payment and excess insurance to buy yourself a nice $16,000 car in cash the next time around – debt free!

I intellectually know this.

But I’m still skeptical that in the given situation I would make the intellectual decision over the emotional decision. And I know I’m not alone in this in that many, many personal finance bloggers have faced this decision and chosen the new car. I’m not pointing fingers or naming names, but we all have read stories about these bloggers. Many have been flamed on their blogs for doing this, but I don’t point fingers because I doubt that I would do any different. I hope I would, but I doubt I would. There is something so ingrained in us to have car payments and get a nice car now than to buy something cheap and save for something better later.

One of my biggest debt mistakes was buying a brand new car when I was in graduate school. I was making $21,000/yr and ended up buying an $18,000 brand new car.  I couldn’t (at the time) see the math error in that equation. I pulled $5,000 from my mutual funds to pay for my down payment, title, and fees. I took out the rest in dealership credit. I then took out a student loan (the very same student loan that five years later I still over $14,000 on) to pay off the dealership loan in 3 months to avoid the dealership’s 12% interest rate.

If I had done this the right way, I would have taken my $5,000 (or less) and bought a good used car. In fact, a three year older base model of my car could be bought at the time for that price. Funny, if I had done that, I’d probably still be driving around that same car – but with no student loan debt on my back.

There were a few notes from this week’s session that really hit me:

One statistic that Dave through out was that more young people file bankruptcy than graduate college. Turns out. This is true (as of 2002). This stat is reported by the National Center For Education Statistics. In fact, a quick google search also reveals that more people will file for bankruptcy than get a divorce or undergo cancer treatment!

The statement that stuck with me the most from this session was this: Credit/debt isn’t a privilege, it is a business.

We’ve been sold on believing we need a particular style of life. A life we can’t afford. A life we can’t wait for. A life that our parents/grandparents/great grandparents spent their entire lives saving for. And we think we DESERVE debt! We beg, plead, apply for debt. We get angry, irrate, depressed, exasperated when we’re denied the opportunity to take on debt.

The fact of the matter is that debt is a business, and an exceptionally successful one. They’ve managed to weave themselves so deep in our psyche that we truly believe we deserve the things we can’t afford – which they taught us through advertising to be true.

The end of FPU Week 4 ends with the familiar rhetoric to personal finance bloggers of gazelle like intensity and debt snowball. Lemme tell ya, debt snowballing is a pretty depressing thing when you only have one debt. The idea of debt snowballing is that psychologically each little debt you pay off you can roll that payment into your next largest debt – creating momentum and constantly providing encouragement as each little one gets paid off. Well, Dave dear, I paid off my small debts over a year ago… and this one BIG credit card debt is just screaming in my face. Hard to find enthusiasm off of one big debt!

Thoughts of Week 4 of FPU: Near the end of this week’s video BF leaned over to me and said “The thing I like best about coming to this is how excited he is about it.”  Dave truly is a great salesman. He knows how to get his audience pumped. But instead of selling us something terrible he’s selling us something truly wonderful: a new future.

BF decided after this week of PFU that he wants to get a second job to earn more money to pay towards his car. Also, he confessed to me that he wish he’d taken my advice about getting a car instead of deciding to finance a new one. I resisted the “I told you so” urge and we talked about how difficult of a decision that is – especially when the magic of credit makes us believe that we can afford that new car. To quote him: “If I’d taken the class before I bought that car I would have done things completely different.”

I love what this class is doing for our ability to talk openly about money.

Car Shopping

I never realized how much time and energy car shopping (in a hurry) would take.

Stock photo, of course!

BF has finally decided on the car he’s getting (after looking at just about every car out there it seems). He’s finally decided on a Nissan Versa. I approve this choice. To be honest, if I were buying a car today I’d get a Nissan Versa as well. I got one as a rental last July and fell in love with it. Roomy, drives great, inexpensive, but holds its value, nice insurance rates. Really, it is quite the package. BF is 6’4″ and fits in the front seat and I can sit right behind him and my knees don’t touch his seat. No other compact sedan that we looked at could we do this.

Since BF has other tall/large friends, this was the major selling point to him. Oh yes, also, the price.

So now that we have a car it is a matter of finding THE car. So we’ve found every used Versa in the area – all 6 of them. One is a stick (which I loved, I only drive stick), but BF didn’t like it – so it was out. A few had pretty high milage, a few were too far out of the price range, or too old (a 2007 for the same price as a 2009? um, what?!).

We’re down to one. A pretty white one. A 2010 with 11k miles for $12k. We’re going this afternoon to see about financing and all that. I tried and tried to talk him in to a $5k car, since that’s his down payment. But he likes the pretty, the shiny, the reliable. And I can’t blame him. The car has 2 years, 19k miles left of warranty and he can certify it up to 100k miles if he wants. It is a good buy. All the spiffiness of a new car, none of the depreciation.

My only fear? The car dealerships will try to talk him in to a new one for “only” $4,000 more. He was getting swayed last night when we went for a test drive. We’ll see if he can stay strong today when the pen hits the paper…

Beverages and Cars and BF, Oh My!

1. My car is fixed. I got my car fixed on Sunday. It is so wonderful to have it running. The grand total with tax and everything came to $502. Because I have a Firestone card, I get a 5% discount on services (the 5% is already included). Also, I can pay it off in 6 months interest free.

I have the Firestone card for the discount ($10 off oil changes, 5% off everything else). I usually pay it off immediately after making a purchase, but since this $500 is a pretty significant, I may take 5 months to pay it off instead. I’ll lump my E-fund (now around $400) on to the car and then pay $25/month after that until it gets paid off. That way I can slowly build the E-fund back up and pay down the car repairs with not too much issue.

2. The BF’s car is dead. The engine on his car finally died (a 1994 Tercel, it lived a good life) and it will cost $2,400 to fix it. The car is worth around $300-500, so he’s looking at buying a “new to him” vehicle. I’ve been driving him to work for the past few days and picking him up. He has around $6,000 he can use as a down payment on a new car. However, he has no credit. None at all. So he’ll have some trouble getting a car loan.

His mom wants his dad (who lives in the area) to co-sign for him. But I doubt that he will. He may end up having to get a very terrible interest rate at a very sketchy car dealership in order to finance it himself. I told him to just go to the bank, see how much they’ll give him, and then he can go anywhere with that money. Even if they only approve him for $3-4,000 he’ll still be able to get a decent used car with that.

I’m so tempted to volunteer to co-sign for him (I’ve done this for other BFs in the past with no issue), but I know that we shouldn’t get so financially involved so soon. But at the same time, as we go forward in our relationship I also know that him having the lowest interest rate possible will be the best thing for us financially. He thanked me for having his best interest at heart when we went to a dealership last night. And of course my response was, “You’re welcome, but it also benefits me as well as we move forward in our relationship.”

Also, if I’m co-signing I can have some stipulation in how much he can spend and what type of car he can get. That said he does value my opinion and we’re both on the same page in terms of value/type of vehicle. However, he is thinking that $15-17,000 is a good price to pay. I’m thinking that $10-12,000 is much better. So if I were signing with him I could put my foot down a little more on the price.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times that he could use that $6,000 he has and buy a car without credit at all. He doesn’t appear to like that idea to much. I can’t blame him. I may be not wanting to buy a car for credit, but I can’t change the world’s opinions about it. And to be honest, I’m not sure at this point that I WOULDN’T finance a car if I need one TODAY. I have so much debt that it makes it near impossible to save! What a vicious cycle debt is….

3. Beverages. I mentioned before that I spend an obscene amount of money on beverages per month. As a way to slow that down I’ve decided that I only get to spend money for beverages on the weekends. During the week I get to drink hot tea (inexpensive) or water or iced tea. As a “show of support” BF has also stopped drinking beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup.

Okay, okay… I’ll fess up. BF stopped drinking those beverages when he got his teeth removed and has lost 5 pounds since doing it! I’m jealous, need to do it, and want to make it easier for HIM to keep it up. So I’m giving up the beverages (for now) during the week – but keeping the weekend because I don’t want to give up my delicious Rockstar just yet… (the sign of a true addict).

4. Christmas. Since BF and I are both spending money right now on transportation, we’ve mutually agreed to spend no more than $20 on each other for Christmas. When I brought up the proposition his response was just:

“All I care about is that I spend Christmas with you” (Awww…)

He then said that $20 wouldn’t be a big deal, we could do that. What a relief! Now I just need to get my other family members on board with this proposition and I’ll be set! (Too bad I really, really, really want to get my dad a Nook or a Kindle for Christmas…)

Money….

From looking at my RSS reader I see that lots of people have the same problem that I do right now. November was a terrible financial month. Just terrible.

Between car repairs, unexpected shuttle costs to the airport, buying a new mattress, little odds and ends things around the apartment, BF and I eating out way too much, commuting more than normal to get BF to work as well as myself, starting to buy Christmas presents, etc, etc, etc…. November has just been expensive.

I have the money for each thing, but it all seems to slowly be draining me of my money down to nothing and I really don’t like this feeling. I don’t like going in to December with a low checking account, a low yearly savings and a low E-fund. It is disconcerting to see nearly $1,000 worth of money disappear in such a short period of time.

I know that the next month isn’t going to be any easier. I need, need, need to get myself a holiday job, but can’t seem to find one. I’ll post more about my ideas for this when I return from Thanksgiving holiday.

I’m thankful that I DO have the money to cover the expenses, but having no safety net if anything else were to happen is so frightening. How did I use to live without these measures in place? Sheesh! I was playing with fire!

My grandma put it best today when she said that expenses don’t happen spread out. She said she’ll go months, sometimes years, without anything happening. And then it will all fall apart at once.

Boy do I know it! BF and I are both experiencing our “at once” at the same time. Him with his teeth and car troubles, me with the sister moving in and my car issues. Neither of us are out of the clear, but we do have some means to overcome these issues.

I hope that after the dust settles BF and I will be able to have an honest talk about saving and planning for future expenses. I know we’re not a financial unit (yet) but I think that since we’ve both had money issues forcing themselves in to our relationship it is a good time to sit down honestly and talk about what we expect/want in the future and see if those ideas are compatible.