**This post will eventually be deleted.**
Sorry I have been gone for so long. I have had a rough week. Here is the quick recap.
My partner D was "unofficially" living with me. My lease was going to be up at the end of August, and we decided to put in an application to have him join the lease as well. Well, we turned in an application, and they came back saying that he has a criminal record of multiple assaults on females in North Carolina. He has never been to NC. The property managers wanted him out right away and said I could not renew my lease if I wanted to have him around.
They said that they got this information from TransUnion, and asked us to contact TransUnion. We did. Now, D never uses credit cards. He has no loans or debt. He uses cash for everything. He is also a bit worried about state interference in people's lives and does not have a phone contract - just pays cash for prepaid phone cards. So, essentially, he has no credit history - I have tried to talk to him about this, but he refuses to "build" a credit history. Anyhow, the person we talked with at TransUnion said he had so little credit history, that he could not verify us over the phone and we needed to send in documentation (ID and address proof), and they would send us a credit report. That would take a couple of weeks. He did not say that he saw any criminal activity on the report. I thought it was odd that a Credit Bureau would do criminal background checks, but apparently they have a service that property managers can use.
Anyhow, we could not get much done over the weekend because the places in NC that we needed to call were closed. For the last couple of days, we have been calling and being shunted around from department to department in search of proof that D did not engage in criminal activity in NC. This morning, we finally got through to someone helpful who has confirmed that there is another man with the same first and last names and birthdate as D, but a different middle name and a different SSN who has done multiple assaults and misdemeanors in NC. What a nightmarish coincidence!! She said she would mail something to us showing that D (his full name and SSN) does not have a criminal record in NC. That should reach us in about 2 weeks.
I called the apartment manager, and they are going to run a different background check on him - with his middle initial this time and see if they come up with something different. In the meantime, we also want to check into whether D's identity has been compromised because when we tried to get his credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, they asked us some strange verification questions about mortgages and auto loans that D does not have and then denied us access because he did not have this information. I hope to goodness that this is not the case. However, we will deal with that after the apartment situation.
What does this mean financially? Well, since this whole thing is probably not going to be sorted out for the next 5 days, I am going to roll over into a month-to-month lease at the end of this month. That is $100 more in rent than a 12-month lease based rent. After that, depending on what the outcome is (I am hesitant to be completely optimistic), we either get to live here or will have to move out. Moving out will cost money, new deposits, new application fees, if this crap is not sorted out - more headache financially and otherwise. After we deal with the criminal background crap, we will look into his credit history - depending on what we find there, we will probably have to go into more expense to fix that stuff.
If someone has to have the same name and same date of birth as D, why could he not have been someone who keeps his nose out of crime? Thank goodness he has a different middle name and a different SSN. Can you imagine the crap we would have to go through if this guy in NC had actually stolen D's identity and was using D's SSN when he got into trouble. Thank goodness for small favors, I suppose!
I understand that the property managers don't want someone they suspect may have a criminal record on their property, but we have in the past few days been treated like garbage. My poor, gentle D who would never ever harm anyone, has been treated rudely, and like he was a monster! It was almost as though they had decided that he did it, and so they could treat him like crap. If we didn't want to get this over with, we would sue for slander. I don't know if it is actually possible to do that, but I really feel like I would want to - it might feel like catharsis for the way we've been treated over this incident. The funny thing is - they are so wonderfully nice and polite as long as they don't think you have a criminal record!
I am not going to be posting very often until this stuff is sorted out - I am continuing to read the blogs though. I just have been too depressed to write anything. The only reason I feel like I am able to write today is because we made some progress this morning. Thanks for listening!
This week we will eat:
* Bruschetta w. Toasted Bread
* Veggie/Tofu Stir Fry
* Fried Potatoes
* Baked Potatoes
* Garbanzo Bean Curry
* Barley Lentil Veggie Soup
Nothing exciting to report. Minimal spending - groceries, stocking up on toilet paper and using my $10 Kohl's coupon.
We also did frugal entertainment - cheapo movie at the second run theater and free Shakespeare in the Park. I used to love Shakespeare in the Park when I lived in Kansas City. Then I moved and lived in a place in Iowa for about 6 years where they did not have SITP. Now I am back in a place where they do. I love it!
Thanks for the outpouring of support and empathy after my last post. I was feeling really crappy, but am feeling better now and have a plan.
I will have to pay a total of $1321.93 for the whole thing. The repair bill was close to $2000, and I have to pay my deductible - $1000. I am so glad that they will take care of the rest. I also have to pay the rental car company $321.93 in loss of use charges that my insurance policy does not cover. My plan for paying this off is to just pay minimum towards my CCs next month and pay this off using the rest of my paycheck and savings. It delays my debt repayment by a month, but as several of you rightly pointed out, it is not the end of the world - it's just an inconvenient bump!
In other good news, I got approved for a low-limit SwagBucks credit card. I will use this for budgeted purchases and pay it off each week. I will get 1000 SBs for my first purchase and 1.25 SBs/dollar after that. That is good, isn't it? This month, I have already got 5 of the $5 Amazon cards, and am well on my way to making a $25 Paypal reward as well.
I finally did hear from my insurance. They were contacted by the car rental company. I will have to pay the $1000 deductible and loss of use charges that the company incurred for taking the vehicle out of circulation. The insurance does not cover that.
All the work I did in the last month is now undone. The money will have to come out of my meager savings, and split between two credit cards.
The silver lining is that they called me this morning. At least I did not spend the weekend worrying about it. Financial stuff seems pretty bleak right now. I think I am going to take a break from thinking about it too much for now.
I received a $10 Kohl's promotional coupon. $10 off any purchase. I know it's just their attempt at trying people to get something bigger and spend more money. But when I get a coupon like that, I usually buy something small worth $10-$12, and feel ecstatic at only having to spend $1-$2. It's silly, but it makes me happy. It's a nice "almost" freebie to have.
I like doing this snowflake thing. It feels like such an accomplishment when I am able to add a little something to the list.
I added $56.50 to the EF:
$19.00 - Secret Shops
$27.25 - Secret Shop Pizza + Bonus
$5.00 - Survey Cash
$5.25 - Coin Jar
This week, we will continue to eat the stuff we have on hand buying only what is absolutely necessary. We got 3 giant zucchini last week from a friend that we need to use up, and one giant cucumber. We also picked about 5 lbs of blackberries (see pic) from D's family's farm. My hands are scratched up. It's amazing how such a nasty invasive thorny plant can put out such heavenly berries. And we bought about 5 cantaloupes last week when Safeway had them on sale for $1 apiece. I also have some assorted veggies and other foods that need to be used up. We will be eating:
* Veggie Stir Fry over Rice
* Rice/Bean/Sauteed Veggie Bowl
* Baked Potatoes w. Beans, Cheese and Veggies
* Cabbage/Zucchini Lo-Mein
* Berries and Cantaloupe for dessert
This month, I am mostly on plan thus far - I paid my sister back her $800. She was really sweet and offered to let me have it for longer if I wanted to, but I insisted that I pay it back and I am glad. I am paying minimum on all my debts except the highest interest Discover card. I sent $700 to the Discover card this morning. A few more cards will be paid for later this month on AutoPay. The only thing that could have been different was some impulse spending a trip to the coast last weekend. I had planned on sending a little bit more to Discover, but I can't now. I will be tightening my belt for the rest of the month to keep on track.
I have not heard from the rental car company yet. My insurance agent called me last Friday and said that she had not heard from them yet either. She said that she had then called them up to ask what was going on. If I could have reached through the phone and smacked her, I would have done so. Why could she not just leave the whole matter be? I hope that in case the rental car company has "forgotten" about this, they won't now go and search for damages to the car having been prompted by her! I live in a constant state of fearful anticipation that they are going to send me a hefty bill. How long do you think I should wait before feeling like the whole thing is behind me? It has been almost 2 weeks now since I returned the car.
My August goals are:
[ ] Pay sister back $800
[ ] Contribute any snowflakes/extras to EF - Build $200 in EF
[ ] Bring lunch to work every day - I am usually pretty good about this
[ ] Don't gamble
[ ] Follow zero-based budget and send everything over to CCs
[ ] Walk 4x/week
[ ] Go to the gym 4x/week
It was my birthday in early July. I usually sign up for birthday rewards clubs when I can, so I got a bunch of free stuff this month. I also scouted the internet for other freebies and found some other stuff. Also, I did a few secret shops which I will be reimbursed for next month. The best of them all was two free opera tickets - I received these through a special offer for employees at my workplace. I don't think others signed up, which is probably why I received them so easily.
Here is what July brought me:
Opera Tickets x 2
Free B'day Bowl @ Noodle and Company
Free B'day Icecream Scoop at Baskin Robbins
Free Birthday Pizookie at BJ's
Large Pizza from Secret Shop (will be reimbursed) x2
Free Buffet dinner at Secret Shop (will be reimbursed)
$10 B'day rewards at World Market
$5 B'day rewards at DSW
Free Sephora Mascara & Highlighter for B'day
$25 Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks
$20 Kohl's card
Free TaiPei Entree w. coupon
Free bottle of Mio FIT "water enhancer" (Had to laugh at that name!)
Other odd freebies such as free toilet paper roll, sample size toothpaste, trial size moisturizer etc.
Are there other freebies/ birthday rewards that people like/sign up for/ recommend?
The plan is to use up what is in the pantry and fridge. I am vegetarian. D eats chicken everyday - he cooks it in the most basic way possible - he just roasts it! Sometimes, I go crazy watching him eat chicken the same way over and over, and when he is cooking, I will add some spices or toss in some veggies. He says he likes it when it is cooked like that. But, when he cooks the chicken himself - it's always plain and roasted. Weird how someone who enjoys flavor can so easily forget to toss in a few spices that are on hand!
Here are a few things that we will eat this week (apart from the plain roasted chicken):
* Cabbage Stir Fry w. Spiced Rice
* Barley-Lentil-Vegetable Soup
* 7 layer dip
* Cheese Quesadillas
* Zucchini Stir Fry w. Rice
* Coconut-Mint Chutney
* Pizza (have signed up for Secret Shop)
* Baked Potatoes
* Salads - lots
* Yogurt - lots
* Fruit Salad and ice-cream for dessert
I had a pretty lazy weekend - I could have been more productive, but we were away from home last weekend, and I was enjoying just lazing around at home. I did some unpacking, but need to do some more. D is terribly disorganized and it drives me crazy. I did some deep cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen, and got him to do some cleaning/organizing in his closet area.
I got a Secret Shop check for $19.99 and this will be going to EF. I have not deposited it yet.
I also went and shopped around for some frugal wedding gifts for a friend who does not have a gift registry. I used some of the birthday saving coupons I received from various retailers, and managed to come up with a decent gift basket quite frugally.
No updates from the rental car company. They have not called me or my insurance yet. I wonder what is going on. I don't think I will call them. I am too scared to find out how much it really will cost. I suppose I will have to pay the $1000 and any fees they have for taking the car out of circulation while it is being fixed. There is a part of me that fantasizes that they will not have noticed the scratches. But that is unlikely especially since I let them know and filled out an accident report when I returned the car. I wonder why they are taking so long!
I can't wait for the 31st. I get paid on the last day of the month, and I am itching to send off a large payment to my Discover Card. I owe my sister $800 and that will be taken out too. I will probably be broke again by the 5th of August, but am looking forward to it.
The extremely tiny raise that they had been talking about around work finally came through. When I got back to work, there was a letter waiting for me notifying me of this. It means that I get about $54 more in my paycheck each month. I will put it towards the EF.
In another update, I also received the PIN number for my retirement account and I know know how much I have in there. It currently stands at $9061.54. It seems like a teeny-tiny amount when I think of retirement, but I am reminding myself that it was only started about two years ago, it will grow, and that this is in addition to a pension that I will have.