July 27, 2006
The behinder I get...
So I haven't posted since July 7. What of it? You wanna mess with me? I didn't think so.

This has been an interesting month, financially. I've been planning/wishing/hoping/dreaming of purchasing a laptop for a LONG time, but since I currently live credit-free (except for the mortgage) it's been a very unlikely plan/wish/hope/dream. Until I decided to rob my 401k.

Now, don't get your panties in a twist... I have taken 401k loans before, and while I realize it's not the ideal way to finance my champagne tastes, at least I am paying myself back with interest. I took enough money to purchase a couple of big ticket items, some small ticket items, and some continuing ed for my "career". (Aside: Addicted to bags much? I actually bought another messenger bag from Dakine, and decided I didn't like it. Damn you, eBags!)

I also had to shell out over $500 in vet care -- people don't realize how expensive vet care for small animals really is! One bunny surgery and two guinea pig exams later... some of that 401k loan went that way. Some of it will go to repair the left front fender on my car where some insurance-less asshat backed into it, PARKED ON A RESIDENTIAL STREET, over 6 months ago. Stupid deductibles, and stupid insurance company that didn't tell me I needed to specify that I wanted uninsured motorist coverage to avoid paying the stupid deductible.

I'm trying to be more financially savvy, really. Little known fact about me: I filed Chapter 13 almost 2 years ago, and have just a little over a year left to continue with my "voluntary wage assignment". I don't talk about the bankruptcy, because it's not the kind of thing you mention in casual conversation. I've tried to keep up appearances -- I got to keep my house and car, and I still have enough money left each month to make it appear to the casual bystander that I'm in decent financial shape. But I struggle to make ends meet every month, and despite the fact that I'm supposed to be living on a budget, I'm not. My parents have bailed me out many, many times, and occasionally I've had to let my DirecTV service go for a couple of weeks until I got paid again.

Anyway, I'm thankful for blogs I've found recently, like this one, and this one, and this message board at MSN Money. I'm not the only one struggling with a budget, or with a bad financial past... and it's so great to know that. The most recent post at The Naked Ledger talks about how to go about creating a budget, and I really like Amanda's receipts-in-an-envelope system. I've been trying to write everything down in my little purse notebook, but I invariably forget something, or forget for a couple of days, and then it's shot for the week. I'm going to try her system for the next couple of months and see what my expenses really are. I'm scared. VERY scared.

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