August of Wind

It’s been a couple of windy days here in Minnesota as we gear up for back to school and the approaching autumn. Many folks look forward to autumn…me, not so much, although I’m trying to have a better outlook on the season. I think I feel that way because autumn is the gateway to cold temps here in the Northland, among the snow that isn’t always fun.

Okay, stopping the negative talk :). Onward and upward, which has always been my mental theme for my Chapter 13 journey.

I made my 27th payment, not quite 50% complete yet–33 more to go!  Again, it’s going good.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone struggling with their finances that just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  You have nothing to lose as far as I see it…coming from a now 50 year old mom and wife ;).

With school about to begin, I have to say I’m looking forward to a routine with my daughter again. The summer has had us traveling around to a variety of different babysitters, as she’s still not old enough to stay alone and for some reason it has been a challenge both finding sitters this year and the added expenses. $35/day seems to be the going rate.  After school care at a private sitter will be $7 for two hours.  She just needs somewhere to land until we pick her up after work. I wish I had more flexibility with my job that way.  They’re only young once…BUT, no complaints here.

I continue to “moonlight” with transcription jobs on line, which is some work, but that in which I can do while I’m even watching TV or settling in for the last hour of the evening.  A little extra here and there can buy extras now and then.






Good ol’ Summertime

Hello from Minnesota, where this week it is dangerously warm. There are heat warnings throughout the state today. Things are definitely heating up!

I have to run to the post office to get my money order to mail in later today, my plan payment is due on the 20th of each month and so far has not been a problem paying it. I am in month 29 already. (Already? Who am I kidding 🙂 And life has been much better when it comes to my financial well being. I even hiked up my 401K percentage. Just paying more attention now to things that I feel ‘matter’ at this point! I turned 50 this year and it seems like my eyes are looking at new and different things, or at least from a new angle.

We were able to again take our week long trip to Northern Minnesota and this time it was prepaid. We made payments on it so we wouldn’t spend the money. Our income hasn’t changed too much, but I do take on some transcription jobs and my husband also works side jobs doing carpentry. The side money has come in handy to put towards things we desire. It can be done without credit cards, and is so much more enjoyable.

My car lease expired in July and I was able to to secure another lease, but now it is in my husband’s name. I had nothing to do with it. I could have secured the lease on my own, but it would have been paperwork, Trustee permission to secure the lease, lawyer fees, etc., etc. But, know that it would have been possible, even in a Chapter 13 to do that. Good to know. I was forutnate that my husband is not part of this case and was/is still able to secure credit like this for necessaties.

So far so good here in Month number 29!

Vacation-all I ever wanted…

Like the song says, as performed by the Go-Go’s remember?

My family of three just returned from Florida, a week long vacation. We saved up and did it!  No credit required!  What did help, though, was the fact that I was able to use airline miles to get us there and back. Miles I had accrued my entire life when I used to do some traveling for work.  So, that helped keep the bill down.

I haven’t posted in a while, but the good news is that we got to keep our tax refund. After I submitted copies of the tax return to the Trustee, as is required each year, they sent a letter stating that they would not require any of the refund to be paid to them this year.  Yeah! While I don’t know how they make the decision, it may have something to do with the fact that I filed bankruptcy alone, without my spouse. However we filed tax returns together.  So, basically he had too much money taken out of his check during the year for taxes.  If I would have filed alone, I would not have had a refund, which is always the goal. Anyway, while it wasn’t a ton, it is just somthing that worked in our favor, and happened on my birthday, so better yet!  The magical 50th birthday. 50 is the new 40 or 30 or somethnig like that. And yes, you better believe I now carry a very handsome AARP card in my wallet…another money saving tool.

It’s fun to get comments from readers or even emails. Let me know if you have any questions on what my journey includes, etc.  Would love to hear from you!



What inheritance?

I received a letter saying my mother had some unclaimed shares of insurance and uncashed checks.  She has been gone for several years.  I thought it was a piece of junk mail or some scam.  It was legitimate.  There was definitely a small amount of money there, to be shared with all of her children.

HOWEVER, none for me.  Unless the Trustee lets me keep it.  As my attorney said, it needs to be reported as part of the bankruptcy estate.  Technically, it should be counted as an asset and go to the creditors.  But, it’s a few hundred dollars.  She felt that they may allow me to keep it.  I’m so glad I checked about this before we went ahead and transferred it over to ourselves.  That would not have been legal. Whew.

It’s things like this that make my hair stand up.

But, other than that little wrinkle, I think we’re good for now. ;0

Back to Work

Hubby was called back to work (carpenters union)!  Yeah!  As some may know,  unemployment doesn’t pay as well as the regular paycheck ;).  As I mentioned, it’s been a bit tight these days.  But, I guess we did it, or are doing it for now!

During his time off work, he will run out of health insurance benefits until his hours get built back up again – three months.  So, we will have to somehow budget that $600 per month to pay that again. This should be interesting.  Needless to say, my education goals are on hold until we get through that.  Constantly moving things around.

After calculating our taxes separately, it looks like that does not benefit us after all.  So, we’ll file together, per usual and let the chips fall where they may!

We will be traveling to Florida in celebration for my 50th birthday this spring, and we almost have that expense covered.  I’m also using airline miles I had been saving for many many years, when I used to travel for my job.  So, really, we only have the condo as our major expense.

I’ve also been doing odd typing/transcription jobs on line here and there.  It all adds up, but it is time consuming with a full time job and fam.

It’s been warm here the last week, with temps close to 50.  That’s great for February in Minnesota.  However, this weekend, temps drop to 14 again :(.  But, next week is March, and spring is in the air as soon as those Shamrock Shakes show their fancy faces at McDonalds!


I kind of like my new term I made up. Unlike last year, preliminary findings look like we may get a Federal refund this year. First year in a while!  That’s the good news and no complaints here.  The bad news is, the Trustee will probably want it. Maybe.  They can consider it part of the estate and call it disposable income that needs to be paid to the creditors.

I did learn that married couples can keep $2400, and then it would be up to the trustee to decide if they want to keep the rest, up to the amount of the refund. So, hypothetically, if you were getting $5,000 back, you can keep $2,400 and they get the rest.  Maybe.  It depends how they stipulated future refunds in the plan, but it does sound like there is a code to let you keep $2,400 regardless.  But, here’s the deal.  I am in the BK, not my spouse, and we file together.  Most of the refund is his, because he claimed zero on his paycheck.  I wonder how they take that into consideration.  I am going to also work up the taxes under married filing separately to see how that comes out.

So, I guess it’s a mystery and I can’t count my chickens before they are hatched…

The trustee will know what you are being refunded or what you owe to the IRS because you have to send him/her a copy of your filings each year so they can monitor your income and refunds.


February Friday in Minnesota

Off work at 12 today to attend my third grader’s choir concert!  Weather is balmy at around 10 degrees.  The sun, when it does come out is a little brighter and warmer as we begin to turn the corner towards spring.

So, the checking accounts look pretty grim this week, but the bills are paid.  That’s the great part.  I have to return a couple of things to Target and Walmart, which will deposit $50 back into my account.  Instant $50 in case I need it this weekend.  Yep, I do want to purchase some snacks for SuperBowl Sunday.  Great!

It’s a bit tougher now with my husband unemployed as a union carpenter.  Work is on the horizon, but we are definitely short our usual income.  It’s been a tight couple of months, but I feel like we haven’t lacked anything.

Anyone ever hear of Amazon Mechanical Turk?  They do have work on their website in the form of microtasks, albeit, very low pay, but it’s kind of addicting.  A few cents here and there, and I was able to purchase a GoPro for my hubby for Christmas.  It takes a bit of time, but something you can do while you watch TV, if you like this sort of microtasking.  Some would say it’s ridiculous for the pay you get, but I say, at least I make money while watching TV.  And, I’ve also taken the next by purchasing a FitDesk bike on eBay for $50 (reg price is $300) because the box was open.  So, now I can peddle, work and watch TV at the same time.

Happy Friday Everyone!


Payment 22! Happy February!

I haven’t posted for a while, thank you for all the comments and questions. There a lot of concerns about filing from several readers. Please keep commenting, I promise to be better.  I had a little notification snafu with my email.  Anyway, as scary as it is, if you are in over your head, that’s a lot more scary than going through this payment plan. No doubt. The last words my attorney said to me once my case was confirmed was “there, now all you have to do is just keep sending in your payment”.

I do have worries now and then, but never about finding that monthly payment, as it has saved my life and future. More of my worries are, if I apply for a debit card, is that considered a credit card? So, I check with my attorney, and she assures me it’s OK. What about school? Can I attend if I find a school that allows me to pay as I go? Yes, I can do that. I found extra funds for school from cutting out my satellite TV service, which was considered as an expense in my plan. So, it’s switching expenses around that makes it possible to do other things. In fact, it may be possible that if you wanted to return to school, they could drop your payment to fit it in. Education is a good thing. Vehicles to get to work, that’s a good thing. Loans and Debts that are not purposeful are not good things.

Christmas was the best ever. Perspective. We bought less, but had more fun together. We still got gifts, Santa still shows up, but even Santa is more wise nowadays.

So, it’s going good at payment no. 22. I still send in money orders every month. I have not switched anything to have my trustee just draft out of my account each month at this point.

No one knows that I’m going through this, except a few family members. At least, I don’t think they do. Sometimes I just want to admit it to the world, but it will remain my little secret for now. I’m not ashamed of this. In fact, it makes me feel stronger. Can’t wait to tell my story of this accomplishment.

Moving Along!

My attorney filed application to be paid with the Trustee. My complicated case was approx $7000 to process. A Simple case would have probably been half of that. Minimal amount required upfront, balance is in the plan.

So, she is officially signing off, now that things are rolling along. It’s been 16 months since filing already. Payments are just beginning to be made by the Trustee for the priority claims, in which the attorney is one of them. She will now charge me a fee for any services needed with my case, such as modifications, permissions, etc. Its rolling along, month by month!

And, the sun is shining and it’s 90 degrees here in Minnesota today!