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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Friday, July 13, 2007

What happened to my house?

Hey! Blogger is letting me make titles again. No finishes today. The one on the machine is taking longer than I thought.

I’ve had a couple of really nice friends ask me about what happened to my house. Why it has the hole in the side? It’s termite damage. The damage was already done before I started paying for termite treatments three or four years ago. Why haven’t I had it fixed? Good question.

To answer this question I have to explain; I don’t have any debts other than the normal living expenses like utilities, mortgage, etc. I don’t use credit cards because I don’t like spending next year’s paycheck today. My problem is not financial debt. It’s financial mismanagement.

It seems every time I manage to save the money for things like repairing the house something comes along to wipe out my savings; unexpected things that just happen. For example, a little over a year ago I had almost saved enough to have vinyl siding put on the house. Then my son committed suicide. Although several people gave money instead of flowers, his burial still took everything I had in savings plus what I earned for a few weeks. I still hope to save enough to get a brass marker put on his grave.

I seem to be the one that everyone in the family or my friends depends on when it comes to financial help. I love my friends and family…so I help. Actually this is one major factor in my decision to quit quilting for others. Not the only reason but a major part of the decision. Stress was also a factor. I didn’t really want to quit quilting. I love doing it but….If I don’t earn it, I can’t give it away. Why keep torturing myself to work 12 hours 6 days a week only to let it slip through my fingers? No one ever pays me back. I won’t go into all the details of who got what from me the last few years, just that it’s a lot.

I don’t want people believing I gave everything away and didn’t spend any on what I need. Let me tell you about that instead. I first discovered the termites had eaten most of my house when the floor collapsed under the bed. It fell about 4 inches and was enough to scare me! Under that floor is an 8 foot drop because there is an unused cellar under it. I had a carpenter fix the floor and joists in the back half of the house and paid for termite treatments. Savings wiped out.

I had a furnace and central air installed after using kerosene heaters and window fans for several years. Savings wiped out.

I had electrical wiring replaced in half the house with overhead lights installed in the studio. Savings wiped out.

I put in snap lock flooring through the whole house so all my floors were the same instead of mismatched plywood and painted boards. Savings wiped out.

I have a Gammill instead of the Singer I used for 20 + years. Of course a new machine requires new gadgets to go with it. Who ever heard of three dollars each for bobbins? Normal machine bobbins come in packs of 6 for a dollar. Lots of new gadgets required for a new machine. Savings wiped out.

The kitchen stove (gas) dies so I buy a used electric one. The outlet in the wall doesn’t actually work. I get the wires installed from the outlet to the breaker box. Savings wiped out.

Daughter’s financial aid for college runs out. She still wants to finish. Savings wiped out.

Mother needs to be moved to a nursing home, her things are moved into storage until I can dispose of them. She also doesn’t have burial insurance so I buy some. Savings wiped out.

Trees grow so fast that the limbs start lying on the roof and banging against the windows during a storm. I pay to have them cut back. Savings wiped out.

I could go on and on and on with examples of what happens to my savings. That would probably bore you to death. I know how to budget very carefully. I’ve done it for years. I’ve been a tightwad and penny pincher since sometime in the early 70’s when it was popular. I can squeeze a dollar so hard you can hear it scream clear across Louisville and probably all the way to another county. But; at the same time I have hard time keeping money in my hand in order to squeeze it because of my soft heart.

What I honestly need is a way to protect my income from ME! And; my soft heart for family and friends. That’s what I’m hoping a financial planner can help with. I need a voice (other than my own bouncing off four walls) to talk out whether or not to spend money before I actually spend it, or before I give it to someone needing financial help.

I do not want someone to take over my bank account. What I don’t really understand is savings accounts or investment accounts and how they work. What is safe, what is risky? I need a knowledgeable voice to explain how to decide when money should be locked away in a savings and when it’s best to spend it on a necessary item.

A financial planner is the most logical person to know about these things. They are the money professionals just like I am a quilting professional. When a topper has a question about how a technique is done I can help them. When I need help with something I have to start looking for the right professional…. hopefully there is a financial professional out there somewhere who is also a topper.

As for me moving to a bigger space, it ain’t gonna happen. At least not unless I stop having financial crisis' to wipe out my savings. My time away from machine quilting for others is going to give me the time necessary to contact the professionals. The time I need to sit down with those professionals and work out the details of a good financial plan to achieve my goal. The time I need to get my plan started working and moving toward that goal. I just hope the customers come back after my time off.

Ok, enough rambling for today, I should be in there working.

1 comment:

EileenKNY said...

Just take your time, Anita. Try SCORE, see if there's someone there to advise you.