Monday, January 31, 2011

Financial Strain

I'm with Homestead on this one.  I'm feeling the sort of financial strain that has ME breathing into a paper bag. 

Let's see.  There was Mimi's birthday.  And my birthday.  I don't too much care to revisit the details of that day, but Mimi's special day carried a pricetag.  Then Middle's birthday.  Then Little's.  Then Christmas.  Through many December days, I was medicating emotional pain with retail therapy.  Come January, that was a big owie -- and I'm so glad for my habit of shopping at stores where returns are easy breezy.  Kudos for Kohl's.  Still, December's bills were, er, um, large.  Then January came.  And mid-month, I felt like I'd been sucker punched to the gut.  Yowza.  Let's hear it for the pain of the payment.   The pleasure of the purchase was, quite literally, punched out of me. 

I already blogged about the toaster.  And it's call for replacement.  I ended up fixing it.  Whatever.  Don't ask.  Still.  I fixed a toaster.  With my plumber butt hanging out and my shirt with the my name embroidered over the pocket.  I fixed the toaster.  Happy for me.  But so, so sad when my brief stint as appliance repair-woman failed on the microwave.  Ouch.  Microwaves are $500 flippin' dollars.  Seriously.  And I do really believe in the Sears Blue Appliance Crew and an extended warranty.  Add $100.  MOTH doesn't install shit.  Add $120.  Jingle-jingle-jingle KA-ching.  That will be here on Monday.

And that's all personal finance.  I'm also crunching numbers on the business end.  Fourth quarter taxes.  One word sums it up:  shit.  I was not prepared for that.  Plus payroll taxes.  For three full holidays included in the payroll.  Yowza.   And, happy happy news:  We've just landed new contracts in two new states.  Hooray for us.  (Insert monkies doing cartwheels and copious confetti.)  Now, onto making sure all of our staff can actually WORK in those states.  Not fun.   And the price tag that comes with licensing 20 plus people in two different non-compact states.  Eye-eye-eye.  It makes me want to curse in Spanish.

I think I have logged into banking accounts dozens of times over the past few days.  A transfer here, a cleared check there  . . here a look . . there a look.  Everytime I click "login", I start lamaze breathing.  Breathe, breathe, breathe.  Puff. Puff. Puff.  Hee. Hee. Hee.  Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. In through the nose.  Out through the mouth.  Yes, in a previous life,  I was a childbirth educator.  Before I became a financial guru.  Childbirth education prepared me well for online banking.  

Last week, there was this awesome special on The Today Show about plugging financial leaks.  It was full of juicy tidbits to stop the sieve.   I can't find the link now or I'd use that fancy button and insert a link.  Bummer.  The point is:  the piece was about stopping money from seeping out of your accounts unnoticed.  For example, money that goes into service fees, overdraft protection, interest.   The list goes on and on . . still, my point is the same.  We've plugged leaks.  And we STILL spent like mad hatters in the last sixty days.  Crikey, skiing alone.  And eating out.  For all of the time I spend milling about the grocery store and stressing over feeding my family well balanced and healthy meals that don't have them groaning and eye rolling from the moment they sit down, we sure as heck have alot of 'eat out' bills.  Hmmm.   Food for thought.  No pun intended.    

And there's a long list of constants:  Middle's gymnastics.  And Little and Mimi are gymnast-i-cizing, too.  Big and volleyball.  And Y-ball starts in March.  Piano.  Three of them play piano.  Share your books.  End of story.  Still, gymnastics is a large part of who Middle IS -- same with volleyball and Big.  Those are priorities in the budget right now . . . .  Add the house.  Property tax.  Oh, I backed out the garage with my eyes closed (apparently) and snagged the passenger side rear view mirror.  What a noise that made.  My computer is heaving and dying with every re-boot.   Eeek.  Time to move on to another subject . . . .

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