The Finance Fiend

Getting Financial Freedom by 35!

My financial History Part 4: living on my own July 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rebecca @ 8:14 am

You know, living with roommates and living with family is totally different.  I started gaining true independence after a few years of living with roommates.

I got a basic credit card for textbook purchases, that I paid off as soon as the payment posted on my bank account. I was a little anal, its true.  But that way, I know I wouldn’t forget about the purchase, and I wouldn’t pay any fees. It was simple and it worked for me.

I never bought groceries or gas with the credit card.  In fact, I rarely used it at all, aside from online purchases.  Sure I bought a box of vintage clip on earrings for my roommate’s birthday, and I even made a somewhat impulse purchase of a PS2, but I never bought something I knew I could not pay for immediately from my bank account.

Times changed, my roommate was graduating and I had a semester left in school.  Leases tended to run for an entire year though, so I wouldn’t be able to stay in my apartment.  An older lady from work offered to let me live in her basement.  I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t want to be caught up in a lease, so it seemed like the best solution.

Then one day I was driving the missionaries to an appointment and a huge truck turned into me trying to make a left from the right hand lane.  My little car was totaled.

I had never had that happen before.

The insurance company that ‘bought’ it, sort of cheated me.  I didn’t really understand at the time.  I was young and naive. They put the mileage down as a much higher number than it had.  I also didn’t realize that the new tires, tailpipe andmuffler I had replaced in the last few months should have been reimbursed.

I bought the roommates old junker.  And let me tell you it was a junker.  At first I just drove it.  The tires were totally bald, and when 2 of them went flat when I was in class one day, I replaced them all.  I ended up giving her a couple of hundred dollars so she could pay off the title loan she had on the car, and it was mine.  Every bit of the oil burning, strange clunking, pulling the wheel to one side, all with no AC.  But, lets be honest, you cannot buy a used car in decent condition for less than $1000.  The insurance had only given me $1200 so I didn’t have many options. Even though the car has many problems, and was 2 years older than the car I had before.  It was what I could afford.

For the next four months I lived in that basement.  Occasionally paying her overdue electric bill, cleaning up after the poo filled bunny, and washing her nasty moldy food left in the plates dishes. (That was one thing I never understood, why did she leave, and let the kids leave food in the plates.) I would go home, or away for a 3 day weekend and come back to horrific smells.  It didn’t help that the bunny’s cage, which was also filled with poo, was right next to the sink. Lets just say, I gagged often.

Then I met a boy.  Roommate was pressuring me to move out (though the semester was not over), and the boy and I decided it was fast, but it was right so we were going to get married.

That’s when things became hard with the roommate.  She thought I had lied to her about this boy (totally not true).  She was probably also jealous that she was overweight and 40, had an 11 year old half black and blind son, and had never even been engaged. She said some things that really hurt me.

I moved out as quickly as I could.  We were officially engaged for just under a month, and found an apartment for a couple of weeks before the wedding.  Of course, before I had everything out, she wanted my keys out, and I was so hurt by the things she had said, I don’t know why she thought i wanted to come get the rest of my stuff at a time when she was home.  So a few days after the wedding, I sent my new husband by to get it.

It was hard woking where we did.  Here I was, in my early 20s and her supervisor. I had to maintain a professional relationship while trying to avoid her so I wouldn’t cry.  It was really hard.  It was hard to know if I should quit or not.  It was a good job.  It would be hard to find another that would work with my school schedule, and pay $9.00 an hour (a bigger deal at that time than now days).  I had earned the higher wage too.

So life continued, work was stressful, home was pretty relaxed.  It was sort of unusual thatwe got along so well as a married couple.  Sure things like squeezing the toothpaste in the middle or toilet seats left up were issues, but there was nothing too bad.  The hardest part was probably the strange dietary choices my new husband made.  He ate his spaghetti with only grated cheese, no tomato sauce. Macaroni and cheese in a box was one of his all time faves, and we ate a lot of white wonder bread (off brand of course). He also ate an unusual amount of ice cream. Lets just say, the biggest change was food. Though personalities and feelings were hurt and words misunderstood (that was mostly me doing the hurting). But financially we were fine with my sort of good paying fast food job, and his temp work that would last a couple of months, take a week or so off, start a new project.  It was fine for our life at the time.


My financial history Part 3: Rentals and roommates July 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rebecca @ 6:30 am

Here I was, 18 years old, one semester of college under my belt and kicked out of my home.  My only friends were either still in high school or living in the dorms.  But I couldn’t afford the dorms.  I didn’t want to move in the middle of the semester to a place where people get matching bedspreads and pillowcases, lived and bathed with strangers, and worse had to eat in the campus cafeteria. When I was in high school I worked in that place.  I didn’t ever want to go back.  It was an ok job, but it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be. Partly because I worked there at the same time as my mother. That’s how I got the job.  And that’s another story, but lets just say it was a season of my life, and I had moved on to a job paying more than minimum wage.

So I had to look into options. My mother suggested a local house that rented out rooms to women.  She lived there when she was 18 and moved to tiny town for school and work.  It was more common for women to live in coop style houses in the 70s, but the place was still open and my aunt even still lived there at the time.  The best thing, it was income based.

Based on my 2 days a week work schedule I could have a room for $90  a month. I would have to do certain chores around the house, and I had an assigned cupboard and refridgerator. It seemed better than home.  Even with tubs only in the bathroom.  It was quiet, it was private, and best thing, there wasn’t a curfew.  Not that I stayed out late or was crazy.  In fact it was years before I even considered stepping into a club again.  That was in a different town, with a different set of friends and at a much later time of day even.

I finished up my semester living there.  Most of the people living there were older.  Women who had family in smaller towns and would travel home for the weekend.  The only person close to my age moved in not long after me.  Her roommate had kicked her out, and this girl was totally different than me.  She was a little older and FAR more experienced in the world. She talked about drinking and sex like everyone did them. She even convinced me that someone was stealing food from me.

I am almost positive that it was her stealing the food.  My only response to her saying that was “Well, they must have been hungry.” I think it was a few packs of Ramen noodles that were taken.  It might have been twenty cents worth of food.  It wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Living on my own, food seemed to go really far.  Living at home with 6 other people, you couldn’t buy something and expect to keep it for yourself. Food was communal.

She also convinced me to make a dumb financial decision.  I moved to a bigger, and more expensive room with outside access.  It was ten or twenty dollars more a month.  Really not a huge deal, but still.  It was a sign that I could be influenced by others easily.  It also gave her easy access to my things.  I don’t really know what all she took of mine, but it started driving me nuts.  I talked with the house manager.  I told her about everything.  I decided to move home for the summer.  My parents had calmed down.  My mother missed seeing me all the time, and I was going to try living at home for the summer while working.  I hada friend from a class that I talked with about becoming roommates in the fall, but no real set plans.  Plus, my good friend (the one I had gone to the dance club with) was moving into apartments right by my parents house.  I could always escape to her place.

It seemed like a great situation. And so summer began.


My Financial History Part 2: The reality of Adulthood July 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rebecca @ 6:30 am

Some people have it made.  Their parents save money to help finance their education.  They ‘go away’ to college leaving their childhood behind in one neat package.

When you live at home while going to school things are different. Wall, actually they aren’t.  Its almost the same as high school.  Except suddenly you have friends that want to go do things that weren’t allowed as a youngster.  Like go to clubs.

I am a total homebody.  But, sometimes when  friend says it will be fun, and its for a birthday, you decide sure lets go to clubs. None of us will be drinking, and we will go early enough that it will be pretty tame. Right?

Wrong. Don’t get me wrong, the club was fine.  There was one couple that needed a room, and the place was sort of stinky, and dirty.  But it was fine. We danced, we laughed, and we enjoyed ourselves.  I was home around midnight.  (Honestly, midnight isn’t that late, but remember its different when you live at home).

My father met me at the door and accused me of smoking.  I don’t know why he would think I started smoking, I had never tried it before and didn’t even know many people who smoked.  Sure I smelled like smoke, but this was the day before smoking bans in public places.  Even going to the bowling alley would result in the stench of the fag.

I was angry.  It was the beginning of my second semester of college. My parents were telling me I was kicked out of the house, and I didn’t even have a chance to explain anything.  Saying I was at a club was the worst thing i could have said.  It was as if I said “I decided to become a crack whore tonight. I now smoke, drink illegally, and am a slut whore. You have failed as parents.” I didn’t have any other option.  I was an ‘adult’ and living there by their good graces.  I had to get out.

I found myself the next morning looking into life options.  I had a barely part time job that gave me minimal spending money, no savings, and no rental history.  I was broke and young, a combination that is usually not to your advantage in situations like this.

My mother tried to tell me to move into the dorms.  In the middle of the semester. Getting a student loan to pay for it.  My father wasn’t talking to me.  And here I was.  Eighteen with no car for transportation, no friends houses, not even a cell phone (then again that was before everyone had cellphones).  I didn’t have any way to get away from it all.

Want to know what happened? Stay tuned for part 3: house hunting and roommates.