Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good news for me

One - I received a shipping notification today that our Valentine's plans are on their way. We are having a carpet picnic, and watching movies (the actual movies are still under discussion) and the special treats I ordered are in fact going to arrive in time.

Two - I got in on a kickass groupon today. $50 for $200 worth of merchandise at an eye clinic, good for glasses frames, repairs, lenses and up to a 6 month supply of contacts. Since I can have my eyes examined through a work program for a discounted rate, and will now be able to save on updating my prescription and ordering new contacts, I'm thrilled. Given that I'm squinting through my glasses and down to my last two pairs of contacts, this is quite timely.

If you haven't checked out, do. It's not available everywhere, but every deal I've seen locally has been pretty good (not for me, necessarily, but generally speaking).

Three - I've started stressing some about our finances. Our credit card was the closest it has ever been to the limit, which is a heart attack in itself, but the really hyperventilaty part is the finance charges. As has happened to many people, my interest rate was jacked up to the limit because of a 'late' payment - the payment didn't process until 8:00 the day after it was due - the first time in over 5 years, but that didn't matter. No amount of effort on my part reduced it.

We started exploring other options when that occurred, but our pregnancy captured my attention, and though I opened a new credit card with a far superior interest rate and 0% APR for a year on balance transfers, we made no moves. Then life happened and we suddenly had numerous unexpected expenses and the card balance crept up between those, reduced payments and staggering interest rates.

This month I decided enough was enough and began trying to find ways to fix this problem. We've made strides in other areas of our finances - in savings, in planning, in life insurance, etc. Now we have to fix this. I looked at some of the recurring charges and we decided what could be moved and what we could live without. That helped. But still - the highest it has ever been made me sweaty when I thought too long about it.

So I applied for the balance transfer. The new card's limit wasn't enough to transfer the entire balance (and you can't believe how ashamed I am to admit that), but we hoped to transfer half. Doing so would reduce the monthly payment on the high interest card to manageable proportions and give us some hope of actually paying it off. But they would run a credit check before approving it and I was sweating it. Last year this time, I had stunning credit. This year, I have higher than ever debt to income ratios and a car payment I didn't have last year and a late bill (one of the hospital bills got lost and was paid late). Not great. Probably still better than 60% of America at this point, but well. . .

Anyhow, I got notification today that the transfer was approved. So now, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. This means that our monthly payment will actually go some distance towards reducing the balance and once we finish paying the hospital bills next month, those funds can go towards the balance that is currently resting at 0% interest. So more principle will be reduced and my hope is that within 6 months, we will be able to switch the amounts and pay off more of the 0 interest card and then be able to transfer the remaining balance off the high interest card. That will then mean we are saving, since our low interest on the new card will be significantly better. And then once there is no balance on the high interest card for 3 months, I can appeal to have my rate lowered. The card will be frozen (literally, a block of ice in my freezer), but available for emergencies, which is what we want.

I can see ways we may actually pay this sucker off yet, and it's thrilling.

Fourth and last (because 4 is a lucky number for me) - I called the doctor about switching to Zoloft. She was not there, but her nurse pulled my file and the notes indicate that is fine and they are weaning me from Pristiq and the on-call doc will call in the Zoloft prescription for me. This has been weighing on my mind, and it took a bit to do it, but I'm glad it's done and happening. I need to continue the meds and Zoloft is the best choice for pregnancy. It's possible I could end up off completely, but I doubt that a lot at this point. And if I'm honest, I like the calmer base this gives me. It makes it easier for the new things I'm learning to keep me from getting so worked up about stuff. And that makes life easier for me and everyone around me.

So, yay. A good day today, I think.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

SO many things to say.

First and foremost, Groupon = FANTASTIC! I recently bought $40 helicopter rides for my husband and I. I think we will use them as part of his birthday/valentines celebration this month.

Money is such a huge source of stress in life. I feel your pain, and it's great that you're feeling more in control of it.

Finally, Zoloft is my drug of choice. I have been on it for about 8 years. I went off it during my pregnancy with my son. It was horrible. But I did go back on almost the moment he was born, and breastfed while taking it, with no ill effects. I went off it during my subsequent pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks. At that point (and with my doctor's urging) I went back on and plan to NEVER go off again. I stayed on during my most recent pregnancy. Although that resulted in a dead baby, Zoloft was obviously not to blame for that. I am pretty certain my body chemistry requires I stay on some type of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant for the remainder of my life (pregnant or not), and Zoloft is my drug of choice. I hope it works for you, too.