Why I had a major freak out session yesterday | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why I had a major freak out session yesterday

Joel and I have decided that we will no longer use credit cards. Instead, we are trying very hard to follow Dave Ramsey's program and build up emergency savings, get out of debt and start paying cash for everything.

So, we built up our 1,000 dollar emergency fund, which we knew would be put to good use in January since we wouldn't start to get paid by SUU until February. Actually, Christmas expenses had already knocked a bit of it out by January so we had around 700 dollars in there.

We used some of it in January to pay the car payment (which is what our SUU checks pay for, plus a few other small things) and then we didn't get any SUU checks at the beginning of February. Somehow, we were able to make things stretch until February 15th when Joel received his SUU check. That's right. Mine still hasn't come. Payroll says they mailed it, but it isn't here, and the Music Department secretary said she has had several people with the same issue. Weirdness.

So fine. It was tight without my check, but Joel got paid yesterday from his high school/middle school job and it would be okay. Especially since our landlord hadn't cashed rent yet and we'd sort of dipped under what should have been in the account to cover that payment since I didn't get my SUU money.

Well, he didn't get paid. The school district's bank made some error and nobody got paid yesterday. And that's when rent went through. It should have been covered by about 200 dollars of the 450 dollars or so that was in savings, but the bank depleted savings and still charged us an overdraft fee. They made about 300 dollars of our checking account unavailable because I did a deposit through the ATM. Which makes zero sense to me, but oh well. Also, that was the first overdraft fee we have paid since the very early years of marriage when neither of us was so great handling the finances.

The money was deposited today, and they actually paid us a whopping 15 dollars more than usual. (Maybe to make up for the mistake?) Joel is going to call our credit union and complain about that stupid overdraft fee that totally shouldn't be there. And life will go on.

It just made me really thankful that we are trying so hard to live the way we are. We would have been in a lot of trouble yesterday if we hadn't been as frugal as we have been and if we hadn't had any sort of savings, low as it currently was. It is so hard to live on a teacher's salary, but we are making it work, and doing our darnedest to live within our means. We will hopefully be able to build our emergency fund back up quickly (tax refund, anyone?) and pay off most of our credit card debt this year.

I will also hopefully receive my SUU check before the end of July.


  1. Oh, I sympathize deeply with you....and I admire you for doing just as you should have! I think the Lord blesses us so often and in so many little (and often HUGE) ways for paying our tithing and trying to be budget-savvy.

  2. I FEEL for you! We all can! Just being out of school and dealing with student loans and such is not easy! But since we continue to pay our tithing and have no credit cards, it's amazing how money just seems to be there when needed. We just have 1 more student loan to pay off and we are done! YAHOO! The end is in sight for you too - keep doing what is asked and you will continue to be blessed!!

  3. Wow, by the seat of our pants!! That's what life is like in the financial world for families like you!! I hated that!! ( now you know why I sometimes felt such stress, yikes!)I'm so sorry honey, but this will pass, and you will be able to breathe. Doesn't help now though, I know!!

  4. Money just isn't fun. Just when I think things are looking good for us, something comes up that knocks us back down. Guess I can always plan for that :).

    We got our tax refund last week. I was hoping since we'd had another child that it'd be a lot bigger than it was. Oh well, something is better than nothing (or having to pay). (Oh, and you've probably already filed, but you do know that you can file state through the state's website for free, right?)

  5. Everytime I think about how much we owe for Jeremy's student loans, I want to throw up. We pay a mortgage payment every month. The other day Jeremy said he thought about quiting his practice and teaching at his graduate school. I was like N.O.!! I told him he would have to pay off this debt first. I would eventually like to be home owner, not including my mansion in the sky. I hear you though, finances are not my fav topic.

  6. That is so stressful! How grateful you must be that you saved some of that money to have for times like this (even if it wasn't enough). ASU had similar issues with their payroll this last year as they tried to change over systems. It was a huge fiasco and some people didn't get paid for months.

  7. That is stressful! Good for you for trying to live debt-free. We plan to use our tax refund for our "emergency" funds, too.

  8. Good for you for having that savings! It's been very hard for us to build up an emergency fund. Funny I thought once we got out of school and into the "real" world, we would be able to build our savings up quickly. . . I still feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck, and our savings still not happening. Yeah for tax refunds!

  9. Totally warranted freak out!

    How great that you had a back up savings plan in place. That's something we really need to work on!

    Hope you get paid before July!!!

  10. Glad it all worked out ok. We are working on building up a savings, reducing debt, etc. I hope your check comes through.

  11. From being in your shoes before - - I FEEL for ya! And I'm glad things are working on...... and good luck on getting that check..... get on their case!

  12. PS: I meant to say "working OUT" for ya......

    I need more sleep!

  13. Just wanted to add to the comment about filing for free through the state website...

    If you haven't filed yet, did you know that you can also file your federal for free if your AGI is under $53K? I have a feeling that this would be you... it certainly is us!

    For more info, go here:

    If that link doesn't work, simply go to IRS website, and look for the FREE FILE logo on the main page.

    We are trying to get out of debt too... it's a struggle but we are making progress. Know that you aren't alone.

  14. so much for the Romanian legend about American prosperity... on the other hand, I learned a lot from you about saving and spending less for shopping! a big hug, Lara

  15. I totally understand!! I was pretty frustrated when Sam did not get paid on the 20th because we have bills that are due that day, and bills that I wait to pay until that day. We too are trying to get out of debt and pay off our credit cards. I hate money, and the lack of it!!!!

  16. Dave Ramsey has some great ideas. I have a hard time with the idea of not using credit cards though because I find it easier to track my money using credit cards. However, I have found that we spend less on food and nonessentials when we only use cash for these items. We typically charge the groceries and gasoline though. Although, I am sure we probably would spend less if we ONLY used cash, but I'm so anal retentive that I have to track my money in QuickBooks (similar to Quicken).

    Also, check out www.clarkhoward.com. Clark Howard is big in Atlanta, and he is awesome! I am not sure if he is on your radio out west, but he is definitely worth listening to if you can. If you cannot listen though, he has podcasts on his website (I think), and he has daily highlights from his show on his website too.