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Archive for February, 2007

My Routines Save Me Money

February 27th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

I have been very busy lately and have not had much time to myself. Between snow days, presidents day, and a water main break at my kids school, I have lost 3 of 4 days off. By lost, I mean, I have not had the time I need at home, by myself to get things done around the house. I love my routines, and I thrive on my routines cause they allow me to get stuff done and move on to other things. When I don't have the time to get things done, it feels like things start to fall apart and come crashing down. No, not literally, it is just that I don't feel like I am in control anymore. It is more like the house is running me than the opposite. And when I feel like that, it is that much harder to stick to my frugal ways.
For example, I like to go to the grocery store on Weds. am when it is quite and I have no children with me. I find it hard to shop for the best prices with little people asking "Are we done yet" or "Can we get this ...Please..Please" You get the picture. I also like to stop at the grocery outlet on the way home to fill in with snack items etc. that might not have been on sale. If I am pressed for time or running around with kids in tow, it is much harder to do multiple errands and to do them quickly. Here is hoping for no snow days this week and no more water main breaks at school!

New Job for DH

February 20th, 2007 at 05:17 pm

DH started training for his new job yesterday. He will be in training all week and start out on Saturday with a sales appointment. Next week will be a combination of appointments and training so it will be a few weeks before we see any money (assuming he makes sales). I feel very good about this company and position even if it is 100% commission so hopefully things will start looking up on the financial front. It cannot happen too soon for me. We have been having to pay large bills (mortgage and healthcare) out of our home equity line of credit. I cringe every time I have to write a check from there. I cannot wait til he is back to making "enough" to pay all the bills and we can start repaying the line of credit. My goal is to have it done with by the end of this year but we will just have to see about that. I guess it depends on where we end up before he starts making any real money.

On another note, I also want to strangle DH. He has a side business selling car accessories. It is potentially a good business but I think he does not run it in a finacially sound way so it ends up not really making as much as it could. For example, he convinced himself he "needed" a big 14 ft. diesel box truck to store all his stuff and cart it to the markets where he sells it. He is convinced that if he has as much as possible with him, he will increase his sales. I am dubious about that and look at it as a waste of money that we don't have right now. He bought it on E-bay for $4000 and used the home equity line of credit with the understanding that he would sell his motorcycle (that he never rides) come spring. The motorcycle is worth more and would more than cover the cost of the truck. Now he is back pedalling on this and I would like to kill her. I told him, either one of the two is sold or he will be sleeping in the truck. It is not that it is a bad idea in general, just really bad timing right now for what I consider a want, not a need. Unfortunately, he was raised by a mother who did not know the difference herself between wants and needs but that is a whole other story.

DH Can't Quit

February 12th, 2007 at 04:57 pm

My DH will be starting a new job next week. It is a bit scary since he will basically be in business for himself and pay is 100% commission. The plus side is, he has been in sales for years, they provide the qualified leads and it cannot be any worse than the car dealership where he is right now. I have to laugh at him though - cause as much as he hates the dealership, he cannot seem to quit. He had his interview Thurs. eve and was offered and accepted the job. Training starts next Mon. 2/19. His day off from the dealership was Fri. He goes in on Sat. fully intending to give notice, but they are busy and he cannot get a spare moment with the sales manager all day. So he puts in the full day. He went in again today and when I last spoke with him, he still had not been able to get a moment to speak with the manager. I told him to leave a note on the manager's desk saying "I quit. Call me if you have any questions." I am pretty much joking about that, but if things keep up, he just may end up doing it that way. I just find it very ironic considering that he has spent the last month complaining and wanting to quit and I told him he could not until he had something else lined up. Now that he does, he just can't seem to get anybodys attention to tell them that he is quitting.

Has Customer Service Died - I Must Have Missed the Funeral

February 6th, 2007 at 05:39 pm

I had an experience at work this morning that has left me convinced that customer service has died, and I just missed the funeral. To attempt to shorten a long story, I will summarize:
1) I place an order for a customer with a relatively new vendor ($10,000 or so) and ask when the customer can expect to receive shipment.
2)Delivery date comes and goes, no product. I call customer service who tells me I will have to track the shipment to find out.
3)Track the shipment and make sure it is delivered - two days late and forcing the postponement of a training on the product.
4) Customer notifies me on a Monday (shipment was delivered on Friday) that a very large item was missing. Call customer service, no help.
5) Get more info from the customer the next day and call back the vendor's customer service. They act surly when they realize that the error is on their part and they forgot to include the item in the shipment. I ask them if they can overnight ship - they tell me NO. I remind them that the mistake is theirs and after much excuse making, they agree curtly to ship it out that day for next day delivery.
5) Vendor's customer service calls me later that same day - tells me they do not have any of item in stock and it will go out by end of the week at the latest for delivery the following Monday (yesterday)
6) Customer notifies me this morning - still don't have the item. I call customer service who tells me that it actually did not ship out til yesterday and I again will have to track it.
7) I call shipper to track, find out it was never overnighted, is still halfway across the country and ask if there is any way, for any fee that we can get it to the customer today. They tell me no, but they will do their best to have it there tomorrow.
8) Vendor's customer service calls me and yells at me for posing as their rep (I did not) and authorizing extra fees (I did not). Makes a million excuses about why it was not shipped out last week etc. But in the end, THEY STILL DID NOTHING TO HELP CORRECT WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY THEIR ERROR. When I reminded the customer DIS-service rep of this, she just said, I am sorry you feel that way. She is lucky that she was hundreds of miles away from me at that moment cause if she was only across town, I would have had to go over there and strangle her. ARGH!!! She would not be worth going to jail for, but just the visual is making me feel better. I told her that I understood that everyone makes mistakes but people fall into two categories 1) they own up and do their best to correct the mistake and 2) they just make excuses and do not try to rememdy the situation. Unfortunately, her companies customer service staff seems to fall into the second category. Too bad, no more business with them if I have my way.

DH Has A Second Interview

February 6th, 2007 at 04:03 pm

DH played phone tag yesterday but finally connected today and has a second interview on Thursday. It is for a 100% commision sales job but it cannot possibly be any worse than the car dealership right now. He is miserable and wants to quit hourly but I keep reminding him that he has to have something else lined up. We aren't making ends meet as it is so he absolutely cannot quit with nothing to go to. I do feel his frustration though. I am not trying to knock car salespeople or car dealerships in general. It is just that the one where he is suffers from an extreme case of mismanagement. Nothing is as he was promised: he received almost no training/mentoring the entire first month he was there and he is talked down to and insulted (by managers) on a daily basis. For example, he is still on "training pay" (first three months) so he was told to let the other salespeople have customers so they could meet their monthly quota. This was on a Saturday when everyone else was already busy with customers. Okay, so he helps someone elses customer with a test drive etc. and makes money for them. Stuff like this and he still managed to sell 4 cars this month. They even took returning customers that he had dealt with the week before and put them with other sales people saying "You already had your chance with them." Then, at months end, he was asked "Why didn't you sell more cars?" WHAT!!!!!!!!! I can totally understand his frustration so keeping all fingers crossed here.

I've Been Avoiding...

February 5th, 2007 at 05:25 pm

I've been avoiding blogging. I have been busy, but if I really think about it, I have also been avoiding making any new entries for the past week or so. The reason is, I had to use our home equity line of credit to pay bills this month as our emergency savings that we had been on is just about tapped out. I am leaving a bit in there (about $1000) to cover anything unexpected like car repair, broken down appliance etc. The truth is, however, that until DH starts to make more at his job, or even better, lands a better job, we will be facing this every month. So, I have been avoiding blogging in order to avoid having to put this down in writing. DH went on an interview last Thurs. and is hoping for a call back today for a second interview. It is for a 100% commision sales job but that wouldn't be so bad as he has done sales of one sort of another for the last 20 years and the income potential is very good. I am keeping my fingers crossed but if it doesn't work out, I am sure something else will come along eventually. It is just that I am getting tired of waiting. Sometimes I feel like I want to throw an old fashioned lay-on-the-floor-and-kick-and-scream tantrum. Actually, I am now imagining the look on my kids faces if they saw good old Mom doing that - makes for a pretty funny visual.
Anyway, if I talk myself through it, I should be happy that we got this far on savings instead of feeling like a failure for having to take on new debt. We have the option of asking my parents for a loan but to me, that is the easy, irresponsible way out and I don't want to go that route if I do not have to. Instead, I will just keep on plugging away, trying to be frugal, and working on helping DH get a better job.

On a more positive note, I have been doing pretty well with my personal challenges. I cannot remember all the individual things I did to "do something different each day" but some were: cancelled my subscription to the local weekly paper (no coupons and I can always resubcribe when things are better), realized DUH I can also turn down the thermostat when we will be out all day and then back up when I get home (I had been turning it down at night already), repaired some clothes and sewed on buttons instead of just letting it go and eventually getting new, renewed library books on-line instead of forgetting and having to pay fines, put brake fluid in car when light went on instead of having to take in for service to pay for a five second job. On my treadmill challenge, I logged 17 days of exercise out of my goal of 20 days. I don't feel bad about this because I did not decide to do this challenge til the second week of Jan so I came pretty close. As a result, I also lost about 2 lbs this month. I will definitely make my goal for Feb. and work on my eating (really snacking) habits to try to lose even more. It is amazing what happens when you combine eating right with exercising. Unfortunately, I usually don't manage to combine the two but I am really going to work on it this month.