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Subject:  Such a Mess I've Made... Date:  12/6/2007  1:03 AM
Author:  nomoreplastic Number:  264808 of 309878

After a couple of months of lurking, I’m finally getting serious about my situation and I’ve taken the time and energy to look at the reality of the mess that I’ve created.

To begin, we probably make enough money to live very conservatively, but comfortably.
My DH takes home $2444 biweekly, I make $1000 per month. We have teen daughters, 14 and 16, and we homeschool, which in our case means that the oldest takes classes at the local community college, the younger one works independently on her work at home or we go to various activities that we’re involved with. I also have an art-related business website and a studio in my basement, where I create. I have been selling mass-produced work for the last 3 years, and now, I’m just about at the point where my personal work is ready to sell and I’m starting to do so, with the goal of selling my own work exclusively. (I’m purposely avoiding talking about exactly what I create on purpose to preserve my anonymity). The business has never really done great, and unless my own work can sell as it should, I’ve resolved to put it to bed and continue my work as a hobbiest rather than as a business. I have more than adequate amounts of supplies, and my website is paid for the next year, so there should be minimal costs to going this route, and most recently, I’ve been paying for those costs by liquidating my mass produced stock. We’re talking less than $100 per month.

My $1000 per month is from a job I have as an event planner for a small non-profit organization. As the event is annual, the work goes in cycles, and for the most part, it is more of a labor of love; I’m sure I could make more working for a different type of organization, however, this situation allows me to be with my girls for a couple more years, and also to pursue my art so that it might be more profitable later on. The biggest problem I'm having with this job is that they are miserably inconsistant with paying me on time.

I realize that some of you will look at my situation and think that I should just go get a job and throw the kids in high school. I AM planning on getting a full time grown up job (unless the art takes off) as soon as the 14 year old is just a bit older. If things get truly dire, I’m not above taking a shortterm seasonal job but it’s not my first option at this time.

Okay, so now for the part, my debt and cash flow situation.

My total credit card debt is $21,431.03. I have 2 cars, one with $3073 owed, and the other a little under $12K. Both are modest cars, no SUVs or fancy stuff. I have a mortgage, that is around $262K, house value even with the crazy market is around $400K. We live pretty simply, no RVs, boats, and we even have a second hand tv that we got for free after the old one died. We do have our computers, which the girls need for schoolwork, and I need for my work. Our other assets are my studio equipment, not super high end, valued around $2000, and my husband’s musical equipment (he is in a band and is just starting to gig regularly), value is about $3000, again, nothing really high end, but good for performing. The only other thing of value is a motorcycle, worth about $3000, which he uses to commute to work in good weather and parting with it is non-negotiable (I’d happily dump it!)

In the last year, we seemed to fall apart financially. I’m still trying to figure out exactly why, but what I’ve pretty much figured out from looking at all of our statements, is that I tend to overspend because I keep figures in my head and that leads to Peter and Paul syndrome, and if it’s really out of control, add in overdraft, overl