Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Maid no more

You remember that our maid was supposed to leave on Dec 31st but then she came back.
Well, eventually as with most maids, she and my wife started having clashes and both started hinting their discomfort with the other. So last week the maid left our house.
This means several changes. Wife now has to wash, clean and cook. So she's asking me to do more around the house and to dirty less clothes. She's also requested a washing machine which was already in my plans but will have to be bought sooner than I had planned.
My wife can't handle being alone too well. Last week the day after the maid left she was alone at home during most of the day until our daughters came home. She called me crying that she was feeling anxious and wanted me to drive her to a town where she has friends. I tried to reason with her that it was the anexiety kicking in and to take the pills she and I take for that (long story, good for another post). She listened but did her own thing and drove about 50kms and came back at midnight.
This weeks she has handled it better. She's talking on the phone and the cellphone more now. At least the cellphone has a limit but she's reaching it every month about 5 days before the end of the billing cycle. She used to call the maid a lot when the maid was on her days off so hopefully this month she will not reach the limit.
My daughters are pitching in more now in washing clothes and dishes and cleaning the house.
I'm not taking food from home for lunch. She doesn't get up early enough to cook lunch for me to take to work. Also she wants me to come home for lunch to feel less lonely. So that means I will spend more fuel.
On the other hand with not having to pay,house, and feed a fifth (sometimes a sixth) person, there is some savings there.
So I'll keep you posted how that goes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

tweeting on my blog

That sounds really funny to me but it's technically true.
On the right side you can see my mini updates (what others call tweets) to my tweeter feed. Hopefully this will give more sense to my blog posts.
I like twitter because there isn't much tweaking around in the design (colors, fonts, etc). I don't like that I can't send tweets from my cellphone as SMSs.
wow, a short post on a free blog

Loan with Bac Bamer

I have a few other statements and i'm going to write them here just to put the numbers up on the blog.
I have a loan with Bac-Bamer that was actually re-financing some older credit card debt to a lower rate. I actually don't remember what payment number it is or the loan term. The statement that I get looks a lot like a credit card statement except that the rates are much lower.
Starting balance: L 124,067.81 (on March 7th)
Total Paid: L 10,572.00
Interest this month: 3,833.60
Ending balance: 117,329.41
Minimum Payment: L.5,724 (You can notice that last month I was so late that two payments got rolled into one).
Payment due on: April 22 2009
Cutoff date: May 7th 2009
I was expecting my payment from my morning job last week. However my boss there had forgotten to send my invoice to the accounting department and it wasn't until I called about it that I found that out. he apologized and set it forward on thrusday of last week. The payment arrived today and since it is credited to my Bac-Bamer dollar account I went online and paid the minimum (can't actually pay more on this one since it's a loan).
Right now i'm transfering money from my dollar account to my lempira account to go pay my HSBC credit card before they start calling me. This time they only called me twice for this card but it was because my boss delayed my payment. I really believe it was an honest mistake on his part. Although I did tease him a bit telling him that I would have to skip on things like food and electricity this week. He took it well and we both had a good laugh.
Seriously though it did put a dent in my plans because I got those calls that was trying to avoid. As we say in spanish "me gane las llamadas de gratis"..or I won those calls for free.
I hope to be posting other credit cards soon, statements are arriving quickly.
I'm glad this blog is free

Sunday, April 26, 2009

follow my blog on twitter

Well.. i've been using twitter for a while, I find it so easy to use. No formatting, no colors to choose, just text , and short text , hit send and boom. It's posted.
I've been busy all week with my US job boss here in Honduras! so I haven't had time to write about my latest credit card statements and the unfortunate indiced that my US boss forgot to send my April 15th invoice for payment until last thursday (23) almost a whole week after.
One good note. The collecting calls are not stopping but at least they are more gentle now, just reminding me of a payment due in the future.
Follow my twittering on http://twitter.com/bronderblazer . I do promise I'm not going to set up a myspace or facebook thing. Takes too much time.
Well at least twitter and this blog is free.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lets se some numbers

Before I forget to put these numbers on the side bar i'm just going to write them up here so you can all see them.
Today I got my credit card statement for my Visa Platinum from Bac-Bamer
Previous Balance (march):
lps 101,975.94
I paid 6,111.00 lps and $333.00
I was charged $253 for the payment #35 of 36 (only one more to go!! )
Interest for Lempiras was Lps 4,471.05
Interest for Dollars was $ 31.32
Current Balance (April)
lps: 100,335.99
$ $878.36
Minimum Payment:
lps 6,068.00
$ 334.00
So there you go. I'll be posting the other ones when I get their statements.
Thank goodness that this blog is free.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just how much money do I owe ?

I know a lot of you want to know the updated numbers of how much money I owe. So do I. Actually I know some numbers because I can go online on my Credomatic Cards and loan and get the updated number right away.
However for my Promerica, HSBC and Citibank cards I don't have that ability. Signing up for it is such a hassle for cards that I'm planning on giving up after paying that I just stick with the monthly statement.
On all of those cards on each payment some money goes to interest and some goes to capital. Each money it varies.
If you see at the bottom of my blog there is a test slider that could help keep track of a debt payment. However it's difficult to use if you don't know how much of the payment went to actually lowering the debt. However I think one can input the new balance and have the slider figure out where it should go.
SO, How do you think I should keep track of my debt:
- One big number for all the money I owe
- Numerically stating the dollar or lempira balance on each card.
- Slider for all the money I owe
- Individual sliders for each card
Where should I put the value ? should I put it on a post or on a side bar ? at the top or at the bottom ?
I appreciate the creativity of your comments so I figure it was good to know how you wanted to see how much I owe.
your advice, although free, is priceless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week Batman!

Well, it's Easter Sunday and the Holy week is almost over. I am very happy.
My girls were off school all week. Wife was off classes too. I was off work starting on Wednesday.
They were home all day and weather was hot so it means that they wanted to go out. Going out usually means spending money, very usually.
I think giving my friend my debit card to my emergency fund worked well because it's untouched even though I had only about 400 lps available at the start of the week, and we went to Amapala island on the pacific and ate out three meals between friday and today.
The trick was that my wife got paid for some of her "secret customer" visits that she did way back in december. She got paid monday of Holy week so she paid for most of the expenses for the Amapala trip. I only paid for the fuel. I really didn't want to go but if I didn't go the girls would have had trouble going on just my wife's friend's car all in there.
She also paid for the meals out. She protested that I must have some money somewhere but I showed her my bank balance and my wallet and she reluctantly helped to pay for stuff and for fuel for all the errands she did.
I did have to use my credit card today twice to pay for one meal (200lps) and fuel (250lps). I know i'm getting paid tomorrow on both jobs so I will put 500lps back into that credit card tomorrow.
Oh I remember that I also used it to buy a a cake for my oldest daughter since this week was also her birthday. She didn't want much for her bday (which relieved me a lot), but her mom got her new bed clothes (if that's the right word in english). More money to put back on the credit card. L700 now.
I had dreaded Holy week for a long time. It always means spending and spending. Paying for parking, paying for eating out, paying for fuel, entrance to parks, paying for suntan (300lps!!!) , paying for bathing suits. In my mind holidays equal spending and with holy week being, well, a whole week it's the mother of all spending pitfalls during the year. Christmas and New Year are close but one get's an extra month pay at the start of December so that helps with the spending.
I'm so really glad that holy week is over and i'm glad that my daughter was ok with me just getting her a cake on her bday. Oh well I did remind her about the Wii so I guess that should count as a birthday gift.
I'm so glad that regular weeks are back. Tuesday there is a free air show in Tegucigalpa. The key words for me are "free" and "air show". The Brazilian Air Force acrobatic team is doing a performance April 14th (Dia de la Raza) at 2pm at the Honduran Air Force base across from Toncontin airport. Will write on how that goes.
Is faith free? This blog is.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Maxed Out

One comment left in one of my previous posts suggested that I watch the documentary "Maxed Out".
Well I just watch about the last half of it I think, on Showtime. It's just sobbering.
Not only because so many Americans owe so much money as I do, but that many more owe more money!
Also the credit card practices make it so easy for people to be tempted. Even dead people get credit card applications!
Something that struck me even more was that the documentary makers were pointing out that credit card companies charge 30 to 45% interest rates on credit cards for those high-risk customers, and that at those rates they would never be able to repay their debt.
So I wonder what are my chances of paying off all the money I owe if my interest rates START at 55% or so. I imagine that I'm still a regular customer to my credit cards since I'm staying on schedule and are not so far behind. It drives more the point that I have to pay off those high interest credit cards first or somehow get that debt into a lower rate.
I didn't get to see the whole documentary, but I saw Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman clips there. At least one clip of Suze was put on a negative way. She was saying that the most important part of your credit report is the FICO score (whatever that is). It was then followed by a statement that the makes of the FICO score are her biggest sponsors. Then it was said that the FICO score formula is a secret and that most credit reports have a lot of errors on them. Errors that credit companies don't want to fix because it goes against them.
I didn't see anything bad about Dave Ramsey, but I didn't see the whole documentary. So far i've seen him on TV while I was in the US and his advice made sense to me.
On the other hand , VIP customers like judges, congressman and actors do get their credit reports 100% accurate and with no errors. Someone handles their reports and cleans them up so as not to have trouble with them because if they did they would draw attention to the errors in the current situation.
I was surprised at the number of people that committed suicide pressured by their debt. And how others were considering it. I thought bankrupcy in the US would be a good way to end that and start over, get a second chance.
I wish I could turn the risk piramid over and give people a chance to pay their principal without paying so much interest. Just like on the company coop where our interest rate is 12% and at the end of the year we give almost half of those interest back as savings into their own funds. It's bad enough to owe a lot of money to then be tricked again by some other company into turning their debt over to them only to find out you are going to end up paying more for it than originally. Frankly getting out of debt requires a lot of things to happen right.
I also noticed just how many people say "I don't know how I got into this". I think we all suffer from credit memory loss when we are swiping the plastic, and since the bill comes a month later we have long ago forgotten about it. That just shows how those purchases really don't fill any needs, just wants. Sure there are times when you really use it for emergencies, but I saw people doing big garage sales getting rid of plates and other "wants" that they had accumulated over the time.
Well, the show was very interesting. I hope to see it complete soon. This blog is free.