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Archive for April, 2008

Crazy Garage Door Opener

April 26th, 2008 at 07:53 pm

I spent $158.00 for a service call for the garage door. I came home last night from my weekly beauty treat (using my personal allowance budget) and the garage door didn't want to electronically close. I had to close it manually. DH checked it out and he couldn't fix it. Which meant that we had to make service call. The garage repairman came and made a few minor adjustments that took only 5 minutes maximum. Then promptly gave us a bill for $158.00 ($50 emergency service call and $108 repair).

I am proud that my family is doing our civic duty to stimulate the U.S. economy. Yeesh!!! $158 for a garage door service repair! DH and I must have sucker written on our foreheads!!

Update on Identity Theft

April 24th, 2008 at 12:21 am

Okay, here is the latest on my BIL's identity theft problem. BIL and his wife received good news about their pending home foreclosure. It was found that the bank loan documents containing the wife's SSN was incorrectly entered. In other words the bank screwed up and used my SIL's identity info by mistake for another individual with the same first and last name with the exception of a different middle name. We still do not understand how this could have happen without the proper checks and balances. Truly scary!!

The bank made formal apologies to BIL and will pay the cost of his legal and court fees. Needless to say that he and his wife are still traumatized by this major mistake that almost cost him the lost of their home.

Morale to this story. Check your credit report a least once a year for discrepancies that could impact your credit. My BIL is now a convert on protecting family's information and finances. Can I get an Amen!

Counting Change

April 12th, 2008 at 03:06 pm

I got up at 5:30 today to go for a morning run with my running group. We are preparing for a 5K in June. Very lively and fun group! The pace was perfect for a 2 mile run. No one fell out due to lack of oxygen. There was intense discussions about popping Advil after our run.

I am finally going to cash in our change jar at the bank for our quarterly treat. We have been collecting our change for the past 4 months. It looks like we have at least $20 - $30! I plan to use it for a date with DH. We can get discount movie tickets (AMC, Regal or Lowes movie theatre chains) from the military base, get an inexpensive meal (using coupons) at a local restaurant or go out for a Sunday morning coffee at Starbucks after a long walk. I am leaning toward the Sunday morning coffee (much more intimate and we get to exercise).

My BIL#2 is still working to resolve his ID theft drama. The FBI has spoke to him and his wife yesterday. He also working to retrieve the documents on the HELOC (obtained by identity theft using BIL#2 wife info) from Wells Fargo with his lawyer. It looks like some progress with this disaster.

Identity Theft!!!!!!

April 10th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

We received a call from my SIL#1 about my BIL#2 last night. BIL#2 notices a storage unit being delivered to his Detroit home one morning (last week). He runs out to ask why was this storage unit being delivered in front of his yard. He was told by a bank representative that the storage unit was for my BIL#2 personal belongings. His house was being foreclosed. This was a major shock because he pays his mortgage with an extra principal payment a month ahead!

He contacted his church's lawyer who investigated the foreclosure. The lawyer with a church member who is realtor pulled up information on the home. It was found that the house had a $120,000.00 equity line of credit fraudently taken out in 2006 with a second financial institution (Wells Fargo)! Someone or a group of theives (mortgage officer, finance company, title company and financial institution) stole his wife's identity! (The house is in her name.) She and he are of course are angry, violated and totally devasted!

They went to court yesterday and the judge gave them two weeks to prove that this was an identity theft case. BIL#2 has reported this to the police, FBI, his original mortgage company, Wells Fargo, and all 3 credit bureaus. This is a financial nightmare with the potential of losing their home!! They owned their home for over 10 years.

I did some investigation and found that this is the common incident in Detroit. It is also spreading throughout the United States. This is an easy white collar crime with minimal sentencing of 3 years maximum jail time. This is why so many criminals are switching from selling drugs because of the easy money without the lengthy jail time if they get caught. It is very easy to be a mortgage officer in Michigan. This is due to no state or federal oversight of the lending industry. There are no criminal background checks conducted on Michigan's lenders.

Yes, I know that they could have avoided this disaster early if they were vigilantly checking their credit histories with all three credit bureaus. But, they are like a majority of Americans who are God fearing, hard working, pay their bills on time and trying to better their lives for their two young sons. My BIL#2 and wife didn't deserve this. My DH's family are pooling their money together to help them pay for a lawyer to get them out of this mess.

The positive side of this was that my DH finally acknowledged that my persistent checking our credit histories (even our sons) was not a waste of money. He gave me a hug and thanked me! I am really so sad and angry this happened to my BIL#2.

DS #1 Independence

April 8th, 2008 at 12:30 am

One of my reasons on starting this blog is my DS#1 progress with financial independence. He is gainfully employed part time college sophomore living at home. He is responsible for paying for his books, 25% of his tution, car insurance, gas, misc. expenses and a nominal fee for rent. DH and I came to a conclusion that paying for rent is important to his financial development. He asked me for help with developing a budget for living on his own after he graduates in two years. Well, after I pick up my mouth off the floor. We are developing a plan on how much he needs to save. He is now researching on how much a studio apartment or sharing an apartment with a roommate would cost. He is also looking to start buying furniture via Craiglist, store and yard sales. His first purchase will be a new mattress at the end of this month (he decided he wanted to buy a full size vice queen because he wanted to stay within a $200 budget). We also discussed that he needed to establish a credit history to apply for apartments. After the bank took out $60 in overdraft fees the young man is now in control of his debit card. He wants to learn the proper way of handling credit. DH feels that we should to teach DS#1 how to use credit properly but also show how it can be mismanaged. It's great that DS#1 is receptive to managing money. I know he will be able to accomplish his goals!

Excess Cash

April 5th, 2008 at 07:56 pm

Hurray!! I went through our March budget and noted that we are on budget! We were $125 under budget!! $50 extra to 0% credit card and $75 to short term emergency fund.

BOA Home Equity Line Suspension

April 5th, 2008 at 12:16 am

We received a letter yesterday from BOA stating that our equity line of credit was suspended due to declining home values in our community. It's funny, we never used our equity line of credit! We pay our mortgage one month ahead and put extra for the principal. I have been using all of the helpful advice from this pf blog and pf books to prepare our family finances. We saved to build our patio and garage storage units. We are saving for new carpets and wood floors. We are also in process of saving for our house emergency fund. At first I was bothered by BOA sudden suspension announcement. But, my DH reminded me that a lot of people have been using their home equity like piggy banks. He noted that we took the time to educated ourselves on not using our home equity. He also stated that we are not upside down on our mortgage and we are employed. Many folks are not as lucky and are going through a rough period. I still feel a little po with BOA but DH is right. He is a laid back guy whose approach about taking life as it comes balances my anxieties. I really do feel that we are better prepared just in case Murphy happens.