Monday, May 10, 2010

Damage Control…

Chitown in doing damage control. I took a huge financial hit this month. I am so overwhelmed with my life that I am just taking care of stuff and dealing with it later. I know...bad planning and bad move.

Besides being under the weather and having little to no energy myself, my mother is half losing her mind with having to take care of my grandmother and father. This weekend, she completely lost it about Mother’s Day because she couldn’t make a decision. To top things off, my Uncle flew in to stay with my parents so he could visit with my grandmother on Mother’s Day. So, there was yet another person for my mom to take care of. Needless to say, it got to a point where my sister and I needed take the entire thing out of her hands because she couldn’t make another decision or do anything more.

We were combining Mother’s Day with my little cousin’s birthday celebration since he turns 10 today and everyone would be together. So, the whole day cost me between $300-$400 to plan a Mother’s Day/ Birthday dinner for 12 people and get gifts. I still have to tally the entire damage. My Mom usually takes care of everything and we just show up. So the money she and my dad gave me to fix my car pretty much went to pay for Sunday.

It’s been a mess. I took my car into the shop on Saturday for a second opinion on the air conditioner and I will need to replace the A/C lines. The inspection cost me $50. The shop is going to call me this morning with repair cost since the Nissan part shop was closed on Saturday.

I am traveling to Tennessee on Thursday for a graduation and I have a wedding to attend here in Chicago on Sunday. I tried going to look for a single dress to wear to both events because I have nothing to wear. NOTHING!!! I found a dress in Macys but it cost me about $80. The graduation present cost me $100. The graduation is for my boyfriend’s twin sisters. I went in with my boyfriend and got them gift certificates so they can get some work clothes to start their new life in the “real world.” My boyfriend’s parents rented a huge cabin so we are staying with them. I went in an extra $25 each for the gifts since their parents are paying for our accommodations. Good luck kiddos…the real world sucks.

Anyway, the wedding is on Sunday and I will be writing a check for that too. My boyfriend is attending with me so I need to decide on an appropriate amount. Proper etiquette dictates that I cover the cost of our plates and give a gift on top of that amount. They are having the wedding at a golf club but I don’t think the cost per plate it too high…something around $65/ person. I remember her saying something about the reception costing close to $4,000 and she is only inviting 62 people so that is about $65/person.

My net worth is going to take a hit this month, especially with the market down too. I haven’t had time to tally everything and I will know more once they call me with the cost of the car repair. Once the graduation, wedding and car situation is over…I will pretty much be done spending money for the month and my Emergency fund will hover around $1,200. I hope!

I swear, most days I just want to throw up the white flag and stop trying. I know I could be making smarter and better decisions but I feel like I am just going with the flow.


Anonymous said...


Hang in there! The damage is the damage and it is done. Keep on trying. Do not, I repeat, do not break down and spend any more than you have to this month.

Do the calculations as soon as possible. Then you know what the damage actually is. And start to plan again! Getting rid of the debt monkey is HARD! Maybe give yourself an hour/day/whatever to get back on your feet - but don't take too long.

You will begin to realize this is part of life! And when you are out of debt (or have it more under control), these kind of events won't throw you for a loop. It will happen! DO NOT GIVE UP!

I have been there! It is hard!


Anonymous said...

I thought the b/f was out of the pic.. And why r u paying for some of his sisters' presents? Is he paying for his plate at the wedding on Sunday?

Aaren said...

Okay, b/f is back in the pic right? Remember one thing: going with the flow can be an expensive proposition. Knowing what's EXPECTED of you and what you can actually do are two different things, and sometimes choices have to be made. You've made those choices this month, but don't forget that every time you choose to do some for "etiquette's sake", or whatever rationale you give it, you've made that choice.

Anonymous said...

Ive said it before and I'll say it again convenience and obligation will drain your wallett, and covernig ones plate and then something on top?? I know thats what is expected but, but, come on, isnt your presence at a wedding more important than than the presents you take?? Do people really only invite people to weddings so that their guests can pay for their meals and buy them a present?

Chitown said...

Okay guys...I hear you but what SHOULD I have done?1?!? I am honest here about what's going on in my life and my spending.

Yes the boyfriend is back in the picture and the graduation is for his twin sisters. I agreed to go months before the two day break up at the beginning of April.

So...what would you have done about:

The wedding?

Mother's Day?

The graduation?

The car repairs?

velvet jones said...

The wedding--My cousin's wedding was a couple weeks ago. I gave the couple $50 in cash. I didn't take into consideration the cost for the couple of having me there. Personally, I believe it's tacky to expect your guests to help cover costs (I'm giving some side-eye over how this person told you how much they are paying. Boo to that!). Technically, you have up to a year to gift the couple. So you could have kept the cash for yourself and waiting 6 months to a year to give the couple a gift with the idea that your finances will hopefully stabilize by then, but give you some breathing room right now. The cost of the wedding is not, and should not, be concern nor burden to the guest.

Mother's Day--I got my mom a bouquet of flowers for about $50. The most expensive $50 I spent because I don't think she really appreciated it. Next year it will be a card and $25 gift cert. to her fave resto. For you? I don't believe you should have spent that much money for a birthday/mother's day thing. I believe $100 for mommy-daughter mani while one sister helps out taking care of grandma and dad (then switch off so the other sister could get some mom time) would have been less expensive and also get your mom out of the house for a breather. Oh...random...the uncle came to visit his mom, but he did actually help out, right? Why would it be your mother's responsibility to take care of him? I'm confused by that. My mindset would be "She's your mother too. Be here to visit and help, but don't think I'm here to entertain you. Work it out."

The graduation--I'm so glad everyone else brought up the BF being back in the picture! I thought I was the only one wondering about that. :) Since the BF knows that you are struggling financially and...AND he's the one that broke it off with you (right? lemme know if I'm wrong), it would have been ok to completely bow-out of the gifting sitch. If you have a relationship with these girls, a personal gift of some sort (maybe a personal finance book for recent grads and a gift cert. to Jewel ;-D) personally from YOU, not both you and the BF, would have been cool. I'm actually ok with $50 per twin, but not the extra $25 each. I'd love an extra post on the BF being back on the scene. Am I being too nosey? Maybe, but don't hate because I'm honest and own my nosiness!

The car repairs--Not must you can do about that. You did your research and it is what it is. It's what emergency funds are for.

My apologies to you if this comment comes off testy. It's not towards you at ALL. I have a tremendous amount of compassion and sympathy for you, your family, and your whole situation. I hate to see you struggle kid. : /

Chitown said...

Hi Velvet Jones!!!

No apologies here. I appreciate the comments and the honest feedback.


I never heard that philosophy before about not needing to cover your plate and having more time after the wedding to get a gift.

The wedding is for a very good friend so I told her I would have to talk to her one day about weddings, budgeting and expenses and that's when she told me about what she is spending on the reception. She just told me to be helpful so to speak.

I am going to give some more thought about the amount of the gift. The BF is not going to be covering his plate. Since he's my guest, I didn't even think about asking him. Just like he didn't ask me when I attended a wedding with him.

LOL...being nosey is not bad in my opinion. I put it out there so I will do a small seperate post about the BF and what happened. =)

Mother's Day:

My Uncle and my Aunt never help my Mother with anything!!! I think my parents were even hoping to get out and spend some time together with him being in town and staying at the house. But...he wasn't going to take her to the bathroom and clean her up afterwards. Nope...that's for my mother to do. Useless!!! He thinks she should put her into a home and doesn't understand how she took care of her this long. How??? She is a true Angel.

Mother's Day is always a celebration a my parent's house and my Mom hoped to make it special since it may be my grandmother's last Mother's Day. She just kind of broke under the pressure but the plan had already been set so my sister and I took up the reigns and tried to make it nice for everyone. It just cost more money than planned but my Mom was very thankful and it was exactly what she wanted. I haven't been able to have lunch with my Mom for almost a year since she can barely leave the house for any stretch of time on the weekends. She has a little help during the week when someone comes in for 4 hours, 3 times a week.


I did $50 per twin. I was thinking to do just $25 per twin. The total cost was $100 for the graduation gifts.

Car Repairs:

As of tomorrow, I will have gotten everything fixed but the fog light. I am putting that $300 job off for a while.