Archive for finances

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich charged with corruption

Posted in 1, Barack Obama, economy, news, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2008 by bloggingmom67

Dear Illinois Gov.:

Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich

 

What were you thinking? Duh? I mean really. You’re accused of going on a corruption spree that included attempts to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama.

OK, what exactly were you thinking? Did you think you were Boss Tweed of the days when Tammany Hall controlled New York City politics with an iron hand (and a lot of corruption)?  Well, you missed that era by nearly 100 years.

I guess I understand greed, but I don’t understand why people who try to sell Senate seats think they won’t get caught. If you did this, I’m glad you were charged, and I hope you’re punished.

Rod — can I call you Rod? — do you see our nation is facing one of its largest challenges? The economy is in shambles. We are in the midst of a prolonged recession that’s likely to get worse before it improves, according to Obama.

And — if what you’re accused of is true — you were worried only about lining your own pockets? Shame on you. Really.

bitchy mommy

Dear New York state: Why spend $21,000 on a rug during a recession?

Posted in 1, economy, news, Politics, Ranting with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by bloggingmom67

Here’s yet another example of stupid governmental decisions that piss me off. Someone in state government made the ill-advised decision to purchase a $21,000 custom-stitched, antique Turkish carpet for the Executive Mansion?

Now, granted, the rug was purchased in July, before all of us fully got that our economy was going down the toilet. But at that point, Gov. David Paterson was already making a round of cuts to the current budget — taking away money that was already promised.

Sure things got worse and worse and worse. (I’d like to hope the purchase wouldn’t be made now, but I can’t say I’m confident of that.)

Also, I’m sure the governor himself knew nothing of the purchase — or at least I hope not. But the thing with being in charge, you get blamed whether it’s your fault or not. (You also get credit for what your underlings do well, so it all evens out.)

Why does this rug thing bug me so much? Because, like the big three automakers swooping in a corporate jets asking for a handout from taxpayers, it belies the message we keep getting from politicians and corporate leaders. Sorry, we can’t fun programs for early education or schools because we don’t have the cash. Hey, we need money to keep our business afloat but we’re not willing to drop our standard of living one bit in the meantime. (Yes, I realize the big three changed their tune eventually but only after being publicly flogged.)

But we can go buy a rug that’s more expensive than me, you or most people we know would ever be able to spend. (And, yes, I get that in the state’s massive budget $21,000 is like a couple hundred bucks in mine.)

Since the economy got bumpy, my husband and I have really cut our spending. (I know that adds to the economic malaise, but we’re worried we might not have secure jobs.) We’ve stopped eating out, except very infrequently. I’ve cut back on buying coffee; I fired the cleaning lady and started dyeing my own hair. These are all small “nickel-and-dime” type of savings.

But the thing is: True savings comes from these nickel-and-dime savings. Sure, I could save lots of money if I stopped paying my biggest bill — my mortgage, but I’d also be out on the street. So the only way most people can really trim their own costs is by doing a lot of little things that add up. Somehow government doesn’t seem to get this, or at least it seems that way. Instead, they try to cut big chunks out of the budget, but that doesn’t work. The state still needs to function even as it trims costs.

Here’s my message for the state (and federal) government: Take a cue from the Kit Kittredge movie, a film based on an American Girl doll character that is set during the Great Depression: Use it up; wear it out; do without. That’s what I’m trying to do.

bitchy mommy

I’m usually so organized, but I really screwed up

Posted in Family, Ranting, relationships with tags , , on October 16, 2008 by bloggingmom67

So the hubby takes me to lunch today — Indian food, my favorite. We go to pay, and our debit card gets declined. This raises an eyebrow because it’s payday, so our account should be flush. And I’m the super organized, anal retentive, neurotic type who budgets her checkbook down to the penny.

Everything we spend – a withdrawal from the ATM, a $3 latte at the grocery store, a $60 fill up of gas — gets recorded and deducted.

So I call the bank, reach a customer service rep in, you guessed it, India (my bank outsources) who is very sweet and explains I’m overdrawn $800. That’s not possible, I think.

That’s not just a mathematical error. That’s a spouse with a hidden — but sudden — gambling addiction or who just started feathering a new love nest. Or we’re get ripped off by someone who stole our bank card number.

So I rush off to visit my local branch and ask for a recent statement. Then I discover my problem — it’s me. I screwed up. Yes, me — the type-A perfect person who never screws up.

We have two checking accounts: One is for the major bills (mortgage, car payment, child care); the other is for the rest, smaller bills, everyday expenses. We do this so we always know the big bills are taken care.

What happened was this: I was out of checks for the “big bill account,” so I got a new set of checks from our box of checks and put it in my checkbook. But I mistakenly grabbed checks from the other account. So for the past two months, I’ve been writing checks, thinking they were from account A, but they were really from account B.

At first, we had enough money in account B to cover all this, so I didn’t notice. Until it got up to $4,000 in bills I had paid with account B, thinking it was A.  So we had the money, just in a different account.

Totally confused? Doesn’t matter. I figured out the mess and moved money around to make it all better. But it makes wonder: What’s the point of being a fastidious crazy, neurotic if I’m still going to screw up? 

The bright side: My hubby, the sweetheart, wasn’t fazed. “Oh, OK,” he says. Got to love that.

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