Monday, October 16, 2006

2am Answers Some Comments

Anais writes:
Have you asked to see your wife's credit card statements so you can analyze exactly what she was spending all that money on?
I looked at the complete list of charges for the past year. She used it in two different ways:
  1. To purchase more expensive items to avoid tapping into savings. This included our hotel for our vacation in May, tickets to a show during that vacation, large batches of digital photo reprints for scrapbooking, and a large wooden swing set for the kids.
  2. To purchase smaller items when she thought we might be short of funds in checking. This includes trips to grocery, fuel, fast food, and Starbucks.
When I talked to her on Saturday, her recollections of the expenditures reflected what I had seen.

My bigger worry is the eBay activity. Unlike the credit card, I don't have access to the PayPal account that she and her best friend share for their eBay sales.

When I asked her whether they were turning a profit, she was murky about her answer. Although she brags on occasion about making large sales on brand name children's clothing that they've bought at consignment shops, she said that she probably only has made $100.

She then added that they still had a large stockpile of clothing that needed to get listed and they would make more money. I'm not sure if they just keep plowing their proceeds right back into clothing sales or if it is a way of money laundering. I've wondered if her best friend might not be moving some of that PayPal money into an account to hide for my wife.

Drunken Housewife offered these ideas:
Cancel the cable. I don't have cable myself, so I'm not preaching what I don't practice.

Another thought: is it possible for you to get a second mortgage on your house & use that to pay off your other debts?
The cable television wouldn't be a problem for me since I watch very little television, but pushing for all out cancellation would be tantamount to asking for a divorce.

An IM exchange from this morning should give you an idea of how delicate a subject this is in our household.

Me (10/16/2006 12:01:04 PM): To cut back on our household costs, I've been thinking about switching from Comcast's internet service to DSL from AT&T. It would push the bill down from $45/month to $15-$20/month. We wouldn't have as much bandwidth, but you wouldn't notice anything from your end, unless you were doing hundreds of megs of photo uploads to Snapfish.
Wife (10/16/2006 12:02:15 PM): do we still have dvr
Me (10/16/2006 12:02:31 PM): DVR is independent of the cable modem service.
Me (10/16/2006 12:03:02 PM): I've also looked at what cable packages are offered below our current level.
Me (10/16/2006 12:03:19 PM): It's hard to do a side-by-side comparison.
Me (10/16/2006 12:07:18 PM): How much of the current cable service do you think you could do without?
Wife (10/16/2006 12:10:15 PM): how much are you talking
Me (10/16/2006 12:11:20 PM): I haven't gotten that far yet. I wanted to know what your comfort zone was before sifting through all the options in greater detail.
Wife (10/16/2006 12:11:21 PM): i don't think i can live without dvr anymore
Me (10/16/2006 12:11:34 PM): What about channel lineup?
Me (10/16/2006 12:11:57 PM): What channels do you watch regularly and would believe that you wouldn not want to give up watching?
Wife (10/16/2006 12:21:44 PM): i don't know right now, i have (my best friend's daughter) and she is being a toot crawling under the chairs and getting stuck
Me (10/16/2006 12:22:11 PM): And probably getting angry every time she does it.
Wife (10/16/2006 12:22:38 PM): and she is fast, i didn't even get turned around and sat down before she was stuck again
Me (10/16/2006 12:23:06 PM): Ech.
Me (10/16/2006 12:23:15 PM): Do you want some time to think about that?
Wife (10/16/2006 12:23:19 PM): yes please

The idea of a second mortgage is possible, but may not be as helpful as one might expect. We've lived in our house for six years, and the housing market in our area has been stagnant, so equity has been slow to accumulate. There was no real estate bubble in this area like there was in other metro areas. Combine a high foreclosure rate with newer subdivisions and you wind up with a housing glut that makes for a buyer's market. An elevated crime rate throught the county isn't helping things, either.
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