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Fulminating Fanfolk Alert: I was wondering...

Non-financial blog post wondering: Any fanfolk skitter past this blog?

I have been around lo, these many and many years, so I remember pre-Internet, pre-Google, when fandom was scarce and difficult and derided. E! didn't always cover the San Diego Comic Con, y'all. Our need to find like minds to obsess with us over our fringe passions helped build the Internet, and the Internet helped make our obsessions mainstream. But mainstream isn't universal, not for any obsession, and so there's still a majority, "outside" world that's, at best, kindly uninterested.

I have sort of an ill-footing boot in each world. I have tremendous affection for the various alternate realities I fan for; I think the energy of Cons can be fantastic; I'm in awe of your bad cosplay self and the talent and ingenuity you bring to your creations; I find forums let me appreciate these realities anew by bringing into focus the details and connections I somehow missed; and sometimes -- …
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Numbers Numbers Numbers Numb --

So, in the last two months, we've paid down over $4,000 in credit card debt. Check it out! --

CreditorInterest RateOwedAmazon Store26.49%-731.24JetBlue22.24%-333.82Chase Visa22.24%0.00Chase Amazon Prime18.99%0.00Barnes and Noble16.24%0.86Chase Slate13.74%0.00Chase Freedom12.74%-454.26CU Signature Visa 211.24%-18.85Bank A Signature Visa11.15%0.00HELOC8.50%-87,190.28CU Signature Visa 18.40%-762.99Car loan2.90%-44,762.00Bank A Balance Transfer0.00%-5,929.57BankAmericard Platinum0.00%0.00BestBuy0.00%-44.20Citi Diamond Preferred0.00%-0.00CreditFirst (Firestone)0.00%-75.38Lowe's0.00%62.52Total CC Debt-8,286.93All Debt-140,239.21

Yay us!

Oh, and also (cough, cough), we added almost $45,000 in vehicle debt. Sigh.

We haven't completely lost our minds. The interest-charging credit cards are being used for convenience and points, and are paid off at the end of the month.

The focus for the rest of 2019 will be:
Keep paying off the interest-charging cards as they're used.
Spouse disli…

We bought a Zoom

Or that's what I'm calling it, anyway.  Because EVs do indeed zoom.

Yes, we financed a new car, a thing I thought I would never do. But the cost of interest over the next five years -- the life of the loan -- is less than a third of what we've spent on gas in the last five years.  Even after we factor in the cost of charging the vehicle, estimated electricity cost + interest is less than half of gas spending in the last five years.

Maintenance/repairs would go down anyway with a new car -- but without a gas engine, we shouldn't have to maintain anything but the brakes and tires over the first five years. (And with regenerative braking, even the brakes get less use, and thus less-frequent replacements, than with a gas engine.) Our battery is covered for life -- so long as we own the car, they'll replace the battery if there are issues, including just age.

Overall, with the tax incentives, I believe we're paying about what we'd pay for a certified pre-owned v…

To EV, or not to EV?

It's time.

Our champion workhorse of a vehicle needs to be replaced.

In the last sixteen months, we've averaged over $300 a month on repairs. The latest system to go wobbly is the transmission, notoriously expensive to repair/replace, and the odometer passed 200,000 miles last month. So it's time. And expected.

But circumstances have changed.

My original plan, dating back over a decade, was to replace this vehicle with another certified pre-owned, low-mileage (under 20k), high-reliability car.  Heck, my original original plan was to be able to purchase said replacement outright, and we had saved about $4,000 toward that goal when we fell into The Trough of Loss and Despair and Immense Financial Obligation, five years ago, which swallowed that $4,000 whole (and kept going).

Back then, Spouse and I sat in offices all day, Spouse commuted by train, and my round-trip for work was under 30 miles. In an average week, our mileage was under 200. Now, Spouse drives to client sites …

Lamentations, Irritations, Finances, Etc. (again)

The post from two weeks ago was actually written late October/early November. Blur the footage to simulate time zooming ahead three months and here we are in  mid-February. And where is "here", exactly?

Well, here are the end-of-January numbers:

CreditorInterest RateOwedAmazon Store26.49%0.00JetBlue22.24%0.00Chase Visa22.24%0.00Chase Amazon Prime18.99%0.00Barnes and Noble16.24%0.00Chase Slate13.74%0.00Chase Freedom12.74%-209.89CU Signature Visa 211.24%0.00Bank A Signature Visa11.15%0.00CU Signature Visa 18.40%-4,176.45HELOC8.40%-87,619.58Bank A Balance Transfer0.00%-7,597.33BankAmericard Platinum0.00%-0.00BestBuy0.00%-204.20Citi Diamond Preferred0.00%-0.00CreditFirst (Firestone)0.00%-425.38Lowe's0.00%-27.48Total CC Debt-12,640.73All Debt-100,260.31

Yay, down $4,500, right?  It's not much, but it's progress. Despite more veterinary bills, and a new battery for the car, and expensive deductibles. Progress.

Except now we have the taxes for the rental property, school…

Lamentations. Irritations. Finances. Etc.

So, these are the things that have happened since my last post --
Elderly Uncle passed away. For the best really, his pain is no more, I got to say my good-byes, all the comforting cliches; but also, so sad, so much worry for Elderly Aunt, so little clarity about where she's left financially, such a flurry of things that must be attended to at a time when attending to anything feels pointless, endless, and overwhelming: all the negative cliches. Funeral, travel, and lodging costs of $3,160, plus several unpaid days away from work.Poor Caterwaul, the feline malign, was diagnosed with cancer, after a series of examinations, blood tests, biopsies, and long waits in veterinary anterooms. (She is not yet feeling the effects, and we will do our best to keep her comfortable as long as possible, but we do not expect her to recover.) Costs to date of $670.Recommended testing not covered by our insurance policy was, well, recommended. Out of pocket cost = $570.For Brother-in-Law's miles…

Can. Not. EVEN.

Our numbers are worse. It seems like I simply don't understand the point of this enterprise, doesn't it? The debt is supposed to go down, not up.

I've attempted to post figures several times over the last six weeks, but the hits just keep coming. In addition to the Great Mold Adventure of May, we've incurred the following --
We had two, possibly three, computers pass away in the last two months; I'm using my laptop in place of my desktop PC, and Spouse will be giving our media server intensive care before calling for last rites, but my elderly aunt needed a durable tablet, tout de suite, to replace her defunct device. (Elderly Aunt is on the most fixed of fixed incomes, dealing with a journal's worth of medical issues for herself and dementia-diagnosis Uncle, and has no one else with resources: our assistance to her is non-negotiable.) This expense is on an interest-free* credit card, but is nonetheless an additional expense. 
Spouse's phone died (in surgery…