Joey works hard to support our family and makes a decent wage. We stick to a strict budget, cook 98% of our meals, make our own morning coffee, drive a used mini-van, clip coupons, watch for "free" events and make our kids halloween costumes. We cut our own lawn, painted our own house, change our own oil, remodeled our own kitchen and bath, laid our own wood flooring and re-paint old furniture to make it new again. We truly know and fully appreciate the value of very single penny that passes through our hands. Unfortunately, that is apparently the problem... we have pennies passing through our hands so, suddenly, we don't deserve any sort of break or help. This isn't a new phenomenon either; been going on forever. I can remember filling out financial forms when I was getting ready for college. My family always had our needs met but, by no means were we rolling in the dough and my parents were paying for both my brother and myself to go to school. Good thing I was smart because the only tuition assistance we were eligible for were the scholarships I received. Even when Joey and I got married, FAFSA still thought our parents were smuggling us seeds from the invisible money tree so we were SOL and had to take out loans. Two kids later, when I went back to school, still NOTHING! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We were an one income family with two kids, mortgage, car payments and no chance for aid. GRANOLA BARS! Thank heaven we were blessed with relatively healthy children and no major car or home issue (which, by the way, we drove only 1 car for a long time to save money). I could get much deeper than school because, I promise, that is not were it all ends, but I'm sure you are wondering what started this?
Just over 5 years ago, Joey and I bought our home. We had no intention of flipping it or renting it or coming up with some other housing bubble scheme to make quick money, we simply wanted to buy our first home and start our family. Our plan was to live here for 5 or 6 years while we decided if Fayetteville would be our permanent home and then look to purchase the home we would retire in. Five years and three kids later - WE'RE STUCK! I've already told you all the story so I won't recount it again. If you don't remember it, I bitched a few blogs back so feel free to check it out. Anyway, we decided to refinance to the current market interest rates to save some money. We filled out all of the paper work and went back and forth with the banker answering all of our questions. Finally, the appraiser came out and, guess what - WE DON'T QUALIFY! *&#$%&*@$#%&%$**@#$%!@# Is this some sort of cosmic joke? Am I getting punked? Candid Camera? America's Cruelest... I mean Funniest Home Videos? Even though we own more than the required 10% of our original loan, we apparently own only 1% of the current appraised value. DAMN HOUSING BUBBLE! Stupid thing popped leaving sticky residue crap all over the place @#%$#*&@*#$%*&@!!#$@*&$%#*!
It's not even like we were going to use the money to buy a new car or fancy new clothes or even go out to eat more. We wanted to pay down more on the house, pay off student loans, put more toward the kids education, replace to really crappy 16 year old stove with one that didn't have hot spots and smell like burnt toast every time you cooked something no matter how clean it was. These are a few things we will not do because the nation of the free and proud is actually the nation of the broke and costly!
If you are an average, middle class, white American, here is some advice: learn to budget and become a handy man, be really good at getting stains out of laundry and creative with left-overs, buy a sewing machine, hot glue gun and paint pens, clip coupons, fill out rebate offers, talk to doctors about payment plans BEFORE the visit and HOLD ON TIGHT.
If you are a politician reading this- FIX IT! I know that there are people less fortunate than us but I tell you this... Many of them WERE US and they needed help but you didn't offer any and now they are stuck in a broken system because they were overlooked. It's a lot like health care. It is far less expensive to keep a healthy person healthy than to it is to heal the sick! But wait, you can't seem to figure that either so I guess we're screwed. Damn!