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bargainbabe last won the day on February 10 2016

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  1. Yes, I do have authority to build my book. I have a lot of freedom to do whatever I want. I am not licensed for life yet, though. Trying to figure out if that is what I want to do, or focus more on Medicare. I have gotten to the point where I don't sign people up unless it pays a commission. I will just tell them to call the exchange or whatever to enroll if they want a product that is no longer commissionable, I hate doing that, but they would suck down all of my time, I can't work for free.
  2. Thanks guys. I agree something has to change. I am a health insurance agent. My agency has actually been wonderful, it is the carriers that we represent that do not value health insurance agents anymore. Most insurers in my area have discontinued or reduced commission on individual plans. Like, literally sending an email a month into open enrollment sayings "effective today, we will be paying 2% commission instead of 5%". Or "plan x is no longer commissionable". This isn't my agency, this is the insurance company, and they are doing it state-wide. So, even though we still get calls for people who need insurance, we won't get paid on what we sell. I am focusing more into Medicare with some success. Many people are "locked in" for the rest of the year so I can't move them. There are some exceptions, and I get people who are new to Medicare, and sometime can switch others' supplements. I am considering other insurance areas like life and disability insurance. More than 30 hours a week would involve higher childcare costs, if I can get some sales I could do that, but it is a vicious cycle. I am definitely willing to work more and do if I have appointments but it has been slow lately. I have some administrative duties that I am paid a small salary for, otherwise I am on commission. I feel like I have been given good opportunities, just the rug has been pulled out from under us. I have more clients than last year with good retention, I think I would have been making nearly double last year's commissions if the cuts had not been made. I haven't done the math, too depressing to think about it.
  3. Haven't posted here in a while. Thought I would update, just to be able to come back later and see how things have changed or stayed the same. We are still in treading water mode. My commissions were cut unexpectedly at work a few months ago (I am in insurance-this was a carrier decision, not my agency's, their income is down, too.) I am doing ok selling, but when your commissions are cut by 2/3, you have to sell three times as much to make the same amount of money. I am moving into other types of insurance, but there is a learning curve involved and I haven't been able to make up what I have lost yet. Still trying, though. We have lost several agents lately because they can't make it work. I am slowly accepting that my hopes and dreams are on a very slow track, and we may never be able to pay for our kids college or take them to Disneyworld or to summer camp or any of the things that were done for me growing up. I am working a side job that makes me about $200 a month in addition to my regular (30 hours a week) job, my husband is as well, maybe another $300-400. This has made up for some of the shortfall in my commissions. We need a major home repair, so the money we put aside for a newer car will probably go towards that. We are doing the best we can. It just isn't in God's plan for us to get ahead, at least not at this point in time. That is a hard pill to swallow. I try to remain hopeful and seek opportunities where I can but I am weary after working so hard for so long. I am just trying to stay faithful and not let me kids see my cry. We continue to tighten our belts, we are just about to the last hole, though.
  4. I think you are off to a good start. To avoid him being hungry and having the insulin response that ultimately lowers his blood sugar, he has to eat fewer carbs and get more of his calories from fat and protein. Very few in the dietary community are willing to say that the establishment has wrong about the role of fat in our diets. Forget eating low-fat. Don't worry about the fat, worry about the carbs. Eat broccoli with cheese or butter. Creamed spinach, awesome. Breakfast cereal with skim milk? The poor man will be starving in a hour because of the insulin response to that. So don't trigger the insulin response. Give him a ham and cheese omelet. Or boiled eggs. Or veggie quiche. Bacon-wrapped asparagus. Cashews, avocado. Our powers that be have told us fat (especially saturated fat) was killer and we have replaced fat with sugar and carbs over the last 50 years trying to be "healthy" and that is why we have this epidemic in our society. A wonderful book on the chemistry of it is "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubes.
  5. wow. that amount of meat should last you the rest of the year.
  6. I am really sorry. Hugs to you.
  7. So we finally had someone out to look at our air-conditioning that had been broken since last fall. Estimated cost to repair: $800 Final cost: $40 The repairman was my uncle (has his own HVAC company). He had the part we needed and gave it to us. Also added freon/coolant for free. We just paid for his gas to get to our house and we are taking him out to lunch this week. Feeling pretty thankful. Dodged a bullet with that one and now we have air. I hope that whatever he did didn't cost him too much out of his own pocket, he knows things have been tight for us. He said if we had called someone besides him in they would probably have charged about $800 for what he did.
  8. congrats on making your transition! sounds like you are making the right decision.
  9. gmarie, I just now saw this. I think you are doing great. We are in a similar situation right now and I believe it will take another 10-12k a year of income for us to really make progress as well. Awesome on the paper route! I checked into that last year for us, but we couldn't find any routes that paid near that well!
  10. Thanks everyone for the responses! I have written three responses out, but the computer keeps swallowing them! Not sure why exactly. I ran some more numbers and now I think that we are more like 30 months realistically at new income to pay off student loans. Maybe more. Big difference I know but I am trying to get a workable budget. Right now we are not at a workable budget, no money for sinking funds, clothing, etc. We have been at a crisis budget for 18 months. We have put off so many things that I am sickened thinking about it. The $600 car repair had been put off for 9 months until it became critical. Our AC went out in September and we didn't repair it because winter was coming. We could probably go until May, but it gets to be 90s here in the summer so we can't go without it forever. That could be cheap or it could be thousands of dollars. I don't have the money to pay for it either way. Our septic drain field probably has a leak (muddy spot in yard). It has just been 4 years of delayed home maintenance so it is coming due, bound to happen sometime. I am so tired of being in a holding pattern. I am mad at my student loan debt! I want to pay it off! But how can I when we are barely making ends meet on living expenses? I feel like I don't have a small shovel, I have a teaspoon! I try to be positive, but sometimes I get down about it. My church is small and self-supporting. I give 6-8 hours a week already. We need money. We have a modest budget and most work is already done by church volunteers. We have had two well-off families move in the last year, I would imagine they each gave 10-12k a year. We have tightened our belts, but large utility bills in the last three months have been an issue. I am not sure how much I make per hour after paying daycare. I am not hourly, but on commission (well I will have some hourly duties from now on). I work 4 days a week, sometimes 4 hours a day, sometimes 12. It just depends on when I can make the sales appointments. The kids daycare is for 4 days a week, that was the most that I thought we could afford to have to pay regularly. Would be $1000 a month if they were full-time with no guarantee of extra income. I think I should be netting $225 a week (average) after paying for daycare, although some commuting expenses cut into that. Our budget has been based on $3400 income a month. DH is $2100 of that and mine varies (between $1200 and $1800 usually). We have not had a month yet where we were on-budget. ($1000 vet bill last fall, medical bills, etc). We should go up to about $3800 at a minimum with the new work and more sales should help get that up even more. It is tricky because I am paying down a draw from last fall and also there are chargebacks when people cancel. I may make a sale and not get paid on it for 2 or 3 months. I don't think there is any way that we could make it just on DH's salary and I don't really want to. We would be below poverty with no way to pay off student loans or build up savings. I don't want to live that life. I am hoping to stick it out with this job, as I think there is a good opportunity to make a good amount of money eventually, I just have to build up my base where a $200 chargeback doesn't screw up my month. I don't mean to sound like a whiner, I am just so frustrated. This is not where I thought we would be in life at our ages.
  11. Wanted to update on us. I left the fast food job last August and took a job as an insurance agent. I spent most of the summer really tired doing both jobs from June through August while I built up some business. I enjoy insurance. My husband also found a job in the fall after nearly a year unemployed. It pays a little more than half of what he was making before, but the benefits are really good. We are hoping that he may get a raise at his annual review. My job does not pay very much right now, however. I started out as commission only on a draw and we were basically breaking even or even losing every month on my salary after gas, expenses, daycare, etc. I just told myself to persevere and God would provide (there were some moments of doubt along the way, lol). My boss explained that the first 6 months for new agents were the hardest and that is when most quit. But, I tried to hang in there and learn as much as I could and I think it has paid off. My boss approached me earlier this week and is offering me a small salary + commission. I am going to pick up some administrative stuff around the office part-time but can be flexible with my hours and still make sales appointments. (the person who was doing this has given notice). I should have no problem doing both. So I think that I can actually make some money at this now! As of right now, we are still struggling month-to-month with paying everything. Somehow we have managed to, but just barely. My parents gave us a generous cash gift at Christmas which has bridged the gap. Together we make less than my husband used to and our expenses are more with me working and commuting and paying $800 a month for daycare. We should get about $5k back on our taxes to help make things stretch (EIC from 2014). Our oldest is going to kindergarten in the fall, so that cost should go down by 1/3 or so, I am not sure how much the aftercare program at the school is. We have no debt except the mortgage and my student loans, but things keep popping up and eating up or destroying what little snowball we have each month or even putting us in the red. It is all life, no big surprises or anything, just very little income to work with. Our newest car is 10 years old and 130k miles. The others are over 200k each. We had about $600 in needed car repairs last month (that is actually with a friend doing quite a bit of it at a discount), my husband has some health issues and expensive medications that add up. We both commute quite a distance to work (opposite directions). Also just maintenance things we had been putting off for over a year because of the unemployment. Just shuffling things around and praying for the best. I am guardedly positive about our situation. I hope we can make some traction on paying my student loans. They haven't been paid anything other than sometimes the interest in over 18 months, and most months we couldn't even pay that, so the balance is actually higher than it was 18 months ago. We had paid so much ahead on them in years past that they moved the payment due date back further and further so they haven't been in hardship deferral, there just hasn't been a minimum payment due. I would also like to be able to give more to our church. We have given what we could, but nowhere close to 10%. It was more like bits and pieces of leftovers each month and I don't want to give God the leftovers any more. I also want to start putting money into an IRA for myself. I know you aren't technically supposed to in BS2, but I have not put anything into retirement for myself in 4 years and I just don't think I can put it off any more. DH is putting the minimum required by his job. We are late 30s. All in all, I am grateful for our current situation because it was very scary to be hemorraging money for so many months, down to just a couple of spurts in the last few months. Now that we are going to be a bit more comfortable, we just have to sit down and prioritize. What should we do? Tithe first, then retirement, then debt? Debt first? At increased income/tentative snowball would take at least 18 months to pay off student loans, should I put retirement off that much longer since it has already been 4 years with no retirement savings? I also don't want to put off giving to the church that long. Of course, I will be working on getting my income up even higher, that is the nice part of a production-based job. DH is working on getting some side jobs as well. Advice?
  12. Yes! What Plinda and Miranova said! Go out and do something. Volunteer. Get involved. There is some group somewhere that desperately needs your skills and expertise. Find it and you will find your calling!
  13. I love decluttering picks! I may get inspired a post a couple.... my house is an absolute wreck right now, blargh.
  14. I would like to get a pressure canner eventually. Right now I just have a water bath one so I can only can high sugar/high acid foods.
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