If you're a reader of Ann's blogs, you probably noticed that we're struggling with an issue around our family. What happened? Well, a little over 2 years ago, we were able to buy a house in Horn Lake, Mississippi. Then, we moved from Horn Lake, Mississippi. We had some friends that needed a house to rent and hopefully buy. This seemed like an ideal situation. So, they're renting the house for just enough for us to pay our mortgage payments on it. Basically, the only profit we are ever going to realize is that, when the house really does sell, we'll have a little more equity in it. Not much, given that we're in the first 5 years of a 30 year mortgage, which is when the bank is making a killing on interest.
Well, first part of January we get an email that they'll be a little late with the rent, but they'll have the money by the end of the month. So, we take them at their word, and when the end of the month comes, we deposit the check. After all, they gave us their word it would be fine. Then, last night, Ann's at Wal-Mart buying air filters for our heater, and her debit card gets declined. Why? The rent check bounced. Problem is, we don't exactly have an extra $425 (half the rent, they paid the other half with a money order) to cover the check. Or our bank's returned item fee. So, since we needed the air filters (we figured out they were our heater problem), Ann put them on our credit card. Which is something we have been trying very hard not to do with anything!!! Then, our electric bill ACH paid today, which caused us an overdraft. Our overdraft protection goes through our savings account first (which we don't have any of because, well, you have to make more money than you have bills, which we haven't for the past 5 years), and then cash advances our credit card to cover the ACH. Now, we're trying not to put anything else on the credit card, but especially don't want/need to pay cash advance fees and cash advance interest. That's not going to get us out of debt. So we're short $435 as of now, and very irritated. If we hadn't had the overdraft coverage, our electric bill would have bounced, resulting in some darkness and us owing fees to the electric company. If we had KNOWN that the rent check would bounce, we'd have directly paid the electric bill with the credit card or something.
All that to say these things: 1.) Pay your bills. Especially when you owe an individual. Don't assume they can just absorb. [side note: both of the adults in this family are working, and working the same jobs and pay rates as the last 18 months. This is not about people in crisis. this is a budget/planning queston] 2.) if you can't pay your bills, let the people you owe money know that! And be honest with when you'll be able to pay. 3.) God is still in control. It's frustrating to us, but we are going to commit to honor God with our finances, be as good of stewards as we can be, and trust Him with the rest. Does this mean we won't expect them to pay us? No, we expect it. And we expect that we'll have to make some adjustments to how they pay the rent to make sure this doesn't happen again. But they will not take food off our table, nor will they cause us to be unfaithful to our commitments. I'm not sure how we will do that, but God knows.
And we will trust Him.
The occasional thoughts of an ordinary man serving an extraordinary God. Come with me as we learn, teach, and laugh along the way.
Friday, February 6, 2009
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