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Archive for January, 2007

Catch up.

January 29th, 2007 at 12:28 pm

In the past week or so since I've posted things have been ok. I've worked out a way to soften the blow of the eyeglasses expense. My next two weeks of Tuesday Deposits will just stay in my bank account instead of being transferred to Emigrant. That coupled with my regular budget amount for Medical should balance out my account and I think in April I'll be back on track with saving in my Medical account.

This week could have been bumper in regards to extra cash. I might be babysitting tonight (hopefully not as I have a class* to attend), I got an offer to babysit tomorrow night (I had to decline), and I am babysitting on Wednesday night. Every little bit helps but I need to not kill myself just because the opportunity arises.

I really need to step up my decluttering efforts. I found out this weekend that the friend that I rent a garage from is interviewing at places out of state which means I won't be able to rent the garage for too much longer should he actually accept a position that requires a move. I have shifted a lot over to my apartment, but it needs sorting because a lot of it can be dumped I think. And I've sort of run out of room to store anything at my apartment. It would save me $60/mo to not have the garage and that's something I was working really hard on clearing out over the summer.

I gave away $200 today. It was an emergency in my eyes. One of my good friends is underemployed and does not have medical insurance. She broke a tooth on the way to Croatia last May and hasn't been able to get it fixed. She finally went in to see a dentist hoping that it was someone who would work with her payment wise. The outcome was she needed to come up with $200 by Tuesday (tomorrow) and another $200 at the next visit. After that they'll set her up with a payment plan. A few of us heard about her predicament through an email her roomate sent out basically just asking us to keep her in prayer. We did, we also collected $400 for her. That way she's taken care of until the payments start up. Although none of us discussed how much we were donating so it was definately a surprise. I did not loan the money out. My EF will take a slight hit this month as a result but I'm ok with that. I know it'll bounce back and I'm just glad I had the money to be able to do it.

My brother finally got all the paperwork he needs to request the GI Bill. Hopefully he will submit that request today. Then we just have 3 months to wait for it to kick in...

*My church offers free classes on a variety of subjects so it's not something I have to attend, just something I want to as the subject is of interest to me. But I'm not wasting money if I don't go.

Well that was more than I expected.

January 24th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

*sigh* So I read the sign wrong. Serves me right for not asking and just assuming. The deal is, $69.95 plus the different packages. So instead of paying $189 for two pairs of glasses I paid $293.95 for two pairs of glasses. But still, I can't complain since last time I paid $311 after insurance for one pair of sunglasses. I will be submitting a reimbursement request tomorrow and hopefully I'll get about $150 back.

I took quite a hit though in my little check register envelope system. We'll see how it all pans out. So far I've transferred $40 out of my Medical savings account but I'm trying to avoid pulling any more out. I think it'll pan out ok in the end. I still owe myself $214 but I'm hoping to make it up over the next couple of months of medical bills budget overages that would have gone to medical savings.

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I found those cubes that my friend got but I couldn't get ahold of her to find out if she wanted any. Since I was there I picked up 9, 3 for me and 6 for her. But they were a different color. I just found out she doesn't want them if they aren't the same color. Shoot. Well I figure I have about 10 days before I'll be out that way again, to pick up my glasses. So I'll see how many I really need and just take back whatever I don't really want. They might come in handy though. We'll see.

Eye appointment and other stuff

January 23rd, 2007 at 11:55 am

They do a really good job of guiding you out of the exam and into the optical shop. And y'know what? If I had my old insurance policy I totally would just get them there because it's easy. However, I don't have my old insurance policy and they charge extra for things other optical shops don't. Fortunately I got out of my appointment at 9:40 and had to be to work at 10 so I was able to avoid wasting the gal's time helping me find frames.

I did get a copy of my prescription and found out that I shouldn't get the polycarbonate lenses anymore because of my prescription. So that settles that, I was debating about the poly or the hi-index. I guess it'll be hi-index then. They cost a bit more but if insurance does reimburse me anything it'll totally be worth it. I'll go pick out frames tomorrow evening.

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I made my Tuesday Deposit today for a total of $30.05. $25 from childcare, $5 from Pinecone, and the nickel from Bank of America. I didn't think they'd send me a nickel check but they did and I deposited it. I transferred the $30 straight to Emigrant. The nickel can stay in my checking account.

I'm doing an extra night of childcare this weekend, on Saturday. A gal I work with on Sundays asked if they could 'hire' me for Saturday so I don't know what I'll be paid but I will be paid. I'm anticipating $25 like normal.

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Friend of mine picked up these cube things at Home Depot for storage and they worked really well in her closet. You can find them at HomeDepot.com search for 100377339 it's not exact the ones she got are only 12" and brown not blue. But they were only $2.50 each. I need some serious help with clothes storage so I might pick some up for bulky stuff that takes up too much room in my dresser.

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I just checked my student loan online. The little one isn't a federal one so it couldn't be consolidated with everything else. I got annoyed that the payment was never really the $50 they claimed it would be and it kept fluctuating when the interest did so I started paying $60/mo instead. Right now they say I'm paid ahead enough that I could skip a payment. I ignore it for now, I figure at some point I might take advantage of it but not right now. Finally though after five months of actually paying attention to what they say my payment should be it finally changed. From $52.99 to $51.89. I am curious to see how it fluctuates so I'll continue to keep an eye on it. I figure every 8 months or so it should change either by them pushing the payment due date out another month or by the amount of the payment due.

Vision insurance changed...

January 22nd, 2007 at 04:24 pm

I called to see what the procedure/forms were for getting vision hardware (ie glasses frames and lenses) from an out of network provider. I found out the following:

My co-pay is now $20, up from $15 last time.

The amount they'll pay for hardware is $150, up from $100 last year.

I'm still going to the same clinic I've gone to for the past 8 years but my doctor has left the clinic so I'll be seeing someone new. I will be getting my glasses at America's Best. They are running a special right now, 2 pairs of glasses and a free eye exam for $70. However that's for regular glasses and my prescription is such that I get Polycarbonite (sp?) or High Index lenses. Which increases the price to $130 or $190 respectively.

I don't know if my insurance will reimburse me the full $150 since I'm buying two pairs of glasses but when I called to verify it didn't say anything about how many pairs of glasses it could be applied to only that I had a maximum of $150 that could be spent in a year. So I'm going to go with the Hi Index and possibly get one of the pairs made into sunglasses (included in price). It's still a darn good price considering the lowest I could find at other stores (Lens Crafters, Binyons) was $169 for one pair.

I'm bummed that I can't use Goggles 4 U because of the level of prisms I need. But on the other hand, I'm not so sure about the whole not being able to try them on before you get them thing so part of me is ok with it.

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I had a wonderful thought this morning about my brother and funding his education til the GI Bill kicks in (if it ever does). I completely forgot about taxes. As in, my brother probably gets a decent return since he only spent about half of last year employed. Soon as he gets all of his W2s (just waiting on two more) we'll scout out places to file online for free and get that going.

I'm still debating about what I want to do with my return. I did well on guessing my withholdings so I only overpaid by like $60 but because of how much student loan interest I paid, my return will be closer to like $500. Though I'm still waiting for a few things so that may change. Because of all the extra stuff I have to claim I can't do the free filing online which sucks. But oh well. I did decide a while ago that 10% of whatever I get back, rounded to the nearest $25, will be donated to Kiva.org. I may just hold onto whatever's left over to help K get by. We'll see. Parents are going to be in town next week so possibly they'll float him some extra cash. And our Aunt keeps palming him money, for which I am grateful but it annoys him because he so desperately wants to make it on his own.

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One of these days I'll get back into declutter mode and try once again to get rid of my storage unit. Once done, I'll be saving $60/mo.

I did it! I got approved!

January 20th, 2007 at 09:23 am

When I called last week to see about lowering my interest rate the CSR said it was as low as it could be right now. He asked if I wanted to do a balance transfer and I rather jokingly replied that I only have the one card with a balance so if he knew a way to shift a portion of the 14.24% interest rate to the 3.99% balance transfer rate I would be all for it. His response was to see if I qualified for a debt consolidation loan with Citi. He really wanted me to get the full amount, $25k but I stood firm at the amount on my credit card, $18k. Roughly $16k is at 14.24% and the other $2k is at 3.99%.

I got the approval in the mail yesterday for the full $18k! The rate is 10.9%, it's stretched over 60 months with a payment due of approx $391. Normally I pay $523 on my CC1, so I wouldn't change that amount. There is no prepayment penalty.

The plan then is as follows. Wait until the check almost expires, it expires 30 days after 1/12, to deposit it. That way I pay off as much of the 3.99% balance as possible. Deposit and pay off CC1. Wait until I get a statement that says I owe $0 on CC1. Then check and see if I still have a balance transfer offer for 3.99%. If I do, request the full amount of my other consolidation loan that's currently at 14.4% and transfer it to the 3.99% BT rate. I'll still pay the $270 I normally pay on it but it should get paid off a lot faster.

That's at least how it would work in my head. If at the least I just shift off CC1, that will be an improvement.

It's something to ponder. I haven't cashed the check yet.

Three Phase Plan update and other stuff

January 19th, 2007 at 07:58 am

Phase One. Eliminate CC2.

COMPLETED!!!

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000.

Between the three accounts, taking out a little for airfare and adding in regular budget amounts plus extra my savings has increased by $129.83 since the end of last month. Rock on. Granted it's not the expected increase of $155 but considering I pulled out $90 I know I totally would have exceeded the expected.

Phase Three. Pay off as much of CC1 as possible by 4/15/2010.

Statement balance difference: +$1,758.15
Total payments: $523
Total charges and fees: $248.70

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $3,916.24
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,701.73

Right now only $2,141.74 to go before things get back to normal. This includes the $2,000 balance transfer I did for my brother. Hopefully he can start paying me back soon so I can eat away at it faster.

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I updated my Quicken balances. It now shows a payoff date of 2/1011 but that's because I don't enter in the lower interest rate because that only applies to a small portion of it. The interest saved now it shows as $781.42

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Since my raise won't be in effect til next month, I'm really glad I held out $60 to cover the budget. I didn't really need all of it though. But I'll still do it next month til I know what my actual amounts will be. I wound up with $48 left over, I like to keep $20 as a cushion so I transferred $28 to savings since that's the Phase I'm in right now.

And I found out that I can't get glasses at the cheap place I found online. Frown My prism is too heavy. So looks like I'll be staking out LensCrafters and Binyons after all looking for a good deal.

Postponed...

January 18th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Just got word that reviews have been postponed for a couple more weeks. There's a few things in the works that will potentially have an impact and until more is known then everything else is on hold. Ah well. So I won't really know the impact of my raise (if there is one) until Feb 20th. Sort of a bummer but whatever. It's all good still.

I didn't drive the past two days so that was nice for saving on gas. And now there's four of us all together that carpool to a meeting once a week so with the rotation it means I'll only have to drive once a month. That's nice because it's a bit of a drive out there (from 30th to 162nd with no easy freeway travel so it's all surface streets).

I am anxious for my check tomorrow. It'll be the first with my regular withholdings. I suppose I could have left it as it was and just changed it at the end of the year but I'd rather rip the bandaid now than later.

I decided to not do the cruise I was contemplating next January. Whether or not the band I like will be one of the many included, I have a better vacation to plan for in March of 2009. It'll be a sort of graduation celebration for my best friend so we're planning on doing things up right. I figure, if I can save the money and pay cash, then I can splurge on things I wouldn't normally since it'll be a special occasion. We'll see how that goes. I have a thought about how to fund the vacation account but I'm not ready to actually start it yet.

I will be riding up with my best friend's parents in March so I can help her pack and move to Utah. I put in my vacation request and it was approved. Now all that's left is to buy the plane ticket. Soon as the $90 transfers from Emigrant I'll do that. Southwest has an awesome deal right now, I can get a one way ticket for just under $90 from Salt Lake to Portland. I'm buying it now (has to be purchased by Jan 22nd to get it at that price anyway) and if something comes up and I don't go now I can use that later on another flight with Southwest. Right now that'll be coming out of my EF but my hope is once I get my vacation fund set up I will be able to pull that sort of thing from there instead.

How do you know YakTrax work? Loose one...

January 17th, 2007 at 11:53 am

So I have been really excited about being able to use my YakTrax again this winter. I wore them a lot yesterday with a lot of walking that I did, to the bank, to a friend's place, to another friend's place, then home.

This morning I actually went into work (they called me yesterday before I'd left the house and said don't come in) and on the way I stopped by Fred Meyer's to pick up a prescription. I left the store, put the YakTrax on, got to the edge of the parking lot and realized I only had one on. I thought it shouldn't be too difficult to find a black item in white snow...boy was I wrong. I retraced my steps twice and still no sign of it. I realize that it's got a rubber band type thing holding it on so I have a feeling it flew when it came off. Obviously not ahead of me or I would have noticed.

I'll check their lost and found on Friday when I go to drop off another Rx just in case it was found. Otherwise I'll just have to wait til next fall to replace it. I did notice though that the shoe with the YakTrax didn't slip when the one without it did. So they do work, I just don't like finding out that way.

I'm also saving gas because I'm not driving anywhere. Another plus I suppose. But I have stuff to do tonight that requires the snow to be gone or at least more drivable. Hopefully it will be later.

It could have been worse...

January 13th, 2007 at 11:51 pm

I'm not one known to just willy nilly spend money, not when it's cash anyway. I used to go crazy with the credit card, especially when they would raise my limit. But I know better now.

I have money stashed away for Medical bills as they come due. I have a really good friend of mine who is under-employed, has no insurance, is out of contacts, hasn't had an eye exam in two years, and is wearing a pair of glasses she got fitted for in Vietnam 6 years ago. Eye care is really important to me and America's Best was running a special, two pairs of glasses plus an eye exam for $69.95. I contacted her yesterday and told her I would like to pay for that if she wanted to get it done. She agreed and that's how I started out my morning.

It is fun truly to watch people try on eye glasses and help them decide what looks good. I let her fend off the 'upgrades', I would have been willing to pay for some of them as they were reasonable but I left the ball in her court. Her prescription has changed slightly, enough to need new glasses. I think she'll be really happy with them when they come. Total spent $85 because she'd gotten something extra that cost $15 and offered to write me a check for the difference, but I was going to give her $10 for something our group is doing next week so told her to keep $10 for that and she could give me $5 later on when she had it cash.

That started the downhill slide. The eye place is near Target. I don't often go to Target because it's not close by. I figured I'd missed out on all the good clearance stuff but felt the need to wander. I did see things that I could justify on a level, but I didn't really need them so I didn't get them. However, I did walk out of there with a long sleeve shirt (clearance ~$6.50), a couple tubes of toothpaste, and a rug that'll cover a cord so we don't trip on it. Total $13.07.

After stopping at home I went on to visit my brother at the bar he works at. I had 'lunch' except they serve breakfast til 3 pm so for $7 (including tip) I had 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, and 2 slices of bacon. We chatted for a while, it was pretty dead in there so he could stop and talk, and then I went on my merry way. I pulled the cash to pay for it out of my gas money.

I had a gift card for Best Buy. Again, not one really close by me but there was one near where my brother was so I stopped by to get a SD card for my mp3 player. They had one for $25 that I felt was good enough, my gift card was for $20 so I spent $5. While I was at Best Buy I got a call stating that my friends were going to the Zoo that afternoon in celebration of their youngest's first birthday. I had a little time to kill still (the Zoo would be on my way home from where I was anyway) so I walked next door....

...To Old Navy which was having a 50% off clearance prices sale. Man it was crazy in there, clothes piled everywhere despite the crew members trying hard to keep it somewhat functional. They had a lot I probably could have picked up for reasonable prices but I was trying to keep overall cost down so I stuck with two tshirts, another long sleeve to layer under stuff and one short sleeve. Total cost $7.39

Then it was off to the Zoo where I bought a membership because I had $45 saved up towards an annual pass, it's $9 just to get in for the day, and that would only make me $5 short of the pass total. Total cost $59.

A friend invited me out to dinner, I don't get to see her often so I agreed so long as we went cheap. Went to a cheap mexican restaurant, total cost $5 (including tip). Then we decided to watch a movie at her place, and I used my giftcard for Blockbuster.

I'm going to visit friends tomorrow that will take a good chunk of gas to do it. So I went ahead and put in my $10 gas card I had for Shell. Hopefully that will help balance things out so I won't need gas again until Friday when I get paid.

Total spent for the day: $174.36
Total to be repaid by other funds to be deposited next week: $116
Total unexpected expense: $58

Surprisingly enough, this doesn't drain my bank account. It does make it so I only have $45 held out for my next paycheck instead of $60 unless I change my mind about transferring the babysitting money I got on Friday and leave it in the bank to soften the blow of my spending spree. The only reason I was holding that money out was because I changed my withholdings back to 1 and I don't know what effect that will have on a 'normal' paycheck. $60 is how much I'm 'short' when the withholdings are set at 1 but since I'd been at 2 for a good chunk of the year I ignored it.

But you know what? I really didn't do all that bad all things considered. I got a lot of stuff but didn't pay a lot when you factor in the gift cards. And it's stuff I can use. And I rarely buy clothes so once in a while it's nice to get something new y'know?

New Windshield?

January 12th, 2007 at 08:06 am

This morning as I was scraping off frost I noticed a crack in my windshield. *sigh* I can't feel it on either side, at least I think I was looking at the right spot. There's definately frost on the inside of the windshield in the middle of the passenger side.

I just did a quick quote at Safelite and found that if it's repairable (depending on the size) it might only cost about $90 but if it has to be completely replaced it'll run about $400 give or take.

I don't know if I want to have insurance cover it, or even if that's an option. That always seems to screw with rates later on if you actually use those types of features. Very annoying.

I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow, visiting nearby auto glass places for quotes.

The nice thing about this is...either way I have plenty in my EF to cover the expense. That actually makes me feel good about it. On the other hand it's depressing because it means potentially starting over. But that's what it's there for right?

Guessed right!! And some Credit Housecleaning.

January 11th, 2007 at 11:39 am

I walked into work this morning to find a nice surprise, last year's W2 waiting for me. It usually comes with the second check of the month on the 20th. Since I do TurboTaxOnline I imediately went there and started my tax return. I can't do much yet since I'm still waiting on two W2's and some interest information but I can at least see if I was close when I increased my withholdings.

That's one of the nice things about doing TTO, after you enter in your W2 it tells you right away how much you overpaid or how much you owe. Usually I overpay by $600 and then it gets adjusted later by jobs I do at a lower taxed rate and student loan interest. This year....I overpaid by only $60! So I don't owe, well not yet anyway. I think my part time jobs will probably bring it down to zero or make it so I owe but then my student loan interest will rescue me. Since I'll be working my part time job the whole year instead of only a couple of months in '07 I'm going to wait until June to adjust my withholdings. Last year I did it in April.

I haven't gotten a copy of my credit report in a while, I just keep forgetting about it. So yesterday I went to annual credit report .com and requested just one of the three available reports. I'd read in someone else's blog that you can actually get three free reports each year if you just request one from one of the reporting agencies each quarter. I got Experian last night, I'll get Trans Union in May, and EquiFax in September. And I set up reminders in Google Calendar to remind me to do that when it comes around.

There were a couple of things to dispute on my Experian report but nothing major. There's nothing negative on it but it showed that my brother was my spouse. I think that's cuz we had a few joint cards/loans in the past. That's been taken off. There was one address too that was incorrect, actually two that I disputed but after I filed the second I realized that it was a PO box that I had ages ago but it was at a non Post Office location which is what threw me off when I looked it up. Ah well, it'll just return that it is correct after all. I really like that I could do everything online and get responses back via email instead of having to wait for things to process via snail mail.

The other thing I liked about viewing my Experian report is it told me when things would go off of my record. I'm annoyed that some things that really have been paid off for a long time and should be gone, show some sort of status at a later date so it won't be off for even longer. But Meier and Frank is off of there so that's cool.

I also got a statement from Bank of America with a credit balance of a nickle. I paid off my MBNA line of credit way back in July of '05. I requested whatever I overpaid about three months later and received that check. Why do I now have a credit balance of a nickle? Don't know but I'll take it. I also spoke to a representative to close the account. I don't need it open anymore, the interest rate is like 27.99% and it's not a credit card or anything.

Citi misses me. I haven't used my only CC card with a balance since...October. So they sent me something stating 'what can we do so you'll use your card again?' I called hoping to get a lower APR but instead just got a lower interest on new purchases for 6 months. I'm not planning on using it but it's nice to know that it'd only be 1.99% from now til June 11th. Later today I plan on calling on both my Citi cards to request that they lower the APR. It's been six months since I did that last.

I love tax time. I just want to get them done so I can get whatever I'm getting back, as little as it may be, and laugh at everyone who waits til April 15th. Ok maybe not laugh but...I'd rather have my money now than wait.

The theme is Tranquility.

January 10th, 2007 at 12:44 pm

My friend's birthday is today. Her husband is organizing a quasi-surprise party for her at her favorite sushi place. I say quasi-surprise because she knows that they are meeting a few people for sushi but doesn't really know everyone that will be there or how many people either. Case in point, I was invited and she asked if I could babysit. Smile I originally had something else going on anyway (that she knew about) so I was able to decline gracefully.

I was woried about the cost of dinner though. So I looked up the restaurant we're going to and not only is it normally relatively inexpensive but on Wednesday nights most plates are $1.25 each. One plate has three decent pieces of sushi. Usually when I eat at places like that, I max out at four plates. And it shouldn't damage my diet too much either.

When her husband called he said that the theme for gifts is Tranquility. She's very pregnant with their third son arriving March 1. They have a son turning 1 in January and a son turning 3 in February. So things are already crazy without adding a third one to the mix. Fortunately the idea I'd already had for her gift works very well. I picked her up a large tin of loose leaf Foxfire tea. The particular mix, Harmony, is one I know she really enjoys. At home I already had some Asian themed things I'd picked up on clearance at Target, so I also wrapped up two smallish matching ceramic mugs. I reused a gift bag I had gotten something in that had survived being transported home. And this morning I met a gal for coffee who will also be there tonight and who hasn't picked up anything yet for the birthday girl. I mentioned what I'd gotten and that I had forgotten to get a tea infuser since I don't know if they have one. The gal I met for coffee said she would pick one up and a candle or something else as her gift. Yay, that means I don't have to kill myself trying to get that and then make it to the restaurant before the birthday girl!

I am really looking forward to tonight, hoping that the weather doesn't hinder things, and that the birthday girl will be not too stressed so she can enjoy her special day. It's supposed to snow today, it did snow a little earlier but it wasn't sticking. The party actually has a couple of stages. We were encouraged to park near the last stage since there's only 7 blocks between the first and last stops of the evening. So first, sushi dinner, then a walk up to Powell's for something the husband hasn't elaborated on yet, then to a bar for gifts (since there'll be hopefully a table large enough to accomodate everyone there) and other revelry.

I'm really glad I'm not moving a couch after all tonight. Next week will work out so much better.

Clothes shopping and brother..

January 9th, 2007 at 10:52 am

I did fairly well for myself this time around. I hate shopping for clothes, with a passion. But my friend mentioned that Avenue was having a 70% off sale so I stopped just to see if there was anything that fit. I'm working hard at loosing weight and it'd be nice to have to clothes that fit right, but I'm not at my goal weight so I don't want to stock up on things I'll 'slim out of' either. Found a $40 pair of chords for $10 that not only fit and were the right length, but they were also a size smaller than I've been wearing lately. Score! Then last night I was at Costco with a friend and I tried to ignore the clothing section but my friend was taking her own sweet time. I only had $13 left in my 'personal' fund and most of the items we saw were at least $15 so I had no problem ignoring them. Until we got to these super soft 3/4 sleeve sweaters that were only...$13. I am trying to move away from wearing tshirts all the time so I picked up one, in white of all colors. I'm a dark colors person but I'm trying new things....

My brother's first day of school was yesterday. He seemed to enjoy it well enough. He'd also worked at the bar this past weekend and had made $150 which made me really happy and meant we could breath a little easier. Only, he forgot about the credit card he has. We'd decided to use that for books that way we could stretch the little cash we have, or that he brings in. Plus work on building his credit history by using it and paying regularly on it. So he spent..you guessed it, the $150 from the bar on books. His credit card has a $250 limit so it's not like he can go crazy with it or anything. *sigh* I am really proud of him for working so hard and paying cash. But I'm really frustrated with him because he's got $80 left in his account to last til the end of the month, and to pay his electric bill with. Of course, there are a few more weekends left in the month so there's possibility for work but it's never definate til the weekend actually gets here if he's going to be working or not.

Then in the mail, instead of the form he needs to fill out to get his GI Bill, he got a letter stating that it wasn't part of his contract! Uhhh. I know that's one of the main reasons he joined the Army. I never actually saw/read the contract, just went by what he said when he got home from the recruiters. And of course, we can't find his contract anywhere (that was four years ago). They're still looking into it at least. And he happened to get a call from a friend who's still in the Army and has been moved to a desk job in the personell department so he's going to see if he can look into it since that'll be faster than waiting for the US Army HR department. *sigh*

I am so proud of him for taking the steps he is to go to school, I really don't want this to be a hitch in the road...

Payday and Paid back.

January 5th, 2007 at 08:39 am

Payday was today. I can't tell by this check what my regular pay will be because of the extra that's included from being on call. That will have to wait for next check. But perhaps I'll get my review before then, that would be nice.

When all was said and done, even with holding onto $60 for bills on the 20th, I still had $117 left over. More than enough to pay those extra things I needed/wanted. I'm going to call and schedule an oil change next week, giving me the weekend to try and find my prepaid punch card. Because if I can find the punch card that's one less thing I have to pay for. I decided to wait on the yarn store. I went ahead and spent the gift card I had for there to start on socks and I still haven't gotten whatever my best friend is sending me for Christmas. But I don't need the needles just yet so they can wait.

I did get a nice surprise in the mail. My uncle finally sent me the money to pay me back for the concert tickets. Total was $82.43, he sent me a check for $100. Since I'm stashing away extra unexpected money, I deposited $80 back into savings and kept out $20 to go towards my Zoo pass. That makes my total so far $45 and a Zoo plus pass is $59 so I'm almost there. As long as I can get it before summer so I can take advantage of the concerts then I'll be happy.

All the medical type things I have to pay for this month look like they'll be covered above and beyond what my budget is. That makes me happy, more to go into my medical savings account. But it's staying in checking until I'm done with appointments and prescriptions since there's a couple extra this month. I need to call the dentist once I have $500 in that account and find out how much my portion of a crown will be. The temporary seems to be holding ok at least.

Decision made...

January 4th, 2007 at 02:02 pm

I met up last night with the only guy who went on the mission trip with us. We talked about the remaining balance left for the group to pay and how long it will take to pay off and so on.

My impression is that the group as a whole doesn't care that much about paying it off. If they did they would be working harder to come up with fundraising strategies and so on. Then again, I've lost steam in coming up with ideas too.

Although to be perfectly fair, at least 4 out of the 7 are under/un employed. I can understand how that would make it harder for them to contribute.

I had kicked around in my head a few ways to boost what I'm already pitching in just so we can get it paid off sooner and I think I've finally settled on one that won't hinder my debt reduction much.

I will continue to budget/pay $50/month from my check on the 20th.

I will continue with my Three Phase Plan, applying money in accordance with how that is mapped out.

Once Phase Two is complete I will monitor my savings account balances and each month the total balance is $1100 or more I will withdraw anything over $1000 to keep the balance maintained at $1000. I already have budget amounts in place to contribute to savings and would like to continue those as habit that way should the need arise that I have to pull from it, the balance will be restored in due time.

Whatever I pull from savings will also be given to the credit card balance as an extra payment that month. The hope being that it will wind up taking less than 3 years to pay off.

It'll be a couple of months before that will be implemented since I'm only about halfway to my mark. And I have a couple things this year that I know will be coming out of savings. But it makes me feel better knowing I have a plan in place.

It'll be interesting to see how the group reacts to the numbers we show them when we finally get together and discuss it again. The guy I talked to will be calling each person individually to get answers to specific questions that way he can present information to the group as far as concensus goes so our meeting will be more structured.

I'm also excited to help him with mapping stuff out, ie if we want to pay it off in a year each person HAS to contribute $X each month or it's not going to happen.

I must say I'm really torn on this whole thing. I feel an obligation to pay it off on the one hand, yet on the other I feel that what's left is no longer my responsibility since I've pretty much paid my share. I feel an obligation to put as much money towards it as possible, yet am in the middle of my own debt reduction goals and don't know where to draw the line exactly. I'm finally no longer robbing Peter to pay Paul and I'd like to keep it that way.

(For those of you new to my blog, I went on a mission trip to Croatia in May/June of '06. Because of the World Cup, ticket prices doubled before we could lock in a price and wound up raising only half of the money we needed to pay for our airfare. The tickets had already been purchased by a third party on our behalf, whether or not we went we were still responsible for paying for them so we decided to go anyway. One of my teammates put the balance [$8600] on a then empty credit card. Since we've returned we've managed to get it down to $5500 due to money that came in for the trip after we returned. We've pretty much just been making the minimum payments since then. Through my coaching, the gal with the card has taken steps to decrease the interest. First she called and asked them to lower it, got it down from 19% to 16%. Then she found a balance transfer offer to get it down to 7.99% so that's where it's sitting now.)

401k meeting, envelopes, and oranges.

January 3rd, 2007 at 12:17 pm

401k meeting was today. Our funds got bought by Wespac although the transfer hasn't happened yet so we can't actually dictate what money we want to go where until that happens.

They have quite a few options to choose from, all but like three of them were in the 4s and 5s as far as star rating on Morningstar is concerned. Because we're an institution there's no fees on trades so we can log on every day and change things if we want. Once it's all set up of course.

I think I've decided what I want to do. I took the little risk assesment quiz again to see where I fell and I'm still in the 'Balanced' range. Basically 60% stocks and 40% bonds. I picked out about 4 stock funds and 1 bond fund. I plan on putting $4k into each stock fund and the rest into the bond. Now it's just a wait and see..

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I sort of use Quicken as my envelope system. I make 'future' payments with amounts I'm setting aside for use later. For example, I hold out $100 for rent out of my check on the 20th to go towards the next month's rent so I enter it as a payment on the 4th of the following month and then use the Ending balance as what I pretend my actual bank balance is.

I am out of gas. I had to run errands this morning and used more than I'd planned. I've put in all of my gas budget, the last bit was enough for 2 gallons which is about 40 miles of all city driving. I'm up to 26 miles driven so far, and have at least 21 to go before payday (Friday). So I 'borrowed' $40 out of one of my 'envelopes'. I'll put gas in tonight or tomorrow morning and fill it. Then I'll pay back the 'envelope' on Friday as soon as I get paid. It really struck me as funny how ingrained I've gotten to pretending money isn't in my account, I was actually panicing trying to figure out how to do everything I needed to on fumes.

I don't plan on doing this often but it's nice to have that 'oh yeah' moment.

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Anyone have tips on how to keep oranges from going bad? Normally I only buy enough fruit to get me through the week but I only had my Costco card to buy food with so I bought an 8 lb bag of oranges. I've eaten 4, and have had to toss 4 because of mold. There's 5 left, well 1 in my lunch so that one's ok but then 4 more at home.

I suppose I could keep them in the fridge but my teeth are sensitive so I don't think about putting fruit in the fridge because I can't eat it right away. However I could just store it in there and it should be room temp by the time I eat it at lunch. Hmm. Anyway.

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On last thing. My best friend is moving from Seattle to Utah for 18 months to go through a Nursing program. She's very excited about it and I don't know that I'll get to see her as often because of it. I'm working out my schedule for the end of my vacation time and I got a schedule from her of their tenative move plans. Her parents are driving up from CA and towing a UHaul trailer (though it'd be more cost effective to pick up the trailer in WA) and then they'll spend a day packing it, another two days driving, and then a day unpacking.

I wanted to go help her move, it's a big life change and I really support her in it. But original dates made it impossible. However it looks like it just might work out. I could catch a ride with her parents as they pass through Portland and fly back from Salt Lake. Right now tickets are $137 for one way and according to Farecast ticket prices will be heading back up in the next 7 days so buying it now is a wise move. Of course the ticket is non refundable but I'm going to call and make sure I'm reading it right, that I can use it for another ticket on that airline later if I cancel it. I figure I'll probably be making at least one flight out to see her in the next year if nowhere else.

I'm going to wait to actually talk to her about it before doing anything since it's still dependant on when her dad can get time off work. It's also dependant on when another friend's baby arrives because the front part of my vacation will be spent helping that family. It would mean dipping into savings to pay for the flight.

Ready for tax time.

January 2nd, 2007 at 02:16 pm

I'm itchin to do my taxes and see if I guessed right on my withholdings. Around April I went from 1 to 2 and after my last check in December I went back from 2 to 1. I'm crossing my fingers that I won't have to owe. If I break even that'll be good. If I get any back then it's bonus.

My regular job usually gives us the W2 with our last paycheck of January, so the 20th. FedEx sent me a $3 bonus in January after I quit last December so I'm anticipating something from them. And I have my new part time childcare gig that will give me a W2 at some point too.

I've used TurboTaxOnline for years and as soon as I start getting the W2s I'll be inputting the information in so when I get the last of it I can submit it imediately. Unless I owe. Then I might hold off. But I don't think that'll happen.

I just like to get it over and done with. Plus if there is any return then I have plans for it.