<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: February, 2007
 

Archive for February, 2007

The saga continues

February 28th, 2007 at 06:51 pm

So not everything is right with my car. The power locks started tweaking a little last night but this morning they were fine. I talked to my agent and she'll be getting back to me about where to take it, etc. Especially since I already told whoever called yesterday that there was no damage... Ugh. I don't mind not having power locks but I don't want it to cause other problems elsewhere.

I am leaving in a week for a 'vacation'. It's more of a working vacation in that I'll be catching a ride up with my best friend's parents to Seattle (I'll see if they'll let me pitch in for gas). Once we arrive we'll start loading the truck/trailer with all her stuff. The next day we'll start the drive from Seattle to Utah. That they are planning will take two days. That means hotel stay at least one night en route, shared with my friend. And food, potentially lots of eating out unless I can talk them into picking up stuff to eat in the car on the way. Once we get to Sandy, UT then she's got to find a place to live (she's looking now but hasn't found anything yet). I expect another two or three nights in a hotel, again shared with my friend, unless she locks in a place before we get there and I can stay with her. Then I fly back to Portland.

Her parents are the type to pay for things so its possible that they won't let me pick up my own tab. But I'm going prepared to anyway. We're leaving three days after payday so I should be able to go without restocking foodstuffs heavily. I'll take half of my food budget ($50) on the trip with me and leave the other half at home for when I get back. The rest of the trip money I'll pull from whatever is extra from my paycheck. My plan is to bring it all in cash so I don't have to track my debit card receipts. I'll seperate the food money from the rest of the money that way I know what goes where when I get home, if there's anything left. I'll also take my empty CC as a 'just in case'. I'm really looking forward to the trip.

Insurance special investigations.

February 27th, 2007 at 10:47 pm

Post #2 today.

Because of the oddity of my case (stolen car, no damage, back within 48 hours, the only bill they got was a tow bill) I got sent to Special Investigations.

I explained it all to him, he was impressed actually that I got it back so fast and with no damage. Apparently he had two ways of running it. Stolen car, there's a $100 deductible and I would be reimbursed $38. Tow, they reimburse me $100. Since there's no damage, he went with the Tow. I'll be getting a check in the mail. Sweet! I'll put it back into my two online accounts that I would have deposited into today.

Once was lost, now is found

February 27th, 2007 at 03:11 pm

I just got a call from the Portland Police. They found my car, not too far away either. No visible damage to it. I can't pick it up til after 8 am because they charge a gate fee for getting it before then. Very excited am I! First stop on my way home...picking up The Club! Smile

My Tuesday Deposits will not go into their respective accounts but instead will go towards the retrieval fee of $138. I had $80 to go to Emigrant and $48 to go to ING which leaves me just a little short but I'll pull that from my brick and mortar savings plus a little extra for The Club.

Yesterday in the mail I got a coupon for a free 30 day supply of Coreg. That's my most expensive monthly medication! Rock on. Can't wait to use it.

After such a great weekend....

February 26th, 2007 at 04:03 pm

Yes, I went overboard a little in my spending this weekend. I did get my camera fixed, well sent off anyway, to the tune of $164. I bought a pair of Danskos, probably could have found them cheaper online but I've never bought a pair before and had a hard time finding exactly the right fit so when I finally did I just bought them, to the tune of $120. In the end I have $48 that I'll be sending to savings.

I walked out this morning to go to the gym...and my car was gone. It's a '93 Honda Accord so one of the most likely to be stolen but I've had it for almost 4 years without incident. It does have nice rims and thinner tires but nothing else 'tricked out'. The bumpers have red scrapings on them from when I accidentally hit the fence when backing out of my parking spot. *sigh* Anyway. My car is gone for now. The police officer seemed pretty confident that they'd recover it. Of course I have to pay any towing fees and/or storage fees that get incurred once they do find it.

I've called my insurance agent, I don't know what sort of coverage I might have for theft, it's never been an issue before.

Fortunately, my roomate takes the bus because she works in downtown and she left me her keys so I can use her car today. Another friend uses his car rarely and has offered the use of it as well. The thing that annoys me the most, I just filled the tank. Ah well.

Spending the tax refund.

February 25th, 2007 at 06:46 am

So..my thoughts have turned to spending my tax refund since my brother got a deposit yesterday that will take care of him through March at least. What happened to saving? I'm not sure. Thing is, I do have things I've been wanting to buy but I can't justify pulling money out of the EF for them.

I bought a memory foam mattress topper for my bed. It was $110 at Costco. I pulled out $140 cash since I don't have a Costco card and I wanted to cover all bases in case it cost more than I'd originally planned. The one I wanted was $100 but they didn't have that one at the store I went to. The one I bought is actually better than the one I was going to get, and only $10 more. I also bought shampoo, that should last me a while. That cost $14. I then bought dinner, $5. I have $11 cash left from what I pulled out of my account. I was debating about using it tomorrow if I go out to lunch after church. If I don't, I'll deposit it on Tuesday when I go to the bank.

I bought a new pair of jeans at Target for $20 so I have a pair of jeans that actually fit while I'm still trying to loose weight. Wearing slightly baggy ones was getting on my nerves.

I have been waiting to get my digital camera repaired for over a year. Normally something like that it would be cheaper to buy new than to repair. However, my dad gave me this camera so I feel guilty over ruining it after only two years of use. So I am prepared to pay up to $200 to get it fixed. I didn't make it to the camera store today so I don't have an official estimate yet but last time I checked on it they said $150.

I need a Good pair of everyday shoes, not just the cheapest pair I can find at Payless. I've been systematically getting rid of shoes that really don't fit right and am down to almost nothing. A good pair (Dansko, etc) will run anywhere from $50 - 100. I haven't decided if I'm going to do that or not. I do have a coupon for a shoe store in town that's $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. I might go check them out.

That leaves me with ... (500 - 140 - 20 - 200 - 100) $40. Wow. Um. I had really inteded on saving the rest. Why is it when the money is going towards savings I can justify spending it on things I do need but have been putting off but when the money is going towards debt I can put things off a little while longer?

I made an extra $40 I wasn't planning on tonight babysitting for a new family. That'll help. I think end of March I will have my EF all built up. That makes me happy.

My first Kiva loan

February 23rd, 2007 at 05:36 pm

I got my tax refund today! I wasn't expecting it until next week, but I'm certainly not complaining. I had stated that I wanted to make a Kiva loan (www.kiva.org) with part of my return so that's the first thing I did.

What I like about Kiva is that they are the first non profit that PayPal doesn't charge any fees for processing, even if credit cards are used. So I know that if I donate $75 they are actually getting $75.

My selection process was actually pretty simple. I thought through a bunch of different ways to do it, perhaps keeping the focus on a specific country/region or gender. But in the end I decided on something much simpler. I sorted the open loan requests Oldest to Newest and scanned through the first page of Oldest to find the one who had the most raised so far. That's it. I selected a gentleman who had $125 left to be raised and my $75 pushed him to just $50 left. After I processed everything I went back to sort the list again to see what the new percentage was. And guess what? Someone else had picked up the other $50 while I was fiddling around with checking out and such. He is now fully funded! This particular loan is slotted to be paid back in 14-16 months.

My goal for now is to make a new donation with tax returns. The reason being, since I adjust my witholdings so I don't overpay, what I get back is really bonus since it's based on student loan interest. So once a year I'll make a new donation. Once the loan(s) get paid back I will just recycle the money back and reloan it to someone else. The hope being that when my student loans are paid in full, or at least I stop getting tax refunds, that I'll have enough recirculating that I don't need to add any more donations.

I also made a small donation to the company itself to help them with rent and such. They don't get a cut from the loans.

I am also considering buying Kiva gift certificates for gifts this next year. The receiver then gets to pick someone to fund and then can withdraw the money once its paid back if they so desire. We'll see. I'm just really excited that the person I picked got funded so fast!

Decisions decisions.

February 21st, 2007 at 03:42 pm

I have paid off CC1 by way of the loan first and then the leftover interest as soon as the statement got posted online. Which generally means that my next statement will show a zero balance. Part of me wants to wait for proof that there will be a zero balance statement March 20th before proceeding. The other part of me is certain that there is nothing left of the regular balance and wants to do a balance transfer immediately.

The next step for me is to transfer my consolidation loan from my bank to my credit card that I just paid off. Interest rate at the bank, 14.45% Interest rate of balance transfer, 3.99% until paid off plus 3% one time charge. I intend to continue making the same amount of payment that I had been making on the loan onto the credit card.

Of course I also plan on requesting more than the balance of my loan because the actual payoff will be more than is listed as current balance and I need a buffer in case my brother's GI bill doesn't kick in. If it does, rock on and I'll take that buffer and pay it towards my new loan. If it doesn't then I can still support him for a couple of months and he'll pay me back with interest as soon as possible.

Do I wait until I am certain that there is no residual charges that will be acruing interest at the regular rate? Or just jump into it now and get the ball rolling?

Three Phase Plan update

February 20th, 2007 at 11:56 pm

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

Between the three accounts my savings has increased by $258. At this rate I will reach my goal by April.

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

This phase has changed. I took out a loan to pay off CC1 and lock in the interest at a lower rate. But the end result is still the same, pay off as much of loan as possible by 4/15/2010.

Statement balance difference: -$262.30
Total Payments: $350.00
Total charges and fees: $88.82

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,701.73
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $7,744.40

Once things settle down it'll start looking better, ie the new potential balance will start decreasing instead of increasing.

-----

I guess I overreacted to the thought that I wouldn't have enough in the bank to cover the first payment. With the interest being so low I had enough from what I had stashed in my electronic envelope to pay off the interest and for the new loan payment plus about $30. It went out in the mail today, will definately reach there before the due date. My hope is that by the time the next payment due date arrives, I will have everything set up online.

-----

Today was payday. I held out a little to get an oil change and $20 for a birthday gift. Even with that I was able to stash an extra $32 into savings. Wheee. I went grocery shopping and bought a florescent light that was the wrong size. I'll take it back and then call my apt manager to verify that it's something I do need to replace or if they'll provide us with those since it's a specialty type item. My tank is plenty full of gas, won't need to fill it for a little bit at least.

Yet another checking account.

February 19th, 2007 at 05:59 pm

I got my first statement from Citibank on the loan I acquired from them. First payment is due 3/2, totally do-able but the first one will just be for the actual minimum required. I called the phone number on the statement to inquire about making payments online, since the guy who processed it said I'd be able to, and they informed me that I had to call a different number that only has people working M-F. I called today, and actually talked to someone. I guess it's not a holiday for Citibank.

She informed me that the only way to make payments online is to set up a Citibank checking account, that way I can have online access and include the loan in what accounts I see when I log in. Because it's a 'dummy account', only open for internet access to my loan, I only have to keep a dollar in it and all fees will be waived. Of course, Citibank doesn't have any branches in Oregon so I have to wait for paperwork to show up. Which means I'll be mailing in my first payment. I haven't mailed in a bill in a really long time, how early should I send it to arrive right on time?

Ugh. Ah well. I like online bill pay so it's worth it. Especially since there are no fees.

Now I'm just waiting for my last CC statement so I can pay it off directly then wait for a $0 balance statement so I can start using the balance transfer option to keep up with the Money Shuffle that will hopefully ensure that I do indeed pay off all my consumer debt by April 2010.

I saved $20.75 today

February 18th, 2007 at 07:09 am

Sort of. I wear my glasses generally for four years before needing to get a new prescription. After a week of wearing my wire frames I decided I really wanted to get the sides of the lenses polished so they didn't look quite so thick. I called and was informed that the charge was $10/pair or $15/two pair. The plastic frames are thick enough that it doesn't matter so I accepted that I would have to pay $10 and not have my wire frames for about a week. I went in today, wrote my name down on the list and when the gal got to me she knew what I wanted done but didn't know how to enter it in the computer. The other tech that did know was in the middle of anther customer and the line behind me had grown. I told her that I didn't mind waiting if she wanted to move on down the list and I would just wait until the other tech was done.

It took longer than I'd anticipated but it was totally worth while. After all was said and done, I asked the tech how much. He said no charge. So that's $10 I don't have to worry about.

Then a friend and I had plans to see a movie mid day. But it was GOREGEOUS outside and I was trying to come up with something we could do outdoors and still hang out. Then I remembered my Zoo Pass. So we went to the Zoo for a couple of hours. Saved $10.75 on my admission and while she did save too since she got in under mine I'm just counting money I would have spent. Now I've only gone to the Zoo twice since purchasing the pass so I still have a couple of visits to go before I am going for free. But I had a really nice time today.

My paycheck got deposited early. Payday is the 20th, so Tuesday. Direct deposits generally go in a day early but with Monday being a holiday that means that the bank already shows the pending deposit. I'm a little confused, it shows an increase but a small one at that. I don't know if I got a raise and they just didn't tell me or if there was something figured differently in last month's pay. I won't find out til Thursday because I'm off Tuesday and Wednesday. Ah well.

Boy am I glad I didn't pay to file State taxes.

February 15th, 2007 at 07:11 pm

The cost to file state taxes electronically, $29.95. The amount of my refund, $18. Smile

I waited for the 1098 showing mortgage interest I paid last year...and it didn't matter. I cut way back on charitable contributions last year so itemized deductions weren't really helpful this year.

So apparently I cut it pretty close as far as state goes when I adjusted my withholdings. But I'm ok with that. This year however, I will be more cautious and not change my withholding status until July. My part time job, which wasn't counted for 3006 because I didn't make enough to warrent a W2, I expect will be a factor for 2007 taxes since it's taxed at a considerably lower rate. I just want to make sure I cover my butt, even though I know that student loan interest will probably save me.

Federal return will be $574. I'm going to take the $74, add a dollar to it, and donate $75 to Kiva. The $500 I am not sure how it will be used yet. If my brother's GI Bill kicks in then it will go first to savings and if it exceeds my goal of $1k then I'll put the rest to my highest % loan. If the GI Bill doesn't kick in, I'll probably be using it to fund March living expenses for my brother and hopefully it will kick in in April. He'll have his federal return back as well so he will be kicking in a portion towards his living expenses.

In other news, my brother has a learning disability. We knew that but he had a session today with someone who thinks he might qualify for a program where the school will pay for him to be tested to find out exactly what his issue is. If he gets into the program he'll take special classes geared towards his learning ability and his books will be covered. That would be way cool. Just have to wait and see how things fall out. Fortunately he has teachers who are helping to direct him properly, without them he wouldn't have even known that the program existed.

What's a good rate of return?

February 14th, 2007 at 08:41 pm

I got all excited yesterday because my quarterly statement for my 401k came from the new company. Apparently that still doesn't mean that the money's been transferred yet so I still can't re-allocate my funds to the new options available.

The one nice thing though that I noticed was that the new company listed my Personal Rate of Return. For the last quarter, it was 5.94% and for the whole year it was 11.06% Is that good? Ok? Bad? Well it's obviously not bad since I made money but..I really don't know much about this stuff.

I am anxious to actually be able to do my taxes and give things an extra push. Just waiting on one more piece of mail but since it hasn't shown up yett then I won't be getting my return til March 2nd. *sigh*

$40 bank error, not in my favor

February 10th, 2007 at 07:07 pm

I messed up. I thought it odd that I had more money after the last check but just chalked it up to the fact that I have a different amount of extra money out of each paycheck. Turns out a transfer out to Emigrant got recorded as a deposit in Quicken. It was for $20 but since I thought I had $20 more instead of $20 less that actually makes me off by $40.

I just balanced my register and am now -$4.57. Which is not really the case for the account since I'm holding onto money for my first loan payment so I'm really ok. Just debating about whether or not I want to pull $40 back out of savings to cover the whoops or just leave it as is for now and make up the difference next check. I think I'm going to hold off on pulling from savings for as long as possible. I'm holding out $250 for my new loan payment since I don't know exactly when it's going to be due. So my account is far from being overdrawn.

Just frustrating to me. Know I know, if it seems like I have more money than I thought I should, double check transfers to/from Emigrant and ING. Those are the ones most likely to get reversed on accident.

----

I'm going to have a chat with my brother today. His account is at $52. His electric bill is the only bill that hasn't been paid yet, it's $63. His roomate will pitch in half, but that still leaves barely $20 for the rest of the month. He has GOT to stop eating out. Fortunately he'll work at the bar tomorrow morning and probably make like $60. I just need to pound it into his head that that HAS to last him all week. The bar he works at mentioned another possibility, having him call people that filled out comment cards on the comedy nights to give them free tickets to come back. That'd be a couple hours a night a few nights a week. Anything extra is welcome at this point.

Bookstore danger!

February 7th, 2007 at 06:48 am

I am usually pretty good about walking into a store, buying the one thing I need, and getting to the checkstand straight away.

I walked into Powell's, their main store in downtown, headed to the children's area, consulted an info computer as to the exact row/section for the book I wanted for my friend's 3yo's birthday, picked up the one copy of the book that was new but $3 less than the other new books available and made for the checkstand.

Looming before the checkstand, something I'd not noticed on the way in, was a large section of Sale Books. On the way back a couple things caught my eye and I said to myself 'it wouldn't hurt to browse'. Famous last words. The first book to catch my eye was The Cat in the Hat. Hardbound for $5. The request for the 3yo's gifts had been for books, especially 'your favorite childhood books' since most of the people coming are adults, and the kid got more toys than they know what to do with for Christmas. I was already planning on buying him Bed Bed Bed because it's super adorable and I know they don't have it. But The Cat in the Hat. That's the first Dr Seuss books I remember reading on my own. So I bought that one too figuring if they already have a copy then they can pass it on to someone else.

Of course I couldn't stop there, I had to scan every last shelf. I stopped myself from buying any of the personal finance books, especially ones I have on my list at the library. But I'd been thinking lately about how it would be good to start carrying around a journal so I can keep track of food, exercise, water, and these light headed spells that I keep having. I might even channel Bridget Jones periodically and start entries with my weight for the day in stone. Smile They had quite the selection of sizes and shapes for only $5.

But wait, there's more! I spotted something rather unique. A pad of Fold and Mail stationary. Ok so it had Catwoman on it but that wasn't the point. Fold and Mail stationary??? That's the coolest thing! My first thought was that I had to buy it so I could write my friend a letter on it. I've started collecting things like blank cards and such when I find them on sale and I've been trying to be consistant in mailing people every few months since I don't get around to calling them. So I bought that too...


All told really it wasn't that bad. I spent $28.44, of which I was planning on $13.50. I haven't decided how I'm going to count that money yet. I do give myself $30 to play with every check but a good portion of that was already set aside for other things. It'll all balance out in the end.

Well there's good news and bad news.

February 5th, 2007 at 10:41 pm

The bad news first, of course. The check I got from insurance for $106 was not to cover my glasses but rather to cover my eye exam. Apparently the doctor I switched to (mine left the clinic a year ago) is not in network so they send me the difference and I'm supposed to pass it along to the eye doctor. Which I did this morning, no problem.

The good news is that I'll still potentially get $150 towards my glasses. Of course, I don't know when exactly that will be but if the speed at which I received the check for the eye doctor is anything to go by, it could be very soon.

My brother's taxes got done today. He qualified to file both state and federal electonically for free. Yay! He'll get back basically enough to cover the second part of school. Unfortunately, I don't know that it will arrive before it's due. So we'll pull money out like normal to cover it and then when he gets it in his bank account we'll pull it back out to save for March.

It's exciting to look at CC1's balance and see it read $0. There should just be one more statement with a balance and then at the end of March hopefully I can transfer my consolidation loan over to a lower interest rate. One step at a time. I'm trying to not plan too much ahead.

I'm waiting rather impatiently for the last document I need to do my taxes. I should be getting a 1098 from a property I paid interest on most of 2006. If I don't get this document by February 14th I'm going to use the interest number from Quicken and guess on the low end how much I paid. But I'd rather it just would show up soon. Like today.

I got paid today. I was able to not only cover the few extra things I've been wanting too but I also put an extra $33 into savings! That made me happy. Slowly but surely I'm inching closer to that $1k mark.

Paid back today!

February 3rd, 2007 at 05:08 pm

Rock on. So back in September I sold a bunch of stuff to a friend of a friend who was going to make payments. I got one from her. I haven't heard a peep from her since. I did contact my friend once and she got in touch with her but I decided that with the holidays approaching and stuff I'd just let it go and revisit it come February. Only I forgot to touch base with my friend about it. Yesterday I got a call from the gal asking if she could stop by and drop off money today. I gave her directions and all but didn't know how much it would be. She just stopped by and handed me some cash then left (she just got off work and wanted to get to bed). I looked at it after she left and it's the rest of it! Actually it's $5 more than she owed but hey I'm not complaining. So that makes me happy. I'll deposit it straight into my Wells Fargo account since back in September that's where I decided it would go.

I saw my pending deposit for my paycheck and figured out bills. Looking good right now! I already got back a check from insurance for my glasses. That was fast! It was only $106 but I'll take it. I've also decided to efile federal for free and mail in state so I won't have to set aside money for tax filing this time around. Which also means I should be able to stash some extra into savings. We'll see.

My brother got his last W2 yesterday so we'll be doing his taxes today. Can't wait to see what that turns out to be.

Now if my voice will just return so I can carry on conversations...darn cold!

Networth update, 2007 goals update (longish post)

February 1st, 2007 at 04:09 pm

I haven't cashed the loan check yet, I plan on depositing it today. I expect there'll be a hold on it for a few days and then I'll pay off my credit card. That's exciting. My 401k has not transferred to the new company yet, but it's increasing so I'm not complaining too much.

Assets $ Diff % Diff
Cash $606 ($190) -23.87 %
Retirement $25,645 $327 1.29 %
Cars $2,305 $0 0.00 %
Total Assets $28,556 $137 0.48 %

Debts $ Diff % Diff
Student Loans $36,006 ($102) -0.28 %
Credit Card $18,012 ($142) -0.78 %
Other $8,512 ($168) -1.94 %
Total Debts $62,530 ($412) -0.65 %

Net Worth ($33,974) $549 1.59 %



-----

2007 goal update:

1] Consumer debt down to 14,000. Currently at $26,524. Monthly amount of decrease needs to be $1,138 each month to meet this. Not looking so hot right now. Frown But it is going down.

2] EF holding steady at $1,000. Currently at $499.13. Need to increase it by $46 each month to meet this. Not a problem so long as I don't have any emergencies come up.

3] Medical savings at least $500. Currently a little over $100. Need to increase it by $37 each month to meet this. Shouldn't be a problem, at least until I need to get my crown.

4] (non monetary goal) Holding steady at my current goal weight. Currently have 30 lbs to go. Need to loose 3 lbs a month to meet this. Shouldn't be a problem.

-----

Brother officially turned in the paperwork for his GI Bill. The good news, he'll get backpay for every month he was in school from the time he started til it actually kicks in. That means he'll be able to pay me back in one lump sum. Of course, we need to actually get to that point but the office where he turned in his applicatino said the process has been streamlined and some people have been known to get theirs in 4-6 weeks. Worst case will be 2 months. That's better than 3 months like it used to be. Til then though we're going to be scrambling to make it. He has enough in his account to pay the second part of school this month. Im really hoping that his tax return will be large enough to get him through another month. And if we efile it should be here fast enough to cover for March. He's just waiting on one W2.

-----

Got $20 for babysitting last night. Will get $28 today paid back for buying concert tickets for people. $14 will go back to gas/food money the other $14 will go back in the bank. Plus $25 on Sunday for childcare. That's $59 to go back into the bank to help recover from what I spent on my glasses. My regular budget amount for medical, minus what I'll need for prescriptions, will pick up the rest of the slack so nothing else will be affected.

-----

I've done pretty well not spending too much cash or gas while parents are in town. Of course that is in part due to the fact that they insist on paying for things. Smile But I do offer to pay my own share and I don't go crazy wth what I order.