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Archive for May, 2007

Careful use of CC

May 31st, 2007 at 11:38 am

I was going to pull money out of my medical savings account today but decided against it. I really want it to be earning interest as long as possible so I think I'm just going to pay for my two dentist visits with my empty credit card and then pay it off after my second visit. Then I'll know exactly how much I'll really need instead of me guessing how much it'll be. I have the money to pay it off before interest is an issue so I'm not worried about that. I am being careful to not get in the habit of using it regularly though.

Good News?

May 29th, 2007 at 11:22 am

Well there is good news, my roommate is engaged. They set the date for September and she hasn't decided yet when she's going to quit her job and move out there (they'll be living where he is already about 4 hours away). I am really excited and happy for her and just knew it was going to happen. Smile

However for me that poses a slight problem. I'll either need to get another roommate, or move. If necessary I can trim down a few payments and actually be able to keep living there by myself but I don't know that I really want to do that. However, I have an awesomely cheap apartment (rent and utilities split is only $350 each) in a perfect part of town (1.1 miles from the gym, 1.3 miles from work not to mention close to grocery and bank and other friends).

Part of me wants to see if perhaps I could get one of those free apartments in exchange for light on site management duties. But I hate moving.

I don't know what all she'll be taking with her when she leaves. She owns most of the main area furniture, most of the dishes, and most of the cookware. So the possibility of moving into a room in someone's house is actually appealing after a fashion. But moving any further away means that my gas budget will have to increase...lots to factor in.

Ages ago (it seems) I did have an offer from some friends to move in with them. However since then, the gal who owns the condo has gotten pretty serious with her bf and is practically engaged so I'm not sure I want to move somewhere and then move again. Besides, that place is way further away than my current place.

Nothing really to be done about it til I know her future plans. So I'm just waiting and pondering my options so I'm ready when the official word comes in.

Sticking it out for three months.

May 24th, 2007 at 05:39 pm

Had a dr visit today. The most awesomest news I could ever hear, the meds are working and my heart is getting stronger! Strong enough to shift me out of the 'need to get an implantable defibrillator' category. That excites me to no end!

We discussed my meds and the controlled release I'm taking now she prefers me to take because it is a more even flow of medication than if I take it twice a day. It's $15 more per month but I think it's worth it. They are working on a generic for that same med (not the controlled release but the twice a day) and when it comes out I may switch back to that because it'd only be $10/mo vs $50/mo. My next appointment is in three months, or it will be when I make it. They generally don't have the schedule set up that far out so I'll call in two months. We'll discuss the medications then.

I'm also excited because the weather is going to be NICE this weekend and I'm going to the zoo TWICE. Getting use out of that zoo pass!

I'm annoyed because for the first time in a really really really REALLY long time I had an overdraft. I have a checking account that I don't use for much of anything linked to PayPal. When I buy something via PayPal I change the funding source to something else to pay with (unless I'm sending money to someone in general then I deposit it into the account and do a bank transfer). Apparently I forgot to change the funding source, either that or I answered No when they asked 'are you sure you want to pay with a credit card?'. So it tried to pull $7.80 from an account that had under $5. But it's all taken care of now so that's good. Thank God for my EF.

Just barely skated by

May 24th, 2007 at 07:06 am

After all that fun with the bank yesterday my brother wasn't able to make it in before they closed. He was 5 minutes late. He was going to deposit money in via atm to see if he could skate by on that so I suggested he put in $25 since he was short by about $24. (There was some money in the account just the bank when it auto transferred transferred way more than he needed so I had told him to ignore the extra since they would probably take the overdraft fee out of it).

This morning I checked his accounts....his checking is positive and his savings has no extra charges!! He just barely skated by. I will be talking with him this weekend about where we go from here. He was considering taking the summer off of school and working, right now that's a fine idea since I don't know how he's going to pay for it if he doesn't.

---

I gave my friend a check like I do every month to pay on the croatia trip we took last year. She asked 'Why are you still giving me money?' A valid question considering I gave her $1k a couple months ago just so what we make with our monthly payments as a group will actually make a difference. I don't feel right leaving her holding the bag, even though she choose it. She only choose it because she thought it would be temporary, not drag on for over a year. Unless everyone else can pick off their portion like I did, I don't feel right stepping back. Although on the flip side, that $50/mo I give her could be used elsewhere in my debt reduction plan. It boils down to, I feel I have a moral obligation to give her money every month until the card balance is $0 or until the others in the group take on their own portion of the debt.

I'm just about at my wit's end.

May 23rd, 2007 at 01:51 pm

My youngest brother, the one that I've been supporting off and on since he started school, is really really leaving me frazzled!

I forgot about the 6 transfer limit on savings accounts and with the way things have been going we went over that. I'm only on his savings but not on his checking so I can only deposit to savings. He transfers to checking and goes on his merry way.

So for starters, he got a $10 charge because we did a 7th transfer. Then it all went downhill. I put some money in his savings, just so he'd have money in there, and he overspent and got overdrawn. Well, his overdraft protection kicked in and...transferred from his savings incurring ANOTHER $10 charge and transfer #8 this month.

I dropped in another $20 so his savings account wasn't at -$10 and sent him a text reminding him that he has NO money and to not use his card for Anything.

Today we were talking and he desperately needed some cash for food. So I went and dropped another $40 in his savings account and I called and told him he had $40 in his SAVINGS that he could pull out and that I couldn't transfer it without incurring another $10 fee and possibly incur the wrath of the bank (they mentioned something about his account might get closed if he has too many transfers). I also informed him that that was it for this month so he'd better spend it wisely.

That was a little over an hour ago. I log onto his bank account just now and guess what I found? No just guess. Yup, he pulled the $40 out of CHECKING where there is....NO MONEY. So he's overdrawn AGAIN.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I sent him a text even though I knew he was in class and he's going to high tail it to the bank soon as he's out of class and try to straighten it out. Sometimes if you catch it same day they are lenient but I dunno at this point...

I'm trying to convince him to go to a cash system. Perhaps he'll actually listen to me this time.

Tuesday Deposit

May 22nd, 2007 at 05:01 pm

No deposit today. The guy who pays me on Sundays was home sick so I'll just get paid double on this Sunday. I did get $20 cash for last night but I'm going to a surprise party on Saturday which includes going to the zoo (yay for zoo pass! saves me $9.75) and they've asked everyone to bring $20 if possible so they can hopefully combine resources and buy the new couple a BBQ and patio set. Makes me wonder exactly how many people are invited. I won't be able to make it to the wedding so I'll just do this bit of celebrating with them and consider that my gift. There's still talk of going out after the zoo so I might be in a position to spend a little more but we'll see. I'm going to avoid it at all costs.

I got my supposed to be empty CC paid off before interest accrued. The coast rental guy sent me back my money in the form of a check instead of as a credit to my card so I just turned around and paid it. Plus my childcare earnings from last week went to what was left over from the extra concert tickets. I'll be waiting til at least a month before the concert (mid-July) before trying to sell them. I might have friends who want them but no one is willing to commit to something so early. Lots of waiting. That's ok, I know they'll get used one way or another.

I went on a retreat this past weekend and I'm pleased to say that even though I drove, I had three passengers who all chipped in for gas. That makes me happy, even though it probably would have been ok even if they hadn't.

My friend is no longer in need of extra support so I'm back to using my extra cash for savings, well at least that's the intent. Next week that's the plan. I might be babysitting on Friday. I'm pretty excited about that.

Where to apply payments.

May 20th, 2007 at 07:38 pm

I got my first real statement with my Balance Transfer. I took the amount I did because I didn't want to have too much of a monthly required payment. I was expecting it to be $275 and it is $160.

Balance Transfer balance: $10,573.30 at 3.99% min $160 budget $275
Loan balance: $16,432.10 at 10.9% min $391 budget $523

Should I shift $115 from the balance transfer payment to the Loan? I know it makes mathematical sense to do it..but I really want to have the BT paid off by April 2010. Actually I want it all paid off by then but at the least the BT.

Thankfully I have a Medical Savings...

May 17th, 2007 at 11:25 am

..even though I'm bummed I'll be practically draining it next month. I had a teeth cleaning appointment today and was gently reminded that I do need to get a crown for the root canal I had done last year. I also have a small cavity that needs to be filled. They didn't charge me for today's appointment, which is odd because usually I have to pay the $50 deductible for my x-rays. But I'm not complaining too much, they'll bill me later if necessary.

I got the numbers for the work to be done. $690 for the crown, ins will pay 50% after the $50 deductible has been satisfied so that's $370. $170 (a little less but I rounded up because I couldn't remember) for the filling, ins will pay 80% so that's $34. Total out of pocket $404. Total in my Medical Savings account $353.

I was anticipating paying the $50 deductible for today's visit plus my regular payments for prescriptions (but I got my most expensive for free this month that was unexpected). So I didn't deposit any into my Medical Savings figuring I'd just have to pull it back out anyway. I have $134 in my bank account earmarked for Medical.

I do plan on going to the chiropractor soon which will be $20 plus I'll be paying for my brother to go as well and I think they're regular visits without insurance are $45 so that's $65 I'll need. I will probably refill two other prescriptions this month, that'll be $15. Plus I have a doctor appointment in a week which is another $20 co-pay. I get paid tomorrow which adds $35 to my Medical amount available. So that leaves $69 for Medical in the bank at the end of the month when all is said and done. Plus $353 in savings that's $422 or just barely enough to cover my dental visits in June. I also intentionally set the appointments for after my first June Pay Day which introduces more money from my budget to put towards it.

All in all I won't be completely draining the account but I'm really glad it's there. However, it does cause a little bit of panic since I have some tests coming up that I know I'll need to pay for at some point. Perhaps it'll be built back up again by then.

I will pull whatever I'm anticipating needing out of the account when necessary. I will not be charging anything. That is the goal. Although if I estimated incorrectly I may need to temporarily charge something just long enough for money to transfer out of ING.

NFO My Survey

May 16th, 2007 at 01:43 pm

Has anyone actually done any at home product testing for them? I just completed a product test and was very disappointed in the amount of points I received for doing the survey. I have no problem with doing 10 point surveys for them to find out if I qualify to continue to a higher point survey. But when I take 4 weeks and test out a couple versions of a product for them, I expect to get more than just 10 points for each product (20 points total). Does that seem unreasonable to anyone else? I've emailed them already about it. I let the first one slide because I thought that perhaps more points would be awarded after the completion of the task. I'm sorry, but my time is worth more than that.

While waiting for a prescription to be filled (which was free thanks to a coupon from the manufacturer) I browsed the electronics section. I found a digital camera case on sale 50% off which made it $3.50! I carry my digital with me everywhere and especially since I spent so much to get it fixed I really wanted to get a case to keep it safe. It fits perfectly in the case, there's room for spare batteries and memory sticks in another pocket, it has a belt loop that velcros on and a shoulder strap. Quite the bargain I thought.

I also looked at their cassette adapters since I'm going on a trip and might need to buy one since my friend's iTrip is broken. (The iTrip makes it so iPods can play through the radio) In the mp3 section they were $20, in the audio section they were $10. For the same thing. I could understand the difference if the $20 one had a special iPod connector but both just plug in through the headphone jack. My roommate probably has one so I'm holding off til I find out if she can lay hands on it or not.

I also bought replacement rechargable batteries since I can't find the ones I have (but I know where the charger is) since I blow through regular batteries in my camera pretty fast and some rubber cement so I can make a personalized birthday card. Plus I got a digital picture printed out (again to make said birthday card). Spent about $13 something on all that.

Money in Paypal

May 11th, 2007 at 11:45 am

I have about $22 sitting in my Paypal account right now. It's accumulated from various Pinecone surveys and/or getting paid for writing blogs on my myspace account. Since I started giving Kiva gift certificates as gifts and buying things now and again from places that accept Paypal I have found it useful to just leave the money there and be 'surprised' because what I wind up spending is less than I thought because I usually forget the money is there until I get a notice from Paypal stating that another deposit has been made.

In the past it hasn't really been more than maybe $10 before I bought something. Now that it's over $20 I'm wondering if I shouldn't transfer that much out and put it to better use (savings, etc). Or just leave it because birthdays are inevitable and having money there would be useful.

Any thoughts?

Next few months EF will not be increasing

May 10th, 2007 at 01:09 pm

I am still working hard at whittling away my debt and increasing my EF. However, life is just not on the same page right now. I made a couple of small withdrawals recently from my savings account, a donation to a breast cancer walk my friend is doing and a donation to my brother's bank account so he doesn't get overdrawn. Granted the second is borderline enabling however if he gets overdrawn I'll be the one to bail him out so an ounce of prevention is totally worth a pound of cure in this case. Fortunately his roommate finally came through with his portion of the rent that my brother covered this month so he should be able to make it the rest of the month no problem.

The other reason though isn't that I'll be taking out money but rather I won't be putting in my extra cash from my Tuesday Deposits for a while. A friend of mine got scammed pretty bad on craigslist. I've decided to help her out as much as I can which isn't going to be much but the way I see it is it's extra money anyway. So instead of making my Tuesday Deposits I'll just cash the checks and once a week pass it off to her. It'll be between $25 and $70 a week depending on what nights I actually end up working and if I get paid that night or not.

Once she gets back on her feet then I'll start re-directing the funds where they should be going. Hopefully she'll get a roommate soon and get caught up from all the potential overdrafts the scam will cost her.

Tax prep classes

May 8th, 2007 at 10:19 pm

I've always wanted to do tax preparation as a side thing. I just got a flier in the mail from H & R Block about their classes that start soon. Like end of this month soon. There's two phases and it looks like they cost $249 each. Ouch, I could have sworn last time I looked into it it was only $150 but that may have been through someone else. Anyway...

None of the times work for me really. 9-12 cuts into work and 6-9 I get off work at 6 plus the nights it's offered I usually babysit. Now, I might be able to make arrangements with work for the 9-12 one where I come in after class two days a week and then start 1.5 hrs earlier the other three days to make up the time. I don't know if I can do that but it's a possibility. I'd rather do that then just use vacation time.

But if I take the first section then I need to be able to take the second and I don't know yet when that will be offered. I wouldn't mind cutting off the babysitting if it were further out that it was starting. I can change that schedule but I prefer to give them a little more warning especially since I just started.

And it'd be almost $500 total. Is it worth it? I mean, working part time assuming I got a job doing tax prep, am I going to get enough hours in the amount of time I need it? Last I heard you were supposed to do like 750 hours in 2 years for something or other. But things may have changed since then. Ugh. Decisions decisions.

I think I'll wait and see what other places offer. It's not that it's too early to start thinking about it just I have too much going on and I know Jackson Hewitt offers courses in the Fall.

How dissapointing.

May 7th, 2007 at 05:41 pm

So the weekend away with the girls, the one I've been planning for a while and put on my credit card so it could be covered...has officially been canceled. For one reason or another people suddenly couldn't make it and we were down to only 4 people. Now I love the girls that are still able to go but it's just not worth it to drive all the way out there. Especially since one of them just went through some financial hardship and we told her not to not come just cuz of money and we'd take care of her.

The downside is we loose the deposit but losing $25/each vs spending $73/each (plus food plus gas) really is the better end of the deal. We'll still hang out on Saturday but it means we have more time to ourselves during the weekend which is actually better for me too.

But it's very disappointing. I mean, we bandied around dates for a while and only settled on this one because all but one of the group said they could make it. And the one that couldn't make it is about 2 weeks from giving birth so she had a good reason for not coming. Now in the 11th hour...anyway.

It could have been worse, I could have had to just plain foot the bill which I was tempted to do because that's what I do and that's what gets me into trouble. Fortunately I have some friends who aren't the type to take advantage of the situation and immediately stepped up to shoulder the burden equally if need be.

We will still have fun. We've got a project to complete for the one who's pregnant so we'll still spend the day together on Saturday working on that and perhaps we'll have a little fondue party like we were planning to have this weekend. And it means I'll definitely be home in time to take my sister in law out for lunch/brunch.

Student loan interest reduction

May 4th, 2007 at 06:57 am

I got a letter in the mail that I forgot I was expecting. Since it's been however long since I started paying on my student loan by letting them auto transfer from my account (both operated by the same bank) they reduced my interest rate by 0.25% Which may not sound like a lot..but according to Quicken it reduced the number of payments left from 227 to 216. I am so not complaining.

I got the rejection email yesterday, didn't get the job. Oh well another will come along.

I'm going away for the weekend but I don't think my spending will be too out of control. I'm driving my best friend from Portland to Medford for her sister's wedding. Her mom asked if I would pay for the gas and in exchange she would cover my hotel room. Fair enough. I have $20 left over from last month's gas budget and a $25 gift card for shell plus I just got paid so have my regular gas budget for the next two weeks. I think I'll be ok. I started thinking about money I'd need for like food and realized, it's not going to be that bad. I'm packing us both a lunch for today (I pick her up at 12:30), we'll be down in time for the rehearsal dinner, I think the place we are staying at has a free breakfast. That just leaves lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on the drive back on Sunday. The wedding is at 2 and they're going ultra low budget so I expect there'll just be cake.

Changing internet?

May 2nd, 2007 at 10:48 pm

So we have this new thing in Portland...Metro-Fi has made portions of the city wireless. You can access it for free if you can put up with ad banners, or you can pay $20/mo for it. Because of where I live, in order to pick up the signal I'd need to buy something to boost their signal. Which costs about $120ish. Right now I'm paying $48/mo for Comcast.

I wish I could try the service out at home first without having to shell out so much for the wireless modem. I think it would be a great deal that would balance out soon enough...but I'm a little skeptical to try it.

My interview seemed to go well. They asked for references, which I sent them. Don't know when I'll hear back. I figure I should give them at least a week or two and then figure they don't want me.

NetWorthIQ and 2007 Goals Update

May 1st, 2007 at 06:50 am

Assets $ Diff % Diff
Cash $1,469 $188 14.68 %
Retirement $27,438 $1,098 4.17 %
Cars $2,125 ($180) -7.81 %
Total Assets $31,032 $1,106 3.70 %

Debts $ Diff % Diff
Student Loans $35,671 ($107) -0.30 %
Credit Card $10,908 $10,908 -
Other $16,492 ($15,039) -47.70 %
Total Debts $63,071 ($4,238) -6.30 %

Net Worth ($32,039) $5,344 14.30 %

Definately headed in the right direction this time...

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2007 Goals Update:

1] Consumer debt down to $14,000. Currently at $27,400. Monthly amount of decrease needs to be $1675 in order to meet this. I have my doubts about actually meeting this goal but still trying.

2] EF holding steady at $1,000. Currently at $862.12. Need to increase it by $18 each month to meet this.

3] Medical savings at least $500. Currently at $353.73. Need to increase it by $19 each month to meet this.

4] (Non monetary goal) Holding steady at my current goal weight. Currently I have 23 lbs to go. Need to loose 3 lbs a month to meet this.