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Gas money...

December 12th, 2008 at 09:46 pm

Ok so here's my tiny dilemma...

My current amount of gas money in my wallet is $35.

I'm not quite ready to fill again but might before the weekend is out. I always fill it at around half which is at most 10 gallons but usually more like 8.

Monday is when I pull the next $40 out of my account for the next two weeks gas budget.

The last time I checked, regular was at $1.659 so I should really have no trouble filling (when I do) twice on what I already have in my wallet.

I was reading an article about how some people deal with the lower gas prices, knowing that it's going to go back up, by basically pretending it's still $4 a gallon and stowing away the difference for later when it does go back up.

So part of me was thinking perhaps I should do something like that too, pull out the $40 on Monday and stash whatever is currently in my wallet aside for when it goes back up.

But the other part of me is thinking, why not just take that $40 and pay it as extra on something.

Any thoughts?

How a pack of gum saved me $10

November 29th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

I stopped by Fred Meyer's tonight as I wasn't going to have any other time this weekend to do some clothes shopping. I needed to get a couple pairs of workout pants as the ones I currently am using are pretty worn out and really shouldn't be worn outside the home. Smile I have decided to start walking on my lunch breaks since my work clothes are starting to not fit so well anymore. So I need another pair that I can leave at work during the week.

I lucked out in that the ones I found that fit were on sale 30% off ending today. When I went to check out I opted to not do UScan because it's rather annoying to do clothing through it. Of course while waiting in line I saw the gum and remembered that I wanted to get some more.

When it came to be my turn, the total came to just under $50 and the cashier asked if I wanted to get a second pack of gum since if I spent $50 then she had a coupon for $10 off. So I did. Which made me fell better about my purchase since even with 30% off I was a little over budget.

October's electric bill.

October 17th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

I think we'll make it through November with a credit balance before I even pay the bill. Here's how we're looking for October:

Previous Balance: -132.55
Current Charges: 33.94
New Account Balance: -98.61

And the comparison between last year this month and the current bill is:

October 08 9.4 avg kWh/day 1.10 avg cost/day
October 07 14.6 avg kWh/day 1.66 avg cost/day.

We did use the heater some and I'm not sure if it wound up on this bill or not. Doesn't matter, one more month down wahoo!

The heater

October 11th, 2008 at 08:28 am

It's been a while since I've blogged here. Not really too much to write about really.

Our electric equal pay rate changed in August. It went down about $12/mo. Pretty excited about that since it means a year of living with a different roommate made a difference.

In June we started trying to lower our electric bill. We bought a power squid for the TV/VCR/DVD/Stereo/Digital Tuner and have been pretty diligent with turning it off when we aren't watching anything. We had to get a power squid because a normal power strip didn't work to have the off switch in reach. We started seeing a difference in usage and $ per day right away. To the tune of $10/12 a month less compared to the same month the year before. Crazy! Of course we started it at the end of what gets factored into our Equal Pay but we'll have all year to do it this time around.

Initially my goal was to have our bill be a credit every month, even through the cold ones. I'm not sure we can reach it so I'll settle for a credit at the end of our year because that would mean a drop in monthly rate again.

We bought a new shower head, I thought it was one that you could turn off the water at the head (so you wouldn't have to fiddle with the temp of the water) but it turns out it just drops the output from 1.5 gal/minute to .5 gal/minute. Even if we don't use the switch it's still an improvement on our old one which I'm assuming like a normal shower head had an output of 2.5 gal/minute. I think this will help as we'll use less hot water (we don't pay for water so it's just the hot I care about) so we'll need to re-heat less water and lower our electric bill some too.

I also tried for a week to lower the temp of the water heater. That didn't go over so well with myself or my roommate. Our water heater does not have temp settings just Hot, Hotter, Hottest. There's actually three options for Hotter so 5 settings in all. It was on Hottest, I dropped it a notch to the highest Hotter but after a week we decided, especially with the cold weather coming, to turn it back up. Maybe in the summer we'll try dropping it again.

I'm not in a place to try my mom's way of dealing with the water heater and that was to turn it off at the breaker when not in use. Which meant that 20 minutes before we wanted hot water we had to remember to turn it back on.

We've got a little bit of a cold weather right now. It's currently about 40 out and I used my electric blanket last night for the first time in a while. I've got the kind that turns off after 3 hours, I don't like the ones that stay on for 10.

And this morning, I actually turned on the heater. We have baseboards and in the winter I try to keep it always at 50 and only jump it up by small increments when we actually want it on. I was hoping for one more month of not using the heater to build up a nice credit for when we will be using it a lot more. Ah well.

Oh and what I mean by a credit bill is.. when I looked at my actual bill for September I saw the following:

Prior Balance: -99.64
Current Charges: 35.98
Current Balance: -63.66

So before I even make my equal pay payment I have a credit balance. I think we'll still have that for at least one more month.

Car repairs and taking the bus

May 30th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I have an apt to take my car into the shop on Monday. The clutch is randomly slipping and I would hate for it to cause serious problems while I'm driving it and since I've made some headway on paying off my should be empty CC I am going to bite the bullet and see what the damage will be (to the pocketbook that is). I made the last payment to the CC today that paid it off (except for any residual interest) and the plan is to just use the CC to pay for car repairs, then pull out of the various accounts to pay off the CC soon as the charge hits. There'll be a little delay in the transfer of money between accounts and if I'm paying it off that quick there won't be a finance charge. Or at least not much of one.

I have decided I'm going to drive more to work. I already have enough bus tickets to get me through the summer on the days I want to walk all the way home (so I would bus in). The other days I will drive in. The reason I don't walk in is 3 miles is too risky in my opinion to guarantee that I get to work on time. Not to mention the whole 'hot sweaty red faced' look isn't really attractive in an office environment. I have to let the transportation withholding get pulled from my June 15th pay check but after that I can change it back to 0 and just go from there.

I gave my bus buddy fair warning that I was going to do that. At least during the summer I'll still ride in with her 3 times a week.

It's actually cheaper to drive...

May 29th, 2008 at 06:58 am

On days when I have appointments I have been driving to work. It just makes things easier and I have a place I can park for free on the east side of the river. The downside of course is that it takes me 15 minutes to still walk to work but the plus side is I'm at my car earlier after work if there's someplace I need to get right over to.

I just went and bought a new set of tickets for the bus. I have not been using as many as I thought I would need but I still buy the same amount figuring that come September I'll need them since I probably won't be walking home.

However on leaving the ticket office I realized the following. To drive to where I park and back is 4 miles round trip. That's maybe at most a fifth of a tank of gas. Or less than a dollar at today's gas prices. To take the bus to work, is $1.75 each way. And with the way I've been driving lately I've always had gas money left over each month.

With all the walking I do though, it's easier to just take the bus one way then walk home. But I think on the days I'm not walking home (Tues, Fri) I'm just going to start driving.

I haven't decided what to do about my transportation amount that gets pulled pre tax every month. I was thinking I would drop it down to $17.50, or just one book of tickets. I have four books right now and a month with just taking the bus when I walk home will use about 12 on average.

Of course there's other things too like potential rides from my roommate in to work which would save a ticket on days that I walk home.

I'm still mulling it over. We'll see.

I also applied for another position at my work that might potentially lead to a raise.

Paycheck has been fixed! and other ramblings

February 24th, 2008 at 08:56 am

I received a check on Wednesday for the difference that was missing in my check. Of course, not much by way of taxes was taken out of it but at least now I know that I am at the same rate I was getting before, which I should have been. So I went ahead and started my clothing allotment, and wound up paying a total of $400 on my credit card. Not all of that came from this extra check just I was able to add to what I had set aside previously.

In the end, I will always have something extra to pay on my debt I just won't have a clear idea of how much because....

~ I changed my transportation withholding amount last month -but I sent it off straight to the company that takes care of it instead of giving it to HR. Since HR didn't know they were to decrease my transportation amount they pulled out the full amount instead of half. My next check they won't pull out anything to compensate.

~ I want to sign up for AFLAC insurance but the information they give us isn't very clear as far as cost and such so I was waiting til the rep came to discuss options. He will be in sometime next week. That will affect my check slightly.

~ I can contribute to my 401k starting with April's check. That will affect my check starting then.

~ I get a review in March. There's a chance a raise might be involved there.

I think I'm not going to play with my withholdings this year. It's just been too confusing with my pay in general and I would rather just not have to pay again. Though I might check and see if I can just change my Fed to 2 and leave my State at 1. But it will be July before I even consider anything.

Another thing I held out from the extra check I got last week was the entry fee for a half marathon in June. There's a group at my Curves that are going to train together for it. Apparently only the first 3,000 entrants get t-shirts so the gal in charge was encouraging everyone to register online. I get her enthusiasm, this is her first event. But I could take or leave the t-shirt. Still, online is easy so I went through the motions this morning to register only to find at the end that there would be an extra fee of almost $4 for registering online. I decided to leave the fate of my t-shirt getting to the post office and will be mailing in my registration tomorrow.

Tonight is the Oscars and while I really could care less in the general scope of things, the theatre I volunteer at is the only sanctioned Oscar Night Event in the state of Oregon. I think only one non profit in each state is awarded that privilege and this is their third year in a row doing it. It's their biggest fundraiser and rather appropriate since it's the Hollywood Theatre. I will be working there tonight and it will be a lot of fun. They'll have red carpet, paparazzi, drag queens dressed up as famous people doing catty commentary as people arrive, there'll be food, drinks, raffle and silent auction prizes, and I think the coolest of all, the actual programs from the real event will be handed out to the guests. Those were delivered yesterday during our volunteer meeting. But I didn't actually see any of them. We are encouraged to dress up if we want, but we don't have to. We just can't wear jeans.

clothing allowance on hold, at least this month.

February 16th, 2008 at 08:25 am

There was something odd about my paycheck this month. I could tell right away in my direct deposit amount. I did expect that taxes would be more, considering I support the payroll software my company uses and I know how it calculates taxes. But the net amount was far less than even I expected, even with an hour of overtime.

When I got to work and got my check stub I saw why. My first check in Jan showed hours worked as 86.67 (which is correct for salary hours at half a month) and an amount of 1700. My second check in Feb showed hours worked of 173.33 (which is correct for salary hours at a full month) and an amount of 3000. Now if I were to go by my first check, my second amount should have been 3400. To make matters even more confusing, at the rate I was getting from the contract place (before I went permanent) my amount for one month should have been 3200.

I emailed my boss about it and she is checking into it. I just want to know what my actual rate of pay is supposed to be. I don't see why I shouldn't expect at minimum the amount the contract place was paying me. Either way, I need to know what to expect so I can budget accordingly. By taking my clothing allowance amount out this month, I had enough to cover all bills plus have a little bit of breathing room and pay a tiny bit extra on a credit card. I guess we'll just have to see what next month holds.

Oh and my boss said I'd be getting a review in March, my official '3 months' with the company since I went permanent in January. And salary would be discussed then as well.

Small student loan paid off and new clothing allowance

February 12th, 2008 at 09:53 pm

Over the weekend I paid off my small student loan! That makes me happy!! It also frees up a $50 payment I was making to it to be used elsewhere.

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This Friday I will receive my first full month check. It will be nice to see how much I'm actually receiving. Although it will change in a month or so once they actually start taking money out for my retirement. Still though I think I'm left with at least $100 extra to pay off stuff.

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I think I need to give myself a clothing allowance. I've been in my new job for 4 months now, and some of my clothes are showing signs of wear. Since I need to dress a little nicer I want to be prepared for spending a little more when it comes down to it. I'm considering taking that $50 that I was paying on the student loan and just setting it aside every month so that when I do need to buy clothes I have the cash for it. I rarely pay full price on anything, usually it's on sale, more often on clearance. But still things add up and with my height that adds at least $10 to the price of things no matter how much it's reduced by. Especially where pants are concerned. I don't need to buy anything now which is why I think I should start setting aside money now so I have it when I need it and don't raid savings or pull out the cc.

I'm pretty excited for Friday though, let me tell you. Smile

Glad I had that cushion.

November 26th, 2007 at 06:39 am

Somehow I forgot about my car registration. I happened to remember when I glanced at my license plate and noticed the 11/07. So Saturday I went to DEQ to have my car tested. It passed the first time! It hasn't done that the last two times so I'm definitely not complaining. Total cost, $75. For two years. So again, not complaining. Just I had forgotten to allow for it in my budget. I did have a $100 cushion in my account and I had some money in an 'envelope' for January's bus pass. Since I haven't even bought December's yet I figured I could pull from that and re-fund it later.

All told, my cushion is now down to about $54. Roommate will pay rent and her part of utilities which will bring my cushion back over $100 next week. So I am still good to go.

I do not know how I would have survived this job transition without all the work I've been doing the past year to try and build an EF and be more conscious of spending/saving.

I'm more than ready for next month's COBRA payment, a bit less than originally anticipated since Dental isn't included so I accidentally overpaid last month. I'm not entirely certain I'll be ready for the stretch between January 15 and February 15 when I'll have only two weeks worth of pay but we'll see. There's still the kicker refund to come in which will definitely help matters.

I'm still here!

November 3rd, 2007 at 10:57 am

I just updated my October totals. My EF looks like it went down $100 but considering I had to pull a COBRA payment of $420 out of it, it's not really that bad. I'm still over $1000 and my dad is going to try helping me out with December's COBRA payment.

My debt did increase by a good chunk. Mainly due to buying new clothes for work, buying some furniture for the apartment, and buying plane tickets for my brother and I to go to Dad's for Christmas. I have stopped carrying my credit card in my wallet because it was too easy to just put random other little stuff on it as well. I will have that one paid back off by the time I get my tax return and my brother finishes paying off what he owes me with his tax return.

The new job is going well. As far as my budget concerns go I'm still ahead of the game. I currently have bills paid up through Nov 20th and I get another paycheck Nov 9th.

Once I get a full paycheck from work (right now I'm anticipating that being February 15th) I'll have a better idea of how I can start back into intentionally paying stuff down. Until then, I'm just saving what I already had set up in my budget to save and putting everything else to paying stuff ahead, or at least marking it as paid in my register. Plus I still have a $100 cushion that I haven't had to tap into yet.

I won't be getting paid for Thanksgiving holidays (2 days) nor Christmas (1 day) plus I'm taking Christmas Eve off so I'll have about 4 days that I won't get paid for total. Which is about $200 on each check. Fortunately it's spread out a little. So we'll see when those checks arrive how that affects things.

I found out that COBRA doesn't include dental like they thought so my actual payment is less. Which means I need to call the dentist and find out how much it is out of pocket to pay for a cleaning and possibly postpone my appointment until I have insurance again.

First paycheck

October 16th, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Got my first paycheck yesterday from the new job. It was only for 1 week though. They say it takes two pay periods for direct deposit to process. So it'll take me a couple more days to get it then deposit it.

I've paid most of the bills through the 11th of next month. I say pay and most but that's really not quite what I mean. I use Quicken and plug money in as future payments then only look at the ending balance to tell myself what I really have in the bank. That way the money is allocated. I check it every day to make sure if there's a payment I need to initiate that I do so. There's a couple of bills that I haven't paid yet, rather big ones. But I will have a full 2 week check before they're due so I'm not concerned. And I've left myself a $100 cushion instead of my usual $20 cushion as a 'just in case' buffer.

Since I don't have time to go out to the chiropractor I haven't been maxing out my medical budget. Normally I'd send that money off to the medical savings account I set up but since I'm going to be paying for COBRA I figure I'll just use that for part of it that way I don't have to drain so much out of savings.

I am still certain I'll be a'ok when all is said and done but my EF will definitely be drained. Although there's still the state kicker check, and possibly money from my dad to help out with things. Too many unknowns.

I'm still liking my job. I'm thinking about maybe asking, once I get permanently hired on, to change my schedule to come in an hour earlier. With all the food available at work I don't have to worry about packing a lunch or eating breakfast first and I shower at night now anyway because there just isn't time in the mornings. There's no reason I couldn't just get up at around the same time and catch an earlier bus. But it would make a world of difference in the evenings as I'd actually be able to exercise and stuff. We'll see when we get there though.

Just going to keep plugging along and hope I stay ahead of things. I'm really glad I have a little bit of an EF to support me through this.

Gearing up for change.

September 20th, 2007 at 01:08 pm

Today was payday. It's my second to the last paycheck from my current employer.

I paid all the bills I had to. Set aside money for a trip to Seattle next weekend (I'm carpooling so pitching in a little for gas). Set aside money for next month's bus pass that I'll need for new job (friend works someplace she can get one for half price and she won't need it for October so I'll be buying it from her at a discount). Paid off the small current balance on CC2 that's normally kept empty. And had $102 left over that's earmarked for savings but won't actually transfer until next week.

My roommate and I are throwing a party this weekend. We're going shopping tonight for food and other stuff for it. I have $32 from babysitting and what was left over from food and gas last paycheck. That should be plenty, especially since we're splitting the bill and we won't be buying any alcohol.

I am so paranoid about having enough money to pay for insurance and the other half of the month's worth of pay I'll need to come up with end of January that I've decided to charge some things. Specifically my clothes for work. I will be looking for good deals and such but for the most part I just want to go shopping once and not have to worry about work clothes for a while. I'm ok with paying interest since I know that worst case, I'll pay it all off with my tax return. Which means only a couple of months. If I find that I have more than enough money saved up to cover things then I'll pay it off sooner.

My current 'work clothes' are the same as my everyday clothes. Casual, jeans, tshirts. New job is in an office building with a business casual dress code. Granted, one of the programmers was in my interview wearing cords and a tshirt but I'm not going to be working for him. I have my interview clothes (one pair of slacks, one nicer button down shirt) and possibly one other top that would be acceptable. Past that, nothing. I hate shopping for clothes, with a passion. But I need to do it. This weekend I'll start out at Value Village and Goodwill. Next I'll hit up Ross and Marshall's. After that it just depends on how much time/energy I have to take on the rest of the Maul (Old Navy, Gap, Macy's, Nordstrom's, Sears, etc). Might check in at Avenue as well since that's where I got my slacks and they fit really well, just a little pricey even if I did get them on sale.

I think I can pull this off.

September 18th, 2007 at 08:54 am

I debated about asking my dad for help with insurance. I still might but its hard to ask him for anything even though he tells me to if I need it.

This morning I got another bt offer for 0% until 4/2008 and a 3% fee with a max of $75. That got me thinking along the lines of, should I request a check just to have as backup funds and not cash it if I don't need it?

Here's how it breaks down...

By the end of this month I will have at least $1,000 in savings. Probably more but I won't know til I get paid. Add to that $200/mo repayments from my brothers guaranteed ($100 is via allotment straight to my bank account and the other I have access to his accounts so he is sure to pay me regularly). Over the course of the next 4 months that makes an additional $800. Plus there's the kicker check I'll be getting in December. They say the median amount is $260 or so, I plugged in numbers at a website and it showed more like $500 for me but I'm not 100% sure since I can't find my state tax forms.

I know I'll have other extra cash I'm just plotting worst case scenario. I'm also making the assumption that I can pay all my regular bills with whatever pay I get.

Ok so I will have to pay for COBRA in November and December. October should be covered by what I've already paid since we pay for the next month. January I'm going to go without and just get meds at Costco. That will satisfy the continuous coverage with less than 63 days of non coverage thing so I don't have to worry about pre-existing condition stuff. That's assuming I get hired on in January as benefits would start in February. Total costs for COBRA will be about $840 for the two months.

All told, even with not getting paid for holidays since I'll be contract, and with my first month once I get hired on, having to live on a smaller paycheck as I transition from every other week to once a month, I think I'll be ok.

My student loan that I've been working like crazy to pay off tells me I don't have to make a payment til January. So I think I'm going to take them up on it. I will make monthly payments of $20 + whatever interest has accrued but not my usual $60 plus whatever extra I can scrounge up. That will help. Hopefully I won't have to resort to using my cc to pay bills. But at least I have that option.

All told, I think I'm going to hold off on the bt offer. If I can make it through this and still have $500 in my EF, I will be a happy camper. If I can make it through this without having to charge anything, even if it means draining my EF completely, I will be fine with that too.

Job offer received!

September 17th, 2007 at 01:13 pm

I got a call this morning shortly after I got into work offering me the position if I was still interested. The gross amount is less than I'm making now, but the net will be comparable.

What it boils down to is, in the long run this will be the better position for me. I will actually be able to start using the degree I earned a few years ago and the potential for advancement is far greater.

Its going to cost me in the beginning. The contract place pays every two weeks and then once it rolls over to the new place then it will be once a month. But once I get on an even keel with them, all should be good.

I'm going to avoid using the credit card as much as possible, though I may charge my bus pass initially since there's no room for it in the budget just yet since I don't know what/when I'll actually be getting paid and I'll need the pass pretty much right away.

My first day of work will be October 1! I am so excited!

New jobs are spendy.

September 17th, 2007 at 08:43 am

Not counting the need to buy more professional clothes even.

I talked with former co-worker about unused vacation time, then checked out the internet for laws. Apparently employers are not required to pay out vacation time unless it's specified in the employer policy (or whatever it's called). Yeah so it's not in our policy and I'm not sure I want to play hardball to force them to give it to me. Unfortunately I was sort of counting on having that money to pay for stuff like COBRA.

Contract work is usually paid weekly, or every other week. New job pays once a month on the 15th. I'd be contract for three months then switch to the other. Depending on how the COBRA thing works out I might be ok. But it means I'm going to not work so hard at paying stuff off and just save save save save. But budgeting for once a month pay will be interesting.

I'm going to talk to my dad and step mom and see if their offer still stands to help me out with medical stuff. Even if they could just cover one month of COBRA it would be a huge help.

Depending on when insurance would start at new place (sounded like pretty quick from what I've read) I might be able to get away with only one month of COBRA.

Of course, this is all hypothetical since I don't have the offer yet. When I spoke with former co-worker he said that one of the guys from my interview was in meetings all day on Friday. Hopefully that means they've decided to hire me. *cross fingers*

Slept on it.

September 5th, 2007 at 08:16 am

Ok so I think I've got a plan now for my car situation. I mentioned it to a friend of mine who knows a thing or two about cars. He said it's really not that big of a deal, so long as I keep on top of the oil. So here's what I'm going to do...

First, pay off my small loan. It's under $600 and I think I can make quick work of it and free up the $60/mo payment.

Second, get my EF up to 1000. It's almost there, just needs a little nudge.

Third, start saving every extra bit in a Savings account earmarked Car Fund. Once it hits 5000 then stop and continue on with my mad crazy paying off debt. That way, when the time comes that I absolutely positively need to replace my car, I've got a nice chunk to work with.

I just got paid today. After paying all my bills, and allocating money off to various categories, I still have $200 left over. Wow that's a good chunk of change. I am going out of town this weekend, and splitting the gas with a friend of mine. We are staying at someone's house so no hotel charges. Then later this month I'm going to Seattle and again, staying at a friends place. Those trips combined should not total $200 in gas but I'm leaving it in my bank account to cover whatever expenses come up on those ventures. Whatever is left come next payday will get applied to my small loan.

Suckered into it? Job change?

August 31st, 2007 at 05:07 pm

I pre-ordered Harry Potter 7 not knowing it would result in a $5 gc from Amazon. But it had a catch, it had to be used by the end of August and it had to be used on a purchase of $20 or more.

I had plans to buy a new dvd player and had scoped one out on Amazon for $55. I had one $20 gc from July and was anticipating another from August that never showed up. Since today's the last day I can use the $5 I went ahead and purchased the dvd player, $49.99 - $25.00 in gc plus free shipping making the cost to me $24.99. Not a bad price for an anticipated purchase. I did receive $20 for September via PayPal (the place I was getting the gc's from monthly always had issues actually getting the gc's to me hence the reason I still don't have August's yet so starting for September we switched to PayPal payments) so I did transfer that to my bank account making my total purchase really only $4.99. I'm just annoyed because when the gc for August does finally arrive I'm going to have to find something to put it towards. (what they do is send me a code to log into 800giftcertificates and order a gift card, I just always chose Amazon because I figure there's always something smallish I'd like but can't justify.)

Now that I've made the purchase though I'm wondering if I wasn't suckered into using that $5 off since I could have waited til my gc came through and just let the $5 off expire. But I've been waiting all month to order this and I'm done waiting. It could be another month before the gc for August get straightened out.

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In other news...I may be changing jobs. I had a very promising screening interview yesterday and I should find out more next week. Their high end of the starting pay is about what I'm making now. Their benefits are just about fully funded, which is a big plus. They are in downtown and offer mass transit pass purchase with pre-tax dollars. (my roommate works about 5 blocks away and has free parking through work so carpool options abound) They have breakfast for the whole crew of 85 every Friday morning. Drinks and snacks are provided in the break room. And it would actually be using the second degree I acquired a few years ago along with my current skill set.

Downside...

Because of how I applied, through a middle company, I would be a contract employee for 3 months (unless they bought my contract out early) and that would mean no health insurance in the interim. I've looked into a couple of things, COBRA is $420/mo and I found a short term plan on eHealthInsurance for just $220/92 days with a $250 deductible and after that I'd only have to pay 20% of my prescriptions. It would probably cost me more than if I just like went to Costco for prescriptions but I don't know what the new company's 'pre existing condition' policy is so I'd prefer to stay insured as long as possible. I know my current one would still be active for a bit after I quit just not sure how far ahead we actually pay.

So lots of potential changes. I'm not sure how this would affect my budget. I'd be back to hourly for a time. At least that would mean I would get overtime if it happened. And no more on call/weekend work. More potential for advancement. Etc. Lots of plusses but the minuses must be weighed in as well.

A time ago, when I was researching job changes, my step-mom said they would help me out with my medical stuff should I run into any trouble with pre-existing condition clauses. Especially if that was the only thing keeping me from accepting a new position. I might actually bring it up with them again. It's not that I don't think I could cover it, I do have emergency savings, just I don't want to spend a lot right away since I don't know really how long between paychecks once I change jobs. If I get the offer that is.

Change of focus

August 21st, 2007 at 04:36 pm

I'm not totally loosing sight of my original goals just recent events made it readily apparent that I should have more than just $1k stashed away for emergencies. So my new focus looks something like this:

1-pay off personal loan that's now just under $600. Should be able to do so in a relatively short amount of time. By December actually I reckon if not sooner.

2-bulk up each savings account with $2k each (so $6k total). That's roughly 3 months of take home pay, well not quite but I like round numbers and it's close enough.

Then when either a] I find out the cushion isn't necessary or I hit b] goal of $6k in savings then I'll start paying down debt again.

Thing is, most of my debt is fixed as far as payments go. So bombarding it all now with extra money won't really help if say, I become unemployed suddenly because it's not going to be paid off any time soon even with extra. I think I'd rather have money in savings to supplement whatever does come in vs a lower balance but the same payment. Well I do have a balance transfer at 3.99% for life of balance who's minimum payment does change monthly however there's still like $10.5k on it.

Where did it all go?

July 18th, 2007 at 01:49 pm

I really wish I knew where my money went this last pay period. I have no good answers for it. I took some from my gas money to pay for groceries and a small meal out. But then I got $15 from winning a pool as to when my friend's baby would be born. Sorta evens out.

Ok so here's where the confusing stuff comes in.

- I do have a roommate moving in sometime after the 21st. She will be giving me money for August rent so I don't have to hold onto money to cover it but I'm doing so anyway because I just want to have all my bases covered. Right now I have $50 in an 'Unknown' category. I'll be adding $60 from my check on the 20th plus $45 from childcare (maybe more if i do any other babysitting, a friend just called to see if i could sit but we haven't finalized that I actually will be doing it). So that's at least $155 not counting any extra in my check on the 5th or the $100 that's auto deposited on the 1st from my step-brother. I need $287.50 for her half of rent.

- I have two medical bills due on the 31st. One from my clinic for $160 and one from my dentist for $28. There's $93 in my medical savings account and there'll be $15 left from my medical savings budget on the 20th. Still a tad short of the total due but I may just pay the dentist and call the clinic to see if I can pay half now and half next month.

- I owe my team captain $114 for my part of the van rental, my part of gas, and my part of water for the relay. It's not due really until August 24th but it's something I need to remember I have to pay. He figured high on the gas money so I might even get some back but it won't really be much.

- My brother has not been fully processed yet so his signing bonus won't arrive until at least 10 days after he is fully processed. I have a feeling that may not actually show up in his bank account until after rent is due. Which means he may need my help to pay for rent ($250+). Though he did just call and said that his recruiter told him today that his packet had left his hands and is at the state office. Once he's in the computer his signing bonus should come pretty quick.

- I need to get my oil changed. I actually have enough in the budget to cover it but it's an added thing that I need to keep reminding myself to do before my trip to Seattle.

- I have almost $70 for my trip to Seattle. That should be enough to cover gas and ferry fare but probably not eating out depending on how much I do and where. Friend that I'm visiting knows how budget conscious I am but she's planning something special for Friday night.

- I have another trip to Seattle planned for in August and I'm hoping I can just tell my friend that's going with me that she doesn't have to pay for the concert ticket in exchange for her paying for gas and taking care of our lodging on Saturday night. We'll see how that goes.

- I bought concert tickets for my brother for his birthday only to find out his friend bought him a ticket and got slightly better seats. I'm debating about using the tickets (I wouldn't mind going but I wouldn't have bought them for me) or selling them since the concert is sure to sell out (Smashing Pumpkins, my brother's favorite band that he never saw live). I could make a tidy profit off them.

- I have two extra tickets for the concert in Seattle, I may be selling them to other friends in the area or just selling them period. I'm waiting til it gets closer and the show sells out.

- I need to have an extra $60 to pay the gas for someone to pick me up from the relay so I don't have to pay $196 to stay one night in a hotel at the finish line. Again, don't need it until August 24th but still need to keep it in mind.

I think that September will be a better month for me. Just because once September hits all the big stuff I have going on should be over and I can be back on a more even keel. Except for the whole going to my current roommate's wedding which is 4 hours away but I'm already planning on car-pooling with at least one other person and sharing a hotel room.

New Roommate and more available funds!

July 10th, 2007 at 10:35 am

So the gal that came over last night, seems like it's a really good possibility. I love the fact that neither of us really had to work very hard to find each other. She doesn't have much by way of furniture and is looking for her own space (currently she shares a room). I live in the part of town she really likes and it's a straight shot to work. We seemed to get along pretty well too and have some likes in common.

Then I talked to my current roommate and since the new gal doesn't have much by way of stuff, and she doesn't want to move too much anyway, she's going to leave me with the table, chairs, couch, tv, vcr, a couple of bookcases, silverware and possibly some kitchen appliances that she rarely uses.

The best part about all of this is, I closed out my storage unit (well I made the last payment end of June, I have til end of July to clear it out completely) and I've found places for everything so far that I've pulled out. Which means that I now have $60 more available each month for whatever I'm currently paying off!

I told potential new roommate that she wouldn't have to pay rent til August, that way she can start moving in early but not have to pay rent both places. My current roommate is moving the 21st/22nd and basically the rent's already taken care of til the end of the month.

I need to make up some sort of rental agreement, any of you landlord types have a template that you use and like? She doesn't have to fill out anything for the management the apartment will just be under my name so I want something just to cover myself just in case.

Change in checking again?

July 5th, 2007 at 04:16 pm

The past two days I've gone into Wells Fargo to deposit things (well ok the past two business days) and both times the teller has suggested I talk to a personal banker about changing my checking account to a different package. Right now I've got Custom Management but they want me to switch to Custom Advantage. The only 'advantage' I see is free checks and money orders. Except I hardly write checks, maybe three a month, and I rarely need money orders. It is an interest earning checking account but only when the balance is over $500. I don't know if that's an average daily balance or what.

I would also need to initiate a new auto transfer of $75 from checking to savings. However, that doesn't mean I can't transfer the money back after it processes it.

I think it'd be worth looking into I just don't know when I'm going to have time to do that. Possibly on Saturday but doubtful. Maybe next week when I take my weekly deposit in I can try going early enough to talk to a personal banker. If they can show me that based on my current usage of my account, it would actually earn interest then I might consider switching. If I needed to change how I do things, I'm not so sure it'd be worth it. Right now I pay what needs to be paid as soon as I get paid as opposed to when it's due. So a lot of things get paid early. I'm not sure I'm up for the 'challenge' of paying things almost exactly when they are due just to maintain the $500 balance. Not that I can't do it just I like paying bills only twice a month and forgetting about it the rest of the time y'know?

Everything will be alright.

July 4th, 2007 at 08:02 am

I'm pretty excited right now because I think everything will balance out alright now. I have decided to stay in my apartment so the hunt for a new roommate starting in August has begun.

I have been holding onto every extra bit of money that's come in so I can cover the deposit that my roommate paid when we moved in. Since I get paid tomorrow the amount shows up in my account today as a pending payment. So I was able to sort out the damage. When all is said and done I'll have $200 left over to pay on my credit card! Since it's not accruing interest just yet that makes me really happy. Of course it only cuts it down by half but still.

So until I know for certain that I'll have a roommate August 1 here is what I plan on doing. Every extra bit of cash, from my Tuesday Deposits and extra in my check, will get posted in Quicken as a future payment called 'Roommate'. When the 5th rolls around again, 'Roommate' will go away and I'll see where I stand with paying everything. I figured my budget with no roommate before (not factoring in extra money from childcare or from changing my withholdings or from any after hours support I may do) and found that if I paid the absolute minimum on everything then I should be good to go to pay full rent. I think with the extra that I will have come in, I'll still be able to pay extra on something come the 5th.

I do want to have a roommate because I want that extra $350 to go to debt reduction. But if I don't have it just yet I'm covered. That is a huge relief.

The money that I'll need for the relay in August will hopefully come from the money my brother pays me back. If not from there then from savings which will get replenished when my brother pays me back.

Happy 4th! Have a wonderful day!

Finding my way back.

June 14th, 2007 at 03:58 pm

In my head it made perfect sense. I was paying more than the minimum on my 10.9% loan because that was the amount already in the budget from when it was a credit card with a higher minimum. Recent changes in required minimums have forced me to rethink things. And considering I'm training for a walking relay, and walking about 6 miles three times a week, I have LOTS of time to rethink things.

This is what I have come up with:
Priority 1: Pay off CC2
Priority 2: EF up to goal
Priority 3: 13.25% personal (not federal) student loan
Priority 4: 10.9% loan and back on track with my Three Phase plan

Priority 1... well you see it went something like this. I had CC2 all paid off. A couple months ago I remembered that CC1 was still the billing card for my website (annual automatic charge) so I changed it to be CC2 since CC2 was paid off and it would be more motivation to pay it off before interest accrued. Only I thought the website renewal was in July and it's really in June so it's been charged already and I have yet to pay it off.

Then as I was looking at something at Ticketmaster I saw that Stomp was coming to town. I have this friend, we've known each other a long time (since '94). Her birthday is coming up end of June and I haven't really ever gotten her something that's really special, something that she'd really appreciate. Usually it's just the token 'oh crap her birthday's coming up I need to do something' type gift. Granted, she doesn't expect anything from me and has told me that on numerous occasions. But, she also has come up with some pretty amazingly thoughtful wonderful gifts for me over the years. (like my justification bit here?) She also happens to Really like Stomp. So I decided to see what tickets were available and found some pretty decent seats. I went ahead and bought two tickets, thinking it was in July and she could just take whoever she wanted to. But after I bought them I realized the show is in June, just before her birthday. So I'm going to surprise her and take her to the show. She knows we're getting together that night for her birthday just the two of us but that's all she knows. I'm really excited about surprising her on the one hand and mildly kicking myself for charging it before knowing that I'll have the funds to pay it off before interest is charged.

And of course then there was my dentist visit on Wednesday. It wound up costing $448, a little more than expected but they did two fillings rather than just one so I knew it would be more. I have transferred money out of my Medical Savings to pay that part off.

Priority two... I just recently realized that I'm never going to get my EF to where it needs to be at the rate I'm going. Which right now is I have a small amount in the budget that goes to Savings but then I take all of the extra money and throw it at my 10.9% loan. It wouldn't take me all that long to make my goal if I'd just put the extra into Savings instead.

Priority three... This loan is the bane of my existence. The interest rate increased after I actually started paying on it and instead of being the $50/mo it claimed it would be, it actually wound up being more. I got sick of the fluctuations in how much to pay every month so I just started paying $60/mo. That at least made my budget simple and meant that I was paying a little extra on it. But I just want it to go away! So I've decided to focus on that soon.

Priority four... I really still want to have all of my consumer debt paid off by April 2010. I feel like I'm going to be behind in my goal if I put other things in front of it but my gut feeling is that this is the way it needs to happen. Besides, then I'll have an extra $60/mo to pay on things once I pay off the 13.25% loan.

Writing this all down is more for me than anything else. I seem to think of all this great stuff but never follow through. Perhaps with it written down perhaps I can actually stick to it.

Focus.

June 8th, 2007 at 01:07 pm

As I've been trying to decide where I'm moving to (I have decided to move at the end of July) I've also been thinking about my payoff strategy. Right now I'm focused on my 'consumer debt' which is all things credit card related. I've got about $15,900 at 10.9% and $10,500 at 3.99%. However, I have a small student loan that's actually a higher interest rate. It's got a balance of $2,200 at 13.25%. The reason the interest is so high is it's actually a personal loan not a federal one so I couldn't consolidate it when I did my others.

Not now, but once I get moved/settled and get my EF up to $1k, I want to start throwing all extra money at something. In my efforts to pay off all my 'consumer' debt by April 2010 I've been concentrating on the balance of the 10.9% loan.

What do you guys think? Should I keep whittling away at the 10.9% balance or shift focus to the 13.25% balance?

Payday!

March 20th, 2007 at 04:52 pm

(but first, to whoever posted the recipe for the crockpot pizza.. I overthink when I read recipes, the 12 oz of cooked noodles is that 12 oz before cooking or after??)

Yipee payday is here! I really don't know why my Jan 20th check was one number and my Feb 20th (and March 20th) checks were another. A smidge higher, by a little less than $10. Odd. But I still budget off the lowest check I receive so we'll just forget about it for now.

I paid all my bills. Yay! I figured out how to pay my Citi loan online. I have to transfer from external source to Citi checking and then from Citi checking to Citi loan. Pain yes, but it still beats the check getting 'lost' in the mail. Not that that's ever happened to me or anything.

I made my Tuesday deposit of $50 and deposited $12 left over from gas last check into my 'visit friend' fund.

The statement at Citicards hasn't shown up yet so I'm holding off on depositing that check. I won't be waiting til Tuesday next week to take care of my balance transfer check.

I turned down an extra $25 for babysitting this Thursday night. I meet every Tuesday and Thursday with people from church. The every Tuesday is something I can miss and if the right opportunity presents itself I will miss it. But the every Thursday is more of a close knit accountability thing and I need to try and be there as much as possible. Perhaps over the summer when we don't meet as often, I can pick up some extra work.

Pay day

March 5th, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Boy what a confusing time I had this morning. My method got messed up, I double added a couple of deposits so I thought I had more money than I really did, etc. But I sorted it all out and wound up with the following:

- All regular budget items taken care of.
- Another $20 paid towards a retreat I'm going on. It's $70 total but I'm hoping to be able to pay in installments each month. This payment makes $40 that I've paid so far.
- $25 on a Kiva gc for my dad for his birthday on Saturday.
- $40 pulled out for my vacation
- $40 held onto for the next paycheck, just to be sure all bases are covered.

I pulled out my gas and food budget too. I'll leave half of the food budget at home and most of the other half will be added to the $40 I pulled already. The only food I NEED to buy before I head away is I'm signed up to bring a main dish for a potluck on Tuesday. Otherwise I can skate by on whatever's in the house. I don't have to worry about hotels during my trip, my friend said she would cover that as a thank you for coming along and helping her move. So I think $80-$85 should be plenty for food over about 5 days of travelling. Hopefully we can stop at the store and buy things to eat in the car for our driving days instead of eating out every meal. I am planning on NOT spending every dime I take with me Smile

I haven't decided if I'm going to fill my tank before I leave for vacation or not. If my friend who works in the woods at a special school is home while I'm gone and needs the car then I'll fill it for him, otherwise if it's just going to sit at another friend's house I'll leave it at about half tank. My roomate will also be gone while I'm gone so I'm making arrangements for it to be somewhere that can be checked easily.

I went to Seattle this weekend. I caught a ride from some friends already going up so I saved $40 in gas. But then I spent more than I had intended on some things. Fortunately, not more than the $40 I saved in gas. It was worth it to surprise my friend that's moving away though.

The kill switch was installed this morning. Unfortunately it wound up being in a slightly more visible place than I expected but still not where I would look first if I was trying to quickly steal a car. So I think I'm going to continue using the club, give them something to focus on and perhaps draw attention away from the switch. I do feel better knowing it's there even though I do think it's painfully obvious. *sigh*

When I get my check from insurance for the tow I think it'll go into my brick and mortar savings account. That one's taken the biggest hit out of all of this. I try to keep all three accounts someone even but especially the local one since that's the one I can get to immediately if necessary.

Well there's good news and bad news.

February 5th, 2007 at 02:41 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 09:08 am

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!

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.

---------

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

---------

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.


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