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Spending Spree.

June 19th, 2008 at 09:16 pm

This is why I can't have a credit card. I do great with having an empty one for emergencies if need be but then once that emergency comes up it is easy to spend more.

I got the work done on my car, paid off about half of it with what was in my savings and had every intention of paying the rest of it off and rebuild my savings by December.

It was a good plan.

Then I got my new position. And realized that to be ahead of the game I need to learn a few things before I actually start. Which required a better computer than what I had acquired years ago from a former workplace in order to run the software that I need to master by July 1.

So I looked around and got what I felt was a decent deal on a laptop, also on my credit card.

Then I got a little frivolous. I found more computer equipment to make my wireless network even better and decided to splurge. Again, on the card.

Which all told brings my current total on this once was empty credit card back to $2,000.

If I'm lucky, I'll have it all paid off by end of this year.

I also found out that I should be receiving an offer letter for my new position so there's a chance of a raise. Plus I will no longer be having a transportation allowance taken out so a little more coming in there.

What to do...

June 3rd, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I did think long and hard before I made the decision to authorize roughly $2k worth of work to be done on my car. I waited to take it into the shop, knowing some of the work needed to be done, until my one credit card was paid off. Since my money is scattered in different banks I figured it would be easiest to charge it and then by the time the money came in from my banks I could pay it off.

However if you look to the left you'll see that I do not have enough in my EF to pay the entire thing off, even with draining it.

So I am left with the 'what to do' dilemma.

I have three savings accounts with roughly $500 each in them. I do not want to leave less than $100 as a balance. With what I have in savings (leaving $100 in each account) and what I have in checking I could pay off $1341 immediately. And about $200 more of the balance on the 1st.

That would still leave about $700 on the card and drain my EF to $300.

The one savings account has an auto transfer of $75 a month so that would start building back up immediately. Once I paid off the CC I would put all extra money into my EF accounts until they got back to $500 each and then start putting that extra cash to my bills.

Originally I was just going to pull out all but $100 out of my brick and mortar savings account and leave the online ones alone. But that was back when I was anticipating only a $800 charge.

I'm afraid if I pull so much out of my EF that I won't be able to recover. But the thought of paying interest doesn't appeal to me either.

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.

Saving on groceries...

December 20th, 2007 at 09:48 pm

At least for the next month or two.

My work provides us with plenty of food for lunch (bread, meat, cheese, soup, fruit, crackers, chips, cookies, string cheese, etc) that I can eat at work without having to bring my own lunch. And it's all free. Of course while doing this, I potentially sacrifice calories.

But I'm heading into a lean pocketbook time while I transfer out of being contract and into being regular employee. Out of getting paid every other week and into getting paid once a month.

I think it will really help me out when it comes to budgeting money for food. The past couple times I have had money left over from the food budget. I think it could be even more if I start intentionally eating at work more often.

I'm flying to my dad's tomorrow. There's going to be soo much food. I'm a little concerned to be honest. But if I can just keep a large glass of water near me and refill it often, perhaps I won't eat as much. We'll see.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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.

Auto Insurance Annoyance

October 12th, 2007 at 06:48 am

I have my auto insurance set up on auto pay. It's one of those set it and forget it sort of things. Every once in a while, their system hiccups. They say I must have logged into the web site and changed my bank account information. I say, no I didn't because it just works so I don't bother even logging into their website. I'm sure they have logs that could verify that. Ugh.

I noticed it last night when balancing my bank account. Usually I'm more on top of it, and would notice it when it didn't clear after a couple days past the due date. But with the new job I've been distracted.

I called my agent, last time I got a letter from her asking why I didn't tell her I'd canceled my policy (non-payment is an automatic cancellation) and she got it all straightened out for me. This time it looks like I noticed it first. That or she figured it was the same as last time and has been trying to straighten it out before telling me it was broke. Either way....I'm annoyed at the actual company. My agent is independent, meaning she represents many companies. Unfortunately she isn't close so if I were to change companies I wouldn't have time to go over and sign new paperwork.

Hopefully she'll call back today with good news (ie that it's been fixed).

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.

Post #2 today. Going carless?

September 4th, 2007 at 04:19 pm

More on the car. First post over here.

The options for rebuilding/replacing the engine are $2200 to rebuild or $1900 to replace with a good used engine.

So I'm not going to do either, the car's barely worth $2000.

I could start saving like a crazy person and buy another car in a few months when I have a good chunk of change. Or...I could go car-less and buy a bike. I'm really not sure which way I'm leaning towards. Right now I'm doing more of the not taking my car on long distances (meaning this weekend's roadtrip will be in my friends car instead of mine) and making sure there's plenty of oil on hand.

I only live a mile from work right now. This other job is a little further but I'd take mass transit anyway, or carpool with my roommate.

Hmm.

My recent car woes.

September 4th, 2007 at 01:53 pm

I have a 1993 Honda Accord with about 221k miles on it. I have really grown to love this car. It had been burning oil more than normal but not so much that I was replacing it every week, more like maybe every 6 weeks.

End of July I took it in for an oil change and after that I suddenly was putting in oil to the tune of a quart a week. I thought perhaps they just didn't put something back right when they changed it so I took it back to the shop last week.

They looked it over and said that there was oil pooled inside the engine but they couldn't figure out where it was leaking from. They steam cleaned the engine, replaced the pcv valve, and put dye in the oil to hopefully track down the leak.

I took it back in today, after a week of normal driving, and they can't find the leak at all just said it looked like it was burning oil a lot faster now. They gave me three options:

1 - Continue driving it as it is right now. The rest of the engine is fine just keep up with replacing the oil when it needs it. Probably to the tune of a quart a week.

2 - Have the engine rebuilt.

3 - Have the engine replaced.

I've grown accustomed to Not having a car payment. I like it that way. So I think this is what I've decided... Unless the quote for options 2 or 3 above come in under $1k I'm going to go with option 1. Start investing in oil by the case, check it twice a week, etc. They say the engine is fine so long as I can keep the oil in it. In the meantime, put aside all my extra debt repayments and start socking away every spare bit o' cash into a high interest savings account until two things happen. 1 - I get my taxes back and 2 - brother gets his taxes back and pays me back the balance of what he owes me. That should net me a decent chunk of change to either flat out buy a new (to me) car or at least not have to finance too much.

At least thats what I'm thinking right now. We'll see what comes of the conversation with the mechanic whenever he gets a chance to call me back with some numbers.

weekend highlights

August 27th, 2007 at 11:50 am

I participated in Portland to Coast this weekend, which is a 127 mile walk relay. Here are some highlights from the weekend with some (ugh) financial stuff at the end.

- Hearing later that David forgot about my 'long leg factor'. They passed me, pulled off to wait at the next available spot, David said 'she should be here in about 15 minutes' and about 3 minutes later Lin points and says 'hey isn't that her coming now?'

- Having a heightened sense of whatever due to sleep deprivation and adrenaline all assisted in the lightning fast reflexes I engaged to avoid being hit by an idiot in St Helens who pulled out of the Safeway parking lot without even looking. Good thing too since I was driving the borrowed minivan from a teammate's employer's car lot.

- Totally biting it halfway through my first leg (stepped on something with my left foot that flipped up and tripped my right foot since my left still had it anchored) yet still finishing that leg under 15 minute miles.

- Laughing hysterically at the one and only meanish person who passed me, as she went by I said 'evening' and she turned, shook her finger in my face, and said 'I'VE BEEN TRYING TO CATCH UP TO YOU THIS WHOLE LOOP' I just gave her a thumbs up and said 'well you've done it congrats'.

- Not having any music for my Hard leg, which also happened to be my longest leg, because the battery in my mp3 player had died and my spares had fallen out of my pocket while I was driving. (didn't know they'd been found til after I finished that leg, thought they were gone for good)

- Actually managing to get some sleep (though how much is still unknown) at Exchange 28 even with all the headlights shining in my face periodically.

We didn't finish dead last like we tried, although we did wind up in the bottom 5. There were a couple arguments we got into with some other teams 'We are going to be dead last!" "NO We Are!" Smile

And best of all, while I was a bit sore yesterday I'm very much Not today. A little yes but nothing like yesterday. Wheee.

Of course, now I'm back in the real world where my car's sprung an oil leak pretty badly. The whole engine is soaked, the spark plugs are covered in it, etc which is why I didn't see it pooling on the ground, it was collecting in the engine instead. They're going to replace the pcv valve, steam clean the engine, put some die in and have me run with that for a week or two to try and figure out where it's coming from. Great.....hopefully that won't cost me too much. So far we're looking at $120.

Money wise I didn't overspend too badly. Actually came back with almost as much cash as I left with due to the gal I gave a ride home to giving me gas money. I did buy a tshirt though at the finish line, it was a long sleeved one that I felt was reasonably priced and I just liked the look of it. Smile

Make that $77 back...

August 20th, 2007 at 01:48 pm

So apparently the person who'd originally agreed to pay for the rental of one of the vans for the relay race this weekend (he didn't need to since we got them donated) decided instead to pay for all the gas! Sweet! Some last minute additions (we're pitching in to get the vehicles washed and to replenish some stores that everyone uses) got added in so instead of saving $110 I'm saving $77.75. But I'm ok with that, it's still less than I was anticipating! Rock on! It'll cover the gas for my friend to come out and pick me up on Saturday and then some.

25 100s

August 8th, 2007 at 09:16 am

My first attempt got lost in the ether...

My brother made his first installment to me of 2500 in cash. Its going in the bank today and as soon as it's registered as being deposited (it's cash so that should be almost immediately) here's how it's going to be dispersed:

220 - Wells Fargo Savings to pay back what I'd drawn specifically for him over the course of the year.
709 - Pay off credit card that's supposed to be cleared off completely.
1500 - Put on student loan that's at 13% (current total about $2131)

And the rest (about $70) will be used to buy gifts for my ex-roommate's bridal shower and wedding that's coming up fast.

It'll put my EF really close to my goal of $1000. It'll put a huge dent in my highest interest debt. It'll make it so I have a limit on what to spend on gifts. I will probably still charge the hotel room but I'm sharing it so it'll get paid off right quick.

I am SUPER excited right now!!

My brother and I made arrangements for the rest of his debt. He will repay me $100/mo starting in September and continue in that fashion until he gets his tax return. Then he'll pay the rest of the balance, or at least another large portion of it.

Here we go again.

August 3rd, 2007 at 11:22 am

Vacation was good and bad for me. I spent a little more than I should have but not terrible. But I did get in the habit of using the credit card again. *sigh*

Brother is having a heck of a time holding down jobs in the summer. He got hired on one place that trained him for a day and a half, worked him for a day and a half, then realized they'd overstaffed and let him go. Only good thing that came of it was he got to buy a bus pass for half price.

In anticipation of possibly not having a roommate (I do, she paid rent early even) or possibly having to foot brother's rent I just started saving every extra bit that came in after my check on 6/5. Good thing I did too because he has not received his signing bonus yet and they didn't have him on the roster for the weekend he worked last month plus he spent about half of what his roommates gave him for rent. I wound up putting $470 in his account this morning for what he needs towards rent. *sigh* That would have almost completely paid off the extra spending I've been doing on the credit card.

However that wasn't all the money I had set aside. There's still $63 sitting in my account, plus $100 I'll be getting from selling my Smashing Pumpkins tickets, plus I'm babysitting tonight, plus I'll get $50 for child care on Sunday since the last time I worked the guy who pays me wasn't there, plus I'll get $20 for child care on Monday. All in all, I'll still have extra to throw at the credit card even after I pay my team captain $113 for the last bit of stuff that I owe him money on. And I have a bunch of computer gear to donate to a local computer recycling place. I've been putting it off because they ask for $10/monitor to dispose of it properly and I've got five of them. But I need to get them out of my place.

A week to 10 days is when they say his bonus will arrive. Unfortunately I have a feeling he's only going to pay me back about $2k and then make payments on the rest. Interest will still accrue until he pays off the part of the balance that was gained via a balance transfer on a credit card. I'm thinking $100/mo is what I'm going to require for repayment.

He's asked me to help him figure out what to do with his money because he doesn't want to completely blow through it. That makes me happy, that he asked for my help otherwise it'd be gone in no time. He wants to buy a car, realizes he needs to save for next summer when he'll be out of school, and wants to have a little bit of fun with it too.

few things

July 24th, 2007 at 10:20 am

I am on vacation this week. I'm pretty much just hanging out at home and visiting people that I don't see regularly that are also at home during the week and finding places for the items I'm pulling out of my storage unit that will close on the 31st. I'm trying hard to make that not mean more spending since I have the opportunity to go out more. We'll see.

I called my dr's office and asked if I could pay half of my bill this month and the other half next month. They looked at my account and didn't have a problem with it. While I technically have the money to pay it all right now I'm trying to stick with only using money set aside for medical to pay medical. And I know I can pay the rest of it next month.

I will be co-leading a 2 hour class on Basic Finance Skills in Oct/Nov. I met last night with the gal I'll be leading with and need to come up with a good outline soon. I'm really excited and super nervous. I talk about this stuff all the time but not in this sort of setting. So I'll be rummaging around the 'net so I can have stuff down on paper that way I don't forget my speaking points. Smile

I'm babysitting tonight, probably for about 3 hours so that should mean about $30. I haven't bought a gift for the wedding I'm going to this weekend so I think I'll set whatever I get from babysitting as my limit since I wasn't sure where I was going to pull the money from and the credit card had been calling my name but I've been working hard to silence it. Smile

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.

Planning to spend day

July 13th, 2007 at 07:59 am

My new roommate and I are going shopping for the few things we actually will need when my current roommate moves out. Dishes for one, Target has a set on sale it's a white service for four for $10, and a big skillet for another. There's a couple other odds and ends but considering how much we don't have to buy it's not really that bad.

I don't really have money to go shopping right now. I get paid Sunday/Monday for child care that will be about $70 total. In my dollar jar where I've been saving what's left over in cash from my grocery and gas at the end of the pay period I have $68. So I'm taking that with me to spend and I will pay it back from my childcare money. I don't plan on spending a lot, hopefully no more than $40.

I am excited though to spend time with the new roommate too.

iced coffee? cold brewing?

July 6th, 2007 at 11:03 am

Ok so I made a mental note of someone's post talking about cold brewing coffee and making iced coffee and....and....I have no idea who it was or where to find it. But I figured I remembered enough of it to try my hand at it last night.

So the story is I shouldn't have caffeine but lately I've been craving coffee which is weird because I really don't like coffee all that much to begin with. With the warmer weather and everything the post about cold brewing and making iced coffee sounded appealing. My roommate actually has a coffee pot but I've never used it and she has her own methods for it so brewing coffee then freezing some of it into ice cubes seemed not as easy. Besides, roommate is out of town so I can't ask her about the coffee pot.

I do have a french press so I picked up a little bit of bulk grounds from the store and used their machine to course grind it (cleaning it off as much as possible to hopefully not get too many caffeinated beans in the mix). Now I don't normally make coffee. I do at work because I'm nice, when I leave the office I set up the coffee pot to time brew about 4:50 am since the first person in the office comes in at 5 am. At work we do 3 1/8th cup scoops for 12 cups. But I couldn't remember what I used to do for my press. So I sorta guessed. I looked on the side of the package I'd purchased and it said 1 tablespoon per 6 oz of water. 5 tablespoons for 30 oz of regular so I did 10 tablespoons (well actually 2/3rds of a cup since that converts to a little over 10 tablespoons) to 30 oz of water.

This morning I woke up and pressed the coffee. It looked really weak and I'm not sure if I should have done something different with the grounds though I'm not sure what. I pressed the mixture and poured it into an empty water bottle to store in the fridge for later.

Last night I also made a simple syrup so I added it to the container when I was assembling it this morning. It doesn't taste bad, I mean it tastes like coffee. But it didn't taste especially strong either.

So any suggestions? Did I do anything right/wrong? I've been drinking it slowly (that's a tough one for me, if a drink is there I tend to down it unless it's water) and trying to see if it's actually tasting watered down or just right.

Granted for me it would be an additional expense since I normally only drink water but it's something that I could splurge on once in a while.

Spent money this weekend.

July 2nd, 2007 at 01:15 pm

This weekend was not a good one for me spending wise. I pulled $100 cash out of my checking account and have pretty much spent it all. I have $10 left. What did I spend it on you ask?

I went to get a massage from my friend. She informed me that we were trading services. I help her out with computer/financial stuff so the massage on Saturday was free as will be the one I get this coming Saturday. I was anticipating it costing $60. We went out to lunch and I treated her, that came to $14. She paid the tip.

$100 - 14 = $86

I went to Costco to restock a few items that I had run out of. I don't have a Costco card so I only go when my friend goes and I only restock things I actually need/use. Otherwise I stick with using smaller quantities even though it generally costs me more in the long run. Case in point, I eat feta on my daily work lunch salads. I can buy a large container at Costco that will last me a little over 2 months for $4.99. A much smaller container that maybe lasts me two weeks can be found for $2.50 at the grocery store. I spent $27 and I will take it out of my grocery budget from my paycheck on the 5th.

$86 - 27 = $59

I went to the movies and got coffee before hand. Friend had a buy one get one free coupon for coffee drinks so we used that. I spent $2 on coffee, $1 on the movie (movie actually cost $3 but I had $2 in my 'movie money' section of my wallet), $2 on pizza.

$59 - 5 = $54

Sunday I took my brother out to lunch. Spent $11 for the both of us.

$54 - 11 = $43

I had planned on purchasing a shirt for $25 on Sunday as well. Friend of a friend that I had met once before had his leg amputated. His insurance will only cover $5k towards a prosthetic limb but they cost $30-40k so he's selling tshirts (that say This Shirt Bought Tarver a Leg) for $25 each to try and make up the difference. He hasn't posted new totals yet but when I stopped by to get one last night he'd been set up for an hour and already sold 40. Hopefully he'll reach his goal of 50% by July 16th so they can start getting him fitted. The longer they wait after the surgery the harder it is to get it to fit just right. http://www.shirtsforlimbs.com has more information on his journey.

$43 - 25 = $18

I also bought a burger at the pub Tarver was selling his shirts at. $8

$18 - 8 = $10

So...that's how I spent my money this weekend. I don't regret any of it. I still have the money I'll need to make up the difference in rent this month. With my roommate moving out, I need to pay her back for the deposit since she payed all of it. My landlord said that whoever I have move in doesn't need to fill out any paperwork since I have been the primary responsible party all along, she just needs the person's name for security purposes. I think I'll see about getting a rental agreement drafted to have the new roommate sign (and maybe get notarized?) so my butt's covered.

And my massage friend also offered to come pick me up after the relay in August so I don't have to pay for the motel room. Let's see, $196 now for two nights in a motel that I'll only spend one night in or $50 in gas for someone to come and pick me up. I think I'll go with the gas option. I just need to let the guy who is holding the reservations know that I won't be needing it.

I did up my net worth this morning but probably won't post it til tomorrow. I was disappointed in that while I did make a small dent in my debt, my retirement account took a hit which made my net worth go down.

bits and pieces.

June 28th, 2007 at 02:45 pm

I'm a little annoyed with myself. But before I get to that, I've decided to not do the 0% BT. It's not worth it right now as it's too short of time for something to go wrong.

~ The $400 that I had planned on paying off of CC2 before interest started accruing, may not be going anywhere right away and that makes me sad.

~ If I choose to stay in my apartment I will owe my roommate $200-$300 since she paid the deposit but is leaving. I think it was $200 but since I didn't pay it I don't remember exactly. I told her to take it off of July's rent so thats part of why I can't pay off CC2 right away.

~ If I choose to move (I finally heard back from a house I had inquired after beginning of the month) my housing costs will go up slightly. Rent and utilities combined are only $12 more per month and if the house is where I think it is gas usage won't go up that much but I may not be able to walk to work/gym as often. Depending on the new living situation I may still have to have a storage unit but I've spoken with another friend about 'renting' space in her garage for the same price I was paying before.

~ I have to pay $196 for two nights at a motel after the walking relay I'm doing. It's annoying because all hotel/motels in the area require a 2 night stay for that particular weekend and that is literally the cheapest out there. The next cheapest is three times the rate. The money is due before August 1st and is the second reason I won't be paying off the CC before interest accrues. Though I could take money out of savings but I'm trying to not do that I want to build savings not take away from it.

~ If I don't move and I can de-clutter enough to store it all at the apt I currently live in that will save me $60/month.

~ I'm slightly splurging and getting a massage this weekend but it's for medical reasons so I'll take the money out of my medical funds. I think I have/had a pinched nerve. I had tingling sensations in my legs but when I'd shift how I was sitting it would go away. After the first visit to the chiro it went from both legs to just my left leg. After the second visit to the chiro it's lessened even more but now the muscle that feels like it goes from about mid butt to past the knee is irritated by about mid-day which makes sitting in any position un-bearable. My friend is a massage therapist and sometimes gives me discounts because I do computer work for her. I'm planning on paying full price though until she tells me otherwise.

~ I got the explanation of benefits from my last Echo, they remembered to bill my insurance this time. It's $159 that I'll owe and I'm hoping that it'll be on the next billing cycle. If it is, then there's a good chance I can pay it all when I get it. My medical savings is currently at $57.

~ My brother is getting a signing bonus, I just don't know when yet. When he does he'll be paying off the money he owes me (I'm assuming based on how much money he'll be getting). Right now his outstanding balance with me is at about $3,600. But it'll be 10 - 30 days before he gets his bonus and he says knowing his luck it'll be 30 days.

~ I had three no drive days but was hoping for five. Today the weather wasn't right to walk to work though I did get in a 5.8 mile walk before work. But I did drive into work and I now have plans for after that may entail driving straight from work (ie no time to walk home and get the car). But I did bring lunch and dinner to work with me so I won't be tempted to go out for either.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Planning to spend today

April 21st, 2007 at 09:29 am

Aside from the grocery shopping I'm going to do today (since yesterday was payday and it's time to restock some things), I am planning on spending about $80 today.

My step brother is leaving to be stationed in Okinawa next week. We're having a going away party for him tonight. It sounds like his wife's family isn't going to be there for various reasons (lame but whatever) so it's just going to be us (myself, youngest brother, middle brother with wife, and step brother with wife and baby and maybe step daughter).

Youngest brother doesn't have any money, well he has enough coming in to cover basic expenses while he goes to school so I already told him I'd cover his dinner.

Middle brother and wife have been going through some trying times. Wife had some swelling in her brain that resulted in her having eye surgery. She's been off of work for a month now which has saved them a lot in gas but still cuts into their budget. Although Middle brother also had a recent raise of $2/hr that kicked in right about the time that wife took sick so they're not totally strapped but close. So I'd like to pick up their bill as well.

Step brother is leaving. I want to do something nice for him but because he's heading overseas there's really nothing I could give him that would be appropriate. So I'll treat them to dinner and give them a little more wiggle room as they sort stuff out. Step brother's wife and baby will be staying in the states an extra two months before following him.

We're going to Red Robin where it's next to impossible to spend less than $10/person unless people share. There's six of us (plus possibly a 5 yo) so that's at least $60 plus tip. I have $60 set aside to pay for eHarmony but I talked to J, the guy I've been dating briefly, last night and I think I'm just going to give it a little more time before I throw in the towel just yet. So instead of spending it there I'll just spend it on dinner tonight. If I do decide to join eHarmony I'll just use money from my babysitting jobs that have become more plentiful as of late.

Granted, if more people show up (ie close friends) it'll be trickier to pull off. But it's something I really want to do AND I can do it without charging it. It makes me really happy to be able to do these things and I don't make a habit of it (though I'd like to but I realize that's part of what got me in trouble before with credit cards).


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