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BT payment

January 21st, 2009 at 03:10 pm

I made my payment today from my paycheck towards my balance transfer. The balance is down to $2153 and needs to be paid off by 9/1. That means I need to pay off on average, $307/month. Which is down a little bit from last month's average of $321/month.

I have mostly done my taxes, and it looks like I will have about $350 from that to drop on the BT. On top of whatever I can come up with that month, it'll make a huge difference I think in my monthly required payment. But not counting on it til I get it.

Belt getting a little tighter?

January 13th, 2009 at 04:53 am

My work has been systematically cutting back on perks because they are doing what they can in light of poor sales to keep everyone employed. The majority of the cuts have been met with little grumbling, as they were perks and definitely not something the average office has. They also took a long hard look at a few other areas (travel for example) and have been working on ways to save money in that respect. Even with all that, we still let people go. Just 6, basically one from each department. But still it's one of those things that makes it hit home, makes it more personal.

But we thought it was all behind us. However recently a few more items have been announced as being cut and more push for revenue through as many means as possible.

Today it was announced that they were dropping the employer contribution to our simple ira accounts from 3% to 1%. Apparently that was the straw for some people. At least it's got them grumbling.

Don't get me wrong, I would prefer to not be affected quite so personally by things however...I'm totally willing to loose $60/mo if it means I keep my job. And really, if you do the math, if half the people at my company contribute to their simple ira and the company matching is the same as mine...cutting that 2% means saving one person's job. I have no problem with that.

I did the math over the weekend. Cut out everything I possibly could. Even cut out gas since I can probably borrow my roommate's vehicle if I needed to, or catch rides, or ride my bike, or walk. And the killer is, if I have to go on unemployment and try to pay for cobra, I'm still about $200 short. I cannot afford to go on unemployment. And my friends who have been laid off...can't find jobs to even apply to.

So for me, I'll take whatever the company opts to give me for a matching. I'll reduce my contribution when the time comes to match their matching. And be happy that I still have a job.

0% BT

December 24th, 2008 at 05:35 am

I got a new credit card. Probably not the wisest thing I could have done but I think this past month has been eye opening in the 'wow I still can't handle having a credit card' way. Case in point, last month I racked up $1300 and I can only justify maybe $700 of it (plane tickets). The just 'happened'. So that card is going away for a time...but it's around for emergencies since my EF is struggling a bit.

One of my Citi cards had 0% BT offer until 9/1/09. So I got $2500 because I know I can pay that amount off by the due date...

It will cover the following:
$1100 to my friend's AmEx card for my half of a vacation we are taking in March that she paid for all of (with the knowledge that I would pay her back for my half).
$1300 to the new credit card.
And the last $100 wound up being extra but at the time I didn't know what all had cleared on the new credit card and I wanted to make sure I was covered. When all the dust settles, that will go back onto the card with the BT on it.

The plan...put all extra cash onto the BT card. Do not charge any more on the new credit card. (It's only still in my wallet because I'm going to attempt to fly out to my dad's tomorrow and with traveling I want to have that cushion in case I need it but I don't plan on using it.)

I get paid once a month on the 15th. After each payment that I make on the 15th I'll see if I'm still on track to pay it off by 9/1/09.

Right now, I'll need to come up with $322/mo in order to pay it off on time. On average, I have $240 on the 15th plus $135 on the 1st each month to pay extra on things. Plus I plan on taking half of my tax return and putting it on this card, while saving the other half for food/incidentals on my March vacation. I plan on posting an update after each payment from the check on the 15th. The goal of course is really to pay it off way before 9/1 so I can get back to the rest of the debt reduction.

We'll see.

Gas money...

December 13th, 2008 at 05:46 am

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 30th, 2008 at 06:51 am

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 18th, 2008 at 05:21 am

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 03:28 pm

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.

Offer Letter Recieved

July 1st, 2008 at 03:41 am

Tomorrow I start my first day in my new position. Today I finally got my offer letter. It's been a yo-yo thing. First my former boss asked if I had received the letter last week, I hadn't, so she emailed the head of the dept I'll be working for asking him to get it for me.

Then by the end of the week she told me she was just going to write it for me and that I'd be very happy about the result.

Today I almost went to ask her about it since I still hadn't gotten it yet but she was never in her office when I went to ask.

Just before lunch the head of the dept came by my desk telling me that he needed to get a hold of the CFO to a sign off on my salary so he couldn't tell me the amount but that I would be getting a raise.

Finally at the end of the day it came finally. I got almost a $4k a year raise and after comparing it to my last paycheck at my last job it works out to $600 more a year than I was making before.

However, the net amount that I was making at the cut I took to work my first position was enough to pay bills and have $100 left over to pay on extra things. So I'm super stoked about this first paycheck even though only half of it will be at my new pay rate.

This is why I have a 100 cushion

June 22nd, 2008 at 06:50 am

I am just off this month. I marked two bills as paid, one for $81.97 and another for $58.47 but I neglected to actually mark them in Quicken. I caught the first one before my CC payment actually went through so I was able to cancel and resend minus the $81.97 but I didn't catch the second til this morning. It's ok though, it's why I have a cushion for that random 'just in case whoops' moment.

Spending Spree.

June 20th, 2008 at 04:16 am

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.

6 months.

June 8th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I am planning on everything being 'back to normal' in 6 months. By back to normal I mean, CC paid off again AND EF back to $1500. Not bad really all around but still longer than I'd like to take off of my regular debt reduction.

What to do...

June 4th, 2008 at 05:00 am

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 31st, 2008 at 05:22 am

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.