Home > Archive: November, 2006

Archive for November, 2006

Money well spent.

November 30th, 2006 at 06:44 am

At least in my opinon. When I was decluttering over the long weekend I found a certificate for $20 off at McCormick & Schmick's. Now, there's nothing on their dinner menu for less than 14 (not in the main entrees anyway) so it's not someplace I frequent. But I had promised to take a friend out and when I found that the certificate didn't expire til the end of the year (I'd gotten it back in September for volunteering for something and expected it to be past it's use) I decided what the heck, I'll use it. Plus I owed her a few bucks from something else so this made us square.

We decided on the location on the waterfront and man what a nice view. I love love love looking out over the water and seeing the city lights. Granted, we were on the side that I generally like to look at but still, lights are lights and the bridges look cool at night too. The seating areas were at different level raises, where the two people tables were was in the middle so we had an unobstructed view of the big floor to ceiling windows looking out at the lights and water and city. The tables may have been set for two but they weren't tiny. Just the right size and the chairs were like small armchairs, cushy but didn't take up a ton of room.

My friend always gets fish and chips, and in anticipation of eating fish and chips tonight I'd worked out an extra 30 minutes this morning. Total bill came to $29.90. After certificate, only $9.90 plus I left $6 cash tip out of my leftover gas money. It was totally worth it. The food looked small portion wise at first but when I'd finished, I was full. And I didn't eat that much bread to begin with either before the meal. I even left a few fries since I knew it would be too much.

We sat and talked probably for longer than we should have but they didn't try to rush us out of there. Overall it was an awesome experience and I think if I ever had a special occasion to celebrate where money wasn't an issue, I may go back to that exact location. Plus I got to hang out with my friend, something I haven't been able to do for a while. I'm out of town this weekend, she'll be out of town next weekend, and we both are busy in the inbetween time.

I have $11 left over now from gas budget, will not be needing to fill before Tuesday when I get paid again. I have $12 left over from grocery, will not be needing more food for at home before Tuesday. That gives me $23 to spend on food and gas for this weekend. We're all pitching in to pay for that so it's not all on me or anything. Between the 6 of us going I'm sure we can get by with not spending too much. But we wanted to have a 'dress up' dinner and have fondue so that's potentially pricey. I'm so looking forward to getting away and not really having anything planned.

Wow that was fast!

November 29th, 2006 at 02:33 pm

I got my dividend check yesterday! Why couldn't it have come a day earlier so I could have deposited it with the rest? Anyway...the amount of the check plus $13 pays off my CC2. So, since I know I'll be making the deposit for the bulk of it on Tuesday, I went ahead and paid the balance off!! I have money in my account that I'm holding onto for stuff to be paid on the 5th I just try not to use that money for anything else. But since I know that I'll be replacing a bulk of it, I am justifying it. Besides, I'd rather have it paid off now than next week, think of how much lower my daily average for factoring interest will be this statement! Not that it wasn't low already....Plus when I calculate NetWorth on Friday that'll be gone too! This means I can unofficially move into Phase Two and any extra monies go straight to Savings.

*happy dance*

Tuesday Deposit and 'oh yeah!' moment

November 28th, 2006 at 06:03 pm

Tuesday deposit has been made and applied. $33 this week. As I was driving home from babysitting last night I debated whether or not to make the Tuesday Deposit this week since I was paid in cash. I thought perhaps I'd just hang onto the cash for this weekend and if I didn't need it then just include it in next week's deposit. It was quite the debate in my head but I resolved it by saying that if my check from Certified had come then I would deposit it all. If it hadn't I would keep the cash. The check from Certified was not only there but was for $5 more than I was planning on, I'd forgotten it was a last minute blind check so they pay a little extra. So off to the bank I went this morning after going to CC2's website and scheduling the payment. Once it applies, the balance will be under $100 which means it will definately be paid off next week!

I realized something in the shower today. My roomate gives me a check on the 1st for rent and her part of utilities. I pay rent on the 1st but the utilities don't get paid until the 20th. I generally have enough money to cover paying all of them on the 20th so whatever she gives me is considered 'extra'. Well with the whole 'don't know what my paycheck will look like in the new year when I change my withholdings back to 1' thing I realized that I should just hang onto the extra $60 from her check and have that as a buffer for my first real check without any extra money on Jan 20. If I don't need it, bonus it'll go to savings or wherever. But if I do need it then I can rework my budget accordingly. That makes me feel a lot better knowing that.

And on to not so smart decisions. My youngest brother, the one who still owes me like $500 from picking up his rent a few months, is trying really really hard to go to school in January. He's starting out at the Community College so one semester's tuition is only going to be like $800ish plus books. He has a GI bill but that won't kick in for about 3 months. His job ends at the end of December which really is perfect timing for school but means he'll need money in the interim. Because he's applying so late, student loans will take even longer to process. So he's going to apply for a personal loan at a local credit union. Only because his job is ending in December, he needs a co-signer. And I offered to be that.

The payments are low enough that should it be necessary, I can cover it. We worked out exactly how much he'd need to fully pay for school and cover his expenses for three months (rent, electric, phone, bus pass, food) and came up with $3k. Plus he does have a part time job working at a bar but it's totally on an as needed basis on weekends and sometimes he only works two weekends in a month and if they're slow then he might not even make $50 over the course of the weekend. But it means that he'll have other potential money coming in too. He's going to call today and see what all I need to do to be a co-signer. If he goes through with this I think I'm going to have a long hard talk with him about the money and how to budget it. Since it's my neck on the line too that'll be a condition of my help. He's planning on paying on it for at least six months since he has no credit record to speak of and then he'll get it paid off as soon as possible. Once his GI bill kicks in it definately shouldn't be a problem since it'll be over $1k/mo and he'll only really need about $700 to cover all his monthly expenses.

Tuesday Deposit and helping out a friend.

November 27th, 2006 at 08:05 pm

Wow my Tuesday Deposit is going to be low this week. I didn't get paid last night, the guy forgot to bring checks so I'll get double next week. I don't know if I'll be getting a check in the mail today from Certified yet. I haven't seen the family I house-sat for since I house-sat for them so no payment for that yet. I won't be receiving the dividend check from CC2 til later in the week. But I am babysitting tonight so whatever that is I will be depositing that tomorrow. I only have $105 left before CC2 is paid off and I'm certain that next week I will be able to pay whatever is left so it'll be paid off until the statement comes out. That makes me happy.

My friend called me earlier this week asking for help getting her finances in order. I went over last night to take a look. Oh man she has a long road ahead of her. The reason its so overwhelming for her is she doesn't have any sort of set income. She never works the same amount of office hours, never has the same amount of commission (from clients), and she is far behind on many of her payments. Some CC's are only a payment behind but a few things have been sent to collection.

We looked at a few things last night. I told her it wasn't going to be an overnight thing, it will probably be March before everything is being paid on time again. We're going to babystep as much as possible. The first step, I made a list of places she needed to call and what she needed to talk to them about. The list was daunting but I reminded her that she didn't have to make all the phone calls in one day just to set a goal of by the end of the week.

It gets even more confusing because she also has her own business so some things can be paid from her business account so trying to seperate that out will be her job not mine. I'm just going to help her get back on track and create a budget system that will work for her.

She isn't keeping any sort of solid bank records. We'll work on that too at some point. She does have Quicken but she never used it. Unfortunately her computer is down right now. I have the hard drive so I can make a backup of it and we'll be buying a fresh copy of XP at some point to reinstall. (her computer didn't come with the load disks, and it's a real mess)

I'm just excited that she's asked me for help. It's one of those things that I really enjoy doing but I don't offer my services because I don't want to offend anyone. We'll be meeting again on Sunday (or at least that's the plan right now) and take a look at things again. She'll have made a couple deposits, some phone calls, and gotten another paycheck in the interim.

Updated Quicken

November 22nd, 2006 at 05:05 pm

I finally went through last night and cleared out all the accounts I had set up in Quicken that I didn't need anymore. Car loans that had been paid off, checking accounts that I don't have anymore but still showed a balance, etc. Then I set up a new Debt Reduction Plan. I'm ignoring their suggestion of how to pay it off because they want me to pay off the loan that is .2 higher percentage than my credit cards. Fact is, the loan is fixed the credit cards aren't so personally I want to pay off the credit cards.

I reworked their payoff plan to match my Three Phase Plan as far as order of payoff goes. I did not set it up with the extra money that I'm expecting simply because I wanted a worst case senario, if push comes to shove and I have to scale things down, what does that look like. Even scaled down it shows me as being consumer debt free by 10/2010. Since my current goal is 4/2010 it makes me realize it's not totally unrealistic.

I can't wait for the totals to update each month and have Quicken update its plan based on how much I actually pay.

It's also interesting to compare where they say I will be with CC1 by 4/2010 and where I say I'll be. See, when I figure it manually, I assume that interest payment will stay the same. I know that's not true but it's just easiest to figure. That's also why my projected balance goes down every month because I recalculate based on the recent statement. They actually adjust for interest going down. Their projected balance for CC1 is about $3k less than mine.

And even when I shift into Phase Two and put money into my EF instead of CC's, my actual payment amount is more than I told Quicken. Simply because I didn't include my step brother's monthly payment because it's a temporary thing.

I'm a geek. I like charts and graphs and seeing how much of a difference a little extra here and there makes. I can't wait for next month to see the new projected figures.

Looking to the future and slightly starting to panic.

November 21st, 2006 at 09:47 pm

Looking at my budget last night I realized that I am on paper always at -$80 every month. This doesn't really show up because my on paper budget is based on the amount I was getting before I dropped my 401k down from 8% to 3% and before I changed my withholdings from 1 to 2. I actually balance out right now. Come January I will be moving my withholdings back to 1 because this was the first year of testing my theory on how to basically not get a refund but also not owe on taxes. On the one hand, I know I'll be ok because of how my pay/budget plays out (on the 5th there's always extra money from being on call, and on the 20th I always hold out money for things that I can't pay for all of out of the 5th) but on the other I don't know what my new 'pay' will be until January 20. I don't like those kinds of unknowns.

Of course the other potential bright side to this is we get yearly evaluations and raises in January so there's the possibility that my raise will have kicked in by then. But still. It makes for a long hard look at my budget. Fortunately I really do have some wiggle room as what I pay on some things is more than required so for a couple months I could get by. Plus I do have extra money coming in, at least $25/wk from one job and an as yet unknown other weekly amount. But I don't want to stop the momentum.

I splurged on some tea yesterday. I love rooibus (sp?) tea. It's not caffinated (I'm supposed to avoid caffiene) and has a very nice flavor. A friend of mine gave me a $5 off gift cert for an online tea company and I bought their sampler pack. I have a loose leaf teapot waiting to be purchased at Amazon for when I get my next $20 Amazon gc. But in the meantime, the tea's on it's way. It came to $9.75 and came out of my 'Personal' money.

I met a friend for breakfast today. I went low key (and healthy) and got oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, soy milk all mixed together and a couple slices of apple and banana on top. It was only $4. I had water to drink and left a dollar tip. After grocery shopping yesterday and eating out a couple of times already I have $57 left to last til the 5th. Next shopping trip list has already been started but nothing is necessary yet so I'm going to go on Saturday. Although, I am picking up Papa Murphy's pizza for potluck tonight, that'll be $7 and will come out of my grocery budget.

I'm not preparing Thanksgiving Dinner. I am bringing a dish though, the ingredients that I needed were picked up last night. I'm hoping there'll be some leftovers I can come back home with (of my own dish that is). If not, that's ok too. Small price to pay for Thanksgiving Dinner.

I filled up on gas and have $17 left over as well. We'll see how long the tank lasts. I am going to just wait til it gets to half (really 3/4ths the way my tank works) and put the rest in at that point. The way gas is going up it'll probably take it all. But I don't have much by way of long distance driving to do for a while at least.

I picked up the yummiest bread. I'm working really hard at exercising and eating healthy with the overall intent to loose weight but that's not the direct motivation. Someone mentioned that sprouted wheat bread is better so when I was at Trader Joe's I picked some up. It's only 90 calories, .5 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber per slice. It is heavy but it doesn't taste nasty like I've experienced before. And it costs about the same as the other Sara Lee Delightfuls bread I was getting before. It's twice as many calories but the rest of the numbers are the same. And according to I'm not eating all the calories I should be anyway.

I'm really curious to see what my numbers look like at the end of the month. So I'm waiting with baited breathe to be able to post new numbers. It's all a waiting game for me. I wait for the next paycheck. I wait for the next Tuesday Deposit. I wait for the end of the month. So I guess technically next I'm waiting for another Tuesday Deposit.

I dropped $161 into my bank account today. $10 for something I'll be paying for for the beachhouse trip and $151 for CC2. I actually made the payment for $153 because when all was said and done there was $22 and change left in my bank account and I like to just leave a $20 and change cushion. I requested the dividend check from CC2 today so I should see it potentially by the end of next week, definately the first week in December. I'm going to laugh if CC2 is completely paid off by the time I get my hands on that check.

Jumping on this bandwagon too.

November 21st, 2006 at 12:11 am

Today's been a different sort of day. I slept at the house I was dogsitting at so I couldnt' pay my bills this morning. Fortunately, the only things that absolutely must be paid today are on automatic payments. I saw the pending deposit in my account over the weekend so I knew how much wouuld be there and already filled in my budget spreadsheet just to see where things stood. I felt ok with pulling out my food and gas money this morning.

I'm planning on doing a little grocery shopping after work and filling up with gas. Hopefully I won't be so hungry that I can wait til after I get home to eat dinner.

The family I dog sat for this weekend told me today they will pay me the next time they see me. So I've got that to add to next week's deposit since I won't see them til Thursday.

And finally, a picture of me. Not really that exciting. I was trying to take a self portrait with a camera phone and show off my red streaks at the same time (to show a friend a couple weeks ago). It sort of worked.

The tides shift, both good and bad.

November 20th, 2006 at 03:49 am

Ok so I didn't have enough gas to make it til tomorrow. So I relented and broke into the cash waiting to be deposited on Tuesday for CC2 and put $10 in. I haven't decided if I'm going to take $10 out of the gas budget and put it back in the Tuesday Deposit box or not.

I talked to a gal tonight who's kids I watched (in part) during the short Monday night stint. She is continuing on with the Monday night meetings and will be needing a sitter. We haven't worked out pay yet, I honestly have no idea how much to charge. For two kids, 3 and under, I get $30 regardless of time if I have to put them to bed. If they're already in bed I get $20. I don't really care, I figure I'm doing my friends a service and just let them pay me whatever.

However this situation is a little different. It's three kids between the ages of 5 and 10. I'll be putting them to bed at some point, don't know about dinner. Probably will be there for about 3.5 hours. I told the mom that whatever they decided would be fine. She laughed and said she said the same thing when she was in my position and now the tables are turned. They only paid $10 for the sitting when I was doing it, because it was organized through church and their scale was $5/kid or $10/family. But I actually got $25 for the night. And the distance wasn't that great that I had to travel. They are set for this week but will need me for sure next week. We'll just play by ear. I'm just happy to have a new source of income, however slight it might be.

My brother paid me $50 so once I can pull that out of his account (I'm a co-owner of his savings account) I think my weekly deposit total is: $151. I'm quite pleased with that bite taken out of CC2.

Three Phase Plan, November update.

November 18th, 2006 at 06:11 pm

Phase One. Eliminate CC2.

Statement balance difference: -$398.71
Total Payments: $650.00
Total charges and fees: $251.22

The charges were expected and extra was paid from EF to cover them. I expect that the New estimated payoff date will actually be correct. I am hoping to pay the entire balance off before the next statement, but there'll still be a little interest that had acrued so it will be January before I see a $0 balance.

Prior estimated payoff date: 3/20/2006
New estimated payoff date: 1/20/2006

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000

Between the three accounts, taking out the expected expenses and adding in regular budget amounts my savings has decreased by $177.96. However I'm not that dissapointed in that number considering I spent $273 so it's bouncing back nicely.

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

Statement balance difference: -$317.08
Total payments: $523
Total charges and fees: $205.92

I am no longer using CC1 to pay bills.

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,665.47
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,096.99

Only $1,309.74 to go before things get back to normal on this card.


CC2 update.

This week so far I have the following in hand:

30.00 friend paying me back for something
26.00 Certified check
30.00 babysitting
86.00 Confirmed payment

25.00 Childcare on Sunday
60.00 Brother making a payment
85.00 Potential

171.00 Possible payment. This makes me Very Happy since the balance is about $258.

I will be requesting a dividend check for $58.39 on Monday. But I don't kow how long that will take to get here.


Old habits die hard. Today we're supposed to all get together to celebrate our birthdays. All four of us were born in November. Plus one of my SIL's has an October birthday that I missed. Well, SIL's debit card number got stolen and $500 was charged to it before it was caught. Then Brother P's check was $300 less than they were expecting. They get paid weekly. They bought a house this past year that's about 50 miles one way into town. So it's quite a hike for them to come. So they won't be joining us. Then I talked to Step Bro and they're not doing so hot either, but they're still coming. Other Brother is the one I've been bailing out recently so I know he's not doing the best, but he did just get paid so he's ok right now. All told, I'm the most financially stable of the four of us. So this morning the thought entered my head, I'll just pick up lunch for everyone. Which of course, means charging it. Then I stopped, stepped back and realized, that's part of the reason I'm in debt to begin with. Not the entire reason, but definately a good chunk. I will Not be doing that after all. I have $12 in my wallet for lunch (I pulled the $7 out of the dollar jar to make it be $12), shouldn't be a problem since I always drink water and I know I can find something on Red Robins menu that after tip won't be more than $12. I will probably be going out to lunch tomorrow after church. I have $7 in my bank account that should do nicely if the occasion arises. If it doesn't, I'll go home and eat. I'm meeting someone for coffee today and I'm going to suggest Starbucks because I have a $5 gc for there. I get paid on Monday, the pending deposit already shows up in my bank account today so I know how much it's going to be. Looks like just enough to cover everything. Unfortunately, nothing really extra to throw at CC2 but I can live with that.

Costco Pharmacy.

November 18th, 2006 at 01:52 am

I almost had to resort to that today. There isn't a Costco close enough for me to justify having a membership so I don't. But when I went to pick up a refill today they initially wanted $136 for my Rx. Umm. They said it had been denied as my insurance card had expired in 6/06. That's news to me since I've been using it for over a year and this is the first time I've had problems with it. They took my card, and called again. Got everything straightened out fortunately. Not before a slight bit of panic set in though. I would have had to charge it in order to get it imediately and then pull all the money out of my medical savings to cover the charge. Ugh.

I looked up Costco's prices a while back though just to have an idea. And for this particular drug, with no insurance, it was only $57. Definately would have been worth the drive over there to pick it up had they insisted on me paying that. Providing of course that I could have either gotten a new Rx from the Dr or at least some samples to tide me over. I hate scares like that.

Mo' money.

November 16th, 2006 at 07:50 pm

I am seriously almost giddy with anticipation that I'll have CC2 paid off before the December statement comes out. Of course, it will have a small amount on it from the interest that acrues until I pay it off but it won't be much.

Yesterday I came home to find a check from Certified for $26. Sweet! I knew it was coming just didn't know exactly when. So that means I should be expecting the next one next week, since the first two of the three jobs I'm expecting pay from them for happened a week apart. That makes my anticipated payment on CC2 on Tuesday to be $101.

Then this morning I got a call from the gal I'm babysitting for tomorrow, asking if I can house/dog sit this weekend. I've never done this for them before, so I honestly don't know if I'll be paid for it or if it'll just be a 'eat whatever you want while you're here' type deal. I don't mind not getting paid but I'm curious too. Though they may not need me, their regular dog sitters haven't gotten back to them yet so I'm a backup plan. I'm ok with that.

Tomorrow is Brother's payday, I'm hoping to get a few bucks from him as well but I'm not counting it til I talk to him about it. Monday is my payday, I don't know yet how much I can expect to pull out of it to pay towards CC2. Last time it was just $30 but I think it'll be less this time.

And now for just a few of the 'facts you probably don't know about me' Nothing too personal really.

* We moved every summer when I was a kid because of my dad's job. Because of this I was very shy as a child, what was the point of making friends if I was going to be leaving them.

* I have technically five blogs that I keep up. This one for finances, one that I've had since 2001 for 'everything', one at myspace for randomness, one that no one knows about so I can talk about things that I don't want people reading my 'everything' blog to read about, and a new one for knitting.

* I have an overactive imagination. This is a bad thing when it comes to my heart condition. Especially when I insist on watching shows like Grey's Anatomy that seems to have more than it's fair share of heart-paitents-that-have-things-go-terribly-wrong.
But it's a good thing when it comes to my heart condition when the dr tells me I need to exercise more to help ensure that I don't need a transplant in 20 years. I am now up to exercising intentionally 6 days a week, 3 days at the gym, 3 days with videos at home.

* The internet and chatting online has made me a better/bolder person offline. Not completely but definately an improvement.

* I love to read, but never have the time.

* I am addicted to TV. I realize this so I solve it by not turning it on. Once it's on it's hard to turn off. Even at midnight when there's nothing on but infomercials.

* I love to learn. I have two BS degrees. I'm only using one of them and as of late have decided perhaps it's not that big of a deal if I don't use the second one. (Computer Science with Business Emphasis is the degree I'm technically using right now, Accounting is lying dormant except within the sphere of personal finance)

* I have worked at my job for 9.5 years. I drag my feet finding another because either the pay won't support my debt, or I've been too long in one place and I'm not as knowledgeable as I should be in the tech industry.

* Our family's first computer was a TI keyboard that you connected to the TV. It had BASIC on it and I copied/tweaked a program from the manual when I was 9. Even though I studied Computer Science and was good in it, I didn't have a real computer until my Jr year of College.

And that's enough of that. I'd say if you want to know more you could check out my 'everything' blog but that's not going to happen because I don't want the two worlds to collide.

Little bit extra.

November 16th, 2006 at 01:51 am

Post #2 today.

I am salary. There isn't much change in my pay month to month...except my on call nights. During 'normal' business function, I have the same number of nights each month. However, business rarely is normal. It always seems like someone's on vacation or there's a holiday or whatever and that makes it so I have more than the usual number of on call nights. Today, one of my co-workers wasn't feeling well and went to the ER. He was scheduled for cell phone tonight. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have plans tonight to go to dinner and a movie with a friend. That's not something I do when I'm on call. But the plans were already made and by the time it was realized that the guy in the ER was on for tonight, there was no one else but me left to pick up the slack.

I told one of the owners about my plans and he gave me permission to 'ignore' the phone during the movie since these are special circumstances. I try very hard to not plan anything like that when I'm on call and will not take this as a sign that it's ok. This is a special circumstance.

All that to say, wheee! I get a little more in my December 5th check because I'm on call tonight! Not too much more, we get $35/night flat rate and it seems to work out to be about $17.50/night after taxes and 401k are accounted for. But I'm not complaining. And it sounds like that customer training thing I was supposed to do ages ago might actually be happening. Providing that the customer still needs training. It's been so long and she's been calling in when she needs help that it's possible she's good to go. It'd be interesting to get out of the office for a day, and make a few extra bucks on mileage. But if it doesn't happen, I'm not totally bummed about it.