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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.