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Belt getting a little tighter?

January 12th, 2009 at 08:53 pm

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.

This is why I have a 100 cushion

June 21st, 2008 at 11:50 pm

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.

Didn't buy the Tshirt, did buy the gloves

April 18th, 2008 at 06:58 am

I went to a concert last night and debated about buying a band tshirt. In the end, decided it wasn't necessary and $25 stayed in my pocket.

This morning at Curves I noticed that I was building up callouses again. Last time it had to do with my work environment (freight dock) this time it's due to Curves. They have gloves there to avoid just that issue, they are nice, padded, fingerless, and only $8.95. So I went ahead and bought them since I had cash on me. Of course I decided on them after my workout so will have to wait til Monday to see how I like them.

CC, Car repair, Cell Phone, and Bus Tickets

April 11th, 2008 at 07:04 am

I have $837 left on my CC that is supposed to be empty. I have been able to drop it hugely these past couple of months but that is going to be slowing down here soon. Still though, with the money I know I have coming in it will be paid off by the end of May.

Once it's paid off I'm going to charge my car shop visit to it. I don't drive my car much but the last time I had it in the shop they said my clutch was slipping and they would need a day to figure out where the issue was and what the cost would be. On the one hand, I don't drive it often. On the other, I don't want it to totally die when I really need it. Plus lately the few times I have driven it, there's been random times that whitish smoke has come out of the back and I think that needs attention too. Whatever the charge ends up being, I plan on pulling $400 out of my EF to pay on my CC and the rest will just get paid off with whatever I have extra each month like before.

Plus I have it built into my budget to transfer $75/mo automatically to the savings account I would be pulling the money out of. So building it back up is already part of my plan. We'll see when the time comes what the damage really is.

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And in other news...my brother called me the other day because he and his wife are switching back to Verizon Wireless. They had to go to Cingular when they moved because it was the only company that serviced the area they bought their house. But now, two years later, Verizon signal can be gotten out there and they haven't been too happy with Cingular.

At any rate, through the company he works for he gets a discount on his Verizon bill. At the bottom of the paperwork it had a place to add family members phone numbers to get the discount as well. Since my other brother and I are also on Verizon, he put our numbers down. Who knows if it will actually process but it's nice to know it's a possibility.

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My bus ticket thing seems to be working just fine. I currently have 21 tickets left for the month and 20 rides that I know I'll need tickets for providing I keep up with my walking home 3 days a week.

Bus Pass vs Bus Tickets.

April 3rd, 2008 at 06:49 am

For the month of April I am experimenting. My friend opted to not continue in her work's bus pass program (they renew for free every year if they want to) so while that was the cheapest option it is no longer available.

A monthly pass for 2 zones costs $65. A bus ride one way is $1.75.

In April there are 22 work days, so 44 bus rides, totaling $77.

However, I am training to walk a half marathon in June and a walk relay in August. In doing so I am walking home three nights a week (Mon, Wed, Thurs). There are 13 nights I will be walking home in April. That leaves 31 bus rides, totaling $54.25.

They sell bus tickets in packs of 10. For April, I bought 3 10 packs at $52.50. My theory is that chances are I'll get at least one ride in from my roommate over the course of the month to negate needing 31 tickets.

Of course all this hinges on my Actually walking home three nights a week. But I'm anticipating that only having X amount of bus passes will encourage that.

Plus I can think of other ways to 'save' bus tickets. I have a chiro apt on Friday and my chiro is maybe 1.5 miles from work at most. I usually park near my chiro office and catch the bus (when I have a pass) because there's no bus service between my chiro office and home and sometimes I need to go places right after my apt. So I'm thinking I can park at the chiro office like usual. If it's early enough, walk to work. After work, jet out right at 5 and walk to the chiro. Possibly saving one or two tickets. But at the same time, if I'm cutting short time wise, I do have the tickets to use.

We'll see how this works out. I'm hoping to wind up with a couple extra tickets each month so by the time I need to go back to buying a pass, I can prolong it a little.

Still here but barely.

April 1st, 2008 at 04:25 pm

I don't have time for much by way of 'that internet stuff' I used to do when I had lots of free time at my old job. So posting here has mostly slacked by the wayside. I do keep up my sidebar, even if I don't post my full networthiq results every month. It's tough to balance it all out and I feel ultra behind. But I'm still chipping away at my debt!

Benefits Committee

March 15th, 2008 at 09:15 am

Have I mentioned, I love the place I work for? They have decided to take a look at what the employees actually want/need as far as benefits go, for health insurance and other potential perks, and look into ways to changing things.

As a result they have formed a Benefits Committee made up of a representative from each department. That representative is responsible for collecting ideas from their department and relaying to the department what went on in the meeting.

The representative for my department is ME! Smile I asked for it and no one else wanted it so I got nominated. Smile I'm excited. There were things brought up at the meeting that I'd thought about but forgot at spur of the moment when asked on the spot for ideas.

Whether or not thing actually change, I appreciate the time/effort my company is making into having things that are not only beneficial to the employee but also wanted/used by the employee.

I really hope we change from FSA to HSA.

Taxes done.

January 31st, 2008 at 07:01 am

I just finished my taxes and I'm not happy with the results.

For federal I am only getting back about $100 more than last year. I'm disappointed only because I left my withholdings at 1 for longer than I did the year before so I expected a little more of a refund. However at the same time I worked a side job that barely taxed me so it makes sense.

For state, ugh I owe! This is the first time (aside from when I was an independent contractor) that I've had to pay! Last year my return was only $18 so I was anticipating cutting it close once again. I did not expect to have to pay $172!

I'm going to go over it again later but if I do have to pay you can bet I won't be turning it in until I get my federal back.

Surviving

October 10th, 2007 at 08:48 pm

I've been at my new job for a week and a half now. Things are going pretty good. Got my last paycheck from old job on the 5th, used it to pay for all the rest of the bills for October (but only paid for food and gas for the next two weeks since I will be getting other checks in this month). I still think I'll be ok as far as money stuff goes, I won't know though til I get my first check and see what actually starts coming in.

I really don't need to grocery shop as new job offers plenty by way of food for breakfast and lunch during the week. However, I'm also trying to watch my waistline so I'm mostly bringing in my own food and just supplementing it here and there as needed. For example, I don't buy fruit anymore for my lunches because there's always a plethora of bananas and apples in the kitchen.

I should be seeing my first check, which will only be for 40 hours, next week sometime.

Doom and Gloom

June 19th, 2007 at 01:04 pm

Ran across this article today http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5964

What's your take on it? On the money or just nonsense?

Good News?

May 29th, 2007 at 11:22 am

Well there is good news, my roommate is engaged. They set the date for September and she hasn't decided yet when she's going to quit her job and move out there (they'll be living where he is already about 4 hours away). I am really excited and happy for her and just knew it was going to happen. Smile

However for me that poses a slight problem. I'll either need to get another roommate, or move. If necessary I can trim down a few payments and actually be able to keep living there by myself but I don't know that I really want to do that. However, I have an awesomely cheap apartment (rent and utilities split is only $350 each) in a perfect part of town (1.1 miles from the gym, 1.3 miles from work not to mention close to grocery and bank and other friends).

Part of me wants to see if perhaps I could get one of those free apartments in exchange for light on site management duties. But I hate moving.

I don't know what all she'll be taking with her when she leaves. She owns most of the main area furniture, most of the dishes, and most of the cookware. So the possibility of moving into a room in someone's house is actually appealing after a fashion. But moving any further away means that my gas budget will have to increase...lots to factor in.

Ages ago (it seems) I did have an offer from some friends to move in with them. However since then, the gal who owns the condo has gotten pretty serious with her bf and is practically engaged so I'm not sure I want to move somewhere and then move again. Besides, that place is way further away than my current place.

Nothing really to be done about it til I know her future plans. So I'm just waiting and pondering my options so I'm ready when the official word comes in.

Just barely skated by

May 24th, 2007 at 07:06 am

After all that fun with the bank yesterday my brother wasn't able to make it in before they closed. He was 5 minutes late. He was going to deposit money in via atm to see if he could skate by on that so I suggested he put in $25 since he was short by about $24. (There was some money in the account just the bank when it auto transferred transferred way more than he needed so I had told him to ignore the extra since they would probably take the overdraft fee out of it).

This morning I checked his accounts....his checking is positive and his savings has no extra charges!! He just barely skated by. I will be talking with him this weekend about where we go from here. He was considering taking the summer off of school and working, right now that's a fine idea since I don't know how he's going to pay for it if he doesn't.

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I gave my friend a check like I do every month to pay on the croatia trip we took last year. She asked 'Why are you still giving me money?' A valid question considering I gave her $1k a couple months ago just so what we make with our monthly payments as a group will actually make a difference. I don't feel right leaving her holding the bag, even though she choose it. She only choose it because she thought it would be temporary, not drag on for over a year. Unless everyone else can pick off their portion like I did, I don't feel right stepping back. Although on the flip side, that $50/mo I give her could be used elsewhere in my debt reduction plan. It boils down to, I feel I have a moral obligation to give her money every month until the card balance is $0 or until the others in the group take on their own portion of the debt.

I'm just about at my wit's end.

May 23rd, 2007 at 01:51 pm

My youngest brother, the one that I've been supporting off and on since he started school, is really really leaving me frazzled!

I forgot about the 6 transfer limit on savings accounts and with the way things have been going we went over that. I'm only on his savings but not on his checking so I can only deposit to savings. He transfers to checking and goes on his merry way.

So for starters, he got a $10 charge because we did a 7th transfer. Then it all went downhill. I put some money in his savings, just so he'd have money in there, and he overspent and got overdrawn. Well, his overdraft protection kicked in and...transferred from his savings incurring ANOTHER $10 charge and transfer #8 this month.

I dropped in another $20 so his savings account wasn't at -$10 and sent him a text reminding him that he has NO money and to not use his card for Anything.

Today we were talking and he desperately needed some cash for food. So I went and dropped another $40 in his savings account and I called and told him he had $40 in his SAVINGS that he could pull out and that I couldn't transfer it without incurring another $10 fee and possibly incur the wrath of the bank (they mentioned something about his account might get closed if he has too many transfers). I also informed him that that was it for this month so he'd better spend it wisely.

That was a little over an hour ago. I log onto his bank account just now and guess what I found? No just guess. Yup, he pulled the $40 out of CHECKING where there is....NO MONEY. So he's overdrawn AGAIN.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I sent him a text even though I knew he was in class and he's going to high tail it to the bank soon as he's out of class and try to straighten it out. Sometimes if you catch it same day they are lenient but I dunno at this point...

I'm trying to convince him to go to a cash system. Perhaps he'll actually listen to me this time.

Tax prep classes

May 8th, 2007 at 10:19 pm

I've always wanted to do tax preparation as a side thing. I just got a flier in the mail from H & R Block about their classes that start soon. Like end of this month soon. There's two phases and it looks like they cost $249 each. Ouch, I could have sworn last time I looked into it it was only $150 but that may have been through someone else. Anyway...

None of the times work for me really. 9-12 cuts into work and 6-9 I get off work at 6 plus the nights it's offered I usually babysit. Now, I might be able to make arrangements with work for the 9-12 one where I come in after class two days a week and then start 1.5 hrs earlier the other three days to make up the time. I don't know if I can do that but it's a possibility. I'd rather do that then just use vacation time.

But if I take the first section then I need to be able to take the second and I don't know yet when that will be offered. I wouldn't mind cutting off the babysitting if it were further out that it was starting. I can change that schedule but I prefer to give them a little more warning especially since I just started.

And it'd be almost $500 total. Is it worth it? I mean, working part time assuming I got a job doing tax prep, am I going to get enough hours in the amount of time I need it? Last I heard you were supposed to do like 750 hours in 2 years for something or other. But things may have changed since then. Ugh. Decisions decisions.

I think I'll wait and see what other places offer. It's not that it's too early to start thinking about it just I have too much going on and I know Jackson Hewitt offers courses in the Fall.