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Archive for February, 2008

Frustrations

February 29th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Two main frustrating things right now.

1. I received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)for my root canal showing that my responsibility was $352. That means that I should be getting back about $300.

I've been waiting for that refund check to come - was planning on using it to pay for part of my crown. It still hasn't shown up.

But in todays mail I got a new EOB saying that there was double charge, and that I owe the full $1300!!!

I got on the website and saw that for some reason there were two charges for the same thing on the same date - one of which part was paid, and the other none was paid.

I guess I'll have to wait till Monday to call and find out what is happening and when I can expect my money back!

2. Today I stopped at Walmart to do some early March grocery shopping. One of the items I bought were these La Tortilla Factory tortilla's. I bought 3 pkgs. On the shelf, the only price I saw that came close to what I got was $2.82.

When the cashier rang them up - they rang up at $3.32! I of course spoke up. She ended up taking them all off the receipt. Then I thought she put them all back on?

So after I paid, I went back to the shelf to doublecheck that there was NO $3.34 sign. There wasn't. So I went to Customer Service. The lady took my tortilla package and looked at the shelf. When she came back, she told me that someone must have taken off the upc label for this particular item - but that the price WAS $3.34. But since the label was off, she would go ahead and give me the $3.34 back.

I was happy with that - but then I asked about the other two packages. She then showed me on my receipt that it showed only ONE tortilla pkg charged! So, I ended up having to pay for the two that were not charged.

I guess I should be glad that I got the one package for free. But I do feel frustrated that I was thinking they were $2.82, and through no fault of mine, the correct price tag had been taken off the shelf. I really felt that I should have been given the price difference on the other two items - especially since the only proof she had of the item's cost was what the bar scanner said - and that isn't always correct!

At any rate, I left with 3 pkgs of LTF Tortillas for $6.86, which is less than the $8.46 it would've been for 3 pkgs at $2.82 each.

3. A couple things at work today really frustrated me too. A little too easily almost. Had to bite my tongue really hard a few times.

Another Denti$t visit

February 20th, 2008 at 09:21 pm

This afternoon I had the tooth which was root canaled a couple weeks ago get built up and have a temporary crown put on.

Since all but about $300 of my yearly dental insurance cap has already been used, I had the wonderful priveledge of dropping $832 in payment.

In two weeks I go back to get my permenant crown.

I like my dentist, but I kind of wish she'd get a clue.

Each time I've had an appointment with her she's mentioned to me that she'd love to do a tooth whitening treatment on me and that she'd love to close up a gap between two of my teeth. Each time I've told her I'm not interested.

AGAIN today AFTER discussing how much the root canal cost me ($650) and discussing how much I'll have to pay for the crown ($832) and seeing me cringe at parting with that much money - she again mentions about the teeth whitening, etc.

So I tell her that right now I am trying to spend money on only ESSENTIAL and necessary items - and that neither of those things fall in that category. I also told her that I'm saving up for a house downpayment. She misunderstood and thought I was looking at buying a house *right now*. I explained to her that no, I'm looking at more like 3 or more years down the road.

She told me I sure do long term planning.
Yes, I am trying to. I didn't say this to her - but I also probably would never spend the money on either of those things even if I had MORE than enough for everything I want.

I really hope she doesn't bring it up again on my next visit. I really like her and the office, not to mention the fact it's in the same office building as my company. So I'd really hate to have to find a new dentist.

If only . . .

February 19th, 2008 at 08:04 pm

If only . . .

my financial situation was different.

I lived on the ground floor with a fenced in yard.

I wasn't gone 10 - 14 hours most days.

I lived in a house.

If only.

Then maybe things would've turned out differently tonight.

My downstairs neighbors have a Taco Bell dog (or a Chiuaua sp?). Most of the time when I am home - especially on weekends, I hear it crying and whining. Sometimes when its in their half a postage stamp backyard crying its little heart out, I have gone out on my balcony and leaned over and talked to it.

Tonight I was watching t.v. and heard it whining in the foyer. I actually went out my door and almost started down the steps once, but turned back. Finally when my program was over I just COULD NOT stand it anymore. So I went down the stairs and sat on the bottom step.

The dog stuck its top half of its body through the stairs and laid its head on my lap as much as he could while I petted it and talked to it. This went on for maybe 15 minutes.

A car passed by and the driver looked into the foyer and saw the dog and I. She looked very excited. A little girl got out of the car and came in. She told me that Maxie (the dog) had been lost for two days. That it was the third time he'd gotten out.

She also told me that they realize they can't take care of him like they should, and are looking for a new home for him.

OMW! My hearts first response was I"LL TAKE HIM!!! But my head calmed my heart down. It would be so selfish of me to take in a dog. I sure as heck wouldn't be leaving him outside by himself for more than a few minutes at a time - if that - but he'd have to be cooped up in the apartment for at least 10 and more hours a day. Then I also realized that I really don't have room in my budget for vet care.

I would have spent every dime I had on my cat - it would have hurt, but I would've done it. But now . . . I just don't have room in my budget for vet bills. This little dog deserves someone who can give it the time and attention it deserves every day. It deserves a nice yard to run and play in - not to be cooped up in a small apartment from sunrise till past sunset.

But oh my word it just breaks my heart to NOT take that sweet puppy in my arms and give it as much as I possibly can.

If only things were different.

Playing with the numbers - YNAB

February 16th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I got started playing around with the numbers tonight in YNAB. I was kind of bored and decided I wanted to figure out approximately when I'd actually be able to reach some of my financial goals.

Making some assumptions:

1. That my pay will stay the same through the end of 2009 (most likely scenario)

2. That I'll still be working at the same place through the end of 2009

3. That I won't have any big major unexpected expenses through the end of 2009

4. That my rent in 2009 will only go up by $10 (like it is this year.)

5. Also assuming that there will be no change in marital status for me. Rolleyes

Keeping those assumptions in mind:

1. My 6 month Emergency Fund (take home pay - savings amounts *6) will be fully funded by March 08.

2. My Car Replacement Fund of $4,000.00 will be fully funded by Nov 08.

3. By Dec 09, I should have close to $6,000.00 in my House Downpayment fund.

-- So, that means that by Dec 2011 and my 35th birthday, I might just have my $18k for a downpayment. LOL! Of course, the big question then will be if I can even find a house in the 80 - 90k range by then!


This will be accomplished by putting 100% of all 7 "extra" paychecks into savings, as well as the $600.00 "rebate", as well as both Christmas bonuses, along with my normal monthly savings amount.

#2 *could* be accomplished a little bit earlier depending on how much money I am able to shave off from other areas in my budget.

This month, there will be no extra whatsoever thanks to my tooth woes. However, that hopefully will not be true of every month.

Cyst in gum update!

February 13th, 2008 at 05:54 pm

I had my follow-up appointment with my endodontist this afternoon. GOOD NEWS! The cyst was completely gone, as well as the infection! So she was able to finish sealing the third canal.

I also saw my regular MD this morning about my heartburn/side effect of Clindomycin. She told me that probably what happened is when I took my first dose last Tuesday, I went to bed right after, and it got stuck in my esophogus, thereby leaving a sore. She prescribed some kind of liquid coating medicine that I'll need to take for a week. I went to pick it up tonight from Walgreen's and the copay was $60!!! I just about croaked right there. The pharmacist told me there is a generic available, but they didn't have it right then, but could by tomorrow. So I told her I'd rather the generic! If I've lived with this this long, another day isn't going to kill me.

Check before taking!

February 8th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Wow. You know how I had a root canal on Tuesday and had to start taking a more powerful antibiotic to get rid of the remaining infection?

Well, starting Wednesday night, I began having terrible heartburn. It let up after a few hours, and I was able to go to sleep. The next day I again experienced it a few times, then it would go away after an hour or so.

Today it wasn't too bad at first, but then this afternoon it became more constant.

I finally decided to call my endodontist and see what was going on - if this had anything to do with the medicine I was taking. She told me (through her receptionist) to stop taking the antibiotic and that she'd call me later to figure something else out. Still waiting for that call.

But tonight I posted on another forum I visit about my wonderful week *dripping sarcasm* and someone posted a link to a thread about the antibiotic I was taking -- Clindamycin. OMW! The people on that thread were experiencing the same symptoms as me, and some even worse - being hospitalized, etc!

Needless to say, I will NOT be taking this medication anymore. But I will be calling my endodontist again in the morning because I still need to take *something* to get rid of this infection!

I did also have one person give me a lot of hope that it IS possible to have an infected cyst go away on its own. He'd had a similar situation, and the cyst went away after antibiotics.

I am feeling so out of control financially right now. I don't know where all this is going to end up $ wise or health wise, and I already feel as though I've spent WAY too much money - even though it is for stuff that was absolute needs.

It also is worrying me a lot that I'm now going to have to include in my budget all my copays for prescriptions and office visits for the rest of the year - not to mention however much the crown is going to cost me. I just got way too used to using my Flexible Spending Account money, and not really thinking about how much it was.

At this rate I don't think I'm going to even be able to find the money for my Vacation fund, let alone get my EF fund full enough to even think about starting my downpayment fund. It feels kind of like as soon as I put my mind to really buckling down and watching my pennies and making them work hard, oodles of situations came out of the woodwork requiring the use of not only current money, but also set aside monies.

I'm moving backwards right now - not forwards. And I HATE that feeling!

----

On another note --- My car passed the 100k mark Thursday night! Only took me 10 1/2 years to do it, but I did it. Smile

Pink Lentils?

February 6th, 2008 at 07:18 pm

I was watching Biggest Loser last night, and one of the tips that the guest cook/chef had was about pink lentils. He said that they were even better for you than beans.

Lentils are pretty cheap food, as well as very nutritious, but I don't think I've ever even seen pink lentils.

The chef also said that they cook up in "just minutes."

Anyone ever hear of pink lentils or know if they really are something that cooks in "just minutes"?

---
On Sunday I made a crockpot of 2lbs of pinto beans. Tonight I finally got around to putting the beans in snack size ziplock bags. It made 33 1/2 cup servings! Since I take my lunch to work 99% of the time, that means I have more than 6 weeks worth of beans for lunches! The cost of the beans? $1.39 LOL!

Root Canal +++ Possible Surgery??

February 5th, 2008 at 05:30 pm

This morning I had my first root canal of my life. Ugh!

It took forever for the endodontist to get the area numb. The infection hadn't gone down enough with the antibiotics, so the area was still pretty tender.

Then when she (endodontist) had cleaned out all three root canals, she was only able to plug two of them. The third one would not go "dry". She told me that I have a cyst in my bone? which was infected, and the infection was running through that third canal.

So she prescribed new antibiotics for me, a round of steroids, and pain meds. I'm going to have to go back a week from tomorrow to see if the antibiotics and steroids worked. If they didn't, then I more than likely will have to have an oral surgeon remove the cyst!!

The root canal (including my next visit) was $1300.00. I had to pay half today. So that completely emptied my FSA which had $392.xx left, then I had to put another ~250 on my credit card. I also had to put the copays of all my meds on my credit card.

No more pre-tax money paying my medical expenses this year.

I am waiting with great anticipation to see how much the crown is going to cost me out of pocket. NOT!

The one good thing today is that I had less than a 10 minute wait at Walgreen's to get my prescriptions filled! Practically a miracle!

Thankful for the Librarian I met today.

February 2nd, 2008 at 10:39 am

I'm not sure exactly how long ago it was that I first borrowed the CD set of Learn in Your Car Spanish from the library, but I do know it was at least 8 or 9 months ago.

I played the first CD of it, and realized that it wasn't what I wanted. So, I put the CD back in the case. About a month later I took it back to the library.

The next time I went to the library, the librarian told me that there was a CD missing from the case. I was sure I had put the one CD I'd used, back in the case, but went ahead and took it back home. I looked high and low - even did some "spring cleaning". No CD to be found.

So, I took it back to the library. The librarian renewed it for me. Repeat ad nauseum of the librarian renewing it for me.

Finally, about two months ago she gave it back to me and suggested that I take it directly to the library it actually came from and see what they'd say. So, I took it. For various reasons I wasn't able to attempt to find this particular library branch until last week, after the renewal had already run out.

My attempt to find this library branch did not go well. I got royally lost in downtown Dallas. At night. I never managed to find that branch.

So, today after church I stopped by my regular branch to turn the CD case in once again - to at least stop the late charges. I again asked them what I should do, since this seemed to be a never ending cycle. The librarian told me I should talk to this other librarian for better directions to the downtown branch.

So I did. I explained to her what the situation was, and expressed some of my frustration. Unexpectedly, she told me that the situation was over, and not to worry about it anymore! She said the other librarians didn't have the authority to do this, but she did.

I thanked her profusely.

I had $11.25 cash on me, so I paid all but $1.25 of my late fines. So now at least I'll be able to renew my other books.

I am just so thankful that I was finally pointed in a direction that led to the end of this situation!

Taxes - Ugh!

February 1st, 2008 at 07:18 pm

Well I finally received my W-2 today. So, being the eager beaver that I can be when it comes to taxes, I went straight to irs.gov and used the free file option.

The good:

I realized that I earned `$20 more in interest this year.

The bad:

My "raise" apparentally was enough to knock me out of qualifying for the "Saver's Credit".

I realized that my Roth IRA has $100 LESS than what I have contributed to it between 2006 - 2008.

The really bad:

I owe $144.00.

-----
I went ahead and e-filed. They had the option where you could set a date to have the amount you owe debited from your checking account. So, I set the date for the debit as April 15, 2008. Smile I also set a Yahoo reminder that I need to make sure I have that money in that checking account before that date.

January Accounting

February 1st, 2008 at 06:16 pm

Ok .... I'm trying to figure out how to post a copy of my spreadsheet showing my expenses for January. I tried copying and pasting, and that didn't work too well. (Read - jumbled up mess.) Arghh - didn't work!

Pointer's anyone? I'm going to try it on one of the pages, because I think you can use html on those.

YTD:.....Expenses.................January
$650.00..Rent:....................$650.00
$23.00...Renters Ins:.............$23.00
$150.00..Charity:.................$150.00
$138.50..Groceries:...............$138.50
$11.69...Eating Out:..............$11.69
$26.00...Dentist:.................$26.00
$20.00...Doctor:..................$20.00
$57.97...Medicine (OTC/Scrip).....$57.97
$5.00....Gifts:...................$5.00
$136.83..Fitness:.................$136.83
$37.80...Car Insurance:...........$37.80
$108.70..Gas:.....................$108.70
$175.48..Repairs & Tires:.........$175.48
$40.00...Tolls:...................$40.00
$35.14...Cable:...................$35.14
$5.40....Netflix:.................$5.40
$84.60...Phone & Internet:........$84.60
.................Total:...........$1,706.11

$40.00...Extra Income:............$40.00
$270.00..Savings:.................$270.00
$75.00...Roth IRA:................$75.00

Rent: I found out today that my rent will be going up $10/month in April. Frown

Renter's Insurance:
This amount will be going down next month. -- Well, actually it won't - because I paid for the whole year in one shot, but am counting it in February's expenses. The actual monthly cost will go down though.

Charity: I pledged a certain amount to something at church, and then gave some that was left from last month, plus this month to the mission trip fund.

Groceries: I spent WAY more than I should have on groceries this month. I think one of my biggest problems was going more than once a week.

Eating Out: This was when I went out with my friend N and her family.

Dentist: Got a cleaning, then had a fluoride treatment.

Doctor: Copay for a visit.

Meds: 2 tubes of orajel for my toothache (lost the first one Rolleyes ). Various prescriptions.

Gifts: Paid for part of Grandma's new divided skillet.

Fitness: This total includes paying for two Callanetic's classes, and my new running shoes. Smile

Car Insurance: Self-explanatory.

Gas: This was a good bit higher than I think it would normally be, due to a couple extra fill ups - thanks to the drama of my car window being smashed.

Repairs: Two new tires (paid for warranty only); Used driver side window from junkyard; Oil change; replaced burnt out taillight; etc.

Tolls: Ugh.

Cable: This is actually two months of charges. When my old credit card number was cancelled due to fraudulent use, I changed my payment info as soon as I had the new number - several weeks before payment was due. Unfortunately, they charged the old card. Rolleyes

Netflix: I decided to keep this - on the lowest plan of two movies a month.

Phone/Internet: This is for my landline, DSL, and cell phone. It's a fairly typical amount for me. -- My landline is the MOST basic, but has ~$17 in fees and taxes!

So, that's my January in a nutshell.