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Archive for January, 2015

Taxes, Angry People, and Interesting News Story

January 29th, 2015 at 06:57 pm

Tonight I did my taxes using TaxAct. It was interesting since I had to do two states plus Federal. When I first went through NM it said I owed $2. I thought that was weird, so just before I submitted the final button to file, I decided to go through it one more time. Good thing I did! Somehow the button had been clicked that I was a full year resident instead of a partial one. That was why they wouldn't let me just input my income from the school library.

So .. I got $540 back from Federal, and $220 back from state. It cost me $36.97 to file them electronically. Once that money comes in, it will be going straight to my EF goal!

I'm glad to be done with it for another year! (and looking forward to next year's which will be so much simpler.)

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Some days my job is tolerable. Others barely tolerable.

Today was a barely.

I had a man come up with a companion (mentally handicapped I think.) He wanted to get an $8 pass for his companion.

I did what I do for *every* person that comes asking for a discount pass. "Sure, I just need a photo i.d. please."

Mt Vesuveus erupted!

The man starts ranting and raving that I shouldn't have to ask for an id. He culminates his rant by pounding his fist heavily on the counter and stomping off.

He didn't even give me a chance to let him know I could take either person's i.d. I just needed an i.d!

It is policy for the low income program. I ask for it from every person no matter how many times I've seen them.

So ... about an hour later he returns with the companion.

He practically shouts at me saying, "Here! Are you happy now?" while holding an i.d. next to his companion. He says something about trust, and then he starts ranting that he'd worked in government before and if one of his employees treated a customer like I did (simply asking for an i.d. per policy ...) that he'd fire them.

I just took the i.d., got the pass, filled out the receipt, took the money, and gave them the pass. Said, "here you go."

Around that time the bus driver supervisor came in because he'd heard the guy shouting - he asked me if I needed help and I told him I was ok. The guy asks me if that was my supervisor - told him no, that my supervisor was in a meeting. He goes "that figures."f

Finally he leaves.

The bus driver supervisor had stayed nearby out of sight, so I explained to him what had happened. He agreed with me that I hadn't done anything wrong.

Later ... I tell my boss what happened. She tells me that maybe we should just stop asking for the id. That some of the other places selling them for us aren't asking for them.

Arghh!!!!

So should I ask for the blasted id or not? How would it be fair for me to ask for it from people, but if they make a fuss, say .. nevermind?? What is the point of having a policy if we're not going to follow it?

I plan on talking to her tomorrow more about this, because it is really really really frustrating me.

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While I was bored out of my mind this afternoon having finished my book (12th of Nowhere by James Patterson) and exhausted yahoo and cnn news stories of interest, I read the local newspaper.

One of the stories was about how NE is thinking of giving a property tax credit to low and middle income people. Not just property owners though! Renters too!!
An example they gave for a renter was someone making $29k/yr and paying $362/mo rent. Um ... I make less than that and pay more than that. Thus I would easily qualify for a credit! I didn't quite get how that would work, but it's still being hashed out as to whether it'll happen or not.

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The brownies I brought for treats today were all eaten up. Smile I even had someone tell me they *really* liked them. Score one for $1 brownie mix!

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I found out that the lady who had jonsed after my job has found a different job with the city in a totally different department. Her last day is Wednesday, which is the end of my 6 month probation. Funny how that works out.

2 out of 3

January 28th, 2015 at 04:30 pm

Today I got my W-2 for the bus job. I got mine for the NM job on Tuesday. So now all I need is the one from the call center job and I can do my taxes. Smile I can't wait to see how much I'll be able to put towards my EF goal!

I checked with personnel today to find out exactly when my retirement will start being taken out of my check. They told me the first March paycheck.

So I filled out a new W-4 form to change my withholding to 3. I currently have it at 2, but with my taxable income reduced by 7% I think I'll need it at either 3 or 4 to keep as much of my money as possible.

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When I got home tonight I remembered that tomorrow is my day to bring treats for the office. So I took one of the boxes of brownie mix I bought at the store going out of business and they are cooling now. Smile I think I paid about $1 for the mix.


I got credited for another Pinecone survey today. But my total is now 400 points. So I guess I can redeem after two more surveys for $10. Kind of annoying.

5 more work days til my 6 months probation is up!

Every time I get a call where someone is cussing it reaffirms my resolve to save as much money as possible in order to retire as soon as possible.

Notice people - When I give you time estimates, they are ESTIMATES. I can't control if a bus runs late or runs fast. Also, if I put you on hold to find out the answer to your question, it may take some time. Twice today I had someone hang up JUST as I got back to the phone with the answer to their question!!

MOTIVATED to save!

New Budget Plan

January 27th, 2015 at 07:18 pm

I know I've been going back and forth quite a bit about different budget plans / allocations the past few months.

I haven't totally been happy with any of them.

Today though I read something on the MMM blog about his 2014 expenses, as well as a couple comments, which really resonated with me.

To put it simply, MMM doesn't go by a formal budget - he simply makes values based spending decisions.

For me, before I spend money from now on outside of the basics (rent, car insurance, giving, Roth, 10% of net EF) I am going to ask myself a series of questions (from MMM blog).

1. Will buying this really improve my overall lifetime happiness?

2. Is there another, more efficient way to meet this same need?

3. Can the same benefit be had if I delay the purchase?

4. (my own question) If I purchase this item now, how will it affect future me? I.e. Is the item worth the opportunity cost.

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I redid my whole January budget. I emptied out all categories that had positive balances to put them back into the Available to Budget (ATB).

Then I created a new category - Slush - which I funded with $1000. The rule is that if it ever goes under $1000 then it is the first category to be refueled.

I still have umpteen number of small categories - they just are not funded. After asking the series of questions if I decide the purchase is worth it, then I'll spend the money in which ever category it belongs to.

At the end of the month all money that was not spent will go to the EF until I hit the $12,000 goal. I am going to focus 100% on this goal until I reach it.

This is not to say that I won't be taking any vacations or trips - I just will be scrutinizing the expenses and value of them very hard.

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So for example if I am really wanting some chocolate I can ask myself if the chocolate is really going to help me be happier overall. Let's say I'm really wanting a whole bag of chocolate. Buying a whole bag isn't going to help me happier overall, and it won't help my future self be happier or healthier. However, if I purchased a small single chocolate bar I would get my chocolate, but at a very small cost. ($.50 vs $3.49)

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Purpose of slush fund: Let's say there's a month where Murphy hits hard and I have a large expense which uses up all of the ATB - I can then use the money in the slush fund.

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Here's January for an example:
Must Haves:
Giving: 10% of Net from prior month
Rent: 430
ROTH: 200
Car Insurance: 36
EF: 10% of Net from prior month

All other categories use the ATB money.

I have 322.93 left. All $322.93 goes to the EF category.

When you add up ROTH, EF 10% and EF ATB, it gives me an approximate 48% savings rate (of Net) for January.

Once my retirement starts being subtracted, I'll look at two savings rates - Net and Net+7%.

Overspent Grocery Budget by a lot

January 27th, 2015 at 05:11 pm

Yesterday I stopped at the store that is closing - they were up to 25% off everything.

I walked out with $24 spent. However, I found out while I there that frozen foods were 40% off. I hadn't got a cart when I went in, so didn't get much in frozen foods.

Today I stopped by again ... and got a cart.

The damage? $44 in frozen foods.

It is all foods I can use for lunches and weekend meals for a good while. It barely all fit in my freezer.

However, it does make me about $40 over budget for January.

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I was reading a blog post by MMM today and all the comments. The one on his 2014 spending.

It is making me consider doing something a bit different with my budgeting. I'm still ruminating on whether I want to make this change or not, and exactly what it would look like.

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NE went to see the special specialist for his shoulder issues today. The SS had two possible options for him, but wasn't sure which one he'd recommend. One was a reverse shoulder replacement, and the other one involves taking bone grafts from a cadaver (ewww!!) and grafting it onto NEs humerus head. Also taking parts of tendons from other parts of his body to repair the multiple rotator cuffs that are not just torn, but are withered up.

This all could have been avoided if he could have just gone to the doctor when it first happened. UGH!

Discover Card plan

January 24th, 2015 at 03:44 pm

I got my replacement DC in the mail today. I'd misplaced my old one (think I may have shredded it since I never used it ...)

I signed up for the offer - spend $1k by March 31st and get $75. Normally I wouldn't go for something like this, because spending that much on my CC isn't likely to happen.

However, this just so happens to be the quarter where my car insurance renews. Smile

So here is my plan for the 1k spend:
$215 - Car Insurance
$375 - 3 months tithe (can pay via CC online!!)
$130 - 2 months Internet (too late for January)
$225 - 2.25 months groceries
$100 - 2 months utilities (can put electric on card

I'll also put gas on it since they're offering 5% CB on that to give me a little extra buffer for the 1k spending (not that an extra $35 or so is going to be that much ... 2 months gas ... if prices hold)

And ... that does it.

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I *finally* got confirmation that my Discover checking account is open. I'm glad I didn't wait til February to start the process!

The deal is open an account with $500 by 2/28. Have a balance of $5000 by 3/15 - get paid $50 if you still have a $5000 balance.

So I'll have the 500 opening balance in there, and add the rest in March - probably the first week in case it takes it awhile to transfer over.

The bonus money will of course go to my Windfall category. Smile

As soon as the $50 is paid, I'll close out the checking though. DC pays .9%, which is ok, but not as much as Barclay's. $50 beats out one month of interest at Barclay's though by a long shot. Big Grin

Amazon Prime $72 Today Only!

January 24th, 2015 at 07:09 am

A few months ago when my Prime account was up for renewal at $99 for the year, I decided it was not worth it. I wasn't buying much from them with not working in the library anymore, and the few things I did buy were mostly subscribe and save items anyway. The couple shows that I'd want to watch, I could purchase full streaming seasons for less than the $99.

But today they have it for $72. Hmm... I just looked at Downton Abbey and Suits ... purchasing season passes for those two shows would be less than $40. So that means I'd have to find $32 worth of other shows I really want to see to break even ..

I think I just talked myself out of this temptation.

(BTW - I have more than enough AGC credit to pay for this without cutting into my regular budget. The only reason it is a temptation for me.)

Panic Attack Outside the Post Office

January 22nd, 2015 at 05:22 pm

I decided to stop by the post office today to check my mail there - still have my box from when I first moved here. (need to get it canceled, just keep forgetting)

Part of the reason was it had been a few weeks since I'd been there, and part of it was I hadn't had a good day and wanted chocolate. Which I got .. before the mail.

So anyway ... I got my mail. Saw two envelopes from a place I didn't recognize and an envelope from my former 2005 employer's retirement company. Opened that up in my car ... Balance $0!!

Ensue panic attack!

Ensue rushing home.

Try to calm myself and call retirement company. Find out that my 2005 employer changed companies as of January.

They don't have the number for the new company, but they did know the name.

Google name of new company. Call customer service number. Find out my money is there.

Get very aggravated registering for an online account so I can SEE my money. Finally manage to get in and see it is still there.

I received absolutely NO communication about this impending move. My money will be moving again soon - to Vanguard, but now I just have to figure out how to move it from this new company.

I DID not like finding out about this like that. At all.

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I got in touch with someone who should know about talking with the pastor / not being a member. Haven't heard back one way or the other yet, but I'll see her on Saturday. Am feeling really frustrated with life right now.

Ten Years and a ?

January 21st, 2015 at 04:44 pm

I realized that I missed my ten-year blogaversary! January 17, 2005 I posted my very first blog here. Very few people remain here who were there then.

In some ways I'm better off financially than I was in 2005 - more retirement/stock savings. But a good bit less in cash savings. My job has fairly similar benefits, although I'm making about 15k less than I did in 2005.

I had no debt in 2005, and I have no debt now. Back then I was in uber savings mode preparing to quit teaching. Now I'm in sort of uber savings mode preparing to retire and buy a home ... in 15 years or so.

Interesting to see where I'll be in ten years from now.

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Today at work one of my coworkers pointed out to me that there is a librarian position posted on the city website ending on Friday. This is not someone I'm cozy with to say the least. She knows I have my librarian degree. She also has a friend who wanted my job - and applied twice for it.

How would you take this?


Surprise Visits and Cool News at Work

January 17th, 2015 at 07:16 am

NE surprised me twice on Friday - He showed up at my door at 7:30 just to say hi before I left for work (he was heading to SM - the store closing down.) Then he showed up at my door again at 4:50, just a few minutes after I got home. He had his eye on a speaker in O and thought I might want to go with him.

We did end up taking a road trip to O. I like going there because they have a Hardee's - Their mushroom and swiss sandwich (burger on the side for NE) and onion rings are SO GOOD.

NE did buy the speakers, and is planning on getting them up on eBay this weekend probably.

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I found out from my boss on Friday that starting on February 9, I will be getting a 15 minute break in the afternoon. I could have asked for one in the morning too, but there's only 3 hours before my lunch break, so I thought that was kind of pointless. She was relieved that I didn't ask for the morning break. Smile

My plan for the afternoon break is to walk on the treadmill while reading a book. Smile Get more steps in daily and be away from the phone! Big Grin

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I finished up all my retirement benefit/life insurance paperwork. It won't get delivered til Tuesday though.

I ended up going with a supplemental 10k Life Insurance because if I decide I need it later for a larger amount, I'd have to be medically approved. So for about $1.80/month I'll have 81k of life insurance. If I leave, I can take it with me, the amount I pay would just go up.

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I received $25 PayPal from Mypoints yesterday. I also got my $25 AGC from PerkTV. I now have about $100 in Amazon credit.

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My goals for this weekend - Today is just about relaxation and rejuvenation - probably a trip to the library.

Sunday - Get the living room cleared of boxes and all pictures put up.

Monday - Make veggie patties, cc loaf, etc. to freeze for future lunches. Do some cleaning.

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Weigh In News: Even with my chocolate indulgences and Hardee's last night, I am down almost 2 lbs since my last official weigh in. Smile

Spent Some More ...

January 15th, 2015 at 04:21 pm

I decided to stop at that store that's going out of business again after work today. This time though I wasn't starving nor was I too stressed out from work.

I spent $16 - 2 jars of Nutella, a box of Belviata cookie, 4 boxes of brownie mix, and something else I can't remember.

The brownie mix will be used for when I'm supposed to bring in treats for the office - they were $1.25 a box plus 15% off.

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Office politics. UGH!

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I am SO looking forward to 3 days off from work in a row. Having a day off during the week is okay, but not so much of a break as a 3 day in a row break.

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I'm planning on finishing both Inferno and #19 in the Stephanie Plum series tonight. Nice and relaxing. Smile

Didn't Resist Temptation ...

January 14th, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Last night Ne told me that a local small grocery store was officially going out of business. Frown It's one that is only two and a half blocks away from me.

I stopped there after work today ... which probably wasn't a good idea because 1) I was hungry; and 2) I was feeling very stressed out about work.

The end result was I spent $25 or so on mostly junk food. Everything was 15% off, and I think they actually lowered their prices on some things. I did get a few non-junk food items like the egg salad, prunes, and Bush's vege baked beans ... but the rest was plain and simple junk food. Chocolate.

I ate one bag of chocolate tonight for supper. Real healthy, right? ugh

(NE likes to tease me about being so frugal but not making my own egg salad ... I'd have to buy mayo to make my own egg salad ... I don't use mayo for anything else, so it'd probably go bad or something before I used it to make egg salad....)

I'm tempted to go back to the store tomorrow to get more Nutella. It was $3.24 with the discount. Cheap. But I know how I am with Nutella. Maybe if I have NE keep the all but one jar at his place - he doesn't have the same problem with it.

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I redeemed a $25 AGC from PerkPoints tonight. I should have it by Friday.

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In my mail I received two offers from Discover.

The first offer was $50 for putting $5000 in a new checking account for about two or three weeks. I'm thinking of doing that. I just have to make sure I can do it without touching the money in the dream account - withdrawing money from that would make me lose the bonus APR at 6 months for no withdrawals.

The second offer was to get $75 if I spend $1000 in 3 months.

I'm thinking I *might* be able to do that. It would mean putting my SBs card away and maybe switching some bills over for a few months. It might be worth it. I think Sam's Club takes Discover, so then I wouldn't have to use my Debit card which I don't like doing since it doesn't earn me any points.

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One bit of good news at work today. I got my retirement benefits information!

The account is with Ameritas and has quite a few Vanguard funds to choose from, along with Fidelity and Morningstar, etc. I already figured out my allocations. Now I just have to get two people to witness my signing the beneficiary information page. (Harder than it sounds. My boss would do it I bet, and NE would do it ... but they'll not likely be in the same place at the same time anytime soon. So .. I've got to figure out a second person.)

I also found out that I get 71,000 of life insurance for $.42/month. The city pays the rest. I will be cancelling my current term insurance. That will save me 15.68/month.

There is also something for post employment health benefits where the city contributes so much a month. I get to elect how I want that money invested. That was fun playing around with percentages. Smile

I also found out that the whole Early Retirement / Regular Retirement stuff was just terminology. No real meaning behind it. So if I'm ready to retire at 55 there'd be no additional benefit to working nine more years to make the 63/25 years of service level. I'd be 100% vested and that's all that really matters.

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Cripes! It's 12:20 a.m. I must get to bed if I'm going to be at all coherrent today.

Not Good News for NE

January 13th, 2015 at 06:17 pm

Today NE went to the ortho to find out what could be done about his shoulder. His hope was that the ortho would be able to just pop it back into place and thus reduce his pain majorly.

Unfortunately, popping his shoulder back into place is not going to be possible. The ortho and his PA looked at NE in amazement when he told them he'd been walking around with a dislocated shoulder for two months. Apparently this was something the ortho had not come across before.

The end result of it is that the head of the connecting arm bone has rubbed away. So even if the arm/shoulder were popped back together, they wouldn't stay together.

The ortho really wasn't sure what solution there might be. He did refer him to a more specialized doctor in O town.

NE is pretty devastated right now. He's been barely surviving the pain the last two months - holding out for getting insurance, and then once he finally had the insurance, holding out for the fix.

It's looking like neither the insurance nor the fix is very good right now.

I'm really wishing I'd insisted he go to a doctor two months ago and get his shoulder checked out no matter how much it cost. Who knew it would devolve into something so bad?

Those of you who believe in prayer, I'd really appreciate your prayers for NE. He's feeling pretty low right now - especially at the prospect of having to live with this pain indefinitely.

A little bit of spending, etc

January 11th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Yesterday I went with NE to his follow up MRI appointment. He should have the results in time for his appointment with the ortohpaedist on Tuesday.

Afterwards we stopped at Arby's and he treated me to a chocolate turnover. Yum! (This doesn't count for my one time a month chocolate expenditure since he treated. Big Grin) I think I know what I want to be my expenditure though ... the Mint Chocolate shake at Arby's. Looks so yummy! (But is 720 calories, so definitely not something to do on a day I'm not getting a lot of exercise.)

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This morning I did my laundry. The first washer I put my stuff in wouldn't work in the cold/cold mode (which is what I always use since I mix colors.) My landlord came over and gave me a dollar (I didn't know that it was just that mode not working - he figured that out.)

Spent $2.


I also got a load of dishes done.

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I spent $25 at Groupon from my spending money to purchase a partial highlights deal. I bought it through Swagbucks (8 SBx per dollar) with my SB credit card.

That is one of the things I asked for for Christmas/birthday and my mom just sent me the cash to do it myself. So not only am I getting what I want, but I'm getting some extra Swagbucks for it. Smile

I don't know when exactly I'll use it - it's good for 150 days. Maybe in March if NE is done with his shoulder stuff.

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I stopped at Russ's to do some grocery shopping.

My list had 7 items on it, but I only got 6 because they didn't have Fage yogurt. I may still get that later.

3 grocery items - $7.21
3 Kari items - $3.61
1 treat/spending money item: $3.65
1 Toiletries - $2.77 (with coupon)

I had a $.75 coupon for two packages of Oreo's that I almost used, but they had the Oreo's for 2.69 each and I know I've seen them for $.1.99 each before. So .. avoided temptation. Smile

Here is my updated grocery spreadsheet for details:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11GJKzDizNZEKsSYZIS4C...

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I finished a book on Friday called "Penny Pinchers Club" by Sarah Straohmeyer. It was pretty funny and sad, and had some good lessons about jumping to conclusions. I think it would be something many of you might enjoy. I am planning on getting more of her books in the future. (Right now I have 4 of the Evanovich books I need to read and return ... so first things first. Smile )

I've updated my book list in the sidebar with read and current reads.

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I came across an interesting link today in the MMM forums about planning and organizing. This is a pdf book about 52 pages long with spaces for you to list everything you can think of about yourself - finances, email accounts, location of documents, etc. The purpose being of course that if you are somehow incapacitated or die then your caretakers/survivors would have an easier time of it.

Here is the link: http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm

Ok, now I'm off to catch up on the blogs. Smile

3 Paycheck Months and Etc

January 9th, 2015 at 04:06 pm

In the YNAB forums someone mentioned that if you get paid bi-weekly on a thursday or Friday that there are THREE months this year with 3 paychecks.

How awesome is that???

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I got my $25 PayPal from Swagbucks today.

I also sold an item on eBay for $16 during the night - printed out the shipping label before going to work and mailed it off. Big Grin

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I got my gas bill for December - 36.97. That is down from 42.83 for November. So ... turning down the thermostat from 67 to 64 saved me ... ~$6?

Although my electric bill went up nearly $8 .. mostly I think due to the electric heater.

So ... I'm kind of wondering if using the space heater is all that more efficient than using my gas furnace at 67. Kari loves the space heater, but overall I'm not sure how much it really helps to heat the room.

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I got the bill for my doctor's appointment on Dec 15. ALL I'm being charged is the $25 copay. I'm not having to pay anything for the bloodwork!

Ummm... I think I'm going to like this insurance plan.

Obamacare .... and This and That -- Weigh In

January 8th, 2015 at 06:00 pm

So NE signed up for health insurance through the Nebraska state site in December. He went with the plan that had the best numbers - low deductible, low out of pocket and low premiums.

He went to the doctor today and found out that his right shoulder is dislocated, and then went for an MRI to see about his rotator cuff, etc. (He didn't finish the MRI, but will be going back to finish it in a different open machine.)

While he was at the doctor's he found out that his particular plan is going belly up as of Feb 15. So ... he's going to have to find a new plan.

I wonder if that would count as a life event where you would be able to get insurance past the open enrollment period?

So very frustrating.

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I talked to my boss today about the retirement stuff. I found out that I'll be vested 100% in 7 years. Also that there is something called early retirement and regular retirement - early means 25 years of service and at least 50 years old; regular is 25 years and 63 years old. She didn't know what exactly that meant though (and she was dismayed to find out it was 25 and not 20 years ... she's close to the 20 year mark.)

I wonder what the difference is between when you're vested and the early/regular retirement designations are? If I am ready to retire at 55, I'd be vested, but wouldn't qualify for early or regular retirement. If I work there 25 years, that would put me at 63 and regular retirement. (UGH! Cannot imagine doing this job for 25 years. DOUBLE UGH!)

I also found out that the retirement contributions used to be even sweeter - as in for every $1 the employee put in, the city put in $2 (up to a limit.) Some group got upset about it and so they changed the plan to what it is now. Can you imagine? Contribute $50 and the city matches $100?

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For the first week of January I am down ... 5 lbs! I think a good bit of it is water weight, but I'm just glad to be heading the right direction again.

Although I have been tempted a time or two or three ... I have not stopped at a fast food place or at any other type of convenience store in January.

Tonight I watched episode 5 of POI while stepping for most of it (about 35 minutes, sat and rested for the rest of it.)

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I am thinking more and more about investing in dividend stocks. My discretionary funds are already stretched pretty thin with my various goals, but I'm just really itching to do something like that.

I do have a goodly sum in an old 403(b) plan that I want to move over to Vanguard. Maybe I could put it in a brokerage account and use that to buy dividend type stocks?

If anyone could point me to some good resources (i.e. simple language) to help me figure out what to do, I'd appreciate it. I know quite a few of you invest in DRIPS, which I *think* are dividend stocks, right?

Notifications worked for a little while ... andThis and That

January 6th, 2015 at 05:34 pm

Email notifications of post replies seemed to work for a short while ... however they aren't working again. Frown
(to clarify - I am talking about notifications of responses to other people's posts - not my posts.)

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So I tried baking a potato in the oven sans foil twice now. Ehh... it works, but I really don't like how dry the skin gets. Almost too tough to eat. It was saved by the juice from my baked beans I topped it with, but often I like to eat my sweet potato plain. I did top them both times with olive oil and cut slits in them.

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Five no spend days in January so far! Smile Yesterday I squeaked by temptation just barely ...

Work had some stressful (majorly) elements to it and I WANTED chocolate. I resisted though. Smile

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I got a package from my brother today that UPS "attempted to deliver" during the workday of course. :roll eyes: So I had to drive over there to get it this afternoon -- it was a framed photo of my brother and I the last summer I was out in CA with him. Big Grin How sweet Smile

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I did two really dumb things yesterday - thankfully no consequences from either one. First, I left my purse in my car when I went in to work. I only realized this at lunch time ... I had to sit on my phone for 20 minutes before it would turn on.

Then when I got home I left my keys in the door AGAIN! The only way I found out about this is when NE came over and found them in the door. UGH!

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I watched episode 4 of POI season 3 tonight .. while stepping of course. Big Grin

I also redeemed 2500 SBs for a $25 PayPal cash, and have received all $20 in AGC from SBs.

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At work today I hauled a huge load of boxes up from the schedule room on a cart. I think I may have overdone it a bit ... my back is really protesting tonight. Ouch.

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Ok, off to catch up on blogs! Smile

First Spending day of 2015!

January 4th, 2015 at 04:32 pm

We got a good bit of snow last night (Saturday) so I wasn't really sure I wanted to go out shopping today or not. However, once I got out on the roads around 4pm they were all fairly clear.

If you would like to see a more detailed breakdown of my grocery trip, go to this link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11GJKzDizNZEKsSYZIS4CgdhNBmVXf2dqXIMyU19VHfE/edit#gid=0

I set out with the goal of not purchasing more than ten items. And I did it! (with one caveat - I made one purchase for NE which he'll reimburse me for later - he ended up not coming with me.)

The total of the ten items I purchased for myself is roughly $56.46. Of that, two items were not grocery category items.

So grocery spending today: ~$51.20
Spending Money - ~$1.28
Toiletries - ~$3.43

I also filled up with gas at Sam's for $1.93!!!
Total - $15.58 for 8.037 gallons.

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I did laundry, dishes, cleaned the kitchen, did a trash run, and got my lunch ready for tomorrow. Smile

I've also watched the first part of Labor Day ... wow, so not what I was expecting. I'm anxious to finish it. Smile

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I also posted a couple new items on eBay as well as relisting some.

When I got home from shopping though I had an awesome email from eBay -- I sold a DVD for the BIN price! $6.99. I've already got it packaged up ready to go tomorrow.

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NE will be coming over in a bit, so I'm going to enter my receipts into YNAB and then maybe read a bit on the forums - hopefully not getting lost in a rabbit hole like I did last night ... Smile

OH! I forgot. I also did 30 minutes of stepping while watching Labor Day today. Smile (I have a step I got from freecycle years ago.)

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Next time I go shopping I'm going to make sure I eat something before I go, even if I'm not really hungry. I got so hungry while shopping that I got a Payday bar - technically not chocolate. Smile But still kind of stretching it a bit.

Saturday (can't think of a title ... :)

January 3rd, 2015 at 03:47 pm

Today makes 3 days of January with no spending (other than bills.) Tomorrow will not be a no spending day. Smile NE and I will be doing a Sam's and Walmart run.

Between the two stores I am going to try to keep my list to ten items (or perhaps less.)

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I decided to stop at my landlord's after church today to drop off my rent check rather than try to include it on my library walk. It would have been on the way - but the library is on one side of a busy road and their house is on the other side. It would have been a hassle.

It was funny because when I got there someone else had just come from their porch dropping off their rent check - must be from a different property though because I didn't recognize her.

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When I got home I had a nice warm meal of toaster grilled cheese, tomato soup and a small piece of banana bread (bought a few weeks ago on sale - two loaves - put one in the freezer which is the one I'm eating now.)

Finally about 2 p.m. I worked my courage up to get bundled up and walk to the library. Last week I finally managed to remember to sync my iTunes music library onto my new phone - so I had music to listen to!

The walk was pretty chilly - at 5:30 it's 23 degrees, so I guess it was around 20 or so when I went out. We're supposed to get more snow tonight. (Low of 0degrees)

On my way back home I had a lady ask me about the bus schedule. LOL Even away from work I can't get away from work. Big Grin I gave her an estimate of when the bus should be coming by (the outbound one had passed me ten minutes earlier, otherwise I'd have no idea other than the bus come once an hour on Saturday.)

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I've got a sweet potato in the oven right now while sipping on some hot chocolate ... yummy Smile

I'm probably going to watch a couple episodes of POI tonight - one of the things I got from the library is Season 3 of POI - that way I can post my copy on eBay and if it sells then at least I can finish watching it! Smile I want to get it on there (eBay) before everyone who's interested has already seen it.

I also do want to watch Labor Day - NE actually watched it on his own last week! Now he's anxious for me to see it so we can discuss it.

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The scale seems to be going down right now. Who knows if it will continue or not. Hope springs eternal and all that ... Smile I'll do an "official" weight loss post on Thursdays - since I made my first weigh in on a Thursday. Smile However I do weigh myself just about every day and record it on an app - mainly for the ten points it gets me on Achivemint (which I'm less than 900 points away from a $100 Visa card!!)

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I'm so glad to be getting notifications of responses to other posts now! I was able to find a few people responses to comments I'd made, but couldn't remember which post it was on.

Now if the photo issue could be fixed ... Big Grin

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OH I almost forgot a question I was going to ask.

Are there alternative methods to wrapping a potato in aluminum foil for baking in the oven? I'm going through a lot of foil, even when I manage to reuse a piece.

1.99 is here!

January 2nd, 2015 at 05:04 pm

On my way home from work today I saw gas for $1.99 at a local station! Sweet!

I plan on going to Walmart on Sunday and possibly Sam's for a largish shopping trip, and also to satisfy my curiosity about Sam's gas price. Smile

So far no spending in 2015 (outside of bills)

I am having to pay a $.97 late fee on my last electric bill - I saw it and then totally forgot about it. Ooops! Now I have it set up on automatic payment to my credit card so I don't have to worry about it. My most recent bill was up about $10 from last month - still within my budgeted amount, but I'm going to be even more careful about keeping lights turned off.

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I redeemed for $20 worth of AGC yesterday and today from Swagbucks. Although I think I won't redeem for the 5th one tomorrow - I'll keep that for a $25 PayPal instead.

I'm mainly using my AGC credit for buying my pea protein powder for my breakfast smoothies, and I only need to get that ever other month. Plus I am earning AGCs from PerkPoints ... so I think I'd rather get cash when I can. Smile

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On Thursday I did 40 minutes of stepping while watching an episode of POI. I found out that I can still play Ptv while using the Pact app to track movement. Sweet. Smile 3 things at once.

Today at lunch I was able to walk around the conference room for 15 minutes.

I weighed in this morning with a .1 lb loss. Big Grin

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Work was crazy busy today, but I did manage to finish my Shopaholic to the Stars book by Sophie Kinsella. I LOVE that series. Big Grin So funny!

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I was looking at the union contract today, and saw that once I hit the 6 month mark, I'll have a required 7% retirement contribution with a 9% match from the city! Wow! I couldn't find anything that says what happens if you contribute more than 7% (i.e. will they match more? or is 9% the max match?)

I'm thinking that next week when our Payroll person is back I'm going to ask her about that.

Trying Something for Groceries

January 1st, 2015 at 06:47 pm

So one area I would like to improve upon is my grocery spending AND on the quality of what I'm purchasing.

This will help me financially and health wise too.

In light of knowing I need to improve in this area, I have decided to create a Google spreadsheet where I am going to enter all my food purchases this year.

Here is the link to it:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11GJKzDizNZEKsSYZIS4CgdhNBmVXf2dqXIMyU19VHfE/edit?usp=sharing

I am hoping it'll help me in two ways - 1. By making my groceries public, I will be less likely to buy a lot of junkfood; and 2. Because I won't want to have to enter all the information in very often, I will be more likely to limit my grocery shopping trips!

I'm also going to track which items I use coupons for and where the coupons come from (SB = Swagbucks; P=paper)

It can also function as a pricebook so I can see when prices are at stock up level.

Happy New Year! Dec Spending/Jan Budget, etc. :)

January 1st, 2015 at 10:01 am

Happy New Year everyone!

NE and I had a relaxing evening at my place. He picked up a pizza for us, and we had the final two slices of Rum cake. We also watched part of Armageddon - we didn't finish it because after stopping it to ring in midnight, we both realized we were ready to call it a night. Smile

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So ... December spending.

I'll just highlight the non-fixed categories -

Spending:

Phone: 202.76 (Pro-rated December bill from ATT and final ETF bill)

Groceries - $148 out of $150

Auto Fuel: $23.51 (budgeted $30)

Spending Money: 90.80 Frown (lots of room for improvement here - this is money spent on unnecessary food mainly and replacing a PO box key)

Restaurants - $15.81 (fast food - came from budgeted spending money)

Clothing - $3.20

Household goods: $21.17 (two chairs from goodwill, bundt cake pan, etc)

Kari - 22.70 - cat food, litter (bought several bags on sale with coupon)

Savings

Snowflakes and Windfalls! $279.35 (Swagbucks, Pinecone, GymPact, Class Action suit, Christmas money, etc.) This money was distributed to my other savings goals in my January budget.

EF: 200
Car Replacement/Repair: 200
Vacation: 150
ROTH: 200
Electronics: 79.77 (spent 5.30 on a new charging cable)


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Other:
Received $50 in AGC from Swagbucks and PerkTv (not included in Windfalls amount)

Had a previous balance of $27

Spent: $26.37 on pea protein powder for morning smoothies and $1.99 on an ebook.
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January Budget
Tithe: 125
Giving: 25
Rent: 430
Phone: 0 (covered by Ting credit)
Internet: 65.60
Electricity: 40
Natural Gas: 45
Groceries: 150
Auto Fuel: 30
Spending Money: 95.80 (20 budgeted plus 20% December Windfall money)
Medical: 25
Kari: 30
Car Insurance: 45 (I think my 6 month premium is due in January)
Life Insurance: 16
EF: 150
Car Replace/Repair: 75
Vacation: 151.60 (budgeted plus windfall)
ROTH: 200
Electronics: 40
House: 163.67 (budgeted plus windfall)

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Per Patient Saver's Weight Loss Challenge ...

I plan to lose 15lbs by March 31. That averages out to about 1lb per week.

My plan is: Reducing my junkfood intake by only purchasing it one time per month.

Getting at least ten minutes of movement everyday outside of any other normal exercise.

Joining the weekly exercise class at my church starting on Jan 11 ($20 for 10 weeks)

Being more careful about logging what I *really* am eating on MFP.

Checking in here at SA once a week with my progress report.