Pay car off. As far as I can tell, I think this will be a completely doable goal. I can manage $250/mo while still putting money in other savings categories, and then I'll have 3 months with an extra paycheck AND whatever I get back from my tax refund. So, completely doable.
Get to $5k in EF. This means saving and additional $3500. I *might* be able to do this. I'll get more aggressive on this once #1 is finished.
Put $3k in my ROTH. It'll really depend on my tax refund - I may take $600 out of it to put in the ROTH, which would make this a doable goal.
$1k in FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
Maybe ... This also may become my Moving fund eventually if/when I relocate. I want to do some investing in Vanguard I think, and need at least $3k to do the lower level fund.
Find a way to earn extra income this summer. I have about 8 weeks in the summer which I could conceivably do *something* with - I'm just not sure what would be the most feasible. During that time though I also need to do some major downsizing of belongings, so that if I *do* end up moving the following summer, I can get by with a small moving truck (thus reducing moving expenses and helping me with housing costs wherever I end up.)
Give up soda. I've done it before, and I can do it again.
Go back to the NO S philosophy (at least in regards to junkfood - only on the weekends.)
Consistently do 30+ minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
Let other people's drama be theirs and not let it affect me negatively.
Finish the stupid class. (without being too negative about it.... )
Archive for December, 2012
So ... I spent a good bit of money in December. Some of it was reimbursed, some of it was money I received for birthday/Christmas which I distributed to various categories. My biggest expenses were in the grocery and fun money categories - groceries - I did a large stockup at Costco -- fun money ... some of it probably could've been categorized as vacation, but I generally use the vacation budget for actual travel expenses such as airplane/train tickets. So this was eating out, movies, a few items I've been wanting that I treated myself to which didn't fall into any particular other category ... etc.
I already allocated the $1k I received back from the dealer - but since it hasn't completely cleared yet, I haven't sent the check yet. That's why I have a sizeable balance in my car loan category.
January hopefully will be a much less spendy month. I doubt that I'll have all my tax info in yet for me to do my taxes, but I did add a little extra to my other category to cover tax fees. I'm really hoping that groceries will be significantly less than what I've budgeted, but in case it isn't ... I made the room. I doubt that I'll spend much in the fun money category in January - especially with as much eating out and movies as I've done the past few weeks. Hopefully that's mostly out of my system for awhile.
Instead of doing cleaning today like I'd planned, I went to a movie - Les Miserables - and returned a couple items to various stores.
The movie was superb! I've seen it on stage at least twice that I remember, but the movie adaptation was just spot on.
When I got home I had an email letting me know that the newest section of our course had been opened. (I just *barely* passed the last section. You have to get a B or better ... and well, I wasn't too into it for awhile...) This new section requires that we do yet another introduction post. Thankfully our instructor realized that we weren't exactly new to each other, so she is having us do a 2 truths/1 lie post. It's pretty interesting so far seeing what people are coming up with...
Here's what I put - I wonder if any of you can figure out what the lie is? (although one of them if you've read me very long you'll know right away ...)
1. I once worked in an adoption agency.
2. I visited Europe once with a singing group.
3. I made it through most of one-year with eating chocolate only on the weekends, with exceptions for special holidays/birthdays.
My brother called tonight and we had a good chat. I almost always feel better after talking with him.
We're supposed to get snow tomorrow (possibly starting tonight.) If we do, then I'll have to wait til Wednesday to take Kari to the vet. Her nails are in *serious* need of clipping. Ouch.
I feel like I am coming down with something. My throat is all scratchy and am feeling kind of nauseous. My allergies aren't helping matters either. What's helping right now is sitting in my office chair with the back massage/heat unit going.
I'd upped my GymPact for this coming week to 5 times, but I'm thinking I better lower the number in case I really do get sick/sick this coming week. Will have to do it tonight if I'm going to change it.
Almost have enough SB to order my next card. Mostly thanks to the SBTV iPhone app. Last night when I was watching a movie on Netflix I had it going, and then I've had it going while reading/surfing the net. So much easier to manage than the browser add on.
I got into ABQ yesterday around 10 am and then after picking up my car ($24 parking for 6 days) I headed over to Costco. On the way I filled up my tank at $2.99/gal ($30.xx).
I spent around 2 hours in Costco. I picked up kitty litter, oatmeal, Amy's soups, Lentils, toilet paper, dishwasher pacs, brownie bites (cheaper than Walmarts), hummus, vegge patties, bananas, grape leaves, various veggies, cooking spray and a pair of gloves you can wear and still use your smartphone. All told .. $172. Ouch. The money comes from a variety of accounts though - groceries, household, Kari, and fun money.
Then I headed to Walmart (right next door to Costco )At Walmart I picked up floor mats for my car, a steering wheel cover, chair back massager (on sale), a dash mount for my phone (which I think I might return because I don't think it's gonna work), hand warmer (gift for next year - on sale), vegge corn dogs, various frozen meals, bread, a baking dish, cat food, OJ, some junkfood, sparkling cider (for NYE), auxiliary cable, etc. I can't find my receipt right now (must be in car) but I think it was around $130. Again, the spending will come from various categories - Kari, Fun Money, Groceries, Gifts, Car, etc.
**The groceries I picked up should give me a pretty good stash for a couple months. So I'm hoping that I can keep my grocery spending in January and February to $50 each or less. We'll see.
I received $250 in cash for birthday/Christmas money, so I used some of that to buy some things I'd been wanting (baking dish, aux cable, floor mats, massager, etc.) I also used some of it to do some major stocking up on food goods.
Kari definitely was glad for me to be home. She pretty much has not left my side since I got back.
In the mail I had the $1k check from the car dealership, which I photo deposited this morning. It won't be available until around the 7th. Once it's available, I'll send most of it to my car loan.
I've been thinking about the advice I received on my last couple posts. I don't think I'd feel good about moving anywhere else as long as I still have debt. Plus I really would like to stick it out with the current group. So ... I think I'm going to give myself one more school year here. It would give me 3 years of experience, put me in a debt free situation again as well as give me time to build up a moving fund, and hopefully in 18 months or so I'll be on a more even emotional footing as well.
This coming ten days (including today) my goal is to focus on cleaning and decluttering my house/laundry/dishes/cooking ahead, (2 days worth of focused time), spend 2 focused days working on electives, spend 1 focused day working on final project, 2 focused days on work/school, and 3 days of just relaxation.
Next week I need to get Kari's nails clipped (sorely overdue!!), return the outfit I didn't wear, contact BofA about dad's estate, and possibly return the dash mount device.
It's not been a very merry time of it here in tx ville this week. I really wish I hadn't come. From some of the things my mom was saying prior to the wedding, it sure didn't sound like it was what she really wanted. ( the wedding) but its done and over now.
The best part of the wedding was getting to see some of my good friends I hadn't seen in a long time. The trying not to be a negative nelly when everyone was gushing about the married couple was not so fun.
So here's where I need advice. Sunday am before heading to the salon to have our hair done for the wedding, I came out of the shower to my area and found my mom going through my purse. Her excuse was that she was putting a fiber bar in it since we werent going to eat again until the reception. No fiber bar was put in it. This royally ticked me off and right then I was really considering getting a taxi and heading to a friends home til Thursday. But I sucked it up and stayed.
Today we went out to see a movie. I bought two groupon tickets for it. Only one voucher downloaded at the theater, so she had to pay for a ticket at two dollars more. I told her we could print out the second one when we got home and she could use it another time. She didn't seem to happy about it, but whatever.
After the movie we want to Costco. There were a couple books I wanted from there which I'd discovered yesterday at the family Christmas gathering. They both were there. I mentioned to her how dad had bought Costco gift cards for me so that I could use them the few times a year I get to Costco. So she offered to buy one for me as repayment for the dress I bought for her wedding. I agreed to it. The books and card came out to $15 more than what she was going to give me for the dress. I had $13 in my purse. So I asked her if the $13 plus what I'd paid for gas on Monday be considered a fair trade. She told me she hadn't known I'd put gas in the car. I told her I hadn't said anything about it since I'd been driving it all over everywhere. Then she told me that no, she didn't consider it a fair trade. That she just couldn't understand why I hadn't brought a gift for anyone or even a card. But that I was buying books for the library.
I didn't want to get into it, so I didn't say another word.
The thing is, I TOLD her I did not expect ANYTHING for gifts because I did not plan on doing gifts myself. She asked me to tell her what I'd like anyway - so I did.
I realize my first mistake was going to Costco here with her to get the books - I should have just waited til tomorrow when I'm back in ABQ.
I am SO tempted to pack up tonight, get a cab and stay at a hotel tonight and then have a super shuttle to the airport. Just leave everything here that they gave me and be DONE. She told me yesterday that she'd told new stepdad that if brother didn't shape up his act that he should be cut off from any money. New stepdad vetoed that. I told her that if she wants ANY iota of a chance with brother again, she better never mention that to him. All it would do is solidify in his mind that he made the right decision.
I still wonder if I should call my friend to come get me and take me to the airport in the am. I know she'd be happy to do it, but it would be WAY out of her way to come here. Plus it would really be me saying a final goodbye. If I'd driven here I probably would have left on Monday.
Am I just overblowing things? Am I acting like a selfish brat by buying books for the library, but not gifts or cards for mom or new stepdad? There's no way I can tell my brother any of this, because he would just say he told me so.
Irregardless, I think this was my last visit to TX unless I come to solely visit friends.
Today I went over to teh PO to pick up my mail since I'll be heading out as soon as I can get packed and awake in the morning.
In the mail I had a birthday card from my aunt with a nice check in it, and a birthday gift from my mom/soon to be stepdad (book from Amazon.)
Tonight we had our Christmas program, an dit went pretty well I think. I made a video of it at the request of one of our staff members - although I don't know how good it is - there were multiple times where people walked in front of me, as well as just STOOD directly in the line of sight ... plus a portion where the people standing next to me started talking loudly about homework ... Should be an interesting video.
Yesterday we had a snow day, which was really nice. I didn't get even half of the things done that I should've (like packing ...) but I did get some schoolwork done which was good.
I also received an interesting phone call (which actually relates to a piece of mail I received today which I didn't mention earlier.) The person who sold me my car called and asked me if I remembered how much I'd written my check for and how much I'd paid on my credit card. I told him the numbers, and he told me that they matched their accounting. However, the number I was given a loan for was $1k off! (This is because both the car salesman and I thought I was only charging $2k on my credit card, but the finance lady actually made a $3k charge.)
What this means is that instead of my loan being for $4,497 like I thought, it is actually for $5,497. I hadn't actually seen the full numbers/set up *until today* when I received my first loan statement from my credit union! I'm glad I got the call first, otherwise I might have freaked out a bit.
Car guy is going to send me a check for the overage amount.
I will put $650 of it straight towards the loan, and keep the remainder to pay Bofa if I have to (dad's estate stuff ... I used some of the money I inherited from his estate for the car down payment, so I'm not really using my own money to pay for the Bofa thing if I end up really having to do so.)If I end up not having to pay Bofa, then that money will also go directly to the car loan without hitting Go.
So, that is around 3 1/2 months of payments. Which will be quite helpful in my goal of paying off the loan in 12 months or less. (36 months term total) (My tax refund as well as 3 extra paycheck months will also be quite helpful.)
I was buying some books for the library today on Amazon (using gift card money only!!) when I found out that my cash back rewards from my car purchase had posted. It showed I have a reward of over $75 available. Sweet. Guess what I'm going to do with that money? (No, it won't be spent on books for the library ... though I admit I was severely tempted ...)
I am not really looking forward to either the drive to ABQ tomorrow, or to the flight tomorrow night. However, I am looking forward to eating at IHOP (only in ABQ not in either G town) and doing some shopping at the Schol Warehouse. I will *not* go over $125 in books (~$50 Schol Dollars, $50 approved purchase order + $25 coupon on $100 purchase.)
I'm also thinking that I might spend a little bit of my birthday money at Wal-mart and pick up floor mats for my car, and maybe one of those chair back massager units before they're stored away for another year. Something practical and something luxurious. Perfect combo I think.
Today I received two pieces of mail - the first one I was very happy for that was from my grandma and it was a birthday card with the best thing in it - cash. The other piece of mail was also from my grandma but not such a great thing. It was a forwarded letter from my Dad's former bank. Essentially,, it said that the Social Security administration had sent two checks to dad's account post humously. And they want us to pay the money back NOW or they'll report us to CHEX systems. Since all his accounts were frozen as soon as we notified them he'd died and from what I recall his June SS check hadn't posted yet ... Well, I guess I have some phone calls to make before heading to ABQ on Friday.
Otherwise the day was pretty good ( if I forget about the 190 wasted minutes on google maps and google earth...) We had a two hour delay this morning which was nice. I had several of my third grade girls come ask if they could give me a hug which was unusual for them, and I think related to this weekends events.
I managed to find out my account number for my car loan thanks to the delay, and sent my first payment.
One thing I did during my google seminar tonight was use my Swagbucks app on my phone , so I was able to cash out for another gift card. Now that the app is working right, I'll have to use it much more often. It doesn't require too much babysitting.
Hey, anyone who's already id'd me want to collaborate on a google document? I need someone to just basically make a few comments, etc. I think.
Thanks again everyone for all your support and suggestions on my last post. It was greatly appreciated.
So .. I'm 37 now. I had way too much time to think yesterday since I'd done all my running around on Friday. (which turned out to be a very good thing because the weather was quite bad yesterday afternoon/evening.)
I was thinking about whether or not I'm really happy with my life as it is. And if not, what, if anything, can I do to change it? Most of the time I like my job and am happy to be doing something that helps others. But then I wonder if this is something I can realistically *do* long term financially wise. I make less than 50% of what I'd make just about anywhere else at a public or private school with my degree. And sometimes the attitudes I get from certain kids make me wonder if by everything they're given, and everything that's done for them .. if we're not creating entitled monsters instead of actually helping them/giving them a step up.
And then I was thinking about how I've put myself into this isolated nowhere land where I am a minority among minorities (SDA white woman amongst a group of Catholic white teachers.) It in a sense is the ultimate isolation. It is in a sense a way of me saying that I've totally given up on ever NOT being alone. Sure, it's *possible* I could meet someone while on vacation somewhere, or someone passing through, but realistically it's not very *probable.*
And then I was thinking about the 6 month class I'm taking and about half-way through with and how much I'm really hating it. How much I wish I could just quit and be done with it. But I've already spent $3750 of my AmCorp money, plus another $150 or so on textbooks. I've made a big deal about it with my family. How could I quit it? (No refunds are available at this point.) If I felt like I was actually learning something useful and new it might be different ... but so much of it is a rehash (99+%) of things I already know how to do, or trying to BS my way through "discussion" questions about things I don't care about. I wonder how much of this has to do with how I'm dealing with my dad's death. Everything seems harder this year.
And then there's the whole situation with my mom and my brother. It is killing me. I feel like I'm on tenterhooks. Anytime I mention anything about mom to my brother, he then doesn't talk to me for a week or more. I told my mom that the best thing to do with him was to NOT bother him - to give him space. What does her fiance do? Call him and start crying and begging him to forgive and let go/make peace/come to the wedding. Boy was that NOT a smart thing to do. I want to tell my brother to think about how he's behaving and compare it to how our youngest uncle behaved towards our dad ... but then I'm afraid he'd be mad at me and cut ME off too...
I realized something else yesterday .. I have lots of "FB and internet friends" acquaintances and people I knew in other places .. but not really any real life true friends anymore. 3 of the people I at one time considered to be my *best* friends in real life didn't even acknowledge my birthday. Of course one of them I haven't had even a phone conversation with in years, a second one I've had no contact with at all since June (and that was a single text message with the previous contact at Thanksgiving a year ago), and the third one we've had hit and miss FB conversations. Seriously, if I were to somehow by some miracle meet someone tomorrow and get married soon after ... I really don't know who I'd ask to be part of my wedding. At one time I knew *exactly* who I'd want. I think I'd probably just elope to avoid the whole drama of how my dad's side of the family feels about my mom. (not that it is something I really need to even think about ...)
I wish I knew how I could actually change things. I wish I wasn't scared to death that if I went anywhere else I'd be totally exposed as not knowing what the heck I'm doing as a librarian and not lasting long anywhere else. I don't know that going anywhere else would really help that much anyway .. because like is said .. wherever you go, there you are. (Part of this too I think is the panic I feel at being in debt once again with very little cash reserves, so if I were to lose my job again ... )
I've thought about seeing if I could get some therapy or something .. but then I've tried that before off and on with no results. I had one person tell me I was a bigot because I wasn't wanting to date people outside of my faith (after telling her that I *had* done that with abysmal results.) I had another one that devolved into a book discussion - of a book which I had big problems with because of how the author dismissed God ( and the therapist dismissed my concerns). Then I also think of all the therapy that my mom has had through the years, and well, I don't see that it's done her much good. (Plus I don't really want to spend the money on it - seems like it is better to put money towards the car loan!)
I know I need to figure out something. I've been starting to cry at the stupidest things and stupidest times. Like last week when I got the email about the assignment I didn't know about being due that day - I was bawling as I wrote the professor about it. The assignment itself was ridiculously easy. But it wasn't about the assignment. This was in the library, just minutes before my 3 year olds were coming.
I wish I knew how my life had ended up like this. I thought I was being accepted here, but now, lately, I'm wondering if it's more of a tolerance. If people feel about me the way I know they feel about one of the other people here. Barely tolerate her. There is this one teacher who I thought liked me, who'd made many positive comments to me ... but I'm not sure now if she was being serious or being exaggerating (not quite the term I'm trying to convey... but can't think of how to describe it) What made me think this? Right before the Halloween festival she made a comment out of the blue in front of a large group of staff regarding the fact that I wouldn't be at the festival due to my religious convictions, and that she'd like to take off early herself for a Saturday afternoon mass. (Why she posed the question to me/the group instead of just the principal??) Then there's the many comments while getting ready for the Christmas dinner last year and this year where she singled me out to say how hard I'm working ... when everyone else was working just as hard. Maybe the word I'm looking for is sarcastic?? Up til she made that remark about the Halloween Festival, I thought it was strange how she was making those comments, but didn't really think much of it. Now though, I wonder. (I checked with my co-worker AL to see if she heard the festival comment the same way I had, and she agreed with me that it was weird.)
I just wish I could figure out how to make things better. This is not anywhere near what I'd imagined my life would be like at 37. Single, childless, pretty much alone in the world. (Yes, I do have family. But I have to watch what I say now to both sides. Mom - because I don't want to say things to her that my brother should relay himself. Brother/dad's family - because they have strong feelings against Mom.)
So this morning I received two phone calls - one at 6 a.m. and one at 7:15 a.m. The first one confirmed what I already suspected - a two-hour delay. The second surprised me with -- Snow Day! Looking outside I saw maybe two inches at the most of snow on the ground - even though the forecast was calling for snow throughout the day.
I debated for a few minutes whether I should use this as an opportunity to sleep in a bit and do some housework/school work, or get all the stuff done that I was going to attempt to do after sunset tomorrow. It wasn't a difficult choice - especially when a co-worker agreed to go with me.
We started off by making our first foray ever into the local mall. I was actually quite surprised by the variety of shops in the mall. We checked both JCP and Beall's for an appropriate dress (royal blue for mom's wedding) and found absolutely nothing. Before leaving the mall though, I checked around to see if someone could put a new battery in my dad's train watch for me. The jeweler at JCP did it - $10.xx So now I have a working watch again.
My co-worker reminded me of the Cato's near Wal-Mart, so we went there to see what we could find. No dresses, but did find a very pretty blouse/tank combo and skirt in something pretty close to royal blue. $58.xx I sent a picture of it to my mom, and she liked it. I plan to look for alternatives when I get to ABQ next Friday, but at least I have something on hand in case nothing turns up there. (If I do find something, then I can return this outfit here.)
Next we went to the bowling alley. My friend had never been bowling before. I love to bowl, but am not very good at it. Unfortunately, the bowling alley was not open.
So we decided to go eat lunch. This was my first time eating at a sit down restaurant since this past summer, so that was very nice. I got a veggie burger w/swiss cheese and mushrooms, sweet potato fries, and a slice of cheesecake. Mmmm mmmm! The waitress put my friend and I's bills together for whatever reason - my friend already gave me $7 towards it, and will give me another $5 on Monday. Our total bill was $32.xx + a $5.67 tip. (I didn't ask my friend to pay tax or tip.) (This came out of my Fun Money budget and is my pre-birthday treat to myself.)
Next we headed to Wal-mart. My friend did her shopping for her students Christmas presents (using money donated for that purpose) and I did my grocery shopping. My first real grocery shop for December. I bought a few special things to celebrate my real birthday tomorrow. Sparkling grape juice and Russel's French Chocolate Mints. The total was around $40 - but included cat litter which had a $1.50 coupon on it. I need to crunch the numbers to figure out what the actual grocery cost was.
On the way back we saw gas for $2.98/gallon. I had filled up on Wednesday for $3.19/gallon. If I'd realized the huge price difference, I would have only gotten a couple gallons. Oh well.
We were planning on doing our walk tonight after getting everything put away, but the wind had gotten super bitter cold. So I'm hoping that tomorrow will be MUCH warmer. If not, I'll still have to walk in it in order to complete my pact for the week.
One thing I did not get taken care of today due to being out all day was calling my car loan credit union to figure out how to set up an account. I guess I will have to try them in the morning. (If they're open.)
When I checked my mail I had an envelope from my grandma - forwarding a piece of my dad's mail. I was kind of surprised I didn't have any birthday cards. When I saw the one from my grandma, that's what I thought it was. I think part of me was kind of expecting to see one from my dad... even though I *know* that won't happen.
Throughout the day I kept getting alerts on my phone telling me the latest updates on the school shootings. I usually have my volume off, but had it turned on last night so I could hear when the phone rang for bad weather news. It just got worse and worse as the day wore on.
My heart is so heavy for the families who lost their little ones today, and for the families who lost a brother, sister, mother, father ... It is just totally senseless.
Today I filled my car up with gas for the second time since I bought it over Thanksgiving break. It was a little bit over 10 gallons and cost about $32. When I entered the information into gas Cubby I found out that my MPG was a bit over 33! Of coarse, when I told this to our nurse here she told me "You're going to cry. My car I regularly get 50+ miles per gallon." Oh well, I'm still very happy with my car.
I had to stop and buy some bananas again tonight. But I managed to get out of the small mom and pop store with only spending $3.86. So not as bad as it could've been.
I got my license plate in the mail today. So now I guess I have to go and find some bolts so that I can put the license plate on my car. The school nurse suggested I go to Napa and ask them if they have bolts. So I may just ask them if they'll put them on for me.
I still have not received my final account number for my credit union account where my car loan is. And I need that so I can set my account yet so I can make my first car payment ! I must give them a call tomorrow and figure out what's going on. I really don't want to have to worry about this when I go on vacation.
I'm doing really well was spending this month. I guess I needed the motivation of a real car loan to get me to finally stop doing all the extraneous spending. I just hope that I can keep up with that motivation.