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Archive for October, 2015

Work Ugh.

October 30th, 2015 at 06:01 pm

I really don't get some of the regulations surrounding government employees.

One of them is about gifts.

Thursday a customer brought in a bouquet of flowers for one of the drivers to show his appreciation.

After letting my boss know what I was doing, I took them down to dispatch.

Grumpy old man dispatcher was on duty. He wrinkled his nose and said, "We don't do flowers down here!" Umm ... yes you do. I've brought flowers down before for other people. :roll eyes:

My boss tells me to give them to the bus driver supervisor. BDS is in with Big Boss.

Big Boss says, "Oh, we can't accept flowers from a customer." I barely control my mouth and ask how flowers are different from the cookies we got at Christmas (a HUGE platter of cookies.)

Cookies were consumable, but flowers aren't.

Um ... okay.

I'm told to either throw them away or find a vase to put them in and display them in the main office. My boss found a vase and I filled it with water.

I'm wondering exactly how I'm going to explain this to the person who brought the flowers. Ugh.

---
Cue Friday.

My afternoon break is at 3:00 p.m.

I get a phone call at 2:51 p.m. from fast talking lady. At 2:53 p.m. Customer who tried climbing the stairs on his backside when the elevator was broken last year rolls up to the window.

I tell fast talking lady that I need to put her on hold. She very grumpily says ok.

Customer takes several minutes to complete transaction. (I'm having to help him a lot.)

2:57 I get back to fast talking lady. She snottily tells me that this better be fast because she's going through her Tracphone minutes.

2:58 New customer (never seen before) comes to the window. I mute the phone for a second and tell him to ring the buzzer because I'm going on break shortly.

New customer says, "What, you're too lazy to take a few minutes to help me before going on break?"

I'm utterly flabbergasted and have lots of responses in my head. None of which I verbalize.

2:59 I finish with fast talking lady. I go to the window to help rude customer and see several people behind him. I ask him to ring the buzzer again.

3:01 I'm almost finished with his transaction when person covering my break comes out.

3:15 I'm still fuming.

3:16 I get call from "Hello, friend!" lady who always puts a smile on my face no matter what kind of a day. I actually tell her this today (she asks me how my day is - usually just say good or fine - today I said 'better now that you've called - you put a smile on my face) She was really surprised - thought she was a pest. Smile

3:18 Still very annoyed by rude customer, but feeling somewhat less upset.

---
How is the above financial in nature? It's called MOTIVATION for SAVING for RETIREMENT!

Dentist Visit. Looking into the Future .. , A funny

October 27th, 2015 at 07:01 pm

At my dentist visit today I did end up having a filling done. It was going to cost $84 after insurance. Zoinks!

I handed over my FSA card thinking there was maybe $5 or $6 left on it at most. Nope! There was over $50 left! Yay!

So since I was in a celebratory mood ... (ya ya sure ... I was using any excuse) I headed to Target and got my fave Amy meal x 3. Plus a few other things.

Spent about $24.

---
BUT .. today I saw my last October paycheck. Which is the second one going to November.

After entering it in, and filling in the numbers in my various categories ... and knowing that I'll be getting reimbursed for the plane tickets to CA for Thanksgiving ... and knowing that December should also be a 3 paycheck month ...

I came to the following conclusion --

I will be able to meet my $10k in my EF goal by the end of this year!

This goal originally was $12k, but I realized that I wasn't funding some categories properly (i.e. car tags, etc.) and so reduced it to $10k. With some of the larger medical expenses I had this year, I wasn't sure I'd even make that one.

But it (knocks on wood) looks like I just might!

Then in January I can start aggressively saving towards the house downpayment! YES!

--
I have decided (once again ...) that I am going cold turkey on purchasing soda or any junky food for November and December. (Not saying I won't EAT any junk food - just I won't purchase it myself.)

I've let myself get way too lax with the junk, and I'm hoping by putting forth this moratorium, I will both save money (since many trips to the store are merely disguised trips for junk ...) and help me get back to LOSING weight. Maybe help with my lack of energy too.

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Okay, so now for the funny ...

Our bus system has a number of routes which are interconnected. This means that when Bus A is South of O street it is for example #46, but when it is North of O Street, it is #45. A rider could get on Bus A when it is the #46 and ride it from the North to the South and get off of it as the #45.

So ... today I get this call from a woman who was at first and O St. She wanted to know when the #45 bus would be coming by.

After checking to make sure if she was wanting to go downtown or outbound, I told her that the #46 bus would be going by her in about ten minutes.

(The #46 bus goes out from our transfer center west along O St from 11th to 1st, and then the numbers start going back up (Nw 1st, Sw 1st) When it gets to NW 48th and O it heads North. This happens from 6:10 a.m. to 6:10 p.m. Monday thru Friday.)

She then started arguing with me that the #45 bus came by first and O in the morning, but not the #46 bus.

As she was hanging up I heard her say to someone nearby ... "The lady doesn't know her buses very well." LOL

---
Almost forgot!

I filled out a comment card at the restaurant the other night. Today I got an email letting me know that I'd won a $15 gift certificate!

I wonder how long that will be good for ... cuz' I'm guessing it'll be a long time before I'll be getting back that way. Smile

Roadtrip, Scholarship App, etc

October 26th, 2015 at 06:30 pm

NE calls me up pretty early on Sunday. (earlier than I'd planned on for our roadtrip) He tells me that his laptop has fallen apart on him. The one he bought used maybe 3 months ago? Maybe less?

He wanted to go to Office Max to check out their Chromebooks. I was elated he finally was going to actually buy something NEW. When his last laptop broke I casually mentioned to him that if he added up how much he's spent on used laptops just in the two years we've been back together, he could have bought a pretty nice brand new one!

Office Depot didn't have a great selection, so he's borrowing my iPad and ordering something online. Good thing I hadn't actually gotten around to *selling* my iPad yet.

--
Our roadtrip to Norfolk, NE went pretty well. It was a LONG drive though. I drove there, and he drove back (I'm terrible with night driving.)

My GPS cut off before we got to the restaurant, and so we ended up driving past our turn off. Then once we got it going again, there wasn't great signage ... and then when we pulled up ... there was only ONE car in the parking lot!

We were worried that they were closed.

Thankfully, they were open. Big Grin The food was REALLY good. I had a veggie burger that was their own creation - so yummy! NE had chicken fried steak - which he said was "the best I've ever had" which coming from him is HIGH praise.

When we were done eating I asked about the jukebox. Frown No jukebox anymore (old pictures I guess.) But they did have an upstairs lounge area with airplane memorabilia. There was a mural of a famous actor in an airplane film (older film) with this look on his face like he smelled something really bad. So ... since we were in the room all by ourselves ... and NE is a guy who loves breaking wind ....

It was just too perfect. We got several tame selfies of us in front of the pilot mural, and then a couple other ones where NE pretended like he was giving the pilot something to smell. Smile

Maybe I'm 12 years old too ... it was really funny. (I pity anyone who went up there up to ten minutes after we vacated though ....)

---
So ... in other news ... someone posted a link on FB today about a new app which links students to scholarships which fit them. There's SO many scholarships that just don't get claimed because people don't know how to find them, or think they won't qualify or whatever.

My philosophy is, you won't know if you qualify unless you go for it. I got several scholarships in grad school that I wasn't sure if I really qualified for or not. Every $50 and $100 helps!

Here's a link to the story about the app:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/app-matches-students-college-scholarships-they-can-use-180954741/?no-ist

---
My dentist appointment is tomorrow afternoon. It will be nice to get out of work early. Smile I'm going to have to talk myself out of going to Target which is really nearby and has the Amy's meal I *really* *really* *really* like (Chinese Noodles & veggies in Peanut? sauce) I SO don't have ANY grocery money left for October. No spending money either ...

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Got to bed pretty late last night - due to the roadtrip, etc. So my goal tonight is to be in bed no later than 10 p.m.

It seems like the season has started where I need to check my windshield by 7:25 a.m. to see if I need to start the car or not. The windows were a bit frosted over this morning - not enough to require scraping, but did need wiping.

Got me to thinking again about the remote starter ... NE and I were actually talking about that last night. As much as I'd DEARLY Love to have it ... I'd rather have the money for the house downpayment fund ... where maybe we'll have a GASP garage! Then I won't need a remote starter anyway. Big Grin (Wishful thinking, as the house in our price range generally don't have garages ...)

---
Remembered the actor's name (mural on wall) Jim Belushi! My brother told me it's from the movie Blue's Brother's. (My boss is the one who told me the name of Belushi - but I couldn't remember it til shortly ago.)

Updated YNAB, Planned Outing on Sunday

October 23rd, 2015 at 08:09 pm

I have been neglecting YNAB lately, and so tonight I bit the bullet and spent the necessary time to get it up to date.

Overall, it's not looking too bad. My available to balance is in the red due to waiting on the check from Swagbucks for the double payment refund. I also have spent more in groceries than I wanted to, but still WAY less than half of last months spend fest.

I also updated my investment balances... Over the last 3 months I've lost nearly 28k. Mostly due to the electric car stock. Of course, the loss is all on paper right now - it would only be real if I were to be foolish enough to sell. (and even then it wouldn't *really* be a loss, considering the cost basis of most of the stock is around $25 - 30...)

I'm hoping to hold out until the 1st for any more grocery shopping. Other than budgeted spending (i.e. bills) I don't see anything I'll need to spend on for the rest of the month.

--
One exception to the above ... NE and I are going to be making a road trip on Sunday to a place about 2 hours from here. We'll be going to a really neat restaurant/museum/place with a working jukebox. He only knows we're going to be going to a restaurant ~2 hours away. Smile

I still have pretty much a full tank of gas, so all it will really cost is whatever food we get. There isn't much on the menu for me other than sweet potato fries .. Smile

---
I closed out my Nationwide checking as of today (after double checking I won't get dinged the $200 bonus.)

Yesterday (or maybe Wednesday??) I cashed out SBs for a $25 Paypal. I got a 200SB swagup.

I don't think I'll be getting too much in Swagbucks in November with being gone most of a week. But it'll be worth it. Smile

--
My FF browser is being a real pain. I can't watch any kind of videos on youtube or FB anymore without it freezing completely. I've done some of the tricks which worked before, but they haven't helped. So if I want to watch a youtube type video, I have to do it in a different browser.

I've started seriously looking at new computers ... I have around $150 in Amazon credit right now (after having bought some freezable food containers for lunches/frozen fruit) I think I paid around $400 for my current computer in 2011. (Used Swagbucks credit and graduation gift money mostly for it back then.) I hope I can keep the computer limping along for awhile longer.

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I'm curious / excited about the new YNAB version that is in beta right now. A totally web based version. I need to probably start putting money away in a category for that ... Smile Someone posted a link to the user manual for the beta version on FB today ... some neat new features it sounds like. Big Grin

**Note - If you already have YNAB 3 or 4 etc. you can keep using them for as long as you want, even after the web version comes out. If you just recently purchased 4 (like CCF and someone else I can't think of right now) Jesse most likely will make a VERY sweet deal to upgrade if so desired.

Lane Bryant, Geico, etc

October 21st, 2015 at 06:14 pm

After work today I stopped by a local Lane Bryant store to pick up my order. Upon walking in, I saw signs advertising "up to 80% off" ... and so I started looking. I ended up trying on 5 different items - two of which I liked well enough to check the prices. Yeah .. no. Neither of them were liked well enough to pay the asking price (neither of which were actually on sale, even though I pulled them from a sale rack ...)

I've had good luck in the past shopping a LB sale, but not today. I did try on one of my new bras before leaving to make sure it fit well. Smile

---
On FB I belong to a MMM group. Someone started a thread a few days ago asking about car insurance. I mentioned I'd been with Geico for 12++ years, and even with shopping around every so often, hadn't found anything cheaper for me.

So ... someone mentioned that they too have Geico. BUT they mentioned something I'd had NO IDEA about. If you own a share of Berkshire Hathaway stock (BRK.b) you can get a 8% discount on your Geico insurance.

All you need is ONE share (currently at about $134.) I pay about $218 every 6 months, so it would net me a $22 or so discount - so would take about 3 years to equal the share price. But maybe the share will go up in value?? I'm debating on whether I want to do this or not .. but wanted to share for others who might have higher car insurance than I do.

---
I redeemed $10 from Pact today.

--
Update - I just got off the phone with Geico. I've actually had the policy for 16 years. Smile My rates are as low as they can go - the only available discount would be if I were to get renter's insurance. Or ... if I were to add a second vehicle/get married.

Oh well, it was worth a shot. Big Grin

Retirement! Redemptions! Lane Bryant!

October 20th, 2015 at 04:49 pm

I checked yesterday with our HR person about whether my union had any other retirement plans available other than the one the city contributes to for us. He told me he'd send me info.

I got the info today! There are three different companies offering 457 plans. Contributions are pre-tax, and count towards the tax savers credit (although I *think* my 401(b)contributions do that too ...)

So ... I decided to open a 457 with Ameritas (had the best options = lots of Vanguard Index funds) and put in there the amount that I'm currently putting in my ROTH right now. Of course, since this is pre-tax, it won't actually be the full amount.

So, I'm going to take the "leftover" amount plus a bit more, and continue to add $50/month to my ROTH. That way I'm still adding $600/year to an account I can access penalty free if an absolute emergency occurred before I'm 55 and retired ... but in effect increasing the total amount being saved towards retirement with very little effect on my actual net income. Then when I get my next raise in February, I can add a little to the 457 contribution amount very easily.

Overall, I think it adds maybe 1% to my retirement savings amount - 17% employer/employee match; ~10% to 457, ~.75% to ROTH. I have it set to start in November since my October ROTH contribution has already been set to go.

I love how it says "contribution limits per years are $18k" Hah, hah, ha ...... I'd be rolling in it if I made enough to contribute $18k a year .... Shoot, I'd be retiring in 5 or 6 years instead of 15 or 16 if I made that kind of money ...

---
I was wishing I hadn't checked my electric car stock today. Ouch. My net worth dropped by ... oh .. $5k or so thanks to stupid Consumer Reports.

---
Anyways ... I redeemed for a $5 Walmart card from Bounts today - got it in my email oh about 30 seconds later. Smile

Between the Bounts cards and Savings Catcher I have a little over $15 to spend at Walmart. I'm probably going to save them up til I have more like around $50 or so. Or enough for a manicure and pedicure. Smile Nice way to treat myself for doing lots of walking.

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Got an email today telling me my Lane Bryant order is at the store! I'll probably go pick it up tomorrow after work. (I was walking home today, so once I got home, just wanted to cool off - not go drive to the store ...)

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I found my lanyard with my library card and ID badge! You'll never guess where it was ... if it were a snake it would've bit me. Right under my keyboard on my desk. :roll eyes:

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I joined a rewards program for the local Internet company. You can redeem points for cash or gift cards or money off your bill. Works for me. Whatever I can do to get that horrendous bill down a bit is good.

Snowflakes, Gym Membership, Credit Score

October 19th, 2015 at 06:12 pm

Today I received a couple snowflakes -

$50 PayPal from Swagbucks
$25 AGC from PerkTV
$5 AGC from Bing

----
I'm seriously considering dropping my gym membership. I don't know how much it'd cost me to break my contract, but I'm just not using it. And I really don't see myself using it ... the traffic to get there is just miserable.

There is another gym where I wouldn't have to deal with such miserable traffic - no contracts. I drove there today after work in 7 minutes flat, even with kind of guessing how to get there. (I didn't go in because I was in the wrong lane to get into it ...)

I need to find out how much both the new place would cost and how much it will take to get out of my old place.

---
NE and I were talking a bit more about houses last night. There really aren't too many in the price range I could qualify for by myself. I told him that if he really wants something in a higher price range, then the only way we'd be able to do it is by combining our income qualifications. Which means he really needs to work on his credit score.

He told me that he'd paid all his bills on time since the last time we'd started talking more seriously about this.

I was saying something about maybe looking into getting a small installment loan of some type to help build the score as well - he was wondering if the medical bill might not qualify as that. Hmm... He'd been thinking of paying it off in one lump sum once he gets his inheritance money, but maybe it'd be better to stretch it a bit longer.

It seems a bit of a catch 22 though ... the medical debt would count as debt (obviously) but could also be a way of showing on-time monthly installment payments. By the time we'd be doing the house looking, my one installment payment loan (car) would be nearly 2 years old, so wouldn't count too much I think.

There was this one house on FB yesterday that was just *perfect* Walk-out basement (so he could come home from work and go through the basement without waking me up at 3 or 4 a.m.) finished basement area, two bedrooms upstairs (my space!) and a finished attic space - 1 1/2 bathrooms. And a 2 car garage, porch, and good sized yard with mature trees.

Only problem was it was listed at $123k. I really need to stop looking at the home listings on FB ... at least for another 6 months or so. Smile

---
When I was getting ready to walk to the library today I realized I'd misplaced my library card/work badge! Thankfully the library took my driver's license to check out the book that was on hold (Homebuying for Dummies) ... but I still need to find the card/id..

Only three places I usually keep it - my car console, my purse, or in the bag I take to the library to carry books. Hopefully it'll turn up soon.

---
It looks like my 401(b) is FINALLY migrating to Vanguard. I got an email notice today that they'd gotten a check - but it hasn't shown up in my accounts yet. It'll be so nice to have that all finished for once and all.

Speaking of retirement accounts ... I emailed the city's person who deals with that stuff to ask about whether people in my particular union have any other retirement savings options other than the one the city contributes to. He said there are two other options which he'll send me info on.

He also told me that I could contribute more than 7% (9% match) BUT it would not be pre-tax and it wouldn't be through payroll deduction (and no extra match). Hmm ... kind of takes away the desire to do it when it isn't pre-tax. (Not that I'm anywhere near being able to do that yet anyway ... need to get my ROTH to compacity first before thinking about upping other contributions.)

I'm curious to see what the other options are. The lady I met at my MMM meetup said she contributed $20 a pay period to a 457? and got a 100% match (up to $20.) She works for the city too, just in a different union.

The S Word

October 16th, 2015 at 07:09 pm

This afternoon as a colleague was heading out the door ... she let slip the S word. No .. not a four letter word. A five letter word. Strep.

As soon as she said it, my radar pinged wildly.

I am someone who catches strep almost at the mere mention of the word.

I have been feeling more and more run down this week - which I thought was due to maybe overdoing it with the walking.

I really, really, really hope I do not have strep. In any case, I plan on taking it very easy this weekend. Which is kind of disappointing because there is a free concert at my church tomorrow night I wanted to go to, plus I've missed 3 weeks now of walking with the church group on Sabbath afternoon.

Ugh.

---
I redeemed 5k Swagbucks for a $50 PayPal card on the 14th - mistakenly thinking that was the day the swagups went into play. (They don' til the 19th.) I have about 1700 towards the next one, so hopefully will be able to make use of the swagups I earned (I think I earned 200.)

I also redeemed Bounts points for a $5 Walmart gift card which I have already received (ecard.)

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I am considering making an extra trip out to CA in December. No, I can't really afford it without missing my savings goals for the year, but ... family is more important than savings goals sometimes. I'm going to call my aunt tonight and see what she thinks.

NE told me he's surprised I'm even thinking of going because his family experience is such that his sister didn't do more than call him when he was in the hospital for shoulder surgery in March (she lives in the same town, but we were in a town an hour away.) But he also said he'd fully support me if I decided to go.

My boss has also told me that she'd make it work if I needed to take a few days off to do this.

Pricing tickets, it looks like somewhere around $375, plus I'll probably have to do a hotel room ... in San Francisco....

If my dad were alive, I know he wouldn't let money keep him away from his kids who needed support.

I just don't know ... Part of my hesitation is that nothing is in stone yet. So dates could change.

All I can say about all this is ... I hate alcohol.

Quick!! Lane Bryant bra sale!!

October 15th, 2015 at 03:58 pm

If you wear Lane Bryant bras, this is THE BEST sale I've ever seen!

They are doing $10 off each bra. If you sort the selections from low to high, it's possible to get a bra for $5.

Use this code for an additional 20% off: DEAL20LB

If you purchase $75 worth, use this code for $25 off - OCTGIFTLB

If you have a store near you, choose pick up at store for free shipping.

I just bought 4 for $32!!! (A purchase I'd been putting off til December when they have their buy 1 get 1 50% off sale.)

MMM Meetup! 14k steps today!

October 14th, 2015 at 06:04 pm

I participate haphazardly on the Mr Money Mustache forums and a few weeks ago there was a thread on there asking if anyone in this city wanted to get together for a meetup. I said I would like to. Smile

Tonight was the first meetup! Including myself, there were three people. Someone who works for the city, and someone who works for the college CCF's daughter goes to!

We chatted and got to know each other for a little over an hour. (We met at a beautiful park near the zoo.)

We talked about maybe making this a regular thing. That'd be great I think. Smile

They both were a lot younger than me, so I am a little envious that they've gotten started on the good path so much earlier than I did. Not really though ... Smile without the path I took, I'd be a different person today. We all have to take our own.

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I ended up walking to work today - barely. If I'd left any later I would have had to drive. Just as I was getting breakfast, I got a text from my boss telling me to wear jeans today - we were going to clean the schedule room!

I was glad to hear that because the last time I was down there, it was a mess! (I had told her that.) It made it a royal pain to get what I needed.

So today we spent nearly two hours cleaning, discarding and reorganizing the schedule room. It was so DUSTY and full of spider webs, etc. But now it looks marvelous! We jokingly bet each other how long it would take for it to get back to the way it was ...

---
So with the walking to work and back, the cleaning out of the schedule room, and then the meetup tonight ... I got in 14k steps! I can't remember where I was at yesterday, but I think I just surpassed 50k steps for this week. Big Grin

Here's hoping this will mean a really good nights sleep tonight. Only got in maybe 4 1/2 hours last night.