Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Budget 11/26 - 12/09
Where It Went 11/12-11/25
Monday, November 24, 2008
My Job Interview Was Weird
The interview - if you can call it that - went well. Essentially since I had the guts to ask my current big big boss to set it up for me, it was really just a formality. With this man recommending me I basically just had to show up as a live human being capable of doing the job. So ::cross fingers:: if my potential future boss is able to get me on the payroll then I will be transferring to this office in the beginning of the year.
It's a good job and could possibly be a better match for my future career aspirations than my current one. I could keep my excellent State benefits and laughingly short commute. It actually pays slightly more than what I currently earn. The downside is that I would be subject to some late nights and have to trade off having my own office for a cube.
I'm a little ambivalent about it for several reasons. The first is that I really hate change and being comfortable in my job is important to me. The second is while I'm definitely qualified for the work, it makes me a little uneasy to be handed a position not based on my own merits. Then again, anyone can look good on paper but a recommendation from a current employer who can actually attest to my work product speaks wonders about my ability, right?
I may have an update later in the week. In the meantime, I'm battling a nasty cold. I'm optimistic it will work out and I'm pretty relieved to have found my own port in a storm.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Making the Most Out of My Dental Benefits
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I Have An Interview - Sorta
I talked to my mother yesterday and told her how concerned I was and she told me not to worry and that her and my father would help me out. When I replied that there are no jobs in my city she said I could always move home. Move home? At 28?! Not bloody likely and completely disregarding my relationship with Boyfriend.
What bothers me most is that I would have definitely saved some emergency expenses had they not forced me to renew my lease in the first place as I already live with Boyfriend in all but the legal sense. I reached out to my Sister and expressed my desire to break my lease and got a judgmental email back so I know that no one will support me if I ultimately make this decision.
Anyhow, I have an interview today. Not a real one but a "let's meet and if the clouds part and there's room in the budget maybe I can hire you" session. With much trepidation, I asked my current Big Big Boss to put in a good word for me and he thankfully obliged. It's a good position - maybe with even a little more money - but the man I'm meeting with already told me on the phone that he would like to hire me to help Big Big Boss out but I should pursue other options as well. How's that for depressing?
Wish me luck and here's a lolcat to cheer me up:
Monday, November 17, 2008
Six Months of Blogging!
On May 16, I revealed that I was lousy with money, needed to do something about it and own up to the $167,000,000 in student loans I had. Did you catch that decimal error? I didn't at first but luckily one of you did. Sometimes it feels like I have millions of dollars in student loans but in reality it's only about $136,000.
I set out some goals for myself that day and here they are:
1. Survive the next 8 days on $157.
Ha! I regularly budget myself way less than that much pocket money to last an entire 14 day period.
2. Pay off "short-term" debt - two payday loans totaling about $400; loans from friends and family totaling $460 ; pay overdue bills - utilities around $400, cable around $200.
On June 30, I finally paid off the last of my payday loans - yikes. Not something I ever ever want to have to turn to again. I also paid back Friend A, to whom I owed $200. I've paid back Boyfriend most of the money I borrowed from him and am working on paying the rest back. I worked out a Payment Agreement with my utility company. As for cable, I'm not sure if I owe them anything but it's not a bad idea to find out.
3. Develop a working budget.
I make a budget for every payday. Technically it's more of a Spending Plan then a Budget but I call it a Budget and it's working for me so far.
4. Start paying as much of my student loans as possible.
I'm working on it. I currently pay $666 in student loans a month. Yes you read that right. It's going to go up to $706 soon. My Dad pays $305 on my behalf. That's about all I can bear right now. I wasn't paying them at all prior to starting this blog so that's been a huge change.
5. Save up an Emergency Fund of $1000.
I'm working on it. Saving money is kinda hard when you are on a tight budget. I created an Emergency Fund but I linked it to my Checking Account because the emergency I'm most hoping to avoid is getting hit with overdraft fees, something that I know all too well about.
6. Contribute to my Roth IRA.
Fail. Well I changed my mind on this one and decided to contribute instead to my 457 Retirement Plan. I'm putting 7% of my pre-tax income in there (so far I've contributed about $1000) and currently have about $769 remaining. It's not much compared to the amount the average 28 year old has saved for retirement but you gotta start somewhere.
Over the past six months of budgeting and blogging I've learned a lot about personal finance and also my relationship with money. I've also reached some personal milestones in large part due to this new knowledge:
- I quit smoking!!! You need a heck of a lot less pocket money when you are not spending $7 a day on something that will kill you. I am unbelievably proud of this accomplishment as are all my friends and family (and many readers too!).
- I quit the gym. Okay so I know this isn't something I should be proud of since I think working out is really important but it just represents the fact that you should stop paying for things you don't need, aka if you never go to the gym, stop paying $46 a month for it!
- I reduced my cell phone bill by about $30!
- I settled an old debt with a collection agency. Another 15 months of paying $125 a month and I will finally have that friggen old credit card out of my life forever!
- I stopped taking regular handouts from my parents! This is a huge step on my road to independence.
So it's taken a while and I admit I'm still behind the curve of most fiscally fit 28 year olds but no one ever said it would be easy paying for all my money mistakes. Hopefully the next six months will produce some results as well, most notably keeping my job and building up an Emergency Fund.
As far as the blog goes, it's no masterpiece and there are lots of design bugs I haven't taken the time to fix. I need to update my blogroll and find new ways to attract revenue but I have made $60 in ads which is pretty cool. I have 54 subscribers (thanks!) and average about 100 readers per day (wow!). I know I should be participating in more carnivals but alas I never remember to sign up. I have lots of ideas for future content (recipes and book reviews to name a few) so if you've enjoyed the past six months then stay tuned.
Friday, November 14, 2008
My Vision Plan Sucks! And Here's Why
Rip Off Doc: You are scheduled to come in tomorrow and use Crappy Vision Coverage, is that correct?
Sallie's Niece: Yes that's right.
Rip Off Doc: Well our records show that you were here in January of 2007 and you are only eligible for an appointment once every two years.
Sallie's Niece: Well I really need some new contact lenses, can I place an order for them?
Rip Off Doc: No, I'm afraid your prescription is only valid for one year.
Sallie's Niece: Alright well I need to come in for an exam then. How much is it gonna cost?
Rip Off Doc: It's $90 for just the exam.
Sallie's Niece: See ya next year!
I did a little digging and here's what I discovered.
The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act was passed by Congress in 2004 to broaden the consumer's access to contact lenses. It requires prescribers of contact lenses to give patients give patients a copy of their contact lens prescriptions at the end of a contact lens fitting, even if the patient doesn’t ask for it. You can then take that prescription around to another seller, including online sellers like 1-800-CONTACTS.
During the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittee meeting, Robert L. Hubbard, Director of the Litigation Bureau at the New York (my home state) Department of Law, also a chairman of several task forces related to the legislation testified:
Unlike most physicians, eye care practitioners sell what they prescribe.
Thus, individual ECPs derive substantial revenue from the sale of
replacement contact lenses and have an economic incentive to
withhold prescriptions from customers to prevent consumers from
shopping for replacement lenses elsewhere.
In light of that incentive and the power of ECPs over prescriptions, the bill helps
give consumers what they need to make their own choices about
where to buy replacement contact lenses.
Congress was heavily lobbied by optometrists during its consideration of the
measure, and those able to read the fine print will discover that in 42 states,
optometrists can refuse to pass along a prescription if it is more than a year
old. The limit is two years in the other eight states.
Thus, while optometrists may have lost their grip on the sale of contact lenses, they have gained an annuity that will keep patients coming back once a year to renew their prescriptions. There are 36 million contact lens wearers in the U.S. At about $100 per exam, that's $3.6 billion in guaranteed revenue for the
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Budget 11/12 - 11/25
Last year they told me I also qualified for free glasses since I cannot work without something - glasses or lenses. But after picking out glasses for over an hour I walked out of there paying about $140 somehow. I think this was because the glasses I ultimately selected were pricey ones not included in my plan. Anyway, I don't want new glasses! I only wear my glasses for about ten minutes a day when I am brushing my teeth. I know you aren't supposed to wear contacts all the time but I can't stand seeing through glasses. I will not let the doctor's office talk me into getting "free" glasses this year!
Anyway, there's my rant, here's my budget for the next two weeks:
Starting Balance = $1140
Aunt Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Nice Collection Agency - 125
Boyfriend - 50
Hobby - 35
Trip - 55
Groceries - 80
Some of the remaining money (around $120) I will be using to buy Boyfriend's Anniversary Gift finally ($12), one small Christmas gift ($25) and some new clothes for the holidays (around $50). Any remaining funds will be transferred to my Emergency Fund which sits at an embarrassingly low $5.
I am going out of town the weekend after next. The hotel is already paid for courtesy of Boyfriend's hotel points but I need to pay a fee of $55 to attend an event relating to my hobby. It should be a fun time!
Where it Went 10/29-11/11
Friday, November 7, 2008
Not Laid Off....Yet
- I have a degree and lots of experience.
- I'm willing to work for low pay.
- I have lots of friends.
Having friends is crucial for employment leads and gaining access to networking and other career opportunities. And I'm not just talking other low-level employees fresh out of school like myself but people with experience and contacts. I am friends with these people too.
So not much news to report on LayoffWatch 2008 so far but I will keep you updated in the days and weeks to come.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Planning My Vaction = Full Time Job
Present Idea: Get A Clear Head For $15
What do you think of my design ideas - tacky or trendy?