Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I love my banker

Until I moved in with Gameboy I would have never said I had a banker. Now I can't imagine it another way. Gameboy and BankLady became friends before I moved out here. When he was in the mortgage industry they sent buisness their respective companies weren't interested in back and forth.

So anyway, after I wrote Monday's post I sent her an email explaining what happened. Tuesday morning I got a call at 10. The fees are reversed and overdraft protection is set up. After a 2 minute email and 4 minute call problem solved. No horrendus hold music, no sitting at my local branch for 25 minutes, 6 easy minutes. So thank you BankLady!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pure Stupidity

This month I did something so stupid that I can hardly believe myself.

A little back story: I pay all of the household bills and do all of the money shuffling*. The first week or so of the month I usually sit down and pay/schedule payments for the household card, my card, car, set aside funds for electric/gas and water, do our self escrows and send an extra debt reduction payment. At this time I also review all of our bills that auto pay on the house card to make sure nothing crazy is happening.

So late last week I log onto our bank account just because. I'm totally shocked to see more than $1000 just hanging out in our checking, something I never let happen. I check the recent debits- all of the ING transfers look good, household card went through, but there is no payment to my personal card. By now it's past the 20th and this bill is due between the 12th and 15th each month.

I immediately log in to the card site to see if the bank maybe made an error (very wishful thinking). I swear I logged onto the credit card site and made the payment, but there's not electronic log of the payments. So for no good reason I just had a late payment hit my credit report. I called and immediately made the payment by phone and got them to cut the late fee in half. I tried to get them to cut all of it but it was not happening.

To make things extra fun, apparently my bank account doesn't have overdraft protection. I could swear we set this up with our savings accounts at the same bank. But that credit card payment and an auto savings feature hit on the same day, overdrawing my account. I actually thing this is a bit comical and have emailed our banker to look into it. She's pretty good at working things out so I'm hoping the fees will get waived.

*This is largely making sure money is in the right place to pay the right bills. We have a brick and mortar for 3/4 and pay a few other things with ING.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Car Milestone

We're slowly but surely paying down the car. Every time we cross another thousand mark I have a little celebration in my head and think about ways to make more money. There really is something a bit addictive about watching those numbers go down.

We started the year just under the $5,000 mark and as of today we're at $3903.06. The goal of having it paid off by May definitely seems to be within our reach. That day will be one of full celebration as our first bit of debt hits 0.

Per my self imposed rule the side bar won't be updated until the end of the month.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Enjoying History

I'm watching the pomp and circumstance of the morning. A big part of me is missing home (DC & the burbs) and the excitement that is surely in the air. I'll be enjoying things from the comfort of our couch before heading to work.

The regular PF blogging will resume tomorrow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Earning Opportunity

I recently fell into a new opportunity that I'm pretty excited about. One of our local museums has a research program that requires observations, surveys, and focus groups. They posted a call for new people on one of my yahoo groups and I was accepted. I get made fun of for belonging to this group (it's a mom's group and I'm not a mom) but I've gotten so many great opportunities there.

I'm looking forward to spending time at the museum and stretching my research skills. I'm also looking forward to the $18/hr salary. It's not something that's frequent, but it's more than most of my snowflaking opportunities.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dear Local Radio Stations

Thanks for making a possibly frustrating morning great. I left the house at 8:35. I stopped at a McDonald's, I'll be generous and say this was 10 minutes. I pulled into a work garage at 10:22.

Despite the 90+ min commute I'm in a great mood because local radio stations, you rocked it. I got do dance to some of my favorite songs (easy to do when you're going 0 miles per hour), learned a little about the issues minorities are having in Germany, and all sorts of other randomness. All for free. So thanks!

sara l

This and that

I have a big mouth sometimes. I find myself volunteering information or for things without full details. This can be bad. The most recent case of this means I will be in a training 7 hours a day for the next 8 Saturdays. Yeah. On the plus side I get to take off a day during the week, though I don't know how I'll find the time. I'll also eventually be a trainer for this training, which pays $27/hr this year.

Babies are weighing heavily on my mind. My best friend in the city, my boss, and 3/4 of Gameboy's local friends that don't already have kids plus half of my long distance friends are pregnant. I fell like I should buy baby yarn in bulk and just continually make hats and booties. We plan to wait at least another year but the peer pressure is on full force. I've literally had 2-3 women all try to convince me that now is a great time because our kids could be the same age. Instead of saying yes I've been focused on getting the financial house in order and trying to set us up for happy financial times. I've been looking at ways to earn money from home (like the above training) and squeezing the budget in other areas to pay down the debt faster.

I'm also tryingot figure out a summer garden. Last summer we did a few containers when we moved in, but it was really late in the season. This year I want to do a raised bed garden in our yard. I've been trying to figure out where in the yard, what I want to plant, and the best seeds to get. Whenever I start a new project I tend to get a bit obscessive, so most of my reading lately has been about gardening. I'm also trying to figure out what things will do best in our high altitude/desert climate.

It's time to face the snowy commute now. I'm glad I have the option to wear jeans whenever.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Goal Implementation: Work Life Balance

So I'm working on the work life balance. And on Monday I did great! I even told my boss I was going to severely cut back on email from home and she said "Good!" So what has happened since then? My coworkers are dealing with a budget reconciliation that is not going so well. Five months, 2 fiscal years, new accountant, relatively new staff on our side= ugly. We're almost there and finance has extended the deadline by 2 days. Meanwhile I've worked an extra 5 hrs & 40 minutes in the past 2 nights. The fun part is this is in addition to my regular work.

Since there will always be deadline crunches I'm going to work on how I deal with the time. I'm going to start recording my extra time in my planner and actually take the time within 3 weeks. I'm also going to keep my to do list with me most of the time. Most of my "Oh crap, I need to...." moments happen in the car or at 9:30 on the couch. Then I get online and spend time working. Instead I'm going to add it to my to do list and deal with it the next day.

I'll check in later with progress. It's nice to have the support of my boss while I make these changes though.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Medicine by Mail

I decided to start the new year off by saving a bit of money. I have a daily prescription that costs $10 every 4 weeks. Over the course of the year that is around $130. There's also remembering the monthly drive to the pharmacy, which is only open 8-6 M-F.

The less expensive option? Prescriptions by mail. I called my HMO this morning to the the details. They essentially cut 1 copay off of 3 months of medicine, so I get a 3 month supply for $20. They also pay for shipping. Best of all it comes right to my door mailbox down the street.

So instead of $130, I'll be paying around between $80-100, depending on when my current fill runs out. To make my savings a little deeper I'll be paying with pre-tax dollars via my FSA.

So how can you look to save a little on prescriptions? If you have an HMO that requires you using specific pharmacies give them a call to see if they have a mail option. If you have a PPO (or something like it) call the pharmacy line on your insurance card. Ask those lovely people if there is a mail option. Also ask wherever you get your prescriptions. It seems like Walgreen's has a prescription mail option if you register on their site.

Enjoy the savings!