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loan officers

April 15th, 2017 at 03:59 pm

I've decided that I need to accomplish something this year - buying a house, buying a car, going back to school for a Master's degree, or some combination of the three. Since I have no debt and any new debt would ding my credit score, I'm researching the house option first.

I talked with a loan officer yesterday and learned that my credit score is fantastic (yay!) and I could be approved for way more than I'd want. Unfortunately, since I don't have a 20% down payment (and when would I ever??), with the loan option he presented, keeping a monthly loan payment at or near my current rent payment would be difficult. There are houses in my price range...just not at all where I'd feel safe living, or they would require a LOT of work (read: money). I don't mind work but I don't want to rebuild walls or gut moldy bathrooms. Also, with that loan, I'd have to stay in the house for 9 years with a low household income or pay back a 6.25% recapture tax based on the original mortgage. If my household income increased (say, I got married within those 9 years), and I needed to sell the house, I'd have to pay the recapture tax plus $8000 in down payment assistance. Ouch.

I reached out to three more mortgage loan providers today for prequalifications. Hopefully they can come up with better options.

If not, I'll try to shelve the idea and move on. That's really hard to think about. I'm pining for a house with a garden and no shared walls. Reliable at-home cell phone service and closer access to single-people activities would be nice, too.

In other news, I'm 90% sure my closest friend is going to pack up her family and move across the country. Once she gets an idea in her head, it's game on. I'm devastated but trying to accept it. I briefly considered moving as well (in the opposite direction, to the west coast, where I've always wanted to be), but I feel I need to stay within reasonable driving distance of my parents. Maybe someday.

verizon etc

April 4th, 2017 at 01:13 pm

I'm trying to switch from Verizon postpaid to prepaid service. I was on the phone with them for an hour. They transferred me to five different people, hung up on me once, charged my credit card, and now my phone doesn't work. I'm waiting for a call back (to a landline) that may or may not occur within the next 90 minutes. Not cool. If they can actually accomplish this, I should save $17 a month. UPDATE: They never called me. I called back and finally connected to a human only through blind luck. I'll now have to fight the first credit card charge because they "lost" it, but it was that or be without a phone for 10 days. Zero apologies from them. I'll save $204 a year but my hair is exponentially grayer.

I finished my third antibiotic last weekend but I'm still sick. I'm not sure if this is the same infection or if I've caught something else. I really don't want to take another round of antibiotics.

I took a free online home buying class today and - wow. I'm saving as much as I can right now but even that doesn't seem like enough, even if I did it consistently for the next 10 years. A friend recommended I talk to a loan officer; I might do that anyway.

Last weekend I spent some time making pros and cons lists for several different aspects of my life - moving, job, higher education. Getting a car loan or a student loan at this point would greatly reduce my home loan possibilities. An advanced degree would probably help me eventually obtain a higher salary, if only I could decide what I want to do.

I watched a Ted Talk on "multipotentialites" - people with lots of different interests and career possibilities who end up job hopping instead of picking "one true calling". It made me feel a little better about my scattered resume. I still wish I could find a calling, though...

more medication

March 27th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

I woke up with full-body hives last Friday thanks to my second round of antibiotics. After talking with the nurse, calling in sick, and slapping some makeup on my face, I went to the store with my jacket zipped to my chin and picked up the requisite Zyrtec and Benadryl. I spent all weekend sleeping and drinking ridiculous amounts of water. I still have a rash...and a sinus infection. SO over it. I keep thinking that I need to find a work from home job. I've been sick for three months already this season and this round shows no signs of abating.

A friend told me about making phone calls over wifi without Facetime. I looked into it and it's possible with a newer phone. I just need to suck it up and buy one!

chai tea

March 23rd, 2017 at 07:18 am

I broke my eating out spending fast! I stopped at a grocery store with a coffee shop after a particularly odd work meeting and decided to pick up a coffee for my officemate to perk up his day. I got an almond milk chai tea to perk up mine as well. Wink

I'm taking a different antibiotic to treat my sinus infection now since the first one was ineffective. I'm so glad I have health insurance, as these prescriptions are only $8, and I have an FSA. I hate taking antibiotics, but today is day 17 of this nonsense and it needs to end.

My coworker told me how sick she was on Monday and has been out of the office ever since. She has influenza. The friend I saw last weekend came down with the stomach flu yesterday. I don't really want to leave my house these days!

I've missed talking with my parents on the phone and it's because my (old) cell phone has basically no reception in my apartment. We were able to Facetime, but now that doesn't seem to be working on their end. If I want to make a phone call on the network, I have to walk out into the middle of the street. I'm debating getting a network booster, or a cheap home phone, or a new cell phone since mine is doing strange things with the battery lately anyway. Or...maybe I should just move! Ha! (Edited to add - I have checked with my cell phone provider multiple times and they can't seem to help.)

27 days

March 20th, 2017 at 01:57 pm

First - thank you for all of the supportive comments on my last post. You are right, of course. I just need to convince my subconscious. Last night I actually dreamt about comparing my life to that of an acquaintance who lives an extravagant traveling lifestyle.

I'm still going strong on not spending on eating out. I planned to buy dinner out last weekend, but my friend grabbed the bill and refused to let me pay! So it has been 27 days without buying any food/drinks other than groceries. I really wanted to order Thai food last night but resisted.

That cold that I was so excited about improving quickly morphed into a sinus infection. I'm taking antibiotics now but I'm still pretty miserable today. I feel like I could sleep for a week.

I did some savings calculations today. Once my raise kicks in, I should be able to throw $500 a month into my emergency fund. That should bring me to my $5000 goal by August. If I continue to save $500 a month, I should have a $5000 car downpayment by next June. This assumes I can continue my current level of frugality and there are no financial crises between now and then.

I may still take the homeownership class in April - we'll see.

17 days

March 10th, 2017 at 01:26 pm

I haven't purchased any food or drink anywhere other than at the grocery store in the last 17 days! No restaurants, no coffee shops, no convenience stores. It was only half intentional but once I realized it had been two weeks, I was pretty pumped! I'm also on day 5 of no spending.

I finally succumbed to the cold virus going around the office, but I'm getting over it faster than any other cold in my life. I'm not sure why; perhaps my supplement regime is helping.

I've been floating in and out of feeling really frustrated by the cost of cars and homes and where my life is now vs where I think it should be. I looked into cheaper sedans instead of small SUVs, but a 5-inch road clearance in the winter seems personally unsafe. These city roads don't get plowed well, and visiting my parents involves driving 500 miles into desolate country. I toyed with the idea of attending a $40 homebuying class this weekend, but you have to buy a home within a year of attending to qualify for downpayment assistance programs. I don't see that realistically happening, as much as I desperately want it to.

I realize I shouldn't compare my life to other people my age - but it's so hard not to when FB friends I graduated from college with are company vice presidents living in mansions with huge pools and driving luxury vehicles. I wish someone had shook me 20 years ago and said, "Do not major in frivolous things, you need an actual PLAN!"

The problem then, as it is now, is that the things I actually enjoy doing do not pay life-sustaining salaries. That was marginally ok when I had a partner - not so much anymore.

It's March. I'm always melancholy in March! Is it spring yet?

budget categories?

February 28th, 2017 at 07:19 am

How do you categorize vitamins and powdered supplements? Personal care, groceries, its own category, or something else?

I make a smoothie nearly every morning with several powdered supplements (including protein powder and mushroom powder) and frozen fruit. I count the fruit under groceries but I've been counting the supplements under personal care. I also take a multivitamin, vitamin D, and vitamin B, and I count those under personal care too. Needless to say my personal care budget category is really high, but I'm not spending all of that on shampoo or toothpaste.

Let's not even talk about how much I spent on groceries this month! I had such a frugal January. On the plus side - my favorite protein powder is on sale at Costco, so I bought the max and will give half to my mother (she loves it too). It's good until 2019, and like I said, I use it almost every morning!

I bottled my latest batch of kombucha, and this time I added turmeric and sliced fresh ginger. I read that that may help increase carbonation. I'm excited to try it in a few days!

This week's lunch soup is a delicious three bean and vegetable chili from the New Fast Food cookbook, made in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. It has become my new favorite! Beans cooked from dried, onions, garlic, zucchini, fire-roasted tomatoes, corn, and kale. Very summery. I like to think that it's helping me fight off all of the viruses floating around the office!

Tuesday thoughts

February 21st, 2017 at 01:30 pm

A friend convinced me to start running with her again. She's training for a 10K at the end of May, which I might sign up for too. I haven't run consistently since my first (and last) half marathon over three years ago. The weather has been so gorgeous lately that we did a couple of runs outside last weekend! I picked up a few new running/yoga shirts during the President's Day sales. More than anything, I need my work pants to fit well again.

I'm struggling with my financial goals feeling so out of reach. I should have started saving for a house the moment I started working (although, I guess I was paying off student loans at that point). My rent is doable but high. As much as I'd love to move to the west coast, I don't foresee that happening while my parents are still living, or without a viable career path. Even a 10% downpayment is SO much money, though! I'm trying to figure out how to make that happen as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately I will need a new car before a house. I'm doing what I can to keep this one going but it's not worth properly fixing at this point. Truth - I've never had a car payment thanks to generous gifts from my family, including this car 12 years ago. I've been looking at used vehicles for at least a year but wow - high miles and high payments seem to be the norm!

I also need to bulk up my emergency fund - that's priority one!

pottery, taxes, etc

February 15th, 2017 at 08:47 am

I'm taking a wheel-thrown pottery class with my sister. I took two rounds of this class ages ago (like 12 years ago), and for some reason I had convinced myself that I might be better at it now. Ha. I'm only halfway through the course and I can't wait for it to be over. In 10 years when I think I might like to try this again, someone please remind me that I hate pottery and am terrible at it, would you?

So far this week:
$10 - Extra bag of clay to share (I paid my sister's half)
$12 - Allergy meds
$12 - State taxes

I had my job review; all went well, but I need to step up my goal-setting if I'm going to move forward. It's great having such a supportive supervisor.

I finished my taxes yesterday. $12 paid to state, $127 back from federal, but the amazing piece - $648 back for my state rental refund! I was not expecting that. My rent is so high, it's a nice bonus.

nearly a no spend week

February 13th, 2017 at 09:08 am

I'm pretty pleased with the last week, spending-wise! I only bought one song on iTunes; all other spending was on pre-scheduled bills. It's not particularly fun to restrict spending and restrict food intake at the same time, but I'm doing ok. Last weekend wasn't great eating-wise, but I threw out the rest of the birthday cake yesterday and had a salad for dinner!

Yesterday's batch cooking included baked tofu, an enchilada casserole, and Thai cauliflower chickpea soup. I have a lot of salad greens to eat too.

Since I was feeling a little miserable last weekend about my self-imposed double restriction, I refocused my savings goal to save a total of $5000 this year. A solid goal may help me stay focused, rather than the ubiquitous bigger emergency fund, buying a car (someday soon), buying a house (preferably before I'm 50). My first benchmark for this year is $4000 in my emergency fund. Should be there by the end of July if all goes as planned.

Happy Monday!

high spend weekend

February 7th, 2017 at 02:27 pm

I spent a bit more than anticipated over the weekend.

- I found out that my favorite music artist will be here soon, so I splurged and bought a ticket.

- Dinner and drinks with friends

- Chipotle lunch

- Costco grocery shopping - $65 this time! - and gasoline

- Target (the land of magical disappearing money - wasn't too bad this time though)

- Trader Joe's - I bought a case of unsweetened soy milk for my weekly soy yogurt, so I won't need to go back for a while.

- Birthday massage

- Carrying bag for the awesome yoga mat that my coworker gave me for my birthday

I did get a gift from my parents and a rebate from 1-800 contacts, and most of that spending was planned. I should be good to go on groceries for most of the month, and nothing else exciting is planned for now!

I spent some time writing out my goals/affirmations for the next year. Focusing on what I want for the future will drive my choices.

I didn't watch one minute of the Superbowl! Wink

Feb 3

February 3rd, 2017 at 11:17 am

{deleted the work situation}

In actual financial news, I spent a record low of $238 on groceries in January. Coupled with $62 cash in restaurant eating, I spent $300 on food. I'm still busy eating down my pantry and freezer.

Another record low? $48 in gasoline. February may be slightly higher, since I'm taking a community ed class. All in all, I feel good about January, and aspire to make February even more frugal.

last day of January

January 31st, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It's somehow the last day of January already! Wow.

I've been lying low - lots of viruses are flying around the office and I'm doing my best to fend them all off. I've already been sick with month-long colds twice this season and I think that's enough.

The home vet came by last week and it turned out to be much cheaper than expected! Since it was less expensive, I splurged on a 5-week Slim Team challenge through the vegan recipe service I subscribe to. So far so good. I've counted my calories every day for years anyway, but this is motivating me to actually stay within a set amount.

Last weekend I made soy yogurt, 16 bean soup (in the instant pot), vegan lasagna, red lentil dahl (in the instant pot), and wheat roti. I love my instant pot, and my stand-up freezer!

My newest culinary adventure? Making kombucha. I love it, but it's $3-$4 a bottle in the stores, and really not that hard to make. I started my third batch on Saturday. It's a lot like maintaining a sourdough culture. Now I have delicious probiotic drinks filling up my fridge!

Jan 25

January 25th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Last night I stopped by Costco to fill up my gas tank ($22) and decided to go inside for a few staple groceries too ($16) - cauliflower to make aloo gobi, kale salad, bagels, and bananas. I resisted the delicious snack aisle and stuck to basics.

The rest of the month should stay on budget. I've only eaten out twice this month and don't expect to again, unless my coworker really does want to go out for lunch on Friday (we'll see). If so, I've already got cash for just such an occasion.

I've had this blog for so long that I know there are people in my real life (read: my ex) who know of its existence. How do you handle that? I find that I don't want to say much on the off-chance that someone IRL (not from this site) might be reading.

Jan 23

January 23rd, 2017 at 12:28 pm

I've successfully avoided shopping for over a week! I attended the local women's march on Saturday and went home afterwards rather than to Costco or Target. It was actually decent weather for January, but still chilly enough to make me want to go straight home and warm up! The march itself was really fun.

I'm trying to eat down my overstuffed pantry and freezer, so yesterday I made my weekly supply of soy yogurt, a lemon blueberry cake loaf, and a peanut sauce stir fry with mock duck. I need to get better at batch cooking for the week, but I've found I'm much less motivated to cook for one. Today's lunch was soup from my freezer, which I love having on hand. I'll need to make another batch of soup next weekend.

I'm waiting on a refund from The Limited of about $20. They recently filed for bankruptcy so I really hope I get my money back. I'm also waiting on a $60 rebate check from 1-800 Contacts.

I started my taxes and it looks like I'll get about $100 back...if I submit them manually. The online tax services are so expensive. I haven't filled out a paper tax return in years, so I'll have to stop by the library!

I watched Stuffocation on Netflix and now I'm about halfway through the book. My long-term goal is to buy a house, and I think changing my mindset about "stuff" will help me get there!

hi all!

January 18th, 2017 at 01:55 pm

I've been terrible about blogging but I promise I'm still lurking (as several of you know).

SO! 2017.

The two cats and I are living in the duplex I mentioned in my last post. After a few necessary changes done by my landlord (new carpeting, new dishwasher, etc) it's a pretty decent place. My eventual goal is to have a house of my own, but before that, I'll have to replace my 16-year-old car.

My job is great! I have a fantastic boss and coworkers, and I've learned so much. I received a promotion late last year (just a salary boost and recognition for all the work I had already been doing), which was so appreciated. I'm still not as challenged as I'd like to be, but I'm happy to be well employed.

One of my older single lady role model friends emphasized my need to ensure that I'm protecting myself financially from here on out, because all I've got is me. Admittedly, I haven't been great at that since I started on this new journey, but saving as much is possible is my main goal for 2017. The somewhat terrifying political climate we're about to enter into solidified that for me.

2017 Financial Goals:
- Continue to send 6% to retirement plan
- Continue to send $25 a month to Roth
- Save $2000 in emergency fund (and don't touch it unless it's an actual emergency)
- Save $200 a month for eventual car payment
- Get my age of money to 30 days in YNAB

Other Goals:
- Reduce grocery bill
- Get out more (meet some new people via meetup.com or elsewhere)
- Read 15 books
- Lose weight/more yoga/climbing gym

good news (finally!)

April 21st, 2015 at 07:48 am

I'M EMPLOYED!!!

Yes, that deserves all caps and three exclamation points. Not only did I just accept a position at a great place, my salary is right where I wanted it (read: much higher than I've made at former jobs), and it really seems to be a great fit. The people were genuinely nice, it ties into one of my college majors a bit, and I think I'll get to use most of my skills. Plus it's a brand new position, so I'll be building it from the ground up. I start in a couple of weeks.

I'm seriously thrilled. I can't wait! It doesn't seem real!

Tonight I'm looking at a duplex that's available May 1. It seems pretty perfect. There is a lot of interest in it, so we'll see... but if I want it and get it, I'll be moving ASAP. The actual act of moving is not something I look forward to, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Things finally feel like they are moving forward!

Now I need to buy a few key work clothing pieces and to lose these 10 pounds of stress weight I've gained in the last six months. All in due time. I think I'll have the opportunity to walk a lot more at my new job, and they have an in-house gym!

splitting the finances

March 26th, 2015 at 11:17 am

I'm relieved to say that last week's car issue was just an emissions problem and only cost $100!

I caved yesterday and got my own Costco card (we had one, but I let the membership lapse). Gasoline and organic food are both cheaper - worth it.

The household finances have been fully in my care for the last 4 years. He wants to take them over now. Late fees, missed payments, and extra charges are no longer my problem, right? I started a new YNAB budget for myself and it felt good.

I'm feeling much more optimistic this week despite multiple job rejections. I feel like things are going to turn around soon. (Please, universe?)

Several days alone next week means I'll be seriously reevaluating all of my belongings. I've got so much stuff that I don't use every day but I don't want to get rid of, like camping gear, my bike, speakers, etc. Hopefully my next place will have a storage locker. I REALLY wish I could buy a house. It's incredibly difficult to part with things when I know I'll want them again after this transient phase is over.

For the last six months (except December), I've kept the grocery budget under $300. That is some kind of record for me! It's good to know I'll be able to spend even less than that when I'm on my own.

March

March 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

Checking in, even though I haven't got much news to report!

I've still not found a job, but I have a ton of applications out. I'm applying to jobs that will get me close to being able to afford a decent place in a decent neighborhood. I'm so grateful for online crime maps, especially for the parts of the city that I don't know well, even after 14 years of living here. I've lived in four different suburbs and have friends all over, so I have a pretty good sense of most of it, but not all.

Packing takes roughly 879 times longer than I expect it to. I brought 10 bags of books to Half Price Books, and they didn't pay well at all, but whatever. I sold one book on Amazon. Several things are up on craigslist, and I've received numerous bizarre messages and one no-show. I suspect that is the norm for craigslist.

Several people I follow on Instagram are currently obsessed with Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of D.... After seeing their results, I want to read it. I still have 10 boxes of books, 10+ boxes of kitchen stuff, and let's not even talk about the boxes dedicated to my hobbies. I realized I have at least 13 hobbies, which explains why I have So Much Stuff. Downsizing is hard.

My former employer hasn't sold their building yet, and it's still partially furnished. They are giving me a loveseat, a recliner, a folding screen, and a small bookshelf for my new place. I am so, so grateful. I just need to move before they sell the building, or I'll need to get a storage unit.

My check engine light came on over the weekend. I had a minor emotional breakdown once I made it home because it's one more stressor that I just don't need right now. I'm bringing the car into the shop tomorrow.

I find myself vacillating between confident hope for the future and utter despair, and not a lot in between. I can't wait for this period of my life to be over, to be perfectly honest. I'm ready to move on to greener pastures.

change

February 11th, 2015 at 01:00 pm

Last year I set some pretty serious goals for my 35th year. Now I'm 36 and, well, things are certainly changing.

I ended my relationship with SO last month. We've been through a lot together in the last 12 years, but my patience for change that will never come is gone. Something Baselle said a couple of years ago here on her blog stuck with me ever since - she said she looked around and couldn't imagine continuing life with her partner for another 30 years. Neither can I. I refuse to sacrifice my happiness any longer.

Unfortunately, I haven't found work (and neither has he), so I'm still living in his house. I've been sorting and tossing and donating and packing all of my things for weeks - so on one hand, it's nice to have the time and space to do that. Most rental properties here require you to sign a no-move-out clause during the winter months anyway, so there's not a lot on the market right now. It's not a big deal (just very awkward still living together), but I look forward to my own space.

As a friend said, I'm ripping off the old and starting an entirely new page - new job, new apartment, new life on my own (with my cats). No stress here.

I have a number of successful, happy older women in my life who live alone, so I know it can be done. I'll have to make a greater effort to get out and see people - the introvert in me likes to stay home most of the time, but I've got to get out there and have a life! Unfortunately this split means that I am losing the vast majority of my contacts here - his family. I've been debating moving out of state, but that might be a bit too much at once right now.

Anyway - financial things - the whole purpose of this blog:

- I have inheritance money set aside that I can use to move. Thankfully my parents are more than willing to help too, but I'd rather not ask them for anything.

- I've got a stack of books to get rid of. I've got a stack of photography stuff to get rid of. I hate selling things online, but I need money.

- I've got a list of things I'll need to buy for a new apartment.

- Rent prices (at least what's available now) are INSANE. I had no idea. They have skyrocketed since my last apartment, so I'll likely need to make at least $22 an hour to afford one - more than I've made to date. I also need a place that is relatively quiet and takes cats. I have one very anxious cat who is very sensitive to noise. She'll adjust - she has to - but neither of us would be happy in a big apartment complex. Fingers crossed.

- I still need a career. One that actually pays actual money so I can support myself for the rest of my life. I love non-profits, but damn, they don't pay well and their long-term viability is always an issue.

I should close this by saying - I'm happy. I'm terrified and anxious and the future is a completely mucky unclear mess, but a weight lifted when I finally made the decision. Now I just have to hope for the best.

one day at a time

June 12th, 2014 at 10:27 am

I did not get the job I interviewed for, so I asked for feedback. They told me that my supervisor said that not only does she think I am overqualified for their job, she thinks I am overqualified for my current job, and implied that I am bored. I have always been insanely busy, so much so that my supervisor increased my hours. And I have LOVED my job. I let the interviewers know that her opinion does not reflect my reality, but I don't expect to hear from them again. I can't believe she ruined that for me, but she has systematically ruined everything she has touched since she started, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I find myself struggling to job hunt lately. The daily clenched-stomach feeling of working with two people who hate each other, coupled with the heartbreak of the organization I love closing, AND the stress of not knowing how my partner and I will finance the future is weighing heavily on me.

In light of that, I took a day off and buzzed out of town to see my parents last week. Apart from my Dad telling me that he's certain he's going to die within the next six years(!), it was enjoyable. Truly. It was lovely to get out of town and spend some time with them. Driving there by myself was also good reflection time.

A program presenter just stopped in my office and gratefully told me I am like the Holy Spirit, the invisible one who just makes things happen. (I set up everything for her program today while my coworkers stayed shored up in their closed offices.) I will miss my interactions with these quirky people.

I think I need more time to decompress.

and then...

May 27th, 2014 at 11:08 am

Life has been a whirlwind since my last post.

- SO had eye surgery and his vision thankfully improved in that eye. The other eye became substantially worse in the meantime, so he is on the same path to surgery with that one. We'll find out more in August.

- We both found health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. It made more sense to do that than to take my job's insurance, because I'd rather not change ALL of my doctors, and it wasn't much cheaper. It turns out ACA insurance was a better choice anyway because...

- A dramatic few weeks at work resulted in the "owners" of the organization I work for deciding to close it at the end of June. I'm getting laid off...AGAIN. I will get a small severance, but no unemployment. In the meantime, I am the go-between for my coworkers who abhor each other.

- My car's muffler pipe broke off earlier this month and needed to be repaired immediately. $300

- Our cat started acting strangely last week so I brought him in to the emergency vet. Bladder stones. One day at the emergency vet, surgery at a regular vet, and three days there = $3300. Now, we have savings, and I have no qualms whatsoever on spending that on him - he's my big, sweet baby. But damn, that's a lot of money. Especially because...

- SO is still unemployed. Still. Unemployed.

- I had an interview two weeks ago that went smashingly and was one of three called back for a second interview. That went really well too - so well, in fact, that they were calling my references as I was leaving the building. They said I'd hear back from them the following afternoon. That was last week and I've not heard one word. I am incredibly disappointed.

On the plus side, I have a ton of people praying for me. I'm not a religious person, but I will take any and all good thoughts. I got 2 of my vegetable gardens planted. We're going camping next month. I'm very under budget on May groceries.

I just have to keep breathing.

cobra coverage=$$$

February 26th, 2014 at 04:01 pm

Thanks for your insights. The job thing worked itself out without me having to say a thing (which, incidentally, seems to be the best policy around my workplace lately anyway). I'll be starting 30 hours a week next week, which is just perfect for right now.

SO is having complications from type 1 diabetes and found out that he will need to have eye surgery next month. We are getting a second opinion later this week.

It makes sense for him to choose Cobra coverage for now, since he has to have this surgery and has already reached his deductible. I won't get health insurance through my job until April. The cost of Cobra is absolutely prohibitive for me. After being unable to register on the MNsure website today, I filled out a paper form and will wait for them to send me information. If something terrible happens between now and April, I can still backdate my Cobra.

I was about to head to Trader Joe's after work today, but I knew shopping with a hungry stomach would be a bad idea, so I went home instead. After updating YNAB, I realized that if I hang in there until March, I will actually be *under* my grocery budget this month! So I think I'll wait. Nothing is pressing, so I can hang on for a bit longer!

This winter is really a long one - I can't wait for spring, especially with the seed catalogs are already filling my mailbox!

job hours

February 17th, 2014 at 06:32 pm

My boss wants me to increase my hours. The desired amount of the increase seems to change from week to week. Right now I work 20 hours, and could go to 30 or possibly 40. Boss asked if I would do 40 today. No talk of a higher salary.

Pros of 30:
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- extra free time and ability to visit family on short notice (which I value intensely since my layoff and family illnesses/deaths)
- more time to apply to other jobs and interview

Cons of 30:
- can't cover the mortgage
- will I be viewed as lazy by society at large? (do I care?)
- if I need to increase my hours down the road, they may not go for it

Pros of 40:
- more money coming in
- looks better on a resume
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- we need all the money we can get since SO is out of work, even though it would barely cover the mortgage
- I could conceivably support myself if necessary

Cons of 40:
- I don't think I like where the company is going (and my job satisfaction has greatly decreased)
- Boss sometimes makes me uncomfortable
- Less free time
- Would it really be 40 hours, or more? Weekend expectations?
- More exposure to in-fighting among coworkers
- Would likely greatly upset a difficult coworker whose hours and benefits would get cut so mine could be increased
- I'd be making what I was making in 2001, which frankly is not great. If I'm working full time and exchanging my precious free time, I feel like I should be making far more than that. I guess I justified 20 hours a week at this salary because I could balance it with my free time.

Making this list helped clear my thoughts a bit, but I'm still torn.

35

February 13th, 2014 at 03:42 pm

I turned 35 last week, and it's throwing me for a loop. Ordinarily I love birthdays, but this one just felt odd. I already felt like something - maybe several things - really needed to change once 2014 turned over. Shouldn't 35-year-olds have it together?

So I decided a few things:

- This year will be make-it or break-it with SO.

- I need a career. Like an actual, bonafide career. I love doing research. I'm a great administrative worker. I have a bunch of creative talents. I'm friendly and kind, but dealing with a constant stream of people drains me. I'd love to do something that specifically helps women. I need to make enough money to support myself and save for retirement. I'm not sure how to mash all of those things together yet.

- I need to start doing more out in the world. Volunteering somewhere, taking a class, maybe joining an orchestra again, finally attending a vegan meetup group - something (or many things). I need to make more plans with the friends I've got, too.

I've got 47 levels of stress and am working on centering myself to deal with it all. I've started doing five minutes of yoga every morning while my tea brews. I'm learning about chakras. I imagine the stress leaving the top of my head and my stomach calming whenever things feel out of control. I think it's helping.

And now for my bizarre story of the day:

My dental hygienist (whom I adore and have been seeing for 10+ years) gave me a lengthy lecture today on how my eggs are getting old and I had better freeze them before I turn 38. I gently told her several times that I'm not sure I want kids, but she persisted. I have good genes, blue eyes, a good figure, and that would all go to waste, she said. Then she suggested that I freeze half my eggs and donate the other half to her. I could be the child's godmother and take the child should she die soon. *CUE CRICKETS* She revealed that she had just paid $20,000 for an egg donor. I'm not sure why she would want my old eggs, in that case...

Happy 2014!

January 25th, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi all!

I've still been reading the blogs, just not posting!

Since the last update in 2011:

- I gave the photography business a go, but realized over the last year that portraiture is not my thing, so I'm closing my LLC and re-evaluating.

- I started a new part-time job, with the hope that it would go full-time. A year later, I'm still hoping. I'm applying to lots of full-time jobs.

- My SO was laid off from the job he loved last month. I'm shocked by how unstable his career has been since 2009. He has a great, in-demand skill set, but employers are offloading again right now, it seems. Unfortunately that was the source of 90% of our income and our health insurance. Thankfully they gave him a short severance, he can apply for unemployment, and we have some savings to fall back on...but he really can't be out of work for too many months. My salary will not cover the mortgage. And now we need health insurance. Time to look more closely at ACA.

- I fully took over all of our finances in early 2012. Up until that point, I kept things separate, and had just a vague idea of how much credit card debt SO had. He wasn't exactly honest about it, which led to some tough conversations. Thankfully we have paid off over half of it now and should be rid of it soon, assuming things turn out on the job front.

- I'm exploring new career ideas, again, always. I'm still not one of those people who knows what they want to be when they grow up. Will that ever happen?

It's good to page through the blogs and the forums here. It centers me and reminds me that keeping a handle on the finances and increasing our savings can make for a more secure landing when life inevitably throws a curve ball.

Things I need to do:
- Look into the Affordable Care Act
- Plan meals every week and use up what we have
- Look into selling photography gear
- Reduce my car insurance premium
- Get SO's retirement funds consolidated

Longer term:
- Bulk up our savings
- Create a long-term financial plan for SO's increasing medical expenses
- Max out our Roth IRAs
- Create a savings fund for my parents

hi there!

April 2nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Hi!

Yes, it's been a couple of years since I last checked in. Sorry about that. I've still been reading your blogs and commenting when I can.

Since my last post, I haven't worked full-time. I've been looking, applying and occasionally interviewing, but nothing has come through. I am very lucky to have SO, because he has pulled us through. Unfortunately he was laid off again a week ago, and is scrambling to try to find something new. Fortunately he has marketable skills!

We bought a house over a year ago and adopted another cat. Living in our own home (with a garden!!) is so fantastic. I can't wait for spring so I can plant again.

An elderly family member passed away and left me a bit of money, which I've used to pay off my student loans (wheeeeee!!!) and invested in my photography business. I am officially up and running now, all the legal business hoopla done, and trying to launch this thing. I am slightly dreading doing my taxes next year because of it, but I have to hope that it will all pay off in the long run. I won't get studio space until I have consistent paying clientele, so at the moment I drag all my equipment around, but that's ok. I love being a photographer.

I need some sort of small business financial software. Any suggestions?

one job found

February 16th, 2009 at 06:53 am

Good news - SO found a job. In fact, he found one so quickly that he ended his last job on a Friday and started the new one on a Monday! Not only that, but the new job pays over twice what the old job paid - a very, very good thing, considering I cannot find a job in my field to save my life.

I had a couple of interviews at one place, but they didn't call me back for a third. I asked for feedback from the interviewer (because frankly, I could have done that job in my sleep, not that I said that!), but she never responded. At least I am able to collect unemployment - that will help pay the bills until August, anyway. The bills are piling up, too. I just got one for a medical appointment I had in March 2008!

I thought staying at home all day would be fun, and that I'd accomplish so much, but I never factored in the inevitable depression. I should be happy as a clam, but the combination of being laid off so soon from a job that I thought was perfect for me and being unable to find anything remotely applicable is taking its toll. Combined with freezing temperatures, ice, snow, sleet, and no sunshine....I'm trying to be positive, but it's hard.

I wish spring would come! That would help!

laid off x 2

January 8th, 2009 at 11:42 am

I was laid off on Tuesday; my last day is the 15th. Several people from the company are getting canned, and I knew things were bad, but I was surprised to be one of those cut. The magazines I worked on only had three employees as it was - now there's one. Sounds like a setup for failure to me.

I went home that day, dreading telling SO, just because I knew it would complicate things. He asked me how my day was...I said, not so great, I got laid off today. He said, are you kidding me? No, not kidding....and then he said he got laid off, too. ON THE SAME DAY. That sounds like a script from a poorly written melodrama, but unfortunately, it's true. It was so absurd, we just laughed. They gave him a month's notice.

So...I'm job searching again, in earnest. Fun times. I am trying to convince SO that we should move, since now we've got nothing tying us down. Costa Rica! Mexico! Oregon! Washington! Wink Really, though, it's everything I can do not to ball up into the fetal position.

snark snark snark

December 16th, 2008 at 06:10 pm

I'm not sure if others have this experience, but I love when people dig posts out from my blog archives and comment on them. Perhaps they run across them on Google and feel compelled to post a comment. Usually they are really supportive and make my day. I have read so many posts from people who are feeling the same way I am (or was back when I posted) and just want to share their feelings. That's one of the reasons I love this community.

I've rarely run across jerks (and maybe that's because I stopped posting frequently) but I just received the loveliest reply to a post I made years ago. The poster called me lazy, told me I wanted everything handed to me on a silver platter, and told me to get off my a$$ and get a better job. I find that amusing, considering I have started two new jobs since then and started my own photography business. What I find most amusing is that this person told me to stop complaining. I'm sorry - correct me if I'm wrong - isn't this my blog? Stick Out Tongue

Anyway - snarky people aside - I'm having a great December. I've had a family portrait session scheduled every weekend and have another one coming up next week. The most recent was a maternity session, and it was so much fun! The anticipation of a new baby is so exciting.

My website is very close to being finished, and I've already passed out a big stack of business cards. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.

Happy holidays, everyone!!


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