Home > Archive: January, 2018

Archive for January, 2018


January 31st, 2018 at 03:10 pm

I brought my cat in for a CT scan. The home vet was convinced that my cat had a tumor and that the stress of bringing her in to the other vet for a dental and putting her under anesthesia made the tumor grow super fast. Naturally, feeling like I exacerbated it, I didn't want to bring her in to yet another vet for even more anesthesia, but I wanted concrete answers. The story just didn't make sense to me. I'm glad I spent the money, because she doesn't have a tumor or cancer. She has a bad infection in her lower jaw that was presumably caused by the vet who did the dental. I'm upset with myself for trusting them; they messed up both sides of my poor cat's mouth. We have started a different antibiotic and hopefully this treatment will clear the infection and reduce the pressure in her eyes. I'm so, so relieved that it's not a tumor and she made it through anesthesia again. Her heart rate tends to dip low every time she goes under.

I talked with my boss about the new job, and she said she doesn't feel I'll be ready for it for two years (presumably because by then I'll have a master's degree). She said I could apply but my application may not make it past HR. Clearly she has someone else in mind for this job. I'm disappointed; it felt like a light at the end of the tunnel.

School is still overwhelming but I'm trying to convince myself that this is doable for 18 months and then it will be over.

I feel so far behind. My friends are directors making 1.5 to 2 times my income, homeowners, driving decent cars, and have ample retirement funds. One friend can even retire early. I'm most terrified about not having enough in retirement to support myself. I wish I had spent less time caring about men and thinking I'd have a partner through life and focused solely on bolstering my career and retirement funds. Water under the bridge now, I suppose, but I can't seem to get traction on getting out of this low level job hole I've dug.


January 22nd, 2018 at 09:38 pm

Cat update:
My home vet planned to repair my cat's botched dental work last week (which had originally been done by a different vet). They had my cat sedated and then realized that they couldn't open her jaw more than an inch in the front. They also thought that her left eye was red not from infection but sudden glaucoma (??), and she also had an ear infection on the same side. The vet (grasping at straws again) said, either she has a rare abscess that I've never seen in 26 years as a vet, or she has a tumor. Clearly she believed it was an inoperable tumor pressing on her mouth and eye. I held it together until a coworker hugged me - cue soggy face mess as I ran to my car.

However, it makes little sense to me that a tumor in her head would grow so fast that in the span of a week she'd be unable to open her mouth. Ever since the dental, she hasn't been able to fully yawn. She has no other tumor-like or cancer-like symptoms. This cat is only 8 years old. I've had her on antibiotics for the past week which seems to be helping somewhat but she still can't fully yawn. I'm so frustrated by vets guessing. I've already spent $2500. I compiled a timeline with symptoms and sent it to the home vet today asking for a referral. I also called the U of MN vet center but the hold time was too long.

Car update:
Currently pretending the check engine light is not on. So far so good.

Work update:
A rare new position is opening up at work that is higher than mine. I love my boss and department and would like to stay after I have my master's degree, but not in this lower-level job. I expressed interest in the new job but I'm not sure my boss has me in mind for it (or perhaps she'd like me to stay put). I'm not getting an obvious green light from her but a couple of my coworkers are encouraging me to apply. I'll have to address this with my boss soon.

School update:
OMG so overwhelmed. The homework is absolutely ridiculous. I really hope every class is not like this. I did homework for over 8 hours yesterday, plus a couple of hours on Friday and Saturday. My anxiety was through the roof because of it and I hardly slept on Saturday night. I'm feeling better today.

Financial update:
I did the calculations, and while saving 50% isn't feasible, I'm planning to save 30% of my income. That's an extra $500 per month to my savings account. It would be incredibly helpful if I could land a higher position now so I could save more, replace my 18 year old car, and buy a house. I ran the numbers in the T Rowe Future Path calculator (thanks Patient Saver), and with my current salary and savings rate, I can retire at 68. That's assuming I'd increase my rate 3% per year, which is higher than my annual raise.

I love listening to the Afford Anything podcast. Yesterday while walking on the treadmill I listened to a recent episode about a couple who just retired at ages 38 and 41. I kept thinking, it would make so much more sense to retire now so I could spend time with my parents and my cats before they are gone, and work later when I am alone! Definitely envious.

saving 50%

January 9th, 2018 at 04:17 pm

Lately I've been reading and hearing a lot about saving 50% of your income. I decided to calculate if doing so was feasible with my current income and basic expenses.

Current retirement savings rates:
- 6% of gross to 401k
- 4% of gross to HSA (counts as saving assuming I don't need any of this for medical expenses)
- 2% of net to Roth IRA

Saving 50%, after rent, cell phone, home internet, average electric bill, car insurance, car tabs, and renter's insurance, I'd have:

$455 per month left for everything else.

I need to think more about this.

2017 goals recap

January 8th, 2018 at 04:57 pm

Here's a quick recap of my 2017 goals:

Financial Goals:
- Continue to send 6% to retirement plan - Temporarily lowered to the matching 4% part-way through the year to save more money for a down payment. I increased it back to 6% recently.
- Continue to send $25 a month to Roth - DONE
- Save $2000 in emergency fund (and don't touch it unless it's an actual emergency) - DONE, actual emergency came up in December
- Save $200 a month for eventual car payment - No. I threw more money at my emergency fund instead.
- Get my age of money to 30 days in YNAB - DONE, although I've since realized it's a worthless measurement.

Other Goals:
- Reduce grocery bill - DONE - reduced by $50 a month
- Get out more (meet some new people via or elsewhere) - I went to a few meetups early in the year but lost steam halfway through the year.
- Read 15 books - DONE, I read 21 books
- Lose weight/more yoga/climbing gym - I lost nearly 10 lbs, went to more yoga classes, and walked a lot more. I didn't make it to the climbing gym much, but I now have a punch card that never expires.

I'm surprised by how well these goals turned out! I don't have much planned for 2018 other than surviving graduate school and trying to save as much money as possible.

Cat update - as of yesterday she is doing much better, apart from a new eye infection and the realization that the vet pulled one of her dental sutures too tight. She will have to have corrective surgery because she's still in some pain and having trouble eating on that side of her mouth. I'm waiting to hear back from my home vet, but I'm guessing it will be another $1000. It is such a relief to see my cat slowly starting to act like her sweet self again; the last few weeks have been agony. I finally slept through the night without checking on her.

Car update - the check engine light came back on last week with the same evap code that the December repair supposedly fixed. I have lost faith in this garage and will find another one, ideally after the cat crisis is over.