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Getting ready for a new start!

December 29th, 2010 at 12:05 am

Sometimes I just get into a debt paying mood. You see, I've had this cable bill that has been lingering around since Christmas of 2008. Yes, you have read that correctly. I guess because I don't get cable bills in the mail, they don't tell me when I've missed a payment. Apparently that Christmas I did. So the past couple of years, I never paid the double bill, only the month that had just passed. I know, I've been a bad Natalie. Tonight, just so that I'm not dragging it around in the new year, I paid it. All 189.45 of it (that's for 2 months). I'm still thinking about reducing the cable. It's already pretty bare bones, no cable box, no tevo, nothing. But if we aren't watching it, and we mostly watch movies anyway, we might as well. I'm jealous of people with cable boxes that tell them what they're watching. We just have to guess. Half the reason I don't watch the cool tv shows is that I don't know when they're on or what channel.

Another debt I'm paying tonight is a medical bill from February. I had thought my insurance took care of it when instead they sent me a check which I had no idea what it was for. I didn't get this bill until july or august. I'm just getting around to paying it; it's $124. It will get sent off tonight.

And since I'm giving all my money away, why not send some to the student loans? After I write this blog I'll send $20 to the biggest one and $10 to the smaller one.

I'm a little scared about being so generous though; my hours at work have been cut from 40 to 30, just the bare minimum to keep insurance.

I don't know if this was a dumb move or not, but I am stopping my fsa contributions. I didn't like it from the start, and now I feel forced to send in forms just to get my own money back. I know it's pretaxed and saves me money and all that, but the hassle it causes me just isn't worth it. Not to mention OTC meds won't be covered w/out an rx. I know that's a government thing but that's just stupid. On top of that, I tried to print the forms at work and they wouldn't print. Good riddance to that mess.

Hope everyone has a great new year! Maybe I'll post some goals on the side. Everyone needs a few goals in life.

Thrifty charity!

December 17th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Since I got such a wonderful dog from an animal shelter, this Christmas I decided that it would be my special charity. Of course the animals don't know that it's Christmas, but they do feel cold and loneliness.

Instead of giving the shelter some cash (which of course they could use for whatever they wanted), I thought that my money could go further by shopping around. I had a $5 off coupon at Walgreens and with my employee discount, a $10 dog bed became less than $4. I bought 3 blankets and 3 towels at Goodwill, which came up for less than $10. I also had 2 old blankets with a few holes in them laying around the house. I had a brand new collar that I didn't end up using a while back (I could have returned it I guess, but really not worth the energy) and a toy that Jackie couldn't play with because it's too big. So for 5 blankets, 3 towels, a brand new dog bed, a new collar, and a tennis ball: total was approx $13 to $14 dollars.

So the next time ya'll have old blankets, towels, pet related things, or just a great deal on something that a dog or cat would like, I hope you will consider donating it to your local animal shelter. The websites for shelters will usually have a list. Oh, and one more thing: Adopt, don't shop!

Just a November entry (haven't made one for this month yet!)

November 30th, 2010 at 07:58 pm

Hi everyone, today is a sick day for me. I tried to go in but I was very nauseous, etc. I won't go into details. Louisiana weather can be sudden and whenever it gets cold I catch a cold. Yesterday people were wearing short sleeves. Tonight it may go into freezing temps!

Anyway this month has been a lot of fun in some ways. I have gotten to catch up with a ton of friends. Also I got to go to the Renaissance Festival and rode an elephant there! It was so much fun even though I was exhausted from the one day trip.

Financially, the month has been a bust. $100 here, $100 there. But when I say bust, I just mean that I haven't been able to save much. On my last check I saved $200, but I don't think I saved any on the last 2 checks before that! I am kind of disappointed in myself because I can afford to save $300 on every paycheck. But that doesn't mean that it happens! Also I make 1400 every month. My major bills equal a little over $400. With about $100 for food and approx $50 for gas I don't know where the rest is going. However I did loan a family member $100 this month and getting it back would be like having saved it. Unfortunately this family member hasn't said anything about it.

I'm not looking forward to Christmas really. I would rather save all that money. If that sounds selfish, I'm sorry. I know everyone appreciates a gift on Christmas, but after that day, nobody cares! What's the point? The religious aspect means nothing to me as well. Maybe if I had my own family with kids or something but nowadays, it's not so exciting.

Been seeing a new guy for the last month and a half, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I like spending time with him and all, but he is broke from his low-paying job so we don't do too much but watch dvd's. And then he says stuff like when he gets a better paying job he won't have time for anything else. If that's not writing on the wall, I don't know what is! So I don't really know what to do with that.

But anyway, sorry this is such a negative sounding post. Being sick doesn't put you in the best of moods I guess. And if I don't get paid for a sick day today, my paycheck will be really bad.

Hope everyone is doing better than I am, haha!

PS: To cheer everyone back up I'm including a Thanksgiving pic of me and the dog I got in July. I loved it so much I made a poster out of it, lol!

Found money (sorta) + outgoing money for Praxis

October 14th, 2010 at 07:12 pm

Hey everybody, first blog of the month (finally).

This past week my boss asked me to write a formal complaint letter to a jewelry store for her. I spent a few hours on it and emailed it to her. When she read it she was pretty pleased. Then she paid me $15 bucks for it! I wasn't even expecting any money for it, I thought she was joking at first even. The reason she wanted me to do it was because if companies piss me off, I write a complaint letter (I will also write a letter if I received good service). So whenever I do write one I usually tell my fellow employees about it usually just because it's something to talk about. I've become known laughingly for writing them and my boss genuinely did want me to write one for her. Today when she got to work she put $15 bucks in my pocket! I thanked her and told her I really wasn't expecting anything. Pretty cool overall. I tried to get really angry for her while writing it, lol!

In other news, I paid $130 for the Praxis test, which is the test for teacher certification. I'm trying to find a school that will certify me at the moment as well. Problem is that the directions for doing so is not real clear. I just know that I'm taking the first step. Second step? No idea. The official Teach Louisiana page is confusing and just tells you a list of schools that will certify you. I wish I had someone's help. Hopefully I'll figure it out though.

In savings news I'm trying to put away at least $600 a month in hopes of going to grad school (for education). If I go to the University of New Orleans my uncle has offered to put me up for free, but we'll see how things go with getting into a school and all.

Anyway just wanting to put out a blog. Hope everyone is well, and I do read everyone else's blogs just about every day, I just get lazy myself and there's not much going on lately. I'll blog again at the end of the month.

So excited about money this month!

September 5th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

And why am I so excited about money? Because not only is my car paid off, but this month is one of those awesome 3 paycheck months. I figured this out just a couple days ago by the way. How did I miss stuff like this before? I've been paid the same way for YEARS! I'm really trying to figure out what I should do with the funds. I got one paycheck on the 1st, then I will get one on the 15th, then again on the 29th.

So I'm trying to figure out where the money should be allotted to. Apparently this is also a conundrum to others on the internet as well when I googled it (Yes, I AM a giant nerd girl). I would LOVE to save about $1000 (each paycheck is around 600 to 650). Not to mention I will get holiday pay for tomorrow!! Also I asked my boss if insurance deductions will come out of that third paycheck and she said "No, that would be illegal," lol. So that's an extra $50 maybe a little more.

It just feels so good to save so much more money now that a huge debt is gone. And I get that much closer to moving out as well, once I find the right apartment and the right roommate(s). I think that I will try to especially allot the next paycheck towards paying off a couple of smalls debts (dentist, medical) plus the student loan bills. After that I should be able to allocate the rest towards saving. The last paycheck will go towards a couple of bills early in the next month, and the rest shall be mine to save!

However, I have to say sometimes when I blog about extra money, I feel as if I'm bragging about it. I would like to say that I'm not trying to if it seems like it! I just feel the need to write everything out for myself more or less, and why not on my financial blog?

One more thing: I may have to take my cat to the vet soon. Ever since we got a dog, he's been super nervous. He's always been on hyper alert all his life, but I think the new dog is making him lose weight. I easily feel his spine sticking out and you can tell by looking at him that he's thin. He still eats and drinks though. He also had an accident on the rug which is very unusual for him. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, thanks to those who read my ramblings. I'll most likely check in soon.

Car is PAID OFF!!

August 23rd, 2010 at 09:13 pm

What? I know, I can hardly believe it either. I went inside the bank today (with my check, some cash, and some change) and expected to sign a bunch of papers or something, something meaningful (balloons falling from the ceiling?) Nope, just a "Your title will come in 7 to 10 days." Well at least it's over with. Now, just some student loans to work on and unfortunately some charged off medical debt. So now I have a paid off car!

Medical Bills- UGH!

August 17th, 2010 at 03:36 pm

So I had a bunch of blood tests done that I didn't even really need in March. I wasn't even aware of what they were testing for. I just knew that I was being tested for problems with my liver (I am an epileptic and am on a medication that can affect the liver, so no I'm not an alcoholic, lol!) The tests range from 29.75 to 90.50 and there were 6 of them done which caused the bill to be 365.35. I think that is ridiculous. Five months later I finally get the bill for 124.00. The insurance picked up the rest. Actually my insurance sent ME a check for this amount way back in April but I didn't know who the money was for since I hadn't received a bill from anybody. Maybe I shouldn't be complaining since technically insurance paid the whole thing (the 124 is actually from my health savings account). But it just sucks that I'm getting the bill now. I don't know if I should pay it from my checking account or pull it from my savings where I originally put the money.

In other news, in a few days from now I will be paying the very last payment on my car. It will feel so good. It's a large payment though (550) so my checking account won't be feeling so good.

I put a dress up on Craigslist that I had never worn and it didn't sell. I'm going to try and sell it through ebay I guess since I would like to make money off it before donating it. It was once an expensive dress.

Bye everyone, and hope everyone is having better weather than I am here. It has been raining consistently all day due to some storm that's hit the gulf.

haven't written in a while, just money ramblings

July 28th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Well the last time I wrote, it got deleted so I'll try again.

The main thing I wanted to write about was my car loan. It will be paid off next month!! I decided instead of dragging it out with 3 smaller payments to just do 2 large ones since I feel I can afford it. It's depressing to spend most of your paycheck on a car loan but it will feel sooo good not to have it on my back anymore. So I will pay 553 dollars next month and it will be done. Title please! I've been saving change and picking up whatever change I see on the ground and putting all of that towards it too. I gave the bank $25 in change which I had saved for several months.

In other money news I am owed $50 from my work for a work expense. I just haven't gotten around to claiming it. Also my fsa account is giving me back at least $60. Do any of you that have an fsa account have to save receipts so you can send it in with forms to reclaim your money? Probably not. It's the stupidest thing ever. I wish I hadn't done it looking back but now I know. So now that the papers are mailed in I have to wait until the money is deposited in my bank account. Also only until recently did they deposit the money direct deposit. They were sending checks out. That would have been fine I guess but it just would have taken longer. They won't switch to debit fsa's because "not enough employees enroll in fsa". This is Walgreens, not Mom and Pop's Pharmacy and Convenience store. I hope they see this post btw. Thanks for letting me rant!

So for less money news, I went to auto zone recently to pick up some auto coolant. I decided to get some for my sister as well. I found some buy one get one with a rebate. So I filled out the rebate then got it in the mail. As a side note, I received from them what I thought was a post card. Nope, it was THE rebate check. In postcard form. WTF?? It just seemed wrong to me. So anyway I was happy about that and put the check away in my room. It then disappeared when things were moved around (not by me.) I believe it had an expiration date on it to cash it by and I cannot find it anywhere! I'm really mad at myself for this but I swear to god this house eats things, anyone in my family will tell you the same thing. $13.99 vanished.

I got a dog recently as well. He is a Pekingese mix (Pekingese face, Papillion-like body, so I don't have to deal with all the hair). I did get him from a shelter, a kill-shelter at that, though I don't think they would have euthanized him since he was very adoptable. The lab techs even kept him with them while they worked since he was so quite and nice. He is 2 to 3 years old and only has one eye. He was given up by the owner because of the cost of his surgery. I don't know exactly what happened, just some sort of accident. He's a wonderful little dog though we are still working on potty training. He picked up a "potty wherever I want to" habit in the shelter but he's doing very well. I will add pictures so you can see Jackie.

It costs so much to have a dog! Especially getting started! Heartworm/flea meds were over $60, plus a followup vet visit. And I got so mad because I spent a lot of money at Petco for supplies. The shelter had given me coupons for rescue dogs. I thought they were for Petsmart so I left them at home. Of course when I looked at them again they were for Petco. I really need to pay attention to detail if I am to become a smart money person.

Anyway even with the money spent I'm so glad I have him. I had a dog briefly over 15 years ago but because of issues that were not the dog's fault we had to give her up. I missed her very much and I grew up with dogs so it always feels like something is missing. They are a lot of work but it is rewarding and I wish I could do more for the shelter dogs (and cats). It sounds corny but we are very lucky to have each other!

Well, sorry for the unexpectedly long post, I envy you guys who can post more frequently, because I can't seem to keep up with anything.

I am a super skilled master car price negotiator!

May 27th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Ok, maybe not a "super skilled master" but I am kind of proud of myself. My sister has been looking for cars for about 6 months now trying to build up as much money as she could after her last car broke down. I LOVE looking at cars and talking to dealers and all that unlike some people who don't like the hassle.
She missed out on a decently priced car for about $1600 that was pretty nice plus it had a/c. People brought money like, 20 minutes before she did.

I found the listing on Craigslist (she bought her last one through it and the guy selling it was creepy btw, whole different story) for a Ford Escort '99. But not just a regular boring Escort. It's a Ford Escort Zx2 Sport and is super cute. It has power everything and a sunroof. It's a black coupe. Paint still looks good and it has a few scuffs but overall looks great.

Here is what really gets on my nerves: when car dealers or personal owners do not even bother to clean out the insides of their vehicles. I mean, if you want to sell it you would at least want to have it detailed, or cleaned yourself right? I have seen this too many times with used cars and it just really aggravates me. This car was actually clean on this inside with little to no staining. I understand it's the inside that counts but it makes me think that it wasn't maintained well overall.

Back to the story: We looked it over and test drove it, and I knew the approximate dealer price for it. Sis really loved it and I liked it too. So I then told her to possibly ask for a lower price. She then said, "But I don't know how to do that!" So I had to ask myself if I would want to try for a lower price, even though it seemed that the price was about right for the vehicle. We went inside the office and I said, "Well, she does like it, but we were wondering if there was any room in that price?" All smooth like. I expected the lady to go down 1 or 2 hundred. She automatically went from 2300 to 2000 all because I asked nicely. I thought that was a VERY reasonable price plus that left my sister with extra money for insurance. Yay!

Maybe I should start a car negotiator service kind of like William Shatner in the Priceline commercials. CAR PRICE NEGOTIATOR!!! That would be fun.

As far as my own car goes, once I get a chance to get to the credit union I will then owe approx. 1300. I forgot how to update the side of the blog though. Also this week I have picked up 62 cents off the ground, mostly coming from a car wash that had change laying all over the parking lot. It was very exciting!!

Hope everyone on SA has a great weekend!

A little extra money here and there

April 30th, 2010 at 12:11 am

Hi all it's been approx. a month since I've blogged because I've been dealing with a lot of crap recently. The boyfriend and I have broken up sadly but I won't go into it here, it's just the regular old feelings of sadness and all of the stuff that goes into breaking up with your best friend. Sucks but life is going to go on. Also I had to have a back tooth pulled which is still sore and I wish I had known how bad it would hurt so I could've taken some days off. I know from now on but I just wish the dentist would have told me this might would happen.

Anyway onto better things, my sister moved back into my parents house and things are a little cramped. But I think I may be in a much better place to move out later this year so that's a major goal for me. I also mentioned in one of my past blogs that I was going to try and make an extra thousand dollars of money to save. I've been working really hard on that and decided to post my results finally.

Tally on extra thousand:
1. Sold an old working laptop that I wasn't using anymore. I now use an Acer laptop that my dad got me and I love it. I loved the old laptop too and I genuinely hated getting rid of it since I had it for so long but I'm trying to look at things from the point of view that if I'm not using it at all and haven't been for a long time I might as well get rid of it by selling or giving it away. I had asked my now ex-boyfriend how much it might be worth and he said he didn't think I could get anything for it because of it being old (him and his negativity) but I could try for $100. I put it on Craigslist and ended up with $75. Looks like someone did think it was valuable enough to pay for it!

2. Received an unexpected check from my health insurance company because my doctor was overcharging me or something. Check was $125.00.

3. Overtime at my job. I received about $12.

So the total so far is $212! That's on top of my emergency fund too, so I'm excited to keep building upon this. I will also count up my change and extra dollars as well and possibly add that in later.

Tomorrow I have a TON of things I need to get done including pay more on my car. Last time they didn't take any interest out, maybe because I've paid so much in advance? I was kind of confused on that since they were taking out interest before and I was paid ahead then too. Whatever if it all is going to principle then that's awesome. Total on that after tomorrow is going to be $1650. Getting so close! Also I'm going to a consignment store and attempting to sell some clothes, if they take even one thing then that's a plus and more money for my personal challenge. I'm also going to try and get money back from my technician certification (that might be a story in itself) and send off the forms to reclaim some FSA money. Then I'm going to dump a ton of stuff off at the Goodwill. It will hopefully be a very productive day and a great long weekend for me!

Dentist appointment today and taxes

March 22nd, 2010 at 10:55 am

Well I'm kind of nervously writing this because later I'm getting dental work done, but I've forgotten what I'm getting done and how much it will cost. I guess I'll find out in less than an hour. I know I'll have the money to pay but I just hate paying out that much at one time.

I did my taxes last night. It took a long time to get my stuff together so I finished at about 11pm. Took about an hour overall. I'm really excited because I was praying I wouldn't have to pay anything but as it turns out I'm getting a little less than $500 back. I don't know what to do with the money though! Pay towards debt or save it to help me move out later this year. Before I move out I want the car note completely gone, so maybe car debt?

Speaking of car debt there is 2300 on it. I still have to pay March's note so that will bring it to around 2000, maybe a little less! I just remember thinking how long it would take to bring that sucker down and now it's almost here!

Student loans are there too. They are about at a little under 13,000.

I called a company that I sent my resume to today, and left a message on HR's voicemail. They haven't gotten back to me yet if they ever do. I so wish my school had a better system of finding graduates jobs. I know it's not their problem but it would have been nice.

Anyway, birthday weekend is coming up. I have decided that I would like to go to the zoo with my family and a few friends. After that I'll probably go out to some bars and hang out with friends. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Nielson scanner woes and Amazon's mechanical turk

March 16th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Ok so a couple of projects I've learned about on Savings Advice. I'll tell you about the worst one first because I would like to warn people about it.

The first is the infamous Nielson Shopping Scanner (or whatever you call it.) AVOID it like plague. It's not that it doesn't work well. Oh, it works alright. So you take EVERY SINGLE THING YOU BUY and scan it. Well, actually first you have to select the person in the house who bought it. Then you scan the item. Then you tell it if there was a deal involved. Then you tell it if you used a coupon. Then you tell it how much it was. Repeat ad nauseum per item until you get to the end and put in how much the total was. I know what you're thinking: "Well, if it were me I would just lie." Actually I do lie. A lot. I lie so hard to that thing.

You might be wondering why I would ever order such a thing, not to mention wait months to be accepted into the program. Well, I'm a huge sucker for free things. Supposedly you get rewards for transmitting the results every week, then you get bonuses for surveys and for being a good shopper and transmitting on time. At least the transmitting part is not a problem. It sits in it's charger and self transmits. If you have enough points you can actually get some decent stuff like ipods and electronics. But believe me you'll be scanning things for about a decade before you'll get something decent. Also supposedly you can win some weekly and monthly prizes. But I don't care. I'll be sending it back in a week or so. I guess I'm just lazy but why do all this for so long to maybe get 1 or 2 semi-nice things?

On to thing #2. It is called Amazon Mechanical Turk and it is run by Amazon.com. I learned about it from Ceejay a while back. You basically do really tiny tasks for a very small amount of money, and I do mean small. I try to do the ones from .20 to 2.00. Now a lot of people don't like it because of the small amounts of money that you get from doing work, but sometimes the work is ridiculously easy and can be done quickly.

Some of the "hits" as they are called range from writing stories about your vacation (I received a dollar recently for doing this), reviewing a recent movie, doing surveys about your opinions, as well as occasional games that you play. The amount that you get varies. Also since I've been doing this I've gotten emails from some of the employers asking me to do other similar hits to the ones I've already done for them and gotten bonus money. Critics have complained about the low amount that one receives from mturk. But I don't do it as a job. If I didn't have a full time job I would be better off taking a part time job than doing mturk all the time. However, I enjoy the tasks, as well as doing it whenever I want. When I get bored and have a free minute or while watching tv, whatever. Then when I get some money built up (Amazon has no minimum in order to transfer btw) I can either convert the money into an Amazon gift card or transfer it into my bank account. It's super easy.

Anyway I've spent way to long on this post. I'll give everyone a more personal update soon especially on debt levels.

Having a sick day!

March 1st, 2010 at 08:07 am

Hey everybody, been wanting to write for a while but haven't come up with much. Well today I'm having a sick day. I feel very bad for calling in (today would have been a very very bad day to call in) but I am legitimately sick, and am going to the doctor later, so I'll have an excuse. Sure I'll be out of some money maybe, but I'm thinking I'll ask for today to be a vacation day so I'll get paid for it. Btw, I have 23 vacation days! I'll never use all of them but I'll see!

I found out today that I'm getting a refund of $57. This is what I paid at the doctor at the beginning of February though I had insurance. The nurse who billed me simply said that I have a $1000 deductable, however I also have a HRA with several hundred in it that should have been billed. So I called my insurance and they said that I need the doctor to refund my money! I'm so glad I called. The whole time I was thinking that maybe the doctor was out of network or something. Later today I will ask them about that and make sure they don't charge another $57!

Another refund I hope to be getting is one for $135 for work expenses, and I should definetely get $100 of it. The other 35 is for the notary that kind of screwed me over.

I was also thinking about a bunch of ya'll's money challenges. I never really understood the $20 challenge or anything, but I think what I will do is challenge myself to earning an extra $1000 this year. No time limit or anything. It should be interesting.

Today, since I can stay home, I'll pay the car note. That will bring down the debt to around the 2300 mark.

Love the change blogging from everyone. I love finding change and look for it often (I'm encouraged by everyone here) but I won't bore you with the details. Hope everyone has a great March! My birthday is coming up on the 27th so I love March myself!