Friday, July 28, 2006

Things that bothered me this week.........

Here goes the weekly random stuff!

1. I made a detour to work this morning, and saw gas at $2.97 per gallon. Yipppeeeee! I immediately filled up before coming back to NY. (this did not bother me, since I paid $3 recently)

2. Tomorrow I am going grocery shopping. This will only give me a freakin headache.

3. I need new reading glasses. MY HSA will come in handy.

4. What the heck are all those freakin tax thingies on the cellphone bill. Crap!!

5. I went to the doctor this week. Copay, copay, copay! I guess it is a necessarily evil.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Am back on track


My short-term savings goal is to have an emergency fund with $1,000. I started and was almost half way there until I hit a road block. I am very happy to say that starting today $100 is being direct deposited into my savings account.

Today was payday. My savings account was funded and the difference went into my checking account. I managed to pay the bills that are currently due with the money that is in the checking account. Funny how I am now working with $100 less and things still get done.
This just proves you can save while paying down debt.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Am saving and learning

Last week I called the cable company and downgraded my cable package to basic cable. This means I have only the local channels. This will reduce my monthly bill by at least $25 per month. I am always looking for ways to reduce my expenses each month.

The great thing is that I have rediscovered PBS. Last night I watched two shows and learned so much. The funny thing is that I used to be a PBS junkie while in college. Being stuck in the dorms during winter was not fun. I also watched PBS a lot when doing research for classes.

So now I am saving money and learning so much more.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The interest on my Sallie Mae student loan.....

Is 10.25% WTH???????

I know this is a private student loan but damn, come on. I already pay twice the minimum every other month. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the part-time evening job will work itself out soon. This extra pay check will go directly to Sallie Mae.

I will be working for Sallie Mae. Sad the things the financial aid office does not tell you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Getting in my own way

Having a plan don't mean ish unless there is action behind it. I am a planner, am talking anal-retentive-don't-like-surprises, type of planner. I had my four years of college mapped out before I was done with freshman year. I always have a plan A, B, C, D etc. I do not like when things mess with my plans. However, such is life. Plans are not set in stone. I wished this was something I knew a few years ago.

My plans are also emotionally based. If I have a great plan but emotions boil over, I change it. Why? No concrete logical reason, just my emotional response to whatever I deem an emotional disturbance. Money and emotions do not mix. (deep breath) Repeat! Money and emotions do not mix. Ok I get it, or at least that is what I tell myself. I talk a good game.

Am guilty in the past of rationalizing my purchases. Not that I am a lot better now, but I am a work in progress. No more rationalizing my purchases. I am my own stumbling block to financial freedom and ultimately getting out of debt.

Now that am paying bills monthly and also paying down debt I realize that had emotions not gotten in the way I would have been in a better position. Perhaps I would have had higher student loans and lower credit card debt, had I not used my credit card to pay for dormitory when I had no place to stay. (that's a whole other post) Looking back, emotions aside I would have made a more logical decision. I would have researched my options more instead of whipping out the credit card.

You live you learn. I am a work in progress.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How many checking accounts do you have?

I have three checking accounts, all free. I am thinking of getting another one.

1. Checking account at credit union. This credit union is connected to the job I had while in college. There is no money there, but I keep it open since I still have some blank checks.

2. Washington Mutual. This was my main checking account until Bank of America stole me away. Also, now that I work in NJ BOA is more convenient. Odd checks gets deposited to this account.

3. Bank of America. This is where I do it all. I received $50 for opening the account. I have direct deposit of my pay check and online bill pay. I absolutely love the online bill pay. The account has been opened since December 2005 with no problems (knock on wood).

4. Commerce Bank. I am thinking of opening an account with them because they have late hours and convenient locations. My cable company has a promotion where cable customers get $50 for opening an account at Commerce.

* I love FREE money*

My question is: Should I take this latest offer and open another free checking account. Do I already have to many?

Disclaimer: I check online activity each day, so I have no problem with insufficient funds. My account buffer is less than $5.00 in the BOA account.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Heat Is On!!!!

The tri-state area is under a heat wave warning. My car (black) was so hot after work today I could have made bacon and eggs on the dash. I will be going into the auto store to get one of those thingies you put over the windshield to block out the sun. Not sure what you call them. Does anyone know if these things work?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Color Purple

Everyone now and again, a girl has got to have some fun.

This week I saw The Color Purple on Broadway. The show was amazing. For those of you in NYC, or if your visiting it is definitely a must see. I enjoyed myself, laughing, crying and singing all at the same time.

My credit report

As of September 2005, New Yorkers are able to get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Since then, I have staggered each of my credit reports getting one every few months. So far, (knock on wood) I have not had any problems. I am happy to say that there are no late payments indicated on my credit report. There is one 'adverse' account which has to do with a dispute with Verizon wireless from a few years ago. This item is scheduled to be off my credit report by June 2007.

The only thing I have had to do with my report is clean up the inaccuracies with my personal information. There was eight different spelling variations of my name. My address was listed incorrectly, and my employment information was a few years old. I was able to take care of all this with experian.

There was one thing on my report that had me scratching my head. My current address is listed as a 'high risk' address. WTH is a 'high risk' address. I called experian and was told my address is considered 'high rise' because there is a business address in the same building. Well duh, management has an office on the first floor. Is it my fault that management has an office downstairs. This means that pretty much everyone in an apartment in New York City lives at a 'high risk' address. However, I was told that this does not effect on my credit.

The transunion report was a lot more accurate than experian. There were no misspellings or address problems.

Next up in a few months is Equifax.

Getting rid of Junk Mail

Today I opened my mail box and realized the amount of credit card and auto insurance offers are almost non-existent. A few weeks ago, I called the national opt-out toll free number and entered my personal information. I was a bit skeptical that this would actually reduce the amount of offers that would pile into my mail box. However, it actually works.

The national credit reporting agencies have a one stop website Visit this website to get more information on opting out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It has finally happened!!

The price of gas in my area has reached $3.00 per gallon.
I already drive as little as possible, approximately 11 miles round trip to work. Time to research other gas saving tips.

Things I do to save gas:

1. I run all my errands on my way to work.

2. I obey the speed limit.

3. Maintenance is done regularly.

4. The AC is hardly ever on.

What else is a girl to do?

It's the day before pay day

All the bills are tallied and set to go out from online bill pay. The good thing is that this week I will not be in the red where current bills are concerned. I will even start the process of growing the little emergency fund again. This week is a lot less stressful than prior weeks. I am still not where I need to be in terms of cash flow, but will get there soon.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My Filing System......

Or lack thereof, is a complete mess. Each day I open the mail box and this is what happens. I put the bills in a pile to be paid; the junk mail in a pile to get shredded. Everything else sits in a shoe box, yes a shoe box. This morning I realized the shoe box is broken, so what did I do? Ha!! transferred them to a plastic bag...LOL

Then it hit me that my filing system is in complete disarray (organized chaos). I know this much, the plastic bag has files from the last 8 months or so. In my own defense the plastic bag does not have my passport, title to my car or credit cards I no longer use. Those items are in a folder by themselves. In the event of a disaster I can just grab the folder and run. The way I figure mommy has copies of everything so I can always get a copy from her.

Then I realize..hhhmmmm this is not the most ideal way. So, I will be getting my filing house in order pretty soon. I will buy a file box and put everything away.

Friday, July 07, 2006

1 Step forward 2 Steps backward....

This is what I feel is happening right now. One of my short term goal is to save $1,000 as a start to my emergency fund. Things were going great, I almost got to the half way mark. Here comes an 'emergency' to put me back almost to zero. I consolidated my student loans and in the midst of that lost the grace period. I knew this was going to happen, however I did not plan properly (I know, I know, this means it is not a real emergency). The payment is due before next pay day so I had to use my small starter emergency fund.

The lesson I learned here is a small emergency fund is better than none. I need to plan properly for expenses going forward.
I took one extra step today and signed up for direct deposit to an ING account I have that has been lying empty. The plan here is to deposit a certain period every paycheck and then transfer it to HSBC. I used the ING for direct deposit because it was easier to figure that out than to try and deposit to HSBC.

Am playing the money psychology game here. By having the direct deposit to ING, I can only pay bills from the money that is deposited into my checking account. This will enable me to bill my emergency fund faster than without direct deposit.

My target goal remains the same to save $1,000. However, the deadline for this has been moved to the end of September.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Tax Man Cometh

Installment Payment Agreement Billing Notice.... this is the long fancy term that NY State uses when you owe taxes and cannot pay in full. I received my first notice today, and it is Bill 1 of 6.

Six whole months of paying Mr. Tax man over $100 per month. It is partly my fault. With the new job in the neighboring state last year, I never double checked to make sure they are taking out sufficient taxes. By the time I figured this out, I was doing my tax returns and it was too late.

The withholdings were changed immediately, so next year I should break even. My philosophy with taxes both Uncle Sam and his bastard state child (aka state income tax) is to break even. At worst I do not mind owing a few dollars. I do not want a big refund at the end of the tax year, not with the rate on these high yield savings account. However, this bill for over $600 was a bit much.

At tax time next year I should break even with the Tax Man.