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Archive for August, 2007

First day of grad school!

August 25th, 2007 at 04:17 am

So today was orientation. I got off last night after midnight. My dad had called at 8:30 last night saying that he didn't think that I should be driving my car back and forth to New Orleans. So after getting off, I went by my parents' house to get my sister's car. Actually, it's my parents' car, but you know how that is. It was all good though because she has a CD layer unlike my car so I was able to rock out on the drive up. It went by fast, but time-wise was actually about 1.5 hours. I could make it in less time, but I'm not trying to speed. They had an accident on the spillway to boot.

I got there around 7:30 this morning. I think I got maybe 2 hours sleep last night and I'm being generous saying that. I was up before 5am. They have a really nice continental spread for brekfast on class day. Every kid of juice, soda, coffee and tea, plus cereal, oatmeal, pastries galore, yogurts, and a beautiful selection of fresh cut fruits. So anyway I grabbed some fruit and coffee and tried to give myself a jolt for the day.

I'm so excited about the program and my classmates. We had to stand up and tell the class something about ourselves. I get so nervous speaking in front of people. I feel like I forget to breathe. I admire my classmates that speak so easily and I hope that their eloquence and easy conversation rubs off on me.

We had a financial aid meeting after. Oh yeah, and lunch was an awesome hot buffet meal. I can't believe that the program provides such quality in all aspects for the $18.5k fee. It really is reasonable. Anyway, I found new loans offered on my student account online after coming home. I accepted them all. They'll deduct the amounts as they come in. The rate of 6.8% isn't great, but I'd rather continue contributing to my investment accounts and get a tax break there as well as for my student loans.

So it looks like my employer will pay about $3600 and I've already paid my $500 deposit. So that leaves me a $14.4k balance. I know my parents' offered to pay some, but I'd rather have that money at another time. I think was approved for the maximum amount of loans which is something like $20.5k so my balance will be covered.

As well there is an international trip at the conclusion of the program. We'll be going to Grenoble and Paris, France as well as Geneva, Switzerland. It will cost about $3k and a guest can accompany you for $1k. Plane tickets not included. I have to take the international business course on top of my regular load so I'll have to see how I'm handling things before I make a decision. I have a while.

That's a long blog, but I guess I just had a lot to say. I'm really pumped to do this. Getting my master's has been a goal for as long as I remember (like way back when I was in high school and thought that 29 was old) and now it can actually be reality. I hope my enthusiasm doesn't waver too soon. I'm also hoping I can go and get some sleep!

Running Errands

August 17th, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Today I went get my oil changed. Now usually, this is a several hours long ordeal because I take it to Wal-Mart. But I decided to take it to Benny's Express Car Wash and they were done in 10 minutes. If course it was more expensive but you can't put a price on the frustration saved because of not dealing with the Wal-Mart car care. One time I was over an hour late for work because they kept telling me that my car was almost ready.

So I was finished in about 15 minutes including the car wash that was included in the $31.99. I also got an air filter. I think the total price was $54 and some change. I then headed to the post office to send back some scrubs that were the wrong size. One was labeled the wrong size and the others just ran small. Hopefully this is the end of the problems I am having trying to get my scrubs together now that we're going back to wearing one color.

Today's Market

August 16th, 2007 at 05:20 pm

I figure today's market is a great value. It's a bargain to buy today. My funds automatically purchase on the 15th of every month. Sometimes I buy high, sometimes low, but I definitely prefer the buying low. I'm not worried. I first started investing in 1999 so I got in while things were high and just before things started going down. So that was my first exposure to investing and this seems like the norm to me. I enjoyed the great market of the past few years but they also made me a little nervous. It almost seemed too good to be true. I've been waiting for a correction and now that it's happening I'm just glad that it was the even more dramatic downturn that I envisioned.

Unexpected bills pile up quickly!

August 13th, 2007 at 07:01 am

I got my bill from Chase. It was as large as I expected what with the car repair and dental bill, but I'm not able to pay off all of my monthly charges yet as I was planning to do. I thought I would have enough overtime to cover it, but apparently not. After I get my third check for August I may be able to cover it.

I was thinking of the high interest rate that I'm currently paying and thinking of using some of the balance of my loan money to pay that credit card off once and for all. The loan rate is much better than my credit card rate. I'm now pretty excited about the prospect of getting rid of that debt - finally!

457(b) goodness

August 9th, 2007 at 06:14 pm

Yes, I found out something good about my 457(b) just now. I noticed on the salary deferral agree that there is now an option to take 300 hours of annual leave as a lump sum payment to your 457(b) when leaving state employment. This is as long as you haven't met your maximum for the year. I hope that this is in addition to the 300 hours leave that you are paid when leaving state employment, but I'd rather put it in the 457(b) than cash out if not. I now have over 600 hours so this would help me not lose some hours if I can take both. Not that I'm planning to leave state employment right now, but in the future I may be.

Debt Reduction

August 9th, 2007 at 02:10 am

I'm feeling pretty good about the amount of debt that I've paid off this year. Since September 2006 I've paid off more than $9,000 in debt. Next month I'll cut my remaining $6,000 or so debt in half. I worked a lot of overtime to make this happen, but it was worth it. I can't wait until I see that amount down to $0.

These past few weeks I've had some big bills to charge to my Mastercard. I had over $600 from my car repair and about $150 for my dental bill. I hope to be able to put some overtime towards that.

Today I spent over $100 on scrubs. My hospital is now requiring that we wear a certain color so I'm getting ready for that. I said that I would wait to order them in September since the dress code isn't in effect until October, but I decided not to wait. Better to get that off my mind and just focus on grad school. I also need to have my oil changed if they didn't do that at the garage already. I don't think so, but I need to check the invoice.

And in case you're wondering, though I know you're not, my weight went back down. Thank goodness.

Whole Foods

August 6th, 2007 at 12:14 am

Darn, darn, darn. I just lost a whole entry. Here I go, here I go again...

Yesterday, I went to Whole Foods. I got some good things including some pork ribeyes to make pork chop rice skillet. I made that late last night and just put it up since I got dinner from their deli.

I got the $5.99 plate for 3 side dishes. I got shrimp/sausage/chicken jamabalaya, with cauliflower cracklins which was roasted roasted cauliflower with peas, and sauteed cabbage. It was all very good but, probably very salty as well.

I weigh myself daily and I had put on 3 pounds overnight. What?! It was so funny because I started hitting my scale because I thought it was stuck or broken. Then I remembered what I had eaten yesterday. I can't gain 3 pounds in less than 24 hours on 1400 calories. So I'm chilling out and drinking plenty of water.

I brought some cherries that I bought by my parents' house today on the way to work. These cherries ended up costing me $11 to my surprise. They're very good though. My mom called me to come by and get some food. I got some beef stew and black-eyed peas. I had some brown rice in my freezer to go along with this as well.

I really need to start cooking more. Especilly now that I'm starting school and not working as much overtime. My dining out is definitely where I could stand to cut some money. It just gets a bit tiring eating the same thing everyday, what with living alone.

First Blog

August 4th, 2007 at 07:32 am

I don't know why I never considered that there were sites for blogging about your finances, but imagine my surprise when I search for something else and stumbled upon this. I visit so many financial sites, but this is an entirely new concept for me.

So let me introduce myself. I'm 29 and single. I bought my first home last year. I'm working full-time on the 3-11 shift. I will be attending graduate school on alternate weekends starting in 3 weeks. I have two undergraduate degrees, the second earned while working full-time so I feel a little bit prepared for this.

Graduate school will cost $18.5k. I have paid the $500 deposit which comes off the original amount. Then there are $4.5k payments over the 4 semesters. My employer paid $1k. The remaining $3.5k will come from Stafford loans. Yes, more loans when I was so close to paying off the small loan from my first degree. I incurred no loans the second time around. My mom says she will pay $5k toward my tuition the last 2 semesters.

My immediate goals are to build up my emergency fund, a car fund, and a short-term savings fund, which I will call my Christmas fund. Why I call it that I'm not sure as I will end up using it for more than Christmas.

I got paid today, or actually now it's yesterday. Today's check reflected the $0.72 an hour that all state workers received. Not a huge amount, but $1500 a year, and every little bit counts. I'm going to increase my savings to start funding the aforementioned savings accounts.

Today I went shopping. It's called tax free weekend, but you actually still pay 5% local taxes. I got some school supplies, some groceries, an outfit, and some hand soaps from Bath and Body Works. I haven't shopped like that in quite a while!