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Natural Disaster Overload

September 10th, 2017 at 03:15 pm

It seems that our country if experiencing a natural disaster overload, or fatigue. They seem to be nonstop & devastating. I pray that you are all well and not suffering the ill effects of the hurricanes, floodings, and wildfires ravaging our country at the moment. I am happy that my area was spared after the devastating floods last year.

My retirement accounts did bounce back to $600k and even exceeded that amount. That was nice to see. I am looking forward to meeting with my Bogleheads group next month & discussing the recent market moves.

I am going to order A Random Walk Down Wall Street to read. It seems to be a popular book among investors & my group. I also plan to order some travel books for my upcoming trips to London & Edinburgh, as well as Greece.

Finally Back Online!

August 24th, 2017 at 08:24 am

I finally purchased a new laptop & have computer access at home again. I always had my phone, but you just can't do everything on your phone. I got a Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 with touch screen. There are a few things that I'm not crazy about, but overall I like it. Can't be too picky at the price I paid. It's much smaller & lighter than my last laptop. I'm just sorry that I didn't back it up before it died on me.

This is the time of year that I start paying attention to any news about retirement plans limits. This morning I read projections that the 401k limit may go up to $18,500, but not sure about the IRA limits.

Seems that the stock market has relaxed a bit. I had a couple of days that I had reached $600k before it pulled back. I should have done a screenshot of my Mint.com accounts to remember the feeling I had when I saw my investments balance. Smile I hope that with regular contributions I'll see that number again before the end of the year.

Spendy Week

July 23rd, 2017 at 09:06 am

This has been a spendy week between paying off one trip, booking another trip, and having to replace my laptop that died on me. And yes, I could kick myself for not having backed up my computer before it finally died on me. Oh well, I will have to get someone to try & recover those files or call them a loss. Nothing is irreplaceable I don't think. Most of my pictures I upload to my FB account or have in my phone.

I ended up buying the Dell Inspiron 11" 3000. It's a 2-in-1, which I finally figured out is like a laptop & a tablet combined. I don't do much besides browsing the web on my laptop & keeping track of my financial goals in Excel spreadsheets so it's probably more than sufficient for my needs.

I've noted that the big boost that my home value got in the months following the flood has disappeared so I have adjusted for that. I also finally got my insurance claim settled for my plumbing leak damages so we scheduled the repairs for next month. I'll be so happy to not have to look at holes in my ceilings & walls!

I had a wonderful vacation in New York & Virginia earlier this month. We saw several shows. I personally saw Bandstand, Hello Dolly, Sweeney Todd, The Great Comet, and 1984. We also visited the Met & the Cloisters. On Sunday I got to go to Hillsong church which I also did last year. I took the train from Penn Station to Union Station and spent 4 days with my sister's family. I really enjoyed my time with the kids.

I am looking forward to my cruise in October and my trip to England & Scotland after Christmas. In March I have a trip planned to Greece. I can't think about booking anymore trips for a while. I am working more hours at my second job in between my trips. Fun comes at a cost!

Increased Loan Payments

May 28th, 2017 at 08:58 am

I have increased payments for my auto & TSP loans, as well as my mortgage. Those few dollars won't be missed, but over time they will really add up towards paying down my debt sooner. I am now very close to breaking even on my principal vs. interest amounts. Very soon I will be paying more on principal that interest. And I have more than 50% equity in my home. I wish that I had increased payments sooner, but better late than never.

I am going to enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I got up early to take my car in for service. I purchased the tire care package when I bought my car & I have made good use of it. I think this is the second tire that I have had replaced already. They found a small hole that couldn't be patched.

Then I came home & napped, which I have needed. Last weekend I worked 24 hours while fighting a cold. Then yesterday evening I dropped by my co-workers' son's 16th birthday to give him a card and some cash for his gift. They had a ton of food. I ate some there & they send me home with a plate of shrimp, my favorite.

Today I am just being lazy until it's time for church this evening. I will eventually do some much needed cleaning. The gym is not closed tomorrow for the holiday so I won't get out of my run.

At home I have several ceiling repairs to be done due to roof leaks & a tub leak from my second floor bathroom. The plumbing repairs of nearly $700 I had to pay for, but the damages will be covered by insurance. It's so hard to find contractors at this time.

Oh, updates on my other passion besides personal finance...travel! I am going to New York & DC over 4th of July. Taking a short cruise this autumn, traveling to England & Scotland after Christmas, and Greece in the spring. I'm turning 40 in December & celebrating all year!


December 10th, 2016 at 07:25 pm

In New York for the night en route back from Dublin. Will fly back home tomorrow. I had a wonderful trip, though our time was short. We did the 48 hour hop on, hop off bus which made it easy to see a lot of the sites. I saw almost everything that I wanted to see, with the exception of Kilmainham Gaol (sold out in advance) and Jameson Distillery (closed for renovations until St. Patrick's Day 2017). At the price we got our trip for on Groupon Getaways, I'm okay with making a return trip. Maybe next time I'll see the coastal towns.

I see stocks continue to rise. I still thinking we're in for a recession soon, but I'll enjoy watching the gains until then.

December 2016 Goals

November 27th, 2016 at 08:08 am

One month and a few days left in 2016. Three more paychecks. I am on track to max out my TSP & Roth IRA. I will contribute at least 6k to my 401k for the year as well. Other expected income includes the cash my parents give me for my birthday & Christmas. I haven't heard what bonus we'll receive at work, if any.

Black Friday spending included the sale at B&BW and some gifts on clearance for co-workers at Williams Sonoma. I bought some new sneakers online yesterday. Don't think they'll get here in time for my trip, but they were needed regardless. At least shipping to the store for pick-up was free.


February 8th, 2015 at 11:00 am

Yes, finally. Finally, my promotion is on record. My last paycheck was supposed to my first for my increased pay, but that wasn't done in time. So this week's paycheck will have a double increase. I've stepped up my credit card payments & have applied for PRN jobs to provide additional income to get my debt paid off for good.

The things that I usually shop for I've been abstaining from. It feels good. I've made a few clothing purchases (caught an 80% off end of season sale) to supplement my work wardrobe. I plan on advancing my career every chance that I get. I'm taking all the classes I can & networking every chance I get. I've never been more motivated. This promotion has been a very good thing & I'm so grateful.

2014 Goals Part II

December 28th, 2013 at 08:53 pm

I am enjoying reading about everyone's goals for 2014. It inspires & excites me for what is ahead in the coming year.

I told myself that I was content with working one job, but as I look at my goals, I decided to apply to work a part-time job again. I may not get it, but it would be incredibly convenient as the hospital is located just down the street. It would also help me meet my savings goals & re-build my emergency fund. And the more I work the less time I have to spend money.

Hurricane Isaac

October 5th, 2012 at 04:04 pm

I'm anticipating that I will get some extra income in the next month from working during the hurricane. This will help fund my vacation & the hours I will miss working at my second job while on my vacation. I will save the rest in my savings. I plan to fully fund my Roth IRA in January with cash in savings.

2012 Financial Goals

January 1st, 2012 at 01:50 pm

New limit of $17,000 to TSP ($16,500 to TSP in 2011)

$5,000 to Roth (EFT completed today for market open on Tuesday, have always maxed out my IRA)

Pay off credit card debt completely (this is the big one, and I'm determined to see this one completed by the end of the year)

Pay off car (on track to have my car paid off long before the end of the year, can use the money to help pay off other debt)

Continue to pay off grad school loans with the help of my employer's student loan repayment plan.

I'm not too worried about paying additional on mortgage until I complete the previous goals.

When It Rains, It pours

August 28th, 2011 at 07:29 am

Just when you think you're finally getting ahead, or even catching up, expenses just seem to keep coming. After getting new tires, I've decided that I've put off repairs around my house for long enough. I'm taking off next week, but I'm not going on vacation. I'll be at home getting things done around the house as well as well as picking up a few extra hours at my other job. That will help with the expenses a little. I need new fans, new light fixtures, check for a leak under my sink, some landscaping. Too many things!

New Tires

July 30th, 2011 at 06:17 pm

Well, I'm out almost $400 today for a new set of tires. Thank goodness my air conditioning is still holding on. When it rains, it pours.

I'm nervous about what my investments will do when the markets open Monday. This government impasse is making me nervous with every passing hour.

Vacations & Taxes

March 6th, 2011 at 10:37 am

In less than two weeks we will travel to Virginia for my niece's first birthday. My mom offered to pay for the plane tickets, but I will pay for luggage fees and other things as I am well able to pay for my own plane ticket, but she insists.

I am going to San Jose in January and my friend invited me on a cruise next July. So I have those trips to pay for as well as my tax bill of $1200 next month. The cruise will be about $1200 and the trip to California I'm estimating at least $1200 as well. Hopefully I'll get good hotel deals once again on Hotwire.

2010 W-2

January 8th, 2011 at 10:48 am

The federal government wants to be sure we pay our taxes on time! Already got my W-2 online this week. I got my retention pay that was shorted on the last paycheck of 2010. I also got my first student loan payment. They put it on my check for tax purposes, but it gets sent directly to Sallie Mae. So now I'm just waiting on my other W-2 from the state. I also need interest forms for my student loan and mortgage, as well as year end contributions from my charities.

CFC (the Combined Federal Campaign for federal employees) is easy as the same amount gets taken out each week on my paycheck and I pledge a certain amount for the year.

ChildFund (aka Christian Children's Fund) takes out a different amount every month depending on whether it's a month that I pledge an additional gift to be given directly to my sponsored child. Usually it's just the $24 sponsorship, but some months they deduct additional as I give gifts for Easter, her birthday, and Christmas, and they then add a gift handling fee on top of that.

I've considered ending my sponsorship with Child's Fund and just giving to CFC. It's hard to do that when you have a child to connect with your giving. You know that child's name, you see her face, you know all about her family.

I'm adding up the gifts that I remembered to track for the year and I'm up to $1,500 so far. I don't mind giving to family and friends and charity. It's a pleasure.

LSU won last night. I fell asleep watching the game. I guess I knew they were going to win at that point. Really proud of Jordan Jefferson's performance last night. I hate all the criticism he gets.

Today the Saints play the Seahawks. I'm worried. They have a lot of players not listed. Seahawks aren't a strong team, but any team can beat any team on any given Sunday, or Saturday in this case.

Starting my fasting on January 10th. I hope that I'm ready for this! I will need a lot of prayer.

Happy Birthday to me!

December 4th, 2010 at 08:18 pm

Two hours until my 33rd birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

This week I got some bad news, later replaced by really good news. I guess many saw that there was a proposed spending freeze for federal employees. While not exactly excited about that, I understood it. Then the next day I found out that my expected annual performance appraisal bonus was doubled what I expected. So that extra money will exceed the 1.4% raise that was proposed for next year. What an awesome early birthday present! Our organization must have done really well in our performance indicators. I'm proud of us. Despite what the public perception may be of federal employees, we really do try to go above and beyond for our veterans.

I was feeling a little bored today and decided to do some Christmas shopping. I know, I'm so bad. I really need to get presents for men, but it's always so much easier to shop for women, so that's what I ended up buying. Oh my goodness, the mall traffic was crazy. I didn't even make it to the mall. I just shopped near the mall then I wimped out and left. Besides, my brake tag expired in October and I suddenly remembered that fact. My car was in the repair shop for most of last month due to repairs from my accident in September.

So the moral of that story is, don't go to the mall on the weekend in the month of December. That's just crazy. I need to not forget that lesson next year. I really do not ever remember it being like that before now. Maybe this is a sign of economic recovery. I sure hope so.

I don't mean to be flippant about the economic prosperity I enjoy, but I'm kind of tired of hearing about what's wrong with our country. I'd like to start hearing that we're doing great. Sometime soon please. That will be my wish when I blow out the candles on my cake.

Keurig Coffee Maker

October 30th, 2010 at 06:34 pm

I decided to buy myself a Keurig coffee maker for my birthday in December. I've been going back and forth about it for a while. It's expensive, but I know that I will enjoy it. I picked up a special 48 count holiday varieties of K-cups at Macy's today. I plan on buying all the components (coffee maker, k-cups, k-cup holder) on sale. I always have 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My mom has already invited herself over to my place to use it. She loves to use my older sister's when she visits her.

Going the Distance

September 5th, 2010 at 09:02 pm

Just saw Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. It was hilarious, yet sweet at the same time. But warning to some who may be offended by strong language and graphic sex scenes: it fully deserves its R rating.

The weight of debt on my shoulders...

April 17th, 2010 at 09:14 am

I've been stressing about my debt a lot - but doing very little to alleviate it. This month I bought plane tickets for 2 separate trips next month. I also need to book a hotel for the second trip. Thank goodness I can get very nice hotels for very low prices at Hotwire.com. I love that website. I've had much better experiences with that website than with Priceline.com.

I'm going to have to curb my spending after these trips in order to pay down my debt like I'd like to. It's not a lot, but I have far less worries when I'm debt free.

My parents welcomed their first grandchild March 21st. My niece Laura Elizabeth is just precious and I can't wait to meet her next month.

My mom and I attended the strawberry festival last Saturday and I really enjoyed it. I need to take advantage of all the great festivals in this area. South Louisiana in particular has the best food festivals. We missed the oyster festival last month - hate oysters - but will go next spring. My sister sent me an e-mail about the crawfish festival. That should be fun.

So long gone!

March 6th, 2010 at 08:48 am

I was just doing some financial homework online and realized how very long it has been since I posted a blog here.

I am doing well, both personally and financially, though I wish that I could be more focused and disciplined when it comes to my credit cards. I think that will be my big challenge in 2010.

Things going on with me:

I am still working my second job and enjoying that additional income. I've been thinking about adding another income source. I think it's good to have several sources of income. It provides security, as long as you aren't dependent on all those different sources of income. I would sell Avon, but worried that I would spend it my income buying Avon for myself, family, and friends!

I have been attending a church that I really enjoy. I am becoming more involved there. I have enjoyed my spiritual growth in recent months. I definitely feel more at peace.

I have lost 13 pounds since joining the YMCA in September. I hope to lose at least 13 more by the end of summer and even more beyond that. I am a slow loser because I do enjoy my food! Obviously.

I am expecting my first niece in 9 days. I'm so excited and I love her already! We went to Virginia a couple of weeks ago to participate in a surprise baby shower. We had so much fun.

More Money Coming In, More Money Going Out

May 23rd, 2009 at 09:31 am

Funny how that works right? I'm finding that what I didn't want to happen is happening. The more money I bring in from working PRN, the more money goes out. Granted, it's going towards paying off debt, but I hope that I can return to living on a lot less if or when I return to just working my one job.

No New A/C!

May 3rd, 2009 at 05:30 pm

My air conditioning went out last weekend. I called a company to come on Monday afternoon, took a few hours off from work to meet them, they charged me a ridiculous price ($301) to change a wire and tried to convince me to buy one of their overpriced A/C's or pay over $1,000 in repairs that may or may not work. My dad talked to a cousin and he came out Saturday. He changed some little thingy dingy and it cost me $65. I'll never use that company again.


May 10th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

So last month I get a notice that someone has visited my page and left their name. Of course, when you log you can't see their name unless you upgrade to "gold" membership. But there was a 7 day free trial. You know, those free trials where they take your credit card number because they know that you'll forget and they'll get some money out of you.

So of course despite my best intentions, I forgot. I just checked my credit card balance online which I rarely do, and caught it. Of course the membership fee is non-refundable and of course I promptly went to Classmates.com to see what I could do in order to avoid any more charges. I cancelled the automatic renewal that I had never authorized and deleted my credit card information. They had the wrong expiration date by a year anyway. My mistake.

I'm just pissed that I knew it was going to happen and did it anyway. I've learned my lesson.

Financial Peace University

November 24th, 2007 at 07:49 pm

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University on CD is on clearance and I bought it. I've been listening to it in my new car. I enjoy listening to him, I don't pretent to believe or follow everything he advocate, but he inspires me to do better.

I'm determined to pay off my student loan and credit card in 3 months. I will then attack my car loan and grad school loans. Repayment isn't for 18 more months on the grad school loans so I will concentrate on the car loan which is at a low 4.94%. The grad school loan are at 6.8% and the student loans in repayment are at 7.25% with a $300 balance. The original balance was over $7,000.

My car loan came in at about $17,300. The grad school loans will be $20,500, but I'm getting several thousand back once the tuition is paid. I guess I will put it on the car loan before the grad school loan.

I just bought Alicia Keys new CD at Best Buy online. Just $9.99 and free shipping!

New car

November 2nd, 2007 at 04:19 pm

I picked up my new car yesterday. I love it. It's a white 2008 Toyota Corolla LE. I did the internet pricing so got a price below invoice price after the incentive. Yes, I know all about used vs. new cars and depreciation. I'm satisfied with the decision that I've made.

Two people have come by to look at my 1997 Toyota Corolla. I think I have a buyer. I'm settling for $2,000 but I feel good about the potential buyer. She really desperately needs a car. Violet, that's my car, is looking especially nice. I vacuumed her all out and got her washed. I almost hate to sell her.

My Car...again

October 15th, 2007 at 09:22 am

My car is in the shop again. The engine light came on and it almost stalled on me as I had to turn in front of oncoming cars. That scared me. They called about 4 hours ago to ask me what was going on. They haven't figured out the problem yet as they haven't called to ask me if I want it repaired. They usually call sooner than this. I've had the starter, the power steering line, and the radiator repaired at this same shop. I get no rental car either as it's in the shop for repairs and not an accident. Darn.

I was just saying to my mom that I hope to keep this car through grad school. I was hoping it would hang on. Toyotas usually last longer than this and I don't know why mine hasn't faired better. I've been pre-approved for a 4.94% loan from USAA and I've looked online for some certified pre-pwned Corollas. I won't get much for mine if the problem is with the head gasket, or whatever it's called.

The longer I don't hear from the garage the more I'm thinking that the problem is significant.

Student Loans and Taxes

September 1st, 2007 at 01:15 pm

With the year 2/3 over I'm trying to get an idea of my tax situation for the year. A lot of it depends of whether my second installment of tuition of $4,500 can be paid this year instead of next. If it comes this year I'll meet the $10,000 Lifetime Education credit, if it goes through next year I'll exceed the limits and thus miss out on some of the tax benefits. I'll have to speak to our Financial Aid Coordinator to see what the situation is.

What I understood is that the payments would post as my financial aid comes in, but it looks like they're putting us on the same 4-payment schedule as those that will pay as they go. The next payment would be due January 5th if so. I'm going to ask her to post that payment in December instead. I've already taken out the loans so I'm already paying interest. Might as well have it paid on my tuition when it could help me financially, rather than next year.

Running Errands

August 17th, 2007 at 04:22 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.