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Unexpected Apology πŸ‘ž

March 18th, 2023 at 12:06 am

You may recall at the beginning of the year I posted about how it took weeks to get my Clark's return credited to my account. At the time I was just thankful it was received after I didn't get the tracking info (silly mistake on my part). Well, apparently it was a system wide issue because I got a mass email from the CEO. I copied a brief part of it below. It's so unusual for a large company to issue this sort of apology & I really appreciated it.

"It is unacceptable that you had to wait so long to receive your order from us, or had a delay in receiving a refund, or experienced difficulties getting through to our customer care team."

 

Patrice from Long Island

March 8th, 2023 at 03:26 am

Often in the evenings I'll watch the Dave Ramsey show on YouTube. On today's show they had a young postal worker from LI, NY named Patrice. She was there in front of the live studio audience in Tennessee to do her debt-free scream. She was absolutely amazing with her go-getter attitude. I loved her mindset that she didn't want to be like everyone else. I always admire people who aspire to be true to who they are & embrace not being ordinary. Patrice from Long Island definitely inspired me today. 

American Airlines credit card ✈️ πŸ’³

March 5th, 2023 at 11:55 pm

I opened an American Airlines credit card last year. I've done so before, but then ended up closing it once I was charged the annual membership fee after a year. I called this evening with the intention of closing the card again, but then thought about possibly traveling with my parents this summer. The benefits of not being charged for luggage both ways for 3 people outweighs the $99 annual membership fee cost. So I think I'll hold on to the card a little longer. Do any of you take advantage of an airline travel card? 

February Net Worth

March 3rd, 2023 at 01:46 am

My net worth was down for February, though not as much as expected. My investments were down & cash savings slightly up.

Net Worth: $1,218,479

Change: $-27,325

I don't include cash in checking which is about $15,000 between the two accounts. Nor do I include depreciating assets like my car.

Capital One paid my promo bonus of $100 for opening my savings account, so I took out another $10k to open a second CD while the rate is at 5.00%. I didn't want to pull anymore until I was sure that I would earn my bonus. 

My paycheck tomorrow will be my last paycheck with the 10% retention bonus. I will be fine financially, but it was a nice boost while it lasted. I'm happy that we're now recruiting & retaining staff, and we now need to focus on recruiting & retaining other positions. On the bright side, if things go as proposed we will get an 8% boost in January. Yes, it's a while away, but it's nice to know it's in the works.

 

Retention Bonus Expired?

February 27th, 2023 at 11:59 am

I don't know if you recall, but about a year ago my medical center signed a 10% retention bonus for my occupation because we kept losing people. We later received a big boost after a salary survey which equates to a little over 16%. We've been able to hire some employees since then so I expect that the retention bonus will lapse this month. This year we also got a 4% annual increase & they are already discussing an 8% increase  for next year. 

The extra money was very nice, but I think I'll be fine without. Of course, I wouldn't turn it down! With it, I've been able to accumulate more than $40k in my cash accounts which is the highest I've ever seen, plus add another $5k to my brokerage account at the end of last year. Now I'd like to give more to church & charities. 

Happy President’s Day!

February 20th, 2023 at 06:55 pm

It's a federal holiday so I'm off. Not really a true long weekend as I worked at my PRN job. I slept in, then got a text from my co-worker a little after 8:30 asking me to call him. He had gone in to work on an annual report & encountered other issues. We spent 45 minutes on the phone going over how to pull reports in our server & other miscellaneous things.

Then I had my cup of coffee and my favorite cheese pastries from Trader Joe's. I tried to make a TJ run yesterday after I got off work, but they had closed early due to a Mardi Gras parade. Speaking of, Happy Lundi Gras as well! πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’š

The only other things on my agenda today is to mop my floors, fold some laundry, and maybe see the new Ant Man movie. 

I contacted Mint & realized why my CD wasn't linking. With Capital One you have to authorize the linking of each account, so when I opened this account it wasn't going to link. Easy fix. Now my accounts will be ready when I do my end of the month assessment.

New Checking Account

February 16th, 2023 at 06:43 am

In my new efforts to make my money work for me, I opened up a new checking account at my credit union. This new account is paying 3.01% APY, dividend rate of 2.97% on balances up to $10k. I haven't closed my original checking account. I will still use my old account for deposits & check writing, but I may eventually migrate it all to the new account. As long as I maintain a $5k balance across all accounts I avoid any fees. That should be easy to do as I currently have close to $12k. I had $15k at the end of last year & moved $5k to my brokerage account. So I have accumulated another $2k in less than 2 months. I will try to keep around $5k and send the overage to my new account periodically where it can make a little interest.

Unexpected Car Repairs 🚘

February 14th, 2023 at 03:26 am

I took my car to the dealership for an oil change after the maintenance light came on at 15%. I try not to delay any scheduled maintenance as I'm hoping my paid off car lasts many more years. 
 
Of course, my routine oil change turned up more problems including brakes, leaking valve cover, and filters needing replacement (listed from most to least expensive). I opted to take care of them all in addition to the oil change. The cost was $1080.

I don't know much about cars and most likely overpaid, but I prefer to let the dealership take care of my maintenance. This is the first significant repairs that I've had on my 2015 Honda CR-V. At some point they start needing a little more expensive work. I'm at 77k miles. 

But I am blessed that I can handle this unexpected expense without it causing me any worry.

Capital One CD

February 2nd, 2023 at 01:47 pm

Well after finishing my last blog I checked Capital One & saw that they had a 5.00% 11 month CD rate until 3/14/23. I moved $10,000 in and will hold the rest on my 360 savings until I get my sign-up bonus.

January Net Worth

February 2nd, 2023 at 01:38 pm

Happy Black History Month! The January market was good to us. I'm not at my highest number, but I'm not terribly far off either. I gained $86,805 last month including contributions which were $3,750.

Net Worth $1,221,125

I am reading that we can expect the feds to continue raising interest rates into the late spring/early summer. If Capital One has paid my bonus for opening my 360 savings account by that time, I can move some money into CDs which will hopefully be at their peak rate. Their 360 account seems to be stuck at 3.3% while CD rates continue to rise. I may need to move back to my credit union.

Taxes Done!

February 2nd, 2023 at 01:31 pm

Happy Groundhog Day! What is your prediction? A short or long winter? Winter is a relative term in the Deep South, but I'm definitely okay with longer.

My H&R tax professional (my dad) finished my taxes. I owe $455 federal taxes and $309 state taxes. Not bad at all. I don't foresee my income going down significantly anytime soon and this paycheck I got a very unexpected cash award. I am very blessed indeed.

Tax Prep

January 22nd, 2023 at 02:10 pm

I plugged in my numbers into the H&R Block calculator because I was anxious about having to pay a lot this year due to increases in income. It looks like I will owe less than $100 to federal, maybe a couple of hundred to state. It doesn't seem to calculate state taxes so I'm only going off my own rough calculations.

I didn't realize that the state income tax rates went down last year. That's a huge thing as they've remained unchanged for as long as I can remember. I don't know how I missed that news. Our high sales tax rate remains unchanged.

I received my W-2 for my primary job as well as one of my 1099-INT forms and was able to upload it to the H&R Block website for my dad to work on later. I don't think he can do my family & friends tax return until after the rush anyway.

New Phone

January 19th, 2023 at 12:23 am

My iPhone X finally started dying on me. It's the same each time. Right around year 5 it will start running hot & running through the battery. I visited both Verizon & AT&T (my current carrier), before returning to Verizon and buying the phone as well as switching carriers & trying out their home internet service. I got the iPhone 14 Pro. 

I got $10 off by signing up for auto-pay. My plan also includes Apple Music which I was paying $11 monthly for, as well as subscriptions to Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. I was using my sister's subscription for Hulu. I also got a free trial of their home internet service. If I decide to keep it is is $25 monthly, which is half of what I was paying for Cox cable internet.

I paid way too much for the 3 accessories even with the 20% discount, but all in all I'm happy with my purchase. 

Annual Raise

January 14th, 2023 at 03:28 pm

I noticed that my new salary posted yesterday. It's an approximate 4% increase, though I expect to lose the 10% retention pay next month. So overall about a 6% loss, but I know that I can make my budget regardless. 

Always Get a Receipt!

January 14th, 2023 at 03:23 pm

So I did something silly & broke my own rule of always getting a receipt. I was running errrands & shopping the day I was to pick up my sister from the airport, December 21st. I dropped off a package at FedEx which contained two pairs of Clark's shoes for returns. I briefly thought it might be better to wait until after the Christmas rush, but I just wanted all packages out of my apartment. I had already dropped off 2 other packages.

When I dropped off the package at FedEx, she scanned it in, then said okay. I hesitated thinking I should ask for a receipt since one wasn't offered, but ultimately didn't. Fast forward over 2 weeks later & I realized that I never saw the return processed. Of course when I contacted Clark's: please provide the tracking number. I printed the tracking number from their website as they offer free returns.

After a few replies with no responses I figured I earned my lesson by having to take a loss, then yesterday the return finally posted. 22 days later! Not sure if they actually received the shoes or they just got tired of my emails and decided to give me the credit anyway, but I'm grateful. I'll never be in too much of a rush to ask for a receipt again. 

In other news, I saw that the Kate Spade purse that I really wanted was on sale & in the color I wanted: black! Everyone needs a basic black purse, right? I was able to purchase 2 purses in their fashion colors last month, but they were sold out of black and brown. So glad that they got the black back in stock.

Yes, I know I needed to stay away from that website, yet I'm always browsing. I kind of regret giving my niece the Kate Spade wallet for Christmas. She didn't care for the pink color. Apparently pink is too girly a color for our future soccer star. Noted, but I would have happily kept it for myself.

 

2023 Goals

January 12th, 2023 at 03:51 am

I am updating my goals for 2023, which actually haven't changed from year to year. One thing that I did not do at all last year was to give to a church. I did end up joining a church. I'm still trying to make it feel like home. I joined a ladies group & we had a nice belated holiday party this week. I don't end up attending often between working every other weekend & traveling home other weekends.

I did give to charity regularly, but I would like to give more & give to local charities more often - specifically food banks.

My 2023 savings goals looks like:

$22,500 to TSP

$6,500 to IRA

$6,000 to brokerage account (taxable investments)

$6,000 to savings

$41,000 to save in 2023

I saved $39,500 in 2022 so I'm confident that this is an achievable goal.

End of Year 2022 Part 2

January 7th, 2023 at 05:31 pm

I forgot to post my net worth for November 2022. I just wanted to note that I never count the cash in my checking account as that seems too fluid. I usually keep around $10,000 in my checking, but again, it's very fluid. Between my brokerage and savings account I have $104,106. I have that earmarked for a down deposit on a house if I wish to buy again.

November 2022 $1,209,583

December 2022 $1,158,919

My net loss for December was $50,664.

December 2021 $1.388 million

December 2022 $1.159 million

My net loss for the year was $229k, or actually $269k since I added nearly 40k to savings and investments.

The losses are a little disheartening but I became a millionaire in 2020, years before I expected to reach that goal, and I have never fallen below that. I remain optimistic about the future. Happy New Year!

End of Year 2022 Part 1

December 31st, 2022 at 02:30 pm

I expect that I'll keep coming back with year end blogs so I'm calling this part 1. I forgot to bring home my paycheck information yesterday evening, but I made approximately $119,500 gross last year from my two jobs. 

I checked my checking account yesterday & I had a balance of $15,740. Well over the $5,000 balance I need to maintain to avoid fees. I transferred $5,000 to make an end of year buy to my brokerage account to bring up my savings for the year to $39,500. With the market down yesterday it turned out to be a good day to buy.

The goal was to save $32,500 for 2022: $20,500 to my TSP, $6,000 to my IRA, and $6,000 to savings. I accomplished all that & added $7,000 to my brokerage account. This was the account I had opened to invest the profits from the sell of my condo.

I saved 33% of my gross income for the year. Pretty good even with a high rent of $1,632. I used to pay $617 a month for my mortgage. And honestly, it didn't even hurt to save that much. It's amazing how you can go from scrimping & saving to feeling such a generous income flow. I am very blessed.

My savings goal for 2023 is a little more ambitious: $41,000 for the year. I have allocated $22,500 to my TSP, $6,500 to my IRA, $6,000 to my savings, and $6,000 to my brokerage account. My parents gave me a check for $500 for Christmas so I will start the year off by contributing $500 to my IRA. I already have automated monthly contributions of $500 to meet the limit.

Now I'm off to have my first pedicure since sometime in 2021! I've been taking care of that myself, but lately I haven't been able to keep up so I'm treating myself today. I might even have my eyebrows done. I've avoided that in the pandemic but since I finally got Covid in November, I'll be happy that I have the antibodies to fight it for now.

 

Lease Renewal

December 31st, 2022 at 02:01 pm

I got notice in the mail yesterday that my lease is expiring on the 4th of February. I signed an 18 month lease for $1600 plus $32 water/service fee. The rent is increasing to $1680 and the water/service fee to $52, for a total increase of $100. When I first moved in they called it a water fee, now they call it a service fee. While I am hoping I can relocate back to my hometown before then, I may just sign the renewal for 18 months to lock in the rate for the longest time. The rate is $1680 for 13-18 months. I'll have to read what the penalties are if I need to move earlier before I make my final decision. I've been happy here other than my sometimes noisy neighbors.

Merry Christmas πŸŽ„

December 23rd, 2022 at 04:08 pm

I don't know if I'll post again before z Christmas, so I'm wishing you all a Merry Christmas today. My sisters both flew in Wednesday. One to New Orleans and my other sister & her family to Baton Roufe. Currently in the car writing this as my sister drives us to BR for the day.

I think I'm all done with shoppibn. I may pick up a restaurant gift gift card for my parents. I always try to give those to save them some cooking. I used to get a great Black Friday deal at an upscale Italian restaurant, but my dad let slip that my mom doesn't like much on the menu so I didn't get it this year. The deal was good, but a $100 gift card and get a bonus card for $50, but it's not a great deal if they don't find much they like on the menu.

I also want to confess that I have spent way too much at the Kate Spade sale site. In addition to the first 4 purses, I bought a couple more purses, wallets, card holders, and wristlets. My New Year resolution is to stay away! I am gifting the wallets that I bought this year to my mom, sisters, and niece. My niece will be 13 in March so she is getting to the age that I can gift her things like wallets. I used to carry around a purse when I was much younger than her & my relatives would be so tickled by it. She is much more into soccer than purses, but everyone needs a wallet, right?

Today I got my last paychecks of the year. With a $500 contribution to my TSP I have maxed it out for the year. This is the 15th year in my 15 years of federal service that I have maxed my TSP. I hope to keep it up until I retire. I have 12-15 more years before I can retire.  I have not seen anything about President Biden signing the budget which sets our pay raise for next year. Last year he signed it on the 23rd.

Not surprisingly, I did not switch anything with my health insurance. When I tend to waffle with a decision I usually just stick with the known. I did up my FSA to $1300 for the year. If I stay on Ozempic I'll have no issue using the money.

Birthday πŸŽ‚

December 17th, 2022 at 07:55 am

My birthday was on the 5th and I had a very low-key day. I accompanied my mom to a doctor's appointment, we had a nice brunch, went grocery shopping, then my dad & I decorated their Christmas tree. πŸŽ„

That weekend I also had attended a sweets Christmas event at church as well as saw the musical Six, which I loved. It's an interesting musical as it is only 80 minutes with no intermission. But it was entertaining & fun, with great songs & costumes. πŸ‘‘ 

I ended up not changing anything with my health insurance. I stuck to the same plan & increased my FSA contribution. I also didn't opt back in to vision coverage which I had thought about doing since I am considering getting LASIKS again.I'm not a fan of glasses, especially when I have to wear them all the time now. πŸ€“ 

I did increase my TSP contribution to $875 per paycheck for the new year. I really wanted to go to $900, but that would have me top off at paycheck 25 and I would miss out on my match for the last paycheck. Maybe the following year I can move to $900 per paycheck. 

I will resume monthly IRA contributions as well. Doing a lump sum contribution felt like a bad move this year what with the market falling afterwards. I'll contribute $500 monthly then another $500 to max out.

I almost forgot! I got notification of my performance award which is $1,050 this year. A nice little year end bonus. Plus we can expect a raise of around 4% in the New Year.

I'm looking forward to family being home for the holidays. Even without having kids of my own gift-giving & the holidays can feel stressful, so I'm just trying to focus on time spent together. 🎁 

Christmas Shopping

December 3rd, 2022 at 04:42 pm

I haven't done much because I shop through out the year, but so far I have purchased 2 books for my mom and a FitBit for my day. These expenses are shared expenses as we'll split the costs between me & my sisters, and my mom for the gift for my dad. The books were about $20 each and the FitBit about $160.

My mom had asked for Michelle Obama's latest book, then I also purchased Viola Davis's autobiography as I read so many positive reviews. The FitBit fitness tracker for my dad was my mom's idea.

My only other purchase was more printer tape for the label printer I gave my dad. He was using the Avery paper labels, but I gave him my Brother label printer so he can label his wine & the fruit he grows for tea. You can also make jam with it, but the name escapes me at the moment. Red something or other.

Health insurance

November 26th, 2022 at 05:32 pm

So I mentioned that I was planning to move to a health insurance that I could invest in an HSA. Well as I started to research my options they indicated that if you use your plan on average that you should stick with my current standard plan, while low use was recommended for the HSA plan. So now I'm torn. I probably should have chosen the HSA plan when I was younger, healthier, and rarely went to the doctor. Now I'm almost 45 and diabetic. Granted my diabetes is well-controlled now with the help of medication & exercise, but I wonder if it's better to just stick with what I have. Decisions, decisions. 

 

Moved my Emergency Funds

November 24th, 2022 at 09:52 pm

Last week I ended up moving my emergency funds for 2 reasons:

 

1) My credit union no longer allowed Mint to sync with their instiution.

2) I found a better rate through information shared on the forums.

I suppose I could have put the funds in a CD, but I feel like I wanted them to be a little more liquid. Of course, I often change my mind so that's subject to change.

Open Season

November 20th, 2022 at 09:13 am

This year I am again thinking of making the switch to a health insurance plan that is eligible for an HSA. I may also opt back into a vision plan as I am contemplating getting LASIK again. I really don't care for wearing glasses. The contribution limit for a single person is $3,850. It's another great vehicle to save for retirement as well as medical expenses.

More Collections Drama

November 19th, 2022 at 01:57 pm

Sunrise Credit emailed me that they had no debts on their books with me. Experian and Transunion removed the negative account on their credit reports almost immediately. For some reason Equifax is dragging their heels. But while I was home recovering Monday I got a new call from another collection agency, Franklin Services! I'm so aggravated. Now I'm walking through the process with them of disputing this debt. It has not yet been reported to the credit reporting agencies so that's good.

I'm glad that I still have my paper statements from this time period. If it had not been for that how do you fight something that you thought was resolved over a year ago?! Everyone is going to paperless which I know is good for our environment & reduces fraud by mail.

I will never ever use DirectTV's services again & I'm looking forward to moving my cell phone services from AT&T. I spent over an hour on the phone with AT&at and DirectTV Monday only to get disconnected, transferred around, and hear multiple versions of my account history. I know that I could just pay the $112, but I refuse to at this time. I know that I canceled their services & this is an error on their part. 

Sunrise Credit

November 12th, 2022 at 07:16 pm

I have never in my life been collections, but on November 6th Sunrise Credit reported me as in collections due to owing $112 to AT&T U-Verse DirectTV. Thursday I got the alert from Mint. I remember that I disputed a bill over a year ago and after discussions with the company they agreed to dismiss the debt and they even sent me a Visa card for $91 my trouble.

Recently collectors called & I explained that we settled the issue. They kept calling even after I explained the situation so I started blocking & hanging up on them. Then I got an alert that I had a collections account opened up. I immediately filed a dispute with Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Experian & Transunion have already deleted the collections from my report.

I also emailed the company directly & they said that they don't have a collections against me on their books & I should contact AT&T. But it was Sunrise Credit that reported the debt so I didn't understand that response. I responded why then was I just reported as being in collections by Sunrise Credit? They didn't respond. I also complained that they didn't send me a Notice of Debt which has been the law since November 2021.

It looks like this will be fairly easy to resolve so far. It also makes my decision to leave AT&T, my cell phone provider for approximately 2 decades, easier. I've been wanting to move to Verizon as they seem to provide better coverage post-hurricanes, but I due to loyalty & a federal employee discount I had been reluctant to leave AT&T. No discount however is worth seeing my nearly perfect credit card drop by over 100 points in a day.

In other bad news, I tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. I'm already feeling better, thankfully. I had spent Thursday night with my parents' and when I woke up feeling awful at 4 am I took one of their home tests. My first symptoms were actually sneezing, which had me thinking of allergies. I had slightly itchy, watery eyes. Then Thursday morning my nose started running, then by that night I was coughing. I went to bed then woke up with chills and feeling very unwell, which prompted my taking the test. I'm still recovering at my parents' home. I wanted to go home to isolate, but they didn't want me to be alone. Last summer we lost my cousin that was younger than me by 2 years due to Covid-19 & I think it made me parents more anxious.

I'm doing much better & will head to my apartment tomorrow for the rest of my recovery period.

 

Net Worth October 2022 & FIRE πŸ”₯

November 6th, 2022 at 08:46 pm

I gained $83,955 over September's net work to finish the month at $1,129,958. $22,000 of that was cash while the rest is investments. 

Pardon me, if I already posted about this. I've thought of it often but can't recall if I ever did. My former co-worker FIRED! By that, I mean she & husband retired early. She was my first lead tech when I got out of school at 22. She was about 5 years older & pregnant at the time. She never spoke much about money, but I recall her mentioning that she & her husband were paying off their home early. I never knew anyone so young talking about paying off a home. Fast forward 22 years later and she has officially retired! They were both state workers so retired with a pension. Their boys are both in college I believe. I wouldn't be surprised if they both had scholarships. She has been posting pictures of their travels on Facebook since they retired. They seem to go non-stop. I'm so excited to know someone who actually FIRED in real life. It's so inspiring. 

Early birthday treat or early Christmas shopping?

October 30th, 2022 at 03:25 pm

I was scrolling on Facebook and an ad for a Kate Spade Monica crossbody bag popped up on my feed. I've never bought a Kate Spade handbag. I have 2 Coach handbags that I bought many years ago at the Coach Outlet when they were on clearance. Same style, one is brown/deep orange and the other is black/gray. I have 2 matching wallets for the black/gray purse that I use with both purses. 

I ended up buying the purse in all 4 colors. It was retail $279, on sale for $89, and a one day special of $59. I thought they would make good Christmas presents for my sisters and also for myself, but I may keep all 4. The colors are black, camel brown, a deep dusty pink, and a light blue. I was going to keep the standard black & tan and gift the other two pretty colors,  but I may spoil myself and keep all of them as an early 45th birthday present. I do love cute purses & jewelry. Thankfully, my tastes don't run very expensive for either. πŸ‘œπŸ‘πŸ’

Ready for this election to be over

October 28th, 2022 at 07:55 am

Roughly 10 days out from the November election & it can't come soon enough.

There's a certain very popular radio personality that I l just got back to listening to in the past couple of years. I had stopped listening to him over a decade ago because I got tired of his political rants. Well with the upcoming election he can't seem to stop making comments about politics. I think I'll take a break from the show until the election is over. 

One of my pet peeves in life is people who think that everyone wants to hear their political opinions all the time. I listen to him for financial advice, though I certainly don't always agree with his. It's probably  more like 50-50 with this particular money guru, but I still enjoy the discussions. What I'm not interested in is hearing his political opinions.

Just vote how you want to & be quiet. I'm pretty well set on my political leanings & I only discuss politics in certain venues. Other than alluding to having some strong feelings after the 2016 election I try not to discuss politics here.

I am in a TSP group & the administrators are militant about no political posts. I love it. If there's even a hint of politics in a post it gets taken down. There's a certain group of people that get mad, but I think it keeps the focus on the group's real intent. 


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