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Raise!

September 17th, 2022 at 07:12 am

I walked into my office Friday morning & the first thing my co-worker said was that we got our salary increase. It turned out to be a little over 16% which is better than I expected. I had hoped for at least 10% to make our current (temporary) retention pay of 10% a permanent increase. Once we start being able to fill vacancies due to the increased pay, we'll lose the retention pay. The increase to salary is more important as it impacts your retirement pay, matching for retirement contributions, and more. I am very excited & so thankful. 

I had made some stretch savings goals when I started looking at my budget for next year. I am going to be able to meet that & more. People that were looking to retire are also reconsidering as their retirement pay is based on their high 3 years of salary. We'll be able to retain employees when we've been losing them. Everyone seemed to be in a jolly mood all day.

We federal employees should get a 4.6% increase in January. It will be slightly less for us as we are on this special salary scale, but that is another added bonus. I'm glad that retirement contribution limits are increasing so I can take advantage of this increased income to save for my future.

 

Step Increase & TSP

June 4th, 2022 at 02:31 pm

The TSP website went down on May 26th to switch to a new management company & upgrade the site. Normally if this has happened on the 6th, rather than the 26th I wouldn't be bothered. But I like to chart my investments at the end of every month as you well know. Some people have been able to get into the new website, but many others including myself, are still having issues. I am trying to be patient & wait for the busyness to subside. Few are able to get through the helpline.

I am looking forward to seeing the new website. They have taken away one feature that I loved which was the historical look back. You used to be able to search to see your balance on a particular date & I hear that is gone. So I guess I won't be able to get my balance as of May 31st. Bummer. Hopefully the Daily TSP app has that feature when I can link my updated account again.

June 6th is my anniversary date for my new position so I'll be getting a step increase with the pay period starting tomorrow. $1.33 per hour or $106.40 biweekly will buy me a couple of tanks of gas so I'm thankful. ⛽️ 

Heavy Spending Month so far…

April 21st, 2022 at 07:41 pm

This month has had some big spending due to work expenses, most of which as being reimbursed for our laboratory's recognition week. I also paid the first installment of next season's theatre tickets.

I'm excited about the season which includes: Six, Moulin Rouge, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lion King, Tina, Pretty Woman, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Fiddler on the Roof. I passed on the season option of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I've seen it before (as I've seen many of these shows) and the holidays are busy enough as is. If the Christmas show was White Christmas I probably wouldn't pass it up. I love that movie. ☃️ 

Our Easter was nice & quiet filled with good food and beautiful spring weather. I love this time of year before it gets crazy hot. I am trying to think of a getaway before the temps start rising. I would say Maine, but we already have our trip to Maine booked for this fall. I am looking forward to it, rustic as the trip may be. I have been wanting to visit Maine for a while. Maybe I will venture further north, like Quebec. 🇨🇦 

We have not yet received our retention incentive, but I continue to work overtime and my PRN job. This month is also a 3 paycheck month, so yay! I'm not making any big money moves right now, but I may get back to adding to my brokerage account for a future home purchase. Right now it stands at $75k.

 

Happy New Year! 🎆

January 1st, 2022 at 09:57 pm

Happy New Year! I wish you and yours happiness & health in 2022. I meant to post at least once in December, but with the busyness of the holidays time got away from me. 🎄 

I celebrated a birthday last month. I celebrated by going out to lunch with my parents. They rarely eat out since the pandemic began & with Omicron I doubt they'll be doing it again anytime soon. 🎂 

My sisters came home for Christmas. It was so good to see my niece & nephew for the first time since Christmas 2019.  My younger sister flew home, while my older sister & her family drove from Virginia. We had an outdoor Christmas Day gathering with extended family. For once I was thankful for a warm Christmas! The high was 80 degrees here on Christmas Day. ☀️ 

I leave Wednesday for Nashville. There's a 40% chance of snow there on Thursday. I'm looking forward to my trip. I ordered some KN95 masks to wear. While I wore cloth masks in New York & was fine, with this new more contagious variant I thought it would be good to get more effective masks. Where we are going is requiring vaccination for entrance & I'm thankful for that. 😷 

I did my budgeting this morning since it's the first of the month & year. Nobember & December were high-spending months. I appreciate the cash my parents have me for my birthday & Christmas. My investments grew over $56k last month. I placed a trade for $6k to my IRA today. I was going to do $500 monthly contributions, but got inspired to go all in today. 💰

I get an annual raise of 2.2% in the new year & I will get a step increase in June. I have increased my retirement contributions to meet the $20.5k limit this year. I decreased my FSA contributions & I hope I don't regret that. It's always a gamble as you never know what will happen. I appreciated when they allowed us to change our allocation mid-year. 

Net Worth $1.388 million 

Inverstments $1.340 million

Leased an Apartment

July 4th, 2021 at 06:27 am

I signed a lease for an apartment on Friday. I will not move in until August 5th. The commute from where I live now is about 1.5 hours to the hospital. Luckily with school out traffic has not been horrible. But it is surprisingly, somewhat tiring. I'm usually not motivated to do much when I get home, though I will now need to pick up the pace on packing my things.

I'm excited about my apartment. I've actually never rented an apartment, even in college. I've lived in dorms or homes that were owned (house, condo). The rent is expensive, but I wanted to be in a quiet, safe part of town. I will have 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. I looked at a 3rd floor model with vaulted ceilings. I ultimately took the 2nd floor apartment with better views. I was a little worried about electricity costs & my mom walking that many stairs when she visits. 

The grounds are beautiful & there are creeks and jogging paths that run through the property. It feels so peaceful. I will think about maybe getting a second job when I've had some time to settle into this job, but that may be at least a year in the future. For now, I will buckle down & budget to accommodate my increased expenses. The move was worth any increased expenses for me. Some things go beyond money, such as our happiness & peace of mind.

I am planning on taking some furniture and giving away or selling the rest. I would like to replace my guest bedroom, living & dining room furniture. I have picked out some not expensive replacements at Rooms To Go. Some things are available now, others have availability at the end of the year, though they could come in sooner. I'd rather wait to get what I want. 

I am praying that my condo sells quickly. I am having work done on Monday, then a few more things to do dealing with water leaks. It's just one thing after another. I'm ready to be free of all these issues.

Coast FIRE

May 23rd, 2021 at 02:43 pm

I follow the FIRE community a lot. There are so many different FIRE communities, but one I follow is the Coast FIRE community. It's basically when you save a certain amount that allows you to no longer have to save anymore to be able to retire when you want. My age is 57. It's the earliest I can retire & get my health insurance benefits. If I retire earlier I don't get the health care benefits. I also get a social security supplement until I reach 62.

I found this Coast FI calculator that says that I am at about twice my Coast FI number. It doesn't take into account my pension or social security. I put in $40k as my annual expenses & that's generous. I spend approximately $3k a month now. That includes $1k to savings (Roth IRA & emergency fund) & my mortgage.

I should no longer have a mortgage when I retire or have to contribute to savings. My TSP comes out of my paycheck so I don't included that in my expenses which I budget based off of my take home pay from just my full-time job, not my additional income from my two other jobs. I want to make sure when I quit my other two jobs (in the next month or two) that I don't start racking up credit card debt again. I even have money budgeted for travel on just that income. I can't live without travel!


I hear some people say that they still save in retirement. I would probably be able to do that as well, but it wouldn't be intentional for me unless there was a tax advantage.

Here's a link to the calculator:

https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/

March Review

April 1st, 2021 at 01:15 am

I reviewed my monthly budget spreadsheet for March and with a surplus of over $2,000 I decided to send $2,000 to my savings. This might be my strategy in future months as my checking account continues to grow. 

Tomorrow & Good Friday are pay days. April will be a flush month. I expect I'll be able to send more surplus to my savings.

I had a couple of conversations with my chief pathologist & co-worker that continue to make me optimistic about potential promotions. It means a lot that my superiors have confidence in me. 

I'm having some progress in physical therapy. Not as quickly as I'd like, but that's partly my fault because I should have seen the doctor sooner rather than later. I am hoping to avoid surgery. 

My mom & I discussed our Easter menu. It will be just the three of us as usual, but we still have a rather large menu planned. I'm hoping that it will be a beautiful spring weekend! 🐰🐣💐

Unexpected Pay Day

February 12th, 2021 at 05:21 pm

Unexpected pay day! At one of my jobs I am paid semimonthly: on the 1st & 15th, but I guess because it's a bank holiday on Monday I got paid early. I think, the stock market, may still be trading - at least for part of the day. They usually only close all day on major federal holidays.

This long weekend is actually a triple holiday weekend: Valentine's Day on Sunday, President's Day on Monday, & Mardi Gras on Tuesday! Oh, and then it's Ash Wednesday, of course. I should probably consider giving up sweets for Lent. 

Mint sends me notification of various trends. Apparently I'm on a positive cash flow streak, which is why my checking account has continued to grow. I like to keep at least $5k to avoid paying fees.

I am considering paying my credit cards weekly. I know it doesn't make sense if I just pay them off monthly, but I'm feeling a little anxious after having paid off my credit card debt. I don't want to find myself in the same position again.

Next pay day is on the 19th. I am quickly approaching $1.2 million net worth. 

Net Worth: $1,197,166

Day Off

December 10th, 2020 at 11:54 pm

I calculated that I have been working nearly 80 hours every week between my three jobs. Tomorrow is payday (x2) and I decided to take the day off. I have 21.5 hours to use-or-lose before the end of the year. 

Tomorrow I will pay my credit card & car loan. I am down to my last 2 car payments. I owe less than $400. My credit card debt has gone from $22k earlier this year to $4k currently.

Since my family isn't coming home for the holidays I'm sending gifts their way. I calculated shipping rates to send via USPS & FedEx and surprisingly, FedEx was cheaper. I assumed that USPS would always be the cheapest option. I certainly was wrong.

Christmas is coming so fast! It will be a tough one without family, but we'll all hopefully be together in the somewhat near future.

 

 

Working Picking Up

November 23rd, 2020 at 06:08 pm

My work at the private lab has really picked up. Since they first called me in on a Friday evening, I've been in every weekday evening since then with the exception of one. They have arleady contacted me to say they'll need me every evening this week, except for Thanksgiving evening. At my hospital job they also are offering as many hours as I want. They continue to lose their full-time staff for better pay & hours elsewhere. I don't understand why the hospital administration doesn't take some action. It's a critical situation in the middle of a pandemic.

I can say that the rate of positive COVID tests are really ticking up.  One of my fellow lab supervisors lost his wife to the virus Saturday. I don't know her health history but I would guess that he is around 50, so not elderly. Please be safe out there all.

My debt pay off continues to tick down, while my net worth continues to tick up. If I continue to work these hours the payoff date will continue to move closer. I've already made at least $25k between these two jobs this year.  Next year, when I'm debt-free I'd like to scale back. I think I have finally learned the lesson on how to budget & be more aware of the debt I'm accruing. 

I can't wait to write an end of year update. I've accomplished so many things this year!

 

 

Happy Halloween 🎃 👻

October 31st, 2020 at 06:54 pm

Happy Halloween! 🎃

We had a fun Lyra photo shoot yesterday evening inspired by Halloween. I got some good pics out of it. My flexibility with Star on the Bar (my favorite pose) continues to improve. 🌟 

Yesterday at the clinic we had a Halloween party. There was costume & pumpkin decorating contests as well as other fun games. Lots of good food as well. It was a fun event. 👻

We survived Hurricane Zeta with little local damage. There was more damage in the New Orleans area with this storm. And we still have another month to go in this very active Hurricane season. 💨

I've decided to start trading stocks within my Roth IRA (for tax purposes). I'm excited to do my research & learn more about the companies I'm interested in. They say you should buy what interests you & I am definitely leaning towards stocks related to travel. 🛩

Cruises are no longer under a No Sail order as of midnight today, but who knows when they will start cruising again. When will people feel comfortable cruising? Maybe not until there's a vaccine & even then maybe only when we've had time to study the side effects. 🛳

I got my third paycheck of the month yesterday. It's nice when you get to make an extra payment on debts. I'll do some end of the month budgeting later today. 💰

I have 4 biweekly payments left on my car loan! Today my cash on hand exceeded my debts for the first time in years, probably. Still on track for total debt payoff by spring 2021. 🙌🏾

Net Worth: $960,559 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Delta

October 9th, 2020 at 06:26 am

It’s 1 a.m. in the morning & I’m up listening to the rain. I have a leak in my closet that I’ll have them look at after the storm passes. The repairs will be covered by the association. Our clinic decided to close tomorrow so we won’t have to brave the weather. I’m grateful for that. Hurricane season can’t be over soon enough!

I ordered another Clever Fox budget planner for next year & I love the updates! It makes me excited to start tracking my 2021 goals.

My mortgage is showing up on Mint again so I can update my net worth again. I’m sure the markets will shake up after the election, but things are still trucking along nicely for now.

Net Worth $1,001,636


My Weekend

October 5th, 2020 at 04:24 pm

I started this off as a reply to another blog, then realized that I was writing a blog entry! 😹

My weekend was good. I started it off by taking a 4.23 mile walk around the university lakes after work. I know the exact distance because I logged it with my Fitbit Versa. I walked a brisk 4 mph. The weather was beautiful!

Saturday morning I had Lyra class. I stopped by my parents’ afterwards & visited for a while. I brought them muffins & cereal from Sprouts. Then I came home & did a little house organizing. My dad gave me some old shelving that I had bought my last year of college & had been stored in his shed all this time. I put it in my little storage shed. He also gave me a huge shredder which I lugged upstairs to my home office. My little shredder was not cutting it so I’m glad for this one. He bought it at a sale where they get rid of old state government office property. That’s also where he got the filing cabinets he gave me for my office.

I worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital Sunday. Today I took a day off. I’m anxiously awaiting my package from Amazon. I bought my Clever Fox Budget planner & more budgeting stickers for next year. I’ve so enjoyed using the one this year that I had to already purchase next year’s planner! This year my planner was rose gold, I bought a gold one for next year. They have more than 20 colors so I can keep buying a different color every year.

Kicking off the 4th Quarter

October 2nd, 2020 at 04:01 pm

This month is a 3 paycheck month, which happens twice a year. Nothing really changes for me as so many of my bills are paid biweekly: mortgage, car loan, credit cards. I alternate paying my two credit cards every other paycheck. My auto loan is still on track to be paid off the last paycheck of December, which is coincidentally, on Christmas. Merry Christmas to me!

My investments were up exactly $69,500 from the end of the second quarter. The power of time in investing really becomes apparent after a couple of decades. You're making much more than you're contributing.

It was my mom's 70th birthday Wednesday. I took the day off to spend with her & my dad. We had a nice day. I worked out in the morning. I took them out for lunch (her first time in a restaurant in over 6 months). She wanted a lemon cake so I ordered a lemon cream cheese cake from a local bakery. My older sister sent a meal delivery & my younger sister sent her a gift card to their favorite restaurant. I also picked up some flowers in her favorite color, yellow. My dad bought balloons. I gave her a few gifts of things I thought she would enjoy: pumpkin spice cappuccino k-cups, floral scented soaps, pumpkin spice almonds, a journal with colored pens, and few health items that I thought she'd like to try. The weather was absolutely perfect. The only thing I forgot was a glass of wine or champagne to toast her 7 decades.

Rainy Day

September 19th, 2020 at 07:09 pm

It’s a rainy day here & I have turkey chili in the crockpot. 🦃🌶 The weather seems to match the sadness of the day with the loss of RBG. I admired her greatly. May she rest in peace & power. 🖤

Yesterday I received my final 2 paychecks of the month so I did some budget planner journaling. I still have expenses for the rest of the month, but my income is largely accounted for. My check was of course larger due to the OASDI deferral. Next month is a 3 paycheck month, which means another credit card & car loan payment and another TSP contribution. Yay!!!

I learned a new move in Lyra class this morning & I’m definitely feeling it. It’s called Star on the Bar and it looks absolutely beautiful. I can tell it’s going to be one of my favorite moves. ⭐️

In professional news, I have a lot to be excited about & I hope to be sharing good news in the coming months.

Saturday Budgeting

September 5th, 2020 at 03:18 pm

I’m probably the only person in the world who looks forward to sitting down with my budget planner! 😄

I was just thinking about the payroll deferral. Though it doesn’t apply to those making over $104k, I can’t opt out at my full-time job, though I will surely make over $104k this year with my added income. I hope there is not a penalty for the deferral, since I couldn’t opt out. I did remember though, that I’m on track to pay off my car in December so I can use that extra $200 every two weeks to cushion the deferral payback beginning in January. Things always seem to work out! I’m counting my blessings once again this morning.

My mortgage is not being counted against my net worth as of today on Mint. I’ll update again if they get it fixed.

PayDay Review

August 8th, 2020 at 04:14 pm

Yesterday was pay day. I got paid from 2 of my jobs. My third job pays semi-monthly so on the 1st & 15th. This month the 1st was a Saturday so I got paid on the 31st, which was a nice surprise.

My car payment is automatically deducted on paydays. I now owe less than $2k on my car. I also schedule credit card payments at least every other week. My credit cards are now down to $10k as I mentioned in my last blog post.

My IRA deduction will go out next Friday. It is scheduled for the 15th of every month, but the 15th falls on a Saturday this month. At one time I was sending the full year’s contribution on January 1st. I hope to get back to that in 2022 when I’m debt free except for my mortgage. My auto & homeowners insurance as well as my utilities are also due on the 15th. My mortgage is paid biweekly the Wednesday after my two paydays.

Net Worth: $959, 901

Back to School

August 7th, 2020 at 01:56 pm

I can't believe it's back to school time again! Even though kids got out early this year, it seems like it was only yesterday. My friends have been posting their kids’ first day pictures on Facebook. I pray that everyone from the children to the school administrators stay safe & healthy this year.

Last week I spent a good bit of time reviewing my budget journal. I also bought new binders to replace my financial statements binder that is falling apart. I will have separate binders for my TSP, SS, Vanguard, etc. I suppose I could pull some things & file them away, but I like having all statements at hand for my open accounts. I usually only file away accounts that have been closed.

My credit cards are now down to $10k from a high of $22k. When they are paid off I know that I will need to dedicate some money to taking care of things around my home. Until then, every dollar goes to debt paydown.

I did a little too much shopping last month so I ended up returning several items. Other items were household items that I know I'll use, especially the cleaning supplies. I also bought a bunch of those $2 masks from Target, because if we're going to be wearing these masks for the foreseeable future it makes sense to have more than a few. Plus I like coordinating with my outfits/scrubs. Smile

I continue to work the 3 jobs & I'm glad that I didn't give any up since the work hasn't been consistent for the third job, even though it pays more. I'm back on the schedule at the hospital for August. Though I was supposed to be off all of July, I still got called in twice for coverage. I wasn't complaining. It gave me some hours when I wasn't getting much elsewhere.

I'm still trying out new lean & green recipes every week. I invested in a Dash mini waffle maker & a Dash mini griddle. They were on sale for $12 at Belk & I got an additional 10% off for picking up my order. The first time I attempted to pick up my order I didn't realize that the stores were closing so early & I just missed the closing time.

I'm now down 15.5 pounds in 5 weeks. I hope to be close to goal by Christmas. I originally set a goal of losing 40 pounds, but I'm starting to believe I can get back down to where I got to when I did Weight Watchers. Not by Christmas necessarily, but sometime in spring. I also have my 25th high school reunion in the spring so that's a great motivator.

Net Worth $955,181

Montreal Refund

April 15th, 2020 at 01:12 am

I have not received my stimulus check, but my friend did Venmo me my share of the refund for our canceled event. It was about $60 less than what I paid because they apparently charged us a fee for them canceling an event. Go figure. So that was $977.20 deposited into my account today.

I am still awaiting a decision on my claim for the airline tickets. I know airlines are allowing you to rebook within a year, but I purchased travel insurance & would rather have the money. I filed my claim March 11th & I was supposed to hear back within 10-15 business days. I have been patient since I figure they are overwhelmed, but I finally decided to give them a call tonight. I got a voice message that they were closed even though it’s well within the business hours posted on their website. I’ll try again in a few days.

Taxes Completed

February 11th, 2020 at 05:05 pm

My dad ran my numbers today at H&R Block & I owe a little less in federal taxes than last year. I owe the state $1 more than last year. I take 0 exemptions. I have already increased my withholding so hopefully I won't owe again next year. I think 2013 was the last year that I got a refund. I'm not sending my check off until the first week in April. I have until May to pay the state, but it's not much.

This is definitely good motivation to get my Facebook Marketplace & eBay sales going!