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First Day

June 22nd, 2021 at 02:13 am

Today was my first day in my new role at work. The commute to New Orleans is as really easy this morning. Unfortunately when I left - 20 minutes late - it was raining heavily & there were flash flood warnings. Even though, I made not bad time. I came straight to my evening job. This is my last week doing my evening job.

My first day was overwhelming. I was bombarded with information, but I think I will enjoy it. There's so much new to learn. One thing they are honest about is that they need more organization. And that is something I love to do!


June 11th, 2021 at 02:13 am

I got the job! I actually posted that here on May 7th when they made me the tentative offer, but when I went to post it the blog disappeared. So I took that as a sign & decided to wait until I got my final offer. I got my final offer Monday & it was actually effective the day prior. I have one week remaining in my current role as lab supervisor.

A series of things has happened that has made me determined to sell my condo. I will then rent an apartment where my new position is located. Until then I will commute. I took today & tomorrow off to get ahead of moving out of my condo. I will take my time over the next couple of months.

I am really looking forward to my new role. It's a very exciting time for me. So many new things ahead!


June 5th, 2021 at 05:47 pm

I notice that employers are trying hard to recruit employees. Costco upped their minimum wage to $16 & Wal-Mart has a minimum wage of $11. McDonald's is starting at $10 and is even advertising paying workers daily.  Last time I went to Wal-Mart there were signs advertising $13-21 for overnight stockers. These are really good wages for my area.

It seems employers are going to effectively raise the minimum wage even if the government can't seem to find consensus. And the more they raise their wages the less $15 as minimum wage seems a pipe dream as it once did. I think a split between current minimum wage & $15 should be easy to pass now. 

As for my own wages, the President has proposed a 2.7% raise for federal employees, which would be nice. If I get a promotion that will be a nice bump on top of that raise with another step increase to come in a year's time. I won't be making 6 figures, but I'll be close enough with working just one job.

My investments are up $8k this week. I hit $1.3 million net worth and $1.165 million in investments. I should hit $15k in savings this month before I quit my second & third jobs. I already sent off my resignation letter for my weekend job at the hospital. 


FSA Special Enrollment Period

June 3rd, 2021 at 04:17 am

I took advantage of the new special enrollment period for my FSA plan in order to increase my contributions. I did not expect to be in physical therapy for months, have so many doctor visits, and need an MRI back in December. I have several claims that were approved, but not paid due to NSF. Now I'll be reimbursed for those expenses. Did you make any changes with your FSA plans?

The Simple Path to Wealth

May 31st, 2021 at 03:58 pm

Have any of you read this book by JL Collins? There's not a lot of new revelations & concepts that I haven't read in other books, but I love how he articulates the importance of having money so you aren't beholden to anyone.  He calls it F U money. I like to thing of it as "forget you" money. 

While I love the idea of the security of a pension in retirement, it does not truly keep me at my job. It's definitely a factor, but if I was hating coming into work I would be exploring other possibilities. I continue at the VA because I love our mission, even when the bureaucracy frustrates me. At heart, it is the core of what we do: to care for our veterans. It is a noble cause if only we remember it.

And in honor of that, let us remember our fallen today & everyday, but especially today. May you have a peaceful Memorial Day. 🇺🇸 

May 2021 Review

May 30th, 2021 at 01:57 pm

The market is closed Monday so I can make my end of month review for May now. I am at an all time high in my investments. I close the month of May with $1.158 million in investments and a net worth of $1.292 million. I was able to add an additional $2k to savings in addition to my regular $500 monthly contribution. Next month I hope to hit $15k in savings.

I plan to work my additional jobs through June then just work my full-time job. I may pick up another job in the future, but I have no plans for that at the time. 

Credit Card Hacked

May 29th, 2021 at 05:56 pm

In the midst of everything else going on, my Capital One Credit card was hacked! I got an alert asking if I had tried to make a purchase at LA Police Gear. I responded no & immediately opened my app to review purchases. They had made several purchases at online gun & tactical gear websites. This alarmed me & I contacted Capital One and several of the vendors immediately. 

I'm getting a new card, but this worried me because of the type of purchases. I certainly don't want anyone planning anything criminal with these purchases.

Today was a great day!

May 29th, 2021 at 12:20 am

Today we finally had our lab inspection. It went great! I'm so glad that it's over. Biannual inspections are so nerve-wracking for me. I have actual physical symptoms from being so anxious. 

We switched from College of American Pathologists to the Joint Commission for our inspections so this process was entirely new. Instead of a team I only got one inspector at the clinic.

It was a much more educational process & I thoroughly enjoyed all that I learned from my inspector. Although we are the same age she has such an impressive career already. It makes me look forward to progressing in my own career.

We only had one finding & it was such an easy one I could kick myself, but I'll never make that mistake again. I am so relieved & I wish I could celebrate with a glass of wine, but I'm off to work tonight. Maybe when I get off I can properly celebrate!🍷 

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:

My Flooding Experience

May 22nd, 2021 at 08:30 pm

I've tried to write this blog a few times this. Every time I thought to do it I felt exhausted thinking about it. I'm lucky that I didn't drown or flood, but it was still quite an experience to process.

I'll say I did know that we were expected to get heavy rains Monday night with chances of flooding. That's not unusual for this area. I've just never actually been caught in one.

I left work Monday night/Tuesday morning at half past midnight. It was raining, but not as heavily as it had been. About half way home I start seeing a lot of emergency vehicles. For part of my trip home briefly get on the highway that runs the length of town. I was quickly detoured off the highway as soon as I got in. As I got on the service road I realized that the medians were now lakes of water. There cars submerged with their lights still on. It was a scary sight to see.

I made it back on the highway where they allowed us & took the next to last turn to my home. The water was heavy on the road, but passable. Before I could turn on to my street I realized that it wasn't passable. Cars were already flooded out. Water was rushing into a store to my right. I turned into a parking lot to my left, which was the higher side of the road. I was so close l, literally just around the corner m, but couldn't make it. I got in the Next Door app & realized that all routes to my home were flooded.

I got out of my car thinking to walk it the short distance to my home. No go...water was too high & I didn't know what was in the water. After 1.5 hours I decided to backtrack after checking the roads. I was going to attempt to make it to my parents', but every route was blocked (I tried 5) & they shut down a portion of the interstate. 

I turned around & headed back to the open gas station that I passed. I had a bathroom, food, & water. I napped intermittently in the back seat of my car until light broke.

I went back & the roads were clear of water, though full of abandoned cars. I was able to get home, take a shower, get dressed, then head straight to work. It took me 1.5 hours to get to work. Usually a 15-20 minute trip. 

On my way to the clinic we had to turn around at an underpass that was full of cars. They found a young man in one of the SUV's that had attempted to make it through the water. So tragic.

After a week of rain we finally have sunshine today. I worked late again last night until 3 this morning. I slept in & now will attempt to do some cleaning. My rug at my French doors was full of water. I was able to hang it out today. I am mopping the floors as the smell lingers. I definitely will be purchasing that awning very soon. I'm hoping to take a few days off to take care of some things after our inspection this coming week.

Payday 5/14/21

May 15th, 2021 at 04:56 pm

All 3 of my pay days fell on Friday this pay period. I received enough to cover my bills for the month plus a surplus to save yesterday. When I get paid again in 2 weeks that will be all surplus to savings.

I made my initial savings goal last month ahead of my December timeline, so I'm working on the next $5k benchmark. This will get me to 5 months' expenses. I may achieve that goal next month at current savings rate. I don't see a reason to save beyond $20k with a very stable, in high demand job, but the surplus could be for my next car purchase, which is always inevitable.

I would like to take a short trip after this inspection, but I'm not sure where. I could also use a staycation to get things done around the house, but a change of scenery would be nice. Maybe I could do a little of both.

The market was a little all over the board this week & so were investors. Times like this I try not to read my investing groups too much because some people are so easily rattled. I started investing in college during a downturn so I'm not too bothered by the ups & downs. I survived 99-00, 08-09, 17-18, 20 and I'll survive this blip even if it turns into something major. I'm 14 years out from retirement with my current plans & I will have a pension to anchor me so I'm riding the waves. For once international stocks are doing well so I'll take those gains while I can.

It's my nephew's 8th birthday today. Time really does fly by. It feels like he was just a baby yesterday. I remember how much he loved to be held. Those days are so sweet. 💙


Candle Sales

May 8th, 2021 at 05:47 pm

I wrote a really long blog & it all disappeared. So frustrating, but I'll at least re-write about my Facebook Marketplace sales this week. It's been my first week offering shipping & I get inquiries all day long. I've made 5 shipments and made $318.03. People are really into their Yankee Candles! I did have one package arrive damaged with broken candles. I was so upset for the customer. She really wanted those discontinued scents. I packed the box very well with a ton of bubble wrap between, under, and on top of the candles. From the damage I saw I believe it was dropped/thrown from a truck despite being marked as "fragile". I submitted an insurance claim for $50 and refunded her money. Candles are super expensive to ship. Shipping them any way other than flat rate priority mail in bundles isn't cost efficient, so I encourage buyers to buy in bundles of 4.

May Day

May 1st, 2021 at 05:19 pm

My dad & I are on our way to my aunt's 70th birthday party today. Feeling a little sleepy after another late lab night, but I'm sure I'll wake up once I get to see family & friends that I haven't seen in over a year.

April was a good month financially. I worked a lot, but I saved a lot as well. $2,250 to my TSP, $4,500 to my savings, and $500 to my Roth IRA. What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time I was still paying off a car & TSP loan and was only saving $100 a month toward my savings. 

In other news, I had an interview Monday! Short notice as a key person on the interview panel was leaving on vacation so we interviewed the same day. I hate interviews because I always think of the perfect thing to say after the interview. That's even with prepping myself. My manager said that she felt it was a good interview, though, and 2 of my references told me that they were contacted. So I wait & hope for good news. 


Another Late Night & Storms

April 24th, 2021 at 06:32 pm

I worked another late, stormy night with bad weather. There were tornado warnings & my mom texted to see where I was. I told her I was at work & she told me that I should stay there for a while. I told her that I had my co-worker there (I always work alone except for last night) and we were going to be there a few more hours. I ended up leaving after 2 a.m. and he was hoping to be gone within the hour. The rain was pretty heavy, but not nearly as bad as the storm a couple of weeks ago. 

My co-worker was doing a big batch run (almost 200 patients) on the PCR analyzer while I was doing smaller runs on the quicker, but smaller capacity analyzer. They want me to come in again this afternoon/evening. We are staying so busy because we contracted with a film company. We are testing the entire cast & crew multiple times a week for COVID-19. Great for my cash flow, but I'm a little tired. I also have a 12 hour shift at the hospital tomorrow.

We had a quiet, but nice lab week at the clinic. I was talking to my manager about how event planning isn't my forte. She felt the same, but we got it through it successfully. On the career front, I qualified for an interview for a potential promotion. I owe a lot of people my thanks in the entire messy, complicated process. Our biannual lab next inspection has been scheduled & I'm looking forward to getting past that successfully. 

My investments are at an all time high. I don't know where things will go from here with the changes being proposed, but I'm just chugging along & staying the course. I continue to vacillate between staying or selling my home. I am consistent about wanting to move forward on a few needed repairs, though they may wait until work is a little more settled.

Investments $1,143,270

Facebook Market Sales

April 17th, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I'm going to spend some time this week changing my candles for sale by delivery only to offer shipping. A potential buyer mentioned that you can ship 4 large candles for $22 flat rate shipping. I think it would help me move my inventory a lot quicker. I went to the post office & picked up a large priority shipping box. I packed 4 large candles to make sure that they would fit well with plenty of packing material to minimize breakage. They are insulated pretty well.

I have been paid 6 times already this month. Two paychecks to go. Income surplus is nearly $4,000 now. That will be a nice deposit to savings. $500 to my IRA on Thursday & $750 to my TSP yesterday. 

Investments $1,142,785


Sunday Funday

April 14th, 2021 at 07:33 am

We had a good time celebrating my friend's birthday. The morning started out cool which was good, as it warms up quickly here. Even the drive there was enjoyable to me. I haven't been out of town since since March 2020. We met up at the parking garage then walked to the street fair downtown. It was 7 of us, as 2 weren't able to make it. Only one of us hadn't been vaccinated. We wore our masks. We had lunch at a restaurant under their covered patio. We shopped the street booths, took in some sights, then headed to an outdoor museum of an Acadian village. All in all it was a very enjoyable day & it was so good to be among friends again. I didn't find anything that I wanted to buy so it was the cost of lunch, museum entrance fee, & gas for the hour drive that was my total cost. It was worth every penny!

So Many Hours

April 10th, 2021 at 03:52 pm

It's 10 o'clock in the morning & I'm just waking up. I didn't getting home until after 4 this morning, after getting caught in a horrible storm. So thankful to have made it home okay. I left & it was raining, but not horribly. By the time I got halfway home I had little to no visibility due to driving rain coming in waves, lights were going out as I drove putting everything in complete darkness, & the winds were terrifying: knocking traffic lights askew & debris across the road. I was shaking & praying the whole time. When I got out of my car I could barely see to unlock my door & I got drenched from head to toe in a matter of a few seconds.  Still thanking God that I made it home safely. I never want to experience something like that again.

I worked so late last night (or rather this morning) because my third job picked up a major client. Just when I thought things would be slowing down due to vaccinations, I learn that not only is the Covid testing picking up, but also we will be getting mass collections. I worked every weekday except Good Friday & this Thursday and still made over 55 hours. That's the most I've made since I got hired a year ago & had to put in training hours. Thankfully I didn't pick up many hours at my second job. The only thing keeping me at my second job at this point is that I genuinely like the people. 

I'll definitely have a nice chunk of change to send to my savings this month. I get 8 paychecks this month! My checking balance is at over $11k as I continue to have surpluses in my budget. My goal is to keep it at least $5k to avoid fees. As much as work I can't outwork my investments! They continue to grow. This week was a good week for the market, though Friday ended a little down. It's exciting to see people meeting big goals. I saw a few people become TSP millionaires this week. I know I'll get there, too. 

Today I'll stay mainly close to home, cleaning up around my home. I'll also stop by to visit with my parents. Tomorrow I'll meet up with several girlfriends to celebrate a friend's birthday. It's my first social gathering in over a year. The birthday girl is staying two hours away, so we're splitting the distance and meeting up at a street fair in a city an hour away. We wanted to stick to something outdoors for safety, though I think most if not all of us have now been vaccinated. I hope the weather cooperates! 

Net Worth: $1,248,369



Biden Tax Plans

April 8th, 2021 at 12:19 am

I was just reading this article:

Some of these changes would negatively affect me. The change in tax deductions  on the retirement accounts as well as the estate tax.

I could easily see myself leaving having more than $3.5 million in my estate. Maybe that will just inspire me to spend it down in my old age! Hopefully they will meet somewhere in the middle of $3.5 and $11.7 million.

I also am in the 22% (probably more like 24% - I need to check my 2020 tax year H&R Block documents) marginal tax bracket so only getting a 20.5% credit would lower the tax advatange for contributing to my TSP. In a sense it violates Biden's promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $400k.

I definitely support making saving more advantageous for those in lower income tax brackets, but also know the reality of Americans' savings rates. Will that many more people contribute based on the change? So few contributed to Obama's MyRA program that they had to close it down due to costs.

I'll be keeping an eye out for other proposed changes.

Future Goals

April 6th, 2021 at 08:53 pm

I have pre-populated my budget worksheet for the month & I believe that I will be able to send an income surplus of $3,000 to my savings. At this rate I will exceed what I had planned to save in 2021. This has me thinking about what I can do with that money once I fully fund my emergency savings. I will have other expenses: purchasing my next car hopefully later rather than sooner, and other home projects.

I am really thinking about paying off my home early. I get so inspired listening to the Dave Ramsey show. Seeing so many people even younger than myself having paid off their homes is so inspiring. Especially when many own homes worth far more than mine. My condo would be paid off by the time I retire, but paying it off sooner is even better. It's definitely something to consider.

Net Worth

April 6th, 2021 at 04:14 pm

Just an update since the market has been hot:

Net Worth $1,240,980

Investments $1,115,243

Happy Easter 🐰🐣 ✝️

April 4th, 2021 at 01:38 pm

I wish you & yours a wonderful Easter! Spending my day with my parents. We're having much of what we had for Thanksgiving & Christmas. I also ordered a strawberry pie from a local bakery. It's a light whipped dessert made with cream cheese & perfect for spring. The bakery was so busy yesterday! 🥧🍓

I attended an evening service at church yesterday. It was my first time in church in months, my first time since I've been fully vaccinated. It was a nice service & I hope to start attending more often. ⛪️ 


April Fool’s! Q1 Review

April 2nd, 2021 at 04:15 pm

Well, my April Fool's was fun because I hit $1.1 million in investments! On to the next milestone.

Investments Quarter 1 2021 Review:

Balance December 31, 2020: $1,023,303

Balance March 31, 2021: $1,087,545

Growth/Loss: +$64,242

Contributions: $6,000

Gain/Loss: +$58,242


December 31, 2020: $2,814.15

March 31, 2021: $6,319.03

Contributions: $3,5000

Interest: $4.88

Net Worth: $1,227,452


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! 🐰🐣💐

Job Prospects

March 27th, 2021 at 01:09 am

I have applied for two promotions at my workplace. I would be happy with either one, but I am leaning towards the one that is more computer than lab. My co-worker has recommended me for the other position, however. I am honored that he thought of me & put in a good job word for me with my xxxxxxx. My xxxxxxxalso called to ask if I had applied for either position & seemed pleased when I told her that I had applied for both. Our xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx has also inquired as to whether I would be interested in other positions. So fingers crossed & prayers prayed that one of them works out. It's funny, but just the thought of the opportunity to move up has made my days better. This week in particular has been peaceful, even though I've been crazy busy. I really just want to go out on a high note with a good inspection.

I made a lot of changes when I became lab supervisor. I had to take a fragmented lab & make it a cohesive core lab. None of the changes were easy & I didn't always have the support that I thought I should have, but I'm super proud with how I persevered. I learned a lot about myself & my character. I found out that I was a lot stronger than I thought. It has given me confidence.

The promotion would come with a small raise. No raises are big in government work, but it's sufficient for me. 

I haven't done anything with the gift from my mom. I'm just sitting on it until I decide what to do. I think I'd like to fund my IRA for 2021, but maybe I should wait for a little downturn in the market.

I can't believe that it's just over one week until Easter! Time is flying by.

Still Can’t Comment on Blogs

March 21st, 2021 at 04:38 pm

It's frustrating that this keeps happening.

Gift from Mom

March 19th, 2021 at 11:17 am

My mom gave me an expected gift of $3,500! She said that she didn't want me to feel left out because I didn't my qualify for a 3rd stimulus. She is going to give me another $1,500 at a later time. It was such a sweet & unexpected gift. I truly am blessed. I have no plans for the money at this time.

I have all my expenses & income for the month & I only ended up in the red by about $141 not including the gift. Again, I wrote checks for my federal & state taxes totaling $1,410. I will mail them later. Happy to have an extra month to pay federal taxes!  

So close to $1.1 million in investments.

Net Worth: $1,211,800

Investments: $1,099,951

IRS Tax Deadline Delayed

March 17th, 2021 at 07:47 pm

I almost mailed my payment this week, think I'll hold onto it for a little while longer! New deadline is May 15th.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

March 17th, 2021 at 12:03 am

Happy (early) St. Patrick's Day & may the luck of the Irish be with you! I've been reminescing on my trip to Dublin a little over 4 years ago. It was a great, but too short trip. I would like to go back & see the Irish countryside.

My goal was to have one thing done to my home each month & I've done nothing this month. I will reach out to some awning companies to get quotes. An awning is something that I've needed for 15 years now! I think it will cost less than my painting based on quotes I received a few years ago, but everything goes up in price, of course.

I really have blown through my FSA this year with my shoulder problems. It makes me all the more eager to sign up for an HSA eligible plan for next year. I have seen some progress. The worst of my symptoms will take longer to resolve of course. I had an appt with my primary care doctor today & I definitely need to get back to my lower carb eating. I'm disappointed that I have regained what I lost last summer & fall. Plus I'm not making as much progress in my Lyra classes & I attribute it to the extra weight. It makes moving around in the hoop harder!

Friday is my last paycheck of the month and I'll end it slightly in the red due to writing checks for my federal & state taxes for a total of $1,410. Next month is a 3 paycheck month. 

Net Worth: $1,209,196

Investments: $1,097,199




Can’t Post Comments Again!

March 12th, 2021 at 05:34 pm

Getting the same error message this morning when I try to comment on blogs.

It's a non-payday Friday. My expenses seem so much lower now that I've paid off my debt. Now I only look forward to paydays because of my TSP contributions.

Did any of you listen to Chris Hogan from the Dave Ramsey show? He left the group this week. Someone had posted a blog from his ex-wife in a group a couple of months ago so I had a little clue that something was amiss. I never expected him to leave, though. I really enjoyed listening to his show. I play their recorded shows on YouTube while working. I hope Chris Hogan lands somewhere else so I can continue to follow him.

Mint has my one year gains as $430,699 so I know it must have been around this time a year ago that the market tanked. My year end 2020 gain was less than half that when everything recovered.

Net Worth: $1,201,959


Can’t Post Comments

March 6th, 2021 at 03:44 pm

I've tried to post comments on a few blogs & keep getting an error message to try again later.

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