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Archive for October, 2011

Want to Get Back @ Big Banks?

October 30th, 2011 at 09:17 pm

Obviously, the absolute best way to get back at banks is to never owe them money, or even to never bank with them. However, we live in a digital age, so the latter may not be possible for a lot of us. I know that it is not for me. There is still yet more to do!

If you are still receiving credit card offers via snail-mail, there is a beautiful - and I do mean b-e-autiful - way to be a nuisance to them.

Have a gander and let me know what you think! I will be doing this from now on.

(Apparently, you cannot embed YouTube videos. So, here ya go...)

http://youtu.be/ZgkSiyIUz_w

Math is Kicking My Butt!

October 30th, 2011 at 05:38 pm

So I took the COMPASS a couple months back, and only scored high enough in Math to get into Math 25. Math 25 is not a college course, so this course has to be paid for out-of-pocket. I have yet to find out how much it is, or if personal student loans would cover it, as I have been approved for a good amount of personal student loans via the FAFSA. The course is not worth any credits, obviously, so I need to call someone at Admissions tomorrow and figure this out. Why?

I have been working on practicing Algebra, and I am just not having a good time with it. Apparently, my state's Algebra is not as inclusive as the rest of the country's. That, or I just do not remember doing any of this. Ha!

You see, I never made it past week two of Geometry. I dropped out of high school, got a full time job, and was living the high life. Right... I went to a trade school a few months later, and ended up with a degree I could not use, ten months later.

It is time to fulfill my family's and my dreams. Both financially and otherwise!

P.S. I thought it was noteworthy to add that I got a perfect score on the English COMPASS. Smile

A Nice Surprise

October 29th, 2011 at 02:52 pm

Last night, I had a dream that my wife said, "You know what? We still haven't found those two $10,000 checks that we lost!" Ugh! Ya, right! Haha!

Today, however, I moved $45 to our Savings. The $45 was a result of our rounding*. I applied the $45 to our Auto fund. That is the fund used to purchase - you guessed it! - auto parts, repairs, maintenance, etc. We now have $201 in that fund. We also have $312 on its way from PayPal to our checking account that will be applied to Auto as well. This will result in enough money for us to get new tires for the car! Smile

Why am I so excited for tires for the car? Well, a) because we just took a drastic cut in income. We are now living on about $600 less per month than before! And b) because I am going to be LRR*1 tires that will help improve not only our already awesome fuel economy of 40 mpg (which is over 128% better than EPA est. MPG*2), but also will last us 80,000 to 100,000 miles. Smile

So, we are doing pretty well! We have restructured our budget, paid-off a personal loan, and I am working on getting enrolled in college.

Also, since we got the Chase Freedom card, we have been doing pretty with it. It's nice having a credit card, using it for everything, and never having a running balance. Smile

*1 - LRR - Low Rolling Resistance. LRR tires are proven to increase fuel economy and are built to last longer. They use a harder composite than traditional tires. They are found on all hybrids, and only recently are being manufactured in more common tire sizes for the use by non-hybrid vehicles.
*2 - EPA est. MPG for our vehicle is 23 city / 30 hwy / 27 combined. Currently getting 40 mpg with 90% city driving. Learn how you can do this, too, by visiting http://www.CleanMPG.com/ and help reduce this nation's dependency on foreign oil. Be a
patriot.

Let's Get Up-To-Date Here

October 27th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

It's been a while since I made an update. So here it is. Smile

Paid-off our personal loan for $520. So, that's a $100/mo payment that is gone. Thank goodness!

If you remember, our computer took a dump, so we had to use BillMeLater in order to get an iMac. Sold all the parts from the home-built PC for a total of $312.70. Didn't make that much of a profit, however, as shipping came out to be $212. So, only a $100 profit. Well, crap! That's the last time I have the UPS Store package it. Next time, we'll just go out and get some cardboard boxes and pack em with whatever.

Anyways...

Tires are a planned purchase coming up. Should be under $450 for purchase, shipping, and installation. However, I will be calling around to see if the local shops have the tires I want in stock, to see if I can save anything doing it that way.

Have been steadily donating plasma. Have missed a couple days though, so I've only made $80 from it so far. But, hey!, that's $80 I wouldn't have had otherwise! The misses is doing it as well.

Wifey is doing pretty well with her job. She hates being away from home, and I hate that she's been put in that position, but if we look at the positive - at least now we get to swap rolls somewhat. Right? Sure.

As some of you know, I've been planning to begin my delayed college career this Spring of 2012. However, I was just recently able to get ahold of someone who had some answers for me. I scored so low on my Math COMPASS test that I did not qualify for college courses. So - as they told me when I finished the test - I either have to take Math 25 or retake the COMPASS. What I was not told at the time was that Math 25 does not qualify as a college course and, thus, is not eligible for financial aid. I am not sure how much that course costs, but it is not in my interest to pay for it! However, I may get it on loans. Not sure... I will retake next week and if I do not pass, I will get it on loans (if it can be done that way). Either way, deadline for enrollment is November 15th. Right around the corner. Wish I'd known sooner!

Unemployment Insurance Decision

October 15th, 2011 at 04:08 pm

The Department of Labor decided in favour of me, and I will begin receiving Unemployment Insurance shortly.

I was hoping I would be able to receive it while going to school as well, but further research into that shows that once enrolled, I may be deemed ineligible for benefits. Well, crap...

I tried getting a position to work with my school schedule... And that's probably part of the reason I was terminated from my employer. And now... My wife is starting work, and her schedule will not work with my school schedule. So, it looks as though I will not be able to attend college full-time as planned. So the five year Bachelor will take God knows how long...

We also will not be able to move into a place. Ugh! Not sure where to go from here... I guess just count our lucky stars and pray for the best?

Workforce Assistance

October 13th, 2011 at 06:27 am

This morning, I am headed off to the Goodwill Workforce Assistance programme. Since I lost my job and my wife has yet to start her job, I have to attend this program until either, a) my wife starts work, or b) I start school. Most likely, it will be that my wife will start work soon, as she should be going in to sign papers by the end of this week.

The Goodwill Workforce Assistance programme sounds like a great one. They will assist with:
Clothing for interviews
Gas vouchers
Resume building
Job searching
etc.

My wife's father went thru the programme and - while it was dull and boring - he said it was quite helpful.

I will let you all know how it goes.

Also happening today:
Picking up baby wipes for the little one. Going a little over our budget for the month. Since we got the Chase Freedom credit card (which we pay off twice per month, and use exactly like a debit card), it seems as though we have gotten off-track somehow, as - when I was employed - I have been paying some of the remaining balance on the card with the next paycheck, rather than the current one like planned. So, somehow, somewhere, we are spending too much. This has to be taken a hold of.

On a happier note, with our Chase rewards points, we ordered:
Bodum Chambord 8-Cup French Press Coffeemaker
Bodum Assam Tea Press - Black
Bodum Anywhere 8-Oz. Travel Mug - Green
Bodum Anywhere 8-Oz. Travel Mug - Black

Sweet! We have been wanting to drink more tea, and now we can! Also, a French press makes coffee far superior to that of any automated methods (sans the super expensive machine, possibly). We can't wait! Smile

Also, take a look over to the left column. See that Personal Loan @ 15% that has a remaining balance of $546? We will be paying that off with savings once the wife secures her position. While we would rather not take from savings for this, it is a must-do if we are to survive on a lower income.

And last, but indubitably not least, today I will be selling a part of our previous computer that took a poop on us. So far, we have sold over $250 worth of items. However, I did end up losing $8 on two of the shipments, because shipping was far more than I was quoted. I will make a post after I've sold and shipped everything to analyze the actual net earnings from all the items.

Wish us well!
Peace!

Stay Frügal

Let the Plasma Flow...

October 12th, 2011 at 09:48 pm

Today was a very long day. While my mother in-law stayed with the little one, the wife and I spent the day donating plasma.

Plasma is a great way to bring in extra cash. You can donate plasma twice in a seven day period, at $25 per donation. That ends up being $200/mo if you do it on a regular basis. Not a bad income for a few hours of your time each week, right?

Today was our first time going in, so we expected to spend three hours there, like they say you should. Typical visits after that take an hour to two hours. You sit, you wait for your name to be called, then you sit in a reclined chair hooked up to a machine for about 45 minutes while your blood is drawn, plasma extracted, and blood returned. For me, they take 1 liter of plasma. It is based on your weight. This is for a typical day. Today, however...

We were there from 12:30p to 5:40p. During the plasma extraction process, my wife had to have a bottle of water and crackers. Typically, no food or drink is allowed in the plasma center. However, since the last thing we'd eaten was breakfast, we were probably a bit underprepared for the process. No thanks to the extensive waiting time, no doubt.

After the whole thing was over and we were home and getting ready to eat, I was feeling short of breath after just walking up the stairs or picking up our eight month-old. I checked my heart rate when I was feeling short of breath, and when I was "at rest." Active heart rate was 136 bpm, while resting was 92. Not good!

Not sure if we will go back. It may be better the second time, as the waiting period will be shorter, so we won't have to sit there without any food for so long.

On a lighter note, yesterday I saw a pair of Dr. Martens shoes at a local secondhand clothing boutique. They were only $16 and not very worn. And, since I do not have any winter shoes, I am pondering the purchase. However, this is absolutely no time to be buying things like clothing and shoes. Urgh!

Good News on the Homefront

October 8th, 2011 at 04:28 pm

Today, my wife had her interview with her former employer that she was with before we got pregnant. She was told that the position is part-time, seasonal, and is retail sales in a high-end clothing department. She was also told that they want the position to become permanent, especially since they found someone that they know will do well in that position. Unlike most retail sales, the position is not commission. It is hourly. However, their sales are kept track of and they are rewarded for meeting and exceeding sales goals. 

By the time my wife took her leave before, she was making around $8.60/hr. This position should pay around $9/hr. She has yet to receive all of the details, as her supervisor (former and would-be upon hire) is speaking with the store manager to get approval for the hire. We should know everything in a few days to a couple of weeks. So, right now, everything is guessing. So we are estimating $9/hr, 25 hours per week. She will also get full benefits. 

While this position will not pay as much as we were making before - a first - it will pay the bills. By way of donating plasma and possibly collecting unemployment, we will be able to continue our debt payoff and be on our way into a place of our own. (By the way, I will be updating the sidebar with details of our debts, credit scores, budget, and what-not. Stay tuned!)

So, good news so far! Can only get better from here!

$25 of FREE Gas!

October 7th, 2011 at 08:05 pm

Looks like some good vibes were sent out way (Thank you all!).

Today, we pulled up to the Chevron and the pump read, 'Begin Fueling'. I expected it to say 'Insert Card or Pay Inside'. I started pumping. It began slowing down at one point, so I got back out of the car and found that it had stopped at $25 even. Confuzzled, I then looked at the other display, which said nothing. So I put the pump back. It then said 'Insert Card or Pay Inside'. Inserted card. Filled up to a bill of $17. Woot!

Talk about good vibrations!

Only got 39 mpg this tank. Only. Haha. I remember when I was excited to hit 35. The past few tanks have been 40, though, so I was hoping to maintain that. Will hit it this time around. Wink

A Visit to Dept of H&W

October 7th, 2011 at 10:12 am

Welp, it's off to Health & Welfare today, for my wife and I. We have to report that I am unemployed so that we may get more food stamps until one of us finds a job.

Also, today, I need to call someone at the Dept. of Labor to inquire about my Unemployment Insurance that I submitted for on Tuesday. I know it has not been a week yet, but I have yet to even be contacted by someone there... The estimated UI that they gave me (tells you at the beginning of the application) was $157/wk. UGH! Not enough, but we can make it work since we will not be driving as much. Also, if I pay off the $546 left on the personal loan ($100/mo payment), that will help a lot. I'd be taking out of savings, but it may be required at this point... However, $546 is four car payments... So, it's definitely a tough decision. Don't want to take a hit to my credit, but don't want to wish I had those four payments for the car if that comes up...

I feel like CRAP having to live off the system like this... I don't like it. It's not the kind of people that we are! It also means that we have to stay in this PLACE that is toxic to our lifestyle, our faith, and our physical well-being.

Wish us luck, keep us in your thoughts and prayers, send good vibes. Smile

A Fresh Start (New Blog)

October 6th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

After some drama with my previous employer, and per the advice of some regular readers of mine, I have decided to create a new blog, in the hopes that I am not stalked by said employer's staff.

A little about who I am and what I am about. I am married, Christian, have an 8-month old daughter, and am recently unemployed, due to my previous employer making false accusations and following them up with a termination. Currently in proceedings with the Department of Labor and finding other employment. I start school at the local university in Spring of 2012. I will be majoring in Nursing. It is my dream to someday work as an OR Nurse or in a pediatric oncology unit. We shall see just where it all leads me.

We currently live in my parents' house, where my 32 year old delinquent brother does as well. If you know who I am and have read my previous posts, you will understand that he is not exactly the greatest person to live around. We were planning our exodus from this place when I was terminated from my position and almost all hopes of any future employment that I was seeking were lost.

I am a hypermiler. By that, I mean that I pump my car for more fuel economy than the average person. Our car, a 2007 Ford Focus S with 5 speed manual transmission, is EPA rated at 24 city/33 hwy/27 combined. I have consistently been averaging 40 mpg or more on the past few tanks, as I am improving my skills. You can find my stats at my CleanMPG.com profile. Once our tires are done for, I will be purchasing LRR (Low Roll Resistance) tires, which help to improve fuel economy. Also, I am running AMSOIL Signature Series 100% Synthetic oil, which is good for 25,000 miles/12 months between changes. It also provides superior cold-weather start-up, lower friction, and is more affordable (when calculated by qt per mile) that all other oils available. This oil costs about $.27 per mile, as compared to Mobil 1's $.67 (thereabouts).

There is plenty more to know about me, and I am sure I will touch on them in the future, as I have already done in my former blog here on savingadvice.com.

Some more recent developments are that my wife has an interview with her former employer (Macy's) for a non-seasonal sales position. Talk about role reversal! I am pretty concerned as to how well I will do with the little one with mommy gone off to work.

Also found out today that my credit rating went up from 715 to 726. Up 11 points from last month. Started at 640 in February. Now that's rewarding!