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Archive for December, 2011

Target REDcard

December 16th, 2011 at 10:16 am

We opened up a Target REDcard last night. Credit limit is only $500, but we don't even spend $100 there each month, so we are plenty happy with it. Smile

It's nice being able to keep your credit open, and this card is just going to help do that even more. We won't have to charge the Chase card as much, as we get our Toiletries and Household Items from Target. Smile

Some New Possibilities (Employment)

December 14th, 2011 at 08:43 am

So, a lot of you know that I have been having trouble making time for studying to pass the Math COMPASS for college. Doesn't make sense, does it? A personal finance blogger not being great at math... Ha!

We have some recent semi-developments that may help to answer a few of our questions. My wife's uncle lives in Seattle and works as an Apartment Maintenance Supervisor. He makes a little over $20/hr and his rent is free. And he says that all supervisors' rent is free, no matter the company, as far as he has seen. He says to start from the bottom, you make around $12-13/hr, 40+ hrs/wk, and get about a 30% discount on rent. That may work for our situation. We may even be able to get off of food stamps (or may get forced off them). Anyways, he said he should know by as late as January if he has any openings that he could put me in.

It would take a few hundred dollars to move out there, but it would be worth it if it meant getting out of our current situation and still being able to keep up with our bills. As a recap, our expenses (including toiletries and what-not) now are 100% of our income, since taking the huge cut in income.

Also, my wife remembered that one of her father's cousins works in Corporate for Albertson's. That same cousin offered my wife's mother a job just a few months back. If she could get in there, it would be more than she is making now. She did learn, however, that her current employer is keeping her on after the holidays (that was a given) and that her work week would be at least 28 hrs/wk in the same area of the store (those were not a given). So, it would be a hard decision for her to make.

It is nice knowing that we may have some options, though. Working as a "maintenance man" is not exactly what I had in mind for my future, but there comes a point when you have to realize your possibilities vs your dreams. While I am still studying vigorously for the Math COMPASS, I am not ruling out other possibilities. If I were to become a supervisor in three years (like he and someone he'd trained did), we would have free rent and be making $38,000/yr. Factor in the $2,200/mo rent that his apartment goes for, and that's easily $64,000. That's pretty good, if you ask me. It would take a lot of hard work and dedication, however, especially for me. I have only worked three physical labour jobs (drywall taper assistant, plumbing apprentice, carpet cleaner), and only at one of those jobs did I actually learn something... Scratch that. Only at one of those jobs was I actually taught something.

I just want to be able to contribute to retirement, a college fund for the wee one, be able to afford one nice new-used car at a time, and help my wife attain her dream of owning a coffee shop. All doable if I were to stick with the apartment maintenance profession, considering I were to get it in the first place.

So, keep your fingers crossed for us. Prayers. Good vibes. Whatever ya got! Smile

Fooducate Yourself

December 10th, 2011 at 10:09 am

Yesterday, we finally got a chance to use a new iOS app that my wife found the other day.

Using the built-in barcode scanner (or by typing in the name of the food product), you can instantly view the health information about that item. It will give you a letter grade ranging from F to A+. It will then break down the information into things such as calories per serving, how it ranks on a dieter's theoretical list, etc. And, the best part, this app also informs you as to the content of that item. Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, and it will tell you that. It will also tell when an item's packaging contains BPA. Or, hey, how about that Smart Balance vegetable spread that your doctor recommends? How about the fact that it contains TBHQ and EDTA? Bet your doctor didn't tell you that! I also bet you wouldn't have guessed that Bush's reduced sodium kidney beans are considered one of the healthiest!

For those that are looking to really get away from the CRAP found in your everyday foods, this is a really awesome app for you!

Fooducate - web site - App Store



Fooducate - web site - App Store

The Reason - Responses?

December 1st, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Recently, my wife has been looking into going to school. If you remember, she is now the one working, while I am a stay-at-home-father and practicing my poor Algebra skills to retake the Math COMPASS for entry into college. She has been looking at the Paul Mitchell school - something she has always considered doing. She would receive 2,000 hours in Cosmetology training. We have thought about this. The school's job placement rate for new grads is 86%. Pretty good. Average salary is about $24,000/yr. "That would help us get out of our living-with-family situation," we think. Then we realize that we would also lose Food Stamps, which is over $400/mo. So, to make up for that, pay our current bills, plus pay her tuition, and put $700 towards rent and utilities, we would have to net $2,000/mo. On one income...

We are still donating plasma, but it is not the $440/mo that we have hoped it would be. While that is the max potential (two people, two 'donations' per week), we have found that it is not always possible for us to do so. So, it has turned out to be around $100/mo. 

Also, I have taken it upon myself to try to find odd jobs to do. This has come to me in the way of oDesk.com. It is a freelancing/contracting web site that appears to have some threads of truth to it. I have been working on my résumé in order to make myself more desirable, so I have yet to apply to any contracts yet (limited number of applications per week). So I do not know how that will pan out. 

Anyways... While the job placement percentage is decent, it is an $18,000 tuition in a field where the demand comes strictly from desire rather than from need. The clients are there because they want to be. Because they are able to afford it (or at least have some credit left on their cards). I am still paying off my $18,000 tuition from when I went to school for Massage Therapy. I am a great Massage Therapist. Great technique. Great form. Wonderful pressure. Superb personal skills. And that sixth sense that a lot of MT's don't have, but wish they did... And yet, I have never been employed in the field. 

What are we to do? We live off of $600/mo. We live in an oppressive and downright dangerous environment where the downstairs wreaks of cat feces and occasionally marijuana, where the other residents do not take into account the welfare of the infant in their house, etc., etc. We have been married over a year and a half, and have been together for longer, and have not once lived in a place of our own! 

This. This is the point of all that we strive to do, financially. Money is the only thing that can change our lives at this point.

What are we to do? Suggestions for my wife? For me? 

Thank you for reading.