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Archive for March, 2008

March update!

March 21st, 2008 at 06:09 pm

Finally got my taxes done I get back around 600 from fed and pay the wonderful state of California 75. Iím ok with that. I already changed my deductions for state so that I donít have to pay next year.
I interviewed for a new job last week and they called me 15 minutes after I left and offered me the job. I thought about it for the weekend and turned it down. Now you might be wondering why since I do want to leave my job but it comes down to money. If I took the job I would put myself in a corner with a classification that would not pay me any more money but if I stay in the current classification (and pray I get to move to the head agency who owns this classification) I could earn $700 more per month. This is enough for me to want to stay. The job also had a different retirement system and that would cause me to lose more money each month to that on top of what Ii put away personally.
I also applied for a federal job in the same field but came in just shy of being able to be interviewed. At least it was nice to know I qualified for the position. This time last year they said I didnít. There are several jobs open in the same category and I applied for them all. Some are outside of California so I would have to move but I think I am up for the challenge.
There is one that would require me to just take the train to the bay area for work I think I could handle that for a while as long as I had a mode of transportation out of there in case of earth quake again. I am thinking motor scooter or something like that. Or possibly just moving down there and renting a room form someone for a while. Weíll see what happens but for every job I apply to I am looking at the area, determining a plan of action if I was offered a job.
Easter is coming and it seems so early this year.
My sister and her husband asked it I could watch the kids for the next 9 Mondays as they wasnít to take ball room dancing class. They have literally no time together and eventuially that takes a toll oon a relationship. I told them even if they donít like it to find something else to do on Mondays and soend some time together. I think they will enjoy it and I will enjoy getting to spend some time with the nieces and nephews.
Doing well on the spending front. I am within my budget this month and still have all of next weeks allowance/grocery/gas money so I am really happy. What sucks is that I am on spring break from school and there is nothing playing at the theaters to go an dsee. I finally have time and nothing there!
Found a great little town house. It is a short sale and is relly cute, well maintained, nice neighborhood, kitchen already re done. Just about perfect. It is just not anywhere near where I want to live and the commute would be really bad. With gas approaching 4 a gallon I would have to take light rail to work which is something I already do but this would be my only option and would take an hour or so. I am not liking that so I think I might keep it on the short list and see what else I can find. If I gotthe job at the other state agency it would not be a bad commute of only 45 or so miles and free parking! So I keep waiting to hear from them!!

edited to add: My monthly deposit for surveys is up to $73. I am hoping for another couple dollars to make it to $75 for the month. What a nice feeling it would be!

west virginia, play, grocery shopping updates

March 12th, 2008 at 04:42 pm

So I sent the application to the job I wanted in West Virginia. Got the email back that my file was complete and they submitted it to the HR person for review. Today I got the email that said I was qualified for the job but my application was not sent on because there were others more qualified. I called to see how far down on the list I was and they said I was number 5. They send only the four most qualified applications for review by the interview committee? I was a bit frustrated when I heard that. They did say that they will keep my application on file for the next 180 days and if something else came up would I be interested in having my application reviewed? I said yes (of course)! They then asked me about the places where they might have jobs opening up and if I was interested in moving to any of them. I said yes to all. I may not be interested in moving to all of the places they listed but if my application is reviewed it starts the clock all over again on the 180 days.

Now I have to admit I was most interested in this one job because it was just an hour or so outside of D.C. I have always wanted to live in that area, even if it is just for a short time because I love D.C. and have loved visiting it in the past.

I went grocery shopping again on Saturday to Savemart. I wanted some ground turkey and they were all priced 3.99 with a sticker that said they were not 2 for $6. I picked up one and finished shopping. As I checked out it rang up for $5.99 on the receipt. I went to the customer service desk and asked about it because all the ground turkey was marked as one price. They agreed with me that it was confusing, no sticker on the shelf where it was and they refunded the price and gave me one of the others for free. I an starting to like Savemart and hope I catch them at least one a week. (so far it has totaled $8 back to me and free products to boot in two weeks.)

I took my mom to see the 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee play. It was hysterical and we both laughed so much. There were difficult moments and sad moments but mostly it was funny. They even pick audience members to participate before the show. I was interviewed but did no get selected. Everyone is given pretty hard words except for the audience members selected. They were given words like cow, umbrella and jihad. (although the speller with jihad missed on her first try and was excused). The audience members are up there for about the first third of the play and did really well. The last gentleman was recalled several times until he missed the word and they could excuse him and continue with the play. It is adult continent (one song about puberty and if my straight laced pretty conservative mom can laugh, well then everyone else can) but it was so well done and the actors really acted like 10 and 12 year olds. Just really a cute play that I recommend seeing if it comes to your area!


West Virginia Here I come??

March 4th, 2008 at 11:38 am

SOÖ am looking at applying for a job in West Virginia pan handle near DC. It is in my field and something I would love to do but it means moving 3000 miles from my family. It would mean a pay raise of approximately 25k a year. The cost of living indexes are the following:

Cost of Living Indexes (100 is average of USA)

Overall
Sacramento 119 West Virginia 76

Food
Sacramento 119 West Virginia 96

Housing
Sacramento 129 West Virginia 46

Utilities
Sacramento 110 West Virginia 76

Transportation
Sacramento 112 West Virginia 100

Health (care costs)
Sacramento 147 West Virginia 88

Miscellaneous
Sacramento 102 West Virginia 96


Obviously housing, utilities, and health costs are all cheaper as is the overall cost of living in West Virginia. Anyone know anyone living near the area who could give me advice about the area and if it is nice enough to move there?

I have always wanted to live near DC. It would mean being near my dad, whom I have seen pretty much 7 times in my life. But no big deal there for me.

I am at lest going to apply for it and if I get an interview I can fly back to the area and check it out. Houses are very cheap out there which is a nice thing to see compared to CA.

updated payments, FICO scores, taxes sent to be done

March 3rd, 2008 at 08:19 pm

The other check came in today from the investments I sold. It totaled 2500 and some change. This is enough to pay off another card and either save 390 or turn it into one of the last two cards. All together I have paid off 7k in debt in the past month and over 11 k since November. It feels nice to have a lot paid off. There is still more to do but totally do able this year.

I joined a credit program off one of my cc today. I wanted to see what my current FICO scores were, get an updated series of credit reports and see what happens over the next month as a large chunk of debt is cleared off my records. I found out my scores ranged from 767 to 781 (weird how much they differed) and Iíd like to see them jump quite a bit in the next year. Before I purchase a house Iíd like to see my scores go up to 800. I am hoping with no debt other than student loans my score will go even higher and break that 800 mark. It was worth it to me to check my scores and get those little alerts each month until I get my goals completed. Does anyone know why the scores differ so much? It always seems that Experian is the lowest and Equifax is the highest, why is that?

I mailed off my tax stuff for 2007 to the new tax person. The new person I used last year has taken the next two year off from the business to spend time with his new daughter. This was his part time hjob (to the tune of about 50 hours a week during tax season) so he has turned all his clients over to his sister who runs a similar business. It took me this long to get all my papers this year. I had a health savings account through my previous job and needed to get their approval for some items purchased this last year and it took forever, even with the receipts I sent to them. SoÖnow that this is taken care of and cleared for 2007 I can get my taxes done and find out how much I owe or get back. This year was to close for me to calculate with my rough calculations. I just hope I donít have to pay anything for either Federal or State.

February was an expensive month for me because I fell off the wagon in terms of bringing my lunch to work. Today I brought my lunch, yeah me! I almost had a no spend day but I just remembered I paid for parking this morning because I was later than I should have been. But at least I brought my lunch!



Went for 50 cents got $5

March 2nd, 2008 at 08:47 pm

I went shopping at Save mart tonight. I rarely go there because Safeway is closer and around the corner.

I bought Mozarella and the label read 4.49 but it rang up at 4.99. I went to customer service and there was a long line. I almost went home thinking it is only 50 cents when someone opened up. She went to check the price and discovered I was right. She gave me the product free and returned my $5 back to me. Who knew? This was extremely helpful because I was $12 over my budget for the week but this way I am only $7 over. (But not really over as I bought my favorite cereal for the next three weeks and some extra carrots on sale.)

I'll be going back to Save mart more often and checing their receipt carefully in the future! woohoo!

Ticker update, other ideas and plans

March 2nd, 2008 at 02:51 pm

I made a decision earlier this week to turn in some investments and receive the money so that I can use them to pay down debt. Between the $4500 I have received thus far and the $1200 I have monthly from my budget I was able to pay off quite a bit this month. This is reflected in the ticker to the left. I have one more investment for which I am awaiting the payment which should be about $3500 or so which means I will pay off one more card and a piece of another. This means that by the beginning of April I will have only 1 cc with a debt of about 9k left. Totally do able by the end of the year.
This means that I will have $1200 out of my budget each month plus the amount I pay in rent ($465) to consider for a house payment. Now realistically I want to pay less than $1665 each month for a house but at least it is something I can seriously consider. Here in Sacramento the housing market is bad and getting worse which while horrible for those who made the decision to buy high and sell low or to move into a house they could obviously not afford it is good for me. I am scoping out the market and area to see where I would want to purchase a house and have two specific areas in which I look. Obviously I want it to be in a safe neighborhood as I am going to be living alone (hopefully). I want to be able to afford the house on my own but I would consider taking in a renter to share the house and expenses keeping my expenses as low as possible and trying to pay extra to the mortgage each month.
I am astounded at the governmentís ideas to try and help those who cannot afford their homes now. Why purchase a home that you cannot afford and expect that in the future you would be able to afford it? Especially in CA where the COL goes up every year and inflation costs are not met with the raises people receive? Stockton which is less than an hour away has the highest rates of foreclosures in the nation and will decimate the economy in the middle portion of this state. I know the decisions to help are done because to allow more foreclosures would mean an even worse economy but really. I could have qualified for a home 4 years ago even with my debt and that would mean I would receive the assistance of the government now but I made the decision not to put myself out in such a way that would be bad for me in the future. It just drives me nuts.

I am considering trying to find a part time job, even loading groceries or working in a cafe, to pay off everything faster and get to a nice down payment faster but I am seeing homes in the nicer neighborhoods where I want to live come down a lot even to the mid 150k or so region and still dropping.

There is the possibility of taking a contract job for a univ down south trying to start a certificate program in the field in which I work. That would be helpful and rather a large contract. There is also the possibility of once I find a new job doing some contract work with a contractor providing services on the project I currently work. I know the project, indeed I wrote the scope of work and have worked on this project for three years but I can't do any part time work for her because it would be double dipping into grant funds the currently pay my salary. Once I leave this department and move to another then there is no problem of double dipping or any kind of impropriety.
I really hope I can get a new position. I have applied for many and interviewed and been offered but all of them are lower than I currently am so the raise I get as a state employee at one year would be about 1% with no chance of going higher. There is a new position being advertised that I will apply for tomorrow. It is slightly higher but I can move into it laterally so that is good. The best part is that the next level which I would have to promote into off an exam list is one of the highest paying jobs with the state that is not a management role. To be able to get to that area in a couple years is such an exciting idea. I will see what happens with the application and interview. I do have a favorite job that I want to get but if that fell through then this next position would be my back up. We shall see how it pans out.

So far for March I have two survey checks for $5 and one check for $50 to deposit. I am waiting until then end of the month before I deposit them to better track how much I earn in surveys each month. I house sat for two days this week netting $60 which I already deposited. I have another evening later this month as well as several nights this spring and several weeks this summer. All of that will be put toward debt to try and to get out of credit card debt faster.

I loved the movie Becoming Jane. If you get to watch it I highly recommend it. Simply Lovely!

edited to add: checked mail from Saturday and received another survey check for $2 for a total of $62 to deposit at the end of the month.