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Archive for April, 2012

April 2012 Budget Report

April 30th, 2012 at 04:46 pm



I received my seasonal over-time and bonus this month, so that is where the extra money came from.

"Everything Else" this month included son's allowance and the dentist.

All in all, not my best spending month, but not too awful, either.

Harp 2 Revisited

April 30th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Good news! It seems Harp 2 rates have come down a bit. Two months ago, I was offered 4.625% with no points. Today, I can get 4.375% with 1/4 of a point, approximately $450.00. I am moving ahead with the refi, which I am told will take approximately 60 days. This will drop my PITI approximately $150 per month, but reset my mortgage clock.

The month I skip a mortgage payment, I will pay Citi MC in full and just be done with it. That will free up an additional $50 per month.

What will I do with an additional $200 per month? I am thinking Roth and cash savings.

Yay!! Smile

Vanguard Has Accepted Me!!

April 26th, 2012 at 01:57 pm

I sent in new paperwork on Monday, and this afternoon I received an e-mail with a confirmation link to register for the small business site. I am now the plan administrator and company contact of my own Simple IRA! Whoo-hoo!!

I logged off the small business site and logged on to the personal investor site, and my Simple shows up on my page there, too! Smile Now to send some money.

Yay!! I feel like this is such a huge boost to my bottom line! No more front end loads and no more high on-going expense ratios should help me keep more of my dollars.

Simple IRA Solution, I Hope

April 24th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Yesterday I filled out a new set of paperwork, naming myself as the company contact and plan administrator. My boss said that was just fine. So with my fingers crossed, I am hopeful this will go through with no trouble.

Such a "simple" solution, maybe.

Received $.81 from Lending Club and chipped it.

Vanguard Has Rejected Me :(

April 21st, 2012 at 01:10 pm

I received my check from Card Pool on Thursday, and have already turned it into a mortgage chip.

Bad news with my Simple IRA transfer. Frown I received a letter from Vanguard asking me to call. I did so and was told that I need to supply the SSN of the retirement plan contact person at my company. That would be my boss, and he has declined to provide his SSN. So...I cannot move to Vanguard. Frown I'm very disappointed.

I am checking with Wells Fargo. I know that they offer Simple IRAs, but don't know if they will accept orphaned Simple IRAs, and also don't know if I can set it up as a brokerage account and get the same deal as I have on my plain vanilla traditional IRA (100 commission free trades per year). Heck, if they'd just let me share my free trades between the two, that would be more than sufficient.

As a last resort, I will start a new account at the new company (our old Edward Jones guy recently started) with my two bosses, then roll the money currently in my Simple at Edward Jones to my traditional IRA. My fear is the commissions and fees at the new company will be even worse than they were at Edward Jones. After all, it is a new company with lots of start up costs.

End of Tax Season

April 18th, 2012 at 06:44 pm

What a relief that another tax season has ended. This year was especially exhausting. Our receptionist/secretary needed time off which meant the other staff accountant and I had to take on her duties as well. We hired a temp, she was trained for 5 days, then worked solo for 7 days. She was doing a great job, but stopped showing up. She didn't resign, just stopped showing up. Her agency e-mailed us to say she had a family emergency and had to go out of town. However, we discovered that she left her key in her desk at the end of her last day, even though it would be hours before she would even learn of her family emergency. Hmmmm.

I racked up less overtime this year than last, due to my Bodega Bay overnight trip fiasco, and being sick for 3 weeks. My bonus was $100 larger than last year. Together, I cleared just a few dollars under 4k. I deposited them, then transferred $1400 to vacation fund, $1000 to CurveBall, and $600 to my Roth. I plan to send $400 extra to Citi MC and $170 to my son's mutual fund. (I promised him $300, but he asked for 2 video games. I told him they would come out of his $300.) That's $3570, the rest is sitting in checking.

My Simple IRA transfer is still in transit. I am expecting my matching plus my contributions from Jan - March to be deposited. The transfer is holding up my deposits. Together, that amounts to $1920 which needs to be added to my account. It will be so nice to not lose 5.75% right off the top anymore!

Yesterday in the mail I received a refund from my impound account in the amount of $119.05. I have already turned it into a mortgage chip. Beginning in June, my PITI payment will drop a few dollars. I do not plan to change my budgeted PITI.

Still waiting for my Card Pool check. The website says it takes 3 - 7 business days, and today was only the 3rd business day.

BF brought me a nice big garbage can to keep in the garage for my recyclables. I think that will be nicer than storing them in used grocery store plastic bags. I don't buy a lot of canned sodas, or bottled water, but I do buy some. (I don't like my son to drink a lot of soda, and I rarely drink soda. We have a Brita pitcher for home drinking water.) When my nephew lived here, he would always throw the empty containers away. I got tired of asking him not to, so I started taking them to work with me. I work downtown and park in an alley behind our office. We have a large homeless population downtown. I would simply set my empty containers next to a dumpster, and they wouldn't last 30 minutes. So it worked out both for me and for the person who found them first. However, I think now that I have a nice big plastic can to store them in, I will sell them every so often and use the money for....you guessed it, mortgage chips.

AT & T refund, Wallet Sweep

April 16th, 2012 at 01:04 pm

Cancelling my landline resulted in a credit balance, and I received a check from AT & T.... in the amount of .05! Uhm, thank you?

Friday was payday, but I didn't make it to the bank until today. I did a wallet sweep and had $9.69 this time.

Both amounts were mortgage chips.

I have been thinking about my front yard, and have come up with a plan which I think will both look nice and give me some private outdoor space. The best part is...it will result in no lawn to mow! I am not certain what it will cost me, but I am thinking once Hawaii is done, a makeover for my front yard will be the next thing I save up for.

Card Pool to the Rescue

April 15th, 2012 at 10:20 am

I sold my gift card this morning electronically on Card Pool, for $18.75. I lost an additional $1.25 in value, but don't need to mail in the actual card. This is convenient, since I no longer have it. Smile

From the time I put in my sell order, to receiving an email that they had verified my balance and mailed my check, about 30 minutes.

Plastic Jungle Frustration

April 12th, 2012 at 05:20 pm

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I intended to sell a gift card on Plastic Jungle. I have been trying to do just that, but it hasn't been working out too well.

I have sold gift cards on Plastic Jungle in the past with no trouble whatsoever, but this time it is another story.

First, I put in a sell order. I received my e-mail confirmation, which stated I would receive my shipping label e-mail within 24 hours. I never received it. After 2 days, I e-mailed customer service. Eventually, I was told that my order had been cancelled because it had orginated too far from my home zip code. I submitted the order from my work computer. I live and work in the same town. Glitches happen sometimes, so I take this with good humor.

I submit a second sell order. This time, I do receive my shipping label e-mail and promptly mail my gift card to Plastic Jungle. A week passes, I go on-line to see if my check has been mailed. I discover that the status of my order is "cancelled"! I e-mail customer service, they eventually reply that Plastic Jungle was not able to verify the balance of my gift card. I am supplied with the gift card and PIN number.

I call the merchant's gift card information line, and I learn that the balance on my card is $25.00, exactly what I had claimed it was. I e-mail customer service. I receive a reply that my e-mail is being forwarded to another department.

A few days go by, and I receive another e-mail. They are sorry for the inconvenience and they ask me to submit a new sell order. I think to myself, I will do that, then reply to the e-mail with my new order confirmation number. Well, I attempt to submit a new sell order but I receive an error message that the gift card already exists in their system. I e-mail customer service again.

This is the reply I received this afternoon:

Thank you for contacting Plastic Jungle.

We would like to inform you that your card for the order # PJ200210142 has been freed from the system. However we found that the card balance is less than $25.00.

We request you to check the balance again because if the balance is less than $25.00 we will not be able to accept it.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.


I called the merchant's gift card information number again, and again verified that my gift card balance is $25.00. Right at that moment, I became very disgruntled. They obviously still have not bothered to verify my gift card balance!

I sent them an e-mail summarizing my experience and my frustration. If they don't just send me my check, I am going to contact the merchant, have the gift card replaced, and sell it to another gift card broker.



March 2012 Budget Report

April 4th, 2012 at 05:11 pm



Well, it isn't pretty, but here it is.

My utilities are UGLY. I had to trim back on savings and credit card debt to accommodate my new, bigger, balanced bill pay amounts, and I still went over! I have paid my last home phone bill, so that will help some. I expect my electric and gas usage to go down now that there is one less person in the house. And I am seeing that already, it will just take some time for the reduced usage to impact my balanced bill pay plans. I'm still not completely sold on the whole balanced bill idea, but I'm going to leave it be for now.

Also in utilites, my cell phone bill is too darn high. I have called to see if I can get a lower bill, but I really can't at the moment. My contract is up in June for my line and my mom's line. J's line still has more than a year to go. AT&T is much more expensive than T-Mobile. I just want to go back to T-Mobile! My bill in March was $166, which included several $2 per use data charges. I had asked to have data blocked! When I called, I was told that it isn't blocked, but they will be happy to block it. If I accessed the web from my phone, it was only because I accidentally hit the wrong button. I have tons of roll-over minutes too, but I have the lowest amount of minutes which includes unlimited nights and weekends. If I bump down (from 700 to 550), then night and weekend calls will have to come from those 550 minutes. For 3 people, that seems like not enough.

"Everything Else" this time around is mostly for pharmacy and dr. co-pays, but does include a video game for J.

My Visa spending in March was fine, but February's bill had to be paid and CurveBall is poor again.

In all honesty, after all that has happened in the last 6 weeks, I am just grateful to have no new credit card debt.

Groceries was way too high. I picked up too many convenience foods, and picked up take n bake pizza a few times as well.

So that's how it went. I am determined to do better in April.

Mortgage Payment #48

April 3rd, 2012 at 05:13 pm



Chips this month included interest, proceeds from wallet sweeps, and Lending Club.