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Vested in Pension

June 1st, 2022 at 07:06 pm

An exciting milestone was reached during the month of May.  I am now vested in the CalPers pension system.  If I stop working right now, at age 62 I am eligible to draw $298.62 per month for the rest of my life.  (Because of the Windfall Elimination Provision, receiving the pension will cost me $149.31 of SS benefits monthly once SS payments begin.)  If I continue working, the pension amount will increase.  If I am successful in moving up to a higher paid position, that will also increase my pension amount.  It is obviously not much, still I am very pleased to be vested.  

I did get a passing score on the test mentioned in my last entry, and in fact received the highest score in the testing group.  Therefore, I have been receiving invites to apply for openings in various departments.  However, I have chosen to pass on scheduling those interviews.  I have other things on my plate right now and really don't want to take the time to prepare for, dress for, and drive to interviews for jobs I don't want in the first place. I am waiting to be invited to interview for the opening which started this whole process.

I have been off work for a full 6 weeks now, and am still waiting for my first disability check.  (In California, we have a state run short-term disability program, which is funded via a direct payroll tax.) There is a website of course, and I can find my account, my claim number, etc.  I have received 2 notices, one about my weekly benefit amount ($627) and one informing me that if I also qualify for a program called Paid Family Leave (I don't), then I need to apply for it separately.  However, I have not received a notice that my claim has been approved (or disapproved, whatever).  According to Google, neither of the 2 notices I have received mean that my claim is approved.  Under my claim history, they have posted the first week's payment for the period 4/20-4/26/22.  The first week is always unpaid and it does show the benefit amount as $0.  But it stops right there, with no information whatsoever about any other time period. I have tried calling, but I get through all of the pre-recorded info, enter my personal info, then am told I will be transferred, then the line just goes dead.   This happens at the same exact point each time that I have called.  I assume that there are so many callers, they will not even put me in a queue, but of course that is only an assumption.  So, I'm really not sure of my status or when to expect some actual money.  

Next Tuesday I will begin radiation treatments.  I am scheduled for 16 treatments, 1 per day M-F.  It is quite a drive to the radiology center and with the cheapest gas available currently costing $5.79 per gallon,  I am not looking forward to shelling out for the gas.   I really can't complain though, so far my cancer treatment has cost me right at 1k in co-pays.  We aren't done yet, of course.

Water District Declines and Paying off My 5th Wheel Loan

March 23rd, 2021 at 02:47 am

I received a "no, thank you" letter from the local water district.  It was a let down, but I am a big believer that when things are right, they fall into place.   So, I accept that the local water district is just not the right fit for me.

I decided that I would rather pay my 5th wheel loan in full and then make payments (if necessary) on my medical bills, rather than the other way around.  So today, I paid 2k towards the loan, bringing the balance down to $1,752.57.  I transferred some money from sinking funds, and will pay the balance in full by the end of this week.

Place to Sell Used Phones

December 26th, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Have your heard about this new company Trademore?

Text is and Link is

They buy and sell used phones. I have a couple lying around; if they will buy them at any price, I will be happy to mail them off in prepaid mailers and have them out of my hair. I wouldn't mind having an extra dollar or two either (for debt repayment purposes, of course).

I don't buy expensive phones, so I'm not certain if they will want mine. But, we shall see.

Tomorrow is payday; since I know I want to pay an additional $572.87 towards my 5th wheel loan and since the funds are available, I pulled the trigger a day early. I lost $69.61 to interest leaving $503.26 to reduce the balance down to $42,170.90. I have now paid off 10% of the original principal balance.

Snagged Three More Secret Shops

November 19th, 2019 at 03:47 am

I applied for, and was assigned, 3 more secret shops this evening. One for next Tuesday (Jack in the Box), one the Tuesday after that (same JitB location), and one the Tuesday after that (a phone shop for tire stores). Still looking forward to being paid for the first one, at the credit union.

I did not calculate the interest exactly right, so did make an adjustment to my 5th wheel loan balance, in my favor. I was using a banker year (360 days) to calculate the interest, but Bank of the West uses a calendar year (365 days), which is A-OK with me.

It is looking likely we have another power outage coming up. Received word today that if it happens, our power will be going out at 2pm this Wednesday, will stay off Thursday, and turning it back on to commence Friday. This is subject to change.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, this Thursday is a payroll processing day. That means I will be working in the afternoon, in a different county building, for time and a half.

Did a Secret Shop Today; November 2019 Budget

November 2nd, 2019 at 03:39 am

Last night I thought, hey, why not check the shopper job boards and see if there are any secret shops around here I can do? (At one time, I did a fair amount of secret shopping, but it had been years since I had last done a shop). So I looked, and I found one for a bank just a few blocks from my workplace. I did the shop right after work tonight, submitted my report when I got home, and voila, I am expecting $20.

Here is my budget for November, a 3 paycheck month. Looking forward to a productive month:

Net Paycheck; Future Plans

February 23rd, 2019 at 06:34 pm

Now that the cruise is paid for and my house is sold, I needed to change my paycheck withholdings. I filled out a new W-4, choosing Single-0. I upped my 457 plan contribution from 3% to 10%. At the beginning of the year, I upped my HCRA deposit to $900 per year, which is $37.50 per paycheck (no withholding from the two "extra" paychecks per year).

Yesterday was the first payday with my new lower take home pay. Here is how my bi-weekly paycheck currently breaks down:

Gross: $2,063.28
Fed w/h: $160.78
CA w/h: $43.20
Fica-Med: $27.53
CA SDI: $18.99
Pension: $144.43
Hlth Ins: $121.07
Dent/Vis: $5.80
HCRA: $37.50
Life Ins: $0.93
Union Dues: $32.98
457 Plan: $206.33

Net Pay: $1,263.74

That's what I have to work with. Going forward, I want to save enough cash to cover items I will need/want. On that list are a full sized truck and 5th wheel for moseying around North America, as well as replacing my current vehicle when the time comes. I want to remain debt-free for the rest of my life, with the possible exception of a mortgage.

When I last mentioned it, I was leaning towards a Class C motorhome. Since then, SB and I have decided to go in half-sies on a full sized truck and later a 5th wheel. The mid sized truck SB has now pulls our small travel trailer, but it is towards the upper end of what is safe. For this reason, we don't often move it. (Mostly just up the road a mile to a campground for black water dumps). However, a full sized truck has a much higher weight limit, opening up some fun possibilities.

I have a nice cash cushion at the moment, but it is ear-marked for various things. Some will definitely be spent soon-ish (car insurance), some will be spent eventually, though when is uncertain (travel). I still have significant saving to do to have my vehicle goals funded.

Great Day At The Mailbox

January 23rd, 2014 at 02:22 am

What a happy event opening the mailbox was today. Included in my mail were:

1. $100 credit card rewards check

2. $160 part-time job check

3. $912 homeowner's insurance refund check

Whoo-hoo! Smile

Money In, Money Out

January 5th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Yesterday I received a check for $160.00 from my part-time job and have sent it off to E Fund.

For my new homeowner's policy and new auto policy, I charged a total of $1,068.90. Yesterday, I received a credit to my CC in the amount of $184.82 from the old auto policy. I have transferred 1068.90 - 184.82 = 884.08 from CurveBall to pay the credit card. I am still waiting for the old homeowner's policy to refund $912 to my escrow account. When that happens, I will request a refund of the overage, and that money will go back to CurveBall. I expect it will be at least a month before all the dust settles.

So many hoops, but worth it for the $300+ savings.

This is the downside to having an escrow account. However, I do find it convenient for the most part. Also, I enjoy the 2% interest it earns.

Xmas Party

December 16th, 2013 at 08:53 pm

My company Xmas party was this past Saturday evening. Our little group was served dinner in the wine cellar of a local restaurant. It was very private, which made the atmosphere very comfortable. I think everyone present had a little too much to drink. We stayed late and laughed often. What a fun evening! Smile

My Xmas bonus this year was $2,100. I have already sent $600 off to my traditional IRA, and the remainder off to Visa. Kind of a bummer that I didn't get to keep some, but paying that Visa down to zero every month is a higher priority.

On payday, I did a wallet sweep and sent $2 off to the mortgage. Today I received $3 from PineCone, and have sent that off as well.

Cashed Out Inbox Dollars

October 11th, 2013 at 03:12 am

It took about a year this time, I think. Smile

But I have $41.53 on the way, which will make a nice mortgage chip.

Final September Mortgage Chip

September 30th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Today being payday, I did a wallet sweep when I went to do my banking, and deposited $4. It has already been transferred to the mortgage.

That makes 4 little chips for September, for a grand total of $15.12.

In the next week or two, I will have to wipe out CurveBall and dip into Vacation to pay for my security cameras.

My next check from my part-time job will be going to CurveBall, as I begin re-building it yet again. I have billed $200 for the work I did in September.

Beginning in October, my automatic transfer into CurveBall will be $400 (from $375). This was made possible by the cut to my cash allowance (also bumping up Simple IRA contributions a bit with the same cut).

I did much better this past pay period with my cash. I started with $20, paid $15 for a haircut including tip, and had $4 left for the mortgage.

NFL Rewards Card Alert

September 22nd, 2013 at 06:24 am

Tonight while I was clicking through my Inbox Dollars emails, I came across an offer for an NFL rewards Visa. The Visa card is offering a $100 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 3 months, plus 1% cash back on purchases (so $105). There is no annual fee. The card is issued by Barclays.

In addition, if you apply through the Inbox Dollars link, Inbox Dollars will pay you $15.

I plan to collect my $120, then cancel the card.

Surveillance Camera Estimates

August 23rd, 2013 at 03:38 pm

So far, I have received 2 estimates for outdoor security camera systems and installation.

The first quote was completely over the phone. The quote is $1,418.00 not including a monitor (which I was told I could buy cheaper at Best Buy or Office Depot, about $89), sales tax, or shipping (they ship to the installer). That also includes the minimum installation charge, but since they haven't come to my house, cannot say for certain the installation won't be more.

The second quote was done at my house and is completely inclusive. The quote is $2,090.00.

I am still gathering quotes. Smile

I received a $320 check in the mail from my part-time job for both my July and August hours. Although I had planned to use this money for E Fund, I am sending it off to CurveBall instead. CurveBall has a big expense looming.