<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Page: 2
 

Plan With Me; January 2018 Budget

December 28th, 2017 at 06:05 pm

As I have mentioned, I have become enamored with fancypants planners. I've even taken to watching YouTube channels about "planning". Videos depicting laying out a week or a budget or what-have-you are called plan with me videos.

I have no interest in starting a YouTube channel, but I thought I might give plan with me blog posts a try. How is the picture quality? Can you read it?



And please don't get too excited about my "leftover" money; it's only that high because I am expecting a short-term $400 loan to be repaid.

Edit: I don't like it. I will try to get a better picture. Tomorrow.

Update: that's better.

Ceiling Leak Fiasco

December 27th, 2017 at 12:34 pm

I briefly mentioned in passing that my house had had a leak and there were repairs to be made. Here are more details:

My HVAC unit sits on the roof. The drainage (for condensation) system failed and water was leaking into the ceiling, directly above a bedroom. Before it was noticed, it caused extensive damage to the ceiling and ruined the flooring.

My homeowner's insurance handled the bulk of the costs for clean-up and repair. However, I still need to replace the HVAC unit. I do not want to spend money repairing it as it is 20+ years old, I do not want to go through this again, and I ultimately wish to sell my house. So, replace it is.

The lowest estimate was $7880. I have 8k in my emergency fund. So currently, I am deciding whether to pay cash and hope nothing else goes wrong, or take a Heloc draw and hold on to the cash. Paying cash makes more sense, but I am finding I DO NOT want to drain my emergency fund.

For several months now, I have been bleeding cash. My new take home pay is much lower than before, and I was juggling new expenses while still covering the old ones. At this point, the house is rented and the utilities are out of my name. Hopefully, the cash bleed is behind me. But, you never do know for sure, do you?

Edit: It turns out, I am even more reluctant to take a Heloc draw! I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I hate this debt I have accumulated and don't want still more. So, I'm going to cough up the cash. Thank you all for your input.

Happy Holidays

December 26th, 2017 at 09:37 am

Hello and Happy Holidays. Smile


Well, our 22 ft home is currently parked in my mother's driveway. We have been here since Saturday and will head home today.

Living on SB's property, we have precious little internet. Our phones can sometimes access a little internet. For example, we can read our FaceBook feeds, but clicking on a post to read comments is not a possibility. I usually cannot navigate to Saving Advice.

Even so, I want to get back to posting regularly. I do go into town on occasion and of course drive to work each weekday.

Life is quiet and pleasant in our little mountain town. Recently, I have seen a bear and a coyote. I love all of these animal sightings.

I am thinking about my goals and where I want life to go from here.

Daughter Has A New Blog

December 13th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Hello Savings Advice, just wanted to share that my daughter has a new blog. You may recall that she had one here for a time.


http://hmissys.blogspot.com/?m=1


Updates

October 6th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So life has been fairly hectic. This coming weekend SB and I are heading north to Willits. We're going to stay at my brother's house and the 4 of us (brother, SIL, SB and I) have tickets for Foghat.

My homeowner's insurance is covering my recent loss, so that was very good news. Repairs wont be complete for awhile yet.

I was approached by the dad of one of J's friends to rent my Modesto house. We discussed it and I decided it will suit my short-term needs, so we are moving forward with that. We will meet again to sign the lease. J and his wife will stay in the house and sublet a room from him. My lease and agreement are solely with him. Whatever agreement they want to make between themselves is up to them. SB and I need to have all of our belongings out by the end of October.

Some Pictures

September 22nd, 2017 at 08:43 am

I've been meaning to share a few pictures. Here is our new home:



This is the view from our front door:







And I snapped this during my morning commute. Just look at all that traffic! Smile

Emergency Home Repair Situation

September 17th, 2017 at 09:37 am

I have just learned I have a large and potentially quite expensive home repair which must be done ASAP.

The 4th and smallest bedroom in my house, which is used as storage and seldom visited by anyone, has a large hole in the ceiling. And it's dripping water. And I'm going to guess this has been a problem for awhile but I did not know.

My AC unit is roof mounted and not too far from the hole in the ceiling. As it has not rained in quite some time, I suspect the AC unit is the source of the water.

I have a call in to an emergency AC repair place. I need the AC inspected and possibly repaired. If it's not the AC, I guess my next call will be to a plumber.

The water leak will have to be addressed before the ceiling repairs can even start.

I have to leave in about 6 hours. I am going to have to rely on J to deal with the repair people here, though of course I am available by phone and e-mail.

Remember: don't worry, be happy.

Living in a Travel Trailer

September 15th, 2017 at 09:48 am

SB and I have been living in a travel trailer for the past week. It's a 22 footer. Yep, space is at a premium for sure. Smile

I am enjoying the beautiful surroundings, the friendliness of the people in the town center, and spying critters during my commute. Mostly I see deer and wild turkeys. This city girl is charmed by each one.

There is so much new in my life these days!

I am settling in at work and starting to get the hang of the workflow here.

I can breathe so much better and am already more active. I joined a Curves gym right up the street from work and have already dropped a couple of pounds. I hope a few of their friends are soon to follow. Smile

Tonight SB and I are joining another couple and taking a picnic dinner to a local winery. They have live music and wine for sale. The winery offers this event on Friday nights all summer long. We've been twice already. Tonight is the last one until next year.

Tomorrow I will head to my house, spending one night. I will box up and donate some more stuff. Oh, the never-ending stuff! How did I get so much of it?

First Week Under My Belt

August 26th, 2017 at 07:32 am

I am home from my first week of work. It looks as though I never mentioned that SB will be working at his job until August 31st. Therefore, we are moving up to the timber property on Labor Day weekend. In the meanwhile, I stayed Sun - Thurs in the spare room of friends who live in my new area. I plan to do the same thing this coming week.

At the timber property, there are 5 houses. Two houses are currently occupied: one tenant who SB wants to keep, and one caretaker who is in the process of being evicted. The three remaining houses are not currently livable, except as camping sites. Two could be made livable with some repairs and not-too-outrageously-much money; the third needs major work. We plan to move into the house currently occupied by the caretaker. Until the house is available, we will be temporarily living in a travel trailer. Which, by the way, we still need to buy.

So how was work? So much new. Working for the government is an entirely different ballgame. Everyone I have met is very nice and the atmosphere is very pleasant. Most of what I learned this past week had to do with the overall organization and structure of the County, it's policies, etc. I did learn about my actual job duties too. I do not feel up-to-speed yet at all, and still have a lot to learn.

As far as my own personal finances, I have learned:

- I will be paid every other Friday, 26 times per year.

- The County does not participate in Social Security, so no Fica-SS will be deducted from my pay.

- The County pays most of my contribution to the pension plan, but I am required to contribute 3% of my gross.

- My pension tier is 2% at 62. This means that once I vest (5 years of service), I will be eligible to receive 2% of my annual salary for each year I have worked once I have both retired and reached age 62. For example, if I work from now until age 65 then retire, I will have 14.5 years of service. 14.5 years x 2% x my salary = my annual benefit. This example would mean an annual pension of approximately 15k, assuming no cost of living raises or promotions.

- The County will pay 80% of my health insurance, while I will pay 20%. Also, there is a section 125 cafeteria plan, so I can pay my 20% pre-tax.

- There are 5 different health plans to choose from; 3 are Blue Shield plans and 2 are Kaiser plans. There is one Kaiser plan which is by far the best value of the 5, in my opinion. However, with Kaiser, you must go to Kaiser facilities for all medical services. (In the event either life or limb are in jeopardy, they will cover your out-of-network medical care, but they get to decide if it was justified or not). The nearest Kaiser facility to my new workplace is 40 minutes away. My new home is an additional 40 minutes further away. It is simply too far to go for medical care. There are doctors and a small hospital in the same town as my new workplace. Therefore, I am opting for a Blue Shield plan.

- The Blue Shield plan I have chosen has the highest premium of all 5 plans, but looking at the prescription coverage, the deductible, and the maximum out-of-pocket, I estimate it will be the lowest total cost Blue Shield plan for me.

- The Blue Shield plan I have chosen is compatible with an HCRA plan (health care reimbursement account). This means I will be able to elect an amount to be deducted pre-tax from my pay to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. The HCRA plan will issue me a debit card, which I can swipe when making co-pays.

- At the end of each calendar year, any amount above $500 in the HCRA is forfeit to the County. Therefore, I will be conservative with the amount I am choosing to contribute.

- I will also have a dental plan and a vision plan.

- Cafeteria plan deductions are taken 24 times each calendar year, even though there are 26 pay periods. The two "extra" paychecks (the third paycheck in a calendar month) have no deduction for cafeteria plans, and thus are a bit larger.

- I will be covered on my new health insurance beginning 9/1/17. Because health insurance premiums are paid in advance, I should have paid for September in August. Since it takes awhile to get me into the system, my first cafeteria plan deduction won't happen until my second paycheck in September. Therefore, that second September paycheck rightfully should have premiums for both September and October deducted. Instead, I will pay double deductions for three paychecks. The second September paycheck will pay for September; the first October paycheck will pay for October; and the second October paycheck will pay for November. (I just used two semi-colons in one sentence!). After that, I will be on track and each paycheck will have half of one month's premium deducted.

- It is unlikely I will be contributing to the 457 plan from my very first paycheck. It takes awhile for me to be in the system and there are forms to submit, an outside party to be contacted, etc.

- The County has 2 vendors for its 457 plan. The vendors are Nationwide and CalPers. Nationwide offers some institutional shares of Vanguard index funds. I was fairly excited about this, until I saw the administrative fees Nationwide charges. Nope. I am opting for CalPers. They offer target retirement funds built from State Street index funds. The total cost is much less with CalPers than with Nationwide. I notice that their target retirement funds are too conservative for my tastes, so I plan to go with the 2050 fund.

- My union dues are 1.25% of gross + $1.

Taking all of the above into account, I calculate that once all is running smoothly (double cafeteria plan deductions are done and 457 plan contributions are happening) my take home pay will be $1,168.30 per paycheck. So that is what I am using to build my post-house-sale budget.

Spendy, Spendy, Spendy

August 9th, 2017 at 04:30 pm

It has been very spendy around here lately. In addition to the new-to-me car, I have recently bought some new clothes, a new laptop, and a new phone.

I am changing cell phone companies, as the area to which I am moving has spotty cell reception. Locals use Verizon and swear it is the only reliable company to use. I do know with Ting, I cannot get any cell phone reception on SB's property, but can get one bar if I drive into town. Ting's coverage map says otherwise.

I went with a prepaid Verizon plan. For $50.00 plus taxes per month, I will get 7mb of high-speed data, plus unlimited talk and text. So more than I have been paying, but not too bad. My phone is only a year old, but I can't use it with Verizon. They had an acceptable substitute for $179.99 plus tax.

The laptop set me back $835. I wanted a decent one with plenty of memory, a touch screen, and Microsoft Office.

Last Saturday night, I attended a jazz concert with a group of friends. The music was so good, and the company was lovely.

This coming weekend, SB and I are heading to Reno to meet some friends and enjoy a little get away.

I haven't learned many new details about my new job. I do know that the pay schedule is bi-weekly, so that will be a change too. So many changes!

I will be making less than I make now. I plan to claim single-0 on my W-4 since after 2017 I will no longer be itemizing deductions. I plan to contribute 15% to the 457 plan right from my very first paycheck.

My first day of work is also the first day of a new pay period, so my first paycheck should be in the regular amount I can expect every payday.

Until my house is sold, I expect I will need to dip into savings every month. Hopefully, there won't be more than a handful of those kind of months.

My budget will be in a state of flux for awhile, but I am already thinking about what it will be once everything settles. I am going to try more sinking funds for various expenses, rather than just one "CurveBall" fund. It is easy for me to spend money which isn't already ear-marked for something specific.

I had lunch today with a client who has become a good friend. I have two more such lunches scheduled for next week. Some parts of this move are much easier than others.

New Job Start Date; Bought an AWD Vehicle

August 3rd, 2017 at 11:03 am

I am starting my new job on Monday, August 21. I will work at my old job until Friday, August 18. I have an awful lot to do and not much time in which to do it.

Last night, I browsed CarMax's website. The lot right here in my town had an 08 Honda CRV with 82k on the odometer and they were asking 13k for it. I went down to see it, and it is clean as a whistle and nicely equipped. They offered me 6.5k for my car. So, I signed the papers and drove home in the CRV.



It's the blue one. (The newer grey one to the left belongs to my co-worker). It is nice enough, will do the job, and the price was right.

I put nothing down but the 6.5k. I chose to purchase an extended warranty to 150k miles. I've never purchased an extended warranty before, but I opted for it this time. I financed the remaining balance due at 3.95%, and plan to pay in full when my house is sold.

Conditional Job Offer! :)

August 1st, 2017 at 06:56 pm

I received a conditional job offer today! (I must pass my background check). As you can probably guess, I am tickled pink!!

I am having laptop issues so am posting this from my phone. My monthly net worth statement will have to wait.

Job Hunting Update

July 29th, 2017 at 10:46 am

This past week, I had two in-person interviews and one phone interview for the same job classification in three different county departmets. I think that all 3 went rather well. So that much is good, but of course other applicant interviews might have went well too.

When I got home Wednesday from my two in-person interviews, I had an email inviting me to schedule a second round interview. So, I scheduled that for this coming Tuesday. I already have an in-person interiew scheduled for this coming Thursday.

Here is a snip from my account on governmentjobs.com:



Which departments are these interviews for? It doesn't say. The e-mails didn't say, either. Notice they all say "second round interviews". That's nice, but also incorrect. One intervew was scheduled before I went to the first round interviews. (This one is the biggest mystery. Is it for a 4th department? Surely a department didn't schedule me for a second round interview before they interviewed me the first time?) That third one on the list is the telephone interview I had Thursday, which was definitely first round. So...the site is glitchy maybe?

So, it's a bit confusing, but I think it's going pretty well. I really hope to get a job offer. It doesn't matter which department, I will take it.

I have Googled to see if I can find info on the county's 457 plan and pension plan. I did find that the county pays the employee's pension plan contribution. That's VERY nice. I also found some minutes from a meeting 10 years ago when the county voted to change some of the 457 plan offerings. Included was a list of investment choices available, and I was very pleased to see a couple of Vanguard index choices on the list. Hopefully they havn't since removed them.

Of course, if I am offered a job I will be given all of this information, but I am antsy to know NOW.

At work, they have decided what they are going to do and so that plan is moving forward nicely. They haven't given me a final date and I haven't given them one. I think I should choose one whether I am offered a county job or not, as I have LOTS to do at home to prepare for this move. At the same time, there is some work I would like to finish before I leave. This is the hardest part. Much harder than saying good-bye to my house.