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Donated Bing Rewards

December 17th, 2018 at 01:07 pm

So far in 2018, I earned $35 worth of Walmart gift cards just by using the search engine and doing the challenges.

My ladies' group at church adopted a family and my contribution was the stack of gift cards.

Now I Wait

April 20th, 2018 at 05:54 pm

Interview was yesterday. I feel lukewarm about the experience and I was told that they would contact me. I haven't heard anything yet. Que sera sera.

Job Interview

April 18th, 2018 at 11:33 am

Back in January, I posted this blog entry regarding a possible new job: http://tryingtogetahead.savingadvice.com/2018/01/09/possible-new-job-need-your-feedback-plea_214641/

Fast forward to yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning thinking about the lady and that job. A few hours later, the lady calls me on the phone said that her manager was ready to hire and asked if I was still interested in the job and I told her that I was. How wild is that?

I learned some additional things from the lady.
401k is 5% match (after 1 year employment).
15 days vacation/sick time and holidays.
Friday after Thanksgiving the office is closed but counts as vacation.
Annual raises.
Annual bonuses starting at 1,500 and increasing yearly until year 5 where the max would be $3k.
New office building move in July or August with new furniture and...drumroll...those adjustable stand-up desks. The office is still in the same area so the commute is still only 4 miles.
As a vacancy arises, the next person down the line gets moved up with the raise along with it (no need to apply and compete).

What can I say? It sounds better every time. My interview is tomorrow afternoon.

Possible New Job - Need Your Feedback Please

January 9th, 2018 at 11:10 am

A lady, whose apartment I inspect, and I had a conversation six months ago regarding her job change and the new company she is with. After that conversation, I haven't put a second thought about her new job but I do remember telling her that if there were openings, I would be interested.

Fast forward to last week. I schedule her six month inspection and she asks me to bring along my resume because she wants to give it to her boss because the company is hiring. I said ok and asked no questions.

The day of the inspection (yesterday), I arrive and she tells me about the job. It is her job because she was promoted. She tells me all about the position and the company and that she has been "talking me up" to her boss. I gave her my resume with a cover letter and my personal business card.

Mind you, I'm currently employed, but my company is facing the end of the current contract (September of this year) and we may either remain or be picked up by a new company. I don't think my job is in any danger of being eliminated, but who knows? I enjoy my co-workers very much.

Here are PROS to the new job as I know them:
New job: Somewhere in the mid $40k (DOE)
Current job: $38k (for the last 10+ years)

New job: Every year
Current job: No raise since 2008

Annual Bonus
New job: Every year (generous according to her)
Current job: Never

New job: 4 miles from home
Current job: 22 miles from home

New job: 8 hour day - flexible hours and possible work from home when needed (as in Hurricane Irma or when feeling sick)
Current job: 8 hour day - fixed 7-3:30.

Skills Challenge
According to the lady, practically the same job I'm doing now. Sometimes its slow.

Advancement Opportunities
New job: the company is growing and some people are retiring soon which means an opportunity to move up.
Current job: Only if I go to another project (most likely in the Middle East) or the corporate hq in another city. In other words, none.

New job: No health insurance (dental, or vision) is offered. According to the lady, you shop your own insurance and the company reimburses you for the premium. Now she is single so that is easy, but I have a family so I don't know if they would do that for family coverage. This would affect my husband and #2 DS (21 y/o and in college). I am in the VA system and #3 DS is on Medicaid due to his disability.
Current job: The whole enchilada, though I pay about $400-ish a month.

New job: 401k is deferred until 1 year of employment anniversary. I did not ask if they had a company match for contributions. (Though I have an IRA where I rolled in my old 401ks and I contribute a little to that).
Current job: 401k with company match up to 6% with immediate vesting.

Time Off
New job: 14 days per year which includes vacation and sick days.
Current job: I have finally earned three weeks vacation after working eight years. I accrue some fraction of an hour each pay period for paid time off (sick time). None of it is use it or lose it. As of now, because of my folks' health issues, I'm in the hole by three days. If I leave without it reaching back to zero, the company will take it from my final earnings.

So that is what I'm grappling with. I don't know if I will be contacted or not, but if I am, I want to feel assured that I'm not missing anything. I would love your feedback!

Personal Maintenance

January 8th, 2018 at 01:16 pm

On the personal maintenance front:
Haircut - 2 inches off. $17.00 - I do this as needed.
Pedicure - $22.00 - I do this every 5-6 weeks.
Manicure - $10.00 - I do this annually. I do it myself the rest of the time.

Please, before the criticism comes about a mani-pedi while I have debt, understand that I set aside a little each paycheck for personal maintenance.

I don't need to explain, but I will: I'm a fat girl. My pudgy middle roll under the ribcage and boy does that hurt! Needless to say, I can't comfortably reach my toes and work on them without doing some sabotage.

I could have waited on the haircut and manicure, but there is a possible change of employment opportunity and I want to be ready with a professional polish.

Goings On in My Life

December 29th, 2017 at 04:24 pm

No spending yesterday.
My dad gave me $20 to take my mom to her doctor's appointment.

2017 had its ups and downs.
The ups -
Our trip to London. A dream come true for me.
Our middle son turned 21 and our youngest turned 18.
Our oldest son got his first full-time job at Amazon. All adults now in our household, which is rather bittersweet for me.

The downs -
My husband lost his job in September (just before Hurricane Irma) so we are struggling a bit. Fortunately our side-gig ramped up quickly after the hurricanes so it helped our financial situation. It is starting to slow down.
My mom's cataract surgery did not go well and required a second eye surgery.
I gained nine pounds since August and I have felt down in the dumps pretty much since September.

I hope for a 2018 that has more ups than downs.

Getting Back to The Swing

October 25th, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Today's health:
Breakfast - Scrambled egg and toast, coffee, good belly.
Lunch - TBD
Dinner - TBD
Fitness - Personal trainer at the gym

My expenditures from the weekend trip were minimal. My parents paid for the hotel rooms and food. I paid the rental car and fuel. They wanted to pay all of it but I put my foot down on that. The hotel and food was way plenty. I haven't tallied everything yet but I estimate about $500.

The weather could not have been better. It was cool, crisp and dry - not typical.

At the hotel on Saturday morning, there were four iguanas sunning themselves and roaming under tables while people ate breakfast. It amazed me at how they were unfazed. I asked a family that came inside after awhile if they were bothered by the iguanas and they said that where they are from, they are like chickens and they eat them.

My thoughts for those considering moving to South America as an expat to retire, spend some time in Miami just for a taste of the lifestyle because, trust me, it is different!

Tragic Update to Yesterday

October 13th, 2016 at 03:18 pm

Not financially related but extremely upsetting. My last entry, I mentioned that I treated my family to lunch yesterday at the Golden Corral. We were there around 2:00 pm and left before 3:00 pm.

At 5:00 pm that same day (yesterday), a man came in to the very same restaurant location and set a woman on fire. She is now in critical condition. Apparently the victim was in a relationship with this man.

The irony is this. I normally don't look at someone's nametag, but I think this may have been the lady who was the server at our table.

Here is the news story: http://www.news4jax.com/news/woman-working-on-grill-at-golden-corral-suffers-burns

Prayers for this lady.

Little Splurge

October 12th, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Stopped at Wendy's for a Frosty Float. So good! $2.78.

Did my one inspection and there were trees down all over including on the roof. The place was already condemned and slated for demolition anyway. I didn't enter but I have a feeling that my client wants me to. I encountered that issue with another property before and I fought it. They still paid me. But honestly, why would you want an interior inspection on a property that is condemned? It doesn't matter anymore if there is damage or not. The city has determined the structure to be unsafe and uninhabitable. I would think that the municipality's warning signage is enough.

While at the property, I accidentally locked my keys in the car and I could not find my little magnetic box with the spare under my car so I had to call DH for rescue. He was on his way to his side gig so I caught him in time before he got too much further. He found it and placed it where I could find it. Crisis averted!

Did my workout at the gym and some laundry. That was my day.

We Are Safe!

October 9th, 2016 at 02:05 pm

Just a quick update on Matthew and some quick facts:

We live in the southwestern side of Jacksonville, Florida (Duval County) and in Evacuation Zone D - the SAFEST area!

No flooding and no loss of power or cable tv in our neighborhood.

Some trees downed from the roots. At my house and my parents and uncle's house, only some small branches.

Evacuations mandatory for zones A, B and C.

The beaches area was zone A and we lost our pier which was rebuilt after Hurricane Floyd. The dunes are completely wiped out. Part of A1A south (highway along the beach) of us in Flagler was torn apart and is unpassable.

Our family and neighbors were very blessed and fortunate and I have prayers of gratitude.

Many many others are devastated and I pray for their quick recovery.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts during this very stressful time!

Monday Life

September 13th, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee and Good Belly
Lunch: Greek salad and strawberries
Dinner: rice and beans with chicken
Snack: apple
Extra Food: chocolate candy.

I was only down a 1/2 tank but since gas is down to 2.01, I went ahead and filled up.

I also stopped to get a coke, bananas and ham at the grocery store.

I paid DH most of the cash I borrowed last week from the emergency cash stash at home. I owe a little bit more but my paycheck was short a day because of FMLA.

Yesterday I called the FMLA case manager at Cigna to see if my trip to Miami with my folks would qualify as FMLA since they need my assistance. I left a message so hopefully they will get with me today. That would put me two days without pay so I’ll earn even less next payday. I’m glad to be setting aside a little for those short days but I’m trying not to tap in to see if I can survive with less.

I drove DS2 to his therapy appointment and then, picked up a book at the library that I requested.

My uncle had a fall yesterday at his house and is now a little unsteady on his feet. He is 89 and lives alone but only a half block from my parents and three blocks from me. It is a scare because at that age, things go wrong quickly and I am not prepared for that. I’m trying not to think about it because it puts me almost in a panic. DH and DSs will check on him while we are away for the weekend.

I was feeling very tired yesterday and turned in early. It’s rainy weather that gets me feeling sleepy.


September 11th, 2016 at 01:13 pm

Breakfast: Kodiak cake and coffee
Lunch: Scrambled egg and toast
Dinner: 2 empanadas, glass of wine
Snack: 2 small chicken nuggets

Produce market $31
Clothes $35

Snowflake $15 from scratch off lotto ticket my mom bought for me.

Last night I colored my hair and this morning I'll do my nails and take care of some laundry (I meant to do it yesterday).

I bought 3 tops yesterday for the trip and also for adding to my wardrobe. I need to get rid of 3 old items that I no longer wear.

Today I plan to meet a friend to visit another friend who is convalescing after open heart surgery. Then after we will go to church (evening service). After church our friend and I will take DS3 to Panera because she wants to treat him for his birthday (which is the end of the month).

Opportunities Lost in Watching TV

September 7th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee
Lunch: ham and cheese sandwich
Dinner: hot dog on bun (plain)
Snack: banana
Extra food: low calorie protein drink
Workout: personal trainer for 30 minutes

Yesterday was a no-spend day.

I’ve been sitting in front of the TV almost every free moment until 11:00. Not good! So I’m on a self-imposed television watching strike starting today until my show “Gotham” returns later in September.

Some background: We cancelled cable television about five years ago. It was very hard for me. My DH put his foot down and said no more because we are paying to be zombies (he’s right). But it has been so hard! So, a few months ago, I purchased a digital converter box and an antenna (rabbit ears) and now we have a bunch of channels. DH is ok with that compromise since the investment was low ($80) and the channels are free and the picture is clear. We own the old fashioned tube tv and when it dies, we’ll buy another one from the thrift store for $30.

I binged on the Downton Abbey marathon this past weekend (heaven)! But enough is enough for now. I’ve had my fill and can wait until the regular season begins.

It reminds me of spending and about a term I learned in finance class called “opportunity costs”. Opportunity costs means that in order to get something, you have to give something up. In the case of watching television, it means giving up my valuable time that I could be doing something productive.