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3 paycheck month -> boosted savings

August 31st, 2019 at 12:46 pm

August was the 2nd month of 2019 when I got 3 paychecks. Although we don't do any sort of strict budgeting, our monthly spending and saving is still built around 2 checks per month.

On top of the extra check, I also worked 8 hours per diem for the pay period in addition to my regular hours so my take home was about $1,000 higher than usual. And due to paying off our mortgage from funds in our escrow account, we didn't make a regular mortgage payment this month which would have been just over $1,700.

Add it all up and we suddenly had about $8,200 extra in our checking account. There's also another $500 that was left in the escrow account after the payoff that we'll get back in a week or so.

I transferred $8,000 to our Ally account and $500 to our taxable Vanguard account. I'm probably going to take $5,000 in the Ally account and buy another CD to bump up the interest some. I do want to keep a nice cash balance in case I need to replace my car sooner than expected. It is almost 14 years old and I'm having an issue that I'm hoping doesn't turn out to be expensive to fix, but if it is, I may just get rid of it and replace it. It's not worth spending a bunch of money on the car at this point. It's only worth a couple thousand dollars.

Daughter got a new job

July 18th, 2019 at 10:21 am

Our daughter graduated college in 2018. Last fall, she got a job as a preschool teacher. She liked the work itself but there were some problems with the overall situation. She stuck it out until the end of the school year but let them know she wouldn't be continuing on with their summer program or returning in the fall.

We had a family vacation planned in June and another in August so we had all agreed that she didn't need to look for something new right away as the travel plans might have been an issue.

She did recently apply for an online position that wouldn't have been impacted by the travel. She hasn't heard anything about that yet. But the other day she applied for a position at a local swim school teaching little ones to swim. They called her for a phone interview and then asked her to come for an in-person interview yesterday. She did that and they called today to offer her a position!

I'm not sure when she starts (I'm at work so don't know the details yet) but I'm guessing it's after we get back from vacation. There is about 40 hours of training she needs to do first. She will get paid for that but at a reduced rate. Once she actually starts working, her salary will be a few dollars/hour higher. It will be a bit less than she made at the preschool but that job was actually paying an unusually high wage for the area so she wasn't expecting to match that.

I'm just proud of the fact that so far she has stayed employed since shortly after graduating except for a couple of brief periods where she was purposely not working. And she found this new job entirely on her own (we pointed her toward the last one as we had a connection). I know this won't be "the" job for her long term but that's okay. It's good work experience and builds more connections. And since starting the last job, she has been adding to her savings and contributing to her Roth from each paycheck.

Update on wife's business opportunity

June 5th, 2019 at 05:31 pm

Last month I posted about my wife taking 18 bags that she made (she sews and quilts) to an area yarn shop for them to sell on consignment. Friday will be 4 weeks since we did that. We haven't heard anything from the owner so my wife called her today.

Nothing sold the first 3 weeks but this past week she sold 2 bags! She settles up weekly so will be sending the payment at the beginning of next week.

The bags were each either $35 or $40 so total of between $70 and $80. DW gets 75% after any credit card fee so that will be at least $50 and maybe more.

She's never done anything like this before so we're excited. And the shop still has 16 more of her bags to sell.

Wife's new business opportunity

May 11th, 2019 at 10:15 am

My wife has been sewing and quilting for several years. Along the way, she has sold numerous items but just to friends. She set up at a couple of little shows but that never really took off and she hasn't done any more.

A friend who is a big knitter (and has bought several of her bags) told her that local knitting stores often sell bags like hers that people like to use to hold their knitting projects. The friend spoke to one shop owner who said she was interested.

We took a ride over there yesterday. My wife brought along 18 bags of various styles and fabrics. The owner really liked them and took them all to sell in her shop on consignment.

We don't expect her to make a ton of money from this. The bags retail between $22 and $45. Even if all 18 sell, she'll net about $300. But for years she's been accumulating "stock" even though she wasn't doing anything to sell it all. It will be nice to clear some of it out, recoup money she's spent on supplies, and make a few bucks on the deal.

The owner also told her the sorts of patterns that tend to be popular so she can make some bags that may appeal more to the customer base.

Now we just wait to see what sells.

Huge update on my raise!

April 10th, 2019 at 07:35 am

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I unexpectedly got a new contract at work that included a substantial raise. I thought the numbers needed to be adjusted based on my hours. I was finally able to confirm that the numbers I got were actually correct.

I thought my raise would be $15,833.
My actual raise is $40,493!!!
I am shocked and obviously very pleased.

It will be a couple of weeks before I get the first new paycheck to see how my take home changes but it should be around 2K/month. I have to sit down and figure out what we're going to do with the added income but what a nice problem to have.

I think I'm getting a raise

March 22nd, 2019 at 07:24 am

I love my job but sometimes they're a little weird, or at least a bit lacking in the communications department.

I got an email yesterday afternoon that they are issuing updated Employment Agreements. They attached my new contract for me to review, sign, and return.

1. I had no idea a new contract was coming.

2. I knew that our per diem pay rate had gone up so I wasn't surprised to see that in the new contract.

3. Our regular pay also went up and they added a "weekend premium" to the compensation. I have no idea what that is or how it was calculated.

4. I'm 99.9% sure that the numbers they sent me are for 40 hours/week but I work 36 hours/week so I need a new version that has my actual numbers.

I've emailed the corporate person who handles the contracts and my immediate supervisor asking for clarification on a few items so I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Bottom line, if I'm reading everything correctly (and it's accurate), even if I adjust to 90% of the numbers they sent me (36 hours vs 40), that would come out to an overall raise of about $15,800. But right now, I have no idea if that's accurate. I'll update when I know the answer.

Odds and ends

March 20th, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.

I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.

I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.

My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.

Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.

Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.

I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.

Happy Spring!

Update and an attempt at blogging more

February 15th, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I've never been that active over here on the blogging part of the site although I'm very active on the forums. I'm going to attempt to change that. I like answering questions and helping people there but I'd also like a place to share more of my own (our own) journey.

Let me start by re-introducing myself here. I'm Steve. I'm 54, married for 26 years, one daughter age 23. I'm a family practice physician who spent 24 years in private practice. Starting in April 2016, I gradually transitioned to working in urgent care, first going per diem, then part time, and finally full time in November 2017.

The result of that job transition has been a dramatic change in our financial situation. I went from earning about 120K to earning about 210K. The new position also has much better benefits including cheaper and better health coverage, a 401k with match, and more.

Another big change in the past year was our daughter graduating college. We paid for the 1st 2 years with the 529 money we had saved since she was little. We paid the 2nd 2 years mostly out of pocket so that was a bit tight as we were spending about $3,000/month for that. Once she graduated, our disposable income jumped up basically overnight.

The next big change will happen in a few months when we pay off our mortgage. I'm not exactly sure when that will be but no later than the November 1, 2019 payment. I expect to do it before that though. That will free up a total of about $1,700/month. I'm still debating what to do with that money going forward.

One thing that has been on our future list forever is buying a house in Florida and potentially moving there. As I am very happy in my job now, which wasn't the case previously, I'm actually finding that the drive to move isn't really there, but I do like the idea of getting a place of our own down there for vacations. We rent a condo or townhouse every time we go down, almost always in the same development. Last time we were there in November, I started looking at the real estate listings and we can definitely afford to buy one of those homes as a second home once our house is paid off. We haven't seriously talked about it or looked into it in great detail but I know that we can swing it if we decide to. I know a couple of realtors down there who I trust and plan to contact when we're actually ready to look for real.

I'm going to stop there for now but, as I said, I plan to make an effort to hang out here more and tell more of our story as long as people want to hear it.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm working but also have some fun plans as we're going out to dinner with friends tomorrow night.

Daughter got a job!

September 11th, 2018 at 05:06 pm

Our daughter got a job today! She graduated from college in May and we all agree that she could time some time off to decompress from the whole college experience. Honestly, having her back home really doesn't cost us much and is actually tremendously cheaper than having her in college so money wasn't an issue. And she hasn't just been sitting around playing video games all day as she is a supervisor for an online crisis support hotline, but that's a volunteer position. She has also been doing some video editing work for them, also volunteer.

She and we have some travel plans between now and November so I was concerned that nobody would want to hire her once she told them that.

Anyway, she started getting kind of bored now that it's been 4 months since graduation and she kind of feels bad that she's not doing more with herself. So we got the weekly email update from our temple and it said that the early childhood center was hiring. She previously worked there for a couple of summers so decided to apply. The director did a phone interview with her today and called back a couple hours later to offer her a job.

We're not sure when she starts but I'm guessing probably Monday. She'll be doing 24.5 hours/week at $14/hour. That's perfect as she wasn't looking for full time at this point. But I'm figuring that should net her about $275-ish/week after taxes. That will allow her to accelerate repayment of her student loan (she only has 7 months left anyway at the rate she's been going) and start contributing again to the Roth IRA she opened in high school. And still leave her plenty to beef up her savings, cover more of her own expenses (like contributing to auto insurance for one thing), and have money for some fun stuff, too.

Hopefully it all works out well for her.

Got my raise today!

July 31st, 2018 at 04:17 pm

I found out about 3 months ago that we were going to be getting raises. This came as a total surprise because I'm only in year 1 of a 3-year contract. Apparently, management realized that there was no continuity to what everyone was making. It varied quite a bit based on when they were hired. They decided to switch to a 3-tier scale based on years of experience and adjust everybody's pay to get them onto that scale, giving everyone some degree of a raise in the process.

The new contract actually went into effect July 1 but we weren't able to set up a meeting to review the new contract until today. Once I sign it, they will pay me the higher rate retroactively to July 1.

Anyway, the main changes are that:
1) my base salary went up 3.55%
2) my bonus went up 14.5%
3) my bonus is now spelled out in the contract; it was not previously, so they are now contractually obligated to pay it.

When you add it all up, assuming I earn the full bonus (which I always have), I will be grossing about $670/month more which is a nice chunk of change. Most likely my pay over the next 3 years will remain the same, but I see absolutely no problem with that. I'm very happy with the new number (I was happy with the old number too).

Annoying work issue

November 22nd, 2017 at 09:33 am

I love my new job.

Of course, no job is perfect. There is always something that could be better.

We have a monthly staff meeting. They are mandatory for us to attend, however, we don't get paid to be there. We used to have in-person meetings but about a year ago switched to Skype/phone meetings to try and boost attendance. That was more convenient and I didn't have to miss work to attend, though I actually think in-person meetings are more productive.

For December, they are having a live meeting. It's on a night when I would normally be working, so I have to miss a 4-hour shift to attend. I hate that I lose $400 of income when I'm required to be there. That just seems wrong.

The response is that attending the meetings is part of our incentive bonus. Great, except the maximum incentive we can earn is $400/year which doesn't offset potentially losing $4,800/year in income if we go back to monthly live meetings.

Although I do prefer live meetings, I hope we stick with the Skype meetings most months so that I don't lose income to attend.