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Archive for September, 2011

Change of Employer

September 30th, 2011 at 10:56 pm

This week, I have been in contact with another possible employer. I will most likely be heading over to work for them, as my current employer is not fulfilling my needs. Here's the deal...

I work with Developmentally Disabled Adults. I work days, 9a-5p, M-F. I am also planning to go to school in the Spring, and classes are during the day M-Th. Obviously, this schedule will not work. And, as any smart person, I am putting school first. I put in a request to be moved to a night position. Night shifts consist of working 5p-9a. This shift would be the second half of the week, so it'd be 5p-9a, W & Th, 5p-5p F & Sat, and till 9a Sunday every other week. Make sense? So there is a 24-hour shift at the end of the week, with an extra 16 hours every other week. I know a lot of people get confused with this... 

The night shift pays less hourly, but makes ~$200 more per month, due to the fact that they work more hours. Also, you get to sleep while your clients are sleeping, so I should not be physically drained from lack of sleep.

This new position would allow me to go to college. It would also bring in more pay. However, it also means that I would be away from home a lot. But we must sacrifice now for the benefits later...

This other company has a night shift open with two clients that I have one and two years of experience with. This would be great, as I am currently working with two individuals that I do not feel safe with. I have expressed my concern and have requested to be transferred to another apartment until I get the night shift that I want, but they have been unwilling so far to help me with this.

So off to the other company. I just have to interview with them. 

I want to give my current employer two weeks notice, as I am not one to burn bridges. I may not like them as an employer, but it is a job, and they would take me back.

I was supposed to go in today for the interview, however, the person I was supposed to do it with cancelled and said he would contact me when he had time. Hopefully next week. Supervisors at these types of jobs are usually quite busy, so it's understandable that he had to cancel. Until then, I cannot give my notice. 

Going to be one step closer to going to school. One step closer to my dream career. One step closer to balanced family wellness. Smile

More Free Money!

September 27th, 2011 at 04:12 pm

Recently, coming up with money for consumer goods that we actually need has been difficult. We need winter clothing and shoes and some odds & ends.

However, we have gotten a little help. A few days ago, my wife took in some clothes of hers that she does not wear, and sold them. She got $31 and was able to purchase one new outfit and still had some left over that we put into our clothing budget savings.

The other day, we were able to afford $115 worth of items at Target. 1/3 of that was regular expenses, while the rest was - thankfully - a coat for each of us, and a pair of pants for myself. That means that I now have three pairs of pants. Yay? And my wife only has one...

The other day, we received an offer from Target, saying that if we create our wedding registry, print it out, and take it to customer service, we would get a $20 gift card. We signed up for this before we got married over a year ago, so we felt that it would not be entirely dishonest if we were to take advantage of this offer.

So we did just that. Sunday, we got the card, and my wife was able to get some much-needed undergarments.

It's slow, and it's paycheck-to-paycheck as far as getting things we need, but it is working so far. Thankfully, we still have a good amount in savings, though we do need to payback our EF. But I am currently working on paying my auto repairs fund, as tires are an upcoming purchase of about $350.

On Saturday, I changed the oil in our car. Now, most people pay about $20 at any old lube shop for their oil changes. Not me. I have had far too many negative experiences at tire, lube, and mechanic shops. So I take it upon myself. Also, the oil we get costs $50 for 5 quarts. "Why?!" you may ask. Wel, it is AMSOIL Signature Series 100% Synthetic oil. This oil lasts up to 25,000 miles or 1 year. You do the math... Actually, don't. I already did for you. Well... For me. Using this oil costs $0.0027 per mile. Motorcraft (Ford brand oil) synthetic blend is $0.007 per mile. And Mobil 1 ful synthetic is $0.006 per mile. Quite a difference. Also, AMSOIL is proven by independent sources to cause less wear, to warm up faster, and to burn cleaner. So, it's a great buy.

As for those tires I will be getting later... They are Kumho Low Rolling Resistance tires that will last up to 100,000 miles or 6 yrs, with a warrantee, and cost LESS than the standard tires.

It's all about the quality of the maintenance you put into your vehicles. Smile

Okay, so let's end this rambling and let you get on with your day!

eBaying Again

September 26th, 2011 at 02:11 pm

After not having used eBay since I sold my MacBook Pro over two years ago (simply because I have not had anything to sell that merited the use of eBay over Craigslist), I have posted $250 worth (if you use Buy it Now) of auction items.

If you read my last entry, you would know that our computer – that I built just before I sold that MacBook Pro – recently had a power supply failure, which resulted in some damage to the motherboard, adding up to a little over $300 worth of repairs, if I did it myself. About $450 if I had someone do it.

Rather than repairing, we opted to get our new iMac that we'd planned on getting come tax return time. The total for the new iMac came out a little more than planned, but it was less than $450 in difference, so I believe it was a wise choice. And, since I remembered having received a letter from BillMeLater saying that I now qualified for their 'no interest or payments for six months if paid in full at the end of six months' deal, we will not be making any payments or accruing interest on this. When we receive our returns in - hopefully - February, we will be paying-off the BillMeLater account.

Nice to know is that my BillMeLater account was approved for a $2,608 line of credit. While that is more than I need and more than I used, it is great knowing that I qualified for that. I am sure than my credit score of 715 helps. In February, before we got real serious and organized about this debt reduction and overall healthy financial habits, my score was at 647. I'd say that is a pretty good improvement in less than a year. Smile

Back to eBay... In a matter of one minute of being posted, the processor that I listed sold for $100. I purchased it for $200 when I built it. So I think I got $100 worth of use out of it. Smile

Eventfully Crazy Week!

September 21st, 2011 at 05:59 pm

Lots of stuff has been going on recently. So much so, that I have not been able to complete a blog post recently. Here is a run-down of the most recent week, only:

Thursday, 15th - our custom-built computer took a plunge, leaving us with no way to watch Grey's Anatomy, movies, or anything for my wife to do on downtime (besides walks and what-not that she usually does).

Friday, 16th - All three of us - my wife, 7 mo-old, and myself - come down with a pretty harsh cold or flu. I got a head cold mainly, with small instances of stomach yuckiness. The wife had the same, with more severe congestion and stomach yucks. Our baby was whiney, and kept trying to clear her throat by growling. Smile 

Saturday, 17th - Still sick. Our friend, who is married to my best friend, is in town from South Korea until the 27th, and Saturday was her baby shower. We missed it, as we did not want to get anyone sick. 

We went to Other Mothers and sold some baby items. We got $31. $10 went towards a treat, as we had not had one that week, and $20 went into our winter clothing fund. Also went to K-Mart and picked up some eyeliner for my wife and two bags of dog food with an old K-Mart gift card we had. Played a couple games of Scrabble.

Sunday, 18th - Not much happened on Sunday. Still sick, so we had to miss church for the second week in a row. Went grocery shopping and got lemon and honey to make Hottie Totties with the Jack Daniels we still have from our wedding. Great remedy for sore throats and congestion. Played a few games of Scrabble. 

Our baby had a fever as high as 101, so we were pretty worried and kept a close eye on her. 

Monday, 19th - Work. Ugh! I was feeling a little better. Before work, our little one had a fever of 101 again, and was unhappy. Later, while I was at work, her temp went down to 96.8, while she is normally 97.1. 

At work, while I was driving my two DDA clients to run some errands, one had a behaviour that involved slamming on the dash of our car, popping off the trim of the vent. He then slammed against me, grabbed my head and neck, and dug his nails in, leaving cuts on my neck and temple. 

Tuesday, 20th - After picking up my paycheck from the office at work, I headed to pick up our computer from the repair shop. The power supply unit went out, which blew out one of the SATA ports (connects the motherboard to the hard drive), and three of the four memory card slots.

So, obviously a computer cannot function without power, memory, or storage. 

$55 was the flat rate for them to diagnose the computer.

Got home and my dad was in town (truck driver), and as some of you know, we currently live in my parents' house. Unfortunately, so does my oldest brother. He has been there for a few years, and has made no progress towards financial stability. 

Long-story-short, my older brother attacked me. It was quite the scuffle, and it created much unrest in the house. My wife is even more uncomfortable with him in the house, what with his explosive behaviour and booze and drug problems. Her parents are very unhappy with how the situation was handled. Basically, he will continue to be allowed to live there. Now, I was not beaten up or anything (ONE good thing I got from the Army), but I do not like to fight. I can. I choose not to. I am a Christian, and a family man. 

Anyways... So, we are stuck with him living in that house, where my baby and wife reside. How's that for stress?

Later that night, I ordered an iMac. Now, our Windows computer is fixable with a motherboard and power supply. However, a good power supply unit is about $100, while the motherboard would be around $200. $300 for a computer we are replacing in March anyways? No, thank you. 

So we ordered the iMac we wanted and planned on getting in March with our taxes. While we do have money for the computer, it is in emergency funds and other savings, so that is not an option. I remembered receiving a letter saying I was pre-approved for BillMeLater's 6-month period of no interest or payments. That should take us to March 20th. We should have taxes back before then. 

I am going to part-out my current computer. Should be able to get a few hundred out of it. 

Quite the week we have had, eh? Any positive vibes, prayers, etc. are much appreciated!

Historically High U.S. Fuel Export

September 9th, 2011 at 06:56 pm

Wondering just how much the govt cares about gas prices?

Take into account that the U.S. has recently reached a historical high for exported oil...

Text is U.S. News - Historically High Oil Exports Helping Keep Gas Prices High and Link is
U.S. News - Historically High Oil Exports Helping Keep Gas P...

September 8, 2011
Many Americans know supply and demand can make an impact on how many dollars they shell out at their local gasoline station--the lower the supply the higher the price. Is part of the reason supply is low because refiners are keeping it there deliberately while sending refined oil overseas?

[Read: How Much Oil is There?]

Refiners have been shipping historically high amounts of refined products out of the U.S., much of which is bound for Europe or Asia. Since diesel demand is high from Europe, where a majority of vehicles burn the heavier fuel, refiners can make a few extra dollars from each barrel by shipping it across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, domestic supply of diesel fuel currently sits nearly 11 percent below where it was last year, or some 19 million barrels lower.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Should offshore drilling be expanded?]

Certainly the fact that U.S. refiners are exporting such a high volume of product overseas is not only keeping domestic supply tighter than years past, but it's also supporting high prices. Gasoline exports are also at record highs, some 395,000 barrels per day, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration numbers. Just earlier this summer, we were exporting 200,000 barrels per day of finished gasoline, so refineries are now sending nearly double the amount of gasoline out of this country. Looking at gasoline inventories, we see a similar deficit because of the amount of gasoline being shipped out. Not surprisingly, the latest EIA numbers show gasoline inventories some 7.4 percent or nearly 17 million barrels below there year ago levels. [See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

The bottom line is this: historically high exports aren't allowing U.S. domestic supply to grow and are certainly a part of the culprit behind high gasoline and diesel prices. So for those motorists out there rounding up reasons why prices are high can certainly add products being exported to their laundry list of reasons why motor fuel prices remain seasonally high. Keep in mind refinery maintenance season is right around the corner, and if these export rates remain high, we could see even more pressure on gasoline prices, perhaps pushing the fragile U.S. economy closer to the brink of another downturn.

Autumn Cleaning = PROFIT!

September 7th, 2011 at 03:35 pm

Okay, so we missed Spring Cleaning, and it's not even considered Autumn yet, but temperatures here are so nice right now that it almost feels like it.

Since this last weekend, we have been cleaning out closet space for storing our new 70's Schwinn bicycles. This means possible profit!

A few of the items that we have put on craigslist include:
- 1 pair GORE-TEX Vibram service boots $70 - I wore these once during my military career. These have yet to sell.
- 2x DVI cables (for computer displays) $5 - not sold
- Rolltop desk needing a little TLC $10 - sold
- Quarter bag for game buck $10 - not sold
- 2x Swagman Hook It wall hooks for bicycle storage $18 - sold
- Oakley Half-Jacket XLJ Positive Red Iridium lenses $20 - sold
- 2x Clear/Clearwire broadband modems $15 - sold one
- Nokia USB to USB mini data cable $5 - sold
- Aero road bike helmet $20 - sold

As you can see, $88 worth of stuff we have sold in just a week. Not bad, if you ask me. And will we miss any of it? Absolutely not! We have some more items that we could post as well, just have yet to get around to it.

Craigslist is great! With their new feature of being able to renew posts, it takes the hassle out of having to create another post and deleting the old one! Renewing simply does it all for you. What else is great about craigslist, is that you get the opportunity to meet all sorts of people - from the trashy to the trendy!

This money that we are making is going straight into things that we need - things we need for our bicycles and for others. We are finally getting the chance to get our one-year old miniature schnauzer finished on her vaccines this Saturday, and then will get her a beautiful AKC standard hair cut, as well as a full groom, at Pet Smart. We cannot wait! Smile

Labor Day - the UGLY TRUTH

September 5th, 2011 at 05:54 pm

Today, I take a small sidestep from blogging about Personal Finance. Today, I would like to educate some of you on some of our glorious nation's history. That of Labor Day. 

Labor Day is, in fact, the result of the massacre that occurred in Chicago's Haymarket Square in 1886. The United States, in an attempt to disassociate themselves from, and to basically forget about, the massacre of unarmed civilians and the prosecution of innocent persons, decided on the first Monday of September as the official holiday, in observance of the working common-folk. The actual day that protests for the 8-hour workday occurred on May 4, 1886. 

Text is Wiki article and Link is
Wiki article - Somewhat bipartisan accounts of the day and the proceedings and effects. 
Text is Good article and Link is
Good article that is to-the-point and asks a great question...

Why does the rest of the world observe this event accurately, while we blindly praise our government for a day off from the work that our forefathers fought and died for?