Thursday, November 30, 2006

Repaying my debts to the people I owe the most

If you look at my NetWorthIQ statement, you will see that currently, I owe the most money to Sallie Mae. She's helped me fund a high caliber education and got me that shiny degree.

But even more than Sallie, my parents paid for my four years at college, and since my fancy degree has gotten me well-paid, it's important to me to use that money to pay for my fancy degree.

So I've talked with my parents, and I'm going to repay their outstanding $15,000 PLUS loan that they took out to pay for my senior year of college.

I realize that:

a) This is a lot of money.
b) My parents have more money than I do, (There's two of them and only one of me.)
c) I already have a bunch of debt.
d) Yes, I am fully aware I still have a negative net worth.

But this is something that is important to me, and I don't want my parents dragging around a 15 year debt, especially going into retirement, which they incurred for me and which I am more than able to assume.

Probably how this is actually going to work is that I am going to save my pennies for a while and just write them checks, since it would be an altogether mess to actually transfer the loan to my name. So that is where most of my CashDuck earnings will be going.

Would you do it for your parents if you were in my situation?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is it nearly December? Then it's time for a Festival of Under 30 Finances!

Today is the last day to contribute to the Festival of Under 30 Finances, hosted this week by Student of Finance. She asks a very pertinent question, given how many people get engaged over the holidays:

What is your opinion of a prenuptial agreement? Are they financially necessary? What effect do they have on a relationship?

Submit your article and opinion today, and have it posted for the world to see on December 1st. Click here to submit!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Playing with my retirement money

Since I plan to deposit about $2500 into my Roth to fill it out soon, I messed with the contributions a little - changing from 50/50 international equity/midcap blend to 30/30/30/10 international equity/midcap value/smallcap index/smallcap equity. Since the options in my regular plan aren't particularly risky, I pretty much put all the risk in the Roth where I have a nice selection of funds of various types. I also transferred $1000 from my equity index fund in the 403(b) and put it into international equity, since I had $7k in equity index and about $700 in international equity and that didn't seem particularly diversified.

Next year I will be able to afford to bump up the Roth considerably - a large sum in January and then a smaller, regular sum that has not yet been determined. Probably $1000 in a lump and then $250 a month, or something. Not sure yet. I will be putting at least $200 a month extra into the 403(b), as well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In under the wire for my FSA

So the closing date for re-enrolling in the flexible savings account at my workplace was November 17th. For some reason, I had it in my head that I would wait and see whether I got this job and then decide what to do about the FSA - which in retrospect was dumb because I'd still be working there anyway. So of course I completely spaced and didn't actually do it once I got confirmation that I got the job on the 16th, and then was bummed.

Then, a miracle occurred! I got an email on the 20th saying that they had extended the enrollment period through that day because of a computer glitch that caused people to not be able to complete it on Friday! Oh, happy day! I signed back up for a $400 deduction (more than last year, but I want new glasses, and I can afford them!) and now everything is good.

I'm still getting used to the idea of how much they're going to pay me. Since I don't really know how much it will be after taxes, I'm going to wait until I get the first larger paycheck to mess with the percentages. (My pay is direct deposited into the various accounts by percentages, not by amounts, which can be annoying.) Right now my setup is something like 5% to ING, 5% to Bank of America, 52% to my spending account, and the rest to the Key account which is for bills and debt payment. So I think I will not bother to mess with the percentages right now, and see how it plays out. I am going to be seriously raising my pretax contributions to the 403(b), and putting in $400 in January and then $300 every other month to the Roth, so after all the retirement money and money to savings I will probably not see too much of an actual raise.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Telling people I'm leaving, part 2

So I go into my supervisor's office and say, I have some news, and close her door.

Supervisor: Are you getting married?
Me: No.
Supervisor: Are you pregnant?
Me: No, thank God.
Supervisor: Are you leaving?
Me: Yep.

I said that I was leaving because it was stagnant and there was no way to move up, and she agreed and said she figured it was only a matter of time. She's happy for me but at the same time it does suck for them since it's not guaranteed that I will be replaced.

Then I told one of the students and another coworker, and I'm waiting to tell another two coworkers and the other student before I send out an email to the doctors.

It will be sad when I leave, I love the people but the job is what I'm here for.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No rollover for me

I got up the nerve and broke the news about the job to the HR supervisor in my division.. her first response was "Oh no!" We had a quick chat and she said that I didn't really need to do anything, other than a formal memo saying when I was leaving, since it was an internal transfer. Things should be pretty seamless. So seamless that she said it wouldn't be possible to terminate me as an employee and then rehire me - the university would not allow it - so that I would be able to roll over the 403(b). Oh well. She did seem somewhat sad that I was leaving, but congratulated me and said she couldn't blame me for moving on (I guess it occurred to her also that I wouldn't be able to move up in the ranks where I am, and I did tell her that it was a big promotion.) I did not say why I was leaving, just that I was.. although it would have felt good to tell her all about exactly why I didn't want to stay, it wouldn't have accomplished anything and would just have made her upset with me. I'm glad that I did get it over with today - I'm going to tell everybody else on Monday. No one else is really here anyway.. it's the day before the OSU-Michigan football game, in case you live under a rock, and it's pretty much parties all day. We had a pizza party here, and I felt kind of slimy eating the department's pizza and then informing the woman who ordered it that I was leaving, but I didn't want her to receive paperwork about my transfer without me telling her about it in person.

Sad fishy news

My coworker's fish passed away during the night last night. I really thought he was going to make it.. But at least it looked like he was not distressed in his final hours, he looks just as he did when we left him. I took him out of his tank and put him in a cup and put the cup in my office so my coworker wouldn't find him. Even though he's dead, and I know he's dead, I still couldn't put him in a cup without any water in it. That's more unnatural than being dead.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Addendum: They're going to pay me a bucket of money!

I got the official confirmation that they are offering me the job, since the HR lady wanted to wait until they could tell me what the salary is.. and they are indeed going to pay me $42,000!!!

Holy crap!!!


It is not yet official since they now have to do an internal transfer request, but they are offering me the job, on campus, in liquid cancers/bone marrow transplant. They are not sure how much they can pay me, since as an internal transfer they have to justify why I was worth $30k last week and $42k this week, but the absolute minimum is $37.5k and she thinks they will be able to get approval for more than that. I asked to start Jan. 1st and she said she'd find out what the team I'm going to wants, but maybe a little sooner. I'm going to find out whether if I leave this job and take some time off between them whether that counts as leaving my job and I can roll over the 403(b).

I am so freaking excited!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I love Vistaprint

I have bought a LOT of custom printed crap for CashDuck. I have a foot tall stack of magnets in the corner of my desk. I just love stuff with CashDuck on it, what can I say. Well, after this round of check-writing, I used up an entire notepad and thought I would buy some more since I only have one more. I went through one of the emails they sent me and picked up one notepad for free and the second for $7.99 (regular price). Why would I pay full price for a Vistaprint item, when they have freebies all over the place? Whenever you check out, especially if you just have one item, they'll usually offer you some more of whatever it is at a really good price. This is because the real cost of labor in printing is the setting up for a print run - once it's already set up (ie if they are already printing one) it's only a bit more money for materials (and come on, this is PAPER we're talking about) to run a whole lot more. So I had 2 notepads for $7.99, plus $4.21 shipping - they say it takes 21 days, but I've never had it take that long. The trick is that they will only show you the deal AFTER you click "order" on the first part of the order - so that they know you have gone through with it. Then they have "bonus buys" for you, which usually include some more of whatever it is you just bought. For me, it was three more notepads - so my total cost for five notepads is $22, plus $4.21 shipping. Not too bad, considering that the deal they were offering for five before I checked out was 5 for $26.95, which probably also would have upped the shipping cost. =) I did the same thing when I last ordered more business cards - it was $30 for 1000 cards, but only $3 for 500 more. Pretty damn good I do say.


I got an email from the administrator at the place I interviewed a couple weeks ago asking to meet with me briefly Thursday or Friday. I can't imagine that they would bother to bring in a rejected applicant to tell them they've been rejected, so I'm hoping it's a meeting about picking which of the available positions I would like, or something like that. =)

I want to jump up and down!!! However, I am at work, so that would kind of give it away.

McGraw-Hill also called me and immediately asked to put me on hold (before I knew it was them) and when they took me off hold asked to set up a phone interview. I told the lady I wasn't interested and she replied in a confused voice, "Not interested??" She did not press the issue though.

I am really fidgety, it's a good thing I don't have anything significant to accomplish today, or it would not be accomplished. In fact, very little of any significance is being accomplished today.

Man, I am going to be SO INCREDIBLY BUMMED if they don't actually offer me a job.

In other news, yesterday my coworker's betta got stuck in a hole of the wiffle ball which covers the intake of his filter (to prevent delicate betta fins from getting stuck to it) and I had to cut him out. He is pretty roughed up on his back and pectoral fins from struggling so much, but he got through the night and I think he will be ok (with lots of medication, of course.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the final update to yesterday's Prosper silliness...

I told Boyfriend yesterday about the partial winning and outbidding (which happened again after I bid again) and I said that I'd decided to keep my fifty bucks in there sort of as play money, since it was already there. He looks at me and says, fifty bucks is play money?

I withdrew my outbid $50 today.

I am too dumb for Quickbooks

I got my eagerly-awaited copy of Quickbooks yesterday which I wanted to use for CashDuck, and I wanted to be all set up and ready to do payments when the money comes in. So I spent the majority of last night putting in all my transactions - it is a VERY good thing I've only been open two months, otherwise that could have taken DAYS. I had to set Paypal and the Amex to be bank accounts, because it doesn't have any special category for Paypal, and doesn't understand that you can transfer money FROM the credit card TO Paypal. So the credit card got set as a bank account too, and since I was using the check register to enter everything, to avoid having to enter everything as bills and invoices, now it thinks everything is a check, too. I actually did enter a bunch of stuff as bills, but then it showed us as payments to my bank account - I guess I entered it as bills they had to pay me? I have no idea. Anyway, using the half-assed method, I now have accurate balances and records of all my accounts and how much I've paid each person and entity.

On an unrelated note, I think I will indeed file a service mark application. It is just appealing somehow. (Six hundred dollars appealing!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

What the heck, Prosper

OK, so I put up my first bid on a loan recommended by Tired But Happy, but unfortunately it didn't get enough interest and wasn't funded. So I thought I'd do something else with the $50 since it was already in there, and bid on this loan. Well, now I got an email saying I have been "partially outbid" - apparently all but $2.65 of my bid was put back in my account. I tried to rebid, but I only have $47.35 left in my account which isn't enough for a whole bid. I hope that my $2.65 gets outbid too, or I will be receiving 9.7 cents a month from this guy.

EDIT: OK, the whole thing is outbid now, so I rebid. Let's hope that doesn't happen again.

Festival of Under 30 Finances this Friday at Tired But Happy

Don't forget to submit your post for this Friday's Festival of Under 30 Finances hosted by Tired But Happy. Her question is:

When you talk about your financial goals with people who are over 30 (your parents, coworkers, other bloggers, etc), how do they react?

You can click here to submit your article. The deadline is Wednesday by midnight, so don't be late!

Expensive weekend

We have not eaten at home all weekend, except for cereal in the morning. Which adds up pretty quickly. Friday Boyfriend and I both had off for Veterans' Day so we went and helped a friend move for eight hours. Boyfriend had to pay for the pizza for all of us since the friend couldn't go pick it up, but she will pay him back - we bought an additional $20 worth of pop, plates, napkins, etc that he neglected to tell her how much it cost. ;) Saturday we went to get Boyfriend's tires aligned and balanced since his car was vibrating heavily - I generally offer to pay for half of his car repair expenses since he drives me around everywhere, and sometimes he takes me up on it. He also needed two new tires, since he had only replaced two before and the other two tires are original (on an eight year old car!) All told that was about $380. While we were waiting for the car, we got some lunch at Quaker Steak & Lube, which evidently does not have a lunch menu. I have noticed this trend a lot - that few places have a real lunch menu anymore, they just give you the regular menu and there might be a special or two on the back. But it seems the days of lower prices and smaller portions for lunch are gone. So that was about $40 - but I got a full rack of ribs and took half home, and all the fries, for lunch. Which I just realized I left at home. Oops. We also went to Target while we were waiting and bought a new pan, a springform pan, and some new shirts for me (clearance racks R great) for about $50 total. Sunday was the Browns game and we went to Champps to watch the last quarter since they were actually winning. We split a full rack of ribs (ribs R also great) and a plate of cheesy chips.

This week we are going to have to eat in more.. I haven't even unloaded the dishwasher which I ran nearly a week ago, we simply haven't needed any dishes.

I also spent about $230 on a new project for CashDuck which I hope will be awesome but might only be awesome in my mind. ;) More details later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Now everybody's moving

Apparently my office move was just part of a larger plan, although not one that really has anything to do with me. Two of my other coworkers are moving, one into an empty office and the other into the first woman's office. The second woman's office is being taken over by files.

I think I'm pretty well situated here, I am no longer cranky about having to move because at least it gave me something to do today. I have nine posters up in my office now - looks like MOMA exploded.

Yet another side business - advice on consulting?

So it occurred to me that most of the GPT sites are so new, they haven't filed taxes yet, and may not really know how to do it. I've been thinking about starting some kind of tax consultant service to help them fill out their Schedule C's, but I'm not sure how to go about this. Charge a flat rate, or per hour? How much? Offer to fill out the schedule for them or just give advice? Probably the easiest thing to do would be to ask for an Excel sheet of all expenses and income, and then I sort it out and fill out the schedule for them, but I don't know how organized the other site owners are and whether they would have that. I know a number of them use Quickbooks, so that might encourage them to record more things. So, any suggestions on how to set up consulting?

In other news, last night I went to Target to get an antibiotic since I can't shake this cold, and it was only $4 (yay generic Bactrim!) The woman at the pharmacy gave me a coupon good for $10 off $50 worth of "house" department purchases when I picked up the prescription. Before picking it up, Boyfriend and I had wandered around and I picked up a bookcase and some fabric drawers, plus some sticky tabs to re-hang my posters in my office, a silicone spatula for the one I snapped while trying to stir pizza dough, and some Chip Clips. That was definitely over $50, and we were going to buy it anyway, so it turned out that my prescription actually cost negative six dollars.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


My supervisor happily told me a few minutes ago (after closing the door so no one else could hear, of course) that I was going to be moving into the "big time" and getting my departed coworker's office. Apparently this is because she feels I need more "space" to do regulatory - she commented that she just couldn't do regulatory in a space this small. (Note: my office is about 12x12 but is pretty well set up, I don't feel I have any space issues and have not mentioned wanting a new office.) I guess I wasn't enthusiastic enough because she said, "hey, this is a good thing!" in that trying-to-convince-you way.

So now I will pretty much have to spend the rest of the day moving. I don't really want to move, but my supervisor is so excited that she got approval for me to do this that I don't want to tell her I don't want to do it. It's like she went out of her way to set up a surprise for me so I don't want her to think I don't appreciate her effort.

The problem now of course is that I have posters all over my walls, and I don't have any more poster tabs. So I will need to go buy some this afternoon at Target.

And of course I feel bad too because what if I get this new job and now they have to move all my crap back? Sheesh.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Various updates

Yesterday I got an email from the administrator at the department where I interviewed, asking if I had any more questions and if it was OK to contact my references. I looked back at my application (the university has it all online so I use the same information each time) and it seems that 2 of the 3 are out of commission. (Couldn't get in contact with one by email so she may have left the job, and the other one is at the flashcards job and I wasn't able to get a response from him six months ago, so I doubt she could get a hold of him now.) The third reference was still willing to talk so that was good - that was from my research job I had in college.

Since obviously I am still at my present job, I can't exactly ask my current supervisor for a recommendation or she'd know I'm looking! I did what I thought was the next best thing, and gave the administrator a copy of my annual review. It has a few things in it that I'd rather not show to people, but a) since they know what the review packet looks like, I can't take pages out and b) I don't really have any other way to prove that I know what I'm doing in research, since I didn't do clinical research in college. So I hope they don't think I'm a horrible person. The review could have been much nicer, but it was written by the admin lady at my department who thinks I don't sufficiently kowtow to the surgeons and that I am a bad person because I once nodded off in a presentation. Hey, my coworkers might nod off once in a while IF THEY ACTUALLY WENT TO PRESENTATIONS. The doctors routinely fall asleep too. I am usually the only one who goes, but somehow the kudos for that wasn't enough to counteract her putting mean spirited comments in my review. When I emailed the new admin lady back, I said something to the effect of "the review isn't as clear as it might be since it was co written by a superior with whom I have little contact, so please contact me if you need clarification." It would definitely sound too bitter to say "This person dislikes me and only hears bad things about me, so don't believe a word she wrote."

I also got the chance to express my preference for staying on the main hospital campus. She confirmed that there are several positions, and some of them are at satellite locations - one satellite far away (read: highway driving) and one pretty close, about 5 minutes driving. The second wouldn't be too bad but I would prefer to not buy a car at all.

In other news, Coworker with the gecko noticed yesterday that I had cleaned up the cage and put new things in, and came and asked me how much she owed me for the supplies. I told her I got it from a friend because she seems to be one of those people who feels really really guilty about things.. although evidently not guilty enough to feed him. I said that she didn't have to reimburse me for the supplies but that he could use some crickets. She said she'd go get some today since apparently the local Petco only has them on Tuesdays and Thursdays - I said that the Pet Supplies Plus about 5 minutes away has them all the time since they raise them in the store. You can probably guess that Sunny is still hungry today, though.

I think I am going to go get some crickets tonight. At this point I don't care how bad my coworkers feel that I am taking care of their animals, they need to be adults and do it themselves. I just hope that they pick up the slack if I take a new job. Probably won't happen but the thought will comfort me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Some tax humor...

A great snippet from The Onion, the premier fake newspaper:

Sad but true, especially the "saving for future video games" part..

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gecko update

The Petco shipment arrived last night, and fortuitously my coworker who owns the gecko took a vacation day today, so I spent some time today cleaning out all the wood chips from his tank (substrate is NOT necessary people!) and cleaning his water dish. He is loving the under-tank heater - his hidey hole is made of rock-like material, so it also gets nice and warm. I bought a couple extra hidey holes made of coconuts and one is on the "cool" side of the tank, although he is enjoying the warmth so much he hasn't even bothered to go in one. My coworker hates mealworms so I can't leave them in his tank; I did put in in a box with a few mealworms to see how he liked it. He wouldn't eat any last week, but maybe that was because I dusted them. Today he attempted to eat one that was rather too big for him, so I dug out two small ones - I think he's sleepy now though so there may be no more attempts. Mealworms stay good in the fridge for a long time so we can wait until Monday to try again.

I had to move his tank to a new (more visible) location because the under-tank heating pad doesn't have a very long cord; I wonder if she will cover it up, or suggest he be moved elsewhere. (Like an empty office.)

I just got headhunted!

I got an email from a recruiting company working for McGraw-Hill (an education/textbook company) looking for assistant editors in science. It didn't give much information about what positions they were looking for, but there seem to be a lot available on their website for this area. The only assistant editor position in science that I see is for K-5. Doesn't say much about what kind of work it is, what salary, or what kind of materials it would be producing, but it could be interesting...

It came with a little questionnaire and asked for my resume, so I did send it back just out of curiosity. Maybe this is a potential new career?

The Ninth Festival of Under 30 Finances!

Check it out at A Penny Saved!

If you'd like to submit to the next edition, hosted by Tired but Happy, click here to submit away.

When is it enough money?

This was something I was thinking about a good deal last night. I was still waffling over whether I wanted to work for H&R Block (we need to apply soon) and Boyfriend made a simple comment: "You don't need the money."

I thought about this for the rest of the evening - I do make plenty of money, we can do pretty much whatever we want between the two of us, and I'm already saving some money. I don't need this money FOR anything. If anything, I might put it in savings, or we would just go out to eat a couple more times in the month and blow most of it. (I wouldn't get paid terribly much, anyway.)

But there's still this nagging drive in my head to keep accumulating as much and looking for as many income opportunities as possible - but how much is it going to take a toll on my having a life I actually enjoy? I mean, it's pretty much accepted that I wouldn't like working at H&R Block. I only lasted three shifts at the last part time job I picked up (desk watcher at Kaplan), mostly because when I am done with my regular job I just want to go HOME. And nearly every day when I was going to the test grading job last spring, I thought about skipping that day. I never did, but I thought about it every day. Especially when it was nice out and I just wanted to go home and take my guinea pigs outside.

It's even more pronounced now that I have CashDuck up and running. (over 800 members.. that's more people than I actually know, I think) Any time that I'm at H&R Block is time that I'm not at home answering questions, mailing gift cards, and putting up new offers. Even besides the fact that I like to work at home, I don't think it's financially worth the not-huge amounts I'd make at H&R Block to miss out on time I could be spending making CashDuck better and more profitable.

But the ultimate reason that I decided not to work at H&R Block comes down to Boyfriend's statement - that I have enough, and I need to work on accepting what I have and not spending every hour working to make more, when the money doesn't make me as happy as coming straight home every day does.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bank of America, this is no longer amusing

I am sick and cranky and don't want to call any bank one more damn time. Last time, it was because Bank of America, although it said I could log in with my MBNA username, wouldn't let me. Because I already have a Bank of America account. So I spent half an hour on hold and then told my story to a sympathetic CSR, who at the end of the conversation said in surprise, hey, there's this other account under your name! Yes, that would be what I was trying to tell you about the whole time. So now I can see my MBNA credit card online, but I can't pay it, because evidently my account is not eligible for Bill Pay. And, it seems like I can't pay the credit card with my other checking accounts, I will probably have to transfer money into BoA and then use the BoA account to pay for it. Which is not what the BoA account is for. I would stop using the card, except it's the one with the balance transfer on it so I have to use it insofar as I have to pay it. This is less than amusing.

Oh, for those keeping up with my life, the job interview on Monday went really great and I didn't cough at all despite being sick! They have several positions open which increases the likelihood of me getting one since I won't have to compete as hard, and they have an opening in the bone marrow transplant section which fits right in with my transplant experience here. They also seemed very impressed with my mad computer skillz. The best part was when the head guy said that they were really expanding and things were going to be changing a lot, and they had several committees of employees who made policies on how things should be done instead of everything coming top down, and that there were lots of opportunities for advancement. So that was really heartening to hear! They said they would let me know "very soon" which in bureaucracy-speak is probably about two or three weeks. But I'm very pleased with them and they seem pleased with me.