Sunday, September 14, 2014

Time To Look For a New Job

It feels like it is finally time to start looking for a new job. I love my company, the people and the projects but I am not making any money! This past weekend we had a wedding shower for my brother and as usual we end up talking about what people are doing and what they do for a living. My siblings both have gotten new job offers to live in different cities with tons more pay. They both make six figure salaries while I'm stuck making five. It drives me crazy! I'd like to think I'm good at what I do and I have a lot of great experience but I am not making a lot of income. I would be happy making $25,000 more per year so my goal is to finally update my resume, reset my LinkedIn password and seriously start looking.

Decision Making...

  • Vacation: I currently get 5 weeks paid per year. I've already taken 4.2 weeks this year and I still have 6 weeks left. I would love to find a company that has similar time off options. On a positive note, if I leave all that vacation would be paid out.
  •  Health Insurance: Our insurance is great and very cheap. The fact that they covered 90% of our infertility issues and IVF should give you a hint of how good it is. That's one of the reasons I've been reluctant to look for work.
  • 401K Retirement Savings: Current company matches 6% dollar per dollar. I'm already fully vested but would have to find a company that has a similar retirement plan.
I really can't think of anything else at the moment but it is time to leave... I like my company but they are not paying me what I'm worth so the time has come, wish me luck!

HS

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

iPhone 6

The new iPhone 6 is out and of course the wife and I both really want one. I'm excited about the larger screen which is one the reason I tried out the Nexus 5. Wife's more excited about upgrading from her iPhone 5 and she would also like a gold color. The new phones come in two different sizes so we may wait and go to the Apple Store and try them out and see which ones we like better. She may go with the smaller size and I may go with the larger one. I'm sure you've see the pictures but if you haven't, this is what they look like:


I need to check with AT&T and see if we still have a contract from our iPhone 5 purchase. If we do it should end sometime in November so we can wait until then. Wife said she also wants more storage, her current 16 GB phone is always telling her she's low on storage so it we're looking at spending $299 on hers and possibly $299 on mine, I think I want the Plus but could go for the smaller size. At this time I'm looking at spending $700 with taxes and fees to replace both our phones but I'm also confident we can get at least $300 for our current phones.

HS

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hoarding Money

Greetings! Hope everyone had great weekend. This morning my mind is on money and from here on this is where I'll start hoarding it. You may recall our savings account was up to $21,000 in June but then summer happened along with all kinds of crazy bills and even crazier spending with no paycheck from wife. This morning after moving money back in to the account and paying down more debt this is the balance we are left with:


That's right, $7,000 is gone! At least we're not $7,000 in debt so from here on my goal is to try and get this balance higher. The first goal is to get this account to $15,000. I'm going to try and send at least $100 this week and hopefully later on I can transfer some eBay money if a couple of items sell. I should be at $14,300 by September 20 which is when we get paid again. I know it's not much, but that's exactly how I got up to $21,000 in the past. 20's became 100's, 100's then turned 500's. Small steps will get me back to $15,000.

At home my stash of 100 bills just reached 9 so I need to come up with another 100 and that will put me at $1,000. Not sure what I will do with that money but I like the feeling of just having cash at home. Hopefully nothing crazy happens but if something breaks at least I have $1,000 to fix it. I also still have a lot of vintage 100 bills but the plan is to list them on eBay soon, I have around 11 of them and I think I can get $2,000 for them if I list them correctly and have the patience to wait.

My ultimate goal is to be at $20,000 by the end of the year but as usual we have stuff coming up that will require spending. I still have to get my brother a shower gift, wedding gift and will probably give him some cash at the reception. We also have our yearly HOA fees coming up and that will set me back around $920 and then of course after that is the holiday season which I'm soo not looking forward to when it comes to spending- bleh!

HS

Friday, September 5, 2014

Love My Credit Union

This morning I am very happy with our credit union. I must say I'm more a fan of the big banks but I still keep an account with the credit union that my father opened for me when I was around 18. I've always maintained a small balance with them to keep my membership open. I believe the account is a Money Market and with the tiny balance I make around 25 cents per year. When I needed the auto loan, I applied online and had a pre-approval letter ready in less than an hour. I had never take a letter like that to purchase a vehicle but it was the easiest way to buy a car. I gave the finance manager the letter and I was out of there after 30 minutes. All they do is fax over all the information to the loan office at the CU and they take care of everything. Here are the rates the they were offering:


The 1.74 rate is only available with direct debit from a checking or savings account. You can use the accounts at the credit union but that would mean I would have to deposit money with them every month. You can also use any checking or savings account at other banks, all they need is the routing information. I turned down that 1.74 rate because I don't like direct debit. I like to have control over my accounts so they offered me a rate of 1.99% without direct debit. They also offered me 60, 72 or 78 months to pay the loan so I went with 72 months to keep the payment under $600. The loan officer also said no payment is due until November 28 but I'm still going to save the money and make a lump sum payment on that date. I'm hoping that saves on interest a bit but I'm sure interest will accrue until then since the loan origination was September 1.

We still have my auto loan which is around $430 per month so now we are well over $1,000 per month in car payments but I think we can manage. If anything crazy happens I still have $15,000 in savings and I can pay off my car at any time. I'm hoping to keep sending money to our Discover Savings account and try to get that balance back up to $20,000. Hopefully by then I can take half of that amount and pay off my car, I'm thinking that will happen in 6 months or so...

Now, please don't let Dave Ramsey read this post! He would not be happy with us. Believe me, I know his teachings but we're hoping to keep the new car for several years and hopefully when we sell it we can also get some money back like we did with our 4Runner. It was nice to drive that car for 8 years and then we got $11,250 out of it.

HS

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Auto Insurance

I was worried about our new vehicle purchase and our auto insurance coverage. Our previous policy covered our 4Runner and my Elantra and it was around $1,200 for 12 months. I always use a broker to find us the best policy, they will shop around and give me 2 or 3 quotes I can chose from and this year our insurance went through Travelers Auto, this is how much it was per month:


Over the weekend I called to remove the 4Runner and add the Armada and the lady on phone said the yearly policy would only go up 200 dollars so that comes out to an extra $16 per month so that will probably be around $128 to cover both vehicles. I don't thinks that's bad considering the Elantra is a 2013 model and the Armada is brand new, drove off lot with 13 miles. I need to look at my coverage more in detail but according to the broker, my policy is a lot better than what I used to get with AllState a few years back. 

I often wonder  if I could really save 15% or more with Geico...

HS

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

eBay is Down!

Not sure how I will function for the remainder of my day but it appears that eBay is down! Not the main website but more on my.ebay.com. If you try to search for an item and click on it errors happen and I can't see any of my items for sale! I live on eBay day and night, not really sure what to do now... I keep checking and this is what I get:




Not fun....

Message on website: Due to a technical issue, some eBay customers may notice a problem or have trouble accessing My eBay. We're working to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience. Please try accessing My eBay at a later time. Thank you.

HS

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Auto Purchase

We finally got a new SUV which I had been talking about for months. Our previous car was a 2006 Toyota 4Runner. We purchased the 4Runner brand new in April 2006 and we financed $27,500 at the time. That car was paid off in 2011. I can only say Toyota makes great cars, I highly recommend them. We never had any issues with our 4Runner, the only things I did was change front brake pads, put in new tires and replaced the battery at 55,000 miles. Other than oil changes that car just kept running perfectly. We sold the 4Runner last week and got $11,500, I could have sold it for way more privately but who wants to deal with people, title changes and money. Selling to a local dealer was quick and easy and only took 1 hour. I used part of that money to purchase a brand new 2014 Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve:




This car is huge and perfect for the family, we now have lots of space. We may not be getting as good gas mileage as the 4Runner but wife works close to home so we may not see a huge difference. The car has everything we need including navigation system, Bluetooth and rear entertainment systems for the little ones. This version also has two tone leather, my wife wanted a light interior and I wanted dark so this was the perfect compromise.

Pricing and financing! You may remember we really wanted a Infinity QX56 used. I even went and test drove one, it is a nice car but it feels smaller inside. They wanted $44,480 for a vehicle that already had 42,000 miles on it so we decided to pay a bit more for a brand new one. The sticker price on the Armada was $53,950 and I managed to get that down to $49,400 drive out. I could have gotten it lower but just didn't have the time or patience to deal with the sales manager. I wrote them a check for $9,400 and will be financing $40,000 with our local credit union. I still haven't finalized everything at the credit union but payments will be somewhere around $600 with interest rate of 1.74% and not payments for 90 days. I still owe some on my car so the plan now is try and pay that off ASAP!

There you have our new vehicle, yes we added more debt but hopefully we can have this one paid off in 60 to 72 moths. I'm hoping we have the same luck with this car as we did with our 4Runner, I have never bought a Nissan before, I'm more of a Honda / Toyota fan. I'm also looking to go back to Acura soon for me, I have not been happy with my Hyundai, my push button start already has issues at only 30K miles! I'll leave that for another post.

HS

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Citi Thank You Card Update

We have officially stopped using our Citi Forward card and switched over to the new Citi Thank You Premier card for all purchases. The card is nice,  for some reason it seems really light, feels like its not made out of plastic? It also has a chip on it so that means at places like Walmart you can't swipe the card, you have to leave it in reader until the transaction goes through and there's no signature required! The balance officially went over $2,000 so that means we already got 20,000 Thank You points. Here's what the balance is this morning:

There's a couple of charges still pending but that number you see is all of our credit card debt at this moment. I  paid off the Citi Forward card and hopefully it stays at zero (Savings down to 14K). We have our auto insurance and EZ Tag (tolls) linked to this card so I'll pay those as we go and keep the cards at home. Everything else will go on this new Citi Thank You card at least for year so see how it will impact the rewards. I also have that yearly fee to think about so I may be closing this account before that happens but for now this is our main credit card.

We are still living without my wife's paycheck but that will change the first week of September. I need to create some sort of budget and plan for the daycare expenses. I would like to start saving money again and hopefully with the sale of her car I can be back at $20,000 in our Discover account. I'm still waiting to see what my bonus will be at work and with tax returns in the spring hopefully we can be at $25,000. I still can't believe we have spent so much money over the past few months. We had travel expenses, doctor and hospital bills and stuff for the new baby and less income. Most of that is behind me now and I feel like we survived but more expenses lie ahead. We are already talking about other trips we want to take and the pricey holiday season is just around the corner, I swear the spending cycle never ends!

HS

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 2014 eBay Updates

Great month on eBay but I seriously need to find a better hobby. What keeps me going is that I make a lot of profit on eBay. I hate doing it, I want to quit but next thing you know I'm still buying and selling stuff. I think I've asked this before but is there such a thing as eBay rehab?? August has been a great month and I made close to $400 in profit, here are the payments I've received so far:



One of those items was my Nexus 5 phone, it actually sold for $152 with a cracked screen. You could say I lost a ton of money on it since I paid close to $400 for it but my previous iPhone 5 before that sold for $300 so hopefully it all evened out. I actually paid for the Nexus out of my Citi card so that $152 is just PayPal money. All my eBay money stays on PayPal, occasionally I'll transfer a few hundreds to my checking account and convert that money to $100 bills at the bank. 

I still have a lot of items that haven't sold yet. I have them priced a bit high since I don't really NEED to sell them, I'm trying to make some money with them. If someone wants them really bad, then they will have to pay my asking price. I have a lot of watchers for these items so it's just a matter of time before they go:


And I swear I'm not making this up, as I was writing this post this morning I got a notification on my iPhone that another item just sold (not in the list above). As you probably know I'm buying and selling a lot of currency lately and I just sold a $5 bill from 1934 for $150! For this particular item I paid $80 back in May:


After shipping and fees that's a quick and easy $50 in profit and got my $80 back. Now you see why I can't quit, free and easy money...

HS

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goodbye Frozen Embryo

Those of you who have been with me over the years (started this in 2007) know that we really wanted to have a baby. There was the frustration post back in 2010, the post where I thought we would add a ton of debt for IVF and the post where we finally conceived. There was also a post about the cost and then a bill to freeze the embryo after IVF. Our daughter took a lot of money to create, lots of hormone injections, invasive procedures and me going on a cup many times. Our son on the other hand only took a 12 pack of Corona beer and us not even thinking about another baby, he was our 'accident'. This week I got another bill in the mail to keep the embryo frozen for another year but we have decided not to pay it. We have made the decision to discard the little cells. When we did IVF we got 3 good embryos. We transferred two and one became our daughter, the other didn't make it. The one we are discarding is the frozen one, this is what our embryos look like on paper:


For a while we always thought this frozen embryo would become our other child but once we got pregnant with our baby boy the thought of having a third child is completely insane. Yes, I would love to have more kids but I don't have the patience to raise another child and I don't think my wife wants to go through all the infertility stuff again. She also does not want to go through another pregnancy and all the complications that could come with it. We feel we are very lucky to have two very healthy and beautiful children so our plan is to quit while we are ahead.

Things we could do with this frozen embryo:

Donate: We could donate this to another couple and it could have a 50% chance of becoming a baby but thought of having our child out in the world is a bit creepy. What if the other couple raises that kid better or completely neglects it? My wife does not feel comfortable with this option but I would be open to it if I met the couple and knew more about their story, I guess it would be no different than giving a baby up for adoption? Also, I believe some clinics require more than one embryo to transfer to other couples.

Donate to Research: This one is even more creepy, more than likely they would thaw it out, wait four to five days and then poke the cells for stem cell research. While I'm all for the science and research I just don't feel comfortable donating what could be our next baby. This would also completely destroy the embryo once they take the cells they need, I just can't do that.

Thawing Without Donating: Not even sure if our clinic has this option but basically it means thaw and see what happens. More than likely it may not make it but if it does then you have the first two options above so this is also a NO.

That's basically it, the other option is to simply discard so that's what we are doing. We don't want to keep it since it will cost another $500 that we don't have and we can't afford any more children. I don't want to know how they will dispose of it or what they will do with it and its probably better I don't. In a way this it, there will be no more babies or children for us. Now if we ever change our minds again, we could do another round of IVF since wife had her tubes tied but she's also approaching 35 which is then more high risk. I could also find another wife that wants kids and have a baby that way but sorry ladies, that is NOT happening LOL.

HS