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Archive for May, 2011: TarWalker's Blog
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Home > Archive: May, 2011

Archive for May, 2011

May’s Long Wrap Up

May 30th, 2011 at 09:08 pm

Well, end of month is here (tomorrow)! Today puppy and I have been out in the kiddy pool getting her used to water. She’s passed out next to me now. I think I –finally- wore her out.

In the past two and a half weeks, we’ve been to the vet three times. Twice because her poop was loose and once because she spent the night puking with diarrhea. Poor thing has giardia and coccidia, along with a possible UTI and upper respiratory infection. Plus, she just stopped eating one puppy food. We had to abruptly change foods on her because she just wouldn’t eat the other one, no matter what we did to it. It is never healthy to abruptly change foods on dogs, but she’s a little puppy and had to eat. Luckily, she’s in pretty good spirits through this all.

So, needless to say, we’ve overspent on the puppy budget this past month (and have lost a lot of sleep). And this doesn’t even include her 12 week shots and kennel cough vaccine that are coming up in a week and a half (if she’s healthy by then).

Luckily, I already knew that dogs cost a lot of money, so I was mentally prepared for potential high vet costs. She’s worth it, makes me very happy and keeps us all entertained. I just was hoping to have a few months (or years) to save up! I have some catching up to do.

It is weird to see my credit card with a balance though. I’ve gotten so used to it being zero, or close to zero. I might have to carry a balance this month on it depending on our leftover money supply (which might be slowly increasing! Knock on wood!). Not the end of the world. It’ll be gone within two months for sure. Maybe I’ll borrow from our EF to pay it off and then pay back the EF just to avoid the interest. Hmmm…

I have still yet to receive the official doctor’s bills for my vitamin D deficiency. It’s been two months. I wonder when I will get it. Hopefully mail hasn’t lost it. I might have to call and ask… or I might just wait. The money’s there now. I am laughing at myself for worrying about paying them right away. The official bill never comes quickly.

We refinanced our car loan 2 this past week with our current bank. We got the interest rate to drop down .5% and we shortened the term. It’ll be a lot easier to pay extra too with online banking. I sent in the payoff check to Fifth Third Bank, and made them sign for it. They got it early Friday morning according to USPS, but have yet to process it. I plan to make a stink about it if they charge me interest until Tuesday. Now I know for sure it wasn’t the mail taking forever, it was the bank taking forever. I am so glad we refinanced it. Thank goodness I used to mail our payments three weeks in advance.

So onto June… We have a wedding out of town next weekend, and at least one vet visit in the works. I actually have several goals this month, so I’m quite excited. It’ll be an ambitious month, but I can do it!

Goal #1: Do not spend personal money. I am (partially) joining ScottishGirl with a no-spend month. I can’t do joint with a wedding to travel to and a sick puppy, but I can do my own personal money. I receive $65 per week for personal and gas. I spend about $35 a week on gas, so that gives me about $30 left over a week. My goal is to have $150 at the end, more if I use less gas (hard when I’m still coming home for lunch to feed and let the puppy out). I have $65 starting today (spent all of last week’s), so I’m including it minus this week’s gas in my June amount.

Goal #2: Open a personal savings with ING. I hope to go on a vacation this fall with a friend, but I have nothing saved up for it. I want to put the $150 I hope to save this month into a savings and add to it a little each week. Even $5 a week will add up by time fall comes.

Goal #3: Start a puppy fund. I’m debating on keeping this in my normal EF savings account, or open another savings account. I like having things separated, but when does one reach too many accounts?

Goal #4: Teach the puppy to lay down, come, and stay. She already knows sit. We got that in before the tummy problems really started. Hopefully we can start doing treats again this week. Treats help a lot in training her.

Goal #5: Sign up for puppy class. A need for socialization, but it must wait until she’s healthy and gets her shots.

Goal #6: Finish my cross-stitch. I hope to get it done this month in order to give it to my friend for her birthday.

Goal #7: Start getting motivated at work again. Quit procrastinating. Plan each day.

Goal #8: Complete at least three put-off long-term work projects.

Car Loan 2

May 21st, 2011 at 03:52 pm

We’re trying to refinance our Car Loan 2. The dealership had run the financing through Fifth Third Bank and I am not happy with them. It takes about a week and a half for them to receive and process my checks (I know for a fact that the mail is NOT that slow) and their customer service is frustrating. Plus they don’t have a branch nearby to do business with, so I can’t even walk in the check.

Hubby liked the idea. We went to our bank today and are trying to refinance it with them. Potentially we will get a lower interest rate (from 5.94% to about 4.91%), so besides the ease of financing, it could be good for the pocket book. Plus we are going to knock the term down by a year and a half. :-D

We probably won’t hear until Monday. The guy is going to watch for the application to be approved today, but he said that he’s doubtful as he didn’t have the “they’re waiting” option on the application. I’m in no hurry, just something I wanted to get done eventually.

In other news, puppy is doing well. :-D She’s definitely in the biting stage which is a little frustrating, but potty training and crate training is going well. She is so dang cute! Definitely the Apple of My Eye.

I just realized I never came up with any May Goals. Since May is almost over, and I’m a little sleep deprived, I think I will leave May be. June’s goals will probably include figuring out the puppy budget and decluttering. Too much stuff in my den since I just unpacked everything that puppy can eat. :-)

Life Insurance Question

May 19th, 2011 at 12:28 am

My parents opened a life insurance policy for me when I was born. I am just now taking it over and paying the premiums. But I have no clue how it works or functions, and they haven’t explained it in a way that I understand yet.

How does “modified premium whole life” insurance work??? It kind of looks like it has something to do with dividends, and I know I have to pay yearly. Do I keep this insurance or get a different life insurance?

I’m so lost. Can you explain it to me?


May 15th, 2011 at 01:08 pm

What a surprising turn of events happened the other day! Within 6 hours of stumbling across a puppy ad, we had gone and picked out our new puppy! She’s completely smitten with us and we’re head over heels in love with her! She’s a Golden Retriever, on the tiny side right now, but who knows! The first few nights went really well and she’s getting along swimmingly with the family dogs!

(Can you tell I’m excited!!!)

But, as this was rather spur of the moment, it’ll be interesting tweaking the budget here in the next few days to accommodate for the new costs. There’s the adoption fee ($350), the vet bills (paid $120 today for first out of a bazillion puppy visits), food ($10 for 9lbs), puppy classes eventually, and of course, the fun stuff- we just dropped $55 on toys, bones, and a new collar.

Any hints of what I should be budgeting for the pups first year?

She is perfect for us and I am so in love!

Update and Doctor’s Numbers

May 11th, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Things are going alright. Everything is on a steady hold pattern, which is a nice change from the breath holding “is it going to get worse?” worry. If this holding pattern keeps for the rest of the month, or perhaps gets slightly better, there might be a chance I will get a pay raise come mid-June. Hopefully it’ll bring my salary back up to what it was, but I’d be happy with any raise at this point.

I’ve been looking at dogs again. I’ve become very picky, not because there aren’t cute dogs out there (my coworker just adopted quite a cutie!), but I think it’s because deep down I know we can’t afford a puppy right now and would rather pay down debt and move out.

I was thinking about budgets the other day. My family makes fun of me how I like to “play” with my budget on almost daily basis. Our family accountant said that a budget should be set and put in stone [for that month/year]. Another person asked why would I keep playing with a budget, it’s the same amount of money no matter how you put it.

So perhaps I don’t have a real “budget”, but more of a cash-flow utilization plan. I am planned at least a month out on all aspects, but setbacks (like that shocking doctor’s bill), don’t throw me off. I just adjust this and tweak that and voila, we’re still moving forward on our little amount. It makes me not take any income for granted and makes me excited about the “leftovers”. It works well for us, and it works well for work too, actually. One can never count on bills being paid on time these days, but one can always expect unexpected bills to come in (if that makes any sense).

Speaking of that last doctor’s bill, I thought for the fun of it I should post what everything was and what it cost. By the way, we have a high deductible plan (which means we’ll pay up to an extra $5400/yr on top of premiums, no more, but usually way less since my husband and I are healthy and rarely go in) and I pay the entire insurance premium out of my paycheck because I am the daughter of the boss ($703.29/mo or $8439.48/yr).

Any way… Here are the numbers (The first amount is pre-insurance discount aka what the doctors billed insurance, the second is what isn’t covered by the insurance discount aka what I owe):

Doctor’s Visit: $232.00 --- $202.28
Vitamin D: $213.00 --- $75.69
Glucose: $36.00 --- $10.05
Sodium: $30.00 --- $12.06
Potassium: $35.00 --- $12.06
Creatinine: $43.00 --- $13.40
Thyroid: $95.00 --- $42.87
Complete CBC W/ Auto Diff WBC: $66.00 --- $20.09
UV-Assay Transaminase (SGPT): $40.00 --- $13.40
UV-Assay Transaminase (SGOT): $34.00 --- $13.40
Gammagloblin: $79.00 --- $24.11
Immunoassay, non antibody: $96.00 --- $29.47
UREA Nitrogen: $39.00 --- $10.05
“Specimen Handling”: $25.00 --- $13.40
Vitamin D Pills (1st 4 wks): $11.99 --- $6.75
Vitamin D Pills (2nd 4 wks): $11.99 --- $6.75

*Total that was billed to insurance: $1086.98
*Total that was billed to me: $505.83
*Total insurance “saved me”: $581.15 – just under one month’s premium

And they want me to go back and do a follow up test. I imagine that will cost me anywhere from $75 for just the test to $275 for a visit and a test. I have a few weeks before that comes up though, so I may do it, or I may not. Depends on what the nurse says since I can honestly say I feel so much better.

Sticker Shock

May 3rd, 2011 at 11:19 pm

After the “Insurance Discount”, I owe the doctors a shade under $500 because I finally went in to figure out why I was “chronically fatigued” just to find out I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I was ready for two hundred or so, but almost $500 blew my mind. $500 is about two month’s leftover money right now. I’ll probably dip into savings to pay for it, but it will still take 2 months to pay savings back. *sigh*

AND they wanted me to come back in 8 weeks to do a follow up test. I am going to call and ask if that is really necessary, because I really don’t want to spend another two hundred on that test and a visit.

The sad thing is that it doesn’t even make a dent in my deductible of $5,400 and I pay 100% of my premium that pretty much eats up my entire paycheck. Gah.

…And people wonder why I balk at going to the doctors and put it off as long as possible. *sigh*

One step forward, two steps back. Not the end of the world, but very frustrating.