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 Post subject: Aminah's journey to financial independence
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 16
Well, here I am. I'm not a poster on this website, but I do read the blog regularly. And I'm here because I need some accountability and encouragement -- and ideas.

My husband and I are in our mid-twenties. We recently decided to put our education on hold because we were financing not just university, but all of our living costs, on various forms of credit (credit cards, student loans, and student lines of credit -- we each have one). We decided that was poo, and I finally got my husband on board after "just happening" to put on a Dave Ramsey CD while he was home.

We're not doing any particular program. I think a lot of them just repackage the same stuff. Big influences on my financial approach right now include Your Money or Your Life, Smart Couples Finish Rich, Total Money Makeover and the You Need A Budget software. In a nutshell, our goals are to: save up a buffer of one month's income and start living off of last month's paychecks (this will be done by December 1st), pay down our debt aggressively, save a full emergency fund and get our sinking funds up to speed, and have enough money to do the fun things we like. I also have a dream or a hope -- it's not concrete enough to be a goal yet -- of reaching what YMOYL calls "the crossover point": the point where interest from your investments can cover your living expenses and you get to retire. I'm not yet convinced this is possible, and I still have to convince good ole hubby, who is not much for a simple lifestyle... (I'm no frugal queen myself, but I am much better at delayed gratification and taking the time to make those big purchases worth every dollar I spend on them.)

I guess I'll start by listing our current debt. Here come some big, scary (to me, probably not to a lot of you!) numbers:
  • my Visa: $1409.61. Not being used -- in fact, the bank sent me a new card I haven't activated yet. I maxed this card out at $1500 nearly two years ago...oh my god, that's a long time. 19.5% interest.
  • Hubby's Visa: $945.01 He's realized he's not so good with credit cards, having more than a tinge of manic-depressive in him. This card is the "necessity" credit card for when we buy stuff online, rent cars/U-Hauls, book travel, etc. We don't do much of any of that anymore. It's also 19.5% interest.
  • My LOC: $9901.74. At a different bank than our usual one, because their interest rate is only prime + .5%. Too bad they made me get a life insurance package that costs almost as much per month as the interest payments. It went to buying us a car (see Hubby's LOC, below.)
  • Hubby's LOC: $9998.74. Rate is prime + 1%. Maxed out to buy a really nice used car (2003 Toyota Echo, bought in 2006 for $14k), a $1200 laptop, and various other crap I don't even remember now.
  • My Student loan: $16,720.45. Ow. I didn't even want to phone the automated line to get my balance. This grows by $3.08 every day. Had anyone explained to me how student loans actually WORKED when I first decided to finance school through them, I would have changed my mind. These puppies are at prime + 2.5%.
  • His student loan: $16,346.48. Also growing by $3.08/day. Makes my blood boil just to think of the fact that $180 gets added to our balances every month. We're not in repayment yet (will be come March), but the anger at this stupid $6/day charge is highly motivating.

Total debt as of today: $55,323.03

On the plus side, we do not have a car payment (just two line of credit payments?!) or a mortgage (we rent).

I have a multipronged plan to attack this big ugly number. Prong 1 involves cutting spending. (I'm really good at this, but my husband stinks at it.) Prong 2 involves raising our income. Our income has always been moderately above minimum wage. The problem is that minimum wage has gone up a good $2 in the past five years and our wages haven't. That's a situation we've created entirely for ourselves, and it's time to dig out of it. This is the area where I feel more like I'm in over my head. I'm not an assertive person by nature; I'd rather not "negotiate" wages -- I'd prefer to find jobs that just plain pay me enough and that give steady raises. Yes, that means I'm a union/office job junkie. And some of those jobs can be quite hard to get into full-time: they usually want you to go through a part-time temp cruddy entry-level position first. Assuming they haven't already picked their friends/relatives for the job.

I know that's whining. And it's going to stop. I'm actually finding it a real struggle to be comfortable thinking about raising my salary to the level I'd like. My husband and I, prior to school, were always able to meet our expenses (and then some) by one of us working full-time and the other working part time. The kinds of jobs I'm looking for now are a 30% raise over the ones I've had all my working life (admittedly less than a decade, but I've had nothing to buck the trend yet). It's almost like some sort of reverse classism, where I'm scared to make too much money. (Come to think of it, our friends don't make that much more than we do.)

Well, to combat all this I've been writing cover letters and sending out resumes to targetted companies and organizations who I know pay well, and in those temporary entry level positions that I know I'm qualified for. I sent out three last week, and the competitions are all closed now, so if they're going to call me back I should hear from them this week. I'm going to keep trying to find other places to apply, though. And I've set myself a deadline: if I don't have a better job than my current one by Dec 1, I'm going to pick up a second, part-time job doing evenings/nights at a strip mall 2 blocks away from us. I absolutely detest the idea of working 2 jobs (I did it once before), so this is a great negative motivator for me. And I'm hoping that telling all you people on the world wide interwebs will help keep me accountable to this goal!

My husband is also looking for a higher paying job, but there are a number of complications with his search which I won't go into right now. I think the biggest obstacle is that Murphy has been kicking his ass for the past two months and he really needs to get some counselling. (For an abbreviated list, in the past two months my husband has: been taken off his feet entirely for two weeks by acute gout, gotten robbed at work at knifepoint, had to deal with a whole bunch of work politics, had a strong case of bi-polar symptoms manifesting, and started smoking again.) He's not exactly at his most poised right now. I'm hoping that talking to a guy he's seen before will help even him out -- for both his sake and mine!

Anyway, I think I've rambled quite enough for an intro post. I hope this journal is the beginning of a very fruitful journey.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:41 am
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Come on Aminah, I've gotten started and you can too!

Have you ordered the debt by amount due or by interest rate, or some other method, and devised a pay off plan yet? The sooner you do that the more in charge you will feel, because you will be in charge!

I'm definitely not out yet but I had about $27k total (I'm at roughly 14k and I've been at it for over a year) not too long ago and I've started down the road, and the further I go along, the better it is.

You did real good starting your thread here earlier than I did, the thread I made here has been one of the best tools ever in fighting this thing. It really matters when you have to tell someone what you did that month/week/pay period to make things better for yourself!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
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snowballer wrote:
Have you ordered the debt by amount due or by interest rate, or some other method, and devised a pay off plan yet? The sooner you do that the more in charge you will feel, because you will be in charge!

We are fortunate in that ordering our debts by (eventual) interest rate is also roughly equivalent to ordering them from smallest to largest. My credit card will probably go first, so I can close it out. His is next. I expect all that to take 2 months if we're good about it, 3 if we're not. Which line of credit goes next is up for grabs -- probably mine because it's inconvenient to go to another bank. Depending on how the income situation goes, each line of credit could take 6 months - 1 year. The behemoth student loans, in all their massive glory, are probably the last to go. If I do this right I'm conservatively estimating 2 years apiece. All this assumes our income doesn't rise. (Right now we're putting away between $1000-$1500/month -- much more than I'd expected to be able to do.)

Quote:
You did real good starting your thread here earlier than I did, the thread I made here has been one of the best tools ever in fighting this thing. It really matters when you have to tell someone what you did that month/week/pay period to make things better for yourself!

Well, this thread has already made me get off my butt and be accountable. I have resubmitted a resume online, contacted back a potential employer for first-wave screening, and submitted two applications to another company. (Looked at two others as well, but one had no openings and I couldn't find job opportunities at all for the second.) I will continue the search tomorrow.

One thing I find really weird is how many companies only want online applications now. Even 2 or 3 years ago, my impression from employers was that in-person applicants were the ones who really cared and wanted the job, while online applicants were probably lazy slobs who couldn't be bothered to get dressed and walk/drive down to the office. Now, it seems like applying online means you're tech savvy, while paper resumes and cover letters mean you're some kind of freakish luddite to be avoided at all costs.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:08 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:48 am
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Ouch, 16k each for an education for a job that pays moderately over minimum wage?

Digital resumes are easier to scan/toss. They are handled easier in large quantities so fewer people can handle more resumes. They are easily shared with others for review and it doesn't take a few days to mail them. There are many practical reasons for sending digitally and it doesn't mean that you are too lazy for anything, I don't think it ever meant that.

It sounds like you have a very large challenge ahead of you, good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
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Location: Sunny Florida
Aminah, Welcome and congrats on finishing step #1 (figuring out how much you owe). Mr. Sam and I paid off $55,500 in 12 and half months in 2007 using the Dave Ramsey method and a GRS journal (here is the link - http://www.getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=194). This year we have almost saved/invested $50,000 (not including our 401k) using pretty much the same methods.

Getting Mr. Sam on board was very important to the ultimate success and you'll your partner to be committed.

What we did was (1) established our baby e/r fund, (2) cut up our credit cards and switched to debit (using cash did not work for us as it was too hard to track) (3) created a spending plan for our fixed expenses, set a small budget for monthly variable expenses (food, clothing, fun, etc.) and all remaining money went to our debt, (4) tracked our variable expenses using quicken in order to figure out where, why and how we spent used that info to further reduce variable expenses, (5) automated all minimum payments on debt, (6) made frequent payments on our smallest debt - the snowflake method, (7) Mr. Sam created a great excel chart to track everything for us, (8) I tracked our accounts (checking and debt) 3-4 times a week and I talked to Mr. Sam 3-4 times a week too about where we were, etc. updated spending plan probably 6 times in 2007.

Good luck!

_________________
Sam

http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com
(Follow Sam's financial and real estate adventures.)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:32 pm 

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mallow wrote:
Ouch, 16k each for an education for a job that pays moderately over minimum wage?

Mallow, we didn't actually finish our education. We're halfway through our undergrads. When we first started, dh thought he was going to eventually go into a professional degree, so the debt didn't bother us that much. I also didn't really research the job market for my chosen area...I figured I'd just sort of become a professor and keep going? (I love academics, but didn't know what else to do with my career.) Well, both of those changed. Hubby decided not to be a lawyer after all (phew!), but we both realized we'd eventually want (and need) graduate degrees. I've learned to realize that it's okay to just Have A Job to Make Money and not have it be my life's passion. I still have some searching to do for an ultimate career path, but I'm a lot further along than just "going for the flow".

Sam wrote:
Getting Mr. Sam on board was very important to the ultimate success and you'll your partner to be committed.

My husband has a lot of desire, but very little training/modeling of good behaviour to him -- and he gets discouraged easily. The mood swings don't help, lol. Slowly but surely we are starting to get on track though. You are right that in a significant relationship both partners have to be committed -- otherwise the plan won't work and it will cause a lot of stress in the relationship. I admit there are times I missed being the sole "owner" and "controller" of my money, but I wouldn't trade my relationship with him for it!

***

Today was not the most frugal day ever. My workplace is offering voluntary time off to employees on a regular basis and today I took an hour of it so I could be home with my husband sooner. On the way home my husband informed me we were going grocery shopping. At least he had a list. It was 80% of our weekly grocery budget in one shot, but I was able to keep it from being higher by sticking to the list and shopping as wisely as possible. When we got home we spent some quality time together making a delicious alfredo.

I also got given some Amish Friendship Bread starter, along with a very expensive recipe for making a cake/loaf with it. I phoned my mom and it turns out that not only do I not need to buy a loaf pan for it (I can use a muffin tin that I already have), the starter is actually just a basic sourdough recipe -- so I don't have to go out and buy vanilla pudding, chocolate chips, cinnamon stuff, and a bunch of other junk to add to it. As a nice bonus, my husband loves baguette-style sourdough bread, which I can make scads of with this recipe. My mother is also willing to take some of the starter off my hands so I don't have a ton of it leftover. :)

I also got a call back from the place I applied for last night. I didn't call them back yet -- they closed before I was off work. I'm planning to call them tomorrow to get more information on the job (the online info was a bit skimpy). I'm trying to find a more long-term job, so I don't want to just rush into anything...


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
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Today was not so great financially.

First, I woke up with a migraine. Took two extra strength Tylenol, went to work anyway, took two more extra strength Tylenol, and then realized the pills weren't helping my headache -- just making me tired. Went home after an hour and a half. Still managed to make more money than I spent on gas getting there and back though. (Barely.)

Came home, crashed out, wasted most of afternoon. Wanted to make sourdough bread, but didn't have ingredients or car to go get them. Made the dessert loaf thing instead, only turned it into cupcakes. It's very yummy, even though I forgot to add a bit of milk so they turned out a little chewy. Decided I really need to invest in Big Ass Tupperware Containers (tm) for the freezer so I can actually see what it is I've frozen and stack it neatly.

Then, found out the laptop power adapter has frayed right at the connector, because I heard a crackling noise and then saw it spark as I unplugged it. Looked at it closely and found out the wires themselves have frayed. That was dangerous; how did I miss this before now? Best part is that replacement from manufacturer will cost $120. I decided to see if generic would be cheaper. Nope. They're $150! Realized I am grateful we are not currently students, as the laptop was husband's note/paper writing bible, and if the adapter had died then, it would have been an EMERGENCY that needed to be fixed RIGHT NOW -- this is the time of the semester when all the papers are due and midterms are rolling in. Very glad we can afford to just wait on this for a bit.

After that, had to actually transfer money out of the buffer. :( Part of it was to pay for husband's counselling thing tomorrow, which I'm not sad about using the money for at all. The other part of it was so he could buy more smokes. *sigh* It's a stupid expense, but I'm not the one quitting, so.... The really stupid part about it is I wouldn't have had to transfer money for his cigs except we used more debits than our bank allows, so they charged us a $7.50 stupid tax. I really gotta do something about that banking package.

On the plus side: did a bunch of FREE family history research tonight. Got a lot accomplished. Also I spent time with my kitty, who is a little attention whore. And the sourdough cupcakes turned out yummy.

Oh yeah. I also thought about it, talked to my husband and mom, and decided not to call back the second employer that called me. It was really good money: a 50% raise, with an bonus 25%-50% of that salary based on sales. But it was for a bank, and I was going to be telling people about and setting up debt instruments. Call me crazy, but I don't think that helping someone set up overdraft protection or their first line of credit is giving them "financial flexibility". This alcoholic is not yet ready to be a bartender -- and certainly not serving her old friends who are still in denial about their problem.

I guess Mastercard was right: there are some things money can't buy. My integrity is one of them.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:57 am 

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About your migraines, my girlfriend suffers from chronic migraines since she was little. One time it was so bad I had to take her to the emergency room. She now swears by Excedrin (http://www.excedrin.com/products/migraine.shtml). It's different than Tylenol (uses caffeine) and is specifically for migraines. It is very fast acting and usually lasts for a long time. Whenever she feels one coming on she will take one and it goes away.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:26 am 

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I second Mallow. My girlfriend now only uses Excedrin Migraine.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:11 pm 

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Aminah wrote:
Decided I really need to invest in Big Ass Tupperware Containers (tm) for the freezer so I can actually see what it is I've frozen and stack it neatly.


I use ziploc (TM) bags and freeze on a cookie tray or in a deeper baking pan. After they're frozen, I just take them off the tray and stack them...I label everything with contents and date frozen. That way I can cycle through my freezer goods and use old stuff before the newer stuff.

Aminah wrote:
Then, found out the laptop power adapter has frayed right at the connector, because I heard a crackling noise and then saw it spark as I unplugged it. ... Best part is that replacement from manufacturer will cost $120. I decided to see if generic would be cheaper. Nope. They're $150! ...Very glad we can afford to just wait on this for a bit.


This is very good! No need to waste money on something you don't absolutely need right now.

Aminah wrote:
After that, had to actually transfer money out of the buffer. :( Part of it was to pay for husband's counselling thing tomorrow, which I'm not sad about using the money for at all.


This is a hard part of the budget for us too. Seems medical expenses sneak up on us that are not paid for by the system. It is a pain when you have to suddenly fork over $500 for a new pair of orthodics or whatever. Sigh.... I know it's money well spent, but sometimes it's hard to convince oneself of that, let alone one's spouse.

Aminah wrote:
The other part of it was so he could buy more smokes. *sigh* It's a stupid expense, but I'm not the one quitting, so....


So is he trying to quit then? If so, this is a temporary short term expense. Not great, but it has a glimmer of hope at the end of it. Some day you'll be free of this expense...

Aminah wrote:
The really stupid part about it is I wouldn't have had to transfer money for his cigs except we used more debits than our bank allows, so they charged us a $7.50 stupid tax. I really gotta do something about that banking package.


A zero-based budget should help with this. Maybe have some money that can sit in cash? To limit the amount of debits on your account? Don't know if this would work. Some people just plain can't have cash around. I used to be one. Now all I have to do is think of what I have to do to maintain or store something and I lose my desire to spend money on it. Course, it wouldn't hurt to make an appointment with the bank to review their banking packages. We pay $4 a month plus 50 cents extra a transaction. We rarely go over $7 in charges. Maybe in December...leading up to Christmas. But we use cash, not debit.

Aminah wrote:
On the plus side: did a bunch of FREE family history research tonight. Got a lot accomplished. Also I spent time with my kitty, who is a little attention whore. And the sourdough cupcakes turned out yummy.


Well, those are a start! You're learning about frugal luxuries...those little things in life that make life worth living, and don't cost a lot of money.

Keep it up Aminah! Determination and persistence will get you to your goal!

Meg


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:13 am 

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Thanks for the advice on Excedrin. I know once a doctor gave me a sample of Imitrax (sp?) and it worked wonderfully. Right now I'm just waiting til I'm covered by a health & dental plan. I've got a list of stuff to do that's waiting:
1. Replace eyeglasses
2. Find migraine meds
3. Get my wisdom teeth out. (All of them need to go, but it's expensive and a waitlist of roughly a year last time I checked.)

The past couple days have been up and down. I went for preliminary testing at one company and passed with flying colours, so I successfully made it beyond the pre-screening stage. :) I'm hoping they call me back soon. Meanwhile, my existing job is shifting some of my hours next week and the couple of weeks after that to accommodate some new training, so I won't be as bored there (and I get home before 8:30-9:30 pm). We also went to see the psych/counsellor/whatever. They had me come in with them; I don't feel it was very productive but hubby thinks it was and we're going again on Friday. I'm going be certain to browse the bookshelf when I come in and insist that stress management be discussed (although I think the psych is heading in that direction anyway).

All my sourdough starters turned out okay, and I'm trying to figure out how many I should give to my mom, and how many I can successfully distribute amongst my unit at work. I will send an email out on that on Monday, after I acquire 3 big gallon ziploc bags I don't mind never seeing again.

I got paid this Friday, and we budgeted basically our remaining expenses for the month. Looks like the buffer will be smaller still than what I had anticipated, but still more than doable. We will still be making sizable debt payments in December. Husband is thinking that if everything works out logistics-wise, he may want to take a course in Winter 09 semester. Here's to hoping that comes to pass. His political and academic stuff really is his passion, and he needs to do something to feel like he's moving towards it. As for me, I've discovered that there are "professional" genealogists (the term still sounds weird). I don't know if family history is something I'd do for money on the side, but as a History major I do hold my research up to a different standard than a casual hobbyist. To know there are other people out there who are, well, professionals, is oddly comforting. I think I found a little academia-away-from-academia. I am going to the library this afternoon to check out a bunch of FREE books on research strategies and resources. 8)

Oh, and the smoking...husband is back on a schedule, I remembered to budget for smokes this week, and he wants to get on track quitting soon. Psych recommended Champex. Anyone heard of it? (Husband has had Zyban, patch, gum, et al before.)

Edit: re: prairierose's comments on bank fees, zero-based, and cash. I tried cash with hubby; he just spends until it's gone and doesn't keep receipts, which the Nerd in me can't stand. We do have some cash envelopes, but I carry them. His spending, except for blow money, is done on debit. This month he made the the mistake of leaving some blow money in the bank account, resulting in an inordinate # of debits. We can fiddle with the banking package, but have to figure out if the new cost would be better.

As for zero-based budgets, I'm not comfortable unless I have a small "cushion" of cash in the checking account (usually $10-20). I just can't stand to see it at $0, and some of our automatic debits are a little variable -- not to mention the potential over-debit fees.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:47 pm 

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Well, it's been nearly a week. What's new with us financially?

Husband got an interview at a bank, with just about 24 hours' notice. This necessitated an emergency suit-buying session. (Guess who doesn't own anything but jeans?) Ow ow ow, my pocketbook...but he looked really nice, and has the outfit to wear again for a long time. The bank will call him back tomorrow to let him know their decision. This job is a 30% raise for him, although it's part time. And it offers benefits. (I think he's only had a job with benefits like twice in his life -- both for full time employees only.)

I didn't take VTO at work this week, which means a full paycheck for me -- important, as I'm now earning January's salary. Unfortunately, tis the season for "brilliant" holidaymakers at work to decide that everyone needs to bring treats for the entire team on a pre-specified day. Colour me unimpressed -- there are 13 members of our unit. I will be bringing a box of mandarin oranges (cheap, healthy, different, and the only thing that it's guaranteed the entire team can eat) on my day.

I did a mock up of our month-end expense report as though it were a business document. Interesting perspective shift -- I approached the finances and facts much more impersonally than I normally do.

Discussed a rough December budget with hubby. It will include debt repayment -- due in no small part to my parents' generous offer to cover half of husband's suit expenses. It will be a lean month, but I'm getting used to it. I discovered we can easily cut another $40 or so out of the grocery budget, as long as we stop using it as a slush fund for other things. Dates will need a bit of adjustment upwards. Hobbies will, unfortunately, not be able to be increased as we had hoped. :(

Went to the provincial archives to do some family history -- a free visit. Discovered you can scan microfilm onto memory sticks for free, whereas photocopies cost $.50 a page. Guess who scored a shwack-load of data for FREE?! Also, cancelled my free subscription to a genealogy website because it was about to turn into a $300/yr recurring bill expense. (YUCK.) I can get access to the website from the public library.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:01 pm 

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I hope your husband gets the job. That's great news.

As soon as he gets the job and benefits, I recommend that he try Chantix (the non-smoking prescription). Many of my coworkers have used it, and they have all been successful with it. It is expensive though, so make sure he waits until his insurance kicks in.

I like your orange idea. I certainly would have never thought of it, but it's a good one.

I'm obviously not a doctor, but do you think the strain on your eyes is causing your migraines? As soon as hubby gets benefits, you better get new glasses. Your health is nothing to mess around with. The eye doctor may also have some kind of payment plan that you could use to get an exam and new glasses.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:50 pm 

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peachy wrote:
As soon as he gets the job and benefits, I recommend that he try Chantix (the non-smoking prescription). Many of my coworkers have used it, and they have all been successful with it. It is expensive though, so make sure he waits until his insurance kicks in.

The psychologist recommended that drug too. Something about how it actually kills the cravings. (Something my husband still got even after a year or two of not smoking.) We work on a slightly different system up in Canada; Chantix is not yet on our provincial formulary so it's not covered by health care. It may be covered by his and/or my benefits packages when they kick in. (Mine starts in early January.)

Quote:
I like your orange idea. I certainly would have never thought of it, but it's a good one.

My first concern was that there's a woman on my team who is on a very restricted diet (doctor's orders), and a woman who has severe allergies to common substances. Also, cakes and muffins and cookies and junk get passed around all the time at our office, and I know some people would appreciate the variety, if not the healthier choice. And, of course, mandarin oranges are pretty cheap this time of year, and require no prep on my part.

Quote:
I'm obviously not a doctor, but do you think the strain on your eyes is causing your migraines? As soon as hubby gets benefits, you better get new glasses. Your health is nothing to mess around with. The eye doctor may also have some kind of payment plan that you could use to get an exam and new glasses.

My migraines have a number of triggers: drastic weather changes, stress, long days with glasses on at the computer/tv/screen, and extensive exposure to white noise. I can't do much about the weather (although I would like to leave this province eventually!), and have been dealing with stress as it arises. Long days in front of screens and white noise are, unfortunately, a staple of my job -- and part of the reason I'm trying to find another. The headaches aren't as horrid as some others I know: some people actually get nauseous and faint, for instance. If I catch them soon enough I can often mitigate them, even if it's only by giving my eyes and ears a rest for half an hour to an hour or so while taking medication.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:43 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
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Aminah wrote:
Husband got an interview at a bank, with just about 24 hours' notice.


Hope your DH gets the job!

Aminah wrote:
I didn't take VTO at work this week,


What's VTO?

Aminah wrote:
I will be bringing a box of mandarin oranges (cheap, healthy, different, and the only thing that it's guaranteed the entire team can eat) on my day.


Sounds like a great plan. I always take fruit to community events. There are a lot of people struggling with health issues who prefer an option other than sweets.


Aminah wrote:
I did a mock up of our month-end expense report as though it were a business document. Interesting perspective shift -- I approached the finances and facts much more impersonally than I normally do.


Interesting. How is doing it business style different? What do you mean here? Do you mean like proper bookkeeping? Or doing things like net worth, etc.?

Aminah wrote:
Discussed a rough December budget with hubby. It will include debt repayment -- due in no small part to my parents' generous offer to cover half of husband's suit expenses. It will be a lean month, but I'm getting used to it. I discovered we can easily cut another $40 or so out of the grocery budget, as long as we stop using it as a slush fund for other things. Dates will need a bit of adjustment upwards. Hobbies will, unfortunately, not be able to be increased as we had hoped. :(


We had a really restricted hobbies budget the 20 years of marriage. Then I found how to plug into the community (on-line and off) to access free or next to free hobby supplies. And the Dollar Store helped too. I found it was imminently more satisfying to just develop cheap hobbies in the first place! I recycle a lot of things into crafted items. good that you are going to be able to keep up debt repayment and found an extra $40 in groceries! Way to go!

Aminah wrote:
Went to the provincial archives to do some family history -- a free visit. Discovered you can scan microfilm onto memory sticks for free, whereas photocopies cost $.50 a page. Guess who scored a shwack-load of data for FREE?! Also, cancelled my free subscription to a genealogy website because it was about to turn into a $300/yr recurring bill expense. (YUCK.) I can get access to the website from the public library.


That's one good deal! Gotta love public libraries!

Meg


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