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Archive for February, 2018

Gift Card Balances February 2018

February 25th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Just tracking my gift cards. Not *all* credit card rewards, but most of them are.


GIFTS:
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$100 Benihana ($50x2) **SPRING 2018?**
$ 20 x5 Target


MOVIES:
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RESTAURANTS:
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$50 California Pizza Kitchen **Ecard**
$75 Chili's
$50 Olive Garden
$50 Seasons 52
$100 P.F. Chang's


RETAIL:
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$100 Staples ($50x2)**School supplies next summer?**
$100 REI **For MM's rafting trip supplies**
$200 Home Depot ($50x4)
$75 Kohls ($50 + $25) **to replace kids' shoes?**


Note: Edited over time to remove used gift cards.

Updates

February 21st, 2018 at 06:10 am

I know more on the work front, though not much. The business is being sold. As is, job/salary will remain. Will I still want the job, is another question. I always presumed NO. But as MH is still figuring out his next phase, it might be worth sticking around and seeing what happens. The latest means that we can probably stick with initial 18-month timeline for MH to figure out his job situation. Phew! I am not holding my breath about anything, for now. Sale has to go through first. Things will probably remain relatively unchanged for the next year or so, if it does go through. The goal is a very slow transition. Would probably stay at the same location for a year (I believe they are signing a one year lease). The location is a dream as to commute but otherwise is HORRIBLE. So I have mixed feelings about that. I'd be happy if the first change was a new location, but I also realize that even if most any change would be closer to my home (less miles) it would also most likely be a worse/nightmare commute. This is just one of my infinite concerns and why I don't see high odds of sticking around.

The only thing I've gleamed is that the new company does not pay OT. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. They have a different bonus structure. (No idea what that bonus structure is, for now). On the flip side, our hours are literally in the bottom 1% of the industry. So I expect nothing but more hours. & if I am not getting paid for those hours... Will see.

{I did ask about OT specifically, pre-sale, because last year was CRAZED. For completely non-related reasons. & so I'd usually not have much OT racked up at this point in the year, but I was owed a lot. I inquired and employer already paid me OT through February 1. Unfortunately, in the meantime we have been asked to take on tons of extra work and I know I am no longer being paid for my time. But I also expect new company to have a lot of incentive to keep existing employees, so am just waiting to see what happens. I don't mind the job security in the interim. Tax season is already halfway over. So just another 2 months of craziness. Things should normalize after that. I don't generally work any OT May through November}.

There is still huge crap show potential, beyond anything I mentioned. I have not ruled out quitting in frustration in the interim. I think it's probably most wise to stick it out and see what happens. But I have to survive the atomic bomb that's been dropped in my office in the interim.

In the meantime, MH prefers to look for work while he can be very choosy and doesn't have tons of pressure being put on him. I don't know that he's looked much in the past couple of weeks, but my work is so crazed. I think it's more sensible to wait until April or May to more seriously pound the pavement. (I want to seriously consider all my options, but can't realistically look for any work until May. So my job searching is on hold for now).

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Financially...

We have enough reserves to have no income for 12 months. So I don't have any short-term concerns. If I have to quit tomorrow for my sanity, I would quit. Honestly, I appreciate being the type of person who would pause and feels like we don't have enough reserves. I can recognize that having too much FU money isn't ideal in a situation like this. I am conservative enough I want to see it through and realize I can survive a few months of temporary insanity. If MH had a job, I think I would just quit, and I don't know if that is really the best long-term solution. So I am appreciating my financial motivations to stay.

I have been hoarding cash ~ we are up $5,000 since January 1. Will be another $5k-ish by May now that MH is back at work (his current very part time job).

On the job search front, I'd like to talk to recruiters and get real offers in hand. My first impression of the job market is that I am *feeling* our lower cost move. When we moved here, and cut our housing expenses by 70%, I never took a pay cut (2001). In fact, my compensation increased. I guess being in a similar job market is promising, and I am sure there are some employers willing to pay more (and those are the employers I want). But as is, I feel like I am looking at a 20% pay cut. Just looking at what is out there. Which is giving me more motivation to stay put and not to sweat the loss of overtime.

If that's what we have to work with, it is what it is. We currently live on 60% of my gross salary. I'd still be able to save 20% if I took that kind of a pay cut. But I would prefer not to entertain these type of pay cuts until MH was back to work full-time. If he gets a $30k per year job, then I can take the pay cut and we'd have more income in the end. All of the above is thanks to living far below our means. $30k is more lower end/entry level. I know he could get a $50k job tomorrow if we were more desperate. (Which would increase our household income significantly, even if I took a 20% pay cut).

{To be clear, this is more "ideal" job type stuff, like my current job. This doesn't mean I couldn't make same or more if income was my bigger motivation. & maybe if I take a year to consider my options, I can probably find a lower stress job with higher pay. Just speaking to my initial impression and surprise by low salaries for comparable jobs}.

So I guess that's the long and the short of it. These are all things we have thought about, but I mostly have no answers. I just have to wait to get more answers on current job, and I have to wait to have any time whatsoever to job search and see what kind of offers I can get (considering the entire compensation package).

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Well, the bar keeps moving on the work front. *sigh* I really was looking forward to 2/28 (huge deadline) and being done with the crazy workload of the past year or so. But the bar has been moved. Now I have to survive until April 15th. If I am MIA, I am just tired of staring at a computer screen all day and I lack the down time that I usually have.

In other randomness, MH did a focus group for $300 last week. That's helped with our cash hoarding.

Spending, Taxes

February 2nd, 2018 at 05:42 am

**MH saw some noise cancelling headphones on Amazon for 90% off. He figured what the heck. In the end I guess it was a pricing mistake because they canceled the order.

**MH is still looking for the right blu ray player for the TV we bought 9 months ago. In the end he saw another "too good to be true" deal for $25. I guess this was at Walmart. In the store it didn't show the advertised price (85% off) and they seemed to think he was crazy when he inquired, but it rang up for $25.

He hadn't picked one up before because he was being crazy picky. I got the sense this had everything he wanted, but maybe also willing to settle a bit in the interim because nothing to lose at that price. In the end, it seemed to have some problems and they were out of stock by then (couldn't exchange) but he diagnosed that he needed a better cable and it seems fine now.

So I thought he was 0 for 2, but maybe this one will work out. He is going to give it some time.

**My cell phone is almost 4 years old and I was targeting all along to replace this spring (at the 4 year mark). Given work uncertainty, I asked MH yesterday to keep an eye out. I told him I probably rather get used to a new phone before I am more seriously job searching. & I'd rather buy a phone while I have a (high paying) job. So he will start looking around for me.

My phone is mostly fine but has admittedly been wonky for about 18 months. It is not secure as I am sure it is no longer receiving updates, so that is my main concern. It turns off randomly at times (but I don't use enough for it to matter). MH saved it from a "black screen of death" about a year ago. I know his tech skills have helped me to keep it the 4 years that everyone else seems to think is crazy and impossible. But even MH has been nagging me a bit as he knows I no longer receive security updates. I was dead set on 4 years because I had paid $400 for it. I can be okay with 3 years and 10 months.

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I usually file taxes early, before I have tax forms. Because I don't need the tax forms. But I peruse the tax forms as they come in and make sure they agree to my records.

In the end, my mortgage company reported that I paid more interest than I did. ??? It's the only tax form mistake I ever recall catching. I double checked their website and their monthly interest amounts (2017) matched mine, so I will ignore the tax form. It was in my favor so I won't worry about it. If it went the other way I would make sure that they correct it.

I plan to file taxes today. Our software at work hadn't been updated yet. I talked to the person in charge of that yesterday and she seemed confused, but we finally decided she was out Friday and hadn't followed up on our weekly updates. (They should get done regardless, but she usually makes sure that they are done). She got it updated ASAP when she realized we couldn't file *any* tax returns yet. It was a hectic day/week, so will just press the "send" button when I get to work today. I knew I had all sorts of tax forms in the mail (in route or sitting in mail box) and figured I better check those first.

I did well with harvesting tax gains for kids. I always strategically harvest tax gains at 0% tax rate. But this year I squeaked by with harvesting tax gains and not even having to file a tax return for them. I don't know how realistic that goal is as their investments grow, but works for now.