Home > Archive: May, 2023

Archive for May, 2023

Work Updates

May 22nd, 2023 at 01:28 pm

We went to a local college arboretum last weekend.  The pictures don't do it justice but I've never seen such vibrant poppies anywhere else. 

As to everything else, I wouldn't know where to begin.  I touched on some of it in my monthly wrap up.

Work is a spiraling vortex of insanity. 

My employee is leaving me.  😭😭😭

This is forseeable because she has wanted to move out of state and have babies, probably the entire time she has worked at this job.  (I brought her over from my last job).  But after all the talks about giving as much heads up as possible...  Basically got a one-week notice because she gave notice on my week off.  But her husband wanted to give *zero* notice, and so here we are.  & overall, just sad, because I have worked with her for 10 years and she is an amazing human.  😭  She is moving out of state.

Of course, most of my burnout is just the "everything out of my control is completely absurd" factor.  But because this was foreseeable I hired our last two admin assistants with this in mind.  It's paying off for me right now.   We promoted an employee to fill her position.  So patting myself on the back a bit.  Phew!  It's adding to the chaos though, because we are training two positions now.  But is probably the only reason I am not totally freaking out.  

The "planning ahead" is helping my sanity, but what a week!  On Monday we tried to offer the open admin assistant position to a candidate and ended up rescinding the offer.  (It got weird, and I think we dodged a bullet).  If that's not enough drama for one day, my boss ended up firing someone.  I think it will be a good change for the long term, but it's just very chaotic right now.   

May has been very quiet on the home front.  June will be busy, in contrast.  Picking up MM(19) from college, annual camp trip, etc.  DL(17) high school graduation.  

DL(17) got a job.  The job market is rough and he has been looking for a year.  I am not even sure if MM(19) will be able to get an internship this summer.  As a freshman?  Easy peasy.  But now everyone is pulling back hiring.  & for reference, I just put up an entry level job ad and got 200 applications in a few days.  I told DL(17) I wouldn't hold my breath about it being easier when he turns 18.

So DL(17) was feeling desperate and he applied at the summer camp we go to every year.  They were the only employer to ever call him back.  & he got the job!  It sounds like it was close though.  They went from severely understaffed to, "I am not sure there's enough room in the boys' dorm for one more person."  

I don't know if he will make it all summer.  I don't expect him to be mentally healthy enough to live in a dorm all summer.  (He's moody enough at home, and is very noise sensitive.  This is with 3 bedrooms entirely to himself; sharing 2600 square feet with two other people).  But we can help, with the EV.  It's $4 fuel for the 200 miles roundtrip.  If we have to rescue him on his breaks, will support him as much as we can.   & while I am skeptical, I am proud of him for giving it a try.  

I was just focusing on his mental health and the tight living quarters.  I expect he'd also be homesick.  It's going to be rough.

DL will mostly be paid in room and board, which is not the most useful.   That, and $2,400.  The rough math is that it probably works out to $6 per hour.  (I am not sure how many hours he will be expected to work.)  Of course, if we have any food savings, I will give that money to him.  The $2,400 will cover his car expenses for a year and will give him some spending money.  It's sufficient for his needs.

I haven't been sweating it because when he applied for jobs in person no one wanted to deal with work permits.  (He won't need a work permit after high school, even though he will be 17 for a while). & It should be easier when he turns 18 this summer.  I figured worst case, he could get a campus job in the fall.  I think that will be more his speed, working something like 10 hours a week year round.  

MM(19) Credit Score

May 21st, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Take 'one size fits all' financial advice with a grain of salt.

Probably the #1 question I get about credit card churning is "Doesn't that destroy your credit score?" ~ that we close the cards when we are done using them.

It does absolutely nothing to our credit score.  It appears that 90%+ of our credit score is just always having paid on time.  & utilization otherwise seems to be the only thing that has any bearing on our credit score.  If I apply for 3 new credit cards tomorrow (new inquiries) and close most of my old cards tomorrow, my score might(?) drop from 840 to 830?  This doesn't mean anything.  & honestly, I've never even noticed a 10 point drop.  But admittedly, I am not staring at my credit score or worrying about it.  (I watch my credit score, but I don't look at it every single day).

Also, it doesn't matter if your score is 750 or 850.  You get the same exact results either way.  750+ is basically a perfect credit score.  Life is exhausting enough as is.  No need to spin your wheels on things that don't matter. 

I've literally had an average one year of 'open credit' and a 800+ credit score at the same time.  When we last refied our mortgage.  *shrugs*

Note:  Good credit stays on your credit report for 10 years.  This is the *how* you can have all new credit and still have a very strong credit score.

The equation obviously changes if you are just starting out, trying to build up a low score, etc.  

Well, you would think.  This is the point of this post.  

I opened a new card for DL(17) a bit ago.  MM(19) was able to get his own credit card and I have way too many credit cards.  So I closed the card that I had opened for MM(19) to use during his high school years.  I think *5* credit cards is more than enough to keep track of, and I just no longer had any use for this card.

I was cautious and did wait until MM(19) was able to get his own credit card with a decent credit limit. 

MM's credit score has been 770-780 since he applied for his own credit card when he turned 18.  Before that I had added him as an authorized user on my Target card and on the card I got soley for him to use. 

This ended up being genius because I never keep cards open long term.  Just keep them open if I am still using them.  I put him on the Target card for convenience, but it just also happens to be the oldest credit card that I have.  10+ years!  Also, the card I got specifically for MM(19) wasn't showing up on his credit report when he turned 18.  But the Target card was.  When I realized, I added DL(17) to the Target card too, to give him a credit boost.

When MM turned 19 he applied for a new credit card.  I believe they only gave him a $1,000 credit limit and I didn't find that to be too practical.  But between the $500 limit credit card & the $1,000 limit credit card...  I told him if he charged anything large like auto insurance, to just pay off immediately.  That utilization can hit your credit score pretty hard if you aren't careful.

Interestingly, I was trying to refresh my memory and his credit card is showing a $3,500 limit, on his credit report.  !!  If that's correct...  Phew!  I've been waiting for this "credit card companies are insane" to kick in so that it's more useful for him.  He can now charge up anything and everything without fretting about the utilization.  It's just much more convenient and useful.  But this is insane.  That they are giving a kid with $5,000 annual income a $3,500 credit limit.   ???  It took a little bit of time, but I guess we found the point where it gets insane.

I will have to ask him if he had noticed the credit increase, or confirm with him if that is correct.

So, where was I?  MM(19) started with a 770-780 credit score.  After he got his own credit cards and had a workable credit limit, I shut down the card I had gotten for him to use during high school year.  I did not anticipate him using credit in the near future.

And...  His credit score dropped from 780 to 770.  & then the next month it went back up to 777.

There you have it.  I was surprised and irritated by the caution I took waiting to close this account that no one was using.  🙄  Even for the very young credit, the card closing didn't amount to a hill of beans.

Full disclosure:  MM has 100% on time payment history, 5% credit usage, 3 credit card accounts, 5 year average credit age and 1 inquiry.  (He has 2 credit cards + is still the authorized user on my Target card).

The only advice he is being given is to change his mix of credit.   It's the only thing he can do to improve his score at this point (per credit karma).  Adding an installment loan. I really don't see the point of doing 8%+ student loans (plus 1% up front fee).  It's moot because wouldn't touch these scammy loan servicers with a 10 foot pole.  Before interest rates rose significantly, I more considered these loans on the level of payday loans.  Who knew they could get any less appealing, but the high interest rates aren't helping.  & for a car loan, he's probably going to need a co-signor because of his income.  Meh.  I'd rather loan him money at very low interest rates if he does need a loan.  But I don't anticipate him *needing* to borrow any money.   

Like us, he will probably add an installment loan when he gets a mortgage.  

Edited to add:  I confirmed with MM(19) that his credit limit (on the one card) is now $3,500.  He hadn't noticed.

Second edit:  Re-reading this post, one point to add to clarity.  MM applied for his own student card when he turned 18.  & then when he was 19 and had a job, I had him apply for a regular Chase rewards credit card.  So that is why he has two cards.  The student card still only has a $500 limit and is far less useful.   He can probably just convert it to a regular rewards card (with our CU) at some point when he has more income.

April '23 Savings

May 15th, 2023 at 01:13 pm

Received $124 bank interest

Received $304 I Bond interest


Snowflakes to Investments:

--Redeemed $43 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card 

--Redeemed $142 cash back on Citi card

--Redeemed $11 cash back on dining out/gas card 


Other Snowflakes to Investments:

+ $8 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)


TOTAL: $204 Snowflakes to Investments


401k Contributions/Match:



Snowball to Savings/Investments:

+$1,300 MH Income


Savings (from my paycheck):

+$  250 to investments

+$1,000 to cash (mid-term savings)

-$   697 Medical Expenses

-$   230 Furniture 

-$   200 Household Purchases 


Pulled from mid-term savings:

-$2,935 Ortho Deposit

-$   911 Income Tax Due for 2022


Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,500 to cash

-$  500 Life Insurance

-$  450 Hybrid Insurance

-$  440 EV Insurance

-$  300 LA Weekend (show tickets)

-$   248 DMV Renewal (EV)

-$   150 Dentist (MM)


TOTAL: -$1,444 Net pulled from Cash 



Hybrid Miles Driven:  543

Fuel Costs: $15 Electricity 

(assumed 50 miles & 14 KwH per full charge)

Was a lower miles month because I had some time off work.


Electric (EV) Miles Driven: 2,111

Fuel Costs: $22 (home) & $60 (out)

(assumed 300 miles & 60 KwH per full charge)

Most charging (both cars) was done at home or at free chargers.  (Except for LA trip).

We did 120 miles of free charging this month.  We got 40 free miles at the San Francisco museum and MH got 80 free miles at his parents' house (40 miles x 2 visits).

It was 3 separate Bay Area trips this month, plus a Bay Area stop on our way down to LA.  Thus, the 2,000+ miles on the EV.

The biggie was our LA trip.  Off the top of my head, that ended up being 950 miles.  We spent $60 electric fuel on that trip.  We got a free overnight charge at the in-laws house Day 1 and a free hotel charge on the last night (in LA).  It was ~$20 to charge overnight at the mid point hotel.  Not cheap, but very convenient (about the same cost as gas).  We saved about $60 with not having to buy gas. Overall, for the LA trip we just stopped when we ate or took pit stops.  It was no less convenient than a gas car in that regard, but probably more thought and planning.   


Note:  I am always lagging a month behind because any bills charged in March will be paid off April 1 and reflected in my April numbers.  I charge in one month and the next month I figure out how to pay for everything (if I need to pull anything from savings).  So this update reflects March spending & April savings.

Whew!  That felt like a "death by a thousand cuts" month.  I am surprised we ended up that much in the black.  But, just a lot of bills were due.  & starting to pile up the medical bills for 2023.

Edit:  Okay, so I started this post before the credit card was stressing me out.  Decided to just pay off the ortho bill.  Could have paid it in May.  Was ~$1,500 in the black before that.  Revised statement:  I am surprised I am not more in the red after paying all those bills. 

I bond interest was bumped up with new $10K purchase early this year.  (When new rates were announced, I decided not to buy any more I Bonds at this time.)  I still have 2 months of mega interest before most my bonds drop back down to 7%.  

The big news is that I decided to do invisalign.  I had wanted to do a separate post about it but not sure I will ever get to it.  Even after 5 years of braces & major jaw surgery, I still appear to be the worst case of the household.  For the most part I presumed I wouldn't be eligible for invisalign and thought braces would be cheaper.  In the end, I am eligible and it cost the same either way.  But I would have paid more for invisalign.  I felt very, "Shut up and take my money!" as they really explained it to me.  I just got the invisaligns this week and so far it is 10 times easier than braces.  

For the most part, I know logically I should get this done while we live in this neighborhood.  My kids' ortho is *amazing*.  But so much trauma around my last round of ortho, that I didn't think I'd be able to do it.  But I am very intuitive and it's just time.  I expected the whole thing to be very terrible, even if it is "time".  & then everything about the whole process has been so easy.  I am grateful for the 30 years of technological advance. 

I decided to use my 2022 ROTH IRA funds to pay for the ortho.  Investing in myself and future in another way, for this year.  Off the top of my head, this leaves our 2022 retirement contribution rate at 14%.  I can live with that.   I initially thought I'd divert $3K from retirement and cash flow the rest.  But with the $6K price tag (the most I expected it to be) I decided to just pull from "retirement" funds.

The furniture and household stuff is just residual from my "nesting mode" in March.  

May is going to be much worse.  I have a lot of big cash expenses this month, will pay off the rest of the invisalign, etc.  Trying to get things taken care of, but everything we fix seems to just bring up more problems.  That just seems to be the wavelength we are on.