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Advice Please

September 4th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

So I am asking for a bit of advice.

I have a young Soldier. I'm wanting to help her with a budget and getting her started in education. She needs to start setting up her life for the future.

I am already advising her to start savings by automatically depositing it into her account. But she's a hands on kind of person. She doesn't have a laptop. (I'm knowledgeable on retirement and savings.)

So I'm wondering on how some of you have done it if you're hands-on. What did you do for your hand-on notebook?

I've been on YouTube and been looking at some stuff.

But what is it that you've done?

The Past Few Months

August 26th, 2017 at 10:58 am

Hello Everyone!

I keep posting intermittently but I'm reading everyone's posts although I'm not commenting. So a lot has happened since my last post. I'm back from training, which lasted a month.

First, I'm no longer homeless, LOL.


I did lose weight there but I've gained it all back and then some. I've had issues with my feet since then and feeling very fatigued.

A little over a month ago I moved into my new place which means that I'm no longer homeless! LOL. All my stuff was put into storage while I was training and then I moved the day that I go back. So my rent was $931 for a 1-bedroom at the old place and now it is $845 for a 1-bedroom at the new place. Which is almost $100 dollars difference. If I had stayed at the old place my rent would have gone up to $993 for a lease renewal. So in retrospect, I guess I've saved closer to $150 per month just by moving. I am almost all moved in, I really haven't that much time to myself to try and move. I do have a garage here which is $75 monthly, but it's worth it. I have a motorcycle (which is paid off) and I can keep it in there along with all my other boxes that I need to go through.

About two weeks ago, I was playing softball during PT (physical training) because her at this post we have "Iron Horse Week" which is when the whole post plays various games against each other ranging from soccer to flag football to swimming competitions. So I had opted to play softball. The only really good thing I can do is bat. I'm not good on catching or throwing. I had been playing for several days and had actually gotten better at catching. I had a rather large glove on though this one Friday and was playing catcher. I realized that it was too big and so I changed it out before the next play. Well now we had two people on base and we were trying to get a guy out on home plate. Well my teammate threw me the ball (it was thrown like a baseball at probably 50 or 60 mph. He was closer to me than pitchers mound but to far to run it. Well I tried to catch it but unfortunately I stopped it with my head...

I currently do have a concussion and still suffer from affects from it. It has been two weeks since it happened. Hopefully I can get a CAT scan or something next week. I am still having headaches and feeling woozy if I get up too fast from laying down. I do have issues with remembering some words but it has gotten better. Yes, I did go to ER as well as seen the P.A. at the clinic (twice). Remember I'm in the Army....

I've weighed myself today and I'm up to 219 lbs. I know I am a food addict, but I've also been sedentary for almost a month. Time to get moving. I've decided to juice and have smoothies for as long as I can, although I do need to eat for my various medication. I will eat a banana during that time. I need my body to juice "reboot" itself. I'm probably going to start my YouTube channel, I haven't really decided. I will be 41 years old in just three months. I want to feel better on my birthday than I do now. I'm tired of feeling tired and hopefully my medical issues will clear up for the better. I do have a goal outfit (a particular t-shirt and size 8 jeans), so I'll be trying those on weekly to see if the fit is better.

I still haven't had my tumor removed. I'm suppose to go in September to have it scheduled (it was suppose to happen yesterday but unfortunately they needed to reschedule that appointment).

I am suppose to be going to the promotion board next week in order to get my "P" status. I was confident before the incident but now I'm not so sure, but I will go anyways.

So I am going to get my health under control and also my finances. I haven't been really working on it, just letting it be passive, but I need to get back to it because I have financial plans and my finances need to be on point.

I will also try to get back to blogging as well. Feels good to write stuff down and make plans and to see how far my plans have come.

More Surgery?! Reup?! School?!

April 1st, 2017 at 06:09 pm

It's been a while since I've last written but I've been dealing with some things.

Surgery from the gallbladder removal was successful and I am recovering well. I haven't lost any weight unfortunately from the removal so I'm back to losing it through persistence (which wasn't that great to begin with...).

So not long after the surgery, I went to get my first mammogram (turned 40 last year, so therefore I get to have one).

They found a lump and after a biopsy it was simply put, a non-cancerous tumor. My options are to have it removed or for the next two years, to have a mammogram every 6 months.

I've chosen to have it removed but not until September. There is simply too many things occurring right now for me to have surgery.

My 1SG (and the incoming 1SG) has informed me that I will not be able to reenlist until I go to the promotion board and BLC. That means I will not be able to reenlist til September at the earliest... I only have a limited amount of time to reenlist and that cuts my window down even more. This means that I'll have to start the getting out process even though I intend to reenlist because that's how the army works.

So not only do I have to contend with the tumor and getting rid of it. I also have the added pressure of now completing school BEFORE the surgery. And I also wanted to get back to college to complete my degree.

Although, I have been making promotion points for the past 15 months in a row... so it's just getting old now.

But it is what it is...

Surgery Update!

February 11th, 2017 at 10:24 am

Well it is the beginning of the third day after surgery and I'm doing better than the day of lol.

The day of surgery I arrived at the hospital and while waiting, the power to the hospital went out but the emergency generators did kick on. So my surgery didn't happen at the time that it was anticipated. The Surgeons wanted to wait until the power was stable. They had to actually stop in the middle of another surgery when it first went out.

The surgery did go well and my gallbladder was successfully removed. It was done by laparoscopic so therefore I only have four small incisions in my abdomen. Three of them don't hurt at all but the one in my tummy button is the worst. That's the one where they pulled the gallbladder out. I figured that they went in at an angle because it's mostly the center of my abdomen that is painful. The doctor was very cool and gave me pictures of my insides. One of my gallbladder before removal and after it was gone (I asked if he would be able to). SO COOL.

I had a friend stay with me the first night but I'm on my own for now although she does check up on me. Both myself and my parents are very grateful that she was able to do so. Especially since it was last minute and I didn't know I needed someone to stay with me until a few hours after my surgery was done. I take my pain medicine and try to stay ahead of it. I've learned to only take one of my percocet instead of two no matter the pain, which is less than the abdominal pain I suffered BEFORE surgery. It somehow affects my breathing when I take two. I don't understand why but I think it's the dosage. It didn't do that in the past... I also have grunt candy (ibuprofen 800mg) that I take to supplement it as well per nurses orders.

I do have only one current issue that should go away in due time. I cannot sit up for long periods of time. I tend to start getting light-headed. It feels like my blood pressure is dropping but I don't have a BP monitor to check it. Guess I should purchase one eventually... But the time I'm able to sit up gets longer and longer. I do get up and walk around my apartment so I'm not always laying down.

Other than that I eat only when I need to and very little. I like the chicken broth I bought but should eat more, but since my tummy hurts when I eat I keep it to a minimum. (I see how people lose a lot of weight after an abdominal surgery)

My incisions are glued together on the outside so I don't have to worry about having my stitches taken out. Last time the nurse missed some and I ended up finishing the job when I returned home. LOL.

I contact my parents daily by video call, so they can monitor me too. My follow-up is in one week and hopefully if I can't drive by then, I'll find someone to take me. My friend will be on holiday then so I'll have to find someone else.

I'm pretty much just laying on the couch with my wedge pillows (best thing I ever bought right now) and I have almost 30 books to keep me company all within easy reach. I'm drinking water but definitely need to eat more.

At this point, I'm hoping that this post is clear and understandable. Being on the medicine I'm on makes me feel loopy which I distinctly dislike. I've gone over this post several times so I hope it's good to go and forgive me please if I am rambling.

Surgery!

February 3rd, 2017 at 09:51 pm

So what had happened was.... lol

For the past month I've been having abdominal pain. REALLY BAD abdominal pain. On a scale of 10 it was about a 7.5 at worse. So a few weeks ago I was in the ER, on morphine.. Between then and now, I have had 3 pregnancy tests, 1 CT Scan, and 2 ultrasounds.. NOTHING... absolutely nothing was found.

So finally the Doctor ordered a test to see how my gall bladder was functioning because I'm the right demographic for it (I'm 40 years old). So the test is to last two hours and occurs this past Wednesday (Feb 1st). I showed up at 0830 and was told I'd be given this radiation so that they could track the functioning and I could actually watch it on the monitor. They allowed me to sleep the whole time because I wasn't allowed to move anyways.

So as two hours slowly roll by, I'm watching the monitor and talking to the technician. The whole time the only thing that shows up on the monitor is just my liver and large intestines. So they decided to do a delayed test which means that I had to do another one at 1300... Again, nothing on the monitor but liver and intestines. So she calls the doctor and lets him know what's happening and he's like "come see me right now".

So off I go and at about 1400 he tells me that my gall bladder isn't functioning. So I get recommended for gall bladder removal surgery because if it's not removed then bad things like death will happen.

So I'm like ok, I'll get surgery within the month or so, not a big deal. The surgery department calls me THAT DAY. Not even an hour later... Tells me to come in the next day for the consult. So I'm thinking.. maybe this is serious...

So I see the Surgeon and she tells me that I'm getting surgery NEXT WEDNESDAY (the 8th)! DEFINITELY SERIOUS. This is being considered as emergency surgery. After she talks to me for a bit, and I'm telling her stuff that has happened. She states that the time that I went to Korea and about this same time last year when I was vomiting and having nauseau was when my symptoms actually started. I even had an EGD and the Doctors there were like "it's just bad acid reflux" and gave me prescription prilosec.

She also tells me that if the pain spikes again (because my tummy is always tender and I'm in pain a LOT), to go directly to the ER and they will do the surgery then and there. (I hope it doesn't spike because I need to clean my apartment and car lol).

So now I'm a few days from surgery and about to clean my place and do as much as I can before Wednesday.

The good thing that I learned is that I should lose weight, at least an average of 15 pounds. This is great because I'm still trying to lose about 50 pounds.

But I am very grateful to know what the problem is and have it taken care of. Ironically there have been about 4 other people in my company that have had this same surgery. I don't know if it's the altitude here or what... (I live in Colorado).

By the way, I don't have gall stones at all. My gall bladder is just no longer functioning correctly.

I'll keep ya'll updated though!

Budget for the Year-ish

January 7th, 2017 at 09:43 am

Getting my budget together. I think this is the first time I've put this on here. LOL. My bar is updated with all my debts that I pay on. My parents do pay on several and I've decided that in the meantime, I will let them keep up with the amounts.

DEBT:
Apartment reno: $10
Timeshare: $85.07
Rewards Card: $160
Navient: $240.73
Car Loan: $360
Nelnet: $102.16

Expenses:
Rent: $931
Water: $61 - Apt utilities
Sewer: $11 - Apt utilities
Trash: $10 - Apt utilities
Common Area Electric: $4 - Apt utilities
Service Fee: $4.68 - Apt utilities
Electricity: $85 (average)
Renters Insurance: $11.41
Motorcycle Insurance: $28.36
Car Insurance: $213.38
Petrol: $180
Groceries: $200
Cellular: $150 (multiple phone lines)
Hulu: $7.99
NetFlix: $15.98
Internet/Cable: $60.00
F.I.T. Radio: $3.99
Entertainment: $50 (consists of movies and books)
Restaurant: $50


Adds up to $3,145.07 for expenses.

My take home is approximately $3,400.00.

I need to get my expenses down to less than $2,000 hopefully by early next year. Those expenses will not count rent, apartment utilities, and electricity.

Now with the 2.6% raise the military received, I should be able to pay down debt with almost an extra $300. But I'm still spending too much on restaurants. I need to get that portion of spending under control. I'm already at my limit for the month on restaurants and it's only the 7th... SMDH...

I've updated my debts and put them from lowest to highest amount left. I'm going to snowball them that way. Although I'm still not paying off the apartment reno because there isn't any interest on it.

My plan when I get my tax refund, is to pay off one of the lower amounts which will be my timeshare. Then I can pay off the maintenance fees (which I'm trying to find out what it is but I'll say it's approximately $1,000) that went with it and sell it off. I doubt I will get any money back on it. But I'll be rid of it once and for all. YAY!

Never will I ever get another timeshare....

I will get the interest rate down on my car loan. I have to wait 6 months at least. But I'll keep working on it until I can get it back down to as close as what I had on the previous vehicle which was 4.5%.

I do know that my budget will be impacted by two things this month. I will be cooking food for a friend because she will be having surgery and I want to make sure that she's good to go. Also I will be going on a field training exercise this month so therefore, the food I buy for the meals should be a wash.

My ultimate goal is to get divorced which will be sometime next year. I need to make sure that I have enough money to pay my bills and expenses when that happens. I want to be able to move forward with my life.

Looking for an Apartment

January 4th, 2017 at 06:19 pm

I've started my search for a new apartment. I currently have a 1bdrm, 1bth, 649 sq ft for $931. So, especially with the new car payment, I would prefer a lower costing apartment. I don't want to live in a "bad" neighborhood, but there have been several incidents since I've been here. The latest being a woman stabbing both her boyfriend/husband when she found him and another woman (she stabbed her too).

It's not that I live in bad neighborhood, just stupid people....

So back to the issue. I do have certain needs:

Needs:
full size washer/dryer
storage
walk in closet
decent water pressure

What I'm willing to compromise on is getting a 2 bedroom instead of a 1 bedroom and using that as storage. Also if I get a 2 bedroom then I wouldn't need a WIC.

Water is expensive here. When I had my other apartment (in a different state), it cost me about $20 a month. Here, I've paid as much as $60... So I do have to consider that as well.

Apartment utilities can cost as much as an extra $100 a month. This is not including electricity which can cost as low as $60 to as much as $112.

So I have to add there there can be as much as $200 for all utilities.

So I've paid as much as $1,131 for everything, and I definitely would like to get lower than that.

I'm hoping to find what I'm looking for at $800 or less. I've seen them. I just don't know if it would be possible to lock in the rate now if I applied for it. Or would it be the rate of when the apartment becomes available... which is in July.

Decisions, decisions.

What to Do With Tax Refund?

January 2nd, 2017 at 08:04 pm

Well it's that time of year again... TAX TIME!!!

I've already started inputting my information but of course I haven't received everything to put in the system yet.

So I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. I already know I'm going to go on holiday with some of it. A couple of my best mates and I will be going on a cruise. We'll be sharing the same room so that will make it cost a bit less.

The rest...

I should have my reimbursement by then hopefully so emergency fund should be re-funded. I'd pay off one card but my parents will be doing that. So the other things that are left are things that wouldn't get paid off with it.

I'm thinking if I should fund all the things that I should save for such as Christmas presents, property taxes and whatnot. Especially for the move I plan on doing in July if I don't move sooner. (If another incident happens at the apartments, I may need to see if I can break my lease for safety reasons. Last week a woman stabbed her husband/boyfriend after catching him with another woman)

What are ya'lls plans? And/or maybe you have some opinions on what I should do.

SNAFU: New Vehicle

December 31st, 2016 at 10:25 am

This is a bit winded.

So on Monday, I bought my new to me vehicle. I absolutely love it! I went from a 2004 Kia Sorento to 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium. This SUV is sweeeeeet! Although anything would be an upgrade.

So this is how everything got messed up......... And why it's taken me several days to write about this because I have been upset but I'm doing a little bit better now. So I'll start at the beginning.

While I was in Korea for a year, I gave my parents some money to get some things and the A/C fixed in my Kia. That cost me about $1k. I got back and noticed that I was still having some issues with it, so I took it to a mechanic for a diagnosis. Clutch, oil valves, and carrier bearing all needed to be replaced, approximately $3k. At this point I only owed $1,200 on the vehicle. I had it for 4.5 years, but only have driven it for 2.5 years. So at that point, I decided that it was time for a new vehicle. Used of course.

So the search began. I got a pre-approval through my bank which was contingent on my trading in my Kia and I found a 2011 Chevy Equinox for $13,600 with 127k miles with a lot of bells and whistles. I had to get it shipped through CarMax and it arrived in early November. I was elated, but the paperwork was not acceptable for my state and it took until Dec 22 for it to come through. While waiting, I had to do another pre-approval because it ran out so another credit hit and the interest possibilities increased.

Well I did test drive it but it needed a new battery and I wanted to test drive it again. Well on the 23rd the vehicle wouldn't start. So I started looking for another vehicle. I found a 2011 and a 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium. I tried to test drive the 2011 but it wouldn't start. So I left to test drive the 2012 at the other dealership.

I ended up liking the 2012 and signed the paperwork for the buy. They didn't take trades (I bought the Caddy through a broker) and sold my vehicle separately. Well by doing that, my bank wouldn't honor the pre-approval check. So I had to do another loan, but this time for the actual amount because now I had the vehicle. Another hit to my credit.

My interest rate ended up being 16.94%! I had no clue as to why it was high. I hadn't opened or closed any accounts. Only the credit inquiries for the past several months were hitting my credit. As far as I knew, my credit was in the 680s!

So I pulled my credit report that night. It dropped from 680 to 617! Why?! Because two of my student loans were bought out by Navient (Sallie Mae). So it shows as a negative on my account now. Two of my oldest accounts is now in the negative section because of HOW the creditor closed it...

I immediately went to another bank and did another auto loan and got it down to 13.8%. Not good but not as bad as 17%...

So now my credit has dropped and hasn't been this low since 2010.

I WILL refinance in a year, but now I need to play clean up with my credit...

I can afford it, but now my plans have changed a bit and I will be reworking my budget. Goals have been delayed but not stopped.

Still Trying to Buy a New Vehicle

December 25th, 2016 at 10:44 am

So for the past few months I've been trying to purchase a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ fully loaded except for the rear DVD entertainment for $13,600. There were issues with the paperwork. The DMV wouldn't take the title from the form DMV because their titling laws were different and it took another month to get it fixed. So I've been waiting on this particular vehicle since October.

Well the paperwork came through on Thursday. I had already test driven the vehicle prior but I knew that it needed a new battery. Well when the paperwork came through they replaced the battery that day, and on Friday... it was dead.

So now there may be electrical issues or an alternator wrong with it.

Well at this point I'm no longer wanting to deal with them and I don't really want the vehicle anymore so I started looking again (although I was looking the whole time).

So at this point I have found two vehicles that I like. a 2011 and a 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium Collection. The 2011 is at $16,240 but the internet sale price is $15,741. The 2012 was at $21,998 and now at $17,998.

I can afford these but I do want to negotiate for lower. I know I suck at negotiating but I think that I have time on my side. Meaning it's the last week of the year and the dealers want these cars off their lots so they don't have to pay taxes on them.

Does anyone have any advice for me in the meantime? I am already financed and will be going on Monday to the two different dealerships.

Downsizing My Paycheck

November 23rd, 2016 at 10:59 pm

I will be downsizing my paycheck in about a years time. My paycheck will be going down to half of what it is when then. So I'm working on getting my complete budget under that amount. What I was counting on was the car loan being paid off and not having a car payment for two years. Unfortunately I have to purchase a new vehicle because the current one needs $2,800 of repairs and I've already put in $1,000.

So the current payment is $200 on the current vehicle. It will go up to about $220, but I plan on making payments of $250. So I need to get rid of approximately $2000. Approximately $1,020 is the rent and water (it may be a bit more than that), electricity is approximately $100, and my parents are paying off two of the bills. So I just need to get rid of $120 more and I can be good to go on living on less.

Home Sweet Home?

November 12th, 2016 at 09:36 pm

I'm currently living in a 1-bedroom home for $931. It's pretty small. It has a walk-in-closet and a stackable washer/dryer. I leased it during the mid-summer. By now I realized that I should have gotten a 6-month lease instead of for a year. For someone looking at this apartment complex right now for my same apartment is $817... Talk about being pissed-off...

Also I've been looking around and there are 2-bedrooms for less than what I'm currently renting at, so I'm going to be moving when this lease is up. And yes, I compared the prices of summer vs fall (preferably with a FULL SIZED washer/dryer).

The places that I've been looking at are lower than $900 a month and preferable below $800. I figured also that I'd rather have the extra bedroom for storage than anything else. I have a lot of gear and a closet isn't going to be the best option for that.

New Car Loan

November 6th, 2016 at 09:08 am

I was looking forward to paying off my vehicle early next year. Until I found out that I have $2,800 worth of repairs that need to be done after sinking $1,000 into it. I only have $1,200 left to pay on it.

So at this point I've decided to get a used "new to me" vehicle.

It's interesting to me that the first time I bought a vehicle I paid $600 for a '95 Altima (bought in 2009) and bought it outright. Then that one died and I got a car loan for a $9k '04 Sorento (bought 2012) that I had to get a co-signer for because my credit was so bad.

The reason that I'm getting a new vehicle is that I've had it for a little over four years. But I've only driven it a little over two years (I was in Afghanistan and Korea). I've already sunk about $2k into it during this whole time. The clutch is about to go out, I need new oil valves, and the carrier bearing is basically spinning in place. So I'm getting a newer vehicle.

So I've gone through the process of getting a new loan. Pre-approval from my bank so I have buying power. I've already walked away from one place which I never have an issue with. I have found that I dislike negotiating, so I'm getting my vehicle (2011) from CarMax. Did you know that it can take up to 28 days to request a vehicle from across the nation?...

Also you have have 5 days to return the vehicle in the same condition that you received it. So that's enough time to get a mechanic to look at it, and I suggest finding shops that do a pre-purchase vehicle inspection.

Thankfully, when this vehicle comes in, my payments will only go up less than 40%. But I'll do what I did last time I had a six-year loan. Send at least $5 extra a month but I actually paid it weekly to hit that interest. I would have paid off the current loan at less than five years. But I think I will throw a little bit more this time.

I'm hoping that this vehicle will check out and that I will not have any issues for several years.

Tip: even if you are pre-approved for a particular amount doesn't mean that you should use the whole amount. Just because you're approved for it, doesn't mean that you can actually afford it.