Thursday, November 15, 2007
Hurrah for raises.
I will see a raise and a small bonus in my first December paycheck. Yay!

The bonus, after netting for taxes, will be applied to: a) boosting my withholding so that I don't owe taxes for 2007*, b) paying off my credit card bill so that I get out of payment cycling (I invariably pay my balances in full, but lately it's just meant I charge them up again later), c) boosting my overdraft and condo downpayment funds, and d) taking about $50 for my own jollies. I do have holiday spending to do, but I have other funding resources for that, so I'd rather pad my savings accounts to meet my annual goals.

The raise is 5.25 percent, which is average, but that is strictly the merit pay increase. I will receive an additional locality pay (cost-of-living) adjustment for the first calendar 2008 pay period (which will pay out in February) of between 3.5 and 4.5 percent, so the overall total will be pretty respectable.

In the interim, I've upped my retirement contributions to 11%, upped my fixed dollar contributions to savings to keep that total around 10%, and intend to increase my charitable contributions. I won't see much more in my actual take-home pay, but that's all right.

Also, my student loan balance total will now be officially less than my annual salary. Point and laugh if you will, but that's a milestone to me.

*I'd rather risk a few dollars in foregone interest than owe taxes and have to pay fees (for e-file or certified mail delivery).

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Monday, November 05, 2007
Well, it worked for Radiohead.
I've mentioned my fondness for Paste Magazine previously. It's the monthly music magazine that includes CD samplers with every issue. I got a pretty good deal as a new subscriber, but my renewal was going to be more expensive. But then...

Paste has jumped on the PWYW (pay-what-you-will) bandwagon. For a limited time, you can choose to subscribe to the magazine for as little as $1. Personally, I paid $15.

The CDs tend to be from less well-known artists, and mostly focused on singer-songwriter material, but there are forays into straight-ahead rock, blues, traditionalist country, and a smattering of hip-hop. Not every CD is a success, but I find at least a couple of worthy tracks on each one.

The magazine itself has some pretty thorough reviews of albums (obviously), but also film, books, and games.

So, if you're a music fan, or have a friend who is, this is a pretty decent gift.

Check out the name-your-own-price subscription.


Friday, November 02, 2007
October Net Worth

I'm dealing with some family health issues right now, so I won't be blogging much (not that I'm that prolific in the first place), but here's my hurrah for the month. Despite some challenges, I'm still making solid improvements in my net worth.

Personal Items

This is the month in which I arbitrarily reduce the value of my computer. Since I've had it so long, I'm now dropping the value in $25 increments, rather than $50. Based on Craigslist prices for various electronic items, I think my valuation is reasonable.

Cash and Cash Equivalent

I had some extra expenses associated with the family health care situation (onsite parking, extra equipment) that I didn't expect. So I spent more than I wanted to out of my checking.

My savings, however, continued to increase.


At least in October, nobody took away the punch bowl. I'm not sure that I will be able to say the same next month.

Loan Balances

It's nice watching the portion of my payments going to interest decline.

Other Debt

If it had not been for an unfortunate car tow, this would actually have been a decrease from last month. I'm getting that expense reimbursed, but the check hasn't been deposited yet.

Even so, I did have to spend some money on gifts and other things. I'm unfortunately in that cycling mode where I pay my monthly bill in full, but then have to charge semi-extensively again to keep my cash flow steady. I'm expecting a raise at the beginning of December to help draw my balances down to zero, but it's going to be a lingering issue until then.

The Month Ahead

I may have some continued expenses due to the family situation, but that will largely be for things like gas to drive for visits, rather than parking and supplies. I am staying in town for Thanksgiving, which will help keep those costs down. And since the weather finally broke, my utility bills will be much smaller.

I'm hoping this will help me charge less and avoid dipping into my overdraft account, since it's finally on its way back up to my target.

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