Monday, January 26, 2015

What's Missing?

The State of the Union speech by the President was wonderful. Complete with the type of hope and togetherness and liberal politics we expect from President Obama and even a few quips. #iWonBOFAThem

Unfortunately, he was missing a few topics that I think are significantly important to the union.

Gun Violence - It's like Sandy Hook never happened and/or he realized he was powerless over the NRA. It's sad that people fight for the right to take others lives. (Likely the same folks that are vehemently against abortion, but let me not go there today).

Social Security - Now I don't too much care about this. I've determined that there's no way that I'm going to get social security and am lining up my retirement funds accordingly. Some people don't have that privilege and will just be assed out when they retire. Surely, the government hasn't forgot about this and they don't think a bunch of child care credits (#iAintGotNoKids) is going to make up for this deficiency.

Infrastructure - Now maybe he mentioned this OR maybe some of the past credits that the government has given is already taking care of this, but I just saw THIS story about an Ohio overpass being closed due to scheduled maintenance. The picture scared me to death (originally I thought it collapsed, which is why reading is fundamental). I'm pretty sure nothing in the world matters if we can't get from place to place to work, eat, go home or pick up kids from child care because we died on an structurally unsound overpass.

What about you? Did you love the #SOTU? Were there any topics you missed? Do I have any 100% Republican readers? (I'm 49% Republican myself). Do you all have harsher criticism of my President?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Shrinking Net Worth

If you've been here for a while, you know that I'm extremely proud of my high credit score. To the point, that some of y'all were like are you using Experian, Equifax, TransUnion or something else because who even knew credit scores went that high.

I was super into it while I was paying my credit card debt down. Now I don't even check it regularly. I don't care.

With student loans up next at bat, I'm on this journey to becoming debt free. At the end of 2015, I won't own anything and I won't owe anything. It'll be just me and the clothes on my back. LOL!

Well, I kind started following a few radical, debt-free folks on Twitter. I haven't fully committed to their lifestyle of not being in debt ever again or not buying things that require payments in installments. I am, however, open to new and different ways of thinking about money and wealth and my newest obsession is understanding net worth. 

Put simply, net worth is what is owned minus what is owed. Your assets minus your liabilities and man, as Americans, we are doing it wrong.

According to the Russell Sage Foundation, the median network for Americans is about $56,000, which is down a third from 10 years ago.


Other reports says it's as low as $45,000. What's worse is that the AVERAGE for the U.S. is $300,000. So what that's saying is a few families: the Trumps, the Hiltons, The Gates and the Obamas got it... and the rest of us don't.

New goal is to get my net worth above the median in the short term. Get above the average in my 5-year plan and figure out how to get my family in top 1% before I die. I think this is a solid plan. Who's with me? 

P.S. I realized I'm more interested in personal finance than most when I got all excited about a Suze Orman money calculator at work and no one shared my enthusiasm. I sucked at econ, but money is so fascinating to me. Can't wait to learn more!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thank You Dove!

Dove gets it right so much. Here's another one:


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SMILE!

So smile.amazon.com, let's you give to your favorite organization just by purchasing things you already purchase. How amazing is that?

Check it out and let me know who you're donating to? Mine are going to the Chicago Women's AIDS Project. ;-)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tired of Arguing with eHarmony

I've reported eHarmony to the Better Business Bureau and am currently arguing back and forth with them about whether I deserve a refund or not. Let me explain.

I paid for a year starting on October 28, 2013. I did not opt to autorenew. On October 28, 2014, they autoenrolled me into another year and charged my card. I called them on October 31, 2014 to get a refund. *insert details and minutia that doesn't really matter* They said no and enjoy your year of eHarmony. 

I reported them to the BBB of San Jose, CA where their are headquartered.

Here's my thing. If your service is so amazing, why do you have to trick people into signing up for it? (They claim I signed up for autorenew. I'm claiming otherwise.) AND why can't I get a refund over the phone? Why all these emails and horrible correspondences? It's like they think I'm going to forget that their service doesn't work and become enamored with it. No. 

Trying to cancel them is worst than canceling Comcast or LA Fitness. I just want my money back, so I can use it to join Christian Mingle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This Here Lifestyle

I successfully took the bus to the movies yesterday. #YouCare

Anywho, what I have not been successful at is securing groceries without a car. Let me tell you about all of my attempts.

Grocery Delivery - In Pittsburgh, I have two options (according to Google)

BestGroceryDelivery.net - This overpriced site almost made me curse out loud. $8.19 for a gallon of milk. $2.34 for Chobani. If you pay attention to grocery prices like I do, you know that these are almost 100% markups. Whatever, I put all my groceries in the cart and got to about $100 and for delivered food, that's fine. I go to checkout and they don't deliver on the weekends and their weekday times start at 9 a.m. and end with a 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. I have a 9-5 job. This is why I need groceries delivered. That ain't gonna work.

DeliveredtoU.com, which turns into cart2.urbangrocery.com - This site's user experience is TRASH. You can't search. You have to go through the aisles, looking for what you want and none of the pics were loading. If I had time for that, I would have time to go to the actual grocery store.

Car Rental - Most weekends, this would work, but I didn't realize I wasn't getting groceries delivered until 1:30 p.m. today. Car rental places downtown Pittsburgh close at noon. I also REALLY need to watch my bottom line (can't be spending $100 a weekend on rental cars), so I looked into the Enterprise $9.99 weekend rental. You get a compact car Friday night, return it Sunday, $9.99 a day. I'm only going to Target. Works for me. They were closed though.

Zipcar - I closed my Zipcar account when I got a car about two years ago. I went to reopen it and remembered my company has a discount for that service. I emailed HR, but it's the weekend. They'll holla back on Monday, which again, will be fine in weeks to come, but when it comes to tomorrow's dinner, the struggle ceases to be fake.

Target Subscriptions - Have you all heard of this? I think it's genius. You know you're going to need toilet paper and tampons every month. Why not just have them delivered to your door instead having to run out for them? This is dope except for the fact that everything in the store isn't a subscription item. So while I want certain brands of dishwashing liquid, bleach and odor-wicking beads, those things can't exactly be shipped in the mail. So I got SOME things using this, but the real grocery shopping search continues. 

Friends - HOW MANY OF US HAVE THEM! So I hit up my girl who said I could use her car whenever. We text and determine I'm going to get her whip about 5:30/6. She needs it back around 9:30/10. KEWL! She hits me at about 5 p.m. to say she forgot to pay for renewal for the parking lot she has the car in and she can't get it out and she's sorry. No big. I'm sitting in the house watching football and I have enough food to get me through another week. A weak week, but you know, I could make it work.

Finally, I remembered a website I encountered called Anothermother.net. They do laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and care baskets. Man, listen. The site was easy to navigate. They go to the same grocery stores I go to in East Liberty (Target, Giant Eagle, Trader Joe's) and you just put in your list open-ended and they pick up the stuff. It's an $11 delivery fee. Fair. Then it's $3 for each additional store. If you make your order by 1 p.m., they deliver it by 7 p.m. that day. After 1 p.m., by 7 p.m. the next day. This might be my new lick.

Now, you have to put a deposit of $20 down in order for them to place your order. I may or may not have just tricked off $20 since I've never heard of anyone using this service before. But, I pretty much have Better Business Bureau of speed dial, so I'm pretty sure it'll be fine.

I'll keep you posted about this here [commuter] lifestyle... in a city that is not set up for commuters. I swear I'm going to *Tim Gunn voice* MAKE IT WORK!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bus Game Weak

So on January 4, the first day I got back to Pittsburgh from holiday vacation, I needed to volunteer at Family House. I know, I know. Doing too much. But it really was a relaxing vacation the volunteer coordinator called me in desperation to see if I could do it and I broke. I decided to do 2 hours instead of 4. I think that was a nice compromise.

Anywho, I'm carless. So I check the bus schedule and there's a bus that comes RIGHT by my house that goes RIGHT by Family House, so I made my way to get it. It actually takes about mm... 9 strong minutes to get out of a high rise. So needless to say, I missed that bus. No big deal, I took an Uber.

So on the way home, I walk to Wendy's to get dinner. I clearly wasn't cooking that night. Then I go get on the bus stop to catch the bus to my home. Let me also say that taking a bus in a city that you're not from is totally weird. I kinda know where I'm going, but I know those place via car, not via public trans.

Anywho, I get on the bus. My buscard doesn't work. The bus driver looks at me like I'm pure trash and says ma'am, it's Sunday, did your weekly pass expire. Um, FIRST OF ALL, I don't have a weekly pass. I have something close to $50 on the card. (Actually, it wa s$16, but enough for one ride and he didn't have to play me like that).

So I get off the bus and call another Uber. So for a 2-hour volunteer project, I spend $22 on Uber cars. NOT exactly the way I wanted to start my "saving money on transportation" year. It's still nowhere near the $500 a month I spent on my car in December, but I'm trying to get on the good foot.

In other encouraging news, my first lady texted to see if I needed a ride to church and one of my new friends said she doesn't drive her car during the week and I can use it whenever I want. Wait, what? God has me SO covered.

I can't wait to report when I pay off Sallie Mae/Navient (look for that note at the end of April). (Yeah, the loan part of Sallie Mae is now called Navient. Probably rebranding because people hate Sallie Mae so much). And I can't wait to say I'm completely done with student loans during my 2015 wrap-up.

My bus game is weak, but this year is still about to be amazing on the personal finance front.

How's your January coming along?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughts In A Meeting

Disclaimer: I love my job, my clients and everyone I work with. As a human being, I'm allowed to think distasteful thoughts, which some of these are. I'm posting because they're funny, not because I believe these statements. Please don't fire me, HR. :-)  

Have you ever been in the meeting from hell? I had one of those meetings a few months ago and it was so bad, I just started recording my raw thoughts.  
  • What do these women have against manicures?
  • My coworker keeps telling me to jump in, then cuts me off. 
  • Do other people really come to meetings this unprepared? 
  • I'm overpaid.
  • Oh shit. I don't know the answer. I'm dumb as hell.
  • Wait, these people really believe what I'm saying.
  • Shout out to the designers in the room, who have never pitched a story, but swear something has PR-legs. Use your legs to sitcho ass down.
  • I want a beer. 
  • Did this fool walk in 30 minutes late & just start talking. 
  • Ooh, LinkedIn sent me jobs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don't Be Mad...


Fox is being all Fox-like and people are making a big deal about it. I actually don't care that an elected official met with a "former crack dealer."

1. Unlike most things that run on Fox, this is factual. Jay-Z is in fact, a former crack dealer. Your past is your past. You can hide from it or make a fortune from it. Jay-Z chose the fortune. He's actually a very good decision maker, if you ask me, which is another reason why Cuomo wanted to meet with him.

I digress.

2. You didn't see Jesus kickin' it with the town criers (i.e. Fox News). He was eating dinner with the tax collectors (crooks) and sinners. The Bible actually just says "sinners" in every version I have, so we'ont even know what these people are getting into.

If Jesus can kick it with sinners (or former sinners), why can't Cuomo?

Don't let this stuff upset you, people. We have better things to worry about, like why Scandal isn't coming back until January 29th.