Wishful Wednesday

I found out today I’ll be needing surgery to clear out my sinuses, remove the nasal polyps and fix a deviation.  I’ve been sick with a sinus infection for many weeks now and the first round of antibiotics only decreased my symptoms.  I’ve been off for three weeks and feel horrible.  I’m now on round two of antibiotics.  Surgery will be in May.  I’m not too worried about the surgery as it’s endoscopic and I’ve had my sinuses cleaned out numerous times while I was battling cancer.  I have also had more surgeries/general anesthesia than I can count on my two hands and these minor ones, which seem to be popping every year or two, are becoming more and more routine.  Hopefully recovery won’t be painful!

Wish Story

You’re never to old to volunteer!  This 75 year old is trying to grant 75 wishes before his 85th birthday!

Courtesy of Make-A-Wish

He is truly an inspiration and I hope I’m still volunteering with Make-A-Wish if I ever when I retire!

What I’m Wishing For

I’m currently wishing for the same things as last week.  I’m trying to find used furniture from online sale sites and thrift stores.  No luck so far because most of this stuff just won’t fit in  my car.

What are you currently wishing for?  Do you volunteer?

Happy April 20th, 2014

Whatever you may be celebrating on this day, happiness to you!

easter

A cute photo from the shelter I volunteer at.

THOUGHTS ON THIS DAY

When did Easter become a second Christmas?  I see people posting photos of piles of gifts and toys their children got this morning.  When I was a kid it was more like Halloween 2.0.  You searched for your basket which was mostly filled with candy.  There may have been a small dollar store, stocking stuffer-type gift, but not the kinds of stuff I’m seeing these days!

Holidays have become so commercialized and, as I’ve grown older, I’m finding it harder to celebrate religious-based holidays when I’m not religious.  I’d almost feel bad if I ever had my own children because they wouldn’t get that many toys for Easter or Christmas.  Nor would I laden them with sweets.  Would they feel bad when they go back to school and all the kids are boasting about their new toys and all they got was some quality family time?  Would I be a horrible parent if I didn’t partake in these holidays at all?  It almost feels like you’d be forced to as a parent, religious or not, for the sake of your children not being left out!

What do you think?  What do your kids get on Easter?  Do you think we’re spoiling our youth?

Tax Confessions

The tax deadline has passed.  Hope all the procrastinators made it!

I hate taxes.  And math.  To me, taxes are like word problems and my brain just wants to shut down when I get them.

Everything is so overwhelmingly complicated (or maybe my brain just wants to over-complicate things I want to avoid).  No matter how much I read online, I just don’t get it.

I’m 28 and, aside from this year, have only filed taxes maybe twice in my adult life, and I didn’t even have to.  It’s what happens when you only work part-time, minimum wage jobs.

This year, being that I’m required to file taxes as independent contractor, I went to H&R Block for help and to get some questions answered.  $211 later, I left the H&R Block appointment still confused.  The lady just didn’t seem to understand my questions, especially the ones pertaining to my student loans.  She was more interested in deciding what she was having for lunch (hamburger fyi).  But after doing some further research online, I think I figured things out.

Maybe.

No, probably not.

Definitely still confused.

I was told I did not need to file self employment quarterly as most PF bloggers have written about.  The internet tells me I don’t need to pay estimated quarterly taxes until I expect to owe $1000 or more.  Let’s hope that’s the case!

The only thing I took away from my appointment is that my husband and I probably shouldn’t be filing separately.  We currently do so because I do not want my husband’s income to be factored into MY student loan payment.  I don’t want him paying for my loans.

Married couples who file separately lose out on the student loan interest deduction.  She ran a trial based on our numbers from 2013 and we would have gotten back more than double what my husband got back this year from filing separately, including me having to pay my portion of taxes.  There’s still a number of factors to consider before we decide it would be more beneficial to file jointly.  My income was only for three months in 2013, it will be a heck of a lot bigger for 2014 and I will owe more.  I’ll also need to figure out what my payments under Income Based Repayment would be with my husband’s income factored in.  If it increases too much that he’d basically be paying all of it, I doubt it would be worth it.

How did this tax season treat you?  Are you an early bird or an 11th hour occupant?  Do you know what you’re doing when it comes to taxes?

 

16 Month Progress Update

Original Debt (December 14, 2012): $102,645

Current Debt (16 months later): $95,315

My debt has decreased by $502 since last month.  An overall reduction of $7,330 in 16 months.  I’m now at 7.14% of my debt payoff goal.

DEBT BREAKDOWN

Federal Student Loans $57,851 $58,091 (up $240 since last month, an overall $2,191 increase over 16 months)

Private Student Loans $37,016 $36,459 (down $557 since last month, an overall decrease of $4,162 in 16 months)

  • StudentLoan#1: $5,268 $4,835 (down $433 since last month, an overall decrease of $2,325 in the past 16 months)
  • StudentLoan#2: $10,645 $10,599 (down $46 since last month, an overall decrease of $601 in 16 months)
  • StudentLoan#3: $17,276 $17,220 (down $56 since last month, an overall decrease of $1,020 in 16 months)
  • StudentLoan#4: $3,828 $3,805 (down $23 since last month, an overall decrease of $216 in 16 months)

US Bank Credit Card $950 $765 (down $185 since last month, down $3,892 in 16 months)

I love seeing significant progress on StudentLoan#1 now that I’m actually paying off the principal.  I wanted to take a look at when this loan might actually be paid off.

Considering this loan gains about $1.09 in interest each day, that’s roughly $30 interest each month.  I hate interest!

If I can throw about $700 at my student loans each month ($278.50 minimum towards loans 2,3, and 4), StudentLoan#1 would decrease by about $391.50 each month.  Payoff date would be approximately one year from now.

I’m hoping to take on more side hustles and throw more money at that first loan and have it paid off by December 31, 2014!  With 8.5 months to go, I’d have to be able to throw about $569 at that specific loan each month!  Wish me luck!

I also wanted to see how far the other loans are from touching principal.

  • StudentLoan#2 is $2,509 away from principal.  Monthly payment is $90.13 and this loan accrues about $2.39 each day in interest.
  • StudentLoan#3 is $5,560 away from principal.  Monthly payment is $152.12 and this loan accrues about $4.12 each day in interest.
  • StudentLoan#4 is $2,483 away from principal.  Monthly payment is $36.24 and this loan accrues about $1.01 each day in interest.

As you can see, I’ve got quite a ways to go.  These loans won’t decrease much while I’m paying off StudentLoan#1.  And sadly, even after it is paid off, it’ll take a while to even get #2 down to principal.  In it for the long haul, many years to go.

Wishful Wednesday

WW

I’m anxiously waiting the results of my recent CT scan of my sinuses.  I’m not sure why I’m so anxious because there’s only two way the results can go.  I had the scan yesterday and the tech told me my doctor would have the results the same day.  Now it’s just a waiting game for when the doctor calls me…though I’m pretty impatient and might just give her a ring today.

Wish Stuff

The mother of the most recent wish kid I interviewed expressed interest in becoming a volunteer for Make-A-Wish!  It’s such a rewarding experience and I recommend to all!

What I’m Wishing For

I’m really wishing I had a dining room table…and a counter height stand/table to put my microwave on, and maybe a kitchen island, and an entryway table, a real coffee table, decorations to hang on the wall, and a pretty large trunk/chest.  And some new clothes.  Le sigh.  I hate when I get in these moods.  I don’t really need these things but it’d be nice to have them!

What are you currently wishing for?

Win a Lifetime Skillshare Membership!

skillshare

To celebrate the launch of Skillshare Memberships, Skillshare is giving away a lifetime of learning!  One lucky winner will receive a Lifetime Membership, with access to hundreds of online classes taught by the world’s best teachers.  They’ll also be giving away second prize winnings to 10 lucky people:  Free 1-year memberships!  Don’t miss out the chance to learn for free!  The contest ends April 22nd at 11:59 PM EST, so don’t miss this opportunity!

Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

prime

I signed up for the Amazon Prime trial in November of 2012.  I forgot to cancel the trial in December and wound up paying $79 for a year.  I’ve found it to be very beneficial thus far but now that Amazon is raising the price to $99, I need to decide if it’s worth renewing again once December rolls around.

Let’s look at my first year prime savings (Dec 2012-Dec 2013):

cat food $8.94
cat litter $14.50
mat board $1.10
vacuum $30.99
keyboards $19.10
mouse $11.70
personal care items $2.69
cleaning supplies $2.09

$91.11 in prime savings from purchases.  I’m not even going to try to remember which shows I watched through Prime Instant Video but I know there were quite a few.

Now let’s take a look at this years’ prime savings so far (Dec 2013 – Dec 2014)

books $27.83
cat food $10.54
cat litter $33.32
personal care items $23.47
food $1.49

$96.65 in savings with prime so far (with 8 months to go before renewal)!

While I have bought a few additional items that weren’t Prime eligible, for the most part, I’ve gotten free shipping on all that stuff.  I especially love the free shipping on 40 lbs of cat litter or the 16 lb bags of cat food I order!

I also need to factor in the amount of streaming videos I’ve watched through Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Downton Abbey – 3 seasons (1.99 each episode)
Under the Dome – one season (2.99 each episode)
Daria – 5 seasons ($1.99 each episode)
The Good Wife – 4 seasons ($1.99 each episode)
Pride & Prejudice – 6 episodes ($1.99 each episode)
The Witches ($9.99)
Orphan Black – season 1 ($1.99 each episode)  *Highly recommend this show!
Doctor Who – season 7 part 1 ($1.99 each episode)
*soon to add season 7 part 2 of Doctor Who! ($1.99 each episode)
The Tudors – 4 seasons ($1.99 each episode)

I can’t recall everything I’ve watched through Prime Instant Video but an estimation for this list is well over $400 without Prime.  I’m not going to go back and check to see how many episodes are in each season or each show I’ve watched, but you get the idea.

So, with all that said, I’m definitely going to be renewing my Prime account come December!

Will you be renewing or signing up for Amazon Prime this year?