Home > Archive: February, 2006

Archive for February, 2006

$20 challenge update

February 28th, 2006 at 11:19 pm

Total for February

Challenge statistics:
invested: ~$6.00 initial (Jan)
~$2.55 (addtnl) gas/Jan
~$5.00(addtnl) gas/Feb
~$21.00 taxies/Feb

Earned in Feb: $344.40

net for January: $12.15
net for February: $318.40
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$330.55

This would be funny if it weren't so tragic: my earnings for the month at the school are greater than my bi-weekly pay at work!!

060301-2006 financial goals update

February 28th, 2006 at 03:23 pm

1. keep better track of my spending- I somehow have used the car problem as an emotional excuse not to keep track...will have to be harder on myself and start again!

2. Send out at least 15 resumes in January(best time of the year to find a new job in ES!) and, at least one more per week for the rest of the year until I find a job that pays better! Have sent at least 7 this month, so that's good...haven't received any answers, though! But, some of them were sent yesterday!!
3. FINALLY decide on a school for Alejandra, AND save money for her enrollment fee, uniforms and school supplies Same as last month: the looking/deciding part is on hold until May- when schools start accepting applications...Have already set up a direct deposit from my salary into my Coop account ($90/month)...

4. continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K (out of which ~$4K were for a loan and the rest -~$13K!-pure cc debt) and, am starting Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... expect to be able to end Dec '06 with ~$7K, which I expect to be purely for the loan... to come partly from the English classes/$20 challenge. Current debt still at ~$11K due car broke down and need the additional money to try to purchase a new the meantime, pay only slightly above minimum payments! Frown

5. Help Ale find a way to earn those $3 she's missing to open her account with HER OWN money...have not found the training wheels for the bike yet...

Sent my resume to the school

February 28th, 2006 at 03:15 pm

along with a very nice (imo) cover letter....All I can do now is sit and hope...and see what happens!

sent out 2 more resumes today!

February 27th, 2006 at 09:52 pm

One for a teaching position, and one for a call, the website for the call center was announcing $12/hour, but, I'm not sure if that is what they are charging to the companies that use the call center or if that is what they're paying the agents...I guess I'll have to wait until I hear from them!!...I was thinking, if they pay $6/hour, a full time would pay ~$960/month (slightly more than what I'm currently making)..but, if it were $12/hour, a full time would pay me 2x what I'm making!!....I don't want to get too hopeful, though!

Just came back from Xerox, across the street. Needed to sign some invoices. I asked the cashier - with whom we have a good working relationship - whether they get requests for translations...she said it's not frequent, but sometimes people do ask. She promised to call me if she gets any requests for that's another "line" I'm throwing...

what?? No deadbeats??

February 27th, 2006 at 07:01 pm

wow! what a novel concept: people don't pay because they CAN'T....
In my experience (both with my own debt and with other people's) most of the time you can't afford to pay...and, cc companies and collections agencies tend to think you just don't WANT to...I had one collector once told me - when I said I didn't have money - but, you ARE buying food, are you?...Yes, are you suggesting I should starve my baby to pay you back? I seriously hope that's NOT what you are suggesting!...I've also had similar experiences with other companies/collectors....Actually, the collectors that have been more successful with me in the past haven't been the menacing ones, but the sympathetic ones....not the ones that have said: 'but your minimum payment is $300, and you are offering to pay only $100!'....but the ones that have said: "ok, so you can't cover the minimum payment right now, but are willing to give us $ you have an idea of when you'd be able to make another partial payment?"....
Luckily, I'm at a point right now where I don't get calls anymore and where I can at least be sure I'll have enough for minimum payments...unfortunately, the balance is so precarious right now, that any major disruption (serious illness, decrease in current income level -or, say need to buy a car!) could easily alter that!
(If I were a deadbeat, I'd be drivin around in a brand new car bought with the proceeds of the apartment sale!!...but, NO, I didn't even see that money, I just transferred it straight to the cc's!)

Ouch! - in more than one sense!

February 27th, 2006 at 06:21 pm

Went to the Sheraton this weekend (finally!)...had a good time, although we did spend a lot of money....Ale was hungry and I bought a sandwich...which she then didn't eat....dinner was not included....then, because we were waiting for a friend to come pick us up and she was already hungry, I also bought lunch...our friend couldn't make it in the end and had to take a taxi! spend on this weekend was $43...
And the other OUCH! is my poor skin! Ale wanted to be in the pool all morning and, she had wasted most of our sunblock lotion on her dolls at home, so, when I tried to squeeze the tube, there was only enough lotion for one....guess which one of us got solar protection??...obvious, no?, I am as red as a lobster....AND, my niece lost our aloe gel, so I will have to buy a new one (I REALLY REALLY need it!)...

Upcoming expenses - revisited! 060225

February 24th, 2006 at 07:37 pm

1. New bed for Ale...pending, not urgent

2. New bike for Ale...pending, most definetely not urgent!

3. new(er) car really, really urgent! ugh! looking into loans and such

4. Ale's birthday party!! - She wants to have it at the Children's Museum...will have to call and ask how much it costs to see if it's feasible! ...if not, gotta give her the news as soon as possible!- before she tells her classmates! LOL!

5. Renewal of my car registration card....hmmm...include this with the new car $$$, as I'll probably get a registration valid until my next birthday (2007) instead of paying just for 3 or 4 months!

My friend said no...

February 24th, 2006 at 06:36 pm

said it's because she's alreday co-signed for someone else...have a feeling it might be because she's afraid I won't be able to pay...she knows that, as long as I CAN, I WILL, but, she KNOWS how precarious my financial situation is...

((sigh)) she suggested I call my ex-husband (been there, done that - he would never do it, if only because his SISTER left him with a $10,000+ debt about 7 years ago...he swore he'd never co-sign anything ever again! - can't blame him!)

So, now I'm left with 2 options, my sis (if the bank accepts her, she co-signed for my cousin and my cousin was late on payments and that affected my sister's credit!) or my best friend...who hasn't been at her current job long enough...

worth looking into??

February 24th, 2006 at 05:12 pm

Yesterday, in the teacher's lounge, somebody mentioned that there is a school that is hiring full-time $800/, that is more or less what I make here, but, if they were willing to throw in Ale's tuition, it might be worth it...the only thing I'm not so sure of is that this is a Catholic school....I'm wary of religious schools in my own experience (the "B" class at the German School was made up of children -like me- who had come from other schools, and, honestly, kids from religious schools tended to be very close-minded and, also, they seemed to me, to be followers rather than leaders....) Being the daughter of a single mother might also pose a problem for Ale at such a, all this is on my mind...I'm thinking I might go there and try to find out...what's the worst that can happen, right??

sold the old car

February 24th, 2006 at 03:14 am

practically as junk...but, the engine was damaged...I got $300 for it, which is prettty much what I expected to get...I have been looking at new(er) far, just checking the classifieds...the price my friend's husband is offering me sounds reasonable, even a (tiny) bit below I may just go with the car he's offered...I still don't the meantime, I'm spending money on taxis to go from the office to the school...not good, as I spend in 1 week almost what I used to spend for gas for 2 full weeks... Frown
oh, well, at least I get rides from home to the office in the morning and from the school to home at night!

sending out resumes

February 23rd, 2006 at 09:33 pm

I sent out 2 resumes today (one just an "update" to a placement agency, another one in answer to an ad for an HR assistant)...I also saw one requesting English teachers...need to work on a cover letter for that one, but will be preparing it tomorrow (it has to be sent via snail mail to the newspaper!)...

I overheard a conversation the other day that REALLY bothered me...two people from my area were discussing the monthly bonus all employees get, and one of them said: but, people don't look at it as a bonus anymore, they consider it part of their salaries...
Now, people in my area do NOT talk idly, if this was mentioned, it's probably because the bonus is "in danger"...most probably, they want to change the way it is calculated, so that we only get it (or only get it IN FULL) if the whole company reaches its goals for a given month...hey, I think it's a neat idea...but, if this is done, it will probably go down for at least 6 months...and I cannot afford to lose any income! I have extra motivation to keep looking!!

I also sent a reminder to all my contacts ref: translations!

reservations at the Sheraton - woo-hoo!!

February 23rd, 2006 at 05:14 pm

the Sheraton hotel sent our company letters for 1 free weekend for each of the admin assistants...they expire on Feb, I just made my reservation for this weekend!...I'm taking Alejandra with me!....we'll check in on Saturday afternoon, go to the English lessons/Scouts and then grab something to eat (probably pupusas, which are cheap!) before going to the hotel...Ale can enjoy the cable TV and the air condition before going to bed...after she has gone to bed, I can enjoy a warm bubble bath (I don't have a bathtub at home!) and, the courtesy includes buffet breakfast for 2...we'll probably wake up early and, Ale can play in the garden for a while (2 hours) and then we can hit the pool until noon! --aaaahhh!

I haven't done my homework!

February 23rd, 2006 at 02:57 pm

Ugh! I hate to admit this, but, I haven't filed my taxes and I haven't called the call-center from the ad...

I need to call Padre Vito's home to see if they can fax me a copy of the letter detailing my donations (tax deductible)....and, I need to find a phone to make the call (yes, there is one on my desk, but, the acoustics here are soooooo good, I can hear everyone's conversations...and, if I can hear theirs, they most probably can hear mine!...

My goal for TODAY is going to be to make those two phone calls AND post an update!

called the home and they'll fax me a copy! yay! - so my homework for tonight will be to fill out the form so that I can file the taxes tomorrow!! (11:00AM)
I called the call center...they do have part time positions available, a part time is 7 hours a week, you choose your hours...they open from 6am to 10pm every day (Mon -Sun)...they wanted to schedule me for an interview on Tuesday, but I said no, because of the location of their offices (not the best area of town)...I gave the info to the other admin in my area and she already scheduled her interview, so I'll get the info regarding $/hour from her next week!

Ahhhh, the peace that comes when you stop procastinating (sp?)

LOL! I could work at the Help Desk!

February 22nd, 2006 at 07:11 pm

hmmmm....I just helped a very good friend of mine to send me a Word document...first time she ever did that! ...
I have been thinking about call centers a lot lately (mostly, about the Dell call center down the street!)...while it wouldn't be wise to switch jobs to go there (they pay less than what I make here!), it would perhaps be a good idea to see if they have some hours available (I recently saw an ad for another call center that advertised "flexible, customized" hours)...If they pay more than the English lessons, it would be worth changing and going to work for them instead of for the school...I have saved the number, so I'll give them a call today after lunch and see ....what's the worst that can happen? they will not have convenient hours or they will pay less, in which case, I'm ok the way it is OR, they'll have the hours and pay more!!!...

I have to try to schedule a follow-up meeting with my boss regarding the raise/re-classification of my job position....I know HR is going nuts right now with the re-organization and the new systems they've put in place, but, honestly, I cannot wait for them to finish to bring this, I want my boss to know that this is still on my mind!

Recipe for home-made electrolytes fluid

February 21st, 2006 at 10:58 pm

1 liter boiled water (has to be cool)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

mix well. lasts for 24 hours, after that, throw away the remainder (sp?)

If the person is throwing up, has to be fed by spoonfuls, approx 1 spoonful every minute (even for babies - do NOT feed in baby bottle if baby has vomited)

You can also make some chamomile tea and ad 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt, for a nicer flavor...

OR, ad lemon juice...also for nicer flavor... (for older kids, for example)

blessing in disguise??

February 21st, 2006 at 03:27 pm

I checked with the (other) bank the company works with and, the exec said I can get a loan...I need a co-debtor (either my sis or one of my best friends, the only people I've co-signed for)...If I take out a loan for $5,000 I'd be paying $121/month (don't ask for how long, it's not pretty!)...Now, a friend says he can get me a very good used car for $3,000- $3,700 ...I could use the rest of the money (and the $1,000 I had originally set aside for cc debt, which right now is on hold pending what happened with the car) towards cc debt...that way, the $121/month would cover both the car AND cc would be a good deal, as the personal loan interest is less than half that on the cc' I'm thinking about it...since my friend is bringing the car from the US, I'd have to wait a couple of weeks (he's bringing it anyway, not specifically for me, so there's no committment on my part and I have 2 weeks to shop around and look at other options)...I think I'll call the bank lady and ask her to start the paperwork for the $5,000....I'll see if my sister can be my co-debtor. If she gets rejected, then I'd have to wait until one of my friends comes from a business trip (in March)...Or I can ask my best friend-sister-partner-in-crime, who I know would be willing to do it...problem is, she's been with her present employer less than a year...

...It's a plan!

workload analysis

February 20th, 2006 at 10:37 pm

the VP asked the other admin and myself to give him a detailed list of all that we do, plus approximate time we dedicate to those tasks each week...thought it would be interesting to post it here:

item avg hours/week
Training logistics -major trainings/ preparation 15
Training logistics -minor trainings/ preparation 6
Training Logistics - assisting other depts 1
Training logistics -major trainings/ feedback data input 10
Training logistics -minor trainings/ feedback data input 9
Training logistics -major & minor trainings/ sorting left-over materials 5
Training Logistics - assisting other depts 1
Training Logistics - process payments for suppliers 2.5
Procurement-Purchasing requisitions 2
Procurement-receipt of purchases 2
Travel- COBUS- pretrip - Directors 2.5
Travel- COBUS- post-trip- Directors 6
Travel-COBUS- bookings/transp- managers 1
Travel-COBUS- bookings/Hotels- managers 1
Travel- COBUS- pretrip - managers 2
Travel- COBUS- post-trip- managers 4
Travel-COBUS- bookings/transp- analysts 1
Travel-COBUS- bookings/Hotels- analysts 1
Travel- COBUS- pretrip - analysts 1
Travel- COBUS- post-trip - analysts 1
Travel-PERSONAL- reimbursement requests- Directors 1
Travel-PERSONAL- bookings/transp-Managers 1
Travel-PERSONAL- bookings/Hotel-Managers 1
Travel-PERSONAL- reimbursement requests- Managers 2
Houses- PAYMENTS- utilities 3
Houses- PAYMENTS- domestic employees 4
Houses- ADMIN- general 3
Filing 1
Personal errands- VH 2
Personal errands- Directors 2
Personal errands- Managers 2
Cars- maintenance- general 2
General- problem solving 2
Translations- SDG 2
Translations- other depts 1

Of course, I don't do ALL things every week...but, this gives you an idea of what my days look like...and I still find the time to log on! LOL!

I don't know what he wants this for...hopefully it's to see if he can get HR to give us raises (yeah, right!- most probably to see if they can add a few things!)

sent out 3 resumes today

February 20th, 2006 at 05:42 pm

I went to another job-search site and found a couple of interesting postings...
interesting as in I can apply and the $$ is more than I currently make!...the most promising one is for an Admin Assistant for the President of a multi-national company, paying $1,300-$2,000 based on the experience/ qualifications...keep your fingers crossed!
I soooo need a job that pays more....and I soooo DESERVE a job that pays more!!!

a car is freedom!

February 19th, 2006 at 06:27 pm

at least in this city!!...I have been getting rides to and from work since Thursday, but, had to skip swimming lessons on Saturday, as noone could take us... Frown

I soooo need a car!...a friend's husband-who is in the business of getting you anything and everything you want/need (as long as it's legal and makes him a profit) says he can get me a cheap, good used car (the three B's, as we say here: bueno, bonito y barato)...we'll see...because, obviously, I still have to find a way to finance this without damaging my financial situation too much!...aaaargghhhhh! ...all I needed was 1 more year out of this car!!!...a mechanic is interested in buying it..of course, fixing it is cheaper for him: he gets special prices on the spare parts and he'll be fixing it, since he wants it for his daughters, it's not like he has an urgent need for it, so he can afford to keep it in his workshop and work on it whenever he has time!...he can take 6 months to fix it if he wants to, for example!!...((sigh))...
will let you know how things go on this one!!

translation paid

February 18th, 2006 at 02:41 am

Ok. I received a bank transfer for 1 of my translations (2 pages + recording), for $100.00
This goes towards my $20 challenge! yipeee!!

Challenge statistics:
invested: ~$6.00 initial
~$2.55 (addtnl) gas/Jan
~$4.00(addtnl) gas/up to feb 17
earned: $120.70

net for January: $12.15
net for February*: $96.00
Total ytd for 2006:$108.15

++ think might need to use the money for car instead of for cc debt payment! Frown Still, if I have to, this is money that I won't be borrowing, so I'm counting it as progress!

my car just died- I think...

February 16th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

Actually, it died last night, about 1 block away from home...managed to get it started again today and it is sitting in the garage...waiting for the mechanic to come, since I WAS going to take it to the workshop, but then it just refused to start again...I was putting water in the radiator every day...but yesterday there was a huge traffic jam and it overheated and then just boom, it now I'm sitting here feeling sooo disappointed...and thinking that if the mechanic says it's expensive, it might be a better idea to just sell it for scrap and use that money, plus the translation money plus the translation and locution (is that a word) as a downpayment for a used car... It would mean going back to minimum payments on the cc's and that would mean that my ultimate goal of being debt free might be delayed for a looooong time, it worth it?? I mean...I really cann't afford to NOT have a car...for instance, the timing from the time I leave my office until I get to the school is timed to get there by way I'd get there on time if I have to work 4 blocks to the bus stop, wait for the bus and then walk 2 more blocks from the bus stop to the school....Even worse if I decide to not walk and have to switch buses...(buses here are not on a schedule)...then, on Saturdays, I leave the church at 10:00am, the precise time when Ale's swim lessons should be car, it's only 15 bus, we would have to walk 3 blocks to the bus stop and wait...and, probably would have to change buses...we'll never make it on time...and then, she finishes at 12:00 and I'm supposed to be at the school at car it's doable, but, by bus...never

Not to mention that buses here are dangerous - think I have written about this before...

Paying for a taxi is out of the question, as it would be about $3 for the office-school ride (so $127week), $3 for the home-church and at least $6 for the church-swimm lessons and about $10 for the swimming- school and another $6 for the school-home! ...I'd be spending an awful amount of money on taxis!!

((sigh)) have already called work to say I'll be looking into fixing my car...will probably use the whole morning and go see car options as well...

researching car loans

February 15th, 2006 at 10:03 pm

wow!...I've never had a new car...all my cars have been used...that might be about to I research into loans for vehicles (mine seems about to die, but, don't worry, I won't do the switch before the old one is RIP)...anyway, what I have found so far is this: you're better off taking your loan directly from the dealership, because: 1. most banks will only loan you for the purchase of a new car, and they'll only finance up to 90% of the value of the car...2. if buying a new car, the banks will give you interest rates starting at 7.77% (if you have at least 20% of the total value of the car to give as a downpayment)...and they'll give you up to 60 months to repay...for used cars? They finance only up to 80% of the value, interest rates start at 13.5% and you get 48 months to pay...oh! and the car cannot be older than 3 years...This means that the actual difference between the monthly payment for a new car and a used car will be about $40...

Not that any of this matters at the time, because I don't have the money anyway, but, I thought it's good to start researching ....

income tax retention letter

February 15th, 2006 at 06:24 pm

Finally got it!!!... so, tonight I'm going to dig out last year's tax file so that I can re-create it for this year and file my taxes!!...I'm doing it in February, as the Government has announced that all people filing in February will get their refunds before Holy Week (April)...I want my money!!!!- of course, I'll only get to hold it for a few minutes before handing it over to the cc company, but....I'm buying my freedom!!

I got $252.00

February 15th, 2006 at 04:15 am

I paid half the rent (will pay the next half on the 30th) that I have enough for grocery's and 2 weeks nanny's pay and gas...will receive my translation $$$ tomorrow...I think the school only pays once a month...

Is it payday yet??

February 14th, 2006 at 05:53 pm

Nope...maybe MAYBE today at 5:00pm ("Official" paydays are 15th and 30th of every month...sometimes the company programs payments for the day before...) this payday will be a challenge because it's the first time they'll discount Ale's school money....will post on it as soon as I get it....

Upcoming expenses

February 13th, 2006 at 08:01 pm

As I think ahead of what the next year will bring, there are a few expenses that I need to consider - other than Ale's school, of course!

1. New bed for Ale...she's still in her toddler bed (her crib "converted" into a toddler bed, that one was a GREAT buy!!)...she's already 1.17 I will probably need to upgrade her to a "real" twin bed either by the end of the year or, at the most, the middle of next year...she's already started asking about a new bed...will start looking into it...I might go to Nahuizalco - a town that's about 1.5 hrs from here, where they make beautiful wicker and rattan sister got my niece's bed there, custom made, with 3 drawers underneath for clothes and everything...cost her about $90 (including transport!!)...I will also look around downtown...last option will be the used-furniture stores...why last option??...sadly enough, in El Salvador, hand-made means cheap (in price!) I know I can get something gorgeous - custom made -for the same price or even a fraction of the price that I would pay for something used...and I won't even go near the dept or furniture stores!!...

2. New bike for Ale...this is a "want" really, but, she IS getting to big for the old one! ...maybe Santa can bring it...we'll's a the bottom of my list at the moment anyway...

3. I hope it doesn't happen this year, but, I think my car really can't last much longer (10 year old car)...and, at this stage, just using the repair money to buy a new one (or for the downpayment on a new(er) one) might be a smarter option... praying to God that it will last enough for me to get some $$$ set aside for it, or, to let me win one at the supermarket raffle! (you get entered automatically for each $10 you spend!) ....What I don't like is, it would mean going back to making minimum payments on the CC's...which means I'd take FOREVER to finish paying!...((sigh)) least, I HAVE an option...(a year ago, I wouldn't have!)

4. Ale's birthday party!! - will have to start shopping soon so the expense is not all on one month....

5. Renewal of my car registration card....up in July....thank Goodness my license is still good for another 2 years!!

Really, I need to start working on the school for DD, because a lot of my financial decisions will revolve around that...

no nanny today!!

February 13th, 2006 at 06:48 pm

Nanny is sick, her daughter called yesterday asking if it was ok for her to come on Tuesday....I said yes, eventhough I doubt it she'll show up tomorrow...not if she's been sick all weekend and is going to the Dr's today...
My ex called yesterday to ask whether I knew anything about her (she goes to his house on weekends to do laundry and clean up)...she NEVER fails, so we thought there might be something wrong..
so, anyway, this week might also be expensive, as I will have to use the daycare service at school ...and, since I'm starting a new course this week (I'm teaching), then DD will have to go to my cousin's until my sister can pick her up (daycare closes at 5, sis will probably be free at around 6:30pm)....
We'll see what happens tomorrow...

another expensive week!

February 12th, 2006 at 04:37 am

sometimes, you have no choice but to spend money...Ale got sick...really sick...started vomiting at 12:00 midnight on Monday and didn't stop until 5:00am...had to take her to the Doctor...her regular Dr wasn't in the country, so I took her to the community clinic, but, still, between paying for the visit, the exams and the wasn't as bad as if we had gone to her regular Dr., though, perhaps $30 in more gas and cell phone calls than usual...Friday I went to lunch with a friend - $6 and today was expensive...we ate at BK- $6 and she went to the movies with the scouts, so $4...oh, and I had to go back to the store to get dog food (I didn't have enough cash when I went to the store, and everything was so expensive...) ...I had also promised Ale to buy stuff to make cookies this weekend, so that was an additional $15... unbudgeted expenses for this week: $81!!! (I'm adding the extra $20 that I had to use on Monday just to get the regular stuff!!)... well, now I have to wait until payday...still 4 days away!!!

More translations!!

February 9th, 2006 at 04:45 pm

I got a call from a friend of my sister's...he wanted some scripts translated into English and German (won't do the German, though, I really haven't got the skill to do it, and I feel it would be dishonest to even try!)...I will, however, do the Spanish to English one...and I also get to read both the English and German texts so he can incorporate it into the documentaries he's putting together...He says he has $150 for the whole package, so, what I get depends on how much he has to pay for the translation into German...

Once I get paid, this goes to my challenge money/CC debt

An egg is now $0.10???

February 7th, 2006 at 05:30 am

I just came from the store and, am having a heart attack! - I spent $62 instead of my budgeted $40...but, the only "extraordinary" things were a bottle of shampoo ($2.77) and a box of hair dye ($3.96 on sale!)....I did't even buy chicken (they were out of chicken) or dog food...((sigh)) will have to convince the sis to go on a rice-and-bean diet for at least one week out of the month!

Oh, and, half a carton of eggs (a carton here is 30 eggs!) is "on sale" at $1.50!!!

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