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Free of bank debt

January 4th, 2020 at 04:58 am

Finally!!! I paid off the bank (this was old credit card and interest debt) Now, I am NOT debt free... part of the money to pay the bank came from loans from the employee cooperative. BUT, the interest rate is half of that of the bank, and, since this is deducted before my salary is deposited into my account, I cannot default on it!
Soooo... this year will be a year of buying a lot of stuff. In the past 5 years, whatever broke was not repaired or replaced. Now there are a lot of things to be repaired or replaced. Starting with the car! (which is now a necessity, since Ale switched universities and the other one is NOT within walking-distance of our home, and, no matter what the government figures say, crime is still thriving -- and I don´t want to revisit our last experience on a bus, where the driver caused Ale to be thrown off the bus when she was getting out... AND, to go to this new university, Ale would need to take 2 buses, and the point for changing buses is the largest shopping mall in the country --and one where there have been lots of muggings and even kidnappings)
What would be our first "free" payment, then, will go towards fixing our car (hopefully, it CAN be fixed...don´t know what we will do if it can´t... we don´t have enough money for a **new** car, and, right now, I wouldn´t be eligible for a loan, not for a year at least)
so, this is where we are.
We made a list of all needs/wants. And then we put all the info on paydays and fixed expenses on a year planner. Once we had that, we prioritized needs/wants, and started slotting them into the paydays where I would have paid the bank. Ale thinks its stressful, but I tell her it should give her peace of mind to know that we know what we can do and what we cannot do (not all wants made it into the calendar)
All income from translations will go into a separate bank account, for a new (to us) car either in June or November (I get 30% of my year bonus in June, and the remaining 70% in November)
The plan is to save $100/month, sell the old car and use the bonus to try to purchase a new car. If possible, we would do this in June, if not, we will do it in November. I know that waiting until November would mean getting a better car, but, even if it can be fixed, I don´t know if the old car would make it to June.
Wish us luck!

wants vs needs

July 27th, 2018 at 03:47 pm

We made a list a couple of weeks ago of all wants vs needs. I must say I am proud that our Wants list is short, and items are not high-value (most expensive item is about $200)... sadly, our Needs list is kind of long, and items, while not luxury ones, are not cheap, either.

Needs (in order of our priority)
1. new glasses for me --I just realized mine are over 4 years old. The anti-glare coating is gone, and they are a bit scratched. I cannot reuse the frames, which are already very worn, too, because they are permanent use (I can´t walk around without glasses, the world looks fuzzy!).. unfortunately, given my sight problems, even if I go to out local non-profit foundation to get them, they´d be at around $200 --I do not qualify for aid, just the lower-than-market prices.

2. clothes washer: $350-$500, if new. Ours died about 9 months ago. We are washing by hand, which is not so bad for shirts and regular pants, but, is a pain (quite literally!) for jeans, towels and bed linens! My supervisor is about to move from a temporary house to an apartment, and, will not take her washer with her (not enough space for washer and dryer at the new place, she needs one of those two-in-one towers) and said she would sell it to me for cheap, we haven´t discussed prices.

3. New beds - $400 to $1,000 ($200-$500 each). ours are 19 years old and 10 years old, respectively (they usually go on sale in October and February, so we went to see prices yesterday, just to be aware of how much is needed. We might be able to negotiate a better price if buying 2, and paying cash.

4. New living room furniture. $300 -$500 When my sister left the house, she took the living room furniture. This is not urgent, but, would be nice to be able to have company over more often!(as is, we entertain in the dining room only, or at our bedrooms -- Ale´s closest friends, for example) With living room furniture we could have her church group over, for example.

Medical expenses

March 30th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Well...we took care of the eye doctor last Saturday (I spent $22.60 to have the Dr. tell me Ale has 20/20 eyesight...and that, as far as he can tell, she has not "inherited" my tendency to myopia or astigmatism... Yay! those must be her father's genes!- he still has 20/20 eyesight at 35!)
She so desperately wanted glasses (and I sooooo desperately DIDN'T want her to need them! LOL!)....
And I already made an appointment for us both at the dentist's for Friday. This is just a "diagnostic" visit, so the Dr. can see what she needs to do... I'm hoping in Ale's case it'll be just a clean up and then maybe schedule a visit to the dentist's husband, who is an orthodoncist...yep, even I can tell she needs it!)... in my case... I KNOW there will be LOTS of work! Frown I've always had terrible teeth...

I also have to start allocating some money to pending vaccines for Ale...

O U C H ! (in more ways than one!)

Emerging to breathe...

January 2nd, 2009 at 10:40 pm

264 slides/ 11681 words translated....
311 slides/ 19256 words to go!!!

I think I can, I think I can...

They'd rather wait for me!

December 31st, 2008 at 06:23 pm

Spoke to the guy with the 29 presentations and told him I could only commit to doing 17 by Jan 5... he said he doesn't need them until the 12th, and that, if I am available, he'd much rather wait and have me translate them all!

WOOO-HOOO-HOOO-HOOO!!!

(had to share! back to work!)

Cha-Ching! first cheque of October!

October 2nd, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Woo-hoo! I got paid for translations today, and tomorrow I get paid at the office...Now, I won't have the translation money until Wednesday, because I already picked up my check, but, unfortunately, arrived back at the office too late to deposit it today. I don't want to go to the (outside) bank and then deposit the cash into my account. Plus, all my payments are due starting on the 10th, so that'll give the check plenty of time to clear (3 working days, since it's from a bank different than mine)...Once the cheque goes through, I'll make the payments online...woo-hoo!

woo-hoo! money!!!

August 28th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

I received my cheque for reimbursement of medical expenses...it's for $133.64...that solves my bank loan payment problem....the medical expenses went in my cc and I don't have to pay THAT until the 14th...by which time I will have not only my next salary payment, but for sure the translation money, as well!
woo-hoo!
I love it when things work out! Smile

Can't wait for the next payday

August 26th, 2008 at 06:00 pm

While my finances are in much better condition, I still haven't gotten to the point where I can afford to live solely off my salary OR the translations...I need BOTH...(at least I'm not trying to decide WHICH debt gets paid and which one doesn't anymore!)...so, yeah, I need to pay the new loan ($209) and Ale's school ($155) and the rent ($175) and there's only $180 in my account right now...I NEED that translation $$$$...hopefully, it'll come before the end of the week (that would be SOOOO great!)...if not, I'll just have to move some money from my "taxes" saving account to the checking account to pay for the loan and the rent, and pay Ale's school (due on the 10th) with my next salary payment (9/5)...Everything else is covered...

Goals = Steps to Freedom

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Thanks for all that responded to my last post...it really was illuminating!

As a result of your answers, I sat down and thought about what I NEED/WANT to do, financially, to really be able to leave this job and start my own translation business; here's the list of what comes to mind, complete with the time frame I've allocated to achieve the goals: (I still need to work on them to see whether they are feasible, though!I also need to figure out the most logical way to set them up - which one to do first, etc., so the exercise is not really over yet!)

Step 1. be debt free! - I have about $8.5K in debt...about $6k is for a personal loan, and the rest is cc debt...Step 1 is to pay that off, so that I have the tremendous amount of money I'm currently using to pay off debt available to build up my financial situation...

timeframe: I want to be debt free before my 40th birthday (next year)...that gives me 12 months! ...I'd need about $800/ month to be able to do this...hmmmm..

what I'm doing about it: my debt level is finally low enough that I can get a loan through the bank that does our payroll without needing a co-debtor...I submitted the paperwork yesterday...I just hope my sketchy financial history in the past 5 years doesn't affect me...

Why did I do this?....well, the new loan would be at 10% annual interest; the current one is 11.5% and the cc is 28.99%! (YES, that's not a typo!)...this would significantly reduce the amount of interest I'd be paying, and would make it easier to actually pay off in 1 year...

Step 2- Taxes! ...more income will mean more taxes...based on estimations, I'd need about $5,000 to pay my taxes next year.

Timeframe, again, would be 1 year (a bit less, actually, since taxes are due April 30!)...I'd need about $555/month to achieve this...

How I'm going to do this: I've already spoken to the bank exec and I'm setting up a savings account next payperiod (July 11) so that I can start saving 1. part of my salary and 2. the corresponding amount whenever I get paid for translations

Step 3- Emergency Fund I currently have about $150 in my EF (that's almost nothing, I know!)...I need to have $5,000...but, for that, I'm giving myself 2 years (24 months)...that would take about $210/mont...

Are you still with me? If I add all this up, I'd need $1,565 AFTER TAX to fund all this...doable? difficult, yes, but not impossible...especially if I put money aggressively into debt repayment, then work on the tax thing and then "catch up" on the EF thing...

Step 4- "tie over" fund ($2,000)...this is not really urgent and could be left for my "last year" here...this would be my "revolving credit" with myself to cover normal expenses in case translation payments are late.

Step 5- house fund - I need at least $10K in here... that should be enough for a downpayment on a small house in a good (read: safe) neighborhood; a 3-bedroom would be nice, so I could leave 1 bedroom as a study...but, really, a 2 bedroom would be more than enough! (I can always set up in my room, in the dinining room or living room!)...this one, as you can see, is already started...it has $30 in it, and $30 will be automatically added on the 28th of each month...I don't plan to make any additional contributions to it until the debt is paid off/money for taxes is complete....If it turns out that not all $5K are needed for taxes, I'll transfer the remaining amount to this account. Once the debt is gone, I'll use part of that money to start increasing contributions to this fund...and once the EF is full, I'd add part of that, too (snowballing, in a way!)

Step 6- Ale's college fund- I still have 9 years, so I'm also counting this as "not urgent" (although, I know those years will pass quickly and I NEED to have at least some money in it...I will start the college fund in August of next year!- after I'm debt free!)

Step 7- health and life insurance- I already have a (very modest) personal life insurance policy, apart from the one given to me by my employer...if I go out on my own, I'll need to increase the amount and I'll need to add disability insurance...Medical insurance: I already know the one I want! It's like a pre-paid plan with one of the best hospitals in the country...If you are hospitalized for an emergency, for whatever reason, insurance covers 100% of it...if you go to emergency care, but are not admitted, you have to pay $11.45...for non-emergency care, insurance pays 80%, as long as you go to their doctors and providers...no problem with that!...they give you a thorough check up at the beginning to determine eligibility, so if they accept you, there are no "pre-existing" conditions!...I would also sign up as an "independent worker" with the social security institute (medical care)...I know I will need $$$ for this, but, again, it's not urgent and I'll look into it about 2 years before my "estimated date of departure - EDD"

Step 8- retirement Currently discounted from my salary are about $400/month...and the employer -by law- pays as much into the fund, too...so I need to think about putting at least $800/month after I leave...

...I've estimated what level of income I need to have to make all this possible...
I'd need to make $13K the first year (July 08 to July 09) to be used exclusively for The Plan...this is definetely feasible!(I know it doesn't add up, that $1,650 X12 i $18,780, not $13,000!...what I mean is $13,000 would come from the translation business)...then I'd need to increase that amount by about $2K every year for the next 3 years...the other advantage of waiting until Dec 2012 is that, if my position is terminated, I'm entitled to full severance payment: 1 monthly salary per year worked! (under Salvadoran law, if I leave, I don't have a right to severance payment...I believe the Embassy does give you something according to your bosses' request...up to 50%, I think- need to look for the latest update to the policy!)

I also need to keep really good track of what I'm doing and where the money is going...and make sure I keep focused on what I really want!

I finished the translation!

July 1st, 2008 at 02:40 pm

98 pages and about 28,000 words...all I remember is that I'll get $1,014 (or was it $1,016?) after taxes...this money will come in in August, so I already updated my excel spreadsheet...my current monthly average is $956...not bad....but my target is $1,000....still, it's the 1st of the month, so I can still "catch up"! Smile

Translations!!!

June 28th, 2008 at 02:08 am

Well, July will be a 'dry' month...I got paid for all my translations last week (and the $$$ is all gone already!- some spent, some paid)...and the next payments aren't due until AUGUST! ....((GASP!))...AND, I have to renew my drivers license and the car registration...so in July I won't be able to make payments above the minimum payments...I hate it!...((sigh))...at least, I have the $$ for both the minimum payments and the license and registration!...PATIENCE!!!...
oh, but August will be a great month!...I already have $300 worth of translations that are due in August...and I just got a new 96-page job!...of course, that means I should be translating, not blogging!!!...oops! gotta go!

Adjusting my debt-repayment dreams

June 13th, 2008 at 09:35 pm

Well, I had secretly hoped to be able to pay off ALL my debt by 12/31/08...and starting Jan 09 debtfree...but, with the tax calculations I made a few days ago, I know I need to "save" about $300/month to pay for that...that means I can NOT pay all proceeds from the translations toward debt...that means I have to delay my plans by 4-6 months...
my NEW dream will be to be debt free before my b-day next year (that means 7/15/09, as my b-day is 7/16)

oh, wow, MORE translations!

June 10th, 2008 at 05:48 pm

I got a 3-part document yesterday...managed to finish it and send it in (now that I know the piece I'm working on is due on the 12th)...that should be about $65...my monthly average is slowly climbing again towards the $1,000 mark- currently at $950....and I still have 2 weeks in June that would go towards the July total...Great!

$134 this weekend!

June 9th, 2008 at 05:02 am

Thats the total for translation for this weekend. And I still have 3 pieces more, due on the 12th, 16th and 18th...they should be about $100 each! yay! - this helps make up both for the "lost" week and for the $$$ that was overbudget from the trip! yipee-yay!

:: happy dance::

New ticker!

June 7th, 2008 at 01:22 am

I want $10,000 for downpayment on a house...someday...
I opened a new "future account" when I closed the Disney one...they will be taking $30 out of my salary each month...but I can add as much as I want to/can after that...the will take it directly out of my account (where my payment is deposited) starting next Friday... I'm hoping to see THIS ticker go down as I watch the other one (debt) go DOWN...
wish me luck!

Add $9 more!

May 28th, 2008 at 09:58 pm

a quick one-pager! woo-hoo!

Another $106!!!

May 28th, 2008 at 05:28 am

When I came home, there was a new package of translations waiting...a lease agreement amendment- joy! (not!)...
still, I've gotten quite used by now...but, I swear, thinking about the difference between a lessor and a lessee (or arrendante and arrendatario in Spanish) makes my head ache...it's one of those things I've never quite gotten...so I just repeat like a parrot: lessor is arrendante...lessee is arrendatario, and keep going!)

I had until Thursday night to turn it in, but I want to be FREE tomorrow and Thursday to pack and make sure I'm not forgetting anything! (yes, I have a list...but unless I have ENOUGH time to pack, I feell like I'll forget something!)

my monthly average "fell" to $867...but because I had to divide by 7 now, since all/any work gotten on the last week of a month will most probably NOT be paid the following month, but the one after that (so, this translation $$$ will probably be paid in early July, rather than late June!)

More translation jobs!

May 22nd, 2008 at 03:44 pm

a PACKAGE arrived yesterday. It's one of those training evaluation packagess, which pay $0.03/word, and which generally bring in anywhere between $6 and $20 for each session evaluation. This one had 5 session evaluations. I've already finished 2 and they were about 1,000 words (so, $30 pre-tax). I'm finishing tonight, and I'm hoping this one will bring in about $70 in total.
(see? I told you God would send work along!)

$34 more for a $1,015 average!!!!

May 21st, 2008 at 04:17 am

Just finished another translation. That brings my YTD average to $1,015!!! yay!
and if I get anything else this week, it still counts towards June...
Week after starts counting towards July, and then there'll be a "lost" week...

We'll see...I know God will send me enough work to make up for that week! Smile

$30 more and a promise of another translation job!

May 17th, 2008 at 08:01 pm

I made a translation yesterday for $30, and the people from the translation agency said they'll send another document tonight! - my monthly average is at $994 at the moment!!
Did you notice the ticker?? I'm past the $9.5K; $9.0K; and even the $8.5K mark!- woo-hoo!! ::chugging along::

add $42 more!

May 14th, 2008 at 10:33 pm

another 2 small translation jobs!

$46 more!

May 13th, 2008 at 04:33 am

from urgent translations....just finished the 2nd one! ...time to go to bed! Smile

setting up a new "future" account

May 7th, 2008 at 08:31 pm

I had one set up 5 years ago to help with the Disney Trip (should have had $1k by now, but I had to get $$$ out to pay for debt a while back!)...soooo, now that I'm closing this account (to get the $285 that I currently have there), I've already spoken to the Bank's exec to set up a new one! Yay, me!- she'll be dropping by later to pick up my docs (we have a mini-branch inside the compound, with a cashier, and the account exec comes 2x a week!)

I have no self discipline!

May 6th, 2008 at 08:14 pm

I've been trying to NOT buy soda for lunch for ages...I do well a couple of days and then go back (just so you can imagine how ingrained the soda habit is: my Mom bought our sodas directly from the soda truck...and they gave her the wholesaler price!)...

so, today I decided to face the fact that I lack self discipline: I put $0.30 in my pocket (I needed to buy a tortilla for my lunch, didn't know that they cost $0.05!) to make sure there wasn't enough money for the soda (they are $0.50 each!)...

It worked!!...so, all I have to do is NOT bring any money to the cafeteria!!! - wish me luck!

Deadbeat customer- part II

March 26th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Ok, so I kept calling until the receptionist knew my voice/number and refused to take my calls...no problem, I just dialed a different number and got someone else (it's one of those "rescue services" provided by a local cell phone company to its customers, so they HAVE to answer). I even had a bit of a spat with her, because she said: oh, yeah, I know, we will give her the message. And I asked: are you sure you got my last name right? Sure. Ok, could you spell it for me, just so I make sure you got it right? I can spell it, lady, don't worry. Really? go ahead, spell it for me! ...you catch the drift (only the people that KNOW me get my last name right...everyone assumes its either Lazo or Larios or Claros...)
Anyway, I called again today (gave her 3 days to respond to my last message)...since I was told she's not in, I asked for her boss...I was told HE's not in (not sure I believe it, it might just be the secretary trying to cover for the girl that contacted me)..ok, so I ask for his e-mail...would you believe the secretary "doesn't know what his e-mail is"?...yeah, me neither. So, I asked for a fax number (she couldn't withhold THAT from me, could she?) I wrote a very nice memo explaining that I had been contacted to do the job on 2/26, agreed that terms of payment where "immediate" and that I had delivered the work on 2/27...I also added that I normally deal with the person that contracts me directly but, that since I had fruitlessly tried to contact this girl (didn't use that expression, of course!) for the past month, I felt I had no other recourse but to contact him directly. I stated the amount I was owed and asked for a speedy payment. I included a copy of all the translated documents, a copy of the email I sent the girl and a copy of the fax transaction report...
Of course, I also added my phone # and email...

I hate this!...I should have asked to get the original documents (birth certificate and other legal docs) and not release them until I had the $$$ instead of making things easier for her by telling her she could scan them and send them to me via email/fax!

Finally!

March 24th, 2008 at 11:14 pm

I managed to get my letters to be able to file my taxes...oh, and while I was there, I ran into someone that, upon hearing what I was doing there, asked: did you also get the letter from the coop?...I hadn't even thought of that! and I made $46.66!- I imagine it was paid towards my loan (fine with me!), but, of course, this would have made my tax information inaccurate!...I'm glad I have all the letters/documents I need now!...
Now I just have to find the time to go to the Ministry and file! (er, no, you can't NOT go!...even if you file via internet you're required to print a copy of the declaration and bring it to the Ministry!- how silly is THAT?)
oh, well....joy of joys!....I'll go play with the numbers a while to see if I can figure our how much I have to pay!

Payday!

March 19th, 2008 at 04:59 pm

because of the holidays, payday was early (today, as opposed to Friday)...the bad news is...that gives me 3 more days to spend the $$$...

So, to avoid temptation, I already paid my share of the rent and the personal loan... I do have $25 allocated for "holiday spending" - we are going to the beach tomorrow and to the movies on the weekend!

New translation!

March 14th, 2008 at 06:48 pm

This one is going to Europe!...
it is 4 pages long, and it needs to be sent in by Saturday 5:00pm (that's ok, it's plenty of time...especially since the topic is related to my work, so I know/have access to the vocabulary!)
I might have to work until midnight tonight, as we have a fun family activity (just Ale and I, but, hey, we ARE a family unit!) for tomorrow morning...and I'd hate to cancel on Ale because of work!....
this one could easily bring in $110-$120

I'm happy. And grateful. Just yesterday I prayed for a ~$100 translation for either this week or next one (Holy Week is next week, so there probably won't be any work, thus I'd have a "lost" week for translation $$$)...so, after taxes, I would have about $100! How's THAT for a speedy answer??

The Disney trip- revisited

March 12th, 2008 at 03:58 pm

Well, on paper, I have the $$ to take the trip...
On hand, I have $700 for the (space available) tickets

On paper (meaning money owed to me), I have $3,600...enough to fulfill my goals for Q1 2008, which were:
1- pay off cc1 in full (done already)
2- cancel the dept store card
3- reduce cc2 balance by half

2 and 3 would be easily done with this $3,600 and leaving still plenty of $$$ to put some into savings AND take the trip (with more money than what I had originally budgeted- which is probably good, as it would even give me a cushion in case my calculations were wrong)...

There have been several special airfare promotions lately which would, in theory, allow me to travel "space positive" ....but they were of the "today only" or "last day to purchase 3/9" things...and I DON'T want to purchase one of this discounted tickets (I read the small print: they are non-refundable, and there's a $100 penalty for changing dates...plus, given the new rules for date changes- this was with the airline I worked for before, so I KNOW!- I would not only have to pay those $100, but, if the fare for the new dates were higher than the one for the original dates, I would have to pay the difference, as well)...I mean, what use would "space positive" tickets be if I didn't have the money for the OTHER part of the trip (things like: a place to stay, food, park tickets!)...the nice thing about the "space available" tickets is that the price doesn't change...no matter if I buy them today, tomorrow, or even the day I intend to travel...also, they ARE refundable...so if I don't use them (or if I don't use a portion - say, I cannot get a flight from Miami to Orlando and have to take a bus or rent a car- I can refund that portion)...so, even if I bought those plane tickets tomorrow, if I end up NOT taking the trip, I could get my $700 back!...
And, I really don't want to committ to this trip until I HAVE the cash and until goals #2 and #3 are taken care of...
Part of this money should have been paid in early Feb....and another in mid Feb...so I'm already late in collecting...(I have spoken to the customers, don't worry, I'm doing something about it)...the other part is due in late March/Early April...

So, the Disney trip is a mirage right now...Ale knows, it's IF we take the Disney trip we would do this, IF we take the trip we would do that...she's also warned there's a chance we might not get on the plane!!! Although our dates seem good so far!- and I'm trusting Ale's luck for that! LOL!

look at the ticker!!!

February 28th, 2008 at 05:33 am

total debt is at $10,114.46.... I'm this [] close to getting that total to $10K!!! woo-hoo!!!


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