Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Interview

I was so shocked that I got an interview  because I have no experience in the areas of law that the firm practices in.  I just figured I would apply for the sake of applying and take any lack of interest as either a mistake on my resume or my lack of experience in the area.  I just needed to test out my new updated resume. 

Well the new resume worked, my interview was yesterday afternoon and I think it went ok.  My interviewer was late and we did the interview in a big open conference room.  (Very nice office-by the way).  He did not have any materials with him because he was late-but I had prepared a packet for him to review and gave it to him upon his arrival.  He was nice, funny, friendly, but seemed a bit distracted. The interview was fairly short-not more than 25 minutes.  I think I did most of the talking and asking questions, honestly.  I really felt like I was interviewing him. 

I like the model of the firm- everyone gets a decent basic salary when they start.  Salaries don't really increase over time-but the firm gives large bonuses at the end of every year.  According to my interviewer often times the bonuses are bigger than the employees salary for a month.  The bonuses are based on merit, essentially, everyone is not entitled to the same bonus.  I like that structure because I'm a hard worker and (since I'm single with no kids) I have nothing else to do, but work.  He said if you are doing well he would make sure you are making more money every year.   He was hard to read and I was a bit off kilter since he was late and had time to get more nervous and worry.  So, all I can say is that it went okay.  There were no major foibles.  I will let you know the result as soon as I know- which probably won't be until January.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  In the meantime I will keep looking for a new job.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I got an interview!!

Thank you everyone for all of your positive thoughts.  My interview is this afternoon so I will try to fill you all in on how it goes when I get home this evening!  Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


My boss and I spoke briefly on Monday and I reiterated that I was still unhappy.  I told him since our last conversation nothing had changed.  He didn't do anything to implement my idea for a new division after stating that he would, he continued to be absent from the office, he continued to drop assignments on me on the due date, he continued to argue with me about projects (rather than working with me or having a productive conversation), etc.  He has a very bad habit of attacking people in a conversation, rather than simply asking questions.  This behavior is applied equally office-wide to every employee.  He acknowledged the behavior, but nothing more.  Indicative of his lack of change is an argument we had on Tuesday wherein he accused me of doing something wrong, he was very condescending in his comments.  I told him it was right and that it was a basic element of Florida law that he should know (I've only been practicing 9.5 years and all).  After the conversation I sent him a rule proving that I was right.  He did not apologize, but did admit that I was right.

Then, yesterday, he called (from home) and said that he wanted to use my picture and bio in some marketing materials.  I told him no.  He was upset that I didn't want to be included in the marketing materials.  He realized that I may be thinking about leaving the firm.  He, however, included me anyways and had his assistant forward it to the printer.  I don't care if he uses my information in the materials, I just don't want him to waste time including me in the materials since I don't know how much longer I will be working for the firm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Budget Breakdown December 16-31

Utilities $220
Groceries $100
Christmas $1,700
Spending $204
Savings $90
Gas $100

I'm trying to buy a few nice gifts for the family this year because I haven't been able to buy much this year due to all the dental work I had to pay for.  Looking at my debt, my small student loan is at around $3,700.  I know it's a bit early to discuss goals for 2015 but I am really going to focus on getting that loan paid off by the end of April 2015. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The deed is done

I just submitted my resume and cover letter for the recent job that posted.  I am excited, because even if I don't get an interview (and believe me the job market here is tight) I feel like I am doing something to achieve my goal. Also, I like submitting resumes because, if I don't get interviews, that serves as a flag to me that maybe I need to change something on my resume or that maybe there is a typo that I missed.

We are not getting Christmas bonuses this year (surprise, surprise) and that's a little disappointing, but it was never expected. After, I spoke with my boss a few months ago ( I think in October) he mentioned the possibility of a raise.  Nothing has materialized. The lack of a raise and now confirmation that we are not getting Christmas bonuses is telling.  My last raise was 2 years ago, the only raise that I have received at this firm (I have been here 3.5 years).  As I have stated previously my boss' secretary has received numerous raises in her 4 years of employment at the firm.  No one else has received such frequent raises- not even the paralegal that has been here over 20 years.  The lack of a raise is very frustrating to me: First, I out bill everyone else in the firm.  We do insurance defense work and the business model is: we do the work and bill the insurance company for the work we do based on an hourly rate.  Every attorney is required to  submit timesheets for the work that is completed.  I out bill everyone in both offices. Secondly, since my last raise I have been tasked with handling ALL of the appellate work out of both offices.  Thirdly, my boss' assistant has worked at the firm for about 6 months longer than me and has received approximately 6 (that's a pure guess, I have lost track) raises in the 4 years she has worked there.  She last received a raise in December 2013. She often complains how bored she is at work and has developed quite a attendance problem.

These are the reasons (among other reasons) why I am looking for new employment.  This is a cycle for me.  I always end up taking on extra projects at work without being compensated and then I end up frustrated.  I need to find a way to break the cycle. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A job posted!!

A rare December job opening posted in my area!  I decided on Sunday, that I would only look for jobs on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays-just to limit the amount of time that I spent looking for jobs. However, just out of the blue this morning I got up to exercise and I picked up my phone to set the stopwatch and I had an email from one of those job sites- you know, the ones where you can set your preferences and it sends emails of jobs that meet your preferences.  Again, this is not a job that I am super qualified for, but I am going to apply anyways. One- I hope they take a chance on me and give me an interview, Two-I need to send out my revised resume and see how it is received by potential employers, Three- I just feel the need to try! Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Student loan numbers for 2014

Okay, I couldn't wait!  Here are the figures for my student loan debt for 2014.

Amount paid to student loan: $5,524.74
Amount Paid to principal: $4,753.79
Amount Paid to Interest: $770.95

Note: I will likely make one more payment on these loans on December 31, 2014. That amount should be included in these totals, but I'm a nerd and I wanted to see the final figures.

Frankly, these numbers are disappointing. However, when compared to the figures that would have resulted had I only made the minimums the numbers are great.  See below for the totals if I had only paid the minimums.

Amount that would have been paid toward student loans: $2,428.44
Amount that would have been paid toward principal: $1,500.00
Amount that would have been paid toward interest: $928.44

Note: these figures are loose approximations.  I did not actually go through and do the necessary calculations to figure out the exact numbers. 

Student loan update

This month I only was able to put $250 on my student loans.  That sucks, as I really wanted to pay down my student loans down significantly this year so that next year I could pay them off easily.  Well, that did not happen. However, I did get my big student loan down under $20,000!! Just barely, but that's okay.  I'll take what I can get.  I will have one more payment to make on December 31, 2014 so I will do my final totals then with regard to how much I paid off on my students loans this year. 

I have updated my resume to reflect some articles that I wrote for an internet publication.  I also am trying to figure to how to include my new "so-called" position as the managing attorney of the division of the law firm that I suggested opening.   My boss says it's not new- we have always done the work-we will just promote it more.  Again, thus far, nothing has happened.  So, I am getting my resume together so I can start looking for new jobs in the new year.  I keep thinking that even if I am miserable, I can get paid more money to be miserable elsewhere. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


I know it's early, but I am starting to feel a bit of stress about the upcoming Christmas Holiday.  I did not do any preparation, as far as saving in advance,  although I did write Christmas gifts into my December budget (You will see it in my December 16-31 budget).  I plan to do most of my Christmas shopping online so I need to start ordering things now in order to avoid delays and other timing mishaps.  I would prefer to wait until my December 15th pay day to start ordering things, but I think I'm going to have to start now.  That bothers me only because the law firm I work for (as I have discussed numerous times) does not have its sh*t together, so I never know what kind of craziness to expect come pay day. 

I have also started thinking about getting my taxes together for next year.  I'm so stressed out.  I have all of these medical expenses to track down and add up.  I have most of them in a folder, but I also need to find out the cost for all of the prescriptions I have paid for, etc.  I also need to add up all of the homeowner's deductions that I can take.  I want to get that all done in December to see if I need to make any charitable donations order to get the most benefit from my deductions. 

Anyways, I have to go get cleaned up and dressed so I can go stress at work!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 1-15 Budget Breakdown

$1,447 mortgage
$250 student loan
$60 pet plan
$80 groceries
$227 spending
$100 gas
$250 dental fund

This is going to be a tight month because of Christmas.  I will be setting aside a significant portion of my December 15 paycheck to cover Christmas expenses.  Last year I saved over $600 specifically for Christmas, but I was not able to do that this year due to all of the medical expenses I have incurred. 

I'm still feeling a little down, but I have adopted a new attitude which prohibits me from focusing on the bad things at work.  So far it has worked, in that I have been able to redirect my thoughts whenever I start thinking of things that make me upset.  I will write a post on it later and let you know how it goes. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stop complaining and do something about it.

I'm feeling a bit depressed.  I'm extremely unhappy at work and now, after a long weekend, I have to return to this job.  I also feel a bit nauseous this evening-maybe too much turkey?  A guy that I have known for years and years and had somewhat of an on and off relationship hasn't contacted for me almost 2months.  I thought for sure that I would get a "Happy Thanksgiving" text, but I got nothing.  I didn't send him one either.  He lives out of town and travels quite a bit for work.  I have only seen him once this year.  I think the relationship may be permanently off this time.  If not at his insistence, then at mine.  Anyways, so all of that makes for  a cocktail of mild depression. 

I realize I need to stop complaining and do something about the negativity. I have been at this job for 3.5 and I have only gotten 1 raise.  I do the majority of the attorney level work in the office.  My boss has not been in the office in over a month. His secretary has received countless raises in the same 3.5 years (at least 5).   She often tells me how bored she is because our boss doesn't come to work.  Clearly, this situation is not a positive one for me and I need to move forward with my plan to exit this firm gracefully.  I am going to draft out a timeline so that I am doing at least one positive thing a week to advance my career. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Surgery and random thoughts

I had my dental implant surgery on Monday and everything went very well.  It's weird, I don't have any pain.  Just a very little bit of tenderness, you would think having someone drill into your jawbone would cause some major discomfort. Still trying to figure out how to pay for the remaining balance of the surgery that is currently sitting on my credit card.  I will likely just pull it out of my emergency fund and then work feverishly on replacing my emergency fund money.  I hate to do that, but I can't stand the thought of being in additional debt or paying interest to the credit card company.

I'm still very unhappy at work.  I want to find a new job, but I hate the idea of moving to another soul crushing job for a higher salary.  I have been considering opening my own law firm.  I definitely don't have any money to do anything anytime soon, but the gears are turning.  It makes the idea of taking a higher paying salary at yet another soul crushing law firm more palatable if it means I can get to the point of opening my own law firm more quickly.  It's just a thought for now.  I think I will look into developing a 5 year plan and see how it looks.  I wonder how people can work for years and years at the same job without getting bored or restless.  For me, at these small law firms, there is no real room to grow and that thought drives me crazy.  I want to do more, earn more money and think of new innovative ideas. 

For the time being I'm trying to hang in at this law firm. I'm so beaten down and tired.  It's hard to remain interested and do the best possible work when you have no motivation.  Anyways, I gave my boss my idea, thoughts and plan for opening the new division of the law firm.  He hasn't done anything with it or discussed in detail with me his plan or thoughts for implementation.  He is a snail that moves at the speed of molasses. I think I gave him the plan in October so he has until April to make some progress. (Honestly, if he does not do anything with the idea by the beginning of the year I will just start looking.)

Lastly,  I have been looking around trying to find things to do to advance my position in the legal community so that way I can have a shot at opening my own law firm.  I'm developing a list of ideas and I will try to get involved in more activities in the legal community so that way I can carry more weight once it comes to getting business once I'm out on my own.  Success, here I come. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Morning

So it's Monday morning and I am dreading going to work.  I hate this feeling and I don't know how to shake it.  All of the negative thoughts I have about my employer creep into my head and it just makes Monday morning so much more cruel.  Anyways, I guess I will go get dressed, head into work and face the day. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Budget Breakdown November 15-30 and dental work updates

Budget November 15-30
$190 utilities
$100 groceries
$650 NovemberVacation
$860 dental fund
$300 Thanksgiving
$214 spending
$100 gas

I went out of town over the Veteran's day weekend and had a great time.  I spent just about my entire $650 budget.

Dental work is so expensive! I just paid for the dental implant surgery for 2 teeth which totaled over $5,500 for both implants and the anesthesia.  I will have the surgery later this month.  I will do a post detailing all of the dental/medical costs I have paid for this year.  My poor memory can recall the following, just off the top of my head:
$5,500 (approximately) dental implant surgery
$1100 root canal
$2000 2 crowns
over $2000 for 6 extractions (4 wisdom teeth and 2 others)
plus the cost of cleanings and miscellaneous. 

I have to try and pull all of my resources to find enough cash to cover the cost of the dental implants.  I only had about $2500 in my dental fund.  I will not pay any interest on my credit card so I'm on a mission!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Student loan and budget updates.

I have officially paid my student loan debt down to under $24,000! I owe approximately $23,870.39 on my student loans (this number is good through November 15, 2014).  I owe $20,080.42 on my large student loan and $3789.97 on my small student loan.  I wonder if I will be able to get the loans down under $23,000 by the end of the year?  I guess that will be my next goal, it seems $1000 increments are my targets for paying down these last student loans.  I really want the small student loan completely paid off by early next year. 

Budget for November 1-15
$1,447 mortgage
$400 student loan
$60 pet plan (3 cats)
$80 groceries
$227 spending
$100 gas
$100 savings

I'm very fortunate to be able to split the regular household expenses with my sister.  So that's why there is no cell phone, cable, internet or car insurance payments listed on my budgets.  Anyways, that's how the money fell out for my October 31 paycheck!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Conversation with the Boss

I had a very long talk with my boss last Friday evening about my unhappiness working for the firm.  This was a hard conversation for me to have with him.  I, essentially, asked him what could the firm offer me in terms of a long term future.  Also, asked him what could I do to assist the firm in becoming a major player and expanding our market.  He did not have any answers for me, but he did say that he would look into it. Whatever that means.  He lied quite a bit during the conversation.  I only called him on one of the lies.  I assume that he does not realize that the employees talk with each other and, of course, share information.  I felt a bit dissatisfied after the very long and exhausting talk.  It appears that he has no plan for the future of the firm or the future of the employees.  I asked him specifically what he saw my role as in the future and he could not articulate anything to me. 

A few good things came out of this endeavor: (1) I maybe getting a raise as a result of this conversation. I don't know how much.  He said he would go speak with the partner in the South/Central Florida office about giving me a raise (typically raises are about 10%) and; (2) I gave him an idea I had about bringing more work into the firm.  This was the second time I told him about the idea.  This time he was excited and willing to let me give him more information.  Hopefully, this will take off into something big.  I hope it does and that eventually I work out an arrangement where I am getting a piece of the profits for coming up with and implementing the idea.  Wish me lots of luck.  It's so hard to implement and bring new ideas to a company that has little to no rules, boundaries or parameters. And no outlook with regard to the future. 

That being said, for the time being I am going to table the idea of looking for a new job.  I want to see if this will take off into anything and build the firm up into something big.  If, ultimately, things do move along well and I am still unhappy I will resume my job seeking efforts.   I am going to wait until after the new year to resume my job searching efforts. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Budget Breakdown October 16-31 and updates!

Here's where the money went:

$260 utilities
$100 groceries
$1000 dental fund
$640 student loan
$100 savings
$214 spending
$100 gas

That's it, my paycheck very quickly and precisely spent in a short list. As noted above, I paid $640 to my student loan.  So now, the grand total owed on my student loans is $24,242.53.  I owe $20,207.53 (which includes the interest which will accrue through the end of the month) on my larger student loan.  I now owe approximately $4,035 on the smaller student loan.  If everything goes according to plan I should be able to get these two student loans under $24,000 by the end of the year!

My dental fund has about $3,484.27 left in it, this will go down by about $1,000 when I have the next crown placed at the end of the month.

My online savings account is up to $2,123.73.  Last month I earned $1.08 in interest.  Hello- passive income! I have earned $3.73 so far this year. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Student Loan milestone!

I am finally owe less than $25,000 on my student loan debt!! The outstanding balance on the larger loan is $20, 180.56.  The outstanding balance on the smaller loan is $4,669.13.  The grand total is...$24,849.69!!! I am sooo excited. Picture me spinning in circles until I am so dizzy I can't stand up straight!!  Everyone celebrate with me!

When I started this blog (earlier this year) I owed over $28,000 on these loans. Of course, this makes the next goal to get the loans under $20,000. I would really like to meet that goal by the end of the year, but I don't think that is possible.  I am trying to cash flow all of the dental work that still has to be done so that is taking a large portion of my disposable income.  I just paid over $1,300 for a crown and some other cosmetic things (smoothing down a chip in my front teeth), but hopefully the dental work will be done by early next year so I can focus on paying down the student loan debt with a vengeance.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I've been a bit busy lately so I haven't had much time to post. I have found 2 jobs that I need to apply for, but I have not had time to apply for them.  I will try to get those applications done tonight. 

My small student loan is now paid up through March of 2019! I'm so excited because I am finally seeing progress. The balance has fallen into the $4000's, every time it drops into the next $1000 range I get ecstatic.   (This loan was originally over $9,000 and spread over a 25 year payment plan).  I love the fact that the extra payments are applied to principal and the payment date is advanced. 

My sister and I are planning to take a little road trip in November, just a couple of hours away, so it will be nice to get away for awhile. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Employment Status

There are no new jobs that have been advertised in my area.  It's frustrating, but it is not the hiring season for senior associates in this area.  Most attorneys will hold on through the Christmas break and the new year to get paid their of end of the year bonuses.  If we get end of the year bonuses this year, mine will be about $2,500, so it's probably in my best interest to wait and see.

On a good note, I had an incidental conversation with my boss where I told him directly, that I was unhappy working there.  I, unfortunately, did not have time to have a full conversation with him about why, but suffice it to say that he is aware that I am dissatisfied. I hope that we can continue the conversation and it is my intention to get a list together of my concerns sometime this weekend and discuss with him possible solutions sometime next week.  (Number one on my list will be a raise, by the way!) I hate having to do this, quite frankly, I feel it will be an awkward conversation.  Nevertheless, I will feel better to get it out there and determine whether there is a future for me at this firm.

Oh, side note, my small student loan is now paid up through March of 2017!! Woohoo! I owe, as of today, $5,423.61 on the small student loan! I went out with some friends last week and I think I have the smallest amount of student loan debt. I also have been practicing the longest, so that makes a huge difference.  One girl, owes around $175,000 (practicing about 5 years with a $70,000 salary) and another around $100,000 (practicing 1.5 years with a $44,000 salary). 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Student loan update

I have not heard anything back about the corporate position I applied for a few days ago.  Again, I doubt that I will.  No new jobs have been posted. I think I will be writing a blog post about my feelings about leaving and my compulsive need to try and save failing things (relationships included).  Otherwise,there is nothing else to report on the new job search front.

On to the student loan update!  As of today, between the 2 outstanding loans, I owe $25,966.01.   The big loan, as of today, totals $20,399.30.  The small loan totals, $5,566.71.  The small loan is paid up until December 16, 2016.  I put all of my extra payments on this small loan.  The loans originally totaled $43,101, they are on a 25 YEAR repayment plan and I have been paying on these loans for almost 9 years (the interest rate is 2.875%).  My goal is to have the loans paid off by the end of NEXT year and finally be DEBT FREE!! I have a feeling I might not make that goal, but I will definitely give it a good old fashioned try. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Job Search

I did it.  I applied for a new job, it's a corporate position. It would be mostly contract review and regulatory compliance issues...boring, however, I would like to gain some corporate experience.  I don't really qualify for the job, but I thought I would give it a shot. There aren't many attorney positions being advertised right now as this is kind of a small town.  Typically, most senior attorney/associate positions are advertised in the early part of the year in this area.  I am hopeful that I will have a new job by next spring, but I don't have any high expectations.  I feel good about taking a step towards getting out of this firm, I really feel like I am being taken advantage at this point.  I am of the opinion that most jobs are generally the same anywhere you go and there will always be something that is unsatisfying about any position.  Nevertheless, I feel like I should be unsatisfied and taken advantage of at a different place for more money.  I hope to post some updates about the trials and tribulations of my impending job search. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

$20 Bill

I just wanted to announce that I found the $20 bill that I thought that I lost a few weeks ago!  I did put the bill in my purse, in my wallet even.  However, I did not put the bill in the usual place where I keep my money, I somehow managed to put the bill securely in the pages of my checkbook!  So, of course, in my haste to look for the bill I did not see it tucked so deeply in the pages of my checkbook.  The other day driving home from a deposition my wallet was open on the seat next to me and the $20 was peeking out at me. Score!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Debt Update

How are things going for you guys financially?  Things are slow going here,which is driving me so absolutely crazy. 

As things stand today I owe:

$220 on my capital one card.  This is for continued dental payments ($188 consultation fee with yet another oral surgeon) and the monthly fee for my home security system.  This card is essentially paid off monthly.  It is a 0% card until December of 2014. 

Approximately $26,090 worth of student loans (this is broken down into 2 separate student loans (1)$20,387 and (2)$5,703- I hope that math is right??) This includes the interest that will accrue for the next 2 weeks until I make another payment. 

My monetary assets include:
$10,006 in emergency savings
$1,421 in an interest bearing savings account
$1,650 in a dental fund (this is just money saved up in my checking account, which is specifically set aside for dental work).

I put $1,500 a month aside for dental work.  This is killing me because that money could go towards my student loans.  I could knock out the small loan so quickly if I could just apply that amount to the loan.  I just don't want to accrue any more debt while paying off the loans; especially debt that I have to pay interest on. The interest rate on my student loans is 2.88%. The interest rate on my credit card will be around 13% after December. So I will continue to cash flow my dental work, while slowly chipping away at the student loan debt.   Sigh. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Talk with the Boss

Over the last few weeks my boss has had a poor attitude directed towards me.  Through email and during telephone calls my boss has spoken to me sharply, was curt and utilized a negative tone.   As with any employee, I had become increasingly frustrated, upset and worried about my employment.  I waited and waited for him to come into the office so that I could speak to him in person about the problem.  As noted in my previous post, he did not come into the office for 3 weeks.  I finally got to the point where I could no longer deal with the frustration.  I was lashing out at him as harshly as he was lashing out at me and, of course, it left me feeling even more miserable.  Finally, I sent him an email and I told him that I needed to talk to him and to call me when he had some free time.  The next day he did.  I asked him if he was having a problem with me and he denied it.  I expressed to him that he had been very negative towards me and I did not appreciate the behavior, he denied any knowledge of any negativity.  He did not ask for any examples or specific incidents.  The conversation left me feeling frustrated.  I did not get to speak with him about everything because he expressed total shock and awe that he was being rude, diminishing my morale and intimating that I wasn't doing my job well.  He stated that I was doing excellent work and performing extraordinarily.  He stated that his sister and his friend had recently told him about his behavior as well and he was equally shocked at their comments.  He is in his 60s and I have no doubt that people have told him about his behavior and attitude many times over the years.  In fact, I know for certain that several people have (many of the staff in the other office have been around for over 10 years).  I feel miserable, angry, used and abused.  All of this recent frustration is dredging up other incidents where I felt I was treated unfairly.  A few months ago the firm billable hour report came out, I was the second highest biller (just under the partner in the south Florida office).  I also often cover hearings, depositions, etc. for the partner and 2 associates in the south Florida office.  At this point I am doing all of the appellate work for the firm for both offices.  No one has ever covered anything for me because I plan my schedule accordingly.  I don't enjoy any special benefits for producing more than any other associate or taking on extra work.  It's starting to rub me the wrong way because I'm doing more, but everyone is receiving the same benefits, i.e., we all get a Christmas bonus.  When I got a raise all of the other employees received the same 10% raise.  I have no incentive to continue performing at a high level because I am learning that people who are doing the bare minimum are getting the same as or more than me.  I think I've made up my mind that it's time for me to leave. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Travel Fund

Today I cashed out my cash back rewards on my Capital One Quicksilver, well only $100 worth.  I decided to do this so I could get the emergency fund in my checking account up to an even $10,000.  The remainder of the cash will fund the initial amount needed to start a travel fund.  The travel fund will be used to cash flow my travel for work without cutting into my monthly budget.  For example, I have to travel at the beginning of August to a town about 2.5 hours away by car I will use the cash from travel fund for the cost of gas back and forth.  It will cost me about $70 out of pocket for the travel.  Once I get the travel voucher reimbursed, probably not until October or November, I will deposit it into the travel account for the next trip.  I think I will try to keep the travel fund around $500, any reimbursed money over that amount I will add to savings or pay down on my student loan. 

By way of an aside, I have to rant about the travel voucher reimbursement at my firm.  It takes about 2.5 to 3 months for the firm to reimburse for travel expenses.  It's ridiculous, really.  There are only 5 attorneys at the firm.  The partners (2) have firm credit cards that get paid off every month by the firm.  I would like to talk to my boss about a 30 day turn around, but he never comes into work. Seriously, he did not come into the office for 3 weeks. He then came in for like 2 hours and left again.  I'm really frustrated with the situation.  (I spoke to him briefly about his attitude (on the phone because he won't come into work), I'll blog about that later in separate post.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Angry at myself

I lost $20 yesterday.  I am such an idiot and I am so irritated, I can't stand myself.  Yesterday morning my sister asked me to stop by the store and pick up a few things and she handed me a $20 bill.  I have no real recollection of the $20 bill after that.  I think I put it in my purse, but I'm not really sure.  At any rate, I can't find it now.  I don't typically carry cash on me and I guess this is good reason not to.  I have looked in my car and in my purse, but can't find it anywhere.  It probably fell out somewhere at the store.  I just wanted to share my frustration with the world. 

Oh, as an aside, does anyone else read blogging away debt?  Today it was announced on the website that blogger, Jim, would no longer be writing for the site.  I never liked Jim as a blogger, but this week I was really happy to see his post on eating from the pantry.  I thought the post was was pretty well written for Jim and was excited to think he actually got on the BAD bandwagon.  I should have known better, the rumor is that the post was plagiarized.  According to the comments on the blog, that may have been the third post that was plagiarized.  I think it was time for him to go and I'm glad that the owners of the website finally decided to cut him.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Health Insurance Rebate

Hooray!  On Friday we received a little over $100 a piece for our Obamacare health insurance rebate.  The firm waived it's portion as did the partners so all employees who participate in the firm insurance plan received a small check.  I'm really feeling the money crunch right now (I need to blog about the dental fiasco I have been experiencing) so I was so excited to receive this unexpected windfall.  It will go straight into my emergency fund.  I really want to get the emergency fund up to $10,000 and leave it there.  Right now it's around $9600 dollars.  I can't recall the exact amount as I sit here and type, it may be on my debt page.  Anyways, just wanted to share the good news!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I'm still quite confused about what to do about my employment situation. Things at work are pretty much the same. My boss continues to not come into work and his assistant does the same.  It has created a morale problem for me. I'm miserable and apathetic and I hate it.  It appears that my boss' assistant takes off at least 1 day every two weeks.  She also has taken off several weeks of sick time this year alone.  Additionally, she has already taken her 2 weeks of vacation time.  She will be taking more vacation time this year, I have no doubt.  I can't say anything to my boss. Believe me anything I say to him will get repeated back to his assistant!  She also monitors his email so there's no relief there.

The other problem is his assistant is continually failing at her job.  I guess because she's not in the office often enough to ensure that things are being done properly. My boss complains about her (sometimes), but quite honestly, he complains about everyone. I do not trust her anymore so I do not give her work to do.  I think I have to start calling her out when my boss complains about her.  Nothing, but the truth, no waffling on the facts anymore. 

The good thing is, other people are starting to take notice and she is starting to try and hide her absences.  I hate when people take advantage of things and situations.  I am beginning to no longer feel the obligation to give him the opportunity to fix things.  I think me leaving is becoming a reality, this firm is not meeting my needs. It is no longer a good fit. I could use a raise anyways because all this dental work is getting so expensive. 

End of June Pay Day

Here are the numbers:

$1,447 mortgage
$300 student loan
$70 cat insurance
$70 groceries
$227 spending
$100 gas
$200 savings

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The story of a co-worker

So in my journey to be debt free I have looked around me to try and learn lessons from others.  One person that I have learned a financial lesson from is a coworker of mine.  She is about three years older than me and has worked at the firm about 6 months longer than I.  She is the one that I have complained about in previous posts about not coming to work.  This is her story. 

Prior to coming to work at this law firm she worked as a legal secretary for another law firm.  She worked there for around 5 years and made around $50,000 a year.  She also received huge bonuses, one at least $15,000 due to a huge settlement in a case.  She squandered all of her money and bonuses. She spent the entire $15,000 on wedding preparations.  She bought a new SUV (with payments) while her husband still owed money on his truck.   She bought just about every  $50 wii game that you can think of and then never played them.  She ran up huge balances on her credit cards and had little to no savings.  She bought a mobile home in a nearby city with a 40 mile commute to work everyday (80 miles roundtrip).  She didn't have enough money to close on the mobile home and had to take out another loan just to close.  She bought the biggest and best mobile home you can imagine.  She bought a house full of furniture to fill the mobile home.  Suddenly, her boss decided to shut down the firm and retire. She received no severance pay.  She was out of work for approximately 1 month and was desperate for money in just that short time frame.  She interviewed and got this position.  Our boss told her in time that he would get her back to what she was making at her old job.  She took about a $15,000 pay cut for this job and that was not enough to pay the bills. Debt collectors were calling her all day, everyday.  She took on a second job, but it required very early hours and she quit not long after.  She began harassing  the boss for a raise, reminding him that he promised her that he would raise her pay.  She got about 2 or 3 raises that first year.  She learned that he could be manipulated and soon continued to press for raises and received them.   Now 3 years later she is making more than she was at her old job and receiving gifts from the boss (lunches everyday, money for haircuts, phone cases, extra days off, foot tickets, jewelry, etc.).  She is back to her old habits, spending every dime that she receives.  She put new flooring in on the mobile home, built a front porch and put a deck on the back.  A few months ago she bought a brand new smart tv for $800.  Her family is from the midwest and so she buys plane tickets home to visit. She'd digging deeper and deeper into debt.  Once this gravy train ends she will be back in the same boat. She used to watch our bosses money so carefully and complain everytime he took a raise or gave himself a bonus, because she thought that money should go to her. 

From watching her story play out and I see how important it is to save money and pay off debt.  When things are good it's easy to get lax and spend money, but it's so important during those good times to save for the lean times.  A emergency fund is to important otherwise you fall deeper and deeper into debt when times get tough.  Bonuses are wonderful gifts from employers, but they should be used to do the greatest good. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mid June Pay Day

So this one is a little late.  What can I say, I've been busy, recovering from my teeth extraction and quite a bit lazy.  Anyways, here is where the money went:

$190 utilities
$100 groceries
$1500 dental work
$180 student loan
$100 savings
$244 spending
$100 gas

Geez, it all goes so quickly.  I think I need to step down my free spending money, it's almost $500 a month I let myself fritter away.

Oh, I called a new dentist office to get an appointment to have a crown placed.  They are already getting on my nerves.  I had to speak to 2 people just to get an appointment.  Seriously? Just schedule the appointment.  I don't understand people. Why is life so annoying and complicated sometimes?  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I need to set some goals for the end of the year so I have something to aim for.  Here's the list:

1. Continue to cash flow all of the dental work
2. Pay down at least $2000 more on my student loans by the end of the year.
3. Get my emergency fund up to $10,000 by the end of the year.
4. Get my online savings account up to $2,500 by the end of the year.
5. Get all of the dental work done this year so hopefully I can take a deduction on my taxes.
6. Talk to my boss about my future at the firm and a raise. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


It's already the middle of 2014.  Where has this year gone? I am so amazed how quickly it has passed. The older you are the quicker Christmas comes and each year passes.

I figured it was about time that I gave you guys an update on the finances so far this year.  Here goes.

Student loan- In January I owed approximately $28,853.00 on the loan.  Currently I owe $26.718, which amounts to a $2134.50 payoff so far this year. This loan is actually 2 loans through the same provider.  The little loan, around $6,000, is actually paid up through December of 2015.  The payment date has been advanced, but the entire payment has been applied to the principal.  Geez, I was hoping for so much better.

Savings account- I have approximately $9,700 in my emergency fund.  I have $920 in my online savings account. This month I have earned $0.35  in interest, so far.  I have approximately $106 in rewards for my credit card (Capital one Quicksilver). (I also have 2 outstanding travel vouchers which both will go to the emergency fund, they total about $325).  I also have about $104 in my slush fund, which will probably go towards my sister's birthday present. 

Dental work.  I have paid $1100 to the endodontist (root canal).  Around $500 to the dental (filling, x-rays, etc.). $2845 to the oral surgeon (for the removal of 6 teeth and crown lengthening).  All cash flowed, which of course has taken away from my student loan repayment progress.

General medical: this category has totaled around $1,000 (mostly eye appointment and contacts, medications after root canal, copays, etc.)

I had some major expenses for my car as well: new cv axle, brakes, etc. all of which totaled $757.  I haven't found the money for this yet.  It went on the credit card.  

This is it and it sucks.  This dental work is killing me. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

End of May Pay Day

$1,447 mortgage
$300 student loan
$70 groceries
$70 pet plan
$100 gas
$227 spending
$200 savings

That brings the total in my high yield savings account to $820.15.  So far this month I have earned $0.31 in interest in my high yield savings account!  I love to see that free money rolling in.  I do realize that it's only $0.31, but that's $0.31 that I did not have work for.  I hope to keep adding to this account and get a really nice nest egg going. I would love to get to the point where I am earning $1.00 or more a month, but that will take a few thousand dollars.  However, things at the job are not looking too great right now.  I will fill you in later on that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mid May Pay Day

$165 utilities
$100 groceries
$1500 dental work
$185 student loan
$120 savings
$100 gas

There it all goes again. I keep hoping for the day when the majority of that money stays in my pocket.  On a positive note I have earned $0.19 this month so far on my online savings account!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feeling Lost

My work situation has not improved.  It's probably gotten worse.  I am so confused about what to do at this point.  I applied for a couple of jobs and was even selected for an interview for one.  However, when the time came, I could not go through with it.  I turned down the interview.  I must be crazy, I could have negotiated a $10,000 a year pay raise.  I don't know why, but I feel I am not yet done with this place.  I have to speak with my boss and try to make this a better working environment.  The problem is I don't know how to start the conversation.  I also need the opportunity to speak with him with his secretary is not present because she hovers and doesn't like to leave anyone alone with him. I think she feels that the other staff will begin complaining about her. She leaves early a lot and doesn't come in a lot, but I really think that problem will fix itself if he comes into the office more frequently.  I'm frustrated and irritated, but I can't leave yet.  I need to pray on this issue and see if I can receive some divine intervention.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

End of April Pay Day

$1,447 mortgage
$300 student loan (minimum payment $202.37)
$70 pet insurance
$227 spending money
$100 gas
$200 savings

I have officially earned $0.15 on my online high yield savings account! Whoo hoo! That amount should double this month because, hopefully if everything stays on track, the principal in the savings account will double.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mid April Pay Day

No room on this paycheck for extra payments on my student loans unfortunately.  Here's how everything fell out:

$200 utilities
$100 groceries
$1,500 dental work
$95 Continuing Legal Education
$50 Mom
$100 savings
$269 spendings
$100 gas

I upped my spending because I am taking the whole last week of April off in order to use up some vacation time.  I also need to buy some flea medication for the cats so that will take up an extra bit of the available spending money.

Case of the Frustrations

I have a serious case of the frustrations! I haven't written because I am so frustrated with life and work in general.  I want to be debt free.  I want all of my dental work done...now.  I want to lose weight...now.  I want a wonderful good sturdy bedroom set...now.  I want my house painted professionally...now.  I want to invest tons of money...now. I want lots of things, but I can't afford anything!

I have officially applied for a new job because I feel like I just cannot take my current job anymore.  It's frustrating.  My boss is a lazy, lazy piece of crap.  His secretary, although I like her personally, is just as bad.  She's not keeping up with the work...which is sad because there's not much to do.  It seems as though if I ask her to do something, she simply does not do it.  I don't know why she has taken on this attitude.  Pretty much the only time that she works is at the end of the month when she is getting our boss' billable time into the bookkeeper.  I feel conflicted.  I don't know what to do.  Do I say something to her?  I already stopped giving her work to do on my cases.  However, if I do something for my boss and he reviews it it is up to her to get it out.  I don't want to become a nag or a pushover, but it's not right that I have to do clerical work on my own cases.  I need to focus on billing.  I guess my only option is to keep on top of her to make sure that things are going out as requested.  If that's not bad enough, she's had about 5 or 6 raises in the 3 years that she has worked there.  Why?  She barely comes to work, she always leaves early and she never does any work.  Yet somehow that behavior warrants a raise.  I come in early everyday, I stay late if necessary, I do all of the drafting and writing for the office and some for the other office.  What am I missing?  I had to beg to get my part time assistant a raise and she's been there over 5 years now and had never had a raise.  That felt good to vent. Thanks for letting me bend your ear.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The dentist

So this year I started seeing a dentist that I liked very much.  He seemed nice and knowledgeable about his subject area.  I have had bad dentists in the past so I really appreciated someone who knew what he was doing.  So here comes the bad part, I went to have a crown placed a few weeks ago, but it turns out that he needs my other two teeth extracted first due to all the swelling in the gum, etc.  So he removes the temporary crown and does a buildup in preparation for the crown.  I pay, a total of $99, for the work and get my receipt which shows a $0 balance.  One week later I get a bill in the mail from the dentist for $87, it shows a charge of $170 for a buildup and $21 for an xray.  I check my receipt given the day of the service and it showed a $21 charge for an xray and $83 for the buildup.  I received an approximate 5% full payment discount. Obviously, the statement in the mail is a mistake on their behalf I call the office and explain the discrepancy.  I scan and email my receipt to the office.  The office assistant replies, that they made an error on the date of service and they will give me extra time to pay. I was irritated because to me the statement appeared duplicitous. The $83 charge is not listed anywhere on the bill in the mail, I would assume they would have credited the account to show the mistake and keep proper records.  I was furious because they knew they made a mistake, and knew that the statement would be at odds with the documentation that they already provided to me, yet they did nothing to explain the mistake until I called.  Why did I have to waste my time and reach out to them?  Why didn't they note on the bill that an error had been made? I felt that the customer service I received was less than stellar and I will not be returning to the office.  I think it was just one of those things were it hit me the wrong way on the wrong day and I took greater offense than necessary.  Nevertheless, I am petty and will not be returning. Thank goodness there are tons of dental offices in the area.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Extra payments on Student Loans

My hope was, initially, to make large (at least $1500/month) payments on my student loans throughout this year, but the dental work blew that out of the water. However, when I found out that I would be spending the majority of my disposal income this year on dental work I started making efforts to make extra payments on my last 2 (I consider it one) student loans. So despite the major blow to my debt payoff plan, I have still managed to make extra payments.  The minimum payment is $202.37/a month for both loans combined.  The larger loan (over $20,000) has a minimum payment of $150.82, the smaller loan has a minimum payment of $51.55.  I am paying $300 ($150.82 towards the big loan and $149.18 towards the small loan) at the end of each month.  Then mid-month I am making a $165 payment on the smaller loan.  The smaller loan is over $6,000 so I am using the extra payments to chip away at it so that at the end of the year only a few thousand dollars will be left.  Any money that I have left at the end of the year that does not go toward dental expenses I can put on that smaller loan and pay it down even further.  The sooner I pay down the smaller loan I will be able to use that extra $51.55 to pay on the bigger loan. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spendy, spendy

I am ready to be done with all of the dental work. I can't seem to catch a break.  I got the root canal done at the total cost of $1,090.  I went to have the crown put on and the dentist thinks the tooth is too short.  He wants the oral surgeon to cut away some of the gum to make more room for the crown. So no crown for me yet.  My consultation with the oral surgeon is not until next month so I am in a holding pattern.  I hate waiting. 

I can't seem to stop spending money.  Right know I am coveting a leaf blower so I don't have to sweep after I cut the grass. I found a cheap one for $38, trying not to spend the money though. I need to be strong.

I got paid today. Here's the fall out:
$1,447 mortgage
$300 student loan
$70 cat insurance
$70 groceries
$227 spending
$100 gas
$200 savings

I am going to open a saving account with capital one 360.  Its APY is 0.75% with a $25 sign up bonus. It has no fees and no minimum balance.  It's an online only account.  I hope it works out for me.  I will let you know after a few months.  That's all for now.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I'm feeling so frustrated. Why is life always so stressful?  I am really hating work right now. I have been coming in later than I normally do, still earlier than required, but later.  I am more apt to leave early as well.  I want a raise for putting up with all the bullshit and taking on all of the extra responsibility. 

I am also frustrated because I'm paying for all of this dental work instead of paying off my student loan, so then I can buy some new furniture. Not important to buy new furniture, but I want it. I guess I just have a case of the "wants".  Also, my mom is having issues: she needs a new computer, her microwave is broken and something may be wrong with her septic tank.  I want to provide for her.  I want to pay for all of the dental work she needs, but I can barely take care of myself.  I feel like a failure and that depresses me more.  Sigh.  I need to do something to put myself in a better mood. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

I want to be happy

I really do, but I feel like happiness evades me. My boss has been being a real pain in the ass again.  I can barely stand it.  I have searched and there are no jobs being advertised that will pay anything comparable to my current salary.  I'm so frustrated.  I told him I was frustrated with him and it has resulted in him walking on egg shells for the last week around me.  He's so childish, too bad he's in his 60s.

Everything is running okay with regard to my finances, not great, but okay.  I need to pay more attention and stop spending so much on unnecessary things. Then I can put any leftover spending money on my student loans. Oh well, I will try to do better this 2 week period and hopefully something will be left.

My root canal cost $990.  I have already paid that off.  I have an appointment to get the crown placed next week and it should be about $900.  I will pay off the cost of the crown on 4/15.   I am budgeting $1500 a month for dental work so I should have some leftover from my April dental budget to put towards the extractions.  My extractions won't be until June or later, most likely.  I kind of want to pay down my student loan, but I guess I will pile up money.  Sigh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mid Month Pay Day

Here's the fall out:
$210 utilities
$100 groceries
$1500 dental work
$165 extra payment on student loan
$100 savings
$239 spending
$100 gas

I received a travel voucher  reimbursement of $135 which I added to my slush fund.  Of course, when I tried to start the lawn mower on Friday it wouldn't start so I had to take it into the shop.  It was approximately $110 to fix, $72 of which was labor.  I plan to purchase some materials on small engine repair and tinker on the old lawn mower that my mother gave me. Gosh darn it I am going to learn to fix this stuff on my own! Anyways, most of the travel voucher reimbursement was eaten up by the lawn mower repair. At least I'm basically breaking even.

Friday, March 7, 2014

End of the month pay day

Okay, I know this is about a week late, but here's the repayment/budget update.  I was paid last Friday here's the break down of the budget.

$1,447 mortgage
$300 student loan/minimum payment is $202.37
$70 pet insurance
$70 groceries
$227 spending
$100 gas
$200 savings

That's all there is folks.  My salary for two weeks completely spread out for the world to see.  Most of my spending money will go towards a work trip next week (hotel, food and gas).  I may also have to take clients out to dinner or lunch as well so I may have to pull some money out of savings.  I will be reimbursed for the trip, but it usually takes three months. We are a small firm and three months is a completely ridiculous amount of time for reimbursement.  Oh well, I am very conflicted with regard to what to do about my employment, it's very stressful, super disorganized and frustrating, but I hate having to switch jobs.  Arghhh!! Oh well, no one said life is easy.

My next payday will be next Friday.  I will try to do a timely update on how things fall out from that paycheck.  I have already done a draft budget, but as we all know things change from day to day and moment to moment. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to all of my readers out there.  I know there aren't many of you, but I appreciate every single one of you.  I'm happy to have someone along for the ride for the struggle to debt freedom.  Well, and my whines about work and life in general. Please feel free to post comments and interact with me through this blog.  I am more than happy to answer questions and explain my mindset to anyone who cares to ask.  I hope to get into a routine where I post more regularly.  One of my major pet peeves is enjoying a blog and then suddenly the blogger stops writing or takes frequent long breaks away from the blog. So interact with me and encourage me to look forward to blogging here and staying on track on my journey to freedom!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Odds and Ends

I have been spending quite a bit of money on gardening lately.  Pretty much the majority of my budgeted spending money and part of my slush fund.  While I "need" new furniture and tons of other material things I feel like spending money is the yard is the best bet for my money.  $100 in the yard goes a lot further than $100 in the house. I have purchased some beautiful flowers and hanging baskets.  I hope nothing dies, it appears we will have at least one more cold snap.

Friday is payday so I will post an update in the near future on the breakdown of the paycheck.  This will be the first time that I pay extra on my large student loan, the only one left at this point.  That makes me happy to know that I will finally be making a little progress on it, even if it's not as much as I'd like.  Typically only about $1,600 goes to principal on the loan for the entire year.  The interest rate is 2.88%.  I hope to get close to $4,000 in principal paid down on the loan this year.

I had my evaluation for my root canal last week and my appointment is scheduled for March.  I paid $100 for the evaluation and the actual root canal will cost $990.  I really need to be sure to keep all of my medical receipts together for tax purposes next year.  I might actually beat the 10% floor for the medical expense deduction this year.  I hate to spend the money, but since I have to I hope to get a benefit from it in the long run. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Work Update

Everything is status quo at work. My boss's assistant has been coming into work a bit more. (Quite a bit comparatively.) I have been keeping an eye on the job market and looking for a good paying job. So far I haven't seen anything interesting. Sigh. I'm sure when the time is right I will find a new job. God works in mysterious ways, right? Maybe this is a sign that I'm not supposed to leave. The problem is right now, I really feel like I want to leave. I hate the feeling that I am being taken advantage of. I hate feeling like there is someone manipulating things. My boss's assistant continually talks about needing a raise and states that our boss is "working on it". If she gets another raise, I will be leaving. If he doesn't realize that he's being manipulated by now. I don't know what to tell him. NO offense to anyone, but she is an assistant and an office manager, that does not qualify for a $100,000 income in north Florida. She has to be making over $50,000 by now, which is probably $10,000 less than what the paralegal of over 20 years is making.  I don't like to manipulate people (yes, I know unbelievable being a lawyer and all.) so this is all very hard for me to take. I prefer direct, straight talk without threats or manipulation.

Recently, I was off work and I'm glad the paralegal was able to see what it feels like to be the only one in the office and have to answer phones, bill and deal with people coming in and out of the office for several hours. I wish I could arrange it so that happens much, much more so I'm not the only one who sees the problem.

Off topic- I need to work an eyebrow waxing into budget ASAP!! 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Dental work...obsession

So I've continued to obsess about my upcoming dental work.  I have researched dental implants a bit more and it seems that implants cost about $2,000 a tooth.  It's approximately an additional $1,500 per tooth to have the crown fitted. The price can go up or down depending on whether bone graphs are needed or gum contouring is necessary. I have also found that where a bone graph is needed sometimes you will have to wait 4 to 6 months before the implant can be placed. Additionally, in some situations you will have to wait 4 to 6 months after the placement of the implant to get fitted for the crown in order to let the implant accept and merge with the existing bone in your jaw. So it seems this will be a very long process which will be a good thing because it gives me more time to save up for the procedures. Additionally, once I know the time frame and exact cost I can save up enough to pay for everything that can be done for the year, then I can direct the rest of my savings towards paying down the rest of my student loan.  I would love to get that student loan paid down because it was my original plan to pay off the student loan and then get my teeth done.  I am impatient though and having to wait for months maybe even a year just to get two complete teeth will drive me crazy!


I am so stressed about paying off my outstanding debt.  This dental work is driving me crazy. I hate not knowing exactly how much it will cost.  I want to know now, so I can plan and obsess! I'm a total mess, I know.  I hope to cash flow all of the dental work. However, I would much rather use that cash to pay down my student loans (or save it).  It's so frustrating.  I am very motivated by seeing progress.  Having to pay for all of this dental work will pretty much stop all of my progress for the year. Sigh.  I know that of course I don't know what the future holds for me. I could lose my job tomorrow and then I wouldn't be able to pay for the dental or my loans, but for now I have goals and plans and I want those to come true.  I want to be wealthy and prepared for just about anything.  I think it is downright shameful when someone makes good money, but has nothing to show for it when that income stream is cutoff.  I really don't want to be that person. If I lose this job I want all my debt to be paid off and my savings accounts to be flush with cash. 

I feel it is so important to be as debt free as possible.  That frees up so much income so you can save and invest. Paying monthly payments for years prevents you from ever getting out from under the pressure that is debt.  I hate the pressure that I feel. It's like a race against an unknown opponent that may or may not be racing you. Will tragedy strike in the midst of paying off debt or saving money? Will I make it to the finish line?  Where is the finish line? Basically $28,220 stands between me and freedom, but its a huge beast with lots of special tricks. Can I battle it on my own?

Friday, February 14, 2014


Today was payday so once again it's time to pay bills. Here's the breakdown:

$1,025 to the chase credit card to pay off my sister's credit card debt. This will bring the balance down to $0. Yay!

$554 to my capital one card which represents mostly dental expenses, etc. This plus the $100 budgeted for gas will bring the balance down to $205.

$100 to savings This will bring the balance up to approximately $10,100.
$295 utilities
$240 spending
$100 groceries
$100 gas

By paying off that chase credit card I will now be able to direct all of my extra debt payments to the upcoming dental work.  I have an appointment for the end of February to begin the root canal work.  That portion should cost around $1,000.  Sigh.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dental expenses

I went to the dentist earlier this week and the results were not pretty, but it was totally expected.

Okay here's the low down on my dental expenses.
             1 Root canal and crown $2,000
             4 wisdom teeth pulled $2,000
             2 other teeth pulled (crown will no longer suffice) $1,000
             Consultation for dental implants $200
             Possibly gum contouring ?????
             2 dental implants $8,000-$10,000
             2 crown for the dental implants $2,000-$5,000

I'm seriously hoping that I am not a candidate for dental implants so I can just get a bridge put in.  It would be sooo much cheaper probably a third of the price.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Work Status

Okay, okay so I have been a lazy bum and I have not applied for any new jobs.  I think today, I will work on updating my resume. I'm so unhappy at work sometimes I really cannot stand it.  My boss never comes into the office, but constantly calls (at 5:15p.m.) with last minutes projects (that he has known about for weeks) that must be completed that moment.  So much time is spent preparing him for events and he never reviews any of the voluminous documents that are culled together for him.  Then he complains that something that was prepared for him, was not prepared for him, so you end up doing something for him that someone else has already done.  He is subject to emotional tantrums (he is in his mid 60s) he had a major one last week.  He was so angry he couldn't come into the office for 3 days.  This was all over the way that the document was transmitted to a client.  Believe me, that's not unusual for him, he was so pissy to ME once because his assistant sent him a document as a pdf and not a word document. It's very frustrating because I never know what is going to set him off.

He, again, is encouraging his assistant to not to come into the office which is a real problem because she is also the office manager.  I think she was off more than she came in, in January.  That was exacerbated by the fact that she took several last minute half days in December when her step kids were home for winter break.  Her work product is slipping she is not calendaring things that need to go out.  In Florida, everything is electronic now re: court pleadings, discovery, etc.  It is her responsibility to save these documents into the shared drive.  So much stuff is missing, this is due to the fact that she leaves work early, takes several days off and claims to be sick so often.  I don't think she's worked a full week this year yet.  All of her work is falling on other people to take care of.  My boss does not realize the problem because he is never in the office to see her absence and its effects.  To top all of this off, she has requested one full vacation week in May (knowing full well she will be off in March to watch her step kids on spring break) and one full vacation week in August (to go visit her parents).  My boss is giving her extra vacations and extra sick days to which no one else is entitled.  Why can't there be rules and someone to enforce the rules.  I definitely want a boss who has compassion, but not like this.  I think the problem is he is a master manipulator, but he is also a master at being manipulated.

I really am perplexed at what to do about this situation.  I cannot keep being responsible for opening the office when she decides not to come in for the day.  I cannot keep being responsible for manning the telephones when she's out claiming to be sick.  I need someone I can count on to calendar due dates for documents. I feel as though the entire operation of the firm is falling on me.  My boss is completely unaware of when things are due and I have no back up, if I miss something no one will recognize it until it's too late.  Geez, I can't even count on having someone present to finalize and file documents on any given day. It's complete chaos and disorganization. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Taxes Update

I filed my taxes and I will receive a $565 refund.  This only because of the mortgage interest deduction, etc., that I was entitled to take due to the purchase of my home last year.  The extra $565 will be helpful as I will have some expensive dental work to pay for shortly.  (I will blog about that dental work in a separate post.)  However, now that I think about it I will probably just add the tax refund into my emergency/savings fund. I really want to get that up to $15,000 by the end of the year.  I just feel much more comfortable with that number.  It should get me through 6 months of hard times pretty easily.  Once, I payoff my last student loan (if that ever happens) I will probably try to get that account up to $25,000 to $30,000, which would cover me for about a year (with no frills of course).  Geez, why is money so hard to come by!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Debt Update

I got paid on Friday, January 31, 2014.  I paid $96 to my chase credit card which contains the remainder of the debt that I agreed to pay off for my sister (the minimum payment is $25.00).  The total left on that credit card is $1025.  I should be able to payoff that $1025 from my paycheck from February 14, 2014.

 I paid $405 to my capital one card, which I used for my contacts, eye appointment, car registration, gas, dental work, etc.  The remaining balance is $490.  I had $205 left in my house fund ( I set aside approximately $300 a month to use towards the house-often it goes towards debt repayment.) which I put on the card.  I also budget $100 every 2 weeks for gas.  I use this card mainly for gas to get cash back, the card awards 1.5%  on any and all purchases. I used the $100 amount budgeted for gas this pay period and last pay period to bring the total payment up to $405.

 On Monday I will renew my home warranty at a cost of $550 which I will charge to my capital one card.  I also will pay any fee it takes to e-file my taxes.  I have budgeted a $279 payment to the capital one card from my February 14, 2014 pay check.  (*** reminder this capital one card is 0% interest until December of 2014.***) I will probably also use the $300 set to go into my house fund to pay on this card as well  on February 14, 2014. 

Despite all of this I have a comprehensive dental exam on February 7, 2014.  I know the exam alone will cost $154.  This will go on the card as well.  I already know I have a lot of dental work to be done, but I may only get the necessary items done right now unless the dentist is willing to work out a deal for everything.  Otherwise, the other things (other than cleanings) will wait until next year and shoot, I might be able to take the medical deduction if it costs as much as I expect it will.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Mortgage and taxes

I plan to prepare and file my taxes on Monday.  I should receive my W-2 on Friday when I receive my paycheck.  I already have received the tax documents from my mortgage company and my student loan companies.  I believe I have everything I need in hand in order to prepare my taxes.  This will be an interesting year because this is the first time that I will file my taxes and be able to claim the mortgage interest deduction, etc.  I purchased my home last May and I made the first mortgage payment in July of 2013.  I have done a little research online to determine what deductions I will be able to take as a result of purchasing a home.  I also did a few of the free online tax return estimators.  It appears that at most I will receive about $100 back.  I ran the calculations out for future years and it appears that in 2015 I will receive approximately $1,200 back if nothing changes.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Debt Background

This is my second time drafting this post.  I accidentally deleted my first attempt, geez! Well hold on to your hats cause this is a long one!

I have been a mess, financially, for quite some time.  I got my first job as an attorney in mid-2005, working as an attorney for the State of Florida.  I had a salary of approximately $46,000 a year.  Definitely, not my dream job or salary.  However, I was 23 years old and did not have a clue about money management and I decided since I was an attorney I needed to spend like one.  Let's just say it didn't go well, I made all of my minimum payments on my credit cards and student loans.  I also charged what I felt like charging on my credit card.  By 2010 I decided that I needed to get my finances in order.  I had been paying on my student loans for almost five years and there was no end in sight.  The first thing I did was take stock of my situation, I realized I had a lot of debt and too little income.  By then, I was making $57,500 a year at a small law firm doing personal injury defense.  Mostly, auto accident defense work.  I decided to ask for a raise after 2.5 years of working at the firm.  My boss seemed pleased with my work, but had never offered to increase my salary.  It was well known through the firm (and the community) that my boss did not like to give up money if she did not have to.  She was also very misogynistic, she disliked women and often expressed her preference for working with men.  I knew I had a hard battle so I decided that I would ask for a very small raise and then look for a new job ( I had previously looked for a new job, but due to the recession there were very few openings). I emailed my boss and asked to speak with her about a raise, she ignored me for about 2 weeks.  I finally spoke to her and tried to get her to state a number first, but she wouldn't so after 45 minutes I grew tired of the game and I asked for a $5,000 raise.  She quickly acquiesced, but made it seem like it was quite a struggle.   I was elated that I was finally making over $60,000 ($62,500 to be exact!), but I knew that I was being underpaid.  I used the extra money towards paying off one of my smaller student loans.  It was the first time that I ever felt that I could get ahead of my finances.  It was still slow going, but I could actually see the progress.

It took me about 8 months, but I finally found a new job at the firm I am currently at now. I knew going in that I needed to make at least $65,000, but that number could go up or down based on the benefits offered.  (I got hosed when I left the State because I did not realize that the small firm I went to did not cover 100% of the insurance premiums like the state did.  I was paying over $300 a month pretax for insurance.  I got only 5 days of vacation a year compared to about 80 vacation/ sick days with the State, etc.)  Anyways, my current boss offered me $70,000 year and I took it readily.  The firm covered all, but about $25 of the insurance premium per month, we got 5 vacation days and 5 sick days for the first year of employment, 10 vacation days after the first year and 15 vacation days after 5 years.  The increase in my income was unprecedented.  Just the extra $300 a month that I had been paying to insurance made a huge difference to my income.  It was like I had gotten a instant $10,000 a year raise.  I started working there in mid-2011 and I paid off the smallest student loan very quickly within 2 or 3 months of working there.  I paid off another small student loan within a few months thereafter.  I also had an outstanding car loan that I had paid a little extra on over the past few years.  I was able to pay that loan off by December of 2011.  Life was pretty great.  In January of 2012 I decided my main goal for 2012 was to pay off my credit card debt.  By 2011 I had pretty much stopped charging things on my credit cards, but I still had a large total balance.  When I calculated the total in 2012, it was over $19,000.  I think at one point it was over $23,000.  Nevertheless, I cut my spending, I got on a budget and I set about paying off the debt.  I cancelled my credit card protection plans and every extra dime I could muster up when towards debt payoff.  Things were going well too well, I fretted and worried at every turn that I would not be able to get those cards paid off.  I had never had that kind of luck or progress with debt my whole life.  I used a balance transfer from Chase which offered 0% interest for 15 months for a 1% fee.  It helped tremendously! However, by November of 2012 I paid off every single one of those cards! I actually became credit card debt free!  Additionally, in December of 2012 we got 2 weeks pay as a Christmas bonus.  I put that money into my savings account for a house.  Because of all my good luck and progress I decided to help my sister with her credit card debt.  I transferred $6,000 of her debt to my chase card.  I paid it off in March of 2013.  I also got my 10% raise in January of 2013 (it was announced to me in November of 2012).  After I paid off my sister's $6,000 worth of debt I saved like crazy for a house. Then in May 2013 I closed on my home.  It took most of my savings, but I put 5% down.  In June of 2013 I took another $6,000 of my sister's credit card debt and transferred it to my chase card.  Then in October of 2013 I paid off yet another student loan that was originally $9,000.  We also received another Christmas bonus in December of 2013.  (It was for about $2424 after taxes, I gave $500 to my mother and $500 to my sister).  That takes us to the present.  I will set forth my present financial situation in a separate post as this one is already super long!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hodge podge

I get paid on Friday so I will do a rundown of the debt payments sometime this weekend or early next week and also give a status on where I stand financially. 

 I found a job that I am interested in applying for in the same city where I now live, unfortunately I don't have any experience in the area of practice.  I don't know that I am super ready to leave the firm I am with now, but I guess that's a decision that I will let a higher power decide.  I don't like the way that I feel when I go to or think about work.  I would really like to stick things out though and find a place to ground myself.  Good things have happened for me since I started worked there, but I just don't think I'm happy. 

The thought of finding a new place to work excites me.  How much should I ask for salary wise?  Is there an opportunity to increase the speed of my debt payoff.  In all likelihood I won't ever get an interview, but sometimes it's nice to dream, isn't it? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Whine about work

I've been practicing law for almost 9 years now.  It's a tough job, it's a lot of stress and you take a lot of abuse from other lawyers, judges, clients and, of course, your boss.    I've been at this particular law firm for 2 years and 9 months and at first I loved the firm.  The people were nice, the pay was great and the work was interesting.  However, as with all jobs, true colors have started to show through.  My boss is extremely lazy and barely shows up in the office. This does not particularly bother me, however, he retains all decision making power so it slows up (and sometimes makes it impossible) to get any work done.  However, this leaves me with no help in preparing all documents (motions, pleadings, discovery responses and correspondence).  I also, take on a significant portion of all hearings and depositions scheduled by the office.  He fosters a bad environment by barely coming into the office and failing to enforce any rules or consequences.  For example, his assistant now barely comes into the office anymore.  She comes in late just about everyday and she now loves scheduling last minute half days to stay home with her step kids.  Again, this would not be problematic, but we are a small law firm.  The staff consists of one partner (my boss), his assistant, me (associate attorney), my assistant(who's part time), a paralegal, and a runner (part time).  Much of my time is spent answering the telephone as his assistant is not there to answer it and much of my time is spent finalizing and filing documents because there is no support staff present to do it.  She also has stated that she knows how to manipulate him and does so as necessary when she wants to go home early.  She has gotten about four raises in the three years she's been there.  In the same time period the paralegal who has been there for over 20 years has gotten 1 raise.  I have gotten 1 raise.  My assistant has gotten 1 raise in the 6 years she has been there.  I fear this manipulation is taking on an extremely duplicitous flavor.  I actually do like my boss' assistant, but I think now it's time to have a talk with him about this situation, not I need away to address it without throwing anyone under the bus, but getting my point across that I have work to do.  I have no intention of mentioning the manipulation, just the lack of support staff presence.  I'm blogging about this because my income comes from my job.  It's important to me to have a place to work (a place to draw my income from) that does not bleed me dry emotionally or mentally.  I always arrive at work an hour early, I typically work through my lunch breaks and occasionally stay late.  I simply cannot add an additional job to my already bulging basket.  Any way, I'm not quite sure how or when to address this with the partner.  I will post on this blog when I finally figure out a way to address the situation and what the result is.  My guess is that nothing will come of it, but I've been there for almost 3 years.  I guess if things continue to get worse I will take this as a symbol from the universal that it is a time to move on. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Well hello out there world wide internet.  Welcome to my little corner of the web where I hope to blog a little bit about my struggle to be debt free. So, let me introduce myself.  I am a 31 year old female residing in northern Florida where I earn my living as an attorney.  I currently earn $77,000 a year at a small law firm in the area.   For the last three (3) years I have received a Christmas bonus equating to approximately two (2) weeks pay (last year 2013 it was $3208-gross and approximately $2414-net).  Also, last year, we received a Labor Day bonus netting $500. 

I have the following debts:
$28,350 student loan
$1,121 credit debt (I decided to assist my sister with her debt-more on that later-this represents the remainder I have to pay off.  It should be paid off in February of 2014).
$800 credit card (This is the balance from my eye appointment and contacts earlier this year as well as my car registration.  This is 0% credit card until December of 2014.  I use this card mostly for gas and big purchases because I earn 1.5% cash back.  I will soon add the $550 renewal charge for my home warranty to this card.  I may also have to add some expensive dental work to this card as well.)

I plan to blog about my debt, my income, my expenses, my budget and my job.  I may also post about weight loss from time to time as I am also working (unsuccessfully) on dropping about 30lbs.   I hope that this will be an very informative and helpful blog to others in my same situation.  I do follow several other debt blogs on the internet and find it consoling to read about others struggling with debt as I do.  I just need a quiet place to share my frustrations, my struggles and my jubilation.  I am on a journey to be a better person, but I need a place to vent, scream and share my childlike temper tantrums from time to time.