Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watch Your Savings Disappear! Fa La La La La La La La Laaaa!!

Oy vey, what an expensive month December has been! And I've been very good about the Christmas presents.

They say bad news comes in threes. My savings and checking accounts certainly hope this is true. Here's why:

1. Sick Cat

To quote Mastercard, having Millie get better has been priceless. But it doesn't lessen the impact of the $800+ vet bill for two nights in the hospital, all the procedures and tests done, special food, two different medicines, and an IV.

I love my cat, and she is worth it. Seeing her eyes brighten, her tail go back up, and hearing her rumbling purr as we fall asleep at night is so worth the cost. I wouldn't take it back for one second.

But that dented my savings account pretty badly.

2. Car Service

My car is at about 62,000 miles, so it was time for the 60,000 mile check-up. I took it to Autowest Mazda in Roseville yesterday, and was given the quote of $525. MUCH less than I expected. Mom and Dad had offered to pay it as a Christmas present, so I was feeling pretty good.

Then the guy called me today. My brakes need attention, and I need new spark plugs and a fan belt. There are a couple of fluids that need changing out that aren't part of the normal service at 60,000 miles.

"Okay, how much?" I asked, warily, standing in the middle of Raley's.

"Well, when I combine the $525 I quoted yesterday, with the other stuff, it comes to $1,625."

Somewhere in Raley's is the egg I laid when I heard this ammount.

"Oh, and, you can get away with your tires for another month or so, but those will need to be looked at soon, too."

Holyfreakinhell!!! Pardon my language, but really! Oh! My! God!!

I told him to go ahead. I rely on my car too much, and live too far from my family to not get this stuff done. Mom and Dad are still going to pay, but I'm going to pay them back for half of it...next month, when I have my next paycheck.

Mom and I got in the car to run some other errands and I started crying. There goes my London Fund.

But wait! There's more.

3. Cell Phone Woes

In July, I treated myself to a cell phone upgrade. I traded in my dinky little free phone and splurged on the LG Shine. It's a nice phone, and I really like it.

Today, in Raley's, I dropped it. No, not when the car guy gave me the new cost, but actually before.

The good news is, my phone is working for what I need it for: phone calls.

The bad news is, the display screen is all wonky now. Mom had to go to Sears, so I ran a short distance to the AT&T store. There is a crack in some part that affects the screen. The guy there gave me a card of a business and said, "Mention us, and he'll give you a good rate. I dropped my Blackberry, and he fixed it beautifully, and cheaply."

I don't have an estimate yet, but am assuming it will be another expense to take on.

But There's Hope

When I go back to school on the 5th, I will be starting a new thing: teaching the two preschool classes every day. My school is one of five in the district experimenting with the preschool program, and they want daily art/music to be part of it. So I'll be working with the itty-bitties every day. Thing is, the AM preschool session's music time will interfere with my prep, and the PM preschool sessions music time will be from 2:30-3:00, which is after my normal teaching time.

Because of this, I'm getting paid extra, according to my principal. I've just looked up my hourly rate, and if I'm looking at the right column (I don't remember off the top of my head and don't have access to a check stub at the moment), my hourly rate is $34.56. I'd be teaching an extra hour each day, and so earning that much extra per day.

Multiply that by five days in a week, and you have $172.80. Multiply that by four (average) weeks in a month and you've got $691.20. Multiply that by the five months I'll be working until summer vacation, and you've got $3,456. That, my friends, is a London trip, even after Uncle Sam takes his share.

I can live off of what I already earn, and put the preschool earnings in my savings account each month. So yes, December has been expensive...but my cat is better (*knock on wood*), my car will be running (and my tires are under warranty), and my cell phone will be back to normal.

*sigh* When it rains, it pours, right?

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