GI Jane Finances

February 28, 2009

Broke people

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 8:29 pm

*raises right hand*  This will be the last credit card balance transfer ever.  I got my new Discover card in the mail as a result from transferring the remaining $7432 AMEX bill.  I had tried to cancel one of my AMEX cards with a piddly $2k credit line the day I applied to Discover.  The rep said that he would instead submit me for a credit line increase.  I received a notification from AMEX today that is had been denied due to the high balance on my credit line and income.  It surprised me a little bit because I only have $7432 (still hate it) on a different AMEX $35,000-$40,000 credit line.  Maybe since I didn’t update my stated income from 2003?  Whatever.  I plan on finishing my torrid love affair with credit after paying this off.  I am in love with the new Discover card–it has my initials and it’s a pretty blue.  I didn’t realize how credit card design influences you.  I couldn’t cut up my pretty Banana Republic card because it was so nice looking.  Sad, isn’t it?

So, today I made serious headway in paying of the Kyoto trip for three (Brother, Mother and me).  I only have about $110 left to pay.  I paid $2,000 as of today.  The yen rate is 95 yen to a dollar–thank heavens.  I only can withdraw $300 a day and $500 on weekends.  In the next couple of weeks, I will get a passport photo and apply for my China visa.  That will cost about $240.

My mother told me some great news today.  She will send me about $1600 for the trip.  She thought by making the decision to send money would cause me to recoil in shame.  Nope, not at all.  When that did not work she then slyly mentioned that my sister makes more money and worked shorter than I have.  I was like like, “Are you on crack?”  I make more money in two weeks then she makes the whole month.  Plus, I do not pay for any rent/utilities and $90,000 in student loans.   In Nov 08, I wiped out $10k from my savings to pay for closing costs and had to put another $10k on AMEX because it sold under the mortgage.  So, knowing that history and expect me to happily pay for an all Asia 2 person expense trip, she has got to be crazy.  The scary thing was she made this comment after I said I will pay for her ticket to Japan and go in half on my brother.  I also pay $100 in auto insurance so she can drive my car in the states.  When I visit my parents I have to rent a car because they will not let me drive their cars.  Dave Ramsey is right about broke people making fun of you.  But broke, selfish and ungrateful people? Yep.    

Back to the budget:

$208 Roth IRA

$300 cash for yen exchange

$17.55 Banana Republic

$18.16 AMEX

Leaves $2497.13 balance:

$1000 emergency fund

Grand total: $1497.13.

I anticipate $1634 from my mother. In mid-Mar, I plan on making at least approx $2300 payment to Discover.  Therefore, the $7432 bill (w/o the 3% balance transfer fee) will be whittle down at least $4,000.  Woo hoo!

Can’t wait to declare when I am debt free (apart from my rental mortgage).

GI Jane

February 13, 2009

Setback

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 2:12 pm

I had an interesting conversation with my mother yesterday.  My mother and brother will be visiting me late Apr and early May.  We picked the worst time of the year for this visit–Golden Week.  Golden week is when the whole of Japan is on holiday.  Even though they are in a recession, it is still expensive.  After I make my $2300 payment to AMEX tomorrow, I would be $2500 away from being debt free.  Not anymore.

The visit will consist of seeing Kyoto, Himeji castle and Beijing, China.  Since moving here in Aug 2007, I left the country once for school during summer 2008.  Now, I will be moving soon, probably in August to Osan, Korea.  Therefore, this may be the best time to get some destinations out of the way before it is too late.  So, I called my mother to tell her that I wanted to book the leg to China.  She said in the end to book all three trips on my credit card.  The China trip alone will cost $4800 for all three.  The Kyoto package will be $1800.

I hate putting so much on my credit, especially one pay check away from being debt free.  My mother will also go on a cruise mid-March and is probably still paying her past trips away.  She has no problem being in debt.  When I told her I didn’t like to put purchases that cannot be paid off right away, she immediately suspected that there was not a high enough limit.  I said, “I have $40,000 in credit lines, it is not about the availability of credit.”  We are on two different planets.  You would think the conversation would be the other way around. 

More to come on how this will factor into my budget.  The good news is that the Japanese part has to be paid in yen and not immediately on a cc.  The bad news is that the exchange rate sucks to high heaven and 91.51 to a US dollar.

GI Jane

February 8, 2009

Approaching the finish line

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 5:49 pm

It is now the 8th and I have not received my rent for the rental.  I am so glad that I have an emergency fund of $1k.  I usually wait until that 10th to start calling my property manager.  He also needs to send me the tax info on what repairs have been made, his payments and income.  I also need to get tax info from the property manager on the house that was sold.  They are so incompetent…I’d rather not even pick up the phone.  Not sure whether or not I will pay someone to do my taxes.  I am leaning more in that direction due to the properties.

Payday is Friday, so my aim is to pay at least $1500  $2300 on the Amex (balance $4840.58).    I only have one bill which is the insurance for $108.73.   I will only need about $100 this week for food.  So, there will be $2540 left on the cc before they tack finance charges.  I returned two items and will have about $126 credit.

Upcoming expenses will be a trip to Kyoto/China at the end of April.  By then, I will be debt free!

GI Jane

February 5, 2009

Xmas may come early

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 1:34 pm

This bill may give me my $10K back…

Bill may help troops in housing market crunch

By Karen Jowers – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Feb 2, 2009 6:52:59 EST

With the permanent change-of-station high season around the corner, hope may be on the horizon for military homeowners sweating at the thought of trying to sell their homes – as well as those who have already taken financial hits in the dismal nationwide housing market.

A provision in the Senate Appropriations Committee version of the economic stimulus package would add about $411 million to help military homeowners caught in the housing market crisis, including wounded warriors, surviving spouses, those affected by base realignments and closures, and those forced to move on PCS orders.

Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Defense Department’s executive agency for the Housing Assistance Program, are preparing to help homeowners in the expectation that the provision will become part of the final stimulus bill.

In essence, the provision would expand the current Homeowners Assistance Program beyond its current mission of helping military and civilian homeowners relocating because of a base closure or realignment.

Corps of Engineers officials expect that more than 25,000 additional people would be eligible to file claims in the next few years if the new retroactive provision becomes law.

Officials are advising service members who might be eligible to gather necessary documents so they’ll be ready to file a claim if the process is set in motion.

“If we do get a law change, we will give last-minute instructions on what else they need,” said Don Chapman, Corps of Engineers assistant program manager for the Homeowners Assistance Program.

Among other things, homeowners will need a copy of their deed and a utility bill to prove that the home was their primary residence. He said homeowners can apply now, and the Corps will hold onto the application. Service members can visit hap.usace.army.mil <http://hap.usace.army.mil/>  to get more information and download the application packet.

Generally, the provision would allow defense officials to buy the home, pay off the mortgage or reimburse the service member for certain losses incurred during the sale or as a result of foreclosure against the homeowner.

The full Senate is expected to consider the bill the week of Feb. 2. If it is passed by the Senate, the assistance for military homeowners is one of the issues that will be discussed as lawmakers reconcile differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. Lawmakers plan to have the bill finished by Feb. 16.

If it makes its way into law, the homeowner assistance provision would apply
to:

* Service members and Defense Department and Coast Guard civilians injured, wounded or ill in the line of duty during a deployment, with at least a 30 percent disability rating determined by defense or Veterans Affairs officials, who have relocated or will relocate for medical treatment or due to medical retirement.

* Surviving spouses of service members and Defense Department and Coast Guard civilians killed in the line of duty during a deployment, or who died from an injury or illness incurred in the line of duty during a deployment.
Survivors must relocate within two years of the death to qualify.

* Service members under PCS orders to a duty station outside a 50-mile radius of their current station. The primary residence must have been purchased by the owner before July 1, 2006, and sold between July 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2012. The reassignment must have been ordered between Feb. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2012. Defense officials can designate earlier end dates.

* Service members and civilians who must sell their homes to relocate because of 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission actions during the current housing market crisis, without tying the decline in home values to BRAC. Under current law, the Homeowners Assistance Program assists BRAC homeowners only when it can be shown that declining market value in an area is a direct result of a BRAC-related action.

“Because of the nationwide collapse of the real estate market, it is difficult for a service member to demonstrate that a decline in home value is solely the result of a BRAC action,” the Senate Appropriations Committee stated in its report accompanying the bill. “In addition, service members who receive orders to move, wounded warriors, and surviving spouses may also be confronted with the need to sell their homes quickly, and face the prospect of selling at a loss or being forced into foreclosure.”

Corps of Engineers officials are drafting a preliminary rewrite of regulations, preparing to update their Web site, and looking at how they will get the manpower to carry out the new provision.

“We want to be ready to move quickly,” Chapman said.

Moving on up

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:35 am

ar_ltcolMy co-worker just got selected for lt col.  I am so happy for him.  The Marine Corps really kept him in suspense.  The results was supposed to be release early January.  It also did not help to be overseas being a day ahead of the US.  He was waiting on the phone call for all of January.  On top of that, he got his dream assignment to work in New York this summer.  Very well deserved…he does really good work.

I know several good people who have been passed over and it can be devastating.  My friend got selected the second time around, so this year has been nice start for some people.  I meet the 1 year below the zone board in June.  So, I just need to do some minor tweaking.   The time for me to be in suspense will be next year.

GI Jane

February 3, 2009

Still gazelle

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:29 am

Japan Volcano

I was greeted to ash all over my car yesterday due to Mt Asama erupting.  I didn’t even hear the eruption.  It looked like frost at first, but then I was able to wipe it off.  The schools were closed.  I still went to work.

Random notes:  I contributed $200 over for my 2008 Roth.  Do not know how that happened.  I need to get on the horn and move it to 2009.    I made a huge $2300 payment to the CC.  The balance is now $4849.  I will make a $1500 payment on the 15th, which will bring the balance down to $3349.  I may be able to make a bigger payment–but will see.

GI Jane

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