Thursday, February 24, 2011

Updates on School, Work, and Finances..

My first session of school (part 1 of the first semester) is done on Monday! That's 2 classes out of the way. Next week I start 2 brand new classes! So far my grades have been great, though I'll have to wait and see what sort of grades I get on my final projects for these 2 classes.

I also changed my major. I had been working towards an Administrative Assistant degree so that I could get a job as a secretary. However, the more I research this type of job, the more I realize that this field generally does not require a degree, only a high school diploma. So why am I paying so much money and wasting so much time to get a degree I won't even need? So, I changed my major to Medical Administrative Assistant. This way, I'm still doing work I want to do, but it will be in the medical field which does require an education, and I believe there are more opportunities in the medical field. I am now much more excited about school, as I do find medicine very interesting.

My job at Subway is going well, I've been there almost a month now. Actually I just got off the phone with my manager a little while ago and she was begging me to change my availability to work a few day shifts a week. She sees me as a very strong employee and wants me there during her busy lunch shifts. I find that to be a compliment, plus, working a few day shifts will get me more hours, and more money! I just have to find someone willing to watch my kids for me on those days, who won't charge me my entire paycheck!

I've not yet found a clerical position that I've been looking for in order to gain experience. I haven't given up, though I have lost a bit of steam when it comes to searching. I do look on occasion, but probably no more than once a week. I still think a clerical position would be helpful, even though I am going into the medical field now. I feel that having clerical experience of any sort will be beneficial when I begin searching for a medical administrative position.

As far as our finances go, our tax money is now basically gone, but I still feel really good about how we've spent it. We paid off a lot of old debts that have been hanging over our heads (though we still have a lot more debt we need to pay). We did make a few unnecessary purchases, but that is bound to happen regardless. Unlike last year, we did use a good portion of our tax money to catch up and get ahead on many of our current bills, that is a load off our minds! I used every dime of the money I received for selling my old Durango to put towards our cellphones.. so now we've paid for about 6 months worth of cellphone service, and we still plan on making monthly payments so that hopefully we will not owe money on our phones during the months of November and December, so we can put that money towards Christmas. As I said, I feel really good about this right now. It's amazing what a wonderful feeling you get from being smart with your money.

As far as my plan to use my paychecks towards savings and debts.. well I'm still running into a dead end in that area. I've not yet been able to open a bank account. A couple of old debts I had were stopping me, as they showed up on a credit reporting agency called Chex Systems. This is specifically for bad bank accounts. We had 2 old bank accounts that closed out with a negative balance. I've since paid them both off, but it takes time to remove my name from the Chex Systems. So now I'm just waiting for that to clear up. In the meantime I'm doing my research on various banks. I'm very careful to find a bank that offers totally free checking, and it's amazing how many banks claim to have totally free checking, but also a list of fees associated with their totally free checking account. Many expect a specific number of transactions per month in order not to be charged a maintenance fee, or they require a minimum balance. The bank we currently use for our joint checking account has a maintenance fee if you do not have money direct deposited into the account at least once a month. I had thought of opening my separate accounts there, but there is  no grace period for not having direct deposit, so for at least the first month I'd be charged a fee until I set up the direct deposit. I just wish banks would stop calling it totally free checking if it's not really totally free!!

I'd also like to find a savings account that offers a decent interest rate on a low minimum balance. So many banks want you to maintain a minimum balance of $100 or $300 on a basic savings account. I'm working part time for minimum wage.. it would take me months to come up with $300, and I did not want to sink my entire paycheck into a savings account, only about a quarter of each paycheck... that will take some time to come up with that kind of money!

So, while I'm waiting for my name to be removed off the Chex Systems, I'm just cashing my paychecks and hiding the cash in a pocket of my wallet, and doing my best not to touch it. So far so good as I'm highly motivated to use it the way I said I would.. for savings and debts!

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