I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!
I want to share with everyone some great news- I got a bonus and a (small) raise! I had my evaluation with my boss a few weeks ago at the end of March. Per company policy, every employee is evaluated once a year. At my evaluation, I was given a 2% raise (which is guaranteed for cost of living increases) and a 3% merit bonus (which is the max you can get based on performance). After a couple weeks, I finally received a check for the bonus on Friday for $1,600 (after taxes). That was a pretty fantastic feeling; It’s nice to just feel appreciated, let alone be rewarded with a check, as well, is amazing.
You may be asking what I did with my check and the answer is nothing. I had the bank deposit it directly into my savings account where it will allow me to feel much more comfortable with a larger slush fund to carry me through (especially now that I have roof problems). And even though my raise is only going to amount to $20 extra dollars a week, every little bit helps, right?
As for this past weekend, GF finally received her Valentine’s gift, which was a get-away to a B&B where we’ve gone in the past (read about my poor V-Day planning here). The place (for anyone who lives in the area- Asa Ransom House) has an amazing old-timey charm and very romantic setting. We’ve been here on multiple occasion, but never for more than 1 night. Here I am in our room:
We decided to wait to go for a couple of reasons- 1) the place offers buy one night, get one night free during the month of April 2) the nicer spring weather would allow us to get out and enjoy some outdoor activities and 3) my mother’s birthday was during the previous week and we could use part of the weekend to celebrate with my parents. And let me tell you- this past weekend was GORGEOUS. We took advantage of the great weather and did a budget friendly activity- we went to the zoo! I personally love going to Zoo’s and so does my GF, so for the $20 it costs, total, it was an awesome and frugal half day well spent. Here we are in the Buffalo Zoo’s new rain-forest exhibit:
As for celebrating my mother’s birthday, over the years I’ve learned one very important thing about my mother- the only gift that she ever wants is to have her family together. This goes for birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, really any holiday at all. I know this will make me sound cheap but I’ve done everything from cards, to small thoughtful gifts, to large practical gifts in the past and they just don’t do anything for her, so this year, instead of a gift, we spent Saturday afternoon and night at dinner and drinking at her favorite hangout. My dad ALWAYS pays, meaning that I/we didn’t, but I know that the time we spend together as a family means more to my mother than any gift or dinner is worth.
All in all, the weekend ending up totaling about $300 for me. I spent $150 on the room (not including a $100 deposit. One night plus fees and taxes for both nights), 1 dinner at the B&B ($90, a stipulation to get the second night free) and $60 in gratuities (I REALLY like it here and the service is top notch). For the $300, if it was a trip that had we taken not a couple months ago, I would have been hesitant to take (hey, it could be $300 more on my debt!) but was very much worth the price tag and very much worth trying to strike a balance in my life.
And, finally, to anyone interested in my current debt amounts:
|Loan Name||Interest Rate||Original Balance- May '09||Current Balance||Total Paid Off|
|Sallie Mae 01||5.25||$27,837.24||$24,119.47||$3,717.77|
|Sallie Mae 02||4.75||$22,197.02||$18,924.45||$3,272.57|
|Sallie Mae 03||7.75||$20,692.10||$0.00||$20,692.10|
|Sallie Mae 04||5.75||$10,350.18||$7,498.52||$2,851.66|
|Sallie Mae 05||5.25||$6,096.03||$2,234.10||$3,861.93|
|Sallie Mae 06 and 07||4.75||$6,415.09||$0.00||$6,415.09|
|Sallie Mae- DOE 01||5.25||$5,000.00||$0.00||$5,000.00|
|Sallie Mae- DOE 02||5.25||$3,000.00||$0.00||$3,000.00|
Have a great week!