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Archive for February, 2008

LASIK Update

February 17th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

My procedure was performed Friday morning. I was nervous, yet felt I was in good hands, having chosen a respectable doctor with extensive experience. The entire process took only minutes and immediately after surgery I was seeing well, although it was cloudy and blurry. I've been using the drops they prescribed and after my check-up consultation yesterday, the doctor says I am almost 20/20 already. (The blurriness is to be expected at first, and will subside over time.)

This feels like a miracle. I can see my feet in the shower and I don't have to put on glasses to get a drink of water at night! Twice I have caught myself pushing up phantom glasses on my nose and last night as I lay down for bed, I reached with both hands to take off glasses I no longer need! 20 hours after the surgery, I was able to drive myself the 65 miles to the laser center for my follow-up appointment. Without glasses!

After the appt. I went shopping for non-prescription sunglasses (for the first time ever) and found a pair that rang up for $1.65!

IRS Tax Refund

February 9th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I e-filed and received my refund, directly deposited, in seven days.

LASIK!

February 9th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

My LASIK consultation appointment was fantastic! The doctor told me I have suitably thick corneas and my prescription is stable, therefore I am a good candidate for the procedure. The entire appointment took 90 minutes, and I got to see an actual surgery happening that day. (It wasn't as gruesome as I anticipated.)

However (since my pupils are rather on the large side) to help prevent the possiblity of night halos and glare, I'll be having Custom Wavefront LASIK which adds about $300 per eye.

The initial price was $1999 per eye, but they knocked off a few hundred due to the fact that I told them my boss's wife had the procedure done at their facility in 2004, and I made an appointment to have it done within a week. I was hoping to get a 15% discount through my vision insurance, but that only applies to in-network facilities. Regardless, the couple hundred they knocked off equals that anyway. Additionally, if I put this on my credit card I can shave off another 2% (cashback). I will pay it off, as usual, at the end of the month.

The total final price will be $3500. My appointment is set for Friday!

LASIK Consultation and more...

February 7th, 2008 at 05:52 pm

I got paid today and my raise showed up on the check. This is good, because I heard one co-worker say hers took 2 months to kick in. In addition, it seems that not only did the raise kick in, but they applied the new rate to the entire last 2 weeks of work. (I was expecting only 3 days on this check to have the increased rate.)

I made an consultation appointment for LASIK tomorrow! I am hopeful the cost will be less than $3000, but am prepared to hear more toward $4k.

As stated in my last post, I am transferring money to my "far-away" savings account to pay for this procedure. In addition to my previously mentioned amounts, I have also decided to add any extra on my paycheck (OT, and the amount that equaled my raise).

My Challenge

February 6th, 2008 at 03:37 am

I've decided to move the following amounts to the savings account each month:

interest earned from checking account (~$20)
$1 for every No Spend Day (~$10-$15)
any $ under budget (~$15)

My goal is to average $50 per month. After containing most of my money in the checking account the past few months, I haven't been able to chart my savings as well as I'd have liked. Unfortunately, lately, my savings each month has been "whatever is left over." Now that my 401k contribution has edged to 17%, there hasn't been that much "left over" lately.

Bank Rates

February 3rd, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Six months ago, I opened a savings account at a bank 60 miles away which was offering 5.12% APY. The idea was to put the money just far enough out of reach so as not to touch it.

Two months later my community bank offered a great new account (see post below re: 5.61%), so I consolidated most of the money back into checking. It felt peaceful to have the majority of my money together in one account again, although I left the savings account open (albeit minimally funded), to take advantage of either account's better interest rate in the future.

Fast forward through the recent interest rate drops, and the savings account has edged ahead, still offering 4.0% APY (for now). I'm debating whether to move the bulk of my checking back. I'm sure as soon as I do, the interest rates will fall again.

I realize I'm obsessing over a difference of 0.18%, but this has become my passion lately.


UPDATE: Today the savings account rate has dropped to 3.85% APY. I'm glad I refrained from transferring out the money.

Interest Rates

February 2nd, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Late September my bank began offering an interest bearing checking account with an outrageous 5.61% APY as long as you:
make at least 10 debit transactions
make one direct deposit
make one electronic bill pay
sign up for e-statements

I left the bank that day with a headache from smiling too hard =) It seemed they had tailor-made this account for me; I was already complying with each stipulation!

Since its inception, the interest rate has dropped twice (understandably). It is now down to 3.82% APY. Which is still good, but I mourn the loss of 5.61%! At least I enjoyed it for a while.

Uncle Sam

February 2nd, 2008 at 09:47 pm

After receiving my final 1099 last Thursday, I e-filed my taxes through H&R Block's Free File. I don't qualify for any EITC, but I did get $200 saver's credit for 401k contributions (the maximum for singles with my income level). Gotta love that 10% return!

I'm expecting a refund of $747, six hundred of which is slated toward my Roth IRA.

My effective tax rate was 6.83%

Insurance - Part 2

February 2nd, 2008 at 04:19 pm

After not hearing from my insurance company in 2 days regarding their weird billing structure, I called to see if there had been any progress deciphering the amount. Underwriting simply cannot explain why removing $202 worth of medical payments insurance only results in a decreased premium of $141. (I suspect that having the medical payments coverage makes you "safer", which gives you higher passive restraint discounts, etc. but why can't someone at the company know/explain that?)

Over the previous two days, my agent shopped four other companies because she was not satisfied with underwriting's convoluted answer. However, the 4 other companies were far more expensive than the coverage I currently have; one was TWICE the amount I'm paying now!

So I have decided to stick with this company. Subtracting the medical payments portion has brought my bill lower than it was last year. I am so thankful to have health insurance through my job this year, thereby not relying on only $10k worth of auto insurance for medical.

I have worried that, if I should have to file a claim someday, will this insurance company not be helpful in processing it? It cannot be worse than my previous not-to-be-named national well-known auto insurance company. When a carful of teenagers ran into me while I was at a stop sign, the claims adjustor told me, "We are not an attorney for you. You need to call the other party's insurance and hassle them to pay this claim." Shocking, I thought I paid the premiums so that they would do that job for me!