Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting Paid!

Today I got some good news.
I'm doing some DBA (database administrator) work for a company in the US. It had been a mystery to me how they would actually send me the money and how would they react to my bill for the work done.
My work consisted on improving the performance of their system. You know when you press the OK button and it takes a while for the computer to display new stuff, my job was to make that go faster.
So I spent many nights reading online documents and forums and logging into their system and tweaking things. After every tweak I would email my contact at the company and ask "can you hear me now?"...actually I would ask "how does it feel now?".
Last weekend I did some big changes in their system and expected to see some really big improvements. Unfortunately monday I got a call from them saying that the system was broken. I quickly undid all my work and still it was broken. I found out more stuff that I had done and undid that and the system was back to work again. BIG SCARE. If there's one thing I hate to do is mess up other people's work. It's an system administrator thing. I want my mark in my job life to be that people don't think of me because the systems are always running ok.
So after that scare they decided some things would be on hold while they looked over my proposed changes and how that affected their system.
By then It had been about a month already and I was wondering if I was going to get paid and the end of the gig or this month , or what. With the Monday mess I was ashamed to come up and ask them when was I going to expect payment (I had already ask before but gotten no answer).
So today, out of the blue my contact at the company tells me they have done a wire transfer for me for the money THEY owe ME :-) for all my work in June and July. It's not much, it's about $1000 but it certainly would give me some much needed financial oxygen.
The transfer should take a couple of days and being Friday I don't expect it until Tuesday at least.
I'm already thinking of what to pay. I have some stuff already paid for the month. I have to put money for my girls school supplies but that was considered to come out of somewhere else. I have some minor repairs that I should do to my cars. The house needs some improvements that I would be refunded for but I have to get them done first. Wife wants some plants, I would love a new external hard drive. So all that is dancing in my head.
However, I really think this is a test. I'm being tested on my determination to get out of debt. While the emotional side of me would like to put some of the money I'm about to receive into debt and some of the money into buying "stuff", my newly anti-debt side is saying that I should put some money into debt and put the rest into my "emergency fund", keeping a tight fist around that hard earned money rather than spending part of it.
What do you think ? Should I just put all towards debt and emergency fund or should I set some of it for spending ? what percent would you spend , save and pay debt ?
Well at least this blog is free


Steve Smith said...

How could you even think of buying stuff? That should not be an option. You've got to go cold turkey on that. Pay down that debt. Reduce the interest burden.

You need to look for ways to reduce monthly expenses like maybe a smaller house or apartment, one car only. Lifestyle changes are not easy but they're only temporary till you get completely out of debt.

AJ said...

I'm glad you agree with my strong side. I was not really looking forward to buying stuff with this money. I will have to keep a lid on this from my wife and kids.

I will however set aside a small amount for my emergency fund. I've seen that in more than debt advice site.

La Gringa said...

Absolutely pay down the debt! Tell your wife no plants until she gets a job! (Oh, by the way, free cuttings from neighbors or family will work just as well and don't cost anything except a little more time.)

Steve is right. Tough as it sounds, you and your family need to be living the pauper lifestyle until you get this black cloud out from over your head. No clothes, no trips, no toys. I would even say no fast food.

You know, you really need the support of your family on this. If you haven't sat down with them and explained the situation....well, I really think you should.

AJ said...

I'm totally convinced I have to put this money down towards debt. Wife got the plants vey cheap with some spare change that she had.

I haven't had a "family meeting" per-se but i've talked to my wife and my daughters and they understand the situation. This last week i've seen big changes in their spending attitudes that were not there in many many months before.

However I think I still need to remind them about our situation with some frequency. I'm going to talk about this in a future post.