Friday, February 26, 2010

Pay Raise and Bonus (or is it?)

Wednesday noon I got my salary transfered to my bank account. It was strange because it was only the 24th but then I remember that this month has only 28 days.
Later in the day we got called into my boss's office. He went on to explain that we would get a salary "adjustment" to match inflation. We'll, that's usually what we get every year so no news there.
But wait! there's more. We are also going to get a Bonus pay on July, not the one required by law but something extra that is called a vacation bonus. For a normal employee it would mean that when they go on vacation they would also get a bonus payment to probably pay for whatever they are going to do while on vacation.
In my case it doesn't apply because I can't take a lot vacation time. My boss knows this and yet he complains to me that I have too much vacation time pending, I have almost 50 days of vacation time. I requested 2 weeks and then I wanted to change it to 3 weeks and he said no. Only two weeks because X person was comming over , or Z proyect needs my supervision and that later in the year I could take another two weeks. and so on. Great, in the meantime i'm accumulating another 20 days of vacation time so next year we'll be in the same spot.
Anyway. The bonus. So we are told it's 50% of our normal monthly pay. Great news right? Wrong. It's just a juggling act with the numbers. Our pay "adjustment" was already budgeted for this year for some time already. But we had complained that our sister company that doesn't actually provide any services or generates anything close to the level of income that we do, have that bonus payment.
Our boss had told us that he had been told they didn't have that benefit, but one of their employees came down one day and talking about something else we came to that subject and she disclosed in full how they get that bonus. So that was a little help for us.
Our boss had been juggling with the idea of giving us a pay adjustment or a bonus but not both. So the day before the big annoucement he had me come into the office to help him with some math and I figured out what he was going to do. I think he let me know because i'm the #2 in the company but still i'm not the one calling the shots so it felt awkward to know how the trick was pulled.
He was going to take the bonus from the already budgeted raise and have our pay adjustment be the difference. So if someone was going to get a 7% increase in their pay, now they would get only a 4% increase and the 3% (times 14, the number of montly payments we get each year) would be the "bonus" for July.
So from an administrative point I think it was a cool idea to keep the budget from increasing. And my coworkers were happy to get the adjustment AND the bonus. But for me who knew how the trick was pulled it was a bit of a letdown.
I guess the good side of this is that it's a forced saving for me, and so when I get that bonus I will be more interested in spending it wisely (probably paying bills or school for my girls).
I guess like they say, I shouldn't have watched how that sausage was made.
I think we already got the raise but i'm not exacting sure how much take-home pay I will get. I'm planning on request most of that raise be automatically sent to my emergency fund.
I already increased the savings to that account to 2000lps each quincena and i'm saving 600lps on the freedom account too. I managed to do that by taking the amount that we got deducted in january and may for municipal taxes and divert it to those accounts.
I'm totally surprised at how one can manage to live on the amount of money we get to take home. I remember when I started saving 200lps on my emergency fund and now i'm saving ten times that amount and still make it to every payday. Or well almost, sometimes I do dip into it but it's still growing.
I gotta write another post about how i'm doing with paying debt. This is already long enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling down

I was recently changed the schedule of my anti-anxiety meds in the process of trying to wean me out of them. Unfortunately the adjustment phase means I have some periods where I do experience anxiety, usually mornings and early evening as it's about when the effect is wearing out.
That plus the actual problems of every day life and of trying to get out of debt with a family that is 50% behind me makes it more difficult than usual to get thru the day without feeling sorry for myself and just plaining cry out of despair.
The only good thing I guess is that I know it's my brains abnormal reaction to events that otherwise I wouldn't really let them get to me. I feel the morning chill down my spine and the urge to just sit there and let time go by when I know I have a ton of stuff to do, the urge to to repeat a motion like stroking an arm or hair just because it's a natural stress releiver. All the signs of the onset of an anxiety attack. Fortunately it never materilizes either because I take my med in the following minutes or because by recognizing it I make it go away.
In any case I just felt like pointing out because I imagine that some people might not just be fighting with debt but also fighting with the feelings that come from debt. The exhaustion of thinking about saving on everything all the time. The guilt when splurging on something or paying more than expected. etc.
And it's the crappy little things of every day like a car that runs rough, heavy traffic in a place that usually has none. More user support requests than usual. Hard to solve problems from bosses, calls for help when trying to get some peaceful time, etc. It's easy to let it pile on if one is not aware tha it's a mental issue.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed by things around, it might be time to get some mental help. I know I could have all of this feelings go away by increasing my med dose, but then I wouldn't be moving forward in trying to stop taking it. I could also wait until I don't have debt or problems and stop my medication then, but I do have a plan to get rid of my debt, however problems will always be there, it's part of my job and part of life.
Darn, I have to finish this software deploy, answer phones and print reports. See you later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Double payday!

In my last post I was writing that my morning job payments were comming in a little delayed. Well, my payment from Jan 1 to Jan 15 was VERY delayed. It arrived today, 15 days after I sent the invoice.
However it seems they also included payment for the invoice I sent YESTERDAY. I still have to add both invoices and figure it out but from the amount I got It does seem like that's what they did.
Now comes my dilema. Should I keep asking them about my payment each time or should I accept their "forced monthly" payment scheduled? I hate asking for my payment. It's not like they ask me for my work over and over. But my debt re-payment schedule is set to work with two payments per month from them and changing it would surely make it complicated for me since I would get behind payment on some of those debts.
Now I have to go off and make payments. It's not as fun as going shopping but getting that payment number crossed from the payment plan sure feels good.
Have a GREAT day!

Playing with Fire

Well today I got a call from Promerica. It's the bank with which I arranged to turn in my credit card and start a debt repayment schedule. I'm about halfway with them of the 36 months's term.
I thought it would be one of those calls reminding me that I was a few days behind my payment. I've been getting my morning job payments a bit late and so I get called on it and even threatened to be taken to legal department if I miss two payments. I really don't want to but sometimes the money is not there when it's due. Lately i've been mostly on time in keeping only 30 days late.
My surprise was even bigger when I hear someone talking to me in a happy voice from the "credits" deparment instead of the "collections" department. That was strange.
Right away they told me that due to my "good customer record with them"...I almost laughed out loud but I managed to keep it a a grin...they were offering me a credit card that would give me 5% back on fuel purchases and 10% back on restaurant purchases.
My first instinct as has been with the previous 5 or 10 calls from other companies offering me credit cards, insurance, lines of credit, etc was to say no.  However I thought about it and considered that lately i've been able to carry one or two credit cards in my wallet and actually NOT use them even when I was very short on money.
Here the two sides of my mind started playing with me. One side says "just say no, stay the course". The other side says "you spend at least 4000lps on fuel alone each month, that's 200lps back each month"..then it added "On weekends you spend between 200 and 800lps, you could get back 20 to 80 lps back".
So after asking about interest rates and other fees, of which I was told there are none, I told them to go ahead and mail the card to me.
I'm going to play it slow and request it to have a credit limit of $500 even if they give me $5500 like on the one i'm paying back now. I'm going to use an actual can I have here and put the gas money there or go to their office to deposit the money after every couple of purchases. If I find myself not paying the full amount I will stop using it and put it on my office drawer until I get the balance back to zero.
I know I'm playing with fire but I think i'm taking enough steps to make sure I don't get third degree burns today, maybe I might get something like a sunburn but I hope that it will actually help me save.
Let me hear what you think.