Monday, November 3, 2008

Personal finance miscellanea

First of all, let me say that I am so, so grateful for health insurance. I got food poisoning or the stomach flu last week (does it really matter which at that point?), and ended up going to the doctor ($20 copay) and getting a prescription ($25 copay) which brought me back to life. I totally missed Halloween—I didn’t dress up or even eat any candy. And I didn’t WANT any, which is the real sign that you’re sick. If I hadn’t had health insurance, I would still have survived, but I got better at least a few days faster thanks to the antibiotic and I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about how to pay the doctor or the pharmacy for what I needed. This country needs some plan where insurance or low-cost, quality health care is available to every single person. I hope that happens during my lifetime.

Second, I updated my Networth IQ (see sidebar) even though I considered not doing it this month. It’s very depressing. My retirement accounts lost 20% since last month, and overall for the year...oh, I don’t even want to think about it. They’re now worth less than I put in them.

However. I have a long time to go before I retire, and despite the economy, my personal savings are still going up. I am doing well.

Third, while updating my networth IQ, I noticed a charge on my credit card that I most definitely did not make--$125 worth of nutritional supplements (which I don’t use) from a website I’ve never heard of. I will be calling the fraud division and getting a new card, and from now on, I will be using a throwaway card number when shopping online. This is a big pain, and is the third time this has happened to me, I think. Someone needs to fix the system! It’s far too easy for credit card numbers to be bought and sold and used on the web, and while I’m glad that the fraud divisions are aware of it and will be dealing with it promptly, it’s still a pain—I have a mystery shop later this week that I would have used the card for, and now I’ll have to put it on my personal debit card, which loses me reward points, and also my checking account balance will be artificially low until I’m reimbursed (and oh yes—this is the mystery shopping company that I have to fight with to get them to pay me on time).

Fourth, another mystery shopping company stiffed me $2.21 in the check for a shop I did in September. That seems like a small amount, but it’s the principle of the thing--and if they're taking $2 from each shopper, they're making a bundle. I stayed under the max reimbursement, followed the guidelines, had an excellent shop there’s no reason for them to not pay me the full amount I spent completing the shop. I will fight for this.

And lastly, things upcoming: The final installment of Mystery Shopping 102: Taxes. October recap and November goals. Musings on what I’d do if my expenses cut in half, and how that might happen sooner than I’d expected—and if not, why I’m ok with that.

Non-personal-finance related: the trees on the roof garden across the street are a gorgeous fall display. I’m in a good mood.

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