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back in the groove

September 2nd, 2010 at 12:10 am

My computer problems are now mostly history, although I still can't print; my new printer has been ordered and should be here on Friday.

I'm loving my enhanced 4 GB of memory; what a world of difference it's making.

A technician came to the house last night and replaced the motherboard, memory and power supply on my brand new Dell, and whatever was causing my problem was fixed by those replacements.

As for what's happening with that job interview, I had, I can tell you now they're doing a background check on me, so I guess i'm still in the running.

On top of that, I also have a phone interview set up with a large financial company in my area. They need a content writer for their continuing education programs, to focus largely on estate planning.

This, after many months of inactivity on the job front.

After that phone interview, which I'll spend all morning preparing for, I'll head south to do another focus group thing with a potato chip company. I'm the "floater," meaning I'll only be interviewed on my potato chip eating habits should one of their scheduled participants fail to show up. Either way, I'll collect $125 for my trouble.

On Friday, I'm having my home undergo an energy efficiency test, complete with blower door test to detect hidden drafts, up to 25 CFLS bulbs, insulation around doors and windows, etc. The work is subsidized by the electric company and normally costs $75, but I got a discount coupon from the Sierra Club website so i only have to pay $50, and i think the cost of those CFL bulbs will practically add up to $50, so it will be worth it.

I'm curious what that blower door test will reveal. This is a 75+ year old house so I certainly expect drafts to be present, although they don't seem severe enough that I really notice them, except for under and around my doorways. The windows seem ok, but who knows?

I went to the bank that holds my mortgage and gave them a check for $22K to apply to my mortgage, bringing the balance down to $38,000. I didn't plan it this way, but having done that means that with my normal payments, I'll have the thing paid off in 6 years, which is the same timeframe I'd been planning on for the many years I've prepaid the mortgage.

I still plan to continue with prepayments, once I get a job, so I expect and hope to pay off the mortgage before the 6 years are up.

Now I don't have to feel so bad as I continue to pay 6% on my mortgage (can't refinance when you don't have a job) and my investments make around 1.2%.

About $12,000 of that $22,000 prepayment came from a taxable mutual fund I liquidated. That will be considered taxable income, but I still think that even with that I should remain in a lower 15% tax bracket.

I'd been planning all year to do a Roth IRA conversion becus i knew my tax bracket would be low, since I'm unemployed. But I decided that paying down the mortgage would have a bigger impact on my finances then doing a big Roth IRA conversion.

4 Responses to “back in the groove”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I'll be curious about your opinion on the CFLs. We haven't found them to be of much benefit in our house. (Decided we just don't use that much light?). Curious, since I know you can be frugal with electricity? I am clearly the only one that feels this way! The only thing we could deduce was that we use so little electricity in the first place (for lighting).

    Good luck on all of the job prospects!

  2. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    A few comments. See if your utility company or government agency has any rebates or incentive. We get a $550.00 rebate for energy efficient furnaces and a/c. Also, cfl's reduce your energy cost by more than 75%. And keep your cfl receipts as they are usually guaranteed for 7+ years and you can just go in to the place you bought them and get a new one if you have the bulb and receipt. There are loads of different types of cfl's, and some are for home use (softer lighting), some for work spaces etc. Consider installing motion sensors if you have kids that forget to turn out the lights. And finally, night lights with cfl's run for about 12 cent electricity cost PER YEAR! Good luck.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Well, actually, I've already been using CFLS for a number of years. (I figured since replacement of up to 25 incandescent bulbs with CFLs was part of the package I'm paying for, I may as well take advantage of it.)

    They're ok, but honestly, I've had many burn out before 7 years time. I think it may be that frequently turning them on for only a minute or so makes them wear out faster, and that they're designed to be on for long periods of time, when they are indeed energy-efficient. I'm guilty of just flicking lights on and off, when i'm moving from one room to another.

  4. Jerry Says:

    I have had good luck with CFLs but will only get the good ones... the cheaper ones give off icky light and make everything all washed out looking. The idea of saving the receipts is a good one because it leads to compensation for the ones that don't last the full time expected, and they aren't cheap. Frankly, though, the best insurance we found for saving electricity was by replacing old appliances. They cost more, sure, but the savings were substantial and immediate.

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