Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dealing with Property Management Companies

Once we got back to the US we needed to find a place to live. Our household goods weren't scheduled to arrive for about 2 months, and there weren't any desirable openings in military housing. Most people usually choose to camp out on the floor with an air mattress, but--UGH! 2 Months of sleeping on an air mattress? PASS! I was lucky enough to find us a short-term furnished apartment a few miles away from the installation. We did a month to month lease so we could move into military housing once something came available. Well, we ended up being in the apartment for about 2 months. On move out day I went to the property management company and asked them to do the inspection with me present. It went great. They said I would receive my deposit back.

As many military members have come to expect, I did not get my full deposit check back in the mail. They didn't deduct anything for damages, but they deducted $90 for "cleaning fees." I knew there was absolutely no way they did any cleaning on that apartment. It was pristine when I left it. I was so mad it felt like there was fire coming out of my ears. I couldn't decide whether to just let it go or to fight it. After a few days I decided to ask for the refund with the expectation I would get nothing. I sent them an email and played it out like there had been some mistake--giving them an easy out, and presented a list of all items that I had cleaned (cabinets, refrigerator, stove, etc). This afternoon my husband got a call that they were sending a check for $90 and had "hit the wrong button" when putting in the charges. Riiiiight....But, it sounds like we're getting our money back! Woohoo!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Update on job situation and life

The husband had his phone interview a while back. It went great! They called about a week later and asked if he was still interested in the position, because they were going to start contacting his references. He said he was interested, and not much later they emailed and said they would like him to come for an in-person interview in early January. Yay! We think there is a very good chance he is going to be selected for this position, but we will have to wait a few more weeks to find out.

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I've been keeping up with Gnucash, and I think I'm going to keep using it. If there were a version of Quickbooks for personal finances, this would be it. Its layout is very similar and it has the ability to produce reports, just like Quickbooks.

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The bugger has been growing up like crazy! Over the last few weeks he has gotten much better at using his fork and drinking out of a regular (not a sippy) cup. His favorite activity by far is playing at the playground in our neighborhood.

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We have only a minimal TSP contribution remaining for December. This year we contributed the full $18,000. I am planning to shut off the TSP for a while, until we know what the retirement plan looks like at the Husband's new job. If it doesn't have a match, then we will turn it back on and max it out for 2016 before he separates from military service. If there is a match then we will leave the TSP alone and contribute nothing for 2016. (We will make the maximum contribution using his new employer's retirement plan).

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Another month passed...

In the last month, we've moved into our house (military housing) and we've gotten settled in (mostly). We are still waiting on some items we've had in storage to be delivered. Our home is not metered, which means we won't be able to save on utilities, but we won't have to pay anything either.

The Husband has gotten a request for a phone interview, and it will take place next week. We're still early in the hiring season, but we hope he will get a few more bites in the next several weeks.

I've been experimenting with a new bit of financial software I heard about. The software is called Gnucash, and it's free (which is exactly the price I'm willing to pay). I like the double entry accounting-style system, but I'm not sure if it's going to be better for our purposes than the Excel spreadsheets I have been using. We'll see if I can keep our finances organized using it before I ditch the spreadsheets. (I have not received any compensation from Gnucash).

We've nearly maxed out the TSP for 2015, and despite socking away over $1,500 in it this month, our net worth increased by only $400. Hopefully we make better progress in December. We will receive a fair amount of dividends, which will help, but I'm crossing my fingers the stock market comes back up a bit.