Archive for August, 2008

My Tuition Paid Finally

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

I finally got things squared away with registering for fall classes.  Good thing … the semester officially starts tomorrow!  I start on Monday at the indecent hour of 0800 (8 AM for civilians), but that was the only time biochemistry is offered this fall.

I had my tuition money saved up and tucked away, but it still hurts authorizing a $2021 payment.  Especially after all the headache, pain, and phone calls needed to simply accomplish registration!  Apparently I hit some kind of odd glitch, even though the registrars office refuses to call it that.  I ended up talking to the chemistry department chair to get an override to get me into a class that I was already qualified for.  His called the registration software system “a challenge at times.”  I informed him he was much much more diplomatic than we students are.

I never thought I would miss the days of physically going to campus to register for classes using pieces of paper and standing in line …. but at least then we could talk to real people when problems popped up!

Paid Tuition for Son’s School

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Yeee-OUCH!  I just got back from paying son’s private school tuition, and I honestly cannot remember writing a check that large before in my life.  No joke, I just wrote a check for $5900.  Wow.

I have not only been expecting this, but have planned for it all summer long.  Next week I will probably be authorizing an online payment for my own tuition, so August is the dreaded “tuition month” for us.  I’m expecting my tuition to run $2300-2500, and that will seem easy after this one.

The good news is son’s tuition is for the entire school year, and frees up almost $500 per month since last year I didn’t have enough saved to do the one payment and instead dragged it out over the year.

This year, being debt-free-but-the-mortgage gave us the opportunity to do this all at once.  I thought I would feel good walking in and just writing the check, but now that it’s done all I can think is “Holy cow!  That’s a lot of money!”

Five thousand nine hundred and no/100s dollars.  Wow.  It actually feels weird “moving up” in the world like this.  Maybe it will feel better in a few hours.

Then again, a few years ago writing any four-figure check seemed huge.  Now I can write out $1xxx checks without really blinking an eye (as opposed to nearly having a hairy cat fit in January of 2007 when writing the $1140 check to fix the heat).  Checks for $2xxx (like MY tuition) still make me blink, but don’t quite provoke the “ouch” response like this one did.

Five thousand nine hundred and no/100 dollars.  It’s there.  It will clear.  It will be rebuilt before the first frost.  Wow.  I love not having consumer debt anymore.

Economic Reality and Delivering Pizzas

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Last weekend I mentioned the numbers on the economics of delivering pizzas changed with the new pay scale that went into effect with the increase in minimum wage.  Today in between deliveries, I ran hard numbers from the last two weeks of this new pay scale and it wasn’t pretty.

Minimum wage went up 70 cents an hour, and to compensate the boss man cut our per-delivery pay by 53 cents per delivery.  Since I could only find two nights recedntly where I only ran one delivery per hour or less, this is actually a PAY CUT for me.  Last weekend I was running 2 or 3 deliveries per hour.

Gas prices have eased a little bit in the past week, coming down from $3.99 per gallon for 87 octane to one station only charging $3.65 per gallon.  Since I can remember $0.68 per gallon in 1999, I say “only” with my tongue firmly in cheek.

What my number-crunching this afternoon showed me is my earnings delivering pizzas has taken a nosedive.  When I started driving just one year ago, I was making an average of $14-15 per hour when figuring in hourly, gas offset/per-delivery pay, and tips.  The numbers from these past two weeks has only been $8-11 per hour.  That’s BEFORE gas expenses are deducted.

I just told the boss man to not schedule me anymore, unless one of two things happens:

  • Gas comes back down to $3.25 per gallon or less; or
  • He raises the per-delivery pay

He didn’t look the least bit surprised when I said it.  We drivers tried to stage a mini-revolt last weekend at the employee meeting, and the Boss Man reminded us that Tennessee is a “work at will” state … which means it’s our choice to work or not.  The insiders have been grumbling that they think we drivers were being paid too much before this pay change.

The Boss Man may not have looked surprised, but he also told me he’d look into whether he could raise our per-delivery rate.  For now, I am not going to be scheduled, by my request.  The economics have changed, and it’s just not worth the time away from my family at present.

We’ll be okay financially … that was the point of getting out of debt!  We just won’t be moving as fast towards our financial goals.  Only owing a mortgage and utilities gives us the freedom to make quality-of-life decisions like this.