Thursday, June 25, 2009

Payday and New Glasses

Today was payday Wednesday. What did I accomplish?

Well, for starters, let's look at a couple of things that didn't make it into my previous post. When I went to our rural house this past weekend I got to catch up on 6 or 7 months of mail! Fun. I really don't get a lot of mail there. There's my monthly statement from my credit union there, but I can check that online. And there's a bunch of stuff from the guy who is the MLA for that constituency, some of which is interesting to read because it brings up issues that are local to that area (things I don't see on TV or read in the paper in the city) but it's all just FYI stuff.

Then there's the "boil water advisory" from the local water system. I wasn't around for that, or the rescinding of same, but reading it (there's at least one at some point every year) reminds me of why I use bottled water. Okay, that and looking at yellow water with stuff swirling around in it when I take water from the tap.

But the most important mail that arrived in my absence was from the government: my property assessment, my property tax assessment and my rural garbage bill. I paid my property taxes a couple of months late last year and somehow never got around to paying the garbage bill. This year it's been rolled over onto my property taxes, which are due July 2nd. My assessment was interesting. The value of the property went up last year by a few grand but I'm paying property taxes this year based on the previous year's lower value. This has to do with the whole real estate decline and the economy. For this year, they're looking at both years and just charging based on whichever was the lowest year. That's fine with me!

The garbage bill bugs me. I'm rarely there. We put out garbage or recycling there maybe 6 or 8 times per year, but I have to pay for weekly pickup because there's no provision for pay-as-you-go. Last year it was about $120, or $10 per month. Since I'm behind on last year's payment I now owe about $133, what with penalties and interest. This year's bill is $165 or $13.75 per month. It's already due, but it has to be paid by the end of August or there's a penalty. The tax bill, including last year's garbage bill, has to be paid by July 2nd or there's a penalty on that.

So, how am I going to pay these? My original "plan" was to put money away for this every month. That hasn't happened on a regular basis although I have some money. I also got a very nice bonus, in that a cheque from Terasen was sitting at the house, waiting for me. Remember how I was getting billed for gas last year even though I couldn't possibly use it? Well, I had successfully argued the bill and it was eventually reversed. However, I'd already paid over $60 in gas bills initially. The cheque (which luckily wasn't stale dated yet) was a refund for all that! The night that I went into town I popped that money into my rural credit union account along with the BC Benefit cheque I regularly direct into there. Now I have to remember to transfer money into there from ING to pay the balance owing on the property taxes. I'm going to be out there from July 1st to 5th, so I'll go into town on the 2nd and pay my taxes in person on their due date.

As for this year's garbage bill, I'm going to have to come up with money for it by the end of August and I'll probably wait until close to that point to pay it. Okay, so that catches me up on the rural finances. Let's get to payday!

I worked slightly fewer hours than usual this pay period and my cheque reflected that. However, I also got a cheque for a side project I'd taken on. My regular cheque will cover the usual end of the month/beginning of the month bills. The extra cheque means that I'm finally getting my new glasses!

I went for an eye exam this afternoon and Dear Child helped me select my new frames at Lenscrafters! If I had simple vision problems and a mild correction I'd have my new glasses by now but, alas, I have to wait 10 days. I have astigmatism, am severely near-sighted, have also become far-sighted in my old age and have corneal issues. However, the lenses were currently 50% off, so my expensive lenses now cost what normal lenses usually cost. And I wouldn't look at frames that cost over $200. That limited me quite a bit, since I also can't wear the kind that has a plastic bridge. The little nose piece has to be adjustable because the bridge of my nose is quite narrow and, even with high index lightweight lenses, they're fairly heavy. Glasses with a molded plastic bridge continually fall down my nose and I'm perpetually pushing them up.

The total cost of the glasses was just under $450, including tax, and the eye exam was $95. We have a glasses clause in our extended medical through Hubby's work that pays $150 toward glasses every couple of years. I'm not sure if the eye exam is also covered or not, but it was worth it to me to have it today. I couldn't get into my opthamologist until mid-September and I've already been putting up with these broken glasses for 3 whole months. I'm tired of them falling off when I bend my head and I'll really feel safer driving when I replace them!

My cell bill is due, but I need to call them and make them explain $25 odd in extra charges (minutes that were billed at .35 per minute). Since almost all my calls involve my Fab Five or whatever they call it, I can't imagine how I have calls that exceed my basic number of minutes. The one thing I liked better about Fido (okay, there had to be *something* good about them) was that every single call was listed on the bill, in or out, with the number of seconds and how much, if anything, I was charged for it. What I may do is just pay the regular amount owing, plus my .70 in long distance charges and then dispute the balance. But, at least, I'll be mostly current.

So that's it. I spent a huge amount of money on myself today and, yes Abby, I feel guilty! But we are supposed to get $150 of it back and I haven't had new glasses in at least 5 years and maybe as long as 8 years. I know I needed them, but it would have been nice to pay down debt instead.

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