Certification with Possible Increase in Income

Certified Medication Aide GreenAs you read this post I will have started a new class for another certification.  This certification will hopefully further my career.  Four months ago I took on the scary tasks of changing careers and becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.  You can read about it here.

Since then I have been learning the whole* nursing home of 250 people. What feels like a huge daunting task, has become love.  Even the smallest gesture by the wonderful people I work with makes the whole night worth whatever crap I had to go through.  The rest of the time I feel like I am happy 90% of the time.  Something that every guru would disagree with and say could not happen.  This wasn’t even a job I thought I loved, before I even tried for the class I swore up and down that “I hated it”!

Now, instead of hating it I am trying to further my career by becoming a CMA or Certified Medication Aide.  Basically I would be a CNA that could pass medications.  I’ve been wondering if a business management degree is worth anything.  I started thinking that maybe I should go into something in the health care industry.  People asked me that when I first moved here and I said “hell no”.  Now that I am seriously considering it, I figured this certification would be a great real life experience as to what some of the things a nurse might do in my current work environment.

My CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) class was $645.  It ended up being paid back to me (over the next few months) because my current job does reimbursement.  As a CNA my pay rate is about $4 more per hour than my job in the ER with less stress.  This new CMA (Certified Medication Aide) class will be $710 with no chance of reimbursement.  There were rumors about it being paid for, but I found no such luck when I asked Human Resources about it.  I’m looking at a possible $4 more per hour when I am a CMA.  Of course that too is a rumor since I cannot for the life of me, find a job posting with pay on it for this area.

Cost of CNA classes = $0

Pay Increase of $600 per month after taxes**

Cost of CMA classes = $710

Pay Increase of approximately $320 per month before taxes

It doesn’t look like a CMA certification is worth a whole lot right now, but any increase in income is welcome to me.  I could also take the certification and go to other places of business and use this certification as a second job.  I don’t necessarily have to use it where I currently work.  Although, there is a guarantee of 8 hours every week once accepted into the CMA pool at my current job.  Besides if I like the real world experience a CMA job gives me, who knows, I might just continue my education in health care.  I’ve gone this far.


*Complete exaggeration.  Working the overnight shift allows me to learn 4 areas or approximately 150 people.  There are 250 residents in the building.

**CNA pay was drastically increased because my last job would never give me full time hours.

Back on Track for the Holiday Season

I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog.  I wrote and wrote and wrote, but never published anything.  I wrote for school, I wrote down my thoughts, I wrote about everything.  Nothing financial showed up on the computer screen.  It was all about frustrations with work, or school or life.  I talked about the good, the bad, and nothing in between.  I stopped thinking financially and started just living life.  I can’t say it was bad, I just had nothing I wanted to write about.

I’m back on track

I’m in school for business, but also taking a Certified Medical Aide class at the same time.  These two don’t allow me to have much time outside of the classroom, except to eat, some sleep, and clean.  I do all my talking at work, so I’m not missing the social life too much.  I’ve only been missing down time.

The only down time I have had lately is when I was sick for a week.  I had the flu, which meant I wasn’t allowed to work, but still had school work and housework.  I will be writing about the cost of getting sick.  All I can say for now is thank goodness I have good insurance.  I only had the flu, but medical costs around this area are crazy high because the insurance sucks.

Minimalism Start

I had to take a step away from school for a few hours to keep my sanity.  During that time I cleaned my closet and started cleaning my house.  More on that later, but let’s just say I am on a good start for trying out minimalism living.

As for the rest of my financial life, I have decided that I will think about moving to another area.  I won’t make this decision fully for two years, because I have to finish school first.  In that time I will downsize, fix up my house, and start looking at other places to call home.  I will eventually make the decision to stay for good or get up and go to a new adventure.  I figured since I’m in school for two more years, I have a lot of time to figure out what I want.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!


Back to reality and my Budget

Down the rabbit hole only the strong survive the trip back

Down the rabbit hole, only to return stronger.

It’s been a few weeks since I got back on my budget.  I’ve even started using my debit card exclusively and no longer charging anything.  I need to pay it off and get my budget back on track.  I have school expenses and a class for work I have to pay for.  I’m still attending a 4-year institution, but I also have to take off work for 2 1/2 weeks for a medication aide class I am taking to further my skills at my job.  My job may or may not pay for my med aide class, but that would require me to commit to only working for them.  They can only guarantee me 8 hours as a med aide per week, and I can’t commit to that.  I want to work as much as possible at the higher pay.  I’m not dumb, money makes things better.

Money really does make things better.  Not everything mind you, but it surely made my life happier when I thought I didn’t have to worry about it.  I even lost my insomnia for two weeks while I was living in La-La land thinking I didn’t need a budget.  It was a great two weeks but now it’s back to reality, even if reality is insomnia, no money, and a strict budget.

What I’ve been doing in the past two weeks

I started living off my debit card only.  I realized I only had about $100 for the rest of the month, which required me to only buy what is needed.  I needed a tank of gas and food, but at least my pantry was stocked and I didn’t need too much.  I  just needed to make sure I only got what is needed, nothing more.  I made a list of what I wanted to get and checked out prices online for a good starting point.

I haven’t gone out with friends.  I realize that I seem like a hermit, but I have no good reason to go out other than spend money.  There really isn’t much to do in this town without spending money.  Even with money the options are limited.  I have decided that playing video games online with friends, or watching movies at home will be my entertainment.  Not very sociable, but then again when I am in school I don’t do much anyway.  Not very many people understand that, and I don’t ever plan to make them.  To each their own.

I don’t buy fast food or convenience foods.  Ok, I really haven’t done this since I was married.  I’ve been a poor divorced college person for way too long and going out to eat is never in my budget.  I go when I really need to get the hell out of my house to spend time with friends.  I’ve been cooking more and more for myself in the past year and a half, so going out to eat seems less and less fun.  Once I find someone in the area that likes mexican food, italian, greek, vietnamese or anything that isn’t fried I will cook the hell out of everything for them.  Seriously though, my cooking is just not for the people around here otherwise I would have friends over every weekend.

That’s what I have been doing to save money. I don’t buy name brand, except for peanut butter.  Gotta have my natural peanut butter.  I also don’t have very many places to choose from when it comes to shopping, so I go where I know things are cheap.  I have a small grocery store for things like cheap seasonal fresh fruit, a walmart for everything else and the dollar store for cheap canned stuff.  Other than that I just stay away from shopping all together.  It’s just easier to not spend if I’m not tempted.  Besides I get more homework done that way.

Have you gotten back to using a budget?  What are the ways you choose to curb spending?


$3400 mistake in credit card Debt

Panic button

The last panic I experienced was after I saw a payment of $3,400 go out to my credit card. Yeah, my last post was about not letting my credit card debt own me.  That was before I saw more money go out than I had in my checking account.  I don’t know WTF I was thinking.  Let me explain.

I had planned on making a big payment because of the third paycheck I would be receiving in October.  I had figured I could use that paycheck to pay off my remaining debt or close to.  Either way I was going to wait for the last money to come in before I sent my payment.

On my day off I was wasting time trying to wake up when I saw an email saying my payment for my credit card was due.  I had never let it lapse so close to the due date so I figured I would send some money to take care of it.  I would pay the rest at the end of the month.  I’m not sure if it was because it was my day off, I wasn’t awake or I had only slept 5 hours, but I had sent a payment of $3,400.

Panic set in

That night when my bank notifies me of the payments sent out for the day I saw the $3,4000 staring at me on my notification screen of my phone.  I had been taking a break from school work and relaxing over xbox live.  I instantly starting gasping for air as I did not remember sending a payment that big.  I had debated sending a huge payment, but thought against it because it was so early in the month.  I remember thinking I could swing $1000.  Nothing more, and I definitely would not be buying anything including groceries.  I would only spend money on gas and I had just filled the tank which would last me until my next paycheck.

I still don’t remember punching $3,400, but in the end panic attack or no panic attack I accept it.  I accept I overpaid with money I didn’t have.  I accept any and all charges.  I also accept that panic set in.

I guess the moral of the story is whether I want my finances to run or not, I need to get back into budgeting, paying attention to my debt and being the responsible money person I was.  If I don’t I am liable to get blindsided again by dumb money moves.  I definitely don’t want that again.

Anyone else take a break from budgeting only to get back into a mess?


Credit Card Debt is what I have, Not who I am

College Credit Card Debt

I have had a hard time writing a post to publish.  I skipped my last deadline and still had trouble coming up with anything.  It wasn’t for lack of writing as I have 115 drafts hiding in the wings of my blog.  I have also been sending out lots of emails and texts to a new love interest and I started school.  School takes up a lot of my writing and time,  since I never seem to be perfect enough when it comes to what needs to be said.  These are not excuses, just explanations of where I siphoned all of my time instead of on this blog.

I think I haven’t been able to come up with much to publish on this blog, because my life hasn’t had much to do with finances.  More like I have been ignoring my finances lately in order to live life.  I know I had a huge credit card bill and no fun money, so I set up everything to be paid at the beginning of the month and let it go automatically.

I usually don’t carry credit card debt, but it seems as though paying down my washer and dryer along with other household problems has made my balance increase instead of decrease.  I finally put plates and license on my car, so I could drive that to save money on  gas (also own an SUV for winter).  Little did I know it gets cold at the end of summer and looks like driving the car is a bad idea.  I only say that because there are freeze warnings, along with snow possibilities all the time.

Timing, and not knowing my area seems to keep adding to my credit card debt.  It doesn’t help that I didn’t save for current class like I normally do.  I just figured I was going to keep putting off classes if I didn’t just suck it up and put the money on my card.  I don’t regret accumulating the debt as I know it is my priority to pay it off before adding too much more.  I still use the card for gas and groceries, but have been frugal and not buying much of anything.  I know I will have it paid off quickly if I keep that mindset.

Have you ever racked up credit card debt and regretted it?