About Me

Thursday, February 23, 2017

No I am not spending another penny on real estate

The other day my sister called and said they found a real nice apartment right behind their apartment complex in Ankara and that the layout was great and so was the workmanship. Then she asked me how much would I be willing to shell out if they decided to buy it.

I considered it for a moment and told her that now that I am paying off the debt in place of another family member just to keep one apartment and one house in the family, I did not have money to spare especially given that my job is also on shaky ground. I told her I could sell the apartment in Ankara and give her that money.

Then it struck me that; I have no intention to go live in Ankara for the foreseeable future. My sister and brother in law already have a 4 bedroom apartment that they keep empty in Ankara and they are now living in Izmir due to their work situation without knowing if and when they will be able to return to Ankara. My mom is living in her own apartment and when we had offered her to move to my sister's apartment, she had declined. The same offer was made to her father-in-law who has also declined.

So, can anyone tell me why we need to buy this apartment?

I told my sister that there will always be apartments for sale in that new complex in the future. Why would we buy it now? To keep it empty or just to rent out?

She agreed with me. I told her to look for something in Izmir, where they live now so that, they can get rid of paying rent. That makes much more sense. However, I know that the prices in Izmir are very inflated. Therefore, it is difficult to do that.

Until the end of 2019, I am not open to any ideas to buy real estate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Costs of Not Paying Attention

I am the kind of person who believes that everyone must manage every aspect of their lives. Am I good at it? No. I do not pay enough attention to my weight for instance.

However I do pay attention to my bills, as to when they are due, whether there are charges that I do not recognize on my credit card, the tax calendar, my car, the tires and fluids and etc.

Yesterday a friend of mine called and she told me she had found out several charges on her credit card statements that she did not recognize and that this had been going on for a while.

This has happened to me only once. The crooks charge your card with a small amount pretending that they are one of the 3 large telecom companies. If it goes unnoticed, it becomes an automated charge on your credit card.

I check my credit card transactions almost daily because the earlier you challenge a charge, the easier it is to get rid of it. It has happened to me once but I immediately recognized it since I do not do business with that particular operator. Even if I did, I would have still recognized it since I use one bank to make automated payments for those types of expenses. I do not use my credit card.

I asked her whether she has a system to follow up on payments, upcoming expenses, savings etc. She said she did not. She asked me whether she could use my system. She is very welcome to use it but over time I have added several formulas, graphs and etc to it so she has to know how those work.

I told her that once I get back from my travel over the weekend, I would sit down and help her with my chart so that she can use it. The key word is to "use" here. Unless you put in every single bill on it, you can never be sure of what is happening. I do not track my monthly grocery expenses. I just have a lump sum amount that would take care of groceries, eating out and non-food items. It is a set amount and I take great care not to exceed it. If I have money left over for that category, it goes to savings at the end of a particular month.

I hope my friend can deal with those charges and get them lifted.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why I do not like February...

Last time I wrote why I loved February but, I also dislike this month. 


Because, I lost my dad on February 20th in 1994.

It never gets any easier... I miss him very very much.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why I love February... (No, not because of V Day)

We are paid monthly here in this country. Retired people get paid every quarter unless they opt to be paid their retirement pensions on a monthly basis. Mom likes to get paid quarterly. She is used to budgeting that way and saves quiet a bit of money each quarter.

I love February because we get paid in 28 days :)

My salary is paid on the last day of the month, my retirement pension is paid on the 24th and my tenant pays the rent on the 16th of every month.

The large portion of my payments are due at the beginning of each month. Small expenses are scattered throughout the month. I diligently keep a budget and know exactly how much money should sit in my checking account for automated payments. Missing a payment because of sloppy tracking is a no, no in my book. After all, this is not rocket science.

My largest income comes in on the last day of the month so, this makes it very easy for me to set aside what has to be paid out before the rent money and pension comes in. I also set aside money for expenses and the rest goes into savings directly.

At the end of the month, right before I get paid my salary, I transfer the remaining balance in my checking account into savings and calculate my progress.

Every month, I look at my numbers and enjoy seeing a steady upward trend in my savings.

If I find myself out of the door when the company is sold, I will not be able to enjoy this any longer. So, I am trying to make the best of it while I can.

I spoke to my boss this morning and he told me that he is now expecting the big company to give him an offer for ours. Yikes! This is too soon! I hope, the negotiations last at least until June. The big company has to go through some legal hoops since their stocks are traded both in Turkey and abroad. I just hope, that takes a looong time.

After that, I will try to hold onto my job as long as I can. There will be a transition period, I am sure. The excitement of not knowing what is going to happen is actually very stressful and I just realized that, this is affecting my sleep very much.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

And the expense saga continued...

I had a Sales Meeting this morning with the person mentioned in yesterday's post. All went well until she asked me for the gazillionth time to reconsider the Expense Report. 

I calmly said that this issue was over. She kept pressing on and I tried my very best to keep my cool. At one point, she asked me if I heard something called empathy. 

I then lost it folks... I told her that I wanted to end the conversation right then and there and did not want to just hang up on her. I told her I no longer wanted to continue the conversation and that I lacked empathy and if she is so persistent, I would be more than happy to wire her the said amount of money out of my very own pocket so that she can shut up. Or else, she can take the issue up to our boss. 

She said she would not think of going to the boss. Yeah! Right! As if she hasn't already done that. What a liar! Just yesterday, she had complained about me and the boss put his foot down and told her that what she wanted was not just to others and rules were rules. Yet, she is asking again even after the boss said "no!".

What an idiot! What a liar!

My boss told me that I am most welcome to tell her that if another time she makes such a big deal of something very clear cut and well written down and has that tone with me, she might suffer other consequences she may not be thinking of now. 

I am saving that conversation for a face-to-face meeting.

Monday, February 13, 2017

First time in my life...

I have mentioned an employee who is my age and who has trouble acting like an adult before and the saga continues.

I check and approve all Expense Reports and we have a very solid procedure that details what are considered expenses, what are the limits and etc.

I never have any problems with anyone but with this person. She has exceeded her limit for entertaining customers by about 25% of what is allowable last month. So, I have deducted that amount from the Expense Form and sent it to Accounting.

She has written me several loooong e-mails as to why she did not know the procedure, why the limits are still the same and why, why, why.... All nonsense! I just cannot understand why she has trouble accepting her fault and shut up and move on. She wants me to let go of her mistake. How is that fair to others? How is that fair to my boss?

On top of that, due to a sales goal achievement, a partner has offered to take one person on a weekend trip to a neighboring country. I had offered the trip to another sales person who actually achieved the sales quota but he declined. So, I had offered her the trip and she enthusiastically accepted. Today, I realized that she thought the company would pay the extra expenses. This is a little vacation. It is not like, I am making her go on a mission. How come she can think that, she can expense her extras to the company? I have never seen anyone like her before.

Today she wrote one looooong e-mail to my boss complaining about me. This is a first in 28 years of my career. No one has ever complained about me before. Not that I care. It is just bizarre, that is all.

She also called our assistant and cried (literally cried, folks) on the phone telling her that I was not being fair to her.

My boss, the owner of the company, being fully aware of the situation, sent her a firm message telling her what is what.

I feel like going to Ankara, to the office, grabbing a fistful of money from my purse and throwing it at her! I am so furious! What an idiot!

My boss and I have written those procedures together and for this very reason. I am enforcing these procedures because it is my job and my responsibility to him. He never checks anything after I sign it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Books and Audio Books

I love reading and though I feel like I do not read as much as I used to, I think I compensate that by reading blogs and articles on the Internet.

I also like to listen to Audio Books. They are especially great to put me to sleep.

However an innocent hobby such as reading can be pricey and being the frugal person that I am, I have decided to turn to the Classics which are available for free. I started with the usual good stuff like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Sherlock Holmes, Emma etc.

Lately, I have come across a title called "At the Villa Rose" by A. E. W. Mason. I was not familiar with the author or his works but, the book was surprisingly good. It's genre was Mystery and a great mystery it was. There are other works available by him and I think, I will listen to them too.

I use Kindle for Android, Oodle Books and Librivox for my new hobby

Thursday, February 2, 2017

It's the little things and a non-inflated life style

I have been a frugal person most of my life. There was a period, I was not concerned about money but, I had a rude awakening and figured it out the hard way and went back to my frugal ways.

It is always nice to put aside big chunks of money from a savings perspective if you can. However, many people do not realize the importance of little things. For instance, I have just changed my wi-fi and cable provider. I technically do not need a cable provider but when mom visits, her shows are important and I feel compelled to provide her what she needs. Right before the end of last year, I went through my routine bills and tried to find good year end campaigns to lure customers into changing providers. I found a good deal and signed up for it. Now, I am paying 30% less than what I was paying for wi-fi and cable separately. Also, I am getting one invoice for both things. Works for me!

Last year I had also changed the cell phone company for me and mom. It was based on political reasons but I was able to get better pricing so, it was a double-win. I cut ff my relationship with a provider I dislike and lowered my bills. Mom uses a phone in my name and she is on the cheapest possible plan. That is still more than she needs.

I like the advice the Ultimate Cheapskate gives. He basically tells you, when you are in your thirties and when you have reached a sufficient income level, stay there. Even if you make more money, keep your budget the same and bank the extra. I think, this is very sound advice.

During the last two years, I had been earning real well when compared to the past. I have not let my spending get out out of control, despite the extra money. I splurged once with my kitchen renovation and may have surprised my family members with some gifts that they did not expect. That is all.

So, when I looked at my Net Worth and Savings graph for the last 10 years, I have happily noticed that, I have bought an apartment and now own it free and clear, bought another apartment and still paying the mortgage on it and did two major renovations in my primary residence within the last ten years. The best thing is; I have more than quadrupled my savings during the last two years. I will probably be able to pull this income may be for another 6 months-2 years. So, I am in a super-saver mode now. Still, I have room for small indulgences in my monthly budget like a nice dinner out with friends, couple of  bottles of wine etc. I can save over 50% of my current income. However, this has happened to me just recently. Before 2015, I was never able bring in this much income and save at such a rate. So, while it lasts, I am determined to be smart about it.

Our company is at the verge of being sold. It may or may not happen. If it does get sold, I have a feeling that, the new owner which is a big company may let me go in a fairly short time. My boss thinks otherwise. So, if I last until the end of this year, that is really good. If I can last another year, that will be wonderful. However, I would need to go back to consulting for a few years more since, I am paying a family member's debts to keep an apartment and a house in the family. I am not asking for any help at the moment from mom or sis but I know, they are ready to jump in if I lose my job.

The ideal scenario for me would be to be able to work at my current job until the end of 2019. If not, I will probably have to work until 2023 doing consultancy. It is an irregular income but still, instead of eating away my savings, that is something.