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Money stuff

January 23rd, 2010 at 11:36 am

I finally received my $260 check for some freelance proofreading I did in December! I used it to ensure that I'll be able to pay my dad off by March 1, assuming my budget follows my plan. We had some left over, so we were thinking about getting a new espresso/steamer machine (our current one doesn't steam milk properly anymore) or some CD towers (we need to make room for the board games we got for Xmas, so we want to move our CDs). We finally decided that I'll ask my parents for the espresso maker for my birthday, and we used the rest of the freelance money to supplement the current home improvement fund and pay for a CD shelf. Found it on Target.com, then found a better deal on the same case with free shipping on Amazon!

AS is finally signed up for her 401(k) at work--some incompetence on the provider's part delayed it. Now we just need confirmation that she's on her health care--they're being shamefully slow, and she's been technically uninsured since Jan. 1 (because she had to drop her private before she could apply for the new plan). Don't get me started...

AS got another freelance editing project that will get her about $600! I'm a little worried about her burning the candle at both ends, but I can't deny we can use the money this year...

I took home copies of a 2009 and 2010 paystub, along with benefits info for my '09 and '10 health insurance. It still seemed to me that my overall paycheck shouldn't be lower than last year, since my new health plan shouldn't have been offset completely by the stimulus withholding changing. Then when I read somewhere that the "making work pay" credit is still in effect this year, so federal withholding would only change a little to stretch the credit over 12 months, I really got suspicious that something was wrong with my check.

I sat down and checked everything. At least they were correctly billing me the individual premium, so they'd reversed my request to add NT to healthcare (I changed my mind once I saw his work's healthcare was still cheaper for him). No problem there. Then I noticed a $25, after-tax "healthcare surcharge." I realized what it was. My company has added a $50-per-month surcharge if you put your spouse on your plan and that spouse has access to employer-sponsored healthcare at their own job. Well, they'd apparently neglected to deactivate that charge even though NT isn't going to be on my plan.

I'm so glad I checked! This is the sort of thing that never would have been caught on their end, especially since it's completely separate from the insurance company's charges--this is just my company trying to discourage people from bringing their spouses onto our plan.

Once my rage had (mostly) subsided, I realized something: I'd been $60 per month off on my estimate of what my 2010 paycheck would look like. Once they fix this $50 error, it means I was actually within $10 of guessing my paycheck, and the difference is simply due to a change in withholding for the stimulus credit. Sweet! At least I don't feel as ignorant as I did when I saw my first 2010 paycheck. (I'm still pretty ticked at my HR department; this isn't the first ball they've dropped, and I'm not looking forward in my postpartum haze to riding their asses making sure they get my baby's coverage and my disability compensation right. But, they've proved they can't do their job without supervision, so it is what it is.)

Overall, though, a positive set of financial things have happened so far this weekend!

8 Responses to “Money stuff”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    And we wonder how these people still have jobs and so many don't!!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I figured out why I was off on our paycheck estimate, too. One of the pays we get as military didn't go up this year. I had estimated that it would go up by about $8.50 per month. I wasn't off by much, but as a detail oriented person, it was a little annoying!

  3. dmontngrey Says:

    (Ok, again? That's getting annoying....)
    Great. I just got struck by the "deleted entry" bug when I edited what I wrote. Hope you got to read my comment via email. Too bad no one else did. Frown
    To summarize: I am solely responsible for making sure payroll and benefits run smoothly for 450+ employees. I'm STILL trying to catch up. While I would have caught a mistake like this (the way my payroll system works), it's possible your HR department is suffering much like I've been lately. This is horrible time of year for anyone who works in HR. I just now am starting to breathe again.

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    dm's comment:
    Just playing devil's advocate here: it's quite possible your HR department is ridiculous short-staffed for the amount of work they have. With all the benefit changes for the first of the year, they very well could STILL be behind on things. Speaking from experience here, as the person solely responsible for making sure payroll and benefits run smoothly for 450+ employees. I'm still trying to work out some bugs at this point myself. I would have caught THIS though. Someone making a last minute change like that would have made me go over their deductions with a fine tooth comb. Things may not run the same at your company though.

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    It's possible, dm. I mean, there have been layoffs and attrition which makes for a smaller staff, but for all I know there have been layoffs in HR as well (they're based in DC and we only have one guy we can contact, so I'm not sure what his staff looks like).

    He means well; he spent a long time helping me figure out my health care costs over the last couple years (well, he kind of dropped the ball at the end, but he was helpful for a while.)

    I guess as a mom-to-be I feel like we should be a top priority, since we can be so physically and emotionally vulnerable after birth. But I know one of the newest moms at my company had trouble because her baby wasn't added to her health care even though she took all the appropriate steps.

    I was really spoiled at my last long-term job, I guess. Smile

  6. frugaltexan75 Says:

    good for you catching that!

  7. Rob Says:

    What does AS and NT stand for?

    How did u get into freelance proofreading?

  8. ceejay74 Says:

    Sorry Rob, I didn't get notification of a new comment! AS and NT are the first and middle initials of my life partners. (I use that format because CJ stands for my first and middle name.)

    For these particular freelance projects, I got approached by a former co-worker and a current one doing some side work (we've had layoffs, furloughs and salary freezes, so I think more people are picking up extra work outside of the company). I'm a proofreader/copy editor at my full-time job.

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