Monday, November 5, 2012

Horror Stories from Payroll

If I get a phone call before 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning, I know it's a payroll mistake.  A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck so when mistakes happen, madness ensues. Here are some of the hilarious and sad stories from payroll.

  • An error that bounced a mortgage payment
    I had the wrong person on the schedule for a given day and ended up paying the wrong person 12.25 hours of overtime and completely stiffed the person who actually worked those hours.  Of course, the stiffed party is frantic and calling anyone who will listen.  I've got a missed call on my cell, a message on my desk phone, and I received a call from corporate payroll because even they got a call from her.  First thing I do is always call them back to assure them I'm taking care of it.  Sadly, they were so frantic because this mistake was going to cause their mortgage payment to bounce.  I know they had to call the mortgage company and explain to the situation.  I found the mistake easily and was able to get a hard check issued later that day.  I went down to corporate to pick it up and hand delivered it to them so I could apologize in person.  They really are a great worker and I felt bad for causing so much stress.  
  • 2 minutes rounded up to nearest quarter
    An employee told me he was short 15 minutes on his check.  The issue was the employee worked overtime on a Saturday and left at 12:47, where as I only paid him until 12:45 because that's when I was told he left.  I rounded it up for him, it came out to be less than $5.00, what's the point of burning an employee over that minimal amount?
  • I need my money now, cut me a check
    Another error led to an employee missing 4 hours from their check.  They demanded a hard check be issued, rather than the amount added on to the next paycheck, even though the amount was about $57.00.  I had to go to corporate later that day and offered to pick up the check for them.  They neither replied to my offer nor said thank you for looking into the problem.  I guess I can't really expect someone to say thank you after I screw up their money, can I?
  • I'm here, pay me even if I don't work
    This problem actually comes up a lot.  Employees are occasionally scheduled erroneously and come into work when they aren't need, so we send them home.  They always argue that because they showed up they are entitled to 4 hours of pay.  I'm not sure where they heard that but I only pay them for their travel time and a little extra for the inconvenience of the situation. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

J Money's Millionaire Club

In order for me, Debtzilla, to become a millionaire, and lead my future Debtzillians into financial freedom, I pledge to do (and/or work towards) the following:
  • Max out my Roth IRA and continue to contribute enough to get the employer match from my 401(k) - Completed 10/19/2012
    Pay myself first. The best thing I could have ever done was to automate my IRA contributions. When you don't set up automatic deductions from your checking account it makes it infinitely easier to skip a monthly contribution for whatever reason.  Now the money is deducted and I don't even notice.  It's slowly building up a nice pile of cash and I like piles of cash.
  • Eat the majority of my meals from home - Getting better at this as I don't live as close to fast food as I used to 12/26/2013
    Oh. My. God.  I. Am. Terrible. At. This.  The good news is I have a McDonald's taste on an Applebee's budget.  Meaning, I can afford to eat well but I definitely stick to the dollar menus.  Still, I waste way too much money every month on fast food.  And it makes me a fatty.
  • Continue to live below my means, not above - No problem here 12/23/2013
    No cable tv, no car payment, no bottles of Cristal in the da club.
  • Pocket the extra
    I budget each month based off a 2 paycheck month.  So that mean's twice a year I am blessed with an additional paycheck that can be added straight into savings/investments.  I pledge to pocket all my bonuses, tax returns, windfalls and extra paychecks - rather then spend them frivolously.


  • Raise my salary but not my expenses - Made a career change and right now my salary is hot garbage :( 12/26/2013
    My salary will be my biggest wealth building tool.  It should steadily increase overtime through job performance and advancement opportunities.  It's easy to spend a raise or bump in pay, but discipline will lead me to J Money's Millionaire Club.
  • Live mortgage and rent free... FOREVER - Sold my house on 9/18/2013 and made a nice chunk of change that I might be able to roll into a paid for house.  Stay tuned for good news in 2014 12/26/2013
    I think this is how I truly make it into J Money's Millionaire Club.  My mortgage is my biggest expense and I would free up nearly 30% of my budget the day I pay it off completely.  I don't know how many people ever achieve this goal but I will be one of them.  Owning a house outright with no mortgage, that's the dream.  That sounds just fine to me. I'm currently on pace to be there in about 2026 but I think I can get there in 3 to 5 years.
  • Break into the real estate game
    They aren't making anymore land.  I live in a state where land is dirt cheap and the price has no where to go but up.  I've read a few books and I'd like to slowly start dipping my toe into the water to test the market.  There's money to be made here, might as well go into my pockets.
  • Get married to a like minded woman -
    This may come as a shock to a lot of people but your wife will end up being a huge part of making this goal a reality.  


  • Supplemental incomes
    I have always been interested in business.  I just haven't found that niche that is both fueled by passion and demand. It will be important to add additional incomes down the road as I transition into my the latter stages of my career.

Editor's note: I will come back and update this periodically.  Original post 10/12/2012.  Last update 12/26/2013

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cheap or Frugal

Below I've listed a few scenarios and I want you to tell me if they are examples of someone being cheap or frugal. Let me know in the comment section below.

  1. Buying movies on VHS for $0.50 from Goodwill instead of renting movies or going out to the movie theater.
  2. Keeping a decade old couch because it's in good shape, albeit ugly, when you have the money to buy a new one.
  3. Ordering water to drink every time you go out to eat.
  4. Having a wardrobe that consists of 80% free t-shirts.
  5. Only going to events if they are free (ex: baseball games, comedy clubs, concerts).

There you have it Debtzillians. Make your voice heard in the comments section below and I'll update this post later with results.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Suck At Prioritizing Bills

I recently read an article on Yahoo! about the the growing number of people who were giving up their high priced cell phones, or cell phone in it's entirety, in an effort to reduce their costs and stay under budget.  While the article itself was interesting and the unholy of idea of living without a cellphone in today's world seems almost blasphemous, I like people who are willing to sacrifice what so few of us could never live without.
 But the troubling part of the article and actual idea behind this particular blog post are the 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the end.
"But after his cable bill rose this year, Mr. Miranda had to prioritize, so he stopped paying the phone bill.
One recent morning he was sitting on a bench in Brooklyn waiting for a cellphone store to open, hoping to sign up for a government program that subsidizes cellphones for low-income people."
Am I the only one who has a problem with that first sentence?  If you have cable but can't afford a cell phone, it's time to let go of cable.  Cable TV is such a scam.  Paying $40 a month for channels when most of the big networks are on free antenna TV is ridiculous.  A phone should be higher priority for an older individual.  It's a life line to the world around you.  You might want to call your family,  your friends, emergency help, your doctor or even order a pizza and you can't do that with cable TV.

I don't know who Mr. Miranda is but he certainly isn't very good at prioritizing.  I fear that he is not unlike millions of other Americans who are brainwashed to think we can't live without TV.  And because he can't give up his precious TV, he asks for a handout from the government. 

In the second sentence I quoted above, Mr. Miranda hopes to take advantage of a government program subsidizing cell phone for low-income people.  I really take issue with this because programs like these shouldn't go to people who choose TV over phones, or other actual necessities.  This is why American is in the dumps. People aren't willing to work for something, or to sacrifice.  Millions of Americans have gone soft and are content to live a life of nothing because they can.

The I-want-it-now and the I-deserve-better attitude are what's killing a lot of budgets.  People need to realize it's your responsibility to take care of you and your own, not the government's and certainly not mine.

Priorities; these people probably don't have them.