Tax Rates, Paychecks, Overtime, and Road Trip

April 20, 2012 at 10:53 am (overtime, paycheck) (, , )

I got my paycheck today and as always, it was about $50 from what I expected it to be. I finally found out why! Overtime is taxed at a higher rate than regular hours! Thank you to my friend in accounting that finally explained that. I’ve always had a varying discrepency with my paycheck. I calculate my 401K deduction(6%), I subtract my health care contribution (10% per paycheck or $51), then try to multiply by what I calculate is my taxable rate, which seems to change from paycheck to paycheck!!! Not knowing until today that regular hours and overtime hours are taxed at differing rates has always stupified me!!! Now I finally know why.

This paycheck today is abysmally small. It’s only for a 10 day period, and there is precious little overtime. So it’s on the low end of what I typically get paid. Unfortunate, sad, and potentially disasterous unless I remain vigilant about my spending until May 4 (my next pay check which as you’ll soon see is going to be a humdinger). I’m managing my new budget under a microscope, and as I just posted about, I’m trying to reduce my lofty idealized expectations of how much I can afford to save and how much I can afford to pay towards debt. Both have shrunken from what I want to spend, and with this even smaller-than-usual paycheck I just received, it’s going to be that much more of a struggle. I guess I’ll take it as a lesson in humility and learning some lessons on creative budgetting! Maybe it will make me look at my food spending and throw in some extra frugal meals like soups and rice and beans, etc etc (now doesn’t that sound boring?).

Balancing my tiny paycheck today is the ginormous amount of overtime I’ve been working this week. I have had several 12 hour+ days already this week. It’s exhausting, and mentally draining, and makes me not have time to cook or prep lunches for the next day, and makes me want to not get out of bed, but in the long run, overtime makes me happy. I wish it was something more controllable, but it’s not. It’s all driven by clients and circumstances. I am responsible for closing the building I work in 2 nights a week. If jobs go long, I have to stay and wait for staff to return. Sometimes we have after hour jobs. I love those! They are great overtime opportunities for relatively little effort. This week is a cornicopia of overtime, but the last 2 weeks were a famine. Nothing I can do about that except be available and desirous of working long hours. Luckily I have very little other competition for this among my coworkers. Yeah me!  I guess I’m the only one without a life.

I normally average about 3.5 hours of overtime per week (due to my closing responsibilities) – when I stay until at least 6 or 6:30 twice a week. I have to be available 8:30-5 to answer the phones (I’m the main point of contact with the outside world), so anything that makes me stay late is gravy. As I can’t come in any later (remember, I have to be in by 8:30), I just have to stay longer. When I have nights that allow me to stay until 7, 8, or 9 pm, it’s a slog, yes, but the overtime hours are yummy. Getting paid time and a half for every hour over 40 that I work (and double for any jobs that happen between midnight and 5 am, which does occur occasionally) is so financially satisfying! Being able to get paid 4 hours minimum at overtime rates when sometimes i only have to drive in to work during off hours and weekends and be in the building 30 minutes to 1 hour is so awesome. It can suck not having time to do anything but grab some grub (quickly), and go straight to bed, but it’s a small sacrifice. This week alone I will have 12 hours of overtime!!

So. Back to this month’s finances. My yummy overtime paycheck (probably $300 more than I typically get) won’t be until May, so I have to make do with scrooge-like proportions. I’m also planning a road trip to eastern washington to take some photos. I have planned it already and I’m taking a friend who’s up for the 16-18 hour day!!! 4 hours to drive to the area I like to photograph, each way, plus 6 hours photographing, plus down time to snag a meal or two. It will be a long day. And expensive. I estimate $90 – $110 in gas. Then I will come back and have several rolls of film to process at $6 a pop – it’s a special larger format size, different than 35mm film (it’s called medium-format), which takes 12 images per roll and costs a lot of money, both to buy ($5/roll + $6/roll to process). Basically it costs about $1/image. And there are only 2-3 places in Seattle that process it. I have a show in July that I have to prepare for, so this is the fun part – going and taking photos. Then comes the financial drain of processing the work, and going to a lab and working on them and printing them (and paying for the time and ink to do so). $$$$$ Expensive. So I will be cutting into my debt payment a bit this month.

I was gonig to celebrate sticking to my frugal lifestyle this last 2 weeks, and get a nice dinner and a bottle of wine tonight. But UGH, that costs a lot! I may stick with a less expensive cut of steak, but I think I’m going to continue to avoid buying any wine for a few weeks. I’ve already stopped myself from getting wine to go with dinner several times in the weeks prior, and I’ve been totally ok with that. 

Road trip – 1
Finances – 0

debtmaven out


Permalink 1 Comment

Overtime during hard economic times

February 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm (overtime, work)

Things have been a bit shaken up at work lately. Performance reviews, a bit of a big reorganizational shift, a bit more formal rebranding (for a company that has been moving away from old-fashioned mom and pop methods), and the economic slowdown is hitting us pretty hard right now.

Work has been a bit difficult, with emotions running high, raises not meeting some employees expectations, and even in some cases, changes in managerial responsibilities (ie, they have been removed) from one of our longest employed people. There have been good opportunities for me during this big time of change. I mentioned that I got a higher than expected raise (twice the average for the company), and that’s not all. One of the manager’s responsibilities that was removed was closing the building one day a week. The person that was supposed to take it over was not very interested in doing it, and I was. I offered to take an extra day closing, it was okayed, and now I have 2 nights a week of guaranteed overtime, instead of just one. This doesn’t take into account those days that I pick up from other people that have made other plans, are out of town, sick, or working super late out in the field.

I feel fortunate that I’m able to have so much overtime, in comparison to my coworkers, many of whom (of those that I manage, in jobs that are client service based) are being asked to stay home once or more per week lately.

I had 11 hours of overtime last week, and 8.5 hours the week before. Next week I have an extra 4 hour overtime job that I’ve scheduled myself on beyond the 2 days that I now close. It’s only because as a manager, I have responsibilities that few others are able to meet (staying until the last crews come back on the nights that I close, or staying late to receive a shipment, or the occasional after-hours service call). Ours is a secure facility, and there are limited amounts of people that have access to the entire building or that are able to open or close.

My last paycheck, for 10 business days, had 99.5 hours. Some of my employees had hours in the 60-70 range, and the worst was 34 hours (though several days were requested off). I’ve been working hard to get those overtime hours and be available for them. At the same time, all the emotional upset has taken its toll, and being at work so much and so often, makes me more susceptible to it, both being around the drama and attitudes, plus the additional tiredness. I have been emotionally burned out more than I ever have before. Also, for the first time, this week I almost dreaded coming to work. I’m tired of the drama (much worse than most industries); I wish people would act like adults and treat the job like a job, not high school, and not a social club. In the long run, however, it’s worth it. I’m getting as many hours as I possible, and I plan on making large payments to debt this month, now that my security deposits are paid in full.

It’s off to a rocky start so far, but I’m still hopeful that this year will bring great things.

Permalink 2 Comments

Unexpected overtime

January 14, 2009 at 10:06 pm (overtime)

This is going to be a fabulous paycheck on the 20th! I had 4 hours of overtime last week (2 as overtime, 2 as doubletime since it went past midnight). Yesterday I had to stay late unexpectly to fill in for someone on vacation, and put in 12 hours (had to come back at 10 pm to let crew in the building). Right now I’m at work again, and it’s on the way to midnight. Another 4 hour job, with 2 hours OT and 2 hours DT. *rubbing hands with glee*

This will make up for the abysmal check that was the end of last year (4 missed days!). Plus, my raise will kick in, pro-rated to the first of the year. I can’t wait to pay pay pay off my debt!

Even more exciting, I activated my new 0% Discover card and used it to transfer $4,800 from my line of credit. It hasn’t officially happened yet, but it should be official by next week.

Permalink 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: