Wednesday, September 16, 2015

more money? not complaining

I've signed my employment contract, received my employment certificate, been registered for direct deposits of my salary, and reported my change of address (and that report was free, too!). My company is going to pay me my very first direct-deposit "paycheck" on October 1 to cover work done in September. In the meantime, I'm still awaiting pay for work done in August, but I think that'll be on its way soon. After October, the pay date will switch to the 16th of the month (if the pay date falls on a weekend, I get paid the Friday before), so my next big check won't be until November 16th. However, I'll also be receiving a 50% payment around mid-October (i.e., while I'm in the States): this is apparently due to the two-week shift in pay date, although I have trouble wrapping my mind around why this is occurring.

Back around 2006, when Sookmyung University suddenly shifted pay dates from the 15th of the month to the 25th, we were given no half-salary bonuses. I recall being angry at not having been informed of the date shift; my boss half-apologized with an offhand "oops—forgot," and that was that. The entire campus knew about the date change except for us foreign professors. Sookmyung's logic, in not paying us for the date shift, was that we were still being paid once a month for the previous calendar month's work. If I were normally to be paid for September work on October 15, then changing the pay date to October 25th wouldn't change the fact that I'd still be receiving pay for the calendar month of September. In other words, I'd be getting twelve paychecks a year, no matter the specific pay dates.

At my current company, however, the logic is somehow different. My boss tried, three times, to explain it to me, but it just wasn't computing. The 50% salary that'll be coming to me in mid-October seems like extra pay to me—a bonus that I didn't earn. Not that I'm complaining, mind you: who doesn't want an extra 1.6 million won, right?

Anyway, I entered the extra pay into my grandiose Google Docs budget... and lo and behold, I'll be coming out almost $2,000 ahead of where I had projected I'd be in December. December's important because it's the month I pay off my car loan. I'll officially own my car at that point. Too bad it'll still be in the States, but the way I see it, it'll save me the cost of renting a car whenever I'm Stateside: I'll just pay for gas and whatever trip-related repairs will need to be made. In fact, I'll soon be in a financial position to send my buddy Mike several hundred dollars a year to cover property tax. Mike's been acting as the car's guardian; my goddaughter, among other people, has been driving the little Honda now and then, and Mike volunteered, way back, to take care of property tax. I think I'll be able to re-shoulder that burden myself pretty soon.

With my car payments gone as of this December, that'll free up about $225/month. This is part of my overall strategy: start by eliminating the small debts first, thereby freeing up a few hundred dollars per month here, a few hundred there. That will produce a snowball effect as I accumulate cash and, over time, I'll find myself with a pile of funds—enough to pay down my much larger debts. I'm still on track to be debt-free before I turn 50. Feels good.


No comments: