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Paid off the car loan today

September 29th, 2015 at 01:10 pm

$5389.00 gone, but then, so are close to 24 months of payments and over $200 interest payments. I don't feel ecstatic, I don't feel anything, even though it was my decision. I got tired of the insulting "pay less per month on your car loan" (by extending the term and paying a higher APR) offers from lenders a credit bureau sold my spouse's info to.

I'm looking forward to affording cash payments for things like: a new mattress, new phone, yard cleanup. Looking forward to automating regular investments. I'll be giddy when the title is returned to us, weeks from now.

Magical Saturday

September 5th, 2015 at 02:32 pm

We, not the royal, martyred, sarcastic we but the family plural we, are cleaning. That is magic in itself. I couldn't find the $300 cheque made out to me until I opened a book called _Smart but Scattered_ and there it was, wedged between pages. You rest a spell and let that irony seep in. You see, when there's $300 to be found, I find also motivation to pick up every white piece of paper and determine if I need it or if it can go elsewhere. I also found $33 credit slip to one of my fave used bookstores. In a search for the cheque (I offered a "dessert place of your choice reward" to the finder) the spouse found instead a softcover overdue library book the tot could not bother to remove from an open sack a whole thirty inches away from his internet-obsessed carcass' six-hour parking spot for... twenty-five days. "No, I'm not an addict! Durrrrr. Oooh new gaming video on YouTube. "

We have already splurged on a Rug Doctor rental to clean a rug. A futon cover is in the wash, as we'd like to sell the futon and the coffee table and make a new, minimized household for ourselves.

I chose the old school fill in with pencil home account ledger instead of Mint.com, YNAB, GnuCash or KMyMoney. It won't keep track of my stocks and funds, but do I want to look at that stuff right now? My psyche is fragile.

I am down to below 152 lbs, just a little over 1.5 kg away from my goal weight.

Auto Accident Insurance Settlement on its Way!

August 28th, 2015 at 11:40 am

$300.

Reasonable considering I had no hospitalization nor prescribed painkillers. Driver-at-fault's insurance adjuster pleasant and very fair: massages will probably be covered once doctor backdates prescription; damages ended up being more than what claims estimator surveyed but they're paid; rental car coverage initially denied by computer, but ultimately allowed as I returned the car in original condition at the time and date my own car had completed collision repairs (extended beyond original estimate date); doctor's visits deemed reasonable: physical and post-treatment assessment of injuries based on severity of vehicle impacts.

Over $2500 of inconvenience, pain and annoyance I'm not on the hook for! Only the bottle of acetaminophen and bus fare to doctor's office and tips for the masseuse. Which is, in my view, fair. The $300 settlement covers more than those petty charges.

Retainer was found

June 9th, 2015 at 08:40 am

It wasn't in the bedroom, it was in the bathroom, obscured by a bathmat. This morning DS, compelled by his stomach bug, raced to the toilet to let it all out from intake and output chutes, and brushed against something small and plastic on the floor.

So that's $300 saved. Phew!

However, I did spend $120 at the vet clinic, getting my cat's inflamed eye investigated. It's not FeLV, FIV, chlamydia, uveitis or conjunctivitis, it's allergies, blessedly the best possible diagnosis.

I learned today that listening to Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits in the morning is a good way to sock it to the blues and lethargy, at least temporarily. I do not listen to enough rousing, energetic funk, and that's something I need more of for batteries recharging.

My May balances are my June penance

May 29th, 2015 at 02:32 pm

Spent far too much money on food and dining out this month, overspent on most categories. I think the food splurges are because I'm so satiated by the protein shakes I don't think much about what the other two will eat. Or I don't plan the menus and we buy ingredients at the last minute. Or I don't get receipts from someone who takes money out of the ATM and I just assume he's bought lunch for himself with the money while at work. The only categories I haven't overspent are auto, animals, clothing.

The groceries overspending is understandable: I splurged for a 28 lb. "meat package" at a butcher shop, used a coupon, and saved 22%. I won't need animal protein until school lets out.

I made some Homemade Foaming Soap just now, with lemon oil and vegetable glycerin.

Of interest only to snafu: I just learned my constitutional right to vote has been returned to me. I'm going to fill out the forms, get my ballot I hope in time for the election, and then exercise my subsequent right to complain if the results are not to my liking. Also, when canvassers in front of supermarkets ask me if I'm registered to vote I can say "yes!"

of probably no interest: I started reading (and watching) Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and I think it'd have been funnier if the war England was fighting in the book was the one in the New World. Strange's magic could be confounded by Ojibway or Oneida shamanism, Mr Norrell could grapple with the dilemma of restoring magic to respectability in England by helping the war effort, or saving the Library of Congress from burning by the British soldiers in 1814. I love Eddie Marsan in the BBC miniseries: he gives Norrell some emotional depth and expressions of pride & pain. In my head I imagined some cranky Ned Sparks intellectual.

Midmonth narrative for April 2015

April 20th, 2015 at 08:09 am

I finally went on vacation: a four-day jaunt to the West Coast. I am kind of already on the West Coast, but I mean the kind of Coast where you look out into a vast grey sea and understand the next land mass directly west is that needle-looking Russian island just north of the Japanese island Hokkaido. Sure, one can look out directly west from San Diego or Newport Oregon, but Tofino is more west. Reno is west of Los Angeles, even. We hiked through Wild Pacific Trail: perfect for beginning hikers and walkers of all ages, with many magnificent views. Also ate at one of the top ten restaurants in Canada, believe it or not. We saw the Cézanne exhibit in Vancouver as well.

So now I have that to pay for, and can focus on motorcycle maintenance, and a new phone. I'd been eyeing some e-readers, but I'd rather have a new wardrobe. I'm transitioning to those dyed hemp loose clothes the over 40s like to wear, with the colourful complementary scarves. And a proper haircut. Maybe even highlights. Saving for a mattress. Everything about me cries for updating.

We also decluttered a bit! I found on our state Attorney General's website a calendar page of recycling events. On Saturday we released from our house dead electronics and my brother's big box of academia. He won't miss it, and his widow knows better than to ask for a big box of paper written in a foreign language to be shipped across the ocean. However, I would like my mom's recipes back, if she hasn't recycled them. Also recycled are my printer ink cartridges. With some energetic soundtracks and the warmth of Mr. Sun, I could see my way to making my house less of a candidate for "Hoarders."

Just learned of the Reddit content pod "Eat Cheap and Healthy". Wonder what else I've been missing.

Some good news: mortgage is 30% paid. If I didn't refinance the 1999 mortgage at all, I'd be at 30% paid on March 2015. After sixteen years of a 30 year mortgage, I would reach 30% mortgage paid. Insert gulp.

Completed Tax Return

January 31st, 2015 at 08:51 am

By pencil and paper. I used the laptop's calculator key for confirming sums and differences. Now that I can access my 1099s online and print them out I can get through this faster.

We have money coming back to us. Not enough to do anything crazy with. I could get the Money Market Account balance back to three times our income, pay 1% of our debt balances except for the mortgage, have a good dinner out, and buy some underpinnings for me. Perhaps put half of a phone from Ting aside. I'm really looking forward to having customer service interactions with people who understand English.

A gratitude moment from Chico Marx

January 25th, 2015 at 10:57 am

Well itsa like this, boss: Pinky and me, we gotta organize da files for da tax time. Da room, it looka like da hurricane wid all da paper harumscarum only there's no harem because the clutter scarum away, heh heh. Pinky, he finda da Walgreen DRP papers, and he looka through them, and whaddayaknow [slaps hand for emphasis] da original purchis amount is dere, thirty-five dallas in May 2008. And da stock done double, more dan dat seven years later, seventy-five dallas. Atsa fine, boss.



Only da room it still looka like de hurricane boss, and atsa no good boss. Gonna feed Pinky that 5 hr Performance Energy gunk, make him clean up plenty good. So we no screw up so bad, not alla time. Sometimes we shoot da stocks lika I shoot da keys on the pianna boss. And sometimes we shoot da stocks like... well maybe weno shoota da stocks maybe da stocks shoota us sumtimes.

A pittance of successes, plus a finances reboot

November 16th, 2014 at 05:41 pm

I seem to have lost a spark. Read then, if you dare, this plodding narrative.

This whole burning & burying the brother episode led to a surprise: a credit limit increase to $21000 on one card, the day after I paid back the last of the amount. What this does to my credit utilization ratio is probably close to nothing: I still get so-so credit card offers, and ThirdFederal routinely sends me mortgage offers I can't qualify for.

Albertson's is having a meat sale: I amazingly purchased about ten pounds of fish (sole - $7/lb), pork (BOGO), chicken ($1.99 bnls skls per pound), stew meat, and steak (BOG2). I intended to buy animal protein under $5.00, so this was a windfall for me. I saw this golden oldie and Miz Pat's Pork Roasts recipe request, so am feeling more optimistic about feeding my family for under $3/plate.

I am starting my finances from scratch after my Spending in September and October. I keep a debt repayment/assets spreadsheet and am, sigh, $4000 under from the beginning of September. I have a fair bit in gold and silver, and that's tanked along with the Canadian currency I maintain "for emergencies", as the US dollar is so strong. Apparently some of my stocks like IBM, ONNN and GILD have dropped significantly in value as well. I'm happy I didn't buy PCLN, and that I managed some BRK-B purchase while it was still under $140. My first clue should have been how cheap the Yen was compared to my first trip to Japan. The good news is that I have run out of brothers and parents to bury, I guess.

If I can brave the dark and cold, I can get $100 for participating in a focus group on Thursday. I have too many wants for the $100 to cover. Birthdays, heating bill, a handful of hot soaks in a women-only sauna and hot tub place, Christmas gifts, maybe even Amazon Prime for a year...

Oh yes I am also currently in the lead in a Dirtnap for Dollars competition. Fortunately for me the lead competitor, who had four people in common with me on her list, disqualified herself by not ponying up the $20...

Menu for the Week -
Monday - Roast Sirloin
Tuesday - Chicken Tonkatsu
Wednesday - Cottage Pie? Leftover Roast Beef?
Thursday - Solo Sole. Guys can have whatever. Or I'll eat out, knowing I'll be getting $100...
Friday - Red Lentil Curry for real this time
Saturday - pork maybe? who knows. The mind reels. Especially after a few toots of Gentleman Jack (my bro's friends and I toasted him in a sendoff with this. I learned how to ask for aspirin in Japanese the morning of the funeral.)

Halving a Debt Time, Glad You Are Here

October 15th, 2014 at 07:55 am

For some people in the Atlantic Provinces, the month is half-over. My HELOC is, after an eleven-dollar adjustment, at half; my mortgage is a little more than half of my original 1999 loan of $184450, which in turn is half of what Zillow says my house is valued. Car Loan, not halved yet, but I've paid more than half of the car's retail price.

I did halve my credit card balance, by paying all of the October Statement. I booked the Japan return flight on that, and went to Nordstrom Rack (I can do a smart thing on occasion) for funeral clothes. Funny thing is that I had the presence of mind to call my credit union to ask for permitted charges from Japan merchants, but I never used my credit card there. I brought Yen but the Yen I purchased at face value were collectors' items (think Susan B Anthony dollars or silver certificates, or King George VI-era minted coinage) and no Japanese national was going to let me spend it! The women shouted "Sugoi!" (super, amazing) when I brought the bills out of my wallet. I also had an American national for a host who has a USD account so we did some arbitrage. I came home with: Hong Kong Dollars, Japanese Yen, United Arab Emirates Dirhams, American Dollars, and Canadian Dollars. I was not much loved at espresso shops, rooting about and finding every coin except those with white Presidents on them. My son had to buy me coffee with his birthday money (embarrassment).

I wrote earlier about smartphones. I probably could have used one in Japan: I didn't have constant access like what I'm used to in the US, and that caught up with my family when I returned to North America. My husband had the good sense to pack my laptop and drive it to BC (while our kid was at school! how great is it to drive to another country and back during your child's school hours!) the day after I arrived in Canada so I could communicate better and not be at the mercy of the hotel's desktop PC.

I'm fed up now with Virgin Mobile, and don't like that 7-11's SpeakOut Canada doesn't accept US credit cards (I have to show up at a Canadian 7-11 to buy minutes). We'll be investigating smartphones and a T-Mobile plan. Thanks to everybody who contributed useful information and explained their reasoning for going with the plans they have.

At one point yesterday we had $11.20 in our chequing (checking) account. Good thing the "House Master" as my sister-in-law puts it (we all know in real life our cat is the House Master, right?) gets paid in two days, and that we have turkey leftovers and wild sockeye salmon at $5.00/pound.

Celebrating Eight!

June 2nd, 2014 at 11:01 am

King of Eight

Goals for the eighth anniversary:

1. Lose eight pounds!
2. Declutter eight pounds of crap!
3. Walk eight cumulative miles in eight parks!
4. Earn $8 in interest from dividends and interest this month!
5. Sell eight lacklustre equities, replace with value-weighted fund and value-weighted ETF
6. Share eight frugal links!
1019 Different Ways to Save
Better Budgeting
No Credit Needed
Mr. Money Mustache - share your badassity
The Dollar Stretcher
Help me cut costs without feeling the pinch.
Tightwad Central
Get Rich Slowly
7. Make eight vegetable & fruit juice combinations!
8. Your suggestion here