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Not back to school but books are hit

September 10th, 2015 at 03:47 pm

The teachers are striking (and in some cases, unusually fetching har har).
Seriously, I am stumbling into "home schooling" which is little more than:

[*] lurking on teachers' websites, mostly from other school districts, and grabbing links to curriculum topics and exercises in PDF or .ODT or .DOCX form to copy onto the kid's USB drive;
[*] hounding him to read his calculator's manual and play with the features so he's comfortable when the school year starts for real;
[*] speaking to him in French, hoping it'll evolve into conversing with him;
[*] having him journal about and use ADHD coping strategies;
[*] getting books from the library relevant to curriculum topics;
[*] torrenting etextbooks;
[*] acquainting him with the power of apps like RedNotebook; cloud storage like OneDrive and GoogleDrive; mindmapping applications;
[*] screaming at him to get off the freaking game and YouTube websites and have one tab open to Khan Academy.
Today I'll buy him some workbooks and assemble some mechanical pencils so he can start Algebra, and borrow US History books from the library. We have James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me (given to me by my m-i-l, a US teacher) of which the striking history teachers approve. It's more managing and babysitting. Pulling lesson plans every two hours out of my scatterbrain is nothing like teaching so I don't feel like I am scab labour. If anything I'm doing the teachers a big favour by reducing their workload (my kid has an Individual Education Plan and is on the "special" side, neurologically. He's developmentally lopsided at what seems to be a 60 degree angle: college-level reading and vocabulary and performance in oral examination, grade 3 sentence writing and information retention). I feel my contribution'll mean more to his teachers than Starbucks and Top Pot doughnuts contributions.

Magical Saturday

September 5th, 2015 at 09:32 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.

Challenge of Dealing with Disappointments & Drawbacks

July 20th, 2015 at 08:51 pm

I am a week away from departing for the homeland. This week I eat down the stores and learn how to responsibly dispose of the food, detritus and distractions that are not good for us. I was going to plan an exercise regimen but maybe burning the calories as a human whirlwind may be more constructive. With the weight loss my hormones are rebalanced: an estrogen dominance thickened my waist, an estrogen deficiency brings the return of hot flashes. The release of body heat, perspiration, hormones and ketones was a heady scent-stew that sent my cat racing into our bedroom, right for ME, to check up on me. Cats are insanely gifted at smelling things.

I have learned that my returned right to vote has been overturned by a province's Court of Appeals -- not the province I most recently lived in, but the nation's capital happens to be in that province.

Also learned that I need more information and to share more information with my optometrist. We are stymied by insurance's irrational and unexplained restriction on quantities for renewal. My plan B, with doctor's blessing, was to head for a Canadian pharmacy, but the optometrist wrote out quantities for over 90 days, which Canadian pharmacies will not fill, and furthermore I require a Canadian physician's approval for filling the prescription. My field of vision and intraocular pressure remain stable: I won't qualify for a seeing-eye dog anytime soon.

The circumference and weight loss is still working, even though I remain wary of its drawbacks. Down to 40 inches, or 101.6 cm in the hips, and 32.5 inches or 82.5 centimetres in the waist. Not low enough to buy new clothes. The family is not touching much of the refrigerated leftover starches I made for them. We have learned so much about metabolism of carbohydrates, gluconeogenesis, insulin resistance, glycine, trace minerals, benefits of bone broth, intermittent fasting. One man improved his glaucoma with a ketogenic diet but his personal experience and three paragraphs of Adelle Davis' _Let's Get Well_ are not a sufficient base of evidence for me. The man suggests he may have had undiagnosed diabetes, the symptoms of which reversed with metabolic adaptation. Adelle Davis suggested supplementation with wheat germ, fortified milk, lecithin, and B vitamins. Milk gives me stomach cramps though.

The interesting thing is until I went on this low-carbohydrate diet I was going through butter at the rate of a pound a week. Butter is fat, and is important for keeping a high ratio of fat to carbohydrates. But because I'm not using it on pasta, potatoes or bread, and instead for eggs and vegetables and with olive oil for sauteing animal protein, I seem to have a lot more of it. The vegetables I eat now: cauliflower, asparagus, tomatoes, celery, leafy greens don't use so much butter, except for green beans.

Debt-wise, some karma monkey is chucking wrenches into my works to pay off the car loan: buying new tires for the bike, bimonthly utilities, semiannual vehicle insurance, a new computer to take up north. The good news is if we switch to T-Mobile, we can use our phone on Canada networks. Right now I lose $1.25 in minutes cash per month on Canada's 911 service fees. And the Canadian dollar is dropping. I'll still be buying dairy on my way to the border though.

I'd been paying so much attention to macros and summer reading I haven't been inputting my numbers.

Got something to let out, thankfully not my clothes

June 27th, 2015 at 07:51 pm

I've lost a few inches on a low carb, high fat diet, and I didn't even exercise. I was scared at first to check my weight, because the sizes I wear are those reported by those who report a weight I was at just before I gave birth, and the sizes I want to wear are reported by people my height who are around fifteen lbs or seven kilograms or just over a stone less than that. My gut is still bigger than I want it to be though. I'm thinking maybe I should exercise to cut it.

I just learned this week about ketogenic diets, just joined reddit this week and am learning lots.

The healthfulness of the diet I initially found questionable, especially after my messy, scary blood clinic episode. I have since added potassium chloride to my dining table, and put a few shakes of it into my drinking water, and supplement with magnesium. I do miss my toilet-bowl wonders, those daily affirmations I have a healthy colon, though. The body's grabbing its glucose from fat stores and not from ingested carbs, so I let less out than a government or St. Louis Cardinals online database.

I am having more coconut oil, a little more these days. Working up to five tablespoons a day.

For the vegans and high-fat diet fans, a recipe for cold brew coffee with vanilla coconut milk. Low-sugar people, well, maybe do without or reduce the coconut sugar.

It is summer: I feel I must change the landscape of my lawn to get the house ready for sale next year, but I have so little cash and am such a newbie I'm paralyzed by lack of ideas, knowledge and resources.
I may need some help/push in the right direction for where to begin.

A plus: the house now has greater than $300K equity.

The boy received his McDonalds stock funds. I wish the Direct Purchase Plan stocks we have performed better. Slow and steady may win the race but they have to rely on momentum zippers stalling or reversing.

Midmonth narrative

March 15th, 2015 at 09:27 pm

I am "racing"/"recording" my debt elsewhere, but in keeping with the suspiciously drab narratives of "auto lending"/"auto insurance"/"email marketing" crap blogs festering here, I present my narrative to go with my numbers, as debt support group was too chaotic/crowded today, and Women in Red Racers updates are succinct.

Tax refund arrived.

I put most of it in the money market account. I can stop crashsaving now and start dividing nonemergency funds into investment (long term), debt repayment, and emergency funds/planned expenditures (medium term). I did take the family out to a sitdown, let them come with the menus, cloth napkins on the table type of meal, and even had a cocktail and dessert, because that is too infrequent. We used a coupon which probably covered one cocktail. $100 went into each of two Direct Purchase Plan stocks, both with Dividend Yields above 3%, General Electric and Procter & Gamble.

Cat vaccinations and utility payments are next. Both of these are less than I budgeted for, but my son's shoes and auto fuel and my breakfast out, today's expenses, are more than what I budgeted for. It's too easy to fritter away the refund. I'd like to get the scooter properly maintained, buy some Canadian dollars and some silver, buy the new phone. I used to be able to use Twitter and Gmail on our phone, now I can't. And yes, the 20th anniversary jaunt to western Vancouver Island is still being funded and planned.

For the next week

January 18th, 2015 at 10:56 pm

We have spent $22.47 on outside dining, seventeen days into the month. That is less than books, or movies, or postage. Groceries look like they'll be $700 for the month, including cat food and litter, as we're up to $354.28 for spending. Had a Nanaimo Bar at 50% off.

We have earned $5.86 this month in interest. The internet went up $8 a month. [Sarcastic comment about Comcast's neediness redacted.] I fueled the car with $15.00 for a 464-mile range.

Meal Planning for the Week
- Salmon
- Panko Chicken Thighs
- Creamed Chicken (w/Breasts): Canned Chicken
- Minestrone Stew
- Thai Coconut Chicken Curry: Chicken Breasts
- Red Lentil Stew (I keep writing that)
- Clear out the Freezer. I have fewer servings of some protein than I have people.

Frugal luxuries: Baker Street Tea with a 1930 film "The Benson Murder Case" starring William Powell. He started smiling about the same time Garbo spoke and for most of the decade after he did he was box office gold.

Chequing has $200 in it. Keeping fingers crossed I won't have to transfer cash from Money Market Account this week, hoping for $17/day average expenditure, mostly grocery items.




Cats, Clothes, Calisthenics - the Monday Update

January 12th, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I'm in shock at my $313 water/sewer/yard bill. I will check the outdoor hoses for drips: I can't hear any drips or see any leaks inside the house. Normally it's $250 for yard, water and sewer for two months. We have not had freezing weather that would make the pipes burst.

DH needed to go out and for me to go with him on Sunday so we went to Value Village to go buy clothes for the boy and for him. I didn't have a wardrobe plan of what to buy so I merely admired but did not buy the Coach and Chanel purses and totes attractively priced for under $100. In retrospect I perhaps should have used the 30% off coupon in the Chinook Book for their purchases. My little one still has smaller feet than I do, yet he takes a size 16 in pants. He is shopping in the men's section now, although for small sizes. He is still eight inches shorter than me.

I have not bothered to weigh myself, but am programming via temporal tap my body to reduce its set weight to 140 lbs. I know I am at least 168 lbs. and am still fitting into US size 12 clothes. It looks like if I drop to 150 lbs I will get into a size 10, and size 8 at 140 lbs, according to "My Body Gallery: What Real Women Look Like."

Negatively worded phrases "It's not my fate to be fat" for example are repeated as the finger tips tap around the left ear; positively charged phrases like "I'm looking fine when I weigh 139" are "tapped in" the same way over the right ear. It's important to find and use personal phrases your body's inclined to use as truth. For example, someone on the metric system probably wouldn't want to use 139 as a number. The messages don't have to be weight-based, even. If you have salt cravings like I do, you may find tapping messages helpful for preventing a 15-oz Chex Mix feeding frenzy. Or you might program your mind and body to return your wardrobe to two sizes smaller than present. More on the temporal tap here (PDF). What I don't like is that one has to do it five times a day for about a month to see benefit from it. It's like using St. John's Wort for depression, or starting from absolute couch potato when undertaking a new exercise routine. A challenge for the easily sidetracked and impatient like me.

Debt payoff is still the dominant goal for us financially. Until February 1 I'll see if I can raise our assets by $102.60. I'll likely end up cheating by adding $4543 worth of stock and house value increase as $4440.40 of planned and unplanned expenses fly away from us. I'll be gleaning what I can from your blogs.

We sort of have a new cat. Okay, we are feeding someone else's cat. In the summer, after our white cat died, our brown one would venture out and not always come back when called in the evening. We tried shaking the treat bag, and a large ginger neuter came up: "Hey you have treats!" Now the large ginger tabby waits for us to return home, or scratches at the door, to get at our cats' food. Our resident animals are too old and puny to resist other than a perfunctory hiss when they're up to it. He doesn't stay in the house long. He is a happy nomad and not Otto von Bismarck.

Giving GnuCash another go. This time it is easier, as long as I don't jolly myself into thinking I can save and import my TD Ameritrade balances and transactions. I haven't used any of the Loan Wizards either, as they give me months upon months of automated payments all with the wrong amounts. I'm cheating by pretending I owe more than I actually do. My genuine totals owing are in the sidebar.

How are you today?

Budding 2015 aims, brief analysis of 2014 finance

December 29th, 2014 at 07:07 pm

Hey there:
I had a day of some accomplishments: washed the range hood filters, our bedsheets, bought clothes, retrieved my wallet. Ipod still missing. Not too worried because I paid nothing for it. It is probably in our house somewhere.

Saw Baselle on Saturday: she is radiant and fine. My child will participate in her Fantasy Celebrity Cemetery game and he made some good picks, some stellar unique ones, some cagey ones too. One person Baselle has on her list is someone I had on my first version, but discarded. I hope I don't have remorse over that, but I probably will. This year nearly everyone had good lists, and I just lucked out because I followed Baselle's 2013 winning strategy of finding someone in their forties.

For 2015 I want to be more creative and active. I am now mostly on Linux on one laptop, and I now have a Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pis are the thrifty way for young people to learn computing, but I decided I didn't have to be twelve or under to make use of the Pi. I've played with software for designing sound, and dipped my baby toe into the Python programming shell (called IDLE, get it? Python? har! Those funny Brits!). I also installed Apache server and now I have a web page. All of this I did last night. I have now a SDF.org account for practising mySQL and using old-school UNIX commands. I think if I reduce my exposure social media (hashtag abuse rots the mind) and go on a news-information diet I'll be okay. News is 88% corporations and governments' dictated garbage, typos, and celeb blather anyway these days, am I right?

I want to be cleaner next year too. My eyes are terrible now and I can only feel the schmutz, not see it. I have some recipes for scented cleaning concoctions, so I'll be able to smell the clean as well.

I want every day to have some minor accomplishment at least, or average out the year in daily accomplishments. I will work on templates for my RedNotebook software so I have a framework: "What needs to be changed?" "What was good?" "What steps did you take toward ....?" "What are you going to read?"

I want to be more mindful. I wouldn't say I'm manic, but too often I see more books and CDs and DVDs from the library I want to borrow, and sometimes I misplace them if I'm out, especially on a bus. Then I have to pay for their replacement. update: case in point, I was going to play a CD from the library, then found a CD from the library I thought I returned (I returned only the case). I better read Philippa Perry's How to Stay Sane but that presumes I am sane. My spouse tells me I am sane in a crazy world.

I want to overcome my social anxiety and awkwardness. I have to be okay with rejection though, as well as other people's social anxieties and awkwardness, but I don't know how to be okay with rejection; that is, positioning the rejection as the other person's problem and not a confirmation that I'm unfit for society.

Financially, 2014 showed growth over 2013. Except for the house. Despite all these cranes working on erecting multifamily residences, and a 1 bedroom apartment in the city goes for more than our 3-bedroom mortgage in the city, Zillow values our house at $5000 less than this time last year, so I have 3% growth in equity from the $10000 I've paid down in principal. I live in an area with good transportation and most amenities are within walking distance. Gold and silver are down from 12 months ago as well. Stock accounts went up, except for General Electric. Bonds are up a little over 2%, money market account is up slightly. Debt you can look at in the sidebar, unless you're using adblock software. 8% principal paid on HELOC; 9.18% principal paid on mortgage; 22% principal paid on car loan. Car loan annual principal paid percentage is the only number that didn't increase from last year.

Stocks to look into next year: CI, DLTR, ONNN, SU, TRV, VIAB.

Halving a Debt Time, Glad You Are Here

October 15th, 2014 at 02:55 pm

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.

Thanks to all of last post's commenters

September 23rd, 2014 at 03:56 pm

I'm kinda relieved now I am not already over the Pacific. I've just been reading up on Japanese funerals. Bluesfemme kindly filled me in on the pearls, but now I have to get hosiery and a black handbag, maybe a nice Ambien prescription. Sleeping was hard last night. I exchanged some money for the "funeral envelopes" (I did this for the wedding years earlier) but fear it is not enough. I don't think this is the right time for me to be stingy, and maybe I should expect to be in debt for a month or so.

Anyway: $1576 Canadian after taxes to fly to the Far East, no awkward transfers in Honolulu so Ambien can send me for 6 to 8 hours.

An American is going to greet me at the airport and take care of me at least partly so I don't burden my sister and her family too much. I do not know if my brother had a will. He made mention of making me executrix last year when he had a health scare. I'm scheduled to stay a week. This would've been open-ended if there were a will and I would have to take care of things. I think intestate decedents leave half the estate to the surviving spouse, don't know if Japan government takes the other half.

Japanese funerals cost $25000 USD on average. I think I might have a heart attack of my own. I don't know if I'm going to offend by putting as much as I can afford (the maximum) in a funeral envelope, or if I'm going to be surprised with a bill for funeral expenses.

Answers urgently needed! International airfare websites

September 22nd, 2014 at 06:19 pm

Reposted from forum:

My brother, 44 years old, died last night. In Japan. I am in shock racing into grief.
(I know this is very young, and I will tell you it was from a lung malady, not from selfharm or a traffic accident or what usually takes the lives of men under the age of 50.)

His wife asked me to fly over. I need this information fast. I don't know if compassionate fares work for overseas flights.
Will my 12 yo child need a passport to fly with me?
Are there fare discounts or freebies for children?

Update: My cousin who is a travel agent found a flight for me. I am going alone. I now have some Japanese Yen, a tasteful black dress and black flats (no sense going as Godzilla-in-mourning) and maybe I'll have ticket info (website timed out on my cousin when she booked as me). I am still kind of in shock but prone to sudden crying fits. I am very thankful I have two places to stay at in Japan, and I'll be there for probably a week so I don't burden my sister's parents, who know very little English (I know even less Japanese). My mom and dad are both dead and I am struggling with minor details and what to do for Japanese funerals and how I'm going to communicate across the sea: do you think maybe my sister will let me have my brother's laptop?

How weird is it that today's SavingAdvice article is about men and heart disease? My brother died of a pulmonary embolism.

Week 7: 52-Week Saving Challenge

February 15th, 2014 at 05:32 pm

Eh, not very frugal. We had coffee and Valentine special doughnuts out, ate lunch out, had custard out (the three of us), and spouse bought brandy for the steak con pepe. But I budgeted for all this. DH bought a Weird Tales paperback. Me, I had the opportunity of browsing for a Sparks CD which I didn't feel like buying, so I'm kinda giftless. But I had coffee served to me in bed, and I get enough love, affection and obedience throughout the year. My gastrointestinal tract acted up after lunch so I abandoned my plans to go downtown.

We had frugal fun Hearts Day story time! I cut up one sheet of paper into twelve rectangles, and the three of us each wrote four character names, fictional and nonfictional, one on each rectangle. The rectangles were then folded and put in a jar, which would be shaken. Two people would pull out one rectangle each, and the names on those rectangles would be in a Valentine story.

Pairings: Doctor Orpheus (from "Venture Bros.") & Lydia Pinkham; Groucho Marx & Jim Nabors, and last match was Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada's "Coach's Corner", and now currently CBC Sochi 2014 correspondent, with Tina Belcher (from "Bob's Burgers").

$13 deposited for Week 7, only because it is grocery savings.

Today I will brave doing my taxes, but not using Mozilla Firefox. It'll cost me $39.99 to eFile the return, which is what's kept me from using tax software, but this year I have fathomed:
1. If I save at least that much using tax software from my imagined burden, the software fulfills its use;
2. If I owe that much, a $39.99 extra ding isn't going to be too terribly worse, especially when I already have a software line item in my budget;
3. If I kept to pencil, paper and calculator, I'd never have learned about the TurboTax sweepstakes. I (and you) can still ENTER the sweepstakes through the mail with pencil, stamped envelope and a 3" x 5" index card.

Sochi Challenge: $38 so far. Which should be good for TJ Maxx or Ross or secondhand exercise wear.

TAXES ARE DONE.
For those who read/participated in the poll the answer is D, for Delusional, Dimwitted, Delicate, Dumb and DRAMA DIVA!

They are not yet filed because I want the Mister to come look. Thank goodness he is a docile, supportive, loving male.

Today's Spending

January 17th, 2014 at 03:24 am

First off, I was gobsmacked to save an additional $5 off clearance-priced microfleece pajamas today. More like $5.45, for the tax saved too. I did spend on nonessential items, like dinner between our son's possible new school tour (more on that in a future post, because it's budget-impacting) and my husband's "film" appreciation group, and some donuts with coffee while we jointly worked on a Thursday themed NY Times crossword.

Plus, we are selling items! The clarinet mentioned in the previous post, MS Office Ultimate 2007, and MS Visual Studio. I'll use half of the proceeds from Office either for the Tax Prep Software (oh how I miss the days of the synthpop, Sprite, and potato chips with calculator and sharp pencils and scratch pad!!) or to bless on a community radio donation and feed my child's transit card, or something else.

I may go the envelope route with cash. I don't have the "freeze or cut up your cards" relationship with credit, but this year, with increased utilities and local taxes, I find our car loan "itchy" and if I think about what percentage of our takehome pay goes to car insurance, gas, oil changes, plate tabs, and payment my teeth grind. None of the women in our debt group likes our loans, all of us bought within ten months of each other. My strategy for paying off while maintaining an emergency fund AND reaching savings goals is being developed. A tactic may involve chaos magick.
But back to the envelopes. I may ask paper crafters if they have spare envelopes, and print out a template for each everyday expense budget category. Then what I could do at the end of each week is see what's leftover from each, and collect from them into a deposit envelope for the 52-week saving challenge.


This Will Be Our Year - Declutter Challenge

January 9th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I love these challenges that inspire me to quantify my year. The 52 week Declutter challenge will be a cinch as I have already discarded nineteen items of clutter today, if discarding includes shredding. I have organized my writing centre, my postage/mail centre, and recorded bills coming due and CDs scheduled to mature shortly.

For me the key is to undertake one challenge each day, and to incorporate each challenge in my Red Notebook Journal Template.
All Hail Discardia!

I miscalculated my stock purchase by $50 (that's a paddlin'), leaving $35 in our chequing account this morning. This oversight has since been rectified.

Our new homeowner's insurance policy arrived, and it is $51 less than it was last year, so there are some savings to be had there, or one mocha per month. Sadly as our insurance is paid by escrow we will not see any reduction in monthly mortgage payment until July 2014.

YouTube goodie for you: This Will Be Our Year - The Zombies, Odyssey & Oracle

Empty Purse to go with my Empty Hearse

January 5th, 2014 at 04:31 pm

Recorded my shopping experience at safewaysurvey.net, in hopes of winning a $100 gift card.
I saved $50.56 from my total shopping, using paper coupons, Just-for-U savings and card savings.
However, I have now $140 to last us five days, unless the GE stock purchase goes through, in which case $100 to last us five days. I won't be needing to fuel up in six days, so that's good.

I planned close to three weeks' worth of meals. We have a full freezer now. I'll need about twelve onions and canned tomatoes, and maybe if I'm feeling rich some whipping cream along with the eggs, bread and milk we'll eventually need to restock.

From January to mid-April I go through a First Quarter panic. We'll have some tax bite from the sale of some stocks my spouse sold a year ago. Plus car tab renewal in April as well. I'm determined to eat better this year's First Quarter panic. I've a greater assortment of “cheap cooking” blogs, and dozens, if not one hundred, slow cooker and cheap cuisine books available to me from the local libraries, including the busiest library system in the United States.
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Said to me today over a juice break: "You placed SECOND in a Dead Pool?"
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Looked at Lifehacker article: "Write Down Exactly What Your Savings Are Allowed to Be Spent On". Okay: furniture, home improvement, debt repayment, shareware donations, Donors Choose projects, stock purchase, and Safe Deposit Box Rental. That money isn't going to be moribund in a 0% account while there's some prettying to be done, some debt to pay, and money to be made. But it will accumulate in that 0% account until certain minimums are reached.
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Spent an hour scouring the Web, including Google search "site:savingadvice.com [cheap eats] [thrifty meals] [budget cooking]" for blogs with content combining frugality with food. I just discovered "Grocery Budget" category in the forums. And this article

Blogs and Sites Outside
http://brokeassgourmet.com/
http://www.cookonashoestring.com/
http://www.budgetbytes.com/
http://www.stretcher.com/food/?TT
http://www.cheapcooking.com/ - a popular one among retired/old-timer SA bloggers
http://cheapcookinmama.blogspot.com/
http://www.theeatfoodnotmoneycookbook.blogspot.com/
http://brokeandstarving.com/
http://thriftyfoodtherapist.tumblr.com/
http://www.pinterest.com/geauxsaints9/thrifty-cooking/
http://casualkitchen.blogspot.com/2009/10/25-best-laughably-cheap-recipes-at.html
http://www.leftoverqueen.com/
http://recipesonthecheap.blogspot.com/
http://www.doctoryourself.com/eatwellcheap.html
http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/quick-cheap-healthy-meals-recipes
http://goodcheapeats.com/
http://pauperspantry.com/
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/cheap-eat (this is a UK site.)
http://www.pinterest.com/geauxsaints9/thrifty-cooking/ (Pinterest aggregate)
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/

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2014 A New Year, Possibilities and Aims

January 1st, 2014 at 08:51 pm

Happy New Year! Bonne Annee!

Hey Hey I installed YNAB, having found my Activation Key in my inbox! I set up YNAB so I could enjoy the flexibility of choosing among my accounts for application of my physical savings.

Resolutions As the Year Goes By

Allowing for fluidity of circumstances and thinking!
First up: reducing e-mail accounts to 20 messages maximum in each inbox!

Second: stay away from most newspaper comments, now that I know there are paid trolls to say the stupidest things. "I don't mind paying $12/month maintenance fee at my bank, because I get free coffee!" "That hard-working father's freedom and liberty were threatened by his two-month-old daughter so he should not be charged with shooting her with his 9mm gun!" Those of us who came to the truth of paid trolls too late know there are worse ones. The trolls exist to pump up the page hits and my blood pressure.

Get more eBooks from library, especially for online tutorials for eventual job work.

Meal plan with emphasis on what's in pantry inventory. Today we're having Hoppin' John with kale and sweet potatoes, and then work on yesterday's duck pasta leftovers.

In December I was embarrassed a few times by pulling out coins and wondering if I had at least $2.50 for coffee. It may be time to cut back. I wonder how pack-a-day smokers can handle their budget: I don't even have coffee out more than once a week unless it is special holiday time like now.

I weigh 167.5 lbs. Not terrible, but definitely could trim down 10-15 lbs.

That 365 Ways to Save is pretty bland. Only the health stuff I haven't already set to autopilot.
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Shopped with family at JCPenney: saved $199.20, because we brought a 15% coupon, spending $178 in total. I bought a red acrylic Joe Fresh sweater and a Betseyville turquoise rose-print large bag. I love the sixty-nine cent Anne Klein red purse but I can't fit the price book, emergency ADHD reading material for lines and buses, notebook, calculator, chequebooks, pens, et cetera.

Miscellanea-Logorrhea Post

December 20th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I have thoughts swarming and distracting me. In no particular order:

I mailed a parcel (no insurance) to the United Arab Emirates. Flying parcels over there is expensive. I had this idea that because my brother works at an institute of higher learning, somebody would sign for the parcel. It arrived at the building I addressed, but as my brother was away from his office teaching, it went away with the courier. I don't have a tracking # for it. It's the cost and effort that counts, right?

I am using whey protein shakes but I find I get hot flashes, despite use of coconut oil and coconut milk. Not that hot flashes in freezing temperatures aren't welcome, they just don't last long. I must do some research about cortisol, branched chain amino acids, female hormones and serotonin. Sleep is brief now because the cat, a South East Asian variety lacking a thick coat and fat, sleeps on us or beneath the covers, making rolling over burdensome. There are other cats, but he's on the wrong end of the pecking order (they hate him) for all of them to cuddle up with each other, and he won't go near my gentle, sensitive, kind child (no sarcasm here. Unfamiliar cats find my child more approachable. I genuinely don't understand the aversion).

I learned efficiency isn't luxury. I hate everything being cluttered but it's not like I get any help at home. At least no past-due statement calamities have happened. Such a bother determining what to toss and where; where to track down those folders and statements meant to go into those folders.

I am dreading dealing with ComputerShare to get replacement userid and password info. The credentials were lost to the hard disk drive. I know this is nothing compared to the Library of Alexandria's destruction, but chee!

My small comfort about this Target breach is that our credit cards and debit cards have already been replaced due to other breaches, after I started exclusively using the RedCard and cash at Target. Therefore only my Target shopping data may be compromised. Will Target close the account and issue a new one without my needing to request one?

It has snowed here. I have no real snowboots, only rainboots and fashion boots. I don't like wearing rainboots: my socks end up sliding down past my ankles or if they're already mid-ankle, past the heel. Do I have to wear garters?

Thank you for keeping your blogs lively, honest and true, and not blighting my eyes with passive, third-person toneless palaver about insurance or car loans or loan consolidation. Thank you to the eagle eyes who report those blogs so they are "smote into gobettes" by the vigilant site administrators.

I have something else, very budget related, but it's for a separate post. Stay tuned.

Jenny I've Got Your Number 867-5309

September 1st, 2013 at 01:52 am

This is the funniest and real retail coupon savings hack I've read from Lifehacker. For those club savings offered by retail loyalty cards linked to a phone number, or even when corporate retail cashiers ask you for your phone number, give them the area code you're currently shopping in and eight six seven five three oh ni-yee-ine...

Another little hack, although I suspect this is limited to people in Buffalo, Detroit, Bellingham, and Escondido/San Juan Capistrano/San Diego, Corpus Christi...
ask the retail staff if they accept "the colourful currency." I've now had "the colourful currency" accepted south (a mile, 1.6 km) from where I live.

I've been thinking of what to do next month. So many ways I could improve myself: I may purge -- I could get a lot done. I have to design my kid's after-school schedule. Maybe one challenge a day, then build up. One thing he wants is Tim Horton International stock. He has some stock already in a no-brainer company, but this one I want him to study. I want him to learn how to find an annual report, and to read one. Then I'll teach him what ratios are worth looking at, and why. I'll show him some calculations to determine the future value of this stock, and appropriate buy points. This sounds heady, but when it comes to money my child is precociously sharp.

We're not moving north. My spouse is working on his resume for a FT job at the company for which he presently contracts (he used to be a FTE). He'd have to commute in every day. We'd either stay put, or move a mile north, or (gulp) southeast (12 mi SE: I have no basis for comparison with any other state of the union, and 90+% of them are southeast of us, so don't think I mean your habitat).

My credit union has cut our savings account interest rate down to 4%. I may toss some money into my son's account to get some of that six percent action.

The punitive crawl of humility to stable finances (Part One)

August 23rd, 2013 at 04:50 pm

Soundtrack

The bummer of returning home is to see how much the finances resemble 1942 Guadalcanal or 1917 Vimy Ridge and having sole responsibility of cleaning that mess up.

Il buono
I paid my optometrist bill. Isn't it odd how some people are keenest to pay the creditors who've positioned themselves as given the customer a break? My bill wasn't overdue but as I don't know what balance is on the high-deductible health spending account, I postponed payment for a few salary payperiods. There was enough $$ in the HSA for my eye exam, yay. The optometry office staff treat me so well I feel abject and unworthy.

I sacrificed my vanity scooter plate to save $32 on my license tab renewal. I knew hubby would pout but I said "Virtual Private Network" to him.

The entrepreneurial tot got his 1995 Topps Larry Walker (MLB:Expos,Rockies,Cardinals) card signed, multiplying his card's worth by 5000%.

il brutto

I have forgotten when my spouse gets paid. When yesterday I dared peek at our chequing account balance it was around $1900. So I am guessing he gets paid next week. I left the spouse with $300 in the account on August 5, I know that much. He has the password to our credit union online access, but he's not ON IT like I am fifty weeks of the year.

Update: He was paid today
I deduce that he must have used the credit card for everything, looking at our CC balance.

I have a serious case of the wants after house-sitting a "monster" designer house in the burbs. Not the size of the house: too much to clean! Not the electronics: too many manuals to keep and read! But furniture: I could use a dinner table that doesn't rock, a better organization system in the kitchen and bedrooms. And here the 2014 IKEA catalogue tempts me.

il cattivo

Scooter insurance payment gets mailed today.

Most school supplies have been purchased. My boy is ramping up toward manhood (learning to cook, absorbing Facts of Life/Birds and Bees, acquiring first USB drive--RadioShack tried to interest me in a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes character drive, but I declined: dignity is crucial to the tween).

I don't know where this is in the buono/brutto/cattivo Venn Diagram, but very little changed in our fridge during our absence. Condiment-heavy fridge shelf, vegetable crispers untouched. I did not see any pizza boxes or empty beer bottles/cans. I do see that most of our frozen meat stash has gone. I have to do another inventory, but I can safely state that a Costco trip for bath tissue and paper towels is due.
That's what I'll do: play "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" on my mp3 player while I shop at Costco.

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Lagniappe: Most common questions/comments I received in British Columbia
"So how's that marijuana legalization working out?"
"Now you know why we shop for dairy in Washington!"
(seriously, how can veal be so affordable but milk be so pricy up there?)

April update

April 2nd, 2013 at 06:05 pm

Paid $3895.43 in principal over this past quarter.

Started planning in earnest to sell home. Collected boxes and wrapping paper, contacted some plumbers, returning borrowed items to people.

House equity is, for the first time since 2008, at 65%.
Am confident now I can put $200K downpayment on next home. Credit union no longer allows bridge loans, so we will live in extended stay quarters for 2-3 months.

I'd been stewing in frustration and hopelessness for weeks, but this past weekend had some epiphanies in store for me:
- renewed energy with the longer hours
- the UFYH tumblr tag (Unf*ck Your Habitat), easier and more motivating than FlyLady

I have overspent for both February and March. Oddly, I do not much care. Perhaps it is due to the market value rising, or that I expect some short-term fiscal pain between now and the sale of the house. I've budgeted $18000 for keeping up both mortgage and rent, replacing toilet and water heater, staging the house, moving and storage expenses.

Found 64 cents nearby on Friday. Whee!

New-to-me ways of saving money

February 4th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I went to supermarket without my wallet, d'oh! It wasn't a total loss: I got some exercise, plus I collected 41 cents from the change receptacles in the unattended self-scans, plus four coupons. I bet I got more money in those three minutes than the guy begging outside the supermarket property perimeter did. Better yet, I got that money without having to ask people to part with it, and they'd already made the decision to leave without their change. Super Bowl is a good time to check the stations for change: lotsa people do emergency shopping during breaks.

Bestbuyeyeglasses.com - get specs at a fraction of the cost.

Comparing the cost of frozen vs fresh, especially in winter months. Fresh green beans: $2.99/lb at Kroger. Frozen green beans: $1.69 for 12 ounce bag at Kroger.

Using the sensor on the dryers. We'd been cranking the timer up to 70 minutes regardless of load. But I just now noticed the sensor, and used it for the comforter on the kid's bed. It's not a down comforter and it is small enough to put in the dryer. I use the sensor based on what is being dried, and also alter the dryer heat accordingly. This does not work all the time because whereas *I* try to take proper care of fabrics, I live with "if it fits in the washer put it on whatever mode" thinkers.

I air-dry delicate wool and cashmere sweaters, silk jammies, and my Marimekko shirts.

I made Pork Katsu and it was restaurant-quality at one-fifth the cost. The dipping sauce was zesty as I doubled the "hot mustard" quantity.

Tax Documents Checklist

Just discovered http://www.couponmom.com/cellfire-464 but I don't like to use the Java plug-in. I installed the Java plug-in on my IE browser only, my go-to browser for "YES I WANT TO BE WATCHED WHILE I WEB SURF" action.

Boy and I need to learn how to sell stuff. This guide should help. Finding specialty markets is the killer. For instance, I posted an ad selling four VHS cassettes, two of them rare, $10 for the whole set. EBay shows individual price listings for two at $12.99 and $10.99. I am not posting on eBay: I will probably have to open a new account and sell there.

I've known for a week now that I will be spending Valentine's Day evening with my kid while DH skips off to a schlock movie course. Heading to the women-only spa in the evening is not in the cards when I have a male fifth-grader to take care of: I will have strawberry pavlova and play Jeopardy! with my favourite blood relative male I suppose.

Goals for gaining and losing pounds in 2013

January 18th, 2013 at 05:42 pm

A kindred spirit has asked today about my availability to visit London (England, not Ontario) with her. So glad I renewed my passport! As we both are "women of size" (she is 6'3", I am 5'9.5") I cringe at the idea of being wedged into an airplane seat so will see if I can whittle my hip circumference by an inch or two. First class is no doubt roomier, but hella expensive.

Also, a Brit told me pound sterling is cheaper to accumulate in winter months, so will try to gain those. If nothing else, could be a fun arbitrage play.

2013 looks so exciting to one who has energy, hope and goals to aspire to!

Now for a financial post

January 12th, 2013 at 07:38 pm

1. So glad to be reminded I can include the sales tax of our "spaceship" (looks inside and out like something Flash Gordon and Dr. Zarkov would pilot) in our 2012 1040 return. Now to look for that Purchase Order and collect files for the tax return. Also, this is the year I will use TurboTax.

2. Insurance for the house went up $5 this year. The good news, our credit score knocked off $193 from the premium.

3. Recorded Year-To-Year stock prices for the individual stock purchase plans I have, and gold and silver prices. I watch but don't take seriously the prognostications for gold and silver: they are too blatantly created by people who run silver and gold web sites, and they are so often wrong. Past three years: "Gold's going to pass $2000 an ounce this summer!" No, maybe in Australian dollars, but not in Canadian nor American...

$20 Challenge - Saved $5 from my $54.54 shopping bill today. I made a menu plan for the week, lost half of my shopping list, and yielded only to the impulse purchase of $2.50/lb butter.

All you do to me is talk stock: Making chicken stock. The kitties sure enjoy cooked chicken.

Menu Plan
Either baked salmon or broiled Sake to Mayonnaisu (salmon with mayo tinged with rice vinegar)

Monday: Roasted Root Vegetables (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall), with Beef Stew (Canadian Living)

Tuesday: Vegetable Soup with Leeks (recipe from Cancer Lifeline cookbook), or Vegetable Medley with Leeks (Nourishing Traditions)

Wednesday: Chicken, Baked w/Tarragon and Mustard (Nourishing Traditions), "Committee Salad" (recipe from Best of Best of Bridge, for you Canadian(s) out there)

Thursday: Chicken leftovers, with Potatoes Anna, Basic Salad

Friday: Shepherd's Pie OR Macaroni-Beef-Vegetable Casserole (Vancouver-area spiral-bound cookbook), Mixed Vegetables

Saturday: Soup, either Bean or Tofu Miso.

Dirtnap for Dollars The same # of people who chose Zsa Zsa Gabor last year are choosing Hugo Chavez this year, which tells me he either died very late in 2012 (no health updates, did you notice?) or he will be Ariel Sharon's bed buddy for all of 2013.

I am taking baby steps toward my goals. Still identifying several in fact. I do want to be more DIY this year. I have read that used coffee grounds can be used for a body scrub so I would like to try some.

Earlier a blogger commented I tend to reward myself for financial rewards with food, and perceived it as a problem. I qualify that it is a problem when I think "oh I reduced my $136K debt by $100, time for a croissant and coffee at such-and-such place." So I am extending the interval of reward to $1000 of debt paid off as a dessert-and-coffee reward, and $1000 of debt paid off from one loan as a dinner reward, eating out twice every three months instead of once every three weeks for a mortgage; once every four months for the car loan. Because I do love food, but eating out is not always good for me, and even when I eat foods that are terrific for me, when it's at a restaurant here the bill is not good for my pocketbook.

I am exactly the age my eldest aunt was when she died from breast cancer. My mother developed breast cancer when she was four years older than I am now. This is why I go on about Vitamin D3, and try to include green leafy vegetables and salmon as regular parts of my weekly diet. I may even try some exercise. Cancer is so complicated: Linda McCartney found out that soy doesn't prevent cancer; a nearby woman who did triathlons learned running doesn't stop it either. I'm hoping nutrition and curbing intake of toxins will be my magic bullets: I am switching to using Naturtint on my hair, which will save me big money, and limiting use of my store-bought perfumes: I have three, and they are a big "gazingus pin" as Joseph Dominguez of Your Money or Your Life would term it.

So what am I thankful for today? The Internet and all this new information about nutrition and vitamins and how to control the hormones to prevent cancer!

Sure Hope Karma Exists, Menu Plan

January 8th, 2013 at 09:23 pm

My friend and debt-buddy who referred us to an auto dealer qualifies for a $250 referral bonus. She might not have known this if I did not bring it to her attention: when I did she went through her mail and found the postcard advertising this promotion from the auto dealer.

The credit union reduced its 12-year no-fee mortgage rate. As I am committed to moving in the next six months I am not sure that a temporary $100 reduction in mortgage payment is worth it. The reduction might be worthwhile if my car loan and HELOC rates were higher than the mortgage, but they are not.

Kid is greedy: he'd been demanding some of my dead pool winnings, which he kinda got with a silver coin, $5 for his tooth I pulled out (OraBase benzocain is fun!), and the three-month extension on his clarinet rental. Just because it's not cash in his pocket to spend on LEGO(tm) does not mean he doesn't have it. Now he is attempting to negotiate a percentage for helping me in Jeopardy!

Menu for the next seven days:
- baked five-spice tofu, kale, carrots
- tofu coconut curry soup
- chicken coconut curry
- baked or broiled salmon
- roast chicken
- chicken leftovers put to good use
- bean soup

2013 Resolutions, plus free Adobe software

January 7th, 2013 at 06:16 pm

pay off 7% of existing debt.
Use coupons, rebates, gifts as debt repayment. Focus on car, then HELOC.
Read eBooks, books I already own.
Be actively grateful 4-5 times a day.
Download and use task managers to reduce chaos, if a free task manager exists for Windows, or use Google Tasks.
Learn how to use Evernote.
Master Excel and OpenOffic Calc.

Learn how to manage my money with Google Calendar.

Get as many things for free as possible.

Learn how to deal with difficult people, and remind myself not everyone, maybe not even the majority of people, is like that, and that everyone has a down day. Learn it's okay to assert that being difficult is not necessary to a "winning formula."

Big changes, or Changes from Bigness:
Develop and use an entry-level gentle exercise program.
Learn to love Poached eggs with Wilted Balsamic Greens.

For a Limited Time Only! Slickdeals.net has links to getting Adobe Creative Suite applications for free, like InCopy, PhotoShop, Audition, Acrobat Pro, GoLive, et cetera.

And so it snows

December 19th, 2012 at 09:54 pm

I am thankful there are people other than my creditors who are willing to have me in their lives.

I am thankful that the former coworker who dismissed all of us female workers as stupid b*tches is incarcerated for a different, more horrible transgression. He has shown himself by his felonious acts and odious conduct to be a manic sociopath misogynist.

I am thankful for peppermint mochas that are easy to come by as I walk through the melting snow, my socks fallen down below my heels in my rainboots, and the effort of the library staffer to track down all the items on hold for me so my trek was maximally productive.

I am thankful for finding addresses I shamefully have been lax in entering in my address book. I would much rather have solutions and strategies for my disorder than excuses, believe.

I did not sleep well even with my new pumped up, fluffed up pillow. The barista thought he was doing me a favour sneaking an extra shot of espresso in my drink.

I Learned How to Pay for a Car Today

December 11th, 2012 at 01:06 am

My friends were slackjawed to learn yesterday that we drove our car off the lot before presenting the complete payment for the automobile. "I can't believe they let you pay just $8800 before taking it home," said a friend who bought from that very dealer.
Her remark made me wonder if maybe we should have gone to the credit union last week to officially apply for a loan.

"So how then do you buy cars when you haven't yet applied formally for a car loan, and you buy at a date or time when the dealer cannot directly and immediately contact your lender?" I did not ASK to take the vehicle home: I was fine with picking it up in a few days.

I figured we would apply for the loan formally at some point, after the inspection and insurance, and the credit union would mail payment to the dealer. We visited the credit union today to get the loan and experienced a delay due to the "new"/"not new" status of the car, where we saw a cheque drawn for the balance of the vehicle. We borrowed 25% of what we were approved to borrow, so we knew acceptance was a foregone conclusion. We were to bring the remaining payment to the dealer.

"New" - present year model of vehicle.
"Not new" - previous title, 9500 miles on car.

So today I did drive to the dealer to bring in the cheque and a thank-you note for not sending the cops or repo men after us. To be hilarious (they have BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and Lincolns in the showroom) I showed up in my furs. I am relieved we were not reminded by the credit union or the dealership in a "what is wrong with you you car thieves" kind of way.
I feel this car purchase has just begun to change our lives.

I may even call the insurer today to remove the old car from our policy. I have to fax the insurer some documents anyway. But we have eleven minutes left on our phone for the month (family health emergency, car sales, car purchase, regular phone call home for DH), so I will download, install and run Google Voice.

Feeling poor but not broke: I bought a luxury down pillow from Pacific Coast, it has an outlet ten miles south of us, for 15% off, plus getting shipping free for ordering today. I am not sleeping, and I think the limpness of the pillows may be contributing to that.

Menu for the Week
Baked Chicken, from Nourishing Traditions
Chicken Noodle Soup, La Fourchette Cookbook
Spaghetti Sauce from Nourishing Traditions served on buckwheat noodles
Gourmet Succotash, from Nourishing Traditions
Foiled Pot Roast Eat Better for Less Money, with leftovers served with ratatouille for a casserole, perhaps with a winter root medley.
Red Bean & Quinoa Chili, from Feeding the Whole Family

Gratitude List
1. Learning new ways to protect my privacy, identity and anonymity online. Considering the lengths US and Canadian politicians are going to to transform the Internet to be that less of an open, unrestricted space, finding and using these options will be key for me.
2. The Portlandia crossover with The Simpsons, so I can view through Homer and Marge's eyes how we must appear to my relatives. My extended family is not hip at all. My immediate family is "punk in the head" without external signifiers like neon hair, leather, metal, ripped clothes, or tattoos -- it is all inside. DH's family is brainy and quietly subversive so we are at least 67% normal in their eyes. The hipsterish Springfield is not that far-removed from Seattle, especially when Homer remarks about how it's cloudier and cooler. At that point we doubled over. We saw these clips online, as we do not own a television.
3. The credit union representative and the dealership associate did not blink or yell at me for showing up a week later with the remaining car payment.

Ready to Push Finances Reset Button

November 25th, 2012 at 12:52 am

I have seen some good easy advice: keep separate accounts for your goals. I have my monies in various accounts, all presumably for the "OMG the credit union is gonna rescind our HELOC WTF lulz!" moment, which came only to people who banked with Washington Mutual and now with JP Morgan Chase, and even then I know only of incidents of reduction of HELOC limits, not outright rescission.


Some of us recognize the internal pressure and amplified yen that propel us to make a purchase. I fight with my mouse, my USB ports are broken or finicky. I may blow up to $500 on a refurbished business-class laptop.

We have not seriously shopped for a vehicle yet. We have been buying silver and paying bills and shopping for presents. My spouse wants a certain kind of car and now admits he likes the style of it, All my long-distance presents except for one CD to New York have been mailed. My friend is Jewish and it's domestic so I think any time between now and December 24 should be okay for her. I may owe her a $10 Amazon gift certificate, the prize for our private dead pools.
My stamp/coin/currency dealer has expressed interest in dead pools. I can tell you that after this morning I feel better about my position in the one I participate in with mjrube, baselle and others.

NSD, Links galore

October 11th, 2012 at 03:34 am

I must return the updated edition of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need this week. Here are some urls I found useful for car research, online deals, how to get more nutrients for your budget dollar, free education.
cars
http://Autobytel.com
http://Autoweb.com
http://Autos.msn.com
http://Carbargains.com
http://]Costco.com - seriously, click on Services
http://Edmunds.com
http://Intellichoice.com
http://kbb.com

Online deals
dealseeking.mom
Retailmenot.com

Savings elsewhere
www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips
ninite.com - software
nolo.com - gotta update my will

I resisted going out for potato chips last night, toasting walnuts instead to have with cayenne, butter and rosemary; and again stayed in tonight to make popcorn with butter and seasoned salt (Gayelord Hauser's Spike).

Wise Bread Links on Budget Nutrition

http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-beef-tasty-frugal-protein
http://www.wisebread.com/turbo-charge-your-diet-with-superfo...
http://www.wisebread.com/7-nutrients-you-need-more-of?wbref=...
http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-g... - I learned where I am going wrong from reading this one!

Two More Wise Bread links, unrelated to food
http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesomeness-of-sodium-bicarbona... - cleaned out the french press with baking soda. The hours-old coffee had that icky metallic taste to it the past few days.
http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new

I have been beating myself up lately. No need to: I do not beat up my friends when they have setbacks. I figure I will take 10% off each paycheque and allocate it to: debt; car; savings; fun.

I learned that the Hyundai Sonata also comes in a Hybrid model.

Today was cool. Not nifty cool but cool as in the cats were miffed because we bald bipeds slacked off and did not heat up the earth. The heat came on today. I may use the rest of those consignment store coupons to buy sweaters, and pay more attention to the FreeCycle offers of firewood.

Thanksgiving dinner tonight, plus Menu Plan

October 9th, 2012 at 02:43 am

We bought 1.3 lbs of turkey breast, a prepared apple pie, broccoli and a can of Boddington for beer bread. I made sweet and sour cabbage and DH made beer bread. Martin Frobisher's gratitude for getting through his third exploration voyage to the New World with most of his ships in the late 16th century is the seminal reason for us celebrating Thanksgiving: an Act of Parliament in 1957 fixed the date as the second Monday of October. So we had a holiday dinner, one the boy greatly looked forward to.

Menu Plan:
Tu - Grilled or Baked Salmon, apple walnut kale, quinoa
We Indian Summer Chicken, potatoes, broccoli
Th - Nut Burgers and Red Pepper Soup
Fr - Dover Sole in Lemon Sauce, brown rice, carrots
Sa - Something Hungarian with Veal Scallops. Saturday is luxury meal day. Potatoes and more cabbage, no doubt.
Su - Beef Stew, potatoes, salad or greens.

Neither my mother or grandmother ever told me cabbage could be made into entrees other than cabbage rolls. I enjoy finding tasty, sweet ways for using cabbage.

Boddington Ale was okay, but I prefer Anchor Steam or Guinness Stout for beer bread.


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