a mortgage payoff.
Just made 35% mortgage paid milestone after nearly 17 years in the house. Admittedly this is my second refinance of the house. Equity is at 78%.
Still dithering about a phone. I like to make use case scenarios, cost-balancing what-if scenarios, and have a list of what technologies and standards will meet our needs. DH likes to feel the phones while I get talked over in a phone store pumping out loud dance music, and springing on me in the store his input which I attempted four times to solicit at home in a quieter environment. This is why I don't have an updated phone.
When I use a search engine for "best phone for me" I get outdated contract plan provider ratings, and listings five years out of date for phones.
It's Cyber Monday and I want a phone. I'm grandfathered into a $25/month plan but I can't even use the phone for Web browsing anymore because the firmware won't do Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer handshakes.
Why are we not with Ting? We don't know enough about technologies and service to determine if Ting will offer Canada service with the device we bring to it.
Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category
a mortgage payoff.
This morning I gave thought to our Christmas budget. The main person in my life is a Sagittarian, so I estimate $120 for his birthday. I won't share how I did it, but I managed to get about $160 worth of his Amazon wishlist items for $0. Thinking $650 for a cards-inclusive birthday & Christmas. My beau's birthday is one day earlier than US Thanksgiving, so my Can-Am kid is working on him to consider spending birthday time up north.
I plan to get a Bitcoin wallet, and buy one bitcoin. Several sites use PayPal for payment processing and PayPal doesn't accept our cards even when we use guest accounts, because our credit cards share the same numbers. It doesn't make sense to me that joint credit card holders should be punished if their credit scores are good and their accounts are in good standing. Bitcoin will allow pseudonymity and lower processing fees.
I live in a sucky school district. My kid's school budget has been slashed to nothing, as the school's administration exhausted its cash to retain one full-time staff person. The school lost 2.4 FTE funding after a teachers' strike. As of this writing six teachers have DonorsChoose.org projects. I'd like to see them all funded: I don't have enough cash to fund them all. I've promoted the URL a few places, including the school PTSA newsletter. However the school PTSA has its own Donation Drive, which I've given roughly half of my car accident money to. I don't know how to go about spreading the word beyond how I have already.
It seems I don't know a lot of things. But I have been learning some Python. And I did learn of a rare gene mutation (if you're of North European ethnicity, it's not that rare, maybe 1 in 20 have it, but if you're not white, you're extremely unlikely to have it, although I read an African-American's claim she has it) that I suspect my mom had and passed down to us. It'd explain my brother's death and my preeclampsia. I'm blood-clot free, I think, but my cat insisting I sit down 10 hours a day so he can rest somewhere warm will be the death of me. I'm no use to him dead though. Not even as a food source.
Language Arts I suspect is actually a Computer Tech course.
I secretly think that when teachers are keen on technology in the classroom, they count on families to supply their students with iPads, Chromebooks or tablets, even the families on free or reduced lunch assistance.
Although we are tech happy (four laptops, one Nook) and somewhat savvy, we are frugal. No "cell phones for everyone with apps galore." We are also privacy-minded. Or at least I am. We don't have Facebook accounts. So my kid had to create four accounts (Yahoo, Google, BlueStacks, Instagram) and download an Android emulator for his Language Arts class. He has no tablet, so we had to download an Android emulator so he could install a Google app, but for that he needed a Google account, and I don't want school stuff tied to his personal account,. No privacy with Windows 10, so we keep Windows 7. Naturally he and I ensured he used a pseudonym.
There was a Syllabus Quiz posted in Schoology.com on Sunday September 13 at 7:10 am but it expired at midnight, thirteen hours ago.
Our teachers are on strike, you see. They're locked out of their staff accounts, says the French teacher, but the Language Arts content was uploaded September 13, yesterday. And I'm the only parent subbed to my kid's teachers' blogs, and he's the only account subbed to the Instagram account created for his Language Arts class.
He (we) had better receive course credit for our efforts. He needs 40 books to read this year, five of them poetry. He's started with a Doc Savage pulp novel.
Astounding pronouncements that may just CRUMBLE YOUR HEADSPACE
1. I try, really, not to judge Americans by their early-season presidential candidate nominees, out of kindness and to secure my mental health while I am south of the 49th parallel. It helps that none so far this election season comes from the one state I've lived in. However, I have no problem with Americans who judge Canadians by our political parties. The very fact some would know what our parties are and who leads them would now garner huge respect from me, as well as, yes, crumble my headspace. Judging us by our nation's political party leaders would be a mistake, as 98% of us don't have any say in who they are, and they don't stump province to province to make xenophobic, inflammatory comments to attract attention when they run for party leadership. Other than drinking, handshaking, applause and deals, I don't know what happens at Canadian Political Party Leadership Conventions.
2. In less than a week, despite the stock market correction and the drop in metal prices, the three criteria I delineated this spring for paying off my auto loan will be met, which means I could have no auto loan payment in October.
Cash.Balance - $5000 > Heloc.Balance + Car.Balance + $10000;
Car.Balance < 2 x CD.Balance;
Money Market Account > 2 x Car.Balance
I received a cheque for the sum of $230.10, for an overpayment made over four years ago at a medical office. Collect receivables immediately, treat accounts payable at leisure.
It's a windfall that opens a dozen possibilities for spending. I could get a phone and switch to Ting service, I could make a tiny payment on debts, buy some summer tops, get a protective case for the Raspberry Pi, buy a good Father's Day present, enroll my child in some athletics program, donate to the open-source development communities who provide software, pay for motorcycle maintenance... maybe not all of those options, but prioritizing is hard.
I understand now I don't have a clear idea how many carbohydrates the body needs per day. I'm going to aim for 40 - 60 grams a day, perhaps more if the majority of them come from vegetables. I'm not convinced one country's "food guide" or "food pyramid" is the best source of that information. I am also skeptical that 0g carbohydrate diets are sustainable; after all, 0g protein and 0g fat diets aren't realistic, why should 0g carbohydrate diets be? I'm just thrilled I can get through a week without sugar cravings or salt cravings. Although I did cheat on two days: plowed through a Chex Mix bag one day, and had a fudge brownie with ice cream on the other day. I want to thank Frito-Lay for reducing the sizes and raising the prices of their bags so I seek out snacks with some protein to go with the fats and carbs, like nuts and seeds.
I prepared mostly vegetables last night, some piselli e prosciutto, some Tomato and Red Pepper stew... if the leeks are still fresh I'll prepare them Provencal style.
It seems there were forums and perhaps blog problems too today, but I've no excuse for the past five days, especially when I blogged within that time period. I'm going to pretend we all were celebrating my blog anniversary too much and we blacked out, some of us waking up with spouses or bed-partners we didn't have or even know the night before. Did the database move for you too?
Dropped another inch from the waist, and one inch from the hip. I thought I'd fit into a size 12 black floral wrap dress I bought last week, and like the flowers in early June, I was busting out all over. My suspicions were confirmed when my spouse was ogling me. I: "Okay, I'm exposed too much, I'm changing clothes." He: "Noooo you don't have to do that..."
My new exercise plan, 10 minutes of exercise for every time I read or hear from the internet of someone doing something stupid. Like, a TSA agent saying "ma'am I have to confiscate this tube of toothpaste with three squeezes left in the tube because the container says 6 ounces. Those three squeezes can harm good American citizens flying the friendly skies. Those three squeezes can bring down the World Trade Center's Twin Towers." It always gladdens my heart when I find an American who considers this as asinine as I do. Maybe my blog post will motivate you to spend ten minutes doing something else.
I am eating more vegetables now though, feel lighter when I sit down and get up. Abdominal area is still thick. Legs and arms look good. I'm eating more of everything, but particularly vegetables in warm weather.
Someone (not me) in my family has lost a rented clarinet. He stopped using it because the keys needed repair, he had been told more than a handful of times to bring it home so it can go to the music shop for repair.
He told me it was in the band room, I learned from his band teacher he said it was in his locker. It is in neither place. He opened some unsecured lockers at school, telling me he was using one, he forgot the locker number. It's not in any locker.
I told him five times to soak his retainer in vinegar, as is weekly custom. I see three empty retainer cases in his room but no retainer. Today he jumped out his bedroom window rather than leave for school the normal way, walking out the front door.
I don't hit my child, being the victim of physical violence doesn't help anyone evolve into an emotionally healthy person who knows how to love and trust. I do remind him, but why do I have to remind him all the time? If he does things the first time, the most immediate, intellectually lazy, briefest time, he wouldn't be losing expensive items. That makes sense to me but it doesn't make sense to him. He doesn't explain his thinking. He repeatedly leaves things until I am at an anger peak, which doesn't resolve anything. I don't understand why he doesn't do his homework until he's goaded a fourth time. Where is the adolescent win in this? "I'm setting boundaries by deliberately not doing anything constructive or mandated, without any superior alternative!" That's a win? Not in my book.
I don't understand this behaviour. But it could also be that I am developmentally impaired, because I also don't understand how distracted driving reduces accidents on the road, don't understand how a twelve-second school-dictated recitation of blahblah is critical to achieving academic excellence, how sitting out of an election keeps mealy-mouthed lobbyist-teat-suckers out of office, don't understand the win in speeding up to stoplights that are already red, or speeding past a red light to stop at another one one block ahead, don't understand how texting is more important than the safe operation of a train, don't understand why violent schizophrenics are allowed to own guns in my state so they can kill my friends, relatives, and relatives' friends. I don't understand why criminals get neck tattoos, aren't they clearly identifying marks? When I go on my killing spree you can be sure I'm gonna get my facial birthmark removed. I don't understand why Microsoft would stop its Family Safety Services for Windows 7, which allows administrators of a machine to set time and filtering limits on non-administrator accounts, leaving me no other alternative but to babysit a teen while he uses the computer, or buy some time-limit software. I don't understand why his father doesn't help me with these problems, but rather coaxes our child into gaming on the PC. I don't understand why dumbass overseas "tech support" telephonies with autodialers would repeat-call numbers, surely belonging to mobile phones, even the ancient close-to-useless one I have, keep calling history. What will they say if I ever have a live connection and ask "you called six times but left no message. Why do you think I'd still have a virus on my computer six weeks later? why do you think I have no spyware or malware busters on my PC? Why do you think I run Windows?"
I know I am low on comprehension. Talk to me like I'm five.
Yesterday DH found our regular visitor black feral cat lying on our deck. It had been hit by a car and hobbled on its three remaining good legs to us. DH announced he'd take the cat to a vet. I announced we weren't going to pay surgery costs for a cat we don't take in at night. I telephoned the city animal control, seven minutes after the close of operating hours, and learned that the emergency vet hospital twelve blocks away from us has a contract with the city. We could take the cat in and not pay for its surgery: a win-win situation. Animal Control telephoned the hospital even to tell it about the incoming cat. So the cat is likely postsurgery, in a cage, doped up, maybe with four legs, perhaps with three. I hope it can be adopted. It's fairly people-friendly, just doesn't like to be picked up.
The feral cat was once a neighbour's kitten. The neighbour leased a house for over a year and did not make any rental payments, so the homeowner (a friend) was facing foreclosure when she returned from India, after tending her ailing mum. They abandoned the kitten when they moved. My neighbours don't waste opportunities to reinforce my notion that people are terrible.
Saw Consumer Reports' flowchart Know When to Buy a New Car. I would change the chart to include a question box "Are annual repair costs twice as much as insurance?"
I liked the Lifehacker reader comment
"A fixed expense -- with a new car with warranty, and a decent down payment will put you almost invariably into a safer, more reliable car."
My repair costs have been negligible. The real cost is the insurance. The car is more than halfway paid for, thanks to a decent down payment. I have a spreadsheet in which the anticipated principal paydowns and ultimate payoff balances vary depending on what our cash reserves look like. My debt philosophy can be summed up in one picture:
Experimenting with a fermenting a ginger bug, hoping to have some fine ginger ale or reasonable facsimile (i.e. "Dark and Stormy") on Mother's Day.
I created a personal NHL Bracket Challenge 2015 Paydown scheme, one dollar per point I have in the bracket challenge. The Western Conference (or Clarence Campbell Conference, as I like to call it) was hard for me, especially as I didn't know one team was content to just skate for a paycheque and getting into Round One was just enough for them to prove they improved with a new coach. The Prince of Wales Conference (or Eastern Conference to you) was much easier to predict. I'm at a lofty 56 points, 76 percentile, because I predicted the Wild to beat the Blues (wish I could beat the Blues, perhaps I should turn Wild), and the Capitals to wipe out the Islanders. Apparently many, many other people thought otherwise.
This Motley Fool just ain't what it used to be.
Slightly better than having one simple question unanswered is having a question answered incorrectly, because at least that shows people are logging on and looking at the boards. However, when I ask a HOW question I don't expect a WHY answer. If I report a broken link on the Fool site I don't need a link to another site the Fool doesn't own. Plus, after I registered, I had three teaser junk emails: "Here's Your Free Book! - Attached" (no attachment); "Here's Your Free Stock Pick!" (no company listed, no date of the release, they could be sharing something that was all the rage of 2004) and "you nearly entered something good" (clicked by accident a link for premium subscribers) -- no substance, merely clickbait. I read on the boards a tale of a newly registered person, who subscribed to a premium newsletter service of the Motley Fool, who fell for the clickbait and received an outdated stock pick. I suspect the Motley Fool's two-tier service policy is "answer only the questions of people who've paid, on premium boards so freeloaders can't leech information; send registered Fools who have poor reading comprehension to 'pretend' answer questions of people who haven't paid." I don't yet have a friendly way to correct responders so I'm staying mum there.
I think maybe a website more my speed would be Jubak's Picks, with three model portfolios for dividend achievers, momentum investors, and blue chip buy and hold people, and recent, as in 24-48 hours, announcements of buys and sells. But don't follow Jubak on Twitter: four out of for the links of stories I clicked go to dead pages. I mentioned this twice on Twitter, and whoever posts to Jim Jubak's account doesn't read any replies.
I feel like the narrator in the Suicidal Tendencies classic song "Institutionalized" -- "all I wanted was a Pepsi, and SHE WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME." All I asked was a question that could have been answered with links to perhaps the Momentum Investing information, or the Day traders' Den board; and another question that should have, if read by the appropriate staff, led to corrective action but so far has not.
Link du Jour: Six Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock
I dumped a stock two weeks ago - I'd held it for three years. It's risen $30 beyond when I dumped it. Because I suck at seeing the future.
I liked #2 of this article: "Value the Company -- Sell Overvalued Stocks"
Before you dump a stock, check its Price Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). The PE Ratio will reveal investor confidence in a company's stock and what they are willing to pay relative to the company's actual earnings. To calculate the PE Ratio — divide the company's stock price by its earnings per share. The standard PE Ratio is anywhere from 15-30. Over 30 is an indicator the company might be overvalued. The PE ratio can be found on websites like Morningstar and Marketwatch.
Another way to value a stock is by calculating the company's Cash Flow Ratio. To do this, simply divide the cash flow from operations by its current liabilities. The cash flow should be consistent with that of similar companies. If it's higher, it's probably overvalued. Some say this is a better performance measure. This information usually can also be found on the aforementioned financial websites."
"Your tax refund is scheduled to be mailed by March 6, 2015. If you do not receive the refund by April 3, 2015, please contact us again. We are unable to take any action until then."
First and second mortgage balances sum to under $100,000.
I may re-register for the Motley Fool website. I had an account long ago but forgot my password and no longer have the email account I used for registering. I ask questions that are not in scope, I guess, for the Investing Forum here on SavingAdvice.com. Imagine anyone wanting to know how to evaluate stocks and time their purchases based on value and projected value!
Some of my brain is no longer accessible due to repeat head trauma, so I think wrong things like a stock price is determined on buyer and seller. So when stocks go up, that's due to higher demand, and less supply, and because sellers bid up the price. So when stock prices rise, it's due to transactions, more accurately, more buyers than sellers, more demand than supply. Someone must be bidding these stocks past fair value. Someone must be buying stock that appears overvalued and thinking that is not the case. How are they evaluating those purchases? How do they determine how much growth there is for a stock? I know people were buying $400K houses in Stockton, California in the mid 2000s, so I know there's a market for overvalued properties and assets. You will never convince me nobody on SavingAdvice.com ever bought anything overvalued without thinking the values were going to rise and coming up with a reason other than "buy now or be priced out forever." Heck, I've done it a few times with stocks. How do people know when or decide when they're going to buy something expensive? How do people determine condos in Manhattan or San Francisco or Vancouver or Hong Kong are a good deal? Or $400K houses in Stockton, California?
Visa and Monster have still gone up today, which suggests to me (remember, I am brain-damaged) that demand is still high. These companies' stock prices must come down sometime. Juniper Networks, Lucent, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, IBM all went down from high-flying PE multiples at some point. All I know is my fear that if I buy Visa now it'll tank 10% one week after I buy it, because I missed some timing signals. If I buy Monster now it'll tank 30% in a month because only after the buy transaction comes through will there be major announcements about how people with hypertension shouldn't touch it.
I'd had my eye on some stocks but they're overvalued to me. I keep thinking Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, VISA, Monster Beverage are overvalued, but lots of people don't feel that way. Look at the volumes from Friday February 27 2015: 4,311,727; 2,458,964 (58.6% of volume); 3,030,124; 1,982,831 (actually under average volume); 6,210,450 (6.3x normal volume for MNST). Even though I suspect Monster Beverages, and 5-Hour Performance Energy shots contributed to my brother's untimely demise, and the demise of young people, its ubiquity suggests lots of people have as great a death wish or the belief that as long as the beverage ingredients are listed and they include vitamins, no blood clots could ever show up in the lungs nor would cardiac arrest ever happen, because energy drinks are for active people. Every time I see Monster cans or tiny bottles of 5 Hour Performance at the drug store or supermarket I think of my grey-faced brother in his casket, the little altar of Asahi beer and Monster Beverage, his grieving widow, and his four-year-old boy. Everyone sees something different I suppose. Cancer deaths make sense to me, heart attacks from a half-century of smoking make sense to me, pulmonary thromboembolism deaths for non-smoking people who run, bicycle, do yoga, lift weights dropping dead at 44 do not make sense to me if energy drink consumption is not a risk factor. It must be my head trauma preventing me from making sense of this death, like it prevents me from figuring out the right time to buy high-PE stocks. Yeah, that's the ticket.
I haven't been paying much attention to my retirement investments. Genes being what they are in my family (mother dead at 58, father dead at 64, brother dead at 44) I don't expect to live long. But once the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through 18000 I gathered enough nerve to see how moribund my assets have been for six - eight years (no, they're not all in cash nor in high-PE trendy stocks, but some of them are contrarian and have been at a nadir for at least five years) and I took action, assigning trailing stops now that I know how they work. When I have a certain amount in cash I'm buying QQQ and VWO and perhaps more value-weighted index ETFs, and keeping 10% of assets in cash.
My Lent is full of cleanup, the kind that I hope to give me good orderly direction and energy. I'd make some comment about assigned actions outside my comfort zone, but right now everything that is not sleeping or reading or drinking hot liquids with lemon is outside my comfort zone. The hardest obstacle for me to overcome is to not get hung up on outcome.
I am giving up Vancouver Canucks NHL 2014-15 playoff games for Lent. :-)
I save $250 a month on one income in a Money Market Account that earns very little interest when its balance is below $10000. Right now it's at $9100. In four months its balance will be over $10100. In four months my car loan will be $7470. With $1730 coming back in one month (maybe).
I've made no secret of my antsiness to pay this loan off. It's only because I am aware of my impatience and my insecurity that'd result from exhausting my Money Market Account that I haven't taken the risk of paying half of the remainder loan and drawing from the Home Equity Line of Credit to remove the $282.21 monthly withdrawal from the car loan. Has anyone taken a similar risk and emerged okay?
Payday is today. I paid over half of the current credit card balance, put $10 toward the car loan. I can handle diminishing interest on my liabilities, but I can't handle diminishing rewarding experiences.
Question #2: I mailed our tax return on January 31. On February 3 we received our HSA statement of Distributions for the 2014 tax year. Do I need to make and mail in an amended return?
Question #3: When does the world even out or get better?
While I'm excruciatingly behind in my evolution into an always-mindful, always-correctly-perceiving, never-let-down-or-disappointed human being I am supposed to be by now, I have some questions.
Does it seem to you, if you are in an area that has building societies, caisses populaires, credit unions or reasonable facsimiles, that finding one with average satisfactory reviews is difficult? Some years ago one of my credit unions changed directorship, and many amenities disappeared: the biometric identifier for the safety deposit vault, a coin counter, advance notice that a safety deposit rental annual fee was due all went away. I see from Yelp.com that many people who've observed and undergone changes the merger of two credit unions has introduced, and were subject to bank-level fee schedules, have given the "merged" credit union downgrades (e.g. three stars to one). When I search for suitable replacement credit unions, they too have poor grades for convenience and surly staff.
I want a credit union with a safety deposit box, and secure unmediated-by-humans access to my rented box. I used to have one. I can't have one anymore, and I do not know the reasons why. There are four credit unions within a mile from my house, so I do not believe proximity is an issue.
----I'm okay with your stopping reading at this point-----
Personal Matter Chatter: What I learned about myself is that I don't like paying for an hour's parking and waiting in the rain for someone to show when she sends email forty-seven minutes after our arrival claiming to have left ten minutes after we arrived. I could have managed this rejection/slight better if I'd gone by myself instead of my family rearranging their schedules to come along. I would not have paid for parking: I'd have taken a bus, and perhaps would not have encountered stoplight delays as heavy traffic and cross-traffic making incomplete right turns block our progress. I would have gone home and had a frozen dinner. I could not have dinner at home as my spouse had an evening course at the community college. You may wonder how late we were, we were two minutes behind the estimated bus arrival, and thirteen minutes AHEAD of the time she claims to have left. The outside area is easily scouted within thirty seconds, it is 1200 square feet, and there's a cafe she could have gone into with wifi to let us know (I brought my phone). There is no doubt about where we were to meet. I do have doubt about her claimed departure time but I did not challenge this. She apologized and I am feeling too let down, overspent, and rejected to respond. I self-medicated with a KitKat bar.
I had not eaten dinner out for over a month and was looking forward to dining somewhere where I wouldn't have to look up at an overhead menu. We did dine somewhere with menus, and real glasses for water, and table service, and in my sulky mindlessness I've left my umbrella there. It is raining too much for me to get it today.
I feel by and large my expectations are unmet. I have been told, on here, my expectations are too high. I could adjust my behaviour and expectations if I had been told they are lopsided (i.e. "you just don't give enough", "you don't accept enough"), but a good deal of my introversion and hermiting comes from not knowing how to cope when the Golden Rule of "Do unto others" malfunctions, how to identify other people's triggers and anxieties and avoid them before awkwardness or tantrums begin, how to replace or improve upon what I've lost. I'm supposed to shrug off and be okay with no-shows--I succeed at doing so when explained schedule conflicts and emergencies are at cause--but it takes me a long time when I have only the discrepancies between their report and my observation.
I am going to experiment with "I'm perceiving, whether this is true or not, that you have some residual edginess today. What do I need to do for you not to take out your discomfiting feelings on me?" when I encounter surliness. I'm already experimenting with open, toothy grins when someone interacts with me so I don't take out my discomfiting feelings from a prior disappointment or let down on them.
One of my goals this year is to Average 1% Debt Principal Repayment Monthly:
Car: 8481: 3% difference
House: 90193: 0.8% difference
Heloc: 10312: 0.0785% difference
Average: 1.0102544% difference
This is squeaky-ekey but those of us counting down our debt know that more principal is paid with every passing month, and as the balances dwindle the difference in percentage will be larger.
Another goal is to average 1% Liquid Assets growth, monthly.
Diff b. Precious Metals/Stocks from last month: $763.214 or 5% growth
Diff b. Cash Last month: $745.05 or 4.72% growth
Difference between Money Market Account January and February: $703.81 in favour of February.
I printed out the return, some schedules and a form. I was going to use the credit union's discounted TurboTax application but I see that Linux is not supported. (Note to Tabs, yes I could use wine, I'm used to doing my taxes on wine... and potato chips.)
Linux doesn't want to recognize the Pushing Daisies DVD I got from the library either. The TurboTax online site wanted me to upgrade my Firefox 35.0.1 browser. So my options are Windows or pen-and-paper or invest some time in installing and using a browser extension that'll mimic a Windows user-agent setting.
How do you file your taxes? How do you make the tedium of form-filling bearable? Do you use TaxCut or TaxAct?
Magic number: Twelve!
Some of these are already in progress. Some of them are in the uh, wings, germination file?
Average 1% Debt Principal Repayment Monthly:
Total 96800 - Dec 31 2015
Average 1% Liquid Assets growth, monthly.
Average 1% Living and Storage Reclaimed through Decluttering, Monthly.
Lose 12% of body weight in one year without drugs or serious illness. It has occurred to me that I probably have to exercise nearly every day just to maintain weight. I wonder if it's possible to lose 1% of mass around the bust, waist and hips monthly.
I am playing with the idea of, IF the Seattle Seahawks win the National Football League's Super Bowl game on Sunday, surrendering 49 dollars for each point the team has over the New England Patriots NFL team to HELOC and car loan repayment. If the team loses, business as usual.
Made two loaves of bread, just the traditional sort. They rose beautifully: I used a thermometer and put the water in with the sugar and yeast when the water was 114F. I used my stand mixer to beat the dough. I also preheat the oven each rise to close to 200F, then shut off immediately when the loaves come in. The only heels of the bread I enjoy eating: the warm, crunchy type.
I also made root beer syrup which turned out okay -- I had the roots but not the extracts so I just made teas from the burdock and sassafras and let them steep for 20 minutes. Tomorrow I'm going to try hibiscus ginger syrup.
I am feeling some fatigue from cooking. The best I could manage after the bread, and more pertinently cleaning up after the bread, was broiling one portion of salmon. I may break down and get frozen entrees next shopping trip.
I don't eat out so much because my family tends to come along, so the cost is tripled, and I don't know what ingredients will be in the food I eat, and tipping is expected.
When I do eat out it's to enjoy something I can't or won't make at home: fried chicken because I don't have a deep fat fryer, croissants because I don't have the refrigerator space for all that dough, an ethnic cuisine that'd cost me $$$ just for the ingredients which would take up pantry space and be thrown out because they're kept past expiry... or because I am fatigued by making dinner. My fatigue sets in after 3 weeks, I have found.
I haven't had breakfast out for a long while either: the idea of paying $6.95 for two eggs, two sausages or bacon strips, and hash browns which I never eat, is ludicrous: $0.50 for the eggs at home, $0.60 for the bacon. Maybe baked eggs in a ramekin, which I don't have, would be okay, or served with egg bread or brioche.
Ugh, now I am hungry...
I woke up to no power this morning. I fretted I'd have to go outside, but remembered that I have matches and a gas range and instant coffee powder.
Having just replenished the pantry on Saturday, I am not participating in any pantry challenges this month. But I am using up some Japanese instant soups whose best before date was two weeks ago. They're darling, compact 4cm x 4cm packages of starch, seaweed, tofu, and miso packet. Scrape miso packet contents into a mug, crack open the starch package and let all confetti-like ingredients fall into the mug, then add boiling water and stir.
I paid $4.30 principal into the car loan. Although I did post my interest in paying off the car loan, my contrariness made me look at the larger, higher-interest loan, and I considered if I'd be really happy paying some of that principal to bring the balance owing under five digits. $4.30 is a piddling amount, but applied every two weeks will reduce my term by at least one month. $25 goes to a CD tomorrow, $100 goes to a HELOC payment. I could probably poke the spouse to go stop the $25 CD monthly addition for next month and beyond.
My payoff car loan date looks like January 2016 right now. I'm sure you empathize with the antsiness of wanting a huge debt eradicated. I'm not going to moan, no, I'm going to make a list of frugal luxuries. Bubble baths, deep conditioning treatments, classical music on Swiss radio, pens and inks and papers. Maybe some of you have at times felt robbed off too much, perceived too wide the distance between where you are and what you want, and feel the divide ever expanding. Maybe your winter rain or snow has been with you for so long your bones feel wet. And maybe too many things are beyond your control. That is when the frugal luxuries list is helpful. Smell of toasting walnuts? Herbal fruit tea in a warm blanket? Juiced vegetables? Rereading of Wodehouse or Hiassen or Fforde or Adams or whatever floats your boat? Homemade sweet potato or yam chips with chipotle mayo? Steaming your face over a bowl of very hot water? A salt or sugar scrub with five minutes massaging the feet?
I used some barley from a glass jar to make a stew with leftover roast beef and some stewed tomatoes. I didn't want to go outside to buy a can of diced tomatoes. For a desperation dinner it was terrific on a wet wintry day. Plus I have leftovers.
About juicing: I have an old but reliable juicer. The filter collects fibres and piths from ginger, fruits. I read DoctorYourself.com's tip about soaking the filter in bleach, and gave it a try. Well, in five hours black residue coated the filter, and ebonized the bleach. With a toothbrush I could scrape the residue off the filter, then put the filter in the dishwasher. I feel like Heloise with a hint now.
Note: these work best in North American countries with a shameful GINI index. I have not tested this in Cuba or Nauru or Kazakhstan.
1. Have a terrible credit score.
2. Have outstanding warrants in as many states (or provinces?) as you can visit.
3. Live in such a way where you never have more than $132 in your chequing (checking) account.
4. Have a plethora of illicit and prosecute-able content on any computer you are worried about someone hacking. (Ask me about my Deep Web scores -- then again, don't.)
5. Be Black or Hispanic.
6. Leech your terrible internet from your neighbor's unprotected Wi-Fi. OR! Name your internet "FBI Surveillance Van" or "fbi furgoneta de vigilancia" if you're going the Hispanic route something similar.
7. Keep all important documents, including banking files, resumes, etc. on your Windows desktop so that hackers can quickly verify that your life is worthless.
Do as many of these as you can, and your PC/gateway to the world for shutins will be protected better than anything Symantec or Norton can come up with.
#7 I do for physical security. Keep a sour "honeypot" wallet with only a 5000 Korean Won note and print copies of "Archie Fan Club" membership cards when asked to surrender my wallet. However, as I rarely bring my cheap phone with me anywhere, wear a watch so I can answer someone's request for the time, and look like a homeless person reading a used paperback or a library book while riding transit, I haven't tested #7 yet in real life, but it's gotta be better than walking alone in high-density neighborhoods at 2:30 AM after visiting an outdoors ATM, head down intently gazing at one's tablet or texting away on an iPhone or Galaxy, then complain to the police you've been robbed, which is what people in my city do.
Oh gee, what a sensitive laptop I have. Sold some but not all of my brother's books for $33 in store credit. We are a family of readers so this should be useful.
Serious question: what does "being good to oneself" mean? Yoga stretches, vegetable juices, massages, aromatherapy baths? What activities corral the mind when the mind is everywhere yet nowhere at the same time?
update: Just saw that the pantry is down to 2 cans each of tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce. :-P And this weekend we did not do much grocery shopping as I did not plan for meals or did not find sufficiently low prices for staples or did not feel like driving to the market for farm produce after a "zippy" (20% shorter time, excluding border stops) trip to White Rock and back for gift exchanges. So I must figure out a cheap, healthy meal plan for the next two weeks.
My finances still have not fully healed, but then neither have I. I want to replenish the cash reserves to twelve times a mortgage payment, and I'm $200 short. I've been using coupons, BOGO promotions and sales where I can.
Last year at this time I owed $12253.69 on the car and am down to $9018.54. Over 25% principal paid, down from five figures to four. When you owe like I do, a digit drop down is a milestone. The biggest milestone so far was getting from six-digits to five-digits for mortgages.
The HELOC I have paid $1105.80 this year, with an additional $73.90 to come December 15. I could round this up to $1200 principal for the year, 10% reduction of principal.
The good news is my debt sums and liquid taxable sums have reached a difference from each other where I could resume paying down the principal on the loans.
My three stocks Robbie (bank stock: hahaha!), Blue Chip and Earnie (they are DRPs, no personality whatsoever) have appreciated by 11% over the past year, including dividend reinvestments.
I don't count on having many Xmas presents under the tree this year, but with new hiking boots and pillows, and lots of NHL reading material for the bicultural tot, most of us are satisfied, if not lonely. We have too much stuff as it is, so memberships and events tickets are going into stockings. I am three weeks away from taking first place in a 2014 dead pool, so that helps a little, and from winning a Dead Pool side bet (gift certificate from an eminent global e-tailer). Will I be doing the Dead Pool again? Probably. 700% return on my investment is not bad.
I did earn $100 through a focus group, yay for me, but in addition to the $137 I spent on pillows this week, the spouse spent an equivalent amount on waterproof hiking boots. Given our winter weather this is understandable.
When I perused a Consumer Reports Buyers Guide for Electronics, I was disappointed to see that the smartphones offer at best middling telephony performance. When I want to buy a phone it's because I want better reception and performance for voice "across the universe", not so much data (altho data is very convenient!) and not apps upon apps. I know this is because I am old.
I mailed three packages across two oceans yesterday. The US Postal Service needs to add staff on Saturdays: only one person worked at the counter. I did fill out the customs forms before I entered the office with my packages. Astounded to learn it'd cost $33 US to fly my softcover book to Newfoundland (that is in Canada), so I'm driving to the Lower Mainland next week to take care of Xmas cards and this present, plus to deliver an autographed copy of Ken Jennings' _Maphead_ (my family and I spot him here and there, usually in libraries and bookstores - he lives six miles from us) to a BC friend. Sure, I'll probably spend $15 US in gas, but I'll have some tins of nice After Eights, Carnation's hot chocolate powdered mixes of Rolo, Coffee Crisp and After Eights, Murchie's teas and coffees, Shreddies cereals...
I just now found our new Bank of America credit cards. I didn't shred them because they are Signature Cards with chip technology, which are helpful and gradually becoming required by Canadian merchants.
Recap:I've paid for obituary, memorial dinner, interment, funeral attire, hotel room, travel, gifts, postage for more gifts, thank you notes. I didn't contribute to the GoFundMe account for burial expenses, but I did pay close to half its current amount in interment, and brought the bones to Canada, so I think I'm good. I didn't contribute to the trust fund for my nephew and his mother, but I did help circulate notice of it to over 20000 people. I was the only blood relative who attended the funeral, so I'm good there too. Nobody's told me I haven't done enough. It just feels like I haven't because I don't know how much my brother left his widow. Objectively we can agree my brother should have planned better. Subjectively I don't feel his widow and son should suffer.
I am so happy to have an emergency fund. Christmas isn't going to be much fun though this year, unless we do an Advent Calendar of Joy or some antimaterialist mission. Something that doesn't involve a lot of money. I should probably mail something to my brother's widow and son though... maybe. I don't know how relationships through marriage go after a death. It's much up to the bereaved, or the older relatives, in my experience. I'm still in touch with my step-parents.
My husband did his open enrollment activity in front of me, groaning "that sucks" so I am gritting my teeth and mulling possible financial rearrangements. Like maybe paying for the car in full to free up some $$. I know he is reducing his HSA contribution. I may have to get my prescriptions filled in Canada if they'll cost half as much. Another thing I could do is reduce my espresso intake to once a week. I bought Mount Hagen Organic Instant coffee, which comes out to a little more than eighteen cents a cup, one twelfth of what I'd expect to pay for a demitasse of espresso. Nescafe is probably cheaper than that, even. I'd heard that Nescafe invests more $$$ in research and development. Half the coffee drinkers on the planet prefer instant. What helps me stay frugal is that I've become so old that I can't abide loud music in coffee shops in the daytime, and where I live it seems mostly young people with profound hearing loss are serving espresso. Seriously, isn't that what ear buds and earphones are for?
Shampoo: my hair's oil-clumpy whether I use a citrus shampoo, Garnier Fructis, or Dr. Bronner's soap. I wonder how I can get a smooth, manageable head of hair. Do I need to rinse with vinegar water every shampoo? And why do clumps of hair come out when I use soap or baking soda?
Food: Root vegetables and squash varieties I am experimenting with this year. We were introduced to yam chips and love them almost as much as sweet potato chips. Tried spaghetti squash for first time tonight, that was a big hit. Mostly I like roasting the root vegetables, putting tons of butter and maybe some chile powder or crushed red pepper on split-open halves of squash, with lime.
I just read a Forbes article on the real costs of smartphones when one foregoes the 24-month contracts service providers try to lock customers into. According to Forbes, the cost was around $450 - $600.
I've got a cheap mobile phone with a cheap monthly plan: $28.34 in monthly charges. I won't be switching to a smartphone unless it can absorb or eliminate other budget expenses. Can a smartphone help me save $50 in groceries, 10% at the gas pump, 15% off my utilities, et cetera?
Anyone have any true stories to share?
Married Twenty Years on August 13.
House Principal Now 50% Paid or 50% Owing, depending on your outlook.
Mortgage: 25% paid over three years.
Baselle and I underwent another Community Fundraiser Scavenger Hunt. We got everything this year, without having to return another year. I did some prep work to save us shoe leather. We were caught in a hailstorm, heard the loudest booms this side of the Rockies: later I read someone 0.5 miles away was struck by lightning.
My son might find "The Rockford Files" bizarre: people using pay-phone booths, going through paper files to look through information, maps of Vancouver, British Columbia in US private investigators' offices.
My spouse looked over my shoulder as we saw an early bit of "The Farnsworth Stratagem," a 2nd season episode, where Joe Santos' character Sgt. Dennis Becker has paid 2.5% into a million-dollar luxury hotel, with only $700,000 left on the Deed of Trust. "That's $1250/month. Dennis doesn't even CLEAR that," groaned his wife. Of course, forty years later, maybe $1250/WEEK would be due on the 200 sq.ft. Rockford's trailer takes up on a Malibu beach. My spouse said "I clear more than $1250/week, don't I?"
What the characters quote for steak, fish, car prices can be multiplied 386% to get 2014 dollar values.
I do miss the mid-70s architecture, the dying days of Googie. Just once I wanna see Rockford at a Farrell's, or Sambo's, Bob's Big Boy or a Dean Martin's Steakhouse...
The inflationary period is mentioned a few times in Season One. It was not a happy time for the stock market: company stock going down as much as two points cost tens of millions in market capitalization. Checks bounce.
There were a few unrealistic things in "Rockford Files": you never saw Jim open up even a bottle of aspirin for all the punch-ups and beat-downs he'd take each episode; the LAPD are upright characters (you know who'd been helping to cover up movie stars' illegal acts in real life? Beverly Hills Police); all the hoods sneer and tawk in youse guys dialect: no crisp enunciation unless the actors took roles of the well-to-do. And remarkably few African-Americans and Latin Americans in prominent guest star roles for southern California!
What is average credit?
With today's mail was an application from Capital One for a Cash Rewards credit card, $39 annual fee, APR 18.9%. I went online to see how this card ranked, and one source said it was for consumers with average credit scores, like 689 FICO. The text was that my credit information had been reviewed, and this was the "right" offer for me "... right now."
If our purchases and spending are monitored under close scrutiny, I don't see how I'd be offered an average credit card. I have: one 12-year mortgage with under ten years left to go, one HELOC with 22% utilization at present, one store card ($2500 limit, max balance $89, always paid in full) and two credit cards (7-year, 12-year) none of which has ever seen more than 10% utilization at any time, always paid on time and in full. The variable APRs on those cards are 6.24% and 6.9% respectively. Two years ago I had a credit score of 798, reported by Bank of America. My non-revolving balances owing have gone down. I have not defaulted on anything, no bankruptcies, no foreclosures, no repossessions. I check my annual credit report free, and regularly. I saw no incorrect reports when I last checked five months ago.
Does Capital One send out credit card offers of fair to average quality to any and all addresses a credit bureau has for sale without any credit background filtering? How frequent does credit card activity have to be to keep a credit score close to constant?
Credit.com, creditkarma.com, all these credit cards sites have NOTHING on credit card companies sending out crap offers to people. Credit card companies hire really smart people to develop data algorithms and data mining, and marketing people to come up with cards for each credit score strata. Why don't the credit card companies look at credit scores of people and send them the right card for them instead of one "average" card for just anybody?
I spent over $100 today, for no meat. Wine, dairy, cereal, raw honey, household items, condiments, eggs were the big items. Looking at my waistline, I am ready to eat more eggs and ingest more adrenal-gland-friendly potassium-rich vegetables. I have more juice recipes and am looking forward to seeing the grocery bill come down even further.
I learned I have a whey allergy, or is it a lactose allergy? Whey has tons of lactose. I won't say what it does to my system, but I will say that I need digestive enzymes to keep the whey shake inside me for longer than an hour. I'm bummed, because I was using whey shakes for leucine and protein, with an egg, for meal replacements. I used coconut milk, not cow milk, in the shake.
The woman who loved to neglect her large dogs by never exercising them, so they'd freak out when the dog next door to them was being properly and regularly exercised, has moved away. I walked past her house and wow, it was quiet. I loved it. I think I may have PTSD because I keep expecting the dogs to start barking when my husband opens our back door. My neighborhood is now a beautiful place, with well-cared for dogs. I can walk to the supermarket and back through the shortcut woods. I can restart my garden. Then I have no reason to complain about the cost of onions, because I'll be growing my own.
This is not my year for commenting. I have learned that my comments, while not threatening, trolling, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, mostly not political, usually on-topic, and always true, have been deleted or have failed to publish. I have learned that US & Canada news is mostly advertorials or distractions to hide encroaching horrors or disastrous legislation. A US newspaper will not publish that a bank robber's been photographed as a likely suspect in more than one hold-up but will wring its hands about police brutality ("how dare you shoot for center mass at someone who charges you with a knife and whom you, in your working role as a robbery detective, have been told pointed a large firearm at a teller during a holdup"); a Canada newspaper will not accept a comment that a post-mortem blood alcohol test shows a driver was twice the legal limit when he died, even though a link to the actual medical examiner's substantial and supportive of evidence claims report is provided; a US weekly periodical will ask "did you see this out-of-control car back into a light pole and speed on city sidewalks endangering pedestrians?" but will delete a comment if the comment shows the registered owner of the car has over four dozen traffic infractions according to the *ahem* publicly available municipal and state courts histories, and has "Fast & Furious" films on his Facebook profile. I get that cars can be stolen, but how likely is it really that someone is going to steal, more than once, a 1992 BMW 750i with no gas tank cover that just so happens to belong to a reckless driver and notorious speed demon? To take it to outlying county areas to whizz around in transit centers and supermarket parking lots at 40 mph?
How is posting items that are verifiable and can be found online and available to the public bad? "I get that this is all public information available online to anyone, but we can't accept your comment. We could get sued." You know you live in a sucky area where people can be sued for saying "the morning sun is east and the evening sun is west." But whoa, the garbage, lies and unsubstantiated reports from these news outlets can't be believed by a discerning individual with some media literacy.
Can you imagine how dull "Sherlock" and "Elementary" would be in real life? "Actually, I have a lead with much evidence, including surveillance footage to go on, criminal record, address, the whole works." "SILENCE! The suspect might SUE! We must let them be free and celebrate their independence. Pretend concern and fake furrowed brows and frowns to go with our disingenuous hand-wringing are all that we can muster for this crime."
Three dollars! Woohoo! I know, you're thinking "but wasn't there a humongous mudslide caused by heaviest rain in recent history? Shouldn't your mortgage flood fee be cranked up like the 5% extra your insurance company tacked on, with its documentation typed up by an ESL rhesus monkey with three fingers amputated?" But yes, only 19 months after my 12-year mortgage was instituted, I am refunded THREE DOLLARS! I could buy two global stamps and mail letters to my favourite people!
Apartment dwellings DO flood at my elevation, but our house hasn't had that problem, thank goodness.
Impatience got the best of me this week and I paid down 9.5% of our credit card purchase before the April 27 statement, plus 100% of the Target credit card before the April 22 statement. So now we will have $75 to last us three days in the savings account. The good news is that we're full up on vegetables and meat, car fuel, cat food and coffee.
My husband ate up the lo mein I made yesterday with our 1/2 lb remaining ground beef. I was going to reheat leftovers but now eating takeout seems like a good idea.
Had good frugal shopping day today, except for the seltzer water, but we saved $4 buying the seltzer so okay.
Chicken thighs for ninety-nine cents a pound, whole chicken for eighty-eight cents a pound, bought nine tins of the cats' favourite food at 15% reduction, free sour cream, pork chops for $2.20 a pound.
I'm bothered by the price of beef being so high, but I can still eat eggs, seafood, pork and chicken.
Birthday is coming up, spring break for boy is this week: an expensive week. Trying to up the fun factor and down the spending. Soon I'll be venturing out for a long walk in the sun. Planned is a dinner on an island, we have a restaurant coupon and ferry discount coupon. This is to celebrate the 70% equity milestone. Another activity could be trying our hand at pie-making, or buying a neon jacket and getting the bicycle fixed and outfitted with an engine to go up hills. When I tell people I'd like to get a Raspberry Pi they say "that's a super idea! I might get one too!" and then they're surprised that I mean the Pi with cables and memory card and LED wires. Although a Raspberry Pie or Key Lime Pie or Mexican Chocolate Pie sounds great too. I'm more concerned with feeling fantastic than risking a positive correlation between money spent on me and any positive self-esteem I may have. So I'm staying off the forums for a "free or dead cheap ways to celebrate my birthday" question because I prefer to come up with answers without getting verbal abuse from strangers.
I did treat myself to Turkish coffee and orange flower water. Only twenty-three cents a cup for a 6 ounce trip to the secular Middle East! Beat that, Starbucks!
I may open up a DogeCoin wallet and start using GoogleWallet. And start playing with my finances so I can find ways to save more than 3% and put the savings toward debt reduction. Oh for the day I can obliterate one five-digit debt. Might be a four-digit debt before that happens.
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