<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: dirtnap for dollars
 

Viewing the 'dirtnap for dollars' Category

A pittance of successes, plus a finances reboot

November 16th, 2014 at 05:41 pm

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

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

Albertson's is having a meat sale: I amazingly purchased about ten pounds of fish (sole - $7/lb), pork (BOGO), chicken ($1.99 bnls skls per pound), stew meat, and steak (BOG2). I intended to buy animal protein under $5.00, so this was a windfall for me. I saw

Text is this golden oldie and Link is http://www.savingadvice.com/forums/general-discussion-food-etc/7894-am-i-only-one-using-crock-pot-4-print.html
this golden oldie and
Text is Miz Pat's and Link is http://patmfinance.savingadvice.com/2014/11/03/pork-roasts-anyone-got-recipes_169224/
Miz Pat's Pork Roasts recipe request, so am feeling more optimistic about feeding my family for under $3/plate.

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

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

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

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

End of Month Summation

April 30th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

No surprise, kitty's surgery took our monthly expenditure 10.2% beyond the takehome pay.
Equity is way up, about 1.7% over thirty days.

Next month is a triple paycheque month. I hope I can save the extra paycheque for things like 20th anniversary celebration, new mattress, debt paydown. I would, in fact, like to put some of it toward an investment to help us save even MORE money. Maybe neon jackets and saddlebags for bicycling, revive the garden now that I can go into my own backyard again; screen windows so no flies get in. Maybe $ for a written license test for the scooter. The credit card payoff is the highest priority. Hate carrying a balance. Hauling crap to the waste terminal.

Eating out took a lot of our budget too: my birthday, celebrating 70% equity in the house, a two-day sports competition fifty miles north, with four mouths to feed both days. I did pack some spring water and protein bars. Fuel cost doubled as a result. On the other hand, my grocery bill is 20% less than average.

I'm reading a splendid book on being thrifty: Be Thrifty: How to Live Better With Less compiled by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree. Its do-it-yourself articles are by a panoply of experts, with illustrations and clear instructions for acquiring the "skills" touted in online articles. Especially useful for the first-time homeowner. Plus lots of recipes. I'm hoping to save enough using these tricks and making other adjustments to pay for a new mattress. Also looking forward to making my own mayonnaise. I've been reading Elizabeth David, and even sixty years ago there were people like me who had no idea what fresh homemade mayonnaise tastes like.

In dead pool news I have an eighteen-point score in the pool with no profit.

Day of the Deadbeat

January 3rd, 2014 at 04:56 pm

DS earned a value-added nonrefillable Gameworks card for his participation in a library reading marathon for middle schoolers. On the last Friday before he returns to school, he and I took the bus downtown.

I had with me my second place Dead Pool "Departing Gift" which I intended to deposit in a closed account. I am not the brightest star in the firmament. Instead of asking the very solicitous and everpresent concierge of a building lobby for a quarter, we asked where the nearest building decorative water fountain was so my son could collect some change for the bus. I did not know his regional transit card balance, only that it was low, and I had, other than my $20 bill, $1.25 on me, about twenty-five cents less than my child needed to board the bus.

We returned our library books at the downtown library branch, got some new books, went to Gameworks where I was employed to solve "Wheel of Fortune" puzzles. Then my kid's sails no longer billowed, so we went to the Driver Licensing office to learn no Motorcycle Manuals were printed anymore, and to the credit union where I learned my account had closed years ago, despite my receipt of a new account number and getting lots of marketing material in e-mail.

I got my pencil sharpened... for free!
We rode on the bus... for free! Our prepaid regional transportation cards could not be processed as the bus card reader was out of commission.
I got a credit union wall calendar... for free!

And yes, we had physical as well as metaphorical raindrops. Pennies from Heaven, and all that. It would've been sweet synchronicity to borrow the "Pennies from Heaven" DVD from the library, but I settled for Richard Matheson's Hell House.

Savings: $17, excepting my kid's game card. Earnings: $20. I still have the bill with me. I'll deposit it at credit union #2 tomorrow.

Year end splurge

December 30th, 2013 at 06:34 pm

I am so excited to be at the magic cusp of $100,000 principal paid and $100,000 mortgage left to go on the house that I took advantage of some Christmas money and Amazon.com deals to buy Fracas eau de cologne, Nutrigold fish oil and Doctor's Best alpha lipoic acid. I saved $90 on the total order and spent just over $89 total for those three items prior to tax.

I'd been thinking about how to make this $1378 savings challenge and the first thing that came to me was shaving $$ from the vitamins I purchase. I'm not advertising brands necessarily here; I read a news article about a study that purports that supplements don't do anything. The article of course did not specify if the supplement brand was something you'd find at a supermarket or chain drug store, or if it were a higher-quality brand found online or at health food and nutritional supply stores. I know Vitamin D3 supplementation has helped me and other people; magnesium made my feet stop getting cold and cramping, and let me sleep better; alpha lipoic acid helped my blood sugar. But why spend $14 in a store when I can spend $8?

By the by, baselle herself won her own Dead Pool this year. Go congratulate her!

Colxn of HaZ CraZ thots

December 13th, 2013 at 09:43 am

If everyone who created SavingAdvice.com user accounts for the sole purpose of trawling the forums for W*k* *p N*w suckers or defending its value/payout structure started their own M*lt*-L*v*l M*rk*t*ng company, they'd be richer than they are now.

Why the asterisks? You know that search terms are what brought them here, right? You think they're bright enough to search with asterisks? I don't.
-----------------------------
Buendia, Life After Life was a terrific read. I had to put it down during the 1940 Blitz attacks, how Europeans then emerged from WWII devastation without post-trauma stress is beyond me, and because a bomb shelling killed Al Bowlly, my fave singer from that era, but I picked it up again and read. I perceive the headaches and heart strain as accumulated stresses of those other lives, and think Dr. Kellet must have gone through the same phenomenon, and possibly other characters.
------------------------------
I am slightly insane. Every four months I think of consolidating my debt, and now that I've been to MortgageProfessor.com, I see now that doing nothing is the cheapest plan. The MortgageProfessor doesn't allow me to calculate for a 12-year refinance though.
------------------------------
Mental note for 2014: Invest in data brokerage companies, 3-D printing companies.
------------------------------
Judging from a certain person's Dead Pool winner list (and current lead), I would say that SavingAdvice.com bloggers have a talent for getting more bang for their buck
------------------------------
More on slow-cooking: here's how to make over 30 meals in four hours -- frozen meal packs for slow cookers

Text is link and Link is http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/diy-frozen-meal-packs-for-your-slow-cooker/
link
------------------------------
I am a few dozen dollars away from reaching the $100000 principal paid milestone. Should I meet this milestone before the end of 2013, or should I combine it with my Mortgage Principal "Digit Drop" for an extra shot of New Year Joy?
---------------------------------
I met Ken Jennings. I have not been called for Jeopardy!, but if I had been, I couldn't tell anyone except people who would wonder why they are sleeping alone. He wished me luck. The great thing about triviahounds is that they are at no loss for conversation starters. We couldn't talk for long as he was tasked to sign and promote some of his favourite books at a bookstore, so there were awkward moments of looking to see if people were lining up. I will say that he and I have similar tastes in fiction, plus he is the only person on the planet so far with whom I have discussed Chip Kidd.

Adapting to Change

September 26th, 2013 at 02:59 pm

More of my stock accounts are heading to ComputerShare. I am not happy with the new security policy of 14 day wait for account identity verification. I am happy that I thought to enter my son's UTMA account into ComputerShare last year. This year, he wants THI but I may surprise him with KO (Coke). Sure wish there were more kid-oriented or Canadian S&P 5-star rated companies on ComputerShare.

DH may apply for a FT perm pos at his former lead's current employer. All I know is that it's a healthcare IT gig.

In an unusual move I took our phone with us out to lunch and it rang! My spouse answered it: it was a third number the previously mentioned political action committee used to phone me, and the third call they made to me today. (Again, debt collectors do not call three times a day.) He told them we had no money for them. Here's hoping this ends their calls.

Grocery workers in our region voted in favour of a strike. Weighing my options: Costco (beat the rush), local small Mediterranean food market, Target, farmers' markets, local farm produce market. For fish I can go to Fisherman's Terminal, blessing of living by the sea. Yeah, this isn't going to bother me much except for the lines and crowds at my identified alternates.

Free Museum Pass Day sponsored by the Smithsonian is in two days. I printed out a pass for the EMP Museum yesterday.

In Dead Pool news, I missed my chances to watch "Love Story" and "Honey I Shrank the Kids" yesterday. I saw one musical segment of "Mame" and learned today Jane Connell, who played Agnes Gooch in "Mame," died. I saw "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" yesterday and learned today Marta Heflin died that day as well. You better hope I didn't read any of your blogs yesterday...

Now for a financial post

January 12th, 2013 at 11:38 am

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!

$20 Challenge

January 3rd, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I won a 2012 dead pool, officially (yay!) and received payment today. Great change can start small and gradual, so very early in the year I begin with some small differences:
1. "Extra" money is divided among: investments that will get 3% or more this year; debt with APR of 3%; budget cushion money; and fun money.
2. Eating every 2 - 2.5 hours. Already I am experiencing more energy.
3. Mindful gratitude for gifts several times a day.
4. Acceptance that things will get worse before they get better. But they will get better. And sometimes inconvenience and discomfort is part of getting better.

Ready to Push Finances Reset Button

November 24th, 2012 at 04:52 pm

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.

Out Out Brief Update!

November 3rd, 2012 at 09:29 am

My kid paid his dad to go buy some scratch tickets and he won money, a 66% profit. Our rule now is for every $2 frittered on lottery tickets, $25 goes into medium-long term investments, applicable to everyone. DH and I are to collect a 20% broker fee too.

Silver and gold prices sank, along with many equities. I will probably buy some next week. On October 31, my son dressed as a Knight of the Round Table, we walked to the local coin shop where my dear lad asked for the Holy Grail. One proprietor went into the back and got one for him. "Used, but still holy," he said. Of course other trick-or-treating happened too, then we went to a Secret Sprocket Society screening of Pre-Code horror and cartoons.

I am on track to pay 10% less in interest on the Home Equity Line of Credit by the end of the year. And as long as Lindsay Lohan doesn't freebase with Dick Cheney over the holiday season or in a murder-suicide bid I am likely to get some money from one of the dead pools.

Saved $210.74 with coupons for local retailers from November 2011 to October 2012.

For those who would shoplift from supermarkets, do carry a list and dress professionally, foregoing deep-pocket dusters and cargo pants. Do not be obtrusive.