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Paid off the car loan today

September 29th, 2015 at 01:10 pm

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

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

what's new?

August 23rd, 2015 at 09:58 am

I am on my ketogenic diet again, with the cheat of a chocolate chip cookie once a week. I am down to 155 pounds. A belt I bought in a fit of optimism a few years ago I can actually cinch three notches, and I know this because I've had to use the belt to keep my size 12 pants from sliding down to my hips. My circumference around the hips is now less than a metre. I'm excited by this because it seems to be the only medium-term goal I've succeeded at in six years. However, I get so few "yays", probably because I post my victories on a forum where women have lost a phenomenal (I mean one extra adult-woman) amount of weight, or because I post on another forum where women just aren't as adventuresome or carbohydrate-sensitive as I am. I'd like to lose 4-7 more lbs, mostly about the waist. Exercise would help but I am not cleared for exercise because...

...I am still getting massage treatment for my back and it still hurts sometimes. Paid for by the driver's insurance. My car's restored from the collision and it looks beautiful. We missed it; our rental car was not kind to my back and we lost touch with the "put the key in the ignition", "put the key into the lock" machinations of making the car go.

Cluster flies swarms popped up last week: yecch. Seems the men went on a swat rampage but we still have some. The important thing is there aren't enough to make our rooms terrible at night. They must have been dormant in our house for so many of them to show up at once. We have strips to catch the downstairs ones, as our windows are painted shut.

Back to school shopping has begun. Our little boy is taking Algebra which meant acquiring a TI-84+ graphing calculator. Until yesterday Office Depot had a sale, but even with that sale we'd have spent $50 beyond the price my spouse agreed upon for a private seller TI-84+, with cord and manual.

Won $40 Amazon.ca (yes, .ca) gift certificate. Worth about $30 US. Probably half of that would get eaten up by delivery, but better than nothing.

I am now putting extra payments to the car. I may swallow my pride and have some credit card debt for awhile, if it means getting rid of the $282.21 monthly payment. I'd still pay less in interest because the balance will be smaller and it'd be for a shorter term.

I have a new laptop, dual boot. I can either use WINE and have YNAB on Windows or I can use KMyMoney on the Linux Mint desktop or I can use pen and paper for accounts. I haven't been budgeting for the past two months.

tiny steps, long paths, new cookbook

February 22nd, 2015 at 11:05 am

I am considering a savings/debt allocation system that will allow me both some financial cushion and accelerated debt payoff. I have a spreadsheet that estimates our auto loan could be paid in full between November 2015 and April 2016. Life without that payment would be easier, plus I suspect that when we move, and apply for another mortgage elsewhere, the end of the car loan will factor in our favour. When we increase our cash reserves by $300 monthly, $75 is divided into accelerated payments for the car and the home equity line of credit. I'd like to have $120,000 in principal paid off on the house by the end of 2015, hence the payment to the home equity line of credit.

Have I mentioned we've paid over $40000 in mortgage?

Zillow predicts a 1.7% increase in our property value for the year, but I doubt the growth rate will be that low. Not just wishful thinking: a school is currently under construction 1.5 blocks away. We live in a cheap neighbourhood overcrowded with students. Although we live in a cheap neighbourhood, crime's relatively low -- I've never heard gunfire nor seen crime tape in the 16 years I've been here, this part of the city is great for school kids. I'd like to see if I can sell the house for 10% beyond what Zillow says its value currently is. Who wants a new school? Who wants to live on a property with a big lawn and walk only 1.5 blocks to the new school? Families with children.

I bought a sports bra yesterday, a sign I am serious about fitness. I started a crunch, sit-up and squat challenge four days ago, and began drinking apple cider vinegar. Next on my list will be adding intestinal gut flora to aid with digestion. Also I'm doing an eight-minute daily energy routine and even yoga a few days a week in my house. I'd like to try fermenting and pickling produce. I love kombucha tea but am not convinced of its health benefits. I'm sticking with yoghurt and berries for now. Gradual small changes. I want to stay with what works: I'm encroaching upon a size 14, my thighs still touch (are they supposed to?) and clothing choices are limited past size 12 in the US I have noticed. Ultimate goal is to reduce to between size 10 and 12, lose four-five inches each in hip and waist.

I also bought America's Test Kitchen's colossal instant classic The New Family Cookbook, and I used a coupon. I hardly ever buy things for myself. I sometimes think I have too many cookbooks: I certainly don't use some very often, such as the ones before 1985 or the ones for "ooh la la" entertaining. I saw this compendium of over 1100 recipes and thought: yeah! We tried Honey-Lime Glazed Salmon and that was excellent.

At last, payday

January 24th, 2015 at 05:19 pm

I feel I want to post something, because it was payday yesterday. However, to keep this light and positive, it will be brief.

After daily doing the Temporal Tap and exercising, I am 1/2" thinner in the waist and thighs, and 1.5" reduced in the bust. I must not have taken an accurate first measurement up there as the last two measurements were also 1.5" less than initial recording. I am doing exercises in addition: leg raises, "air bicycles" and sit-ups, and walking when I have to. I haven't weighed myself, for fear that my weight in pounds is the same as my height in centimetres. I go by how I fit in my pants and the measuring tape recording of bust, waist and hips.

What's good in budget land: Only $42.73 in Dining for the month, and $493.22 for groceries (two adults, three cats, one teen boy) for the month. I expect to pay $30 more this week for Ziploc bags, milk, Woolite, et cetera. I paid $84 for car's $30K mileage maintenance. I have a low maintenance car, which makes the automotive expenditure closer to bearable. I made a mini Costco run for coffee and Worcestershire sauce.

I seriously considered buying a "meat package" from a butcher shop (17 - 35 lbs) but I wasn't keen on any of the varieties of bundles, and I'm in a bad headspace where I second guess everything and am pessimistic. I could ask my family to continue breathing in and out and they'd fall down dead from asphyxiation today just to spite me.

What's bad: $225 for entertainment/recreation for the males - $100 for after-school activity for boy (February through March); $79 for schlock cinema class for male (Jan - Feb); $13 for two males to walk around a huge baseball stadium with other baseball fans; $33.00 for two males to see some fantasy CGI-fest movie.

I'm throwing some prized, scant dollars at my debt reduction so I leave January at $110,000 owing (including mortgage).

Cats, Clothes, Calisthenics - the Monday Update

January 12th, 2015 at 02:25 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

Text is here and Link is http://www.touchforhealtharchive.com/Journals/1990/1990Frost2.pdf
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?

Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow Book Entry

January 10th, 2015 at 03:58 pm

Text is Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow - Saffron Sect cover and Link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pSLlHEke_Y
Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow - Saffron Sect cover

What's good about where I am now:
I can think of my financial situation and still sleep well, other than my cat overheating me by resting on my neck. It gets cold at night, he won't burrow, won't use a pet bed, won't snuggle against the other cat, the electric heating pad shuts itself off after a while as a safety precaution, so it's my neck and chest.

I had the discussion, walking the spouse through the withholding. It turns out that we have one exemption too many, plus $75, and about $8000 in our Health Savings Account, so again a four-digit tax refund is anticipated. I may've convinced him he could put $50 toward his 401(k) per payperiod with little damage, but definitely convinced him to alter the withholding.

Starting Point: Bust - 43"; Waist - 35"; Hips - 43"
I am still proportional, except for the adiposal gut. Some prominent doctor claims women with 35" waists are at risk of getting cancer. I assume he must mean all women regardless of height percentile and proportionality.

I have lots of teas to get me through the grey soggy day. I have recipes for broths and juices. I don't have a fancy-schmancy Vitamix, but a good ol' juicer.

I have everything I need to start an exercise regimen for free: time, exercises, mat, weights.

I have everything I need to start learning mySQL, Python, XML, maybe start hadoop.

I have a $15 Amazon.com gift certificate, and a credit good for one .mp3 download.

Our pantry looked scant, as did our refrigerator, so we went to Safeway, and shopped enough to merit a 40-cent per gallon gas reward. There must be some big National Football League game on: lots of people wearing team jerseys, and a giant NFL refreshment display.

Trying one cookbook per library visit: This month it is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. It is not at all a budget-buster. Lots of these recipes remind me of when my mother was learning French cuisine. I tried bistokes a la Russe, which are just ground beef patties with creamy nutmeg sauce on top. Lots of these recipes are also in my budget 1967 James Beard How to Eat Better for Less Money. Looking forward to those ragouts and cassoulets and soupes.


Pillow Talk, or, a Ballad for Heavy Lids

November 18th, 2014 at 02:17 pm

I learned recently that if your pillows don't

Text is spring back to their proper shape and Link is http://lifehacker.com/quickly-test-if-its-time-to-buy-a-new-pillow-1434946448
spring back to their proper shape after you fold them over, they're of no more use. I wonder now what I can do with old pillows.

I bought two pillows at 50% off from JCPenney today. They are the second and third pillows I've bought this year. It seems I am always buying pillows, but maybe their purchases are conspicuous because I feel I am getting ripped off, or because we have six or seven usually and the life span for a pillow is three to five years. The beauty is that I have free shipping for the pillows.

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.)

A dull report

November 11th, 2014 at 10:17 am

The quilts have come out from storage: high of 7 degrees C/44F today. One has some urine stains: ick! Dumped lotsa washing soda and some trickle of Woolite in the Delicate Soak cycle: hoping this will do the trick... I already regret not picking up OxiClean at Costco.


My kind of laundrette. Scooters and chamber musicians welcome!

Revisited the glove drawer to make sure I have matching pairs too. Even considering putting a "cold weather survival bundle" in the car: blankets, drinking water, flares, lightsticks, flashlight, matches, protein bars, whistle, hand warmers, kitty litter, window scraper, rag. No snow shovel: not in a severe weather area. For those of you between the Rockies and the Appalachians, north of 40, I feel for you. As my people would say, standing outdoors in their summer shorts: "A bit brisk, eh? Bit brisk."

Went to Costco for first time since... July? Easier to go in the evening! We didn't waste any time, stuck mostly to a rehearsed list, and paid $2.68/gallon for gas. It seems now we are always refuelling, and I am always buying vegetables. When we were fuelling every 10 days, I'd have a game with myself where I'd have to save at least a dollar on my spending when I went out. As I'd buy enough to warrant the size of the car this wasn't a problem. Now, I may have to try another game: the Use-It-Up or Pantry Challenge popular here.

Menu for the Week:
- Shepherd's Pie, tonight
- Bean Soup, with Kielbasa Wednesday
- Bean Soup Leftovers Thursday
- Either Red Lentil Curry or Quinoa-Kidney Bean Chili Friday
- Roast or Baked Chicken, yum or probably Bean Soup leftovers.