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Paid off the car loan today

September 29th, 2015 at 08:10 pm

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

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

Magical Saturday

September 5th, 2015 at 09:32 pm

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

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

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

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

Auto Accident Insurance Settlement on its Way!

August 28th, 2015 at 06:40 pm


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

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

Retainer was found

June 9th, 2015 at 03:40 pm

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

So that's $300 saved. Phew!

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

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

My May balances are my June penance

May 29th, 2015 at 09:32 pm

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

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

I made some

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

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

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

Midmonth narrative for April 2015

April 20th, 2015 at 03:09 pm

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

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

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

Just learned of the Reddit content pod

Text is "Eat Cheap and Healthy" and Link is
"Eat Cheap and Healthy". Wonder what else I've been missing.

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

Completed Tax Return

January 31st, 2015 at 04:51 pm

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

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

A gratitude moment from Chico Marx

January 25th, 2015 at 06:57 pm

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

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

A pittance of successes, plus a finances reboot

November 17th, 2014 at 01:41 am

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

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this golden oldie and
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Miz Pat's Pork Roasts recipe request, so am feeling more optimistic about feeding my family for under $3/plate.

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

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

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

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

Halving a Debt Time, Glad You Are Here

October 15th, 2014 at 02:55 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Eight!

June 2nd, 2014 at 06:01 pm

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King of Eight

Goals for the eighth anniversary:

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

Hey Hey Hey It's Hesitance Day!

February 17th, 2014 at 09:08 pm

Taxes are done, filed. I passed on the Amazon giftcard because I was afraid I'd err and end up putting all my refund in the giftcard. Ditto on the I-Bonds. Lost internet four times this weekend and was afraid of anything getting lost, or resubmitted.

Return monies potentially allocated thusly:
* one Raspberry Pi
* x% of outstanding HELOC paid, where range(x) is 4-6%
* x% of outstanding car debt paid, where range(x) is 5-7%

It would feel delicious to see those balances down to four-digit figures before the end of the year

*Rest of $$ for family

More importantly, I am at the magic point where we have 3 months living expenses in our liquid assets. My plan now is to put 1/5 of the surplus aside for investing, where anticipated gains > 6.5%, and 3/5 toward debt repayment, and the remaining 1/5 to the assets for inflation creep or Savings Challenge. The plan for this executes 21 February 2014, when the credit cards are balance-free.

Menu planning:
Franks Paprikash
Fried Tidbits of Swordfish or Other Fish
Baked Fillet of Sole with Tomato, Oregano and Hot Pepper
Eat whatever day
Beanie Weenies
Chicken Tarragon Spaghettini
Veal al Limone
Coconut Lamb Curry

We will have eaten down most of the freezer meat by payday. I have the money for our next great meatmarket venture in the Money Market Account. Only with extreme planning can I get our monthly grocery spending below $600. I use coupons, price book and check for meat markdowns.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:30 am

Minutiae, btw, is a DYNAMITE Scrabble Brand Crossword game word, especially if you have five vowels on your rack.

I just realized that this month is the first month in perhaps five or eight I have had more than a day of a zero balance on my credit card. I usually (97.5% of the time) pay my statement in full, but have some sort of balance. My big expenditures of semiannual car insurance and utilities eclipsed the post-holiday credit card payoff activity.

Also, it just occurred that the Canadian dollar is below ninety American cents, so the toll bridge charges, even with the obnoxious "invoice processing fees" no British Columbians warned me about, will be less than expected. Yay!

This year, when something unusually terrific happens like meeting fun people, or receiving a compliment, or succeeding at something, or enjoying a new activity, I write it down with the date on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. So when maybe I am feeling like I am wasting time on this planet in this body, I go to the jar and read things. Today I entered a slip of getting to speak my second language with both a native speaker and someone struggling to learn the language. Seattle's notorious for freezingly polite and very withdrawn people, it's hard to make friends here if one isn't gregarious, so this was a brilliant moment for shy, withdrawn me, happening upon this couple. We did not speak entirely in the second language, we were all aware someone in our group wasn't multilingual, but sprinkling a phrase here and there was so glorious and exhilarating. I don't mean to give the impression that communicating in my first language all the time here is a drag, it definitely is not and is a superb convenience, but the serendipity of starting a surprising conversation with strangers in an unlikely area in a language one is rusty in... oh, so sweet, so miraculous, so rare.

Good Money Day, #3 52-Week Saving Challenge

January 18th, 2014 at 02:24 am

Last post had me mentioning a few items we have for sale. The software is selling very fast, despite it being old. I may have to sell our Elvis Presley 1959 EP on eBay. I tried selling it for $15 a few years ago on Craigslist (sells for $25 on eBay!) and no bites. Seattle doesn't have the King fans the way inland or river cities do, I guess.

Baselle mentioned back in August 2013 winning a Greenwood Gumshoe local merchant certificate pack. She split the booty with me 5/4, and I used my third certificate offered by an Alterations Seamstress on some mending and repairs. I'll be taking a jacket in tomorrow, with some buttons to replace on another jacket. $15 to add to savings.

$15 from certificate
$5.45 from deeply discounted pajamas
$7.55 from Tom's of Maine toothpaste deal
$24 from $50 sale of software

Don't read this if you were caught in North America's polar vortex: my heating bill came to $107 for Dec/Jan. No, I do not live in Wagga Wagga.

This Will Be Our Year - Declutter Challenge

January 9th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I love these challenges that inspire me to quantify my year. The

Text is 52 week Declutter challenge and Link is
52 week Declutter challenge will be a cinch as I have already discarded nineteen items of clutter today, if discarding includes shredding. I have organized my writing centre, my postage/mail centre, and recorded bills coming due and CDs scheduled to mature shortly.

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

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

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

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

Day of the Deadbeat

January 4th, 2014 at 12:56 am

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.

52-week Saving Challenge: Raindrops

January 3rd, 2014 at 04:39 am

So far this challenge has been good for me in the following ways:

1. I have identified nine accounts the saved money could go, two of them debt accounts, four investment accounts, one PayPal, one Money Market account, and two other credit union accounts. It's hard for me to choose one, as most of them don't offer a serious savings rate.

The main credit union I have accounts with is one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country, not much chance of it merging with another cooperative. I have a spreadsheet. I've told my family of the challenge and will remind them.

Some investment accounts accept a minimum of $50 as direct stock purchases, so I'll let the funds accumulate in a credit union account until the minimum is reached.

2. Unless I misunderstand, I'm getting a mail "raindrop" from placing second in a contest -- if you're east of me you have snowflakes, me, I have raindrops. And a rainbarrel. Because we have droughts in the summer, but autumn/winter/spring it's rain. That raindrop will be added to the challenge.

3. With the exception of the phone and internet bills, I may try operating on just cash for awhile, if I can find my debit card. I thrill to making cheap tasty dishes. The Hoppin' John I made on New Year's Day my husband LOVED, as in phoned his parents a few time zones away to rave about the dish. Yeah, who knew black-eyed peas, kale and sweet potatoes could be so exciting? Apparently if you put Trappey's sauce or apple cider vinegar on it you can make Hoppin' John zesty-good! And today was Creole rice with bacon and frankfurters.

Just as an aside to no one in particular, because many of us are adept at or prefer hiding our dysphoria, dysthymia and despair, do listen to some Oscar Peterson 1963-1965 Europe concerts if you have a slight or greater inclination to jazz. They do make one want to stay on the spaceship earth just a little longer. I know waking up to darkness at 7:40 am isn't helping my joie de vivre, and neither is seeing the golden farewell of the sun at 4:30 pm either.

$100000 principal paid, plus Holiday on Ice!

December 25th, 2013 at 01:12 am

Went ice skating today. Have not done this in over thirty years and it shows. I'm used to a bigger rink and there were so many young children with walkers that I didn't trust myself to pick up speed. It's a Christmas miracle there were no collisions. Some of us set blade to ice for the first time ever, and although we wore out fast, we all want to do this again.

Beautiful blue sky, we could see the peninsula and the water: another Christmas miracle there. Bought ingredients for Osso Buco: it's just us this year, but I still want something special if not gluttonous, so Osso Buco it is, plus blood oranges for juicing and Quebec/Vermont maple syrup for pancakes.

The supermarket was busy, the parking lot packed, but everyone was in good spirits -- Christmas miracle number three. A woman who staffed the till at a local retail shop recognized us. She noticed me after she muttered a four-letter-word in the spices aisle, and had looked over to see if my son had heard her. Good times!
I pulled the trigger so to speak and threw some extra principal to our home equity line of credit. Officially now we have $100000 paid toward the house and unofficially I am 102 months and a bit ahead of schedule.
Merry Christmas Festivus End-of-Year Gaiety. I hope my blog can let registered users comment okay.

Miscellanea-Logorrhea Post

December 20th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freebie and the (Coffee) Bean!

September 27th, 2013 at 06:38 pm

That's right, caffeine achievers! Sunday September 29 is National Free Coffee Day! And even Tim Hortons is participating!

Text is Consumerist and Link is
Consumerist has the scoop from a Parade article.

I copied and pasted seven offers for your java delectation:

Caribou Coffee: Enjoy a complimentary small coffee of the day at participating Caribou Coffee stores. You'll need to download and print a special National Coffee Day coupon from Facebook, and bring it with you, or show it on your mobile device when placing your order.

Dunkin' Donuts: You'll need the Dunkin' Donuts mobile app to get your free small hot or iced coffee on National Coffee Day. (The app is free for Apple and Android devices.) Once you've downloaded the app, look for this freebie coupon under "offers." Also, on Saturday, September 28, and Sunday, September 29, Dunkin' has discounted coffee that you take home and brew. A one-pound bag of Dunkin' Donuts packaged coffee is just $5.99 (limit 2 per customer); regular price is $8.99. And a box of K-Cups goes for $7.99 per carton (limit 2 per customer); normally, K-Cups cost $11.99 per carton.

International Delight Creamer: You can score a free bottle of International Delight Creamer by visiting the brand's Facebook page, and entering its contest to win a case of Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer. Everyone who enters is emailed a coupon for a free bottle, redeemable at the supermarket.

Krispy Kreme: Choose between a freebie or a dollar deal at Krispy Kreme. You can start your coffee consumption with a free 12-ounce cup of hot coffee at participating Krispy Kreme U.S. and Canada locations. Then you can move on to one of the shop's specialty coffee drinks, such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which can be had for only $1 (12-ounce size only).

Peet's Coffee & Tea: Stop in at a Peet's Coffee & Tea location, order any baked item or a bowl of Simply Oatmeal, and you'll receive a free small maple latte. Note: this offer is good from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. only, with this coupon, and is not redeemable at Peet's airport, supermarket, or transit locations.

Starbucks: To celebrate the launch of Ethiopia, a new coffee blend at Starbucks, participating locations will offer free coffee tastings of this new blend. Also, anyone who purchases a one-pound bag that day will receive a complimentary Ethiopian-inspired commemorative ceramic cup, while supplies last.

Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop: Say "Happy National Coffee Day" when you place your coffee order at Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop, and you'll get a free coffee with the purchase of another coffee.

A better day

September 21st, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Someone left ten cents credit in the photocopier, so I paid a nickel for my Saturday New York Times crossword.

Although the ginger root was horribly overpriced at my local supermarket (no gas used), someone in front of me left forty-two cents in the change pocket. Whee!

And although I did not save lots of cash at Safeway, I did get seven gas rewards for $60 expenditure.

I like Linux Mint and want to play with it more, but can't rationalize another PC purchase. If I'm going to spend over a hundred dollars on something it'd be an interview outfit.

Dinner for the week ahead:
Beef/Broccoli stir-fry
Roast Beef w/Yorkshire Pudding
Chicken Breasts someway that makes them moist and mustardy
Fish (Probably salmon, or maybe mussels)
Spaghetti con Tonno (that's tuna, mio caro)
Marinated Roast Beef
Spaghetti Carbonara

Welcome is a beautiful word in any language

August 20th, 2013 at 06:12 pm

And I love hearing "Welcome back" from Americans. (I never get "Welcome back" from Canadians, ever.)

Hard to budget to the penny for a vacation

August 5th, 2013 at 03:39 pm

I sold some gold to finance gas, admissions, parking, and treats for twelve days. Then I learned there wouldn't be much left in the fridge where I was staying, so I must buy groceries. Today's a civic holiday.

Also DH is visiting us for a weekend, so tickets for bus fare, plus anniversary dinner. I'm telling myself it's the #1 city in Canada we're visiting, thus the expenses will be justified.

Speaking of former stomping grounds, went on an eyeball bender with baselle, and a 5K gumshoe through a Seattle neighborhood. We had good weather, eagle eyes with "limited" mental filters, and enough blood sugar to last us three hours. We finished up yesterday, just the two of us, to limit the chaos and take best advantage of her close-reading aptitude.

Refund from Pediatric Clinic One Year Later

July 6th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Surprised, but then again medical billing makes no sense to me, unless it is single-payer. $117. It seems paltry somehow: coffee for a year, one fifth of my semi-annual car insurance payment, not even one week's worth of groceries. It'll probably go to the tot's "fishing camp." Don't laugh: halibut, salmon, clams, mussels and oysters hang out here. That's good eating.

The Spotted Pony is no more, so I shan't be seeing baselle there anymore, alas.

Round up of interesting freebies and articles

June 26th, 2013 at 11:59 pm

List of Free Science books

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online. Science books for the beginner
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Math books
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True Cost of Our
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Vices. I have some quibble with this: no setting for the one glass of wine every two weeks or once a month, and if one 8 ounce drip coffee at home costs $1.35 (2 oz of coffee may cost that much, but ground and percolated gives you three cups, doesn't it?) then my family is spending too much on it. Also assumes 2-3x/week minimum fast food option, 7 lotto tickets/week minimum option, 2-3 cans of pop/week minimum option. So $503 annually of our money goes to coffee sweet and hot, and maybe $200 for the wine, fast food, pop and lotto combined in a year.

If frugal movie night isn't even Netflix or the local library, you'll like Flavorwire's list of the
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50 Great Movies you can legally watch for free!
How I saved money today:
1. Learned that our toll road sticker was not deactivated when we sold the car, even though the car was removed from our account. My stomach churned when I saw our state Dept. of Transportation automatic withdrawal of $30. We went in person to a customer office with our account printouts showing we were being billed for someone else's car. When I provide the Proof of Sale Receipt (I'll do that tomorrow) the charges get reversed. Fortunately only $4 worth of tolls had been incurred over the last six months.
2. Bought a clarinet for $40 instead of $125. The seller even had it out where she could find it easily.
This is going to save us $$ on monthly rentals. Boy is sulking because it looks used, but we told him Artie Shaw and Louis Armstrong did not have new instruments when they were preteens.
3. Scrabble Club director kicked in $3 addition to the $15 domain renewal fee I incurred. Coffee or lotto ticket?

My wee gratitude list

June 25th, 2013 at 03:31 am

The lesser of two evils won the Stanley Cup. I am celebrating with a Pop-Tart, because I'm broke.

On Sunday, we were shopping for groceries racking up the big sales so we could get a $7-off coupon, gas rewards, etc. when the woman ahead of us said "oh this coupon expires today and I won't be able to use it. You have it." We saved 40% off our grocery bill and now have 20 cents/gallon gas rewards. Whee!

Remember a few posts back my contribution about privacy? I just learned about the Deep Web and it feels like 1992 all over again as I look at this strange, brave new world. I'm excited about what I learn: probably because there are no cookies, pop-up ads, etc. It's as if my

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third eye was decalcified!

I am listening to an album put out by an obscure Japanese psych band (oooh, so hipster!) and it is so good it makes me forget about Talk Talk. The band is Apryl Fool and their bassist went on to become an important part of Yellow Magic Orchestra and did some other excellent solo projects. Terrific rainy day music.

I am making a list of the diners in Vancouver I'm going to eat at, and the books at the Vancouver Public Library that are not carried down south (London publishers). I get to take the car up with me which is great because there is no bus transport where I'll be staying.

Researching bitcoin. And as I just typed that my PC emitted some loud alarm type noise... weird.

Trying to run with feet of cement

June 20th, 2013 at 04:35 am

Found eleven cents walking from my parked car to the salon, hoping for a bang trim. I joke with my kid that we use the found money to pay down our six-figures-left-of-the-decimal mortgage.

How can I go on with my hair for six-seven weeks just fine and then all of a sudden my bangs and the condition of my hair need some TLC? The salon was closed so the spending is postponed. I never really save money: I just reallocate and postpone my spending. I bought one bulb of garlic. My spouse took off to go buy some Twizzlers so there goes my barely spent any money day. Why do I have money bulimia?

Buying a clarinet for my boy on Saturday. The cost equals four months' rental, and the clarinet has had six weeks' use, so I think it's a good deal. It's definitely for the same music experience level as my boy.

I know I am old and crotchety: today's mainstream music all sounds the same, I gripe about the dumbing down of society, so maybe I should fully accept my age and seriously consider an adjustable rate mortgage. What is sad is that two years ago we thought we were doing really well to refinance our mortgage, shaving 9% off the mortgage principal and interest but keeping the payoff date, and now our spending scrapes up against our budget like muffintop belly fat on a tight pair of jeans.

In which I geek out and get a free snack, plus surprise $!

June 12th, 2013 at 05:06 pm

Two weeks ago I learned my city is one of two hosts to a monthly event where teams solve puzzles. That monthly event transpired last night, at a bar disclosed in a video puzzle of "Twin Peaks" clips.

I was by my lonesome, but the puzzle coordinator set me up with a friendly couple and away we went, solving puzzles of varying difficulty (the last one was fiendish: I used a chart to complete it). I liked that the couple was bright and capable of solving, but was happy to cut its solving time by adding a third person.

We actually did finish 2.5 hours afterwards (the couple was there for its second time), with correct answers. I don't know if we won, probably not, but the couple was so thrilled they paid for my snack and my drink. I insisted at least on a tip.

I will bring someone with me next time though. I do so much better on these puzzles with an extra brain.

If it weren't for the fuel-up ($38) and the groceries ($28) I would have had a no-spend day.

Update: Just fetched the mail. The credit union says it had overcharged us for credit report fees in our July 2011 mortgage and are refunding us $298.14!

I've got to label my self-hypnosis recordings and play that money magnet one daily for a few weeks...

Caffeine-free day: I guess miracles can happen

May 5th, 2013 at 08:15 pm

I had my first no-caffeine day in close to twenty years yesterday. I did not slap anyone. It is past 1 pm and I still have not had coffee, nor, weirdly, desired it. My spouse likes having his two cups a day.

I would be lying if I told you I had no withdrawal symptoms. The third day of tapering off coffee I had excess saliva and a runny nose. What was manageable was 1 cup of coffee, then 1/2 cup the next day, and 1/4 cup the day after with one half-cup green tea in the afternoon.
Day four was the caffeine-free day.

And I found the ring I thought I lost, in the bathroom cabinet, behind some supplement bottles

Haven't seen any waistline reduction yet, but I did fit into my Lilly Pulitzer (RIP) pants today.

My starting food plan weight is 170 lbs. My mother was only that heavy when she was on cancer drugs. Some US charts say the ideal weight for me should be at 136 lb, but 146-150 lbs would look good on me.

If I can lose ten pounds, I'll start to think I actually have some control over my life and create positive outcomes.

12-year no-fee mortgage rate dropped 9%, to 3.4%. Our credit union does not seem to offer 10-year mortgage products.

Gratitude Post, frank expenditures, hot tip to some SA bloggers

January 10th, 2013 at 01:11 am

For the past hour I have been feeling contemptuous of things that are beneath my contempt level, so this gratitude post is corrective action.

Today I am happy for:

1. Lunch walks with the spouse for errands. My favourite person, my favourite activity in which we are both erect.

2. We did not lose electric power during last night's wind and rain extravaganza.

3. I am doing well on the 8000 IU daily dose of Vitamin D3 for December/January. I am considering asking for a blood test when next I visit the doctor, preferably before March 15, so I can determine if my body's storage of cholecalciferol is adequate. My friends 110 mi north are taking only 2000-2500 IU a day, except for one who is taking 10000 IU and he says he genuinely feels better for it. After a six-week bout with a grisly virus that left me feeling like the walking dead five years ago, I am grateful for my decision to megadose on Vitamin D3. I have not experienced any toxicity problems.

4. eBooks available through my city's library system. I finally read an eBook for the first time ever, this past week. Having a lighter laptop with a longer battery life may have something to do with my adapted reading habit: I like taking it to a cozy overstuffed chair without fussing around behind the chair to plug in the adapter.

5. The late great operatic space alien/pastry chef Klaus Nomi concocted an easy lime tart recipe. That did not stop me from messing it up my first time (evaporated milk =/= condensed milk), but I will certainly make it again soon. Wanna

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try it yourself? (music not included)

6. Waking up without pain, at a proper time.
I am not off to a great start in 2013, financially. Every day seems to be an expenditure unplanned. Replacement tire, news subscription, mattress pad, DH's spree at JC Penney (completely tongue-in-cheek here, I do not begrudge my man some major mark downs of new clothes, especially when his annual clothing budget is $200/year), other things I have kvetched about here. I did make half the credit card statement's balance due, the rest to be paid two weeks later.

A gift to you whose workflow of opening an Add Entry link and filling the Entry Text box to publishing frequently outlasts the 20-minute window, I tell you of
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Lazarus, a text recovery browser extension (I use it for Chrome, but here's a Firefox
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add-on link that preserves your text so you need only click on the pale green ankh on the upper right of the text box to reclaim your golden thoughts!

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