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Archive for November, 2006

4-week report; thankful we're $5000 better off than last year

November 24th, 2006 at 01:58 pm

Thanksgiving was easy, as DH and I just went out to a restaurant with my mother. We both were in the mood to declutter and reorganize, so that's how we spent most of the day. I'm starting to do my annual paper clean-out early, and it feels good.

So I've caught up with my 4-week check-in for "November" which actually ended on November 18.

CC debt down to $449. It's due to be paid off on December 16. Before the end of the year and before my 50th birthday. Smile

Cash-like assets (not IRAs and such) up to $5150. $505 in the official EF, $490 in the HSA, plus the balances on gift certificates and in the ING and Netbank accounts. "Quick" net worth $4701.

My Everyday Expenses came in under budget at $529. For the past 4 months, I've been tracking coupon use, too. It's been averaging over $40 a month. This past month it was $52.83.

At the same point last year, our "quick" net worth was MINUS $504. And we'd spent $653 on Everyday Expenses in the equivalent 4-week period.

Progress!

Free dinette set--unbelievable

November 22nd, 2006 at 01:42 pm

DH had to work on clearing out yet another apartment where somone had left all kinds of stuff when they moved out.

Sometimes it's pretty junky, and I get aggravated if he brings too much home just because it's free. But this time he did good. Smile It's a dinette set, a table with leaves plus matching chairs. Solid wood with a formica tabletop, not a flimsy metal thing. It's in like-new condition and actually matches our kitchen cabinets.

I've just been hoping to snag two matching chairs to use with our older kitchen table, when we could afford it. We've been using a table and two chairs, none of which match each other. Now, we get a complete matching set, for free!!! I told DH he was off the hook for Christmas. Wink



Feel like I just threw away a $50 bill

November 15th, 2006 at 03:31 pm

Today was the last day to do a Hyundai test drive for $50. I've just faced the fact it's not going to happen, and put the mailer in my to-be-shredded bin.

I don't really like going to car dealerships, or facing car salesmen, or trying to explain that I'm not really interested in a new car yet. If I'm feeling pretty high-energy and confident, I can do it. But today I'm tired, and I can't stand the current household mess, and I don't feel desperate enough for the money. I'd rather stay home and get my life back in order.

Yes, I've had weeks to do it, but I'm still adjusting to those extra work hours, and I'm still recoving from Election Day last week.

I know I can't take advantage of every opportunity, and have to set priorities. But it still feels like I'm throwing away money!

Not sure I want to slash the food budget this far

November 13th, 2006 at 02:30 pm

www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2000/C/200002084.html

Basically, it's a study to see what the cheapest subsistence diet would be, meeting minimum nutritional requirements.

"...the optimal solution diet for a 25-50 year old man consists, on a daily basis, of 1.31 cups of wheat flour, 1.32 cups of rolled oats, 16 fluid ounces of milk, 3.86 tablespoons of peanut butter, 7.28 tablespoons of lard, 0.0108 ounces of beef liver, 1.77 bananas, 0.0824 of an orange, 0.707 cup of shredded cabbage, 0.314 of a carrot, 0.387 of a potato, and 0.53 cup of pork and beans. The daily cost of this diet is $1.78."

"The optimal solution diet for a 25-50 year old woman consists, on a daily basis, of 1.13 cups of wheat flour, 1.61 cups of rolled oats, 16.7 fluid ounces of milk, 3.31 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2.59 tablespoons of lard, 0.00724 ounces of beef liver, 1.2 bananas, 0.234 of an orange, 0.561 cup of shredded cabbage, 0.219 of a carrot, 0.384 of a potato, and 0.297 cup of pork and beans. The daily cost of this diet is $1.47."

I've been wondering if I could actually survive on the lowest USDA food plan, and now that looks absolutely luxurious!

Maybe it could work, now and again:

Breakfast--o.j., oatmeal and milk

Lunch-pb and banana on whole wheat, carrot sticks, with a liverwurst sandwich about once a week as a change

Dinner-beans, whole wheat rolls, coleslaw, baked potato

(Not sure how I could eat all that lard, or that I'd want to!)


Recent tweaks

November 11th, 2006 at 06:50 pm

Like they say, the only constant is change. First the Citicard cash back rewards being cut back from 5%, now the discounted gas gift cards are being dropped from the Dealpass programs. (I was in Today's Escapes+.)

I guess one big reason I wasn't too upset about the Citi thing was, I was getting more than 2x the discount with the gift card thing than from Citi anyway. And since I've started shopping more at Aldi (where they don't take credit cards) the 5% cash back on groceries wasn't a big loss either.

But now that the gas gift card Deals have Passed Wink I felt like I had to do something. I mean, the cc rewards plus the gift card rebates have come to $400+ a year.

Tweak #1. Dropped Today's Escapes+. There just weren't enough gcs I'd want to buy in a month to justify the monthly fee. (They've also dropped Target and Amazon.)

Tweak #2. Instead of cancelling the Discover card like I'd planned, I called and asked if I could just switch it to their gas card (still 5% cash back). They said yes! It will only come to about $60 a year, but that's something.

Tweak #3. I was going to cancel Credit Protector now that I'd done the $50 in rebates they'd offered me to stay on the first time. But now they offered me (5) $10 Walmart gift cards for staying on, and lowered the rate. So that's an unexpected $50 that will help relieve the pain. Smile

BTW, there is another program at www.leisureplus.com where you can get gas cards at a discount. But you are forced to buy 3 different kinds to maximize your savings, and after you pay the monthly fee it only saves you about $80 a year. Seems like too much hassle to me.

Need some extra help? God of Wealth coin ready to go.

November 3rd, 2006 at 01:38 pm

There are only a few weeks left to request your Japanese God of Wealth coin and make your wish before Jeffrey takes it back to the shrine.

Actually, I've been feeling luckier just having the coin in my house. Whether it's from the coin itself, or from being part of the great supportive network here at Saving Advice, who's to say..... If you don't want to take any chances, request your coin now. Wink PM me your name and address; first-come, first-served.

Need a review of what it's all about? Here's a link:

www.pfadvice.com/2006/05/05/god-of-wealth-good-luck-coins/