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taxes much better

March 12th, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Got my taxes done and filed on Sunday. This year I still had to pay, but it was a lot less this year. The reason why is that I finally mastered cost basis. I sold a bit of taxable stock to fund my Roth, so I knew that I would take a hit. Luckily I funded the 2013 Roth in January 2013, so long before the big run up throughout 2013.

The tricky part about this was that my little stock account was old enough so I would incur long term capital gains, but it was also old enough that they were 'non covered' which meant that I had to dig around for when I bought the stock and for what price to come up with a cost basis. Which I did.

Then I filed and it all went through. It means no one stole my ssn and filed in my name already. I keep things protected, but you just never know these days. So yay on that.

This year, since I did drop my 403B contributions, I'll have to think about raising them a bit to trim my taxes for next year.

So relieved for 2013!

showing my mosaics

March 8th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Not much has happened this past month. Doing my job, getting paid, planning a trip, collecting dividends, doing my taxes. (taxes are going to be ugly this year.) And I've found so $40.78 since mid July.

But I did talk to the co-owner of Bean City, and they are showing 4 of my mirror mosaics. We put them up this afternoon. We'll try it for a month and see how much interest there is.

my best parade picture

February 8th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Mostly it was hold your camera/phone up in the air, snap it and pray.


Most of my pictures were pictures of someone else taking a picture...



catching up

February 4th, 2014 at 09:15 pm

Hola - Been a little while.

My first meeting as president of the condo board went alright. Mostly because I kept us on task. I can tell I'm going to have to be patient with an owner or two who will "sing the song of their people" over and over. Same tune too. The other big task is getting used to my gmail account and the condo board's gmail account.

Tomorrow is the Seahawk parade and even in this, the HR department is torquing me off with a unique ability of taking something simple and heartfelt and stomping the spontaniety out of it. Our HR will let us go but strongly "encourage" us (encourage with an underline in the email) to wear our t-shirts with our logos. Wrong on so many levels:

1.) This is a Seahawk thing, not an us thing (you might remember that I work for an non-profit with a Way at the end.) celebrating the Seahawks.

2.) Its lunch hour. Are you going to tell us when to eat also?

2.) its going to be 20F. Even me from Wisconsin, ain't no way I'm going to standing out there with just a t-shirt. Not with our health insurance. I'm layering and wearing a coat and that coat will be closed.

intimate emergency fund

February 4th, 2014 at 08:56 pm

I've found $36.05 since mid July. With the $120 that I added from winning the 2013 death bet, my intimate emergency fund is at $156.05.

Mosaic clock

January 18th, 2014 at 08:25 pm

As promised, here is a picture of my handmade mosaic clock. And yes, I need to dust! Big Grin

To keep it moderately fiscal, I got the wood backing board for free, the watch mechanism & hands from Amazon for $4, and the stand was $8 from Fred Meyer. Most of my glass and tile was bought on the 4$/lb ... but I did get free materials from friends of friends. That little bit of gold glass at the 12/3/6/9 cost up in the $20/lb, but I figure I maybe used less $1 worth. The Weldbond (Elmers but a lot better) and the grout are each $20, but each will last for tens of projects. That really leaves labor - about 30 hrs or so.

Bulls eye!

January 13th, 2014 at 08:06 pm

Two more items on the Target front:

My CU is replacing my debit card.
Got a Target missive to go and get my credit monitored.

So far, no weird transactions. Everything looks clean.

Next week is my first condo meeting as president.

This weekend I finished a mosaic clock. Got a clock motor thingy from Amazon, drilled a hole my wood backerboard and got the motor thingy in. Mosaicked the backerboard, grouted, let the grout cure, installed my hands and put the battery in. Very pretty. I'll post a picture when I get a chance to take the picture in reasonable light. Hard to do when I leave in the dark and get home in the dark.

now being the pres

January 4th, 2014 at 10:22 pm

So if you haven't been following along, during the condo all-owner meeting on Dec 8 I volunteered to serve on the condo board, and during the mini-board meeting held after I was selected to be the president.

Jan 1, I began my term. So suddenly things like the garage gate getting stuck/touchy during the winter/cranky when it knows you are in a hurry/blah blah blah ... now its my responsibility. I'm noticing every loose doorknob and freaking out just a little bit. Alternating with the freakout comes my family sense of humor - I was just thinking, as I was running my washer and dryer at 11pm on Friday, what is anybody going to do about it? I'm the pres!

And it turned out that since I have the largest sq ft footprint, I hold a certain amount of power. Tiny but there. If I show up, more than likely there is enough percentage ownership so that items can come to a vote. If I don't show up, everybody has to do a calculation just to make sure there is enough representation.

Seriously, my next board meeting I'm moving forward to ask and research where condo reserve accounts are. We now have adult amounts in reserves. (It will reach 6 figure in a few months) In CDs in a bank or what? Sure hope it is NOT in a money market fund - that would be the absolute worst of all worlds - no interest earned and no FDIC insurance so its not even as safe as it could be. Once I find out where it is I want to figure where best to put it if its in the wrong place.

Anybody else serving on a condo board?

bump in my intimate emergency fund

January 1st, 2014 at 07:41 pm

Deep irony that I'm going to use about $120 of my death bet winnings to fund my intimate emergency fund, where I would use said fund if many, many people will be facing a possible death issue.

2014 is now here and we have similar sets of participants but a new crop of celebrities.

Took a nice long walk this morning and afternoon, soaking up .... 2014.

net worth December 2013

January 1st, 2014 at 07:33 pm

It's been six months whence I last put up my numbers. The stock market lifted my retirement "yacht" and my DRP portfolio "powerboat".

$369,814 IRA/403B
$156,409 Vanguard taxable
$56,212 stock
$14,432 I-bonds
$27,886 ING
$2,071 immediate cash

$157,500 condo
-$117,063 mortgage

Used my original purchase price for the condo; Zillow estimates my condo is now worth about 188K. If I sold for that price, the equity gained will have offset what I spent on my kitchen remodel.

$667,261 total



Dec 2013 ($667,261 total, $257,010 taxable)
June 2013 ($623,978 total, $258,382)
Dec 2012 ($628,818 total, $290,180)
June 2012 ($617,902 total, $362,619)
Dec 2011 ($592,163 total, $356,567)
June 2011 ($596,791 total, $376,359)
Dec 2010 ($575,346 total, $356,542)
June 2010 ($553,023 total, $369,589)
Dec 2009 ($551,300 total, $385,771)
June 2009 ($512,054 total, $379,475)
Dec 2008 ($498,148 total, $386,021)
June 2008 ($524,261 total, $387,481)
Dec 2007 ($328,688 total, $192,747)
June 2007 ($176,422 total, $48,205)
Dec 2006 ($132,062 total, $40,329)
June 2006 ($120,261 total, $65,148)
Dec 2005 ($67,778 total, $23,740)
June 2005 ($46,115 total, $11,293)
Dec 2004 ($38,338 total, $7,558)
June 2004 ($29,050 total, $4,533)

Fixing up my red card

December 30th, 2013 at 09:21 pm

I have a Target Red Card and noticed that I had used it between the times card information was stolen. I have to assume that I was one of the 40M.

So far, no strange spurious transactions. However, I'm royally sick of the "no, they didn't steal this, so you are safe" then it turns that this happened, but you really are still safe. The final straw was encripted PINs. The hackers didn't have the PINs, then they did, but not the encription key. I changed my PINs up and made a teeny purchase to test.

Still watching.

On another note about still watching, I am collecting lists for 2014. If you are interested in playing, email me directly.

loving Seeking Alpha

December 17th, 2013 at 07:38 pm

Got another bit of good stock news today. 3M raised its dividend - effective next quarter. It went from .69/share/quarter to now .88/share/quarter.

The other good news is that I got the good news from Seeking Alpha, which I seem to like much better than The Motley Fool, or Value Line, or the WSJ or Barrons or IBD. Plus, the email alerts are just enough.

Intimate emergency fund = $28.34.

The Grim reaper has been busy this past week - several have come close (Harold Camping was on a list last year, and someone had Kim Jong-il's sister and wife of the guy who got executed last week).

And .... amazingly, 2 million visits.

this and that, over and over again

December 11th, 2013 at 09:07 pm

I am still partially knocked out from the flu but several other neat-o things happened.

I am now at 172, by the gym scale reckoning. I do have a trainer for 30 minute sessions. She is particularly helpful for posture, balance and Pilates-type moves. Basically back, core and glutes. I can do a number of exercises at home. One set I'm to do every day and its just like a free chiropractor visit.

I opened a mail piece from my transfer agent. I also have Oshkosh Truck. Its value has been picking up in the last year, but I bought for sentimental reasons - sister and I grew up about 8 miles from Oshkosh. I rarely talk about it because you can buy but it doesn't pay a dividend. Hah! It has returned to paying a 15 cent/share dividend which has been reinvested. Yeah!

Finished my Christmas shopping last week.

I'm in the soup now

December 10th, 2013 at 08:54 pm

For most of the time since last I wrote, its been 'keep on keeping on'. I get paid, I pay and now with my drop in my 403B withholding, I have a little left over.

However, we had our bi-yearly all owner condo association meeting last Sunday, and I had the flu and I offered to serve on the board, then while I was sitting there trying not to be contagious and trying to concentrate on keeping my body temperature somewhere above 90F....

I got elected condo president for 2014. Yipes. The secretary and treasurer are the same; they've been doing their tasks for several years and are good at them. So a little continuity here.

I've been told that the tasks will be fairly straightforward. Greeting new people, answering questions new buyers have, etc... However, I do have one project that I want as my one year legacy:

Find out what kind of account the reserves are in, and if they in a money market fund, for God sake, move them into at least a laddered CD.

Tday +1

November 29th, 2013 at 08:09 pm

I hope everybody had a tasty and reasonably low key Thanksgiving. I hosted a small group (3) and all parties were "just in case" potluck people. You have the chips and salsa people who come to a potluck with the minimum; and then you have the 180 degree style - us. There's the dish, and then what if they had no serving spoon so that goes, and then it turns into "just in case", and suddenly you are lugging half of your kitchen. So we had a lot of food for just the three of us. Leftovers for a week!

Last week my drp stock portfolio crossed a milestone. I got a 100% return. Specifically, I put about 26K worth of contributions over the past 10+ years, and now my portfolio is at 53K. Total stock portfolio worth also includes about 6K of reinvested dividends.

So far, I'm still ahead in the death pool pool. Fingers crossed, but somehow December is busy for death.

history, a nickel at a time

November 22nd, 2013 at 08:45 pm

In the last couple days I "followed" an historical group live tweeting JFK through 1963; its called JFK_1963. It was an interesting Twitter experiment, sort of a "what if" Twitter existed 50 years ago.

(My non-smart phone gets texts, I pay a nickel in time for each.)

It probably doesn't go without saying, but I'll say it - following its tweets today on the 50th anniversary was very affecting and poignant. I was almost 2 the first time, so I didn't have any competing memories where I was nor had any sense of time. Today, in Seattle, on PST, the timing was everything. Before I woke up, JFK was having a breakfast meeting in Fort Worth. By the time I was waiting for the bus, JFK landed in Dallas; when I stepped off to get my morning coffee JFK was in the motorcade; within my first 5 sips of hot coffee, the Cronkite news flashes began. 33 tweets in all, some with humor, some with rumors, most with exceedingly careful wording (journalists took more care in those days, or was it that our imagination?), and the sad end at the end.

All that history for a $1.55 in tweets.

genius, but I feel a little dirty

November 8th, 2013 at 09:12 pm

For frugalistas only, because I just bet this entry title is a magnet for weird. Not that this isn't weird, but back out before you are disappointed.

Careful readers of this blog might know that I work for a large non-profit. This is special event money season - where we get a fair amount of cash and coin. After hoisting several bags of coins to the auditors I said, "hey if you see any interesting coins, I'll trade."

2 days later we found our first silver dime. Happy to swap a dime from my wallet for that dime.

Ooooh, I'm going to heck.

battening down

October 20th, 2013 at 07:21 pm

I did find the BOGO beef special at Albertsons, so I got 2 packs of sirloin tips and spent 15mins opening the packages, wrapping the beef tightly in paper, ziploc bagging servings, and ziploc bagging that so its a unit. I've got beef, lamb, fish, shrimp, eggs (in the refrigerator). I'll be okay if the grocery strike doesn't last too long. We are coming up on the holiday season so I think all sides would be motivated. However, the last strike (just for QFC I think) lasted 86 days.

I figure I can fill in grocery issues using: Target, various ethnic grocery stores including Uwajimaya, Pike Market for produce, Whole Foods and PCC, and the U district and Ballard Farmers Markets.

Did go to Fred Meyer to use the blood pressure reader - 124/84. Yeah!

groceries are striking here

October 18th, 2013 at 10:09 pm

The union for 4 biggest chain grocery stores in Seattle has put in their 72 hour notice to strike. I sympathize so I'm going to see if can avoid breaking strike lines. I don't really have good alternative cheap places to get meat but I think I can do okay on the produce. We'll see.

I've been going back to the gym several times a week, logging in my food, etc. I've been bouncing around 175-180, and I would love to lose 10 pounds. My latest health check had my blood pressure at borderline hypertensive, so its another reason to exercise. I also swapped out my table salt for salt substitute. I don't eat too much processed food but even reading the labels on the stuff I do eat: phooey.

With the condo, my friends had a standing bet that within a year I'd be running the condo. Well, I've been asked to run for VP on the board. I don't know whether I really want to do it. I always think that "well do it for a year and stop" but I have serious problems with disengagement. Its the flip side of stick-it-tuitiveness.

But the intimate emergency fund (what the found money account morphed into) is doing well: $19.20. And I am still ahead on the 2013 death bet.

t-bills

October 9th, 2013 at 09:57 pm

I haven't invested in 4 week t-bills in many years, ever since 2008. Why invest at 0%? But I have followed them, if nothing else to show that I'd do a better job finding money on the sidewalk. I looked at the 4 week t-bills today, and the Tuesday auction yielded .350%. Quite a jump from 0.

To play along, here: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/RI/OFBills

Looks like not everybody has faith that Congress will get it together and not raise the debt ceiling next week.

going to heck weekend

September 27th, 2013 at 08:15 pm

Not really me, but:

Saturday, I go to Wing Luke for free museum day, which is near-ish the stadiums, which will be busy tomorrow.

Then Sunday. Ah Sunday, day of rest. Maybe. You might have heard that grocery workers will go on strike. I asked my checkout person when that might happen. She said the earliest is Sunday. She also hoped that common sense and cooler heads will prevail ... two qualities that are in short supply these days, so they will probably be rationed, to be deployed only when everything else has been exhausted. Big sign at the front of Fred Meyer tonight - are hiring, but you have to be willing to walk through a picket line.

Then there's Monday. Will the government shut down. Again? Anybody else notice that Ted Cruz has a strong resemblance to Joe McCarthy? Especially that jaw line.

I have been busy finding change - my intimate EF now totals $13.43. Following some great advice, small bills; the largest bill I'm going to set aside is a $10.

Went back to the gym and am weighing myself at home. According to the scale at home, I'm 169. I'm working at it.

I know how Voyager feels

September 18th, 2013 at 09:43 pm

You might know that I love following space flights. Perhaps you've heard that Voyager 1 reached interstellar space. What you might not have known is that it reached it about a year ago ... some measurements seemed to tell scientists they were there, some didn't and that's what caused the confusion. Its not like there was a big ol' sign like you see on the interstate.

So it seems to be with financial freedom. One kind of thinks that if they had $xM, then yes. But really, who knows? You could be there or several years out.

The raise kicked in, but I don't think its particularly enough. I'm going to back down my 403B contributions - they will still be quite high, and I will easily get all the match.

This evening I also got a letter for another vaccine study. I had a good experience with the previous one, and the payment for participating is quite nice ($540). I think I will collect more info.

raise

September 12th, 2013 at 08:38 pm

Tomorrow I get paid (actually its the 15th, but we get paid the first business day beforehand). HR assured us that the raise starts this paycheck. 3%.

The timing is good - I have about 10 days to figure out whether I should back down my 403B contributions.

Seattle Greek fest this weekend. Time to stock up on good olive oil.

Yesterday I got a good haul in the Coinstar machine. Plenty of Canadian, which suits me fine because I might go up in the next few years. When I do, and I have a nice coffee, I will think fondly of the Coinstar machine.

My intimate emergency fund is growing - its at $10.54 and its been two months. I might not be logging my found money in, but I have been keen on finding it.

Free museum day

September 4th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Got an email alert that Free Museum Day is going to be Saturday, Sept 28, and I took a look at the ones participating. In Seattle its richer than it has been in past years: EMP, Burke, Wing Luke, Museum of Flight, Henry, Frye, MOHAI. What to choose?

I'm toying with Wing Luke - I've never been there.

Easy to participate - pick your place, and print (or get it on your smartphone) your ticket(s).

backsplash-o-rama

September 1st, 2013 at 01:56 pm

I still have to do my kitchen backsplash, but I helped lawyer friend and partner lay in their kitchen backsplash. We tiled two of them - they put in a basement unit with its own kitchen to rent out.

Both turned out well - my mosaic experiences directly translated - and I got free experience in set-up, the tile wet saw (don't know how running that will fly amongst my neighbors in the condo), doing corners, handling light sockets, using spacers, figuring out how to compensate for putting a design on a wall. It was funny how the three of us had different luck in the materials - most of it was subway tile with a glass tile band & I definitely had "glass tile" hands.

It was fun, but tiring. Now that I've got my own plan, know what color grout to use, and got fresh experience to draw, its time to do my own.

403B musings

August 27th, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Okay, last time. I wrote two novels of entries and lost them both.

Right now with the third month in a row of feeling the frugal burn, I'm seriously considering backing down the 403B contributions. I'm at socking in 20% of my salary, am thinking of backing it down to 15%, and I max out the match at 8%. I'm not going to go that low.

I have until the end of September to think about it. Plus, I'm getting a 2% raise sometime in late September/October. I might grit my teeth and complete the year at 20%.

test

August 27th, 2013 at 09:46 pm

test test

create entry

August 27th, 2013 at 09:45 pm

when I use create entry on the control panel, it eats my entry. Grr.

maybe I should buy a lottery ticket

August 15th, 2013 at 08:23 pm

My youngest, least celeb in the 2013 Death bet came in (Lisa Robin Kelly), so right now I'm ahead in the 2013 Fantasy Celebrity Cemetery. This weekend, Spondulicks and I will divy up the gift certs I won during the Gumshoe.

Its been a nice staycation! Maybe Saturday I'll buy a lottery ticket.

winning

August 12th, 2013 at 09:34 pm

Spondulicks and I must have had our tiger milk lattes a couple of weekends ago. I got a call from the Gumshoe Answer Man. We won the Gumshop drawing! 9 $15 gift certificates.


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