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Archive for July, 2007

50 dollar transfer

July 31st, 2007 at 09:22 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $8 lunch

Quiet day - meetings got canceled right and left, and because my trainer's in Florida on break I have gym later this week. Did I get a lot done? Nope, got some but mostly I was putzing around and the day dragged a bit. I love being not busy, but its really bad for me.

The banker from WI called me back. The way we are trying it is to set up the joint account as a Payee to my WA checking account. Manual transfers, of course. Wouldn't want to be transferring dollars monthly. So I set it up and transferred 50$ to WI, then alerted sister to see if it worked.

Looked at the receipt for the groceries that I bought last night. I got a .05 credit for using the cloth bag. I'll have to remember that. Not a lot, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as grandpa used to say.

can we walk?

July 30th, 2007 at 08:41 pm

Saving log - $5
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $4.50 curry

Found an interesting tool.

http://walkscore.com/

It assesses the walkability of any address in the United States, giving you a score between 0 to 100. My home address got a 75, my work address got a 91, sister's address was a 62, the farmette got a 0. Check it out - we are still trying to figure out how you get a 100.

I managed to use my cloth bag at the grocery store today. The grocery store was nice about using my bag, and I'm happy that Clif bars are back at .99 apiece.

Paid the sewer, water, garbage bill - $123/ month. I remember when it was in the $80 range 3 years ago.

Only three people were kicking around the department today - it made for quiet times, good times to put in a couple of phone calls.

Call 1: into the Wisconsin Bank that sister and I have a joint account with. I want to be able to electronically transfer dollars from my bank to this account. I figure that mail is slow, and control freak that I am, I want to see both ends of the transaction. I've set up my WA account for bill pay to this bank. We'll see which is easier - pushing money out of my WA account to this WI account, or vice versa.

Call 2: Arranging the pick up of the canning jars. I will be driving (gasp, driving!) Thursday morning. Haven't heard word as to how the berries are doing. A quick look at some of the brambles in our neighborhood tells me it will be another week or two.

Kung fu at the grocery store

July 28th, 2007 at 06:55 pm

Something you don't see every day. The HT Oaktree market near our house is having a grand opening (wha? we've been shopping there off and on for 6 months).

Dragon curled up in back of the martial artists...


And the teacher busting his moves.


Inside, the best price on Rainier cherries this year at $1.99/lb, peaches and nectarines at $.79/lb. DH and I also picked up 2 more cloth shopping bags with HT on them - they were giving those away if you bought more than $5.

We still haven't gotten in the habit of bringing our own bags to the grocery store. Sigh. One of the times that I collect plastic bags is that I often stop and do a bit of grocery shopping during my nightly walk from the bus. Maybe, just maybe, the HT cloth bag is small enough so that I can put one in my purse.

Rule of 72 with a twist

July 28th, 2007 at 03:56 pm

So I taught lawyer friend about the rule of 72 a couple of days ago. (Look, he had lawyer training not math!) I'm sure I'm singing to the choir here about it, but as a rule of thumb it states that:

You can expect an investment to double when the percent of return x the number of years = 72.

Examples are -

If you are earning 8% on an investment, it will take 9 years for the investment to double.

If you have to double your return in 6 years, you have to earn a yearly return of 12%.

Big Grin It'll take a lifetime for your checking account at 1% to double.

Exciting, when you first think about it! But the twist that I thought of last night was that the rule of 72 is double edged. It works, unfortunately, with anything with an interest rate on it.

So if the inflation rate is a consistent 3%, it will only take 24 years for your cost of living to double. It means that that 22K that I made when I first got out of college in 1984 and that 44K that I make now spend about the same. Depressing, isn't it?

It also means that if you owe 10K on a credit card at 10%, and you make the minimum payment at 2%, 9 years from now you should owe 20K, more if you actually charged something else. Assuming no fees, hah hah.

You've got to work hard to make the rule of 72 work for you - it works hard against you most of the time.

poof

July 27th, 2007 at 07:51 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $4.50 curry

In the past two days, my paper profits dropped about $4K. Most of the drop was in the Vanguard taxable account, my 403B had a fair amount of ballast in bonds and cash, so those didn't drop so much.

I did a good job of moving my excess money in my checking out to savings - I'm running on about $60 until the end of the month. Too bad weekends are my worst time for saving.

Free entertainment

July 25th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Namely, the Greenwood Seafair parade tonight. Seafair is a two week celebration culminating with hydroplane races. All over Seattle, neighborhoods hold parades and events.

The bead guy, selling a little bit of Mardi Gras in July.


The theme of the parade was the Greening of Greenwood. One truck took it to a funny turn.


Cheerleaders...


Drill Teams...


Bands...


Careful listening to the bands provides for its own entertainment. Five years ago, one of the school bands played School's Out for Summer. No one, though, dressed like Alice Cooper, but you still had to give them props. Nothing so entertaining tonight, but fun nonetheless.

picking up where the executors left off

July 25th, 2007 at 08:53 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch

Last week sister sent a packet of stuff - the application for our joint bank account (in Wisconsin), the estimate for the solar panels and site evaluation, estimate for redoing parts of the foundation and the milkhouse, pictures of the damage. It arrived yesterday.

Faxed to the Wisconsin bank my information. I'll call to make sure everything's okay, then put in my half in a couple of days.

Also got a call at work from the Wisconsin DNR agent. Turns out that the last tiny hurdle to closing the sale on the second property was that a thin strip of our property next to the road was zoned R1 (residential) and it should be all zoned A (agricultural) for the sale to go through. Since sister and I now own the property, not the estate, we as heirs have to sign off on it. Nowadays we can do it by email.

its all real, dammit (rant)

July 23rd, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Pardon the expletive!

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $4.50 curry + $8 watch battery

The title of this entry is a fast criticism of the title of this article:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/200...

I know I shouldn't bother with reading these things on CNN, because the writing is so subtly anti-saver, and that makes sense because savers don't spend and therefore aren't worth advertising to. But still...

Note to CNN: All money is real money.

The young couple depicted in the article are already earning 90K, more than my DH and I. Just because they eventually will earn 200K doesn't mean that they are right now being paid in Monopoly money. They aren't earning hobby money.

But that isn't what really, really tears it. Its this: you learn just as much money management with the small amounts as with the large amounts. As a matter of fact, you had BETTER learn your money management with the small amounts. Its not a case that when you come into a large chunk of money that that somehow gives you the impetus to handle it better. Oh no, you better had practiced with your tens and hundreds before you get your tens of thousands.

Its dangerous to give that two-tiered emotion with your money - "real" vs. "fake". If you don't assume that the small sums are important and worth treating with respect, you probably will never give them the chance to grow to a "respectable, real" sum. Assume that your small sums are fake, then small sums they will remain...if don't immediately spend them.

Worse, if you do get a big sum of money, you either treat it like a small sum and spend it, or you treat it like a whole new animal with the seriousness it deserves. After all, it is a "real" sum of money.

And then you are stuck. How to handle it? After treating small sums miserably, you have no idea. Too conservative and it loses value to inflation, too wild and you turn it into a small sum and fritter it away.

Anyhow, grr. & Thanks for indulging me!

all timing; nevermind

July 22nd, 2007 at 06:32 pm

I took another look at the inheritance correspondence. When I send the little form to sign-off on the last check, it is the final distribution. It's really a timing issue. Since neither sister nor I are battling and have no particular issue, the estate has to be resolved within 18 months. Because the assets are real estate, things slow down a bit, the executor filed and got a 6 month extension, which ended a couple of weeks ago.

The first piece of property was sold and the money has paid us, the debts, the lawyer, and the executors. The second piece of property has been sold, but sister and I are to be deeded the whole thing (farmette + 73 acres bought by the state of Wisconsin) at the cost basis of 150K each to sister and I.

I originally thought that the 2nd property was going to come to us in the form of money, rather, its coming to us in the form of the deed.

The executors took out, as promised, a flat 4%, and best of all, it was inclusive of the lawyer's fee. I was expecting the lawyer to take out a separate, equal chunk. Sister apparently had a betting pool with neighbors and friends. I don't know who won.

So the executors step out. Sister and I work with the lawyer on the second property sale.

The 40K CD I started last month has started to earn interest - 174$.

let the obscenities begin

July 21st, 2007 at 08:55 pm

Got bought breakfast by DH.

It was the best grocery shopping deal of the season. Peaches for $1/lb, 1/2 flat of blueberries for $6, frozen green beans for $.99/16 oz bag. (Corn and peas get that low, more rarely broccoli, but green beans getting that low is very rare.) I know, frozen's not as chic as fresh, but the best price for fresh green beans this year was at $1.49/lb, today they ran at $1.99/lb. There's chic, and then there's doing the math - last I checked, 16 oz equals 1 lb. Double the price.

My meal was a festival of good fats - guacamole with avocadoes & salmon, with homemade potato salad with green beans in it as a bit of a vice, and blueberries, blueberries, blueberries.

Up on the DVD tonight is the last episode of Deadwood - let the obscenities begin.

Fun image this week. A little bit of drama on the bus. Will it fall and fly around inside?

yesterday's mail and email

July 21st, 2007 at 08:23 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch (Friday)

Got the "final" check for the inheritance yesterday, at least that is what I what I'm signing for. It was actually a bit over $10K due to extra interest. I put extra in quotes because I believe it is just the final dollars for the 1st property sale, nothing yet for the second. Not "final" by any means. I'm going to look at my correspondence thus far and if necessary, I will call to clarify the situation and I will not mail my piece without it.

Sister and I each got a copy of the deed for the farmette - we now legally co-own the property.

Deposited $42 of tip box money. Took a peek at my credit card account. The fee has been taken off.

actual good phone call

July 19th, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $5.50 lunch

Did actually make it to the all staff meeting this morning. It happens once per month - last month I blew it off to deposit a chunk of inheritance. Lunch was the 403B meeting, and yes, the board of our non-profit dropped the retirement slightly and increased the match slightly to compensate. Its a strategy to insure that more employees put more into the 403B. It will happen starting in January 2008. And it is a trend because the board will be looking at it every year and assessing whether to keep shifting the ratio of match to retirement money. I guess I should yawn about it, because at 15%, it would have to be the 8% match 1% retirement ratio before I'm affected.

A couple of co workers got a bit bent out of shape though, the ones that are going from paycheck to paycheck but putting in 6%. I feel for them, but sometimes fiscal surprises come from the most innocent of places. And I'm thinking, wow, I didn't hit me that my workplace currently pays everyone working there more than a year 6% in a retirement fund. Many, many places they pay nothing - its all you.

Got a phone call from my sister at the bank. She's setting up our joint account, so we can both deposit money in. The banker asked me for a couple of pieces of sensitive information, then told me, "since you don't have a driver's license..."

Me: "What? I have a driver's license. I just don't drive. I have a chauffeur."

Anyway, the banker's setting things up and we should be good to go on a joint account for the farmette.

My good phone call was clearing up a late fee charge on my credit card. I paid on 5/18, 6/20, and 7/19. How do you get a late fee from that? The only hitch was trying to get out of voice jail and into an operator. I tried a couple of times, then I hit on reporting Fraud choice. Heck, said late fee charge looks like fraud. Big Grin The customer rep was nice about the whole thing and told me that I should see the fix tomorrow.

I'll look tomorrow.

running in place

July 18th, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch

The only financial bit happened at the end of the day today. Tomorrow we learn a little bit more about some changes with our 403B plan but the "shot across the bow" occurred in an Excel spreadsheet email.

N.B.: 403B plans are the non-profit version of 401K plans.

First, the good news. Everybody at work has put enough money combined in the 403B so that the fee structure has changed. No mutual fund choice has a higher fee than 1.3%, many are under 1%. Although compared to Vanguard at .18%, they have a way to go.

Second, the its-a-wash-news, perhaps leading to something unhappy. Right now the workplace matches 403B contributions 50 cents on the dollar up to 6%. So if you put up 6%, workplace matches 3%. Soon our workplace is going to again match .50:$1, but it will be up to 8%. So if you put up 8%, workplace matches 4%. Great, right?

Not so fast. We also have a retirement account, which I am still a bit hazy about even after 7 years. I know its where the match dollars are put in and this is the account that's vested after 6 years. It turns out that the workplace puts in 6% into everyone's retirement account. So if you're smart, workplace will put the full 9% (6% their retirement, 3% your match).

Well, due to the new 4% match, the straight retirement gift is going to drop to 5%. In other words, its a wash for someone like me...I still get the full 9% but it will now be comprised of 5% their retirement, 4% your match.

In a sense, its to subtly force you to put more in your 403B. Like the Red Queen, running faster to stay in the same place.

Farmette renters?

July 17th, 2007 at 08:15 pm

Saving log - $9
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $13 lunch + $4.50 groceries

Sister called. There is a possibility that buyers/ renters might be interested in the farmette. They would be friends of the farmette's neighbor coming up from Arizona in late August. Word has it that they are woodworkers, with dogs and birds.

Sister's very nervous about that possibility that someone other than family would be living there, but she would be very interested in the woodworking part - floors especially. I think its a great idea on paper - we need someone to be a presence 24/7 - but if they want to buy instead of rent, that would be an interesting twist. Until they show, though, its all theoretical.